Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition manual
- Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition
'BALANCE OF POWER'
Playing Balance of Power
If you are using either a mouse or a joystick as a pointing device you
will only need the leftmost button. To click the button, press the button
and release it.
Selecting a Country.
You select a country you want to focus on by opening one of the menus on
the bottom menu bar (N. America, S. America, Africa, Mid East, Far East,
Or Pacific). Each of these menus contains several countries. The Balance
of Power World Map on this card shows which countries are under each
Opening a Menu
Move the pointer on the screen to the menu title you want the press the
button. Keyboard: Press the Alt key and the Initial letter of the menu
Lets say you're playing the game from the keyboard and want to make
policies relating to Nicaragua by pressing the down arrow key and press
enter. Then open the Make Policies menu from the keyboard by pressing Alt
and M at the same time. The list of options in the Make Policies menu
Once a menu is open, press the left and right arrow keys to open the
other menus. Note: From the keyboard, the USSR and Europe menus can only
be opened with the left or right arrow keys. (Alt U oens the USA menu:
Alt E opens the Events menu.) To open the USSR or Europe menus, first
press Alt and the Initial letter of any other menu title: that menu will
open. To open the Games menu, for example, press Alt and G. Then press
the right arrow key until the USSR or Europe menu open.
Closing a menu: From the keyboard press Esc. Press the button on your
Highlighting items on a Menu: Keyboard press Alt and the Initial letter
of item or up/down arrow keys.
A Quick Walk-Through
When the title screen appears, start a new game by selecting. The
other button is used if you wish to resume a previous game. Choose the
New Game button and you will see the Options screen. For now, just select
and after a short wait, the game will be ready to play.
The world map is playing ground. Each country is shaded to reflect the
occurrence of major events within that country. Since you are playing as
the President of the U.S., "pull down" or open the menu labeled USA. If
you are unsure how to pull down menus and select items from a menu, see
the Reference Card.
The first item is Diplomatic Relationships. Choose this item;. The computer
will shade each of the worlds countries to show their diplomatic
relationships with the United States. If you look at Nicaragua (the middle
country of the tree Central American countries) you will note that
the shading indicates a cool, or hostile, relationship with the USA.
You'll show them! Select Nicaragua from the North America menu. The
country will turn black and its name will appear at the top of the
screen. You have selected Nicaragua for further consideration. "Pull
down" the menu labeled Make Policies.
This menu is used to make decisions about the world. Select
Aid to Insurgents. A policy options window will appear with selections
ranging from no aid to a very high level of aid.
Select the highest possible level of aid and then choose the Enact
button. You have just issued a presidential order-you are shipping lots
of weapons to the Contras. (Note that not all options may be available in
a given situation. Any invalid choices will be "grayed out" and thus,
inactive. The reasons will be explained later on.)
Say that this is all you want to do for this turn. "Pull down" the
Game menu and select Next Turn. The computer will calculate the state of
the world for one year (this may take as long as a minute). The computer
now takes on the role of your adversary. If the Soviet Union takes exception
to your arms shipment, it may start a crisis over it. In a you always have two
options: escalate or back down. Each time you escalate you bring the world
closer to the brink of war. If either side escalates beyond DefCon 4, an
accidental nuclear war may start. If either side goes DefCon 1, a nuclear war
is certain. (DefCon is short for Defense Condition, a term which is used to
indicate a state of millitary preparedness. The lower the DefCon number, the
closer a country is to actually activating its forces. ) In either case, both
sides lose. On the other hand, each time youback down, you lose international
prestige, without which you cannot win the game. Your task is to find a balance
of power between the two extremes; a task requiring strategy and foresight.
When all crises are resolved and the computer has calculated the
events of the year, the calendar will be advanced one year and the scores
will be updated. If you have done well, your geopolitical prestige will
have risen. If your prestige has fallen, you are losing. The game continues
for eight years. If, at the end of that term, you and your opponent have
managed to avoid a nuclear confrontation, the side with the highest prestige
This is just the briefest of introductions to Balance of Power. There
are many other options available from the menus that will give you more
information on the state of the world. Weaken your enemies and strengthen
your friends-that's all it takes. You may want to play around for a while
and then read the Beginner Level section this manual before attempting
your first real game.
