Tournament 2015-16

This is the homepage foules the 2015-16 Boardgame Players Association (BPA) PBEM tournament for Twilight Struggle.

Players wishing to participate in the tournament should leave a reply at the bottom of this page  with your current ACTS ID below, to formally register their interest.

Note all first time posts are moderated so it may take up to a day for your post to become visible. No need to repost a second time.

All participants must be members of the BPA – an entry-level Associate Membership costs $10 and allows you to enter as many BPA PBEM tournaments as you wish in the current year. (Players are not required to renew their BPA membership for 2015 and beyond to continue playing in the tournament, although they are certainly encouraged to do so.) Details of how to become a BPA member can be found here.

The Signup period begins now and will continue through Jan 15, 2016.

Tournament Format


There will be two phases to the tournament. The Preliminary Phase will consist of a set number of Swiss rounds, depending upon the number of entrants: four if there are 17-32 entrants, five if there are 33-64 entrants, six if there are 65-128 entrants, and so on. The top six qualifiers at the conclusion of the Swiss phase will advance to the Elimination Phase: #3 plays #6 and #4 plays #5 in the quarterfinals, with #1 and #2 will have a bye in this first round of the Elimination Phase and will play the lower-ranked and higher-ranked player remaining, respectively, in the semifinals. (For background information about what a Swiss tournament format entails, click here.)



All BPA members for 2015 are eligible to enter the tournament; non-BPA members for 2015 or 2016 must join the BPA at least Associate level of membership (see above). The GM will ask all players to re-register their intent to participate at the start of every Swiss round during the Preliminary Phase.

Players must have internet access and a valid e-mail address. Important: Changes in your e-mail address must be forwarded to the GM, or you may miss out on important notifications (including the call to participate in the next Swiss round).

Schedule/Time Limits

The first Swiss round is scheduled to begin with matchups by 15 December 2015. Each Swiss Round, with the exception of round 1, and elimination game will last for 8 weeks, the intention being that each new round should begin exactly two months after the preceding round began. Players who cannot commit to this pace of play should not ask to participate in the tournament. The proposed schedule (to be confirmed) is as follows:

Round Start Date End Date
Swiss Round 1 15 Dec 2015 15 Mar 2016
Swiss Round 2 16 Mar 2016 16 May 2016
Swiss Round 3 17 May 2016 TBC
Swiss Round 4 17 Jul 2016 TBC
Swiss Round 5 17 Sep 2016 TBC
Swiss Round 6 17 Nov 2016 TBC
Elimination Phase – Quarterfinals 17 Jan 2017 TBC
Elimination Phase – Semifinals 17 Mar 2017 TBC
Elimination Phase – Final 17 May 2017 TBC


The GM will be responsible for determining all matchups at the start of each Swiss round in the Preliminary Phase. As far as possible, players with the same number of tournament points will play against each other. If an even number of players is not available, the GM may select eliminators to play against the odd opponents; thereafter, while the GM will endeavor to accommodate all willing participants, if necessary a player tied for the fewest points in the tournament standings (see below) will be asked to sit out.

Side Selection

SIdes will be selected randomly with players switching sides after each round if possible.

Game Configuration

Games will use Deluxe Rules + optional cards with +1 influence for the United States as the starting condition.

No Chinese Civil War and no optional rules.

11.1 Revealing held cards is not used if playing with ACTS as ACTS enforces ending a game if a scoring card is held.

  • Extra Influence points are placed after all other Influence points for that country have been placed.
  • Such extra Influence may only be placed in countries where friendly Influence already exists.
  • Extra influence may be placed to control, but not over-control.



During the Preliminary Phase, players are awarded tournament points per game as follows:

  • 10 points for a Victory
  • 0 points for a loss
  • In the event of a tie game during the Elimination Phase, the US player will be awarded the victory for all tournament purposes.

At the conclusion of the Preliminary Phase, the six players with the most points will qualify for the Elimination Phase and be seeded accordingly. Ties will be broken according to the following priorities:

1)       Strength of schedule (calculated for each player by adding up all of the points earned by his opponents and then dividing by the number of games they played)

2)       Head-to-head results.

3)       Most wins as the US.

4)       Most games played as the US.

5)       Random determination.

End-of-Game Reporting:At the conclusion of each game, one player from each game is required to post the results as a comment on this website.

a)       Winner

b)       Method of victory (Final Scoring, reaching ±20 VPs, Control of Europe, DEFCON = 1, Wargames, etc.)


Other Information

GM and AGMs

The GM is  Tim Tow (e-mail the GM) and there will be two assistant GMs. All three GMs will play in the tournament: The Assistant GMs will rule in the games which the GM and/or the other Assistant GM are involved. Rulings made by any GM are final.

