Say you are the US, you are at +17 VP, and Defcon is at 2. You event Duck and Cover. This event says "Degrade Defcon 1 level, then US player earns VPs equal to 5 minus the current Defcon level". Do you win or lose or does the game end in a draw?

Surprisingly this doesn't seem to be in the rules, which say:

The instant one player reaches a score of 20 VP, the game is over and that player is the winner.


A player may also win the instant his opponent causes the DEFCON level to reach 1.

  • 3
    The 'then' part makes me assume it's a specific order you have to process the actions. So first the degrade -> you lose, if you didn't lose earn the VP.
    – J_rite
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 14:32
  • 1
    @J_rite that sounds like the most natural result, but I guess I'm confused since in Magic: the Gathering, you finish resolving everything on the card first and then you check to see if a player has won (boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/45331/…). If that rule also applies to Twilight Struggle, then the win/loss conditions would happen simultaneously.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 14:43
  • 1
    I never played twilight struggle, but this answer on boardgamegeek seems to indicate that you would lose.
    – J_rite
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


Magic: The Gathering has rules specifying how and when state-based actions are checked, like ending the game.

Unless Twilight Struggle also has such a rule, and I haven't found one yet, there is no reason to assume the writers meant anything other than "instantly" when they wrote "instantly", or that the card should all happen at once when they wrote "(do this first), then (do that second)".

The sequence of events is this

  1. The phasing player uses the card as an Event.

  2. DEFCON is reduced from 2 to 1.

  3. The opponent instantly wins the game because the phasing player has caused DEFCON 1 to occur.

  4. The game is over, no other card effects matter.

  • 1
    BGG thread agrees: boardgamegeek.com/thread/2169804/article/31515755#31515755 Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 15:45
  • I'm accepting this answer since I tried it in the Playdek app and the result was indeed loss by thermonuclear war.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 14:52
  • M:TG was a specific comparison made by the question author in a comment and an implicit cause of their confusion. Addressing it directly does not harm the rest of the answer, including it makes the answer more useful for some readers (and based on post rates, a plurality of the users here will find it a net gain).
    – Nij
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 21:21

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