In the new beginning-of-game draft, the players take turns choosing which faction to be, how many armies you get, what order you place troops, what order you move, etc. I thought that having first choice in placement would be very beneficial, but it turned out it was more like putting a target on the board for other players to aim at. Some of the problem was that everyone wants to lock in a tasty morsel like Australia, so when I plunked down in Australia, Kevin wasn't having that. And since he had gone for lots of armies, he had enough to wipe me out before I ever had a turn. At the same time, it whittled his own forces down until he had not much to work with for the rest of the very short game, which Graydon won.
In the second game I started out in my major city in Casablanca. Ken started in his major city in Europe, and Kevin again snuggled close to me in Venezuela, and again attacked me right away. So I didn't have very nice options for expansion except to take Africa, which I nearly did, but as I navigated between Ken and Kevin, Graydon snaked out from Australia to mess me up. I vacated Africa and took Kevin's HQ, while Ken slid down and took Casablanca. And then... Graydon and Ken found out what happens when you open the packet for "use three missiles in one dice roll". Predictably, it unleashes nuclear fire. And the sad net result is that my beautiful bunkered major city in North Africa is a radioactive ruin forevermore. Africa was nearly depopulated by the blast. Aaron mopped up the remnants and won.
North Africa is now nearly impassable and uncontrollable. If you move units in, half of them die. If there's units on there at the end of your turn, one dies. So it's pretty much uninhabitable.
Unless you're the mutants. Yes, a whole new faction of mutants who gain a troop if they control the Radioactive Wasteland. And who have a vendetta against the faction that unleashed The Bomb and made them the twisted freaks they are.
Looking forward, I don't like my chances. I had a major city, but now it's destroyed. Ken's is in the middle of Europe, Graydon's is in Central America, giving him a nice shot for South America (unless the Mutants are playing). Aaron's is in Australia, locking that up fairly well. There's only one major city left, so either Kevin or I (or both of us) will get left out. And Kevin hasn't won a game yet, so he's up one victory point on me. I guess I'll have to go practice my dice-rolling.