Please be advised that the GMs will not monitor games in progress in an official capacity, except to ensure that they are completed in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of the players involved to ensure that they are interpreting the rules correctly – the GMs will not go back in time to remedy any incorrect interpretations after the fact.


Method of Play

All games will be played on the Automated Card Tracking Site (ACTS), Wargameroom, or via Vassal online.

For ACTS games, each game will be created by one of the players involved and moderated by the GM. The ACTS site provides recordkeeping of moves, provides a die roller, and serves as a secure card dealer. There is no fee for use of the ACTS web site.

For games using Wargameroom or Vassal online, there will be limited ability for the GM to moderate so those formats can be used if both players agree and they will need to self-moderate.

NOTE: Players will be responsible for tracking their own moves. There are multiple tools available to track Twilight Struggle games and players are encourage to exchange files with each other periodically to confirm positions. However, if such files are not exchanged, it is highly recommended that players confirm the locations of their playing pieces on a regular basis – the end of each turn being an opportune moment for sharing files and/or posting and comparing the Influence each side has in each country. All players will be responsible for the repercussions of their own recording errors.

Rules and Rules Disputes

All games will use the deluxe edition of the TS rulebook (available for download at GMT’s Twilight Struggle website). The official FAQ and errata should be used in conjunction with the deluxe edition rules, particularly with regard to card clarifications.

It is expected that all participants will play the game with good sportsmanship and in the spirit in which the game is designed. The special PBEM rules and guidelines listed here are meant to guide players in the application of the written rules of the game along these lines – any incidents in which a player looks to manipulate these rules to his advantage against the spirit of the game should be brought to the GM’s attention. The GM retains the right to punish the offending player should circumstances warrant, e.g., by forcing the offending player to Discard a card or cards from his hand, docking him tournament points in the standings, or possibly expelling him from the tournament altogether.

PBEM Considerations (important!)

The ACTS module for TS is not completely idiot-proof – some bugs still exist within the system.


Concerning other errors and procedures which are unique to the PBEM format:


  • What if too many dice were rolled? Simply remove the excess dice, from the bottom up.
  • What if dice were rolled for the wrong reason? Ignore the results and reroll the right amount of dice, specifying the right reason.
  • What if a player draws too many cards? The offending player should randomly discard down to the correct hand size, making sure that the other player sees the card in question.
  • What if a player plays out of turn? The player must undo the card play (and all effects thereof) and return the card to his hand.
  • Any other questions to ask?

Slow Play/Adjudication (important!)

Everyone plays at a different pace, and there must be some tolerance and sportsmanship toward players who do not play with lightning speed – the goal is to ensure that all games are completed on time (and not, e.g., at the pace of 1-2 days per turn). However, the tournament is designed to operate at a fairly brisk pace, and players will need to average at least one e-mail each per day to finish a full-length game on time.

If you are concerned about completing your game on time and believe your opponent is playing too slowly, please e-mail the GM, who will review the Game Journal in ACTS to assess the situation. A slow play warning may be issued in the event that the GM agrees with you; such a warning will constitute evidence of slow play for future reference.

In the event that a game has not been completed by the deadline, which for this purpose will conclude at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (US) on the End Date for each round, the faster player over the course of the game will be judged the winner and receive 10 points to the loser’s 0, regardless of board position or VP level. The two players will be asked to agree upon which player was slower; if they cannot agree, the GM and/or AGMs will analyze the Game Journal in ACTS to make a determination. If it is impossible to identify one player as being faster than the other, both players will receive 0 points for the round and the game will be discarded from the records, as though it had never happened.



The tournament winner will receive a BPA PBEM Twilight Struggle Championship Plaque, and the top 6 winners will BPA Laurels toward the annual BPA “Caesar” award. Apart from that, bragging rights are always handy to have…


Note comments below are initially moderated so you may not see your signup appear until it is approved by the moderator (me!).


93 thoughts on “Tournament 2015-16

  1. Scott Burns

    HI – According to the newsletter you are accepting late entries until tomorrow. If it is not too late I would like to join – ACTS ID scott_burns

  2. Jay Sachs

    1-17 2015-16 TS BPA

    US: Jay Sachs
    USSR: Mike Kaye
    Winner: Jay Sachs

    (DEFCON on turn 8. Terrorism in US hand, Grain Sales + CIA in USSR. Points were at -18)

  3. gagotoo

    “2-17 USSR(Tim Olson)
    USA(Jarek Moc)
    Winner: USA

    We have not played a game before.

    At end of Turn 3 due to Def Con 1 violation by the USSR.

