One of the many strengths of the COIN system is its asymmetric gameplay. Hence, maximizing factional asymmetry and introducing novel Operations and Special Activities, while maintaining Cuba Libre’s core game system, has been a top priority while designing Invierno Cubano, In this series of faction primers, we will preview some of the exciting new features that help make Invierno Cubano more than a sequel. As you read through these articles, please keep in mind that some aspects are still under development and may be changed prior to publication.
Faction name: Brigade 2506 and Directorio
Victory Condition(s): Opposition + Leaders eliminated
Pieces: Directorio (DR) Guerrillas, Brigade 2506 Guerrillas, DR Ships
Operations: Deploy, March, Attack, and Terror
Special Activities: Rescue, Influence, Air Strike, and Sabotage
Strength(s): Mobility and a large invasion event
Weakness(es): Unreplenished DR guerrilla ranks that are never underground
Certainly most COIN series fans are familiar with the CIA-backed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, one of the most memorable fiascoes of 20th-century US foreign policy. Although the Brigade 2506 invasion force was the largest external outfit of guerrillas assembled during this period, many other militant Cuban exile organizations emerged and were supported by the US government. Much like the Revolutionary Directorate (DR) insurgents of Cuba Libre, these similar yet distinct entities are assembled together here under the Brigade 2506 and Directorio banner. In this article, we present two example plays highlighting some capabilities and vulnerabilities of the Brigade 2506 and Directorio faction and briefly discuss strategies to place them on the path to victory.
The automatic Event card “Bay of Pigs” triggers the addition of all nine Brigade 2506 guerrillas to the province closest to Havana that is without Support and not controlled by La Revolución. The card is shuffled with the second Reform card stack, ensuring its appearance sometime after the first Reform round and before the third. Armed with this knowledge, the Brigade 2506 and Directorio faction can work to secure an invasion space that is both safe and of strategic value.
Our first play example begins with La Revolución using a limited operation (see inset) to Sweep four Troops cubes and an Armor disc into Las Villas, establishing Control and threatening both insurgent factions (see arrow 1 and the pieces highlighted in white). With La Revolución now controlling Las Villas, the four westernmost provinces are currently unavailable as Brigade 2506 landing sites.
The next card will be “Lucha Contra Bandidos”, an Event that may help the Bandidos prepare an Ambush in Las Villas. The Brigade 2506 and Directorio player has first eligibility and wants to avoid a confrontation with the superior firepower of the La Revolucion units. The vulnerable DR guerrillas in Las Villas can March east to the safety of Camaguey and block the Event play by the Bandidos. But instead, let’s explore another option and turn our attention to the Brigade 2506 and Directorio player aid.
As you can see, a Deploy operation in combination with a Rescue special activity can save the two DR guerrillas, while also gaining Control of Pinar del Rio and setting the stage for a Terror operation next turn. If the insurgents can remove Support there before the “Bay of Pigs” card appears, the arrival of Brigade 2506 forces may be met with little resistance and they can then March at full strength towards Havana…
Our second play example picks up the action with La Revolución on the ropes. The “Bay of Pigs” event has yet to appear, but all three opposition factions have made significant headway in the east. The Brigade 2506 and Directorio player again has first eligibility and decides the “U-2 Reconnaissance” event likely won’t be played by the La Revolución as second eligible. Therefore, she sets her sights on the Leaders in Havana lacking Security cubes. Let’s again have a look at the Brigade 2506 and Directorio player aid.
As in Cuba Libre, a special activity may be performed before its associated operation. Because Marching DR guerrillas into Havana will leave them vulnerable to an Assault, our Brigade 2506 and Directorio player decides instead to first Influence the Guajiro in Pinar del Rio, gaining Control in the province and convincing the US government to increase their aid to the exiles.
The new Recruit is then Marched to the capital. A Sweep there will no longer prevent a Terror operation, so the government is now under serious pressure. A LimOp to Assault the Recruit instead of training some badly needed Troops may be the best choice.
Having kept La Revolución’s hands full in Havana for another turn, the Brigade 2506 and Directorio player now hopes the “Bay of Pigs” card will appear next…