Your First Real Game
You have played around with the game for a while and now you are ready to
give it a go. Let's begin. Start up the game; in the Options screen,
leave everything as it is: Beginner Level, Single Player, with you as the
Your goal in this game is to increase your geopolitical prestige and
weaken the geopolitical prestige of the Soviet Union. The concept of
geopolitcal prestige is no difficult to understand. It's much like
popularity. You want to be popular with the other nations of the world.
The twist is, you want to be popular with the countries that count the
most. In the world of Balance of Power geopolitics, countries that count
are the countries that are militarily powerful. Thus, your goal is to ac-
cumulate lots of powerful friends, and insure that your enemies are few
Although prestige is akin to "geopolitical popularity," there is much
more at stake here than a simple beauty contest. The nations of the world
are sovereign states; they do whatever they choose to do. Your country's
ability to influence the course of events is directly related to its
prestige. Short of direct conquest or the exercise of raw military
power, prestige is the closest a country can get to true international
Of course, you must avoid a nuclear war while pursuing prestige. If
nuclear war breaks out, you lose, no matter how well you were doing before
everything was reduced to ashes.
How do you get a country to like you? There are two ways; you can do nice
things for it in an effort to convince it to like you, or you can try to
overthrow its current government. The strategy you pursue depends on your
relationship with the country. If relations are relatively good, you
should try to buy their sympathies; if the government seems unalterable
opposed to you, you should (with great regret ) seek to eliminate it.
Every nation of the world is blessed with its very own insurgency.
From the African National Congress in South Africa to Zapu in Zimbabwe,
From the Canary Islands Liberation Front to the Sendero Luminoso
("Shining Path"), the wonderful world of insurgency spans the spectrum of
political causes. If matters not what the cause is; the primary significance
of a local insurgency is that it is an excellent vehicle for pursuing larger
and more important superpower goals. By supporting a local insurgency, a
superpower can destroy an unfriendly government and replace it with a grateful,
friendly (and presumable malleable ) government. This is the primary strategy
of the Beginner Level game.
Complicating this are the nuclear arsenals of the two superpowers. The
fact that we can annihilate each other means that every action we take
requires the tacit approval, or at least the acquiescence, of the USSR.
If either side does something that angers the other, a crisis can start
that can lead straight into nuclear war.
Your strategy in this game has two faces: offensive and defensive. On the
offensive side, you must identify and topple those regimes unfriendly to
your country. There are two constraints on your actions. First, some
countries are much too strong to be overthrown by insurgents. China, for
instance: China is far too strong to be overthrown by insurgency; funding
insurgency there is a waste of money. Second, you dar not attempt to topple
regimes closely tied to the opposing superpower. For example, Poland
may be vulnerable becasue of the problems between Solidarity and the government.
Yet you dare not foment trouble in Poland, for Poland is a member of the
Warsaw Pact and a close ally of the Soviet Union. Any attempt to overthrow
the government of Poland would undoubtedly generate an enraged response from
There are three types of insurgent: terrorists, guerrillas, and rebels. A
powerful and stable government has none of these. Terrorists are the
weakest form of insurgents. If terrorists are successful and grow in
power, they start a civil war. Then they are called rebels.
These seemingly semantic issues are crucial to the game. A special map
(Insurgency-the fourth entry on the Countries menu) presents the level of
Insurgency for each country of the world.
By consulting this map, you can identify those insurgencies that are
in the crucial stage of civil war. These insurgencies are the ones most
deserving of your attention. Guerrilla wars may also deserve some attention,
especially if the country in question is strategically important.
Once you have identified a likely candidate for subversion, you have two
weapons: Aid to Insurgents and Intervene for Rebels. These can be found
on the Make Policies menu. You can ship aid to insurgents only if there
are insurgents to receive that aid: terrorists, guerrillas, or rebels.
The amount of aid you can ship depends on the level of insurgency. Terrorists
can't use much money-a few guns, a little dynamite is all they are
in a position to use. Guerrillas need more elaborate accouterments-more
guns, lots of ammunitions, rockets, mines, and so forth. Rebels are the
most advanced insurgents and demand the most expensive equipment-the same
tanks, artillery, and other weapons that the superpowers use.
