Racing Destruction Set
Electronic Arts, © 1985
Datasoft, © 1985
Microprose, © 1985
Accolade, © 1985
Epyx, © 1985 (Lucasfilm)
Origin Systems, © 1985
Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
Origin Systems, © 1985
Activision, © 1985
Balance of Power
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Developer: Chris Crawford
Original PC Platform: Apple Macintosh
Ported Platforms: Atari ST, PC
Collecting Fact: In 1986, Microsoft Press published a book, Balance of Power - International Politics as the Ultimate Global Game (by Chris Crawford, ISBN 0-914845-97-7.)
Summary: Balance of Power is a game about geopolitics in the nuclear age. You can play as either the President of the United States, or the General Secretary of the Soviet Union. The game is set in the year 1986, and lasts (up to) 8 years. You can choose to play against the computer or a human opponent.
The object of Balance of Power is to enhance your country's prestige, which is how well your country is liked and respected by other countries of the world. It certainly doesn't hurt to have enormous military strength, either. You have a host of tools at your command to help you gain prestige. You must deal with insurgencies, coups d'etat and finlandization, make treaties, use diplomacy, send aid, or possibly even troops, in order to win other nations to your side (either Democracy or Communism.)
For example, if a hostile country is fighting a war against guerrillas, you might choose to support the insurgency by supplying weapons to the guerrillas. Depending on the situation, you might even send in troops to aid the rebels. If the insurgency is successful in toppling the hostile government, you will be rewarded by the new government with increased prestige. But, how will your opponent react to your tactics? Does your opponent have a defense treaty with this government? Is the country in question worth fighting over? Will your opponent attempt to prop up the existing government? Fight a war of words in the world press to make you look bad and thus lose prestige? Do you back down from your opponent's threats or stick to your guns? In Balance of Power, you must carefully gauge your opponent's likely response to every action you take.
Balance of Power is a very complex and challenging game. It's a cross between a game and a simulation really. There are a total of 62 countries represented in the game: two superpowers, a dozen major powers, a few dozen minor powers and many non-powers or pawns. Continually updating demographic and political data is provided for each country. Everything from the state of insurgency, domestic discontent and diplomatic affinity, to the number of TV sets is provided.
The level of realism and complexity in Balance of Power made it the most ambitious game/simulation of its time. This game, and the thoughts of its designer, have been quoted in numerous papers, books, and general discussions on the art of game design. In the book Balance of Power - International Politics as the Ultimate Global Game (by Chris Crawford, ISBN 0-914845-97-7.) Crawford discusses the theories, methodologies and research that went into designing the game. Complete with sample algorithms, and detailed analysis of coups d'etat, insurgencies, finlandization, and political crises, this book is a must read for any would-be game/simulation designer.
"Balance of Power is about as close as one might get to the cut-and-thrust of
international politics without going through confirmation by the Senate."
-- Tony Cervo
Crusade in Europe
MicroProse, © 1985
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