In Twilight Struggle, if the Cuban Missile Crisis is in effect and the targeted player takes a free coup using the Junta event, does that trigger the end of the game clause on the Cuban Missile Crisis?

The card texts are:

Cuban Missile Crisis*

Set Defcon to Level 2. Any further Coup attempt by your opponent, anywhere on the board, will result in Global Thermonuclear War. Your opponent will lose the game. This event may be canceled at any time if the USSR player removes two Influence from Cuba or the US player removes 2 Influence from either West Germany or Turkey.


Place 2 Influence in any one Central or South American country. Then you may make a free Coup attempt or Realignment roll in one of these regions (using this card's Operations Value). [2 Ops]

I guess the question boils down to what does "free Coup" mean.

2 Answers 2


does that trigger the end of the game clause on the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Yes. From the rulebook:

6.3.5 Cards that state a player may make a “free Coup roll” in a particular region may ignore the geographic restrictions of the current DEFCON level (see 8.1.5). However, a “free Coup roll” used against a Battleground country would still lower DEFCON as per 6.3.4.

A free coup attempt event only negates the geographic location, not DEFCON status. This would still cause DEFCON to reach 1 and the phasing player would still lose the game after attempting the coup.

  • This is incorrect. This answer implies / states two things, which are false. Firstly, that the game ended since it was DEFCON 1 (not true, as per gmtgames.com/nnts/FAQv5.pdf - #40 Cuban Missile Crisis). Secondly, the statement that it was triggered by DEFCON 1 implies (incorrectly) that the game wouldn't have ended if the coup was on a non-battleground state. This is false. The game is over, regardless of whether the coup was in a battleground state or not. As per the FAQ - CMC has precedence over the DEFCON rule.
    – mjwills
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 12:02

As long as CMC remains in effect (there is no Influence removal performed to cancel it), any coup at all anywhere, whether BG, non-BG, event-driven, or "free," performed by a player targeted by CMC instantly loses the game for that player. The loss is due to CMC and not due to DEFCON: CMC itself is a way to instantly lose.

This CMC effect even covers CIA Created / Lone Gunman. For example, if the Soviet player is targeted by CMC and can't remove Influence from Cuba to cancel CMC (presumably because Fidel hasn't been played or he was realigned out and so he has none there to remove), the American can play Lone Gunman at DEFCON 2. Any coup by the Soviet as a result of the Lone Gunman event, even on the American turn, would lose the game for the Soviet due to CMC instantly (if a BG, before dropping DEFCON to 1 and losing the game for the American). There was a CMC on, you didn't defuse it, and you couped, so you lost; DEFCON didn't enter into it.

CMC can indirectly drive a DEFCON loss. CMC drops DEFCON to 2. Imagine the American headlines CMC and the Soviet headlines Missile Envy. CMC drops DEFCON to 2, and then in exchange for Missile Envy the American hands over We Will Bury You (4 OPS) whose Soviet event the Soviet must trigger on his headline phase, dropping DEFCON to 1 and losing the Soviet the game.

In a recent game I played, as the American I headlined CMC and the Soviet headlined Missile Envy. DEFCON dropped to 2 by CMC. In exchange for Missile Envy I handed over Che (I didn't have any 4 Ops card except The China Card). The Soviet actually lost the game when he did not ask questions in chat, ignored the screen warnings, and did not remove influence from Cuba (which was 0/3*), but just went ahead and used the Che event to coup Colombia. I was behind by quite a bit, and he rolled a 6, so it was a welcome result.

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