    The game started out well for me. I drew the Europe and Asia scoring cards in my first hand,eked out a Domination in each and scored. Those 10 points were the base for my -16
    score going into Turn 3. I needed 4 points for an auto win. I had the Indo-Pakistani War card,2 cracks at Man in Space(2VPs) and the Soviet Def Con trick to get 2 VPs. I liked my odds. My opponent headlines 5 Year Plan and takes Indo-Pakistani War. Hurtful but not a show stopper.So I have to play all my cards this turn. I have CIA and I guess you can see where this is going. I coup with card play #1 to got to DC2. I get to -18 and CIA Created is my last card play. I’m sitting there exchanging moves and doing other stuff on my computer. I see Def Con 1 come through on e-mail. What?!? Is he conceding? No, I lose. I have seen combos of cards that have caused Def Con violations but not this. In my mind I was thinking that he chooses where to use the OPs pt so if he coups a BG,he loses. Of course,that is not the case. What a gaffe. Oh well,lose and learn. As my opponent said,I won’t make that mistake again. 😦

    Tim Olson

  4. Alberto Ciampichetti

    Hi all,
    Final result of 2-27 2015-16 TS BPA
    Alberto Ciampichetti (USSR) winner
    vs René Moser-Johansen (US)
    at the 1st round of turn 5 for reaching 20vp.
    It was a victory due to an 2 turn of consecutive good cards and good dices for the soviet. The poor US can’t do anything except count the vp ….

  5. Hank Burkhalter

    2-05 2015-16 TS BPA
    US: Hank Burkhalter
    USSR: Casey Alexander
    Winner: Hank Burkhalter with 20VP on T10 Final Scoring.

    USA extra INF went to Iran. Game started with the three back to back to back Iran coups… one USA INF left standing.

  6. Scott Burns

    2-09 2015-16
    US Scott Burns
    USSR Sergey Kosarev
    Winner: Scott Burns as USA on 12VP after final scoring

    The game nearly over on turn 7 as reached 19VP and forgot that China card had cancelled formosa, so thought it was 20! Sergey fought back from near defeat to make it all the way to end.

  7. Antero

    2-26 2015-16 TS BPA
    US: Mike Kaye
    USSR: Antero Kuusi
    Winner: Antero Kuusi on mutual agreement at end of scheduled time.

    At the moment of the swiss round ending USSR was leading with 13 points and had upper hand on the board. Especially considering that the only scoring card not in discard pile was Europe where USSR had Domination. So, the game was mutually agreed as USSR victory.

  8. Aran Warszawski

    US: Aran Warszawski
    USSR: Ddvid Amidon

    US Wins on a final scoring. game ended at +8 and final scoring +4 for a total of +12
    Game was close, started well for USSR than went back to US.
    At the end it was the luck of the specific scoring cards that come out, and I had the better luck

  9. Tim Bina

    Game 3-19
    US: Jay Sachs
    USSR Tim Bina
    Game ends in turn 8. USSR (Tim Bina) wins.

    US inadvertently cause a nuclear ending to the planet, all because a Lone Gunman. Well, actually, it wasn’t simply caused by one Gunman, A spy was involved who caused the SALT Talks to go un-discussed, which would have reduced tensions enough, globally, enough to allow the gunman incident to go by without too much tension. As is was….

  10. Jarek

    2015-16 TS BPA
    US: Bruce Monnin
    USSR: Jarek Moc

    USSR won during final scoring with results -20. Hard game Bruce crush me on the begining with cups and space and power cards, but scoring card rhythm was for my favorite and starting from turn 7 I took control and deliver results.

  11. Scott Burns

    3-02 2015-1016 TS BPA
    USA: Daniel Hogetoorn
    USSR: Scott Burns

    USSR VP Victory Turn 6

    Dont recall any previous games…

  12. Alan Applebaum

    Kevin Ritchie defeated me.

    As the USSR I had early luck and was able to parley Socialist Governments into an early Europe domination and control of Italy. I ran the score to 18 in my favor and had planned a Brush War to get to 20, neglecting to note that unlike other “War” cards, Brush War yields only 1 VP so that plan was aborted. Kevin then fought back adroitly to even the score and applied a killer move late in Turn 6. After putting me under Red Scare for the turn, he used SALT to pull Red Scare from the discard pile on AR6 and then Bear Trapped me on AR7. He then headlined Red Scare again on Turn 7. I had only one “3” card and whiffed on my only available Bear Trap exit roll on AR1, leaving me with no legal plays for the entire rest of the turn (and a pretty bad hand for Turn 8 as well). As my board position was already bad, I resigned at that point.

  13. John Magnar Olufsen

    5-09 2015-16 TS BPA
    USA: John Magnar Olufsen
    USSR: Daniël Hogetoorn

    USSR victory in turn 9

    War Games Victory in Turn 9


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