A second constraint is even more severe. A superpower can only ship
weapons to a country through contiguous allies in which it has stationed
troops. For Example, you must have troops in Honduras or Panama to ship
weapons to the contras in Nicaragua. The quantity of weapons that can be
shipped is dependent on the number of troops so stationed. After all, why
should a small country risk all the trouble associated with weapons shipments
if it doesn't have guarantees of protection? However, a superpower
can always leak a small amount of weaponry into any country in the world;
borders aren't airtight.
The most sincere form of assistance is direct intervention. This means
that you send part of your own army into that country to help the rebels
overthrow the government. You are limited in much the same way as with
military aid to insurgencies. A superpower must have troops in a contiguous
country before it can send troops to intervene in a civil war;
the number of troops that can intervene is always less than or equal to
the number of troops stationed in the contiguous country. However, both
the USA and the USSR have the equivalent of 5,000 marines that can be
sent anywhere in the globe in violation of the contiguity requirement.
When you do send troops, you must realize that your American soldiers
will end up fighting anybody else there. If there are Soviet troops
fighting on the side of the government and American troops fighting on the
side of the rebels, then you're going to get Americans shipped home with
Russian bullets in them, and vice versa. Such a direct confrontation is
not conducive to world peace. The world diplomatic climate will disintegrate
very quickly if this happens, so be careful about where you send in the Marines.
Once you enter a policy, it remains in place until it is revoked.
Thus, if you send military aid, it will be automatically renewed each
year. Thus, if you choose to send $10 million in aid, and additional $10
million will be sent every year until you change the policy.
The defensive side of your game requires you to protect your friends from
insurgency. There are tow direct ways to do this: Aid to Government and
Intervene for Government. These directly correspond to the options available for insurgencies, except, of course, that the action is taken in
favor of the government. The restrictions on this action are somewhat
different. For example, insurgents are eager to take all the weaponry
they can handle. Not so a government. Every government in the world knows
that help from superpowers always seems to come with sticky strings attached.
Most governments are understandable reluctant to accept an unseemly amount of
aid from a superpower. This reluctance is directly related to the degree of
enmity between the two nations. Thus, Colonel Khaddafy of Libya would not accept
your generous offer of military assistance-he would undoubtedly suspect some
fiendish subterfuge. On the other hand, West Germany has already cast its lot
with the United States and would have no reservations about accepting military
aid from the USA. Nations are even more sensitive about allowing you to send
troops onto their soil. This reluctance will express itself in the graying out
of the more ambitious policy options in the policy window. When an item is grayed
out, you cannot select it.
Therefore, although you may want to give 400 million dollars to the
government, if the option is grayed out, you can't do it.
By the way, there is another restriction on your spending habits: lack
of money. You do not have an infinite supply of troops or money to strew
all over the world. As you start using us your resources, your options
will progressively narrow. If you really want to send some troops to one
country, you may be forced to pull some out of another. The total amount
of money or troops remaining for your use is displayed at the bottom of
the policy-making window.
Another defensive strategy that can be used is a crisis that you initiate.
If, for example, the Soviet Union sends massive aid to support the Red
Army terrorists in West Germany, you had better put a stop to it fast.
You do this by starting a crisis and standing firm, demonstrating a willingness
to escalate right up to (but not including!) DefCon 1-Nuclear war.
The mechanics of all this are simple enough. The first thing you need
to do at the beginning of each turn is consult the USSR actions item in
the Events menu. This will give you a quick summary of all your adversary's
actions that demand your attention.
If you find any action unacceptable, simple select the Question button
at the bottom of the window. This sends a polite diplomatic note to the
Soviets, notifying them that you question the wisdom of their action.
They will reconsider their action and respond, either by backing down or
by challenging you.
