Ben concentrated largely on Europe and Asia while I took a foothold in the Middle East and Africa, while combating him on the European and Asian front. He had a number of difficult turns, drawing a flurry of US cards, while I got rid of the USSR cards in my hand thanks to my success in the space race, enabling me to toss 2 of such cards per turn.
While Ben took control of multiple countries, I paid closer attention to the battlegrounds and successfully took control of a number via well-timed coups. I took some cheap points by playing scoring cards during the headline phase. I scored heavily on an American scoring card with only control of Panama, with the continent devoid of any other influence. Eventually, my VPs neared the brink and a couple of fortunate VP cards put me over the top at the end of the 6th turn. In particular, Salt Negotiations allowed me to resurrect a non-scoring card from the discard pile which put the deterministic VP related card in play.
Surprisingly, the game just took under 2 1/2 hours. Even Van was impressed but I could foresee how the game would easily break the 4 hour mark if it went the distance. I also realized that the right distribution of cards at the right time could significantly impact the result of the game. Perhaps, the luck of the draw is somewhat too much for me for a game of such (potential) length. Well it was nice to have another go at TS just before I trade it.
We moved on to another go at Nexus Ops with Van joining us. This time round the game was far more competitive as Van and Ben clearly caught on with regards to being aggressive. In fact, Van put the most Secret Mission cards in play while Ben and I accumulated points from mostly Battle cards. Ben neared victory on the last turn, only needing a successful dice roll to play a Secret Mission card for the win. Unfortunately, he failed and going next, I grabbed the 5 points needed for the win, with the play of Death from Above and another Secret Mission card which required a Fungoid kill which Ben sat pretty on his 3 mine space. I was confident of the win as I took a number of turns to prepare for the Death from Above play. As it turned out, Ben almost beat me to it. Nonetheless, Ben and Van were a whisker away with 10 and 9 points respectively.