You may either back down or escalate to the next stage. If you proceed
to the next stage, then a diplomatic crisis is initiated; one side or the
other will lose prestige by only two possible outcomes: Nuclear War at
DefCon1 or a major diplomatic defeat (with consequent loss of prestige)
for one side. A military crisis can start an accidental nuclear war. Don't
start a crisis unless you are determined to stop the Soviets. Remember,
backing down in a crisis will cost you prestige, and escalating can start
The Soviets are also free to start a crisis over any of your actions
that particularly displease them. If this happens, you must reconsider
your policy. If you wish to keep the policy in force, you must stand up
to the Soviets and escalate, even if this means risking a war. Of course,
if the Soviets are angry enough about the matter, they will escalate
right up to DefCon 1 and start a nuclear war, in which event you both
lose. So choose your fights carefully.
You aren't completely on your own during a crisis. Advisories from the State
Department (or its Soviet counterpart, The institute of USA Studies) are
displayed at the bottom of the Crisis Window once a crisis has been initiated.
The experts will decide the level of importance of the issue in question and
will advise you accordingly. If they decide that your legitimate interest in
the question is greater than that of your opponent's then it is likely that
the other side will eventually back down. If they are equal, then it's
The catch is that the experts aren't always right. The estimates are
close, but will always involve some uncertainty. The advice might be bad;
sometimes you will want to overrule them. In fact, at the Expert and
Nightmare levels of play, they are not much use at all. If you carefully
study the world situation prior to centering a crisis, your estimate will
probably be more accurate than theirs. Just how accurate are the experts?
Well, in the Beginner Level game, they seldom make mistakes. In the Expert
Level game, they are very unreliable. In the Nightmare Level game,
they are almost entirely useless. Of course, if you have absolutely no
idea of what to do, you can use their advice as a basis for a decision.
Remember, though, that history and the public have little sympathy for
leaders who blame their mistakes on their advisors.
Other Menu Options
There are a great many menu items available to you that have not been
discussed. These provide supplemental information, not central to the
play of the game, but very handy for assessing your situation. The countries
menu contains items that allow you to quickly determine trouble spots around
You can find where revolutions have taken place with the Major Events
item, and the state of insurgency for every country in the world with the
Insurgency item. The Spheres of Influence chart will give you a brief
idea of how the world is divided between the two superpowers. As a general rule,
don't mess with countries that are within the Soviet sphere of
influence and don't let the Soviets mess with countries that are in your
own sphere of influence.
The USA and USSR menus contain items that show the global policies of
both superpowers. Want to know where the Soviets are sending military
aid? How about the status of Soviet interventions? It's all there. The
items in the Events menu present an organized view of events around the
If you want to know what provocative actions the Soviets have taken,
consult the USSR Actions item. Unprovocative items are presented in USSR
Other. Events in minor countries are reported in the Minor Country news
items. Lastly, you can see the policy actions of the previous year in the
USSR Last and USA Last items.
The Briefing menu contains three items of interest.:
The Closeup option gives a detailed rundown on a selected country. It
shows your and your opponent's toward the country, and also provides
other useful information. Especially useful is the assessment of the
strength of the insurgency and how quickly it is gaining or losing
strength. The Background option is not necessary to the playing of the
game. It is exactly what you would expect: background information on the
countries of the world. When you select Background, the menu bar will
change to show a list of available information. These menu items are discussed
in detail in the Reference section. It is provided for your
curiosity only. You are free to browse around in the background mode at
any time without affecting the game; when your curiosity is satisfied,
select Resume game to resume the play of the game. The History item displays a
chart showing the development of the situation within a selected
country as a function of time. It is most interesting late in the game,
after you have created a little history. An example history screen with
analysis is presented in the appendix "Understanding the History Display"
in the Reference Section.
End Of Game
The game ends if either side goes to DefCon 1 in a crisis (thus initiating
a nuclear exchange). It can also end in a accidental nuclear war during a
military crisis. If you manage to avoid both fates, then the game ends in
the year 1994. Your score is your increase in prestige. If your prestige
has increased and that of your opponent has decreased, you have done very
well; indeed, you have won the game. If you want to monitor your progress
during the course of the game, consult the Score item from the Game menu.
Well guys this is the docs up to page 21 of the manual It seems to
be a very involved game. If you would like to continue where I left off
please (send the rest of the manual to SEWER SOFTWARE!.)