Balance of Power

aka: Balance of Power: Geopolitics in the nuclear age
Moby ID: 259

DOS version

They don't make 'em like this anymore... Cold War, anyone?

The Good
This is easily one of the classiest games ever made... how did Chris Crawford do it almost single-handedly?? When I got this game back in the mid-80's I had recently become a teen-ager, and BOP helped me learn about the Cold War. I was able to see how "geopolitics" worked. Plus, my friend and I had a great time bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war. ;) They should make students in "World Since '45"-type classes play this game to learn about Cold War politics.

I didn't really see the need for all the background information it gave for the countries. Basically all that was important was stuff like who the government liked, or who their insurgents liked. :) In fact, Chris wrote in the manual, "This mode is not necessary to the play of the game. It presents information that is interesting and useful for someone unfamiliar with the countries of the world... it is included for your curiosity." But you just don't find that type of thing in today's games. Today's games are all hype and fancy graphics and require a computer that doesn't exist yet and you come away from them with nothing... BOP was made by one guy who cared passionately about his own personal game. He made it because he loved what he was doing, and he did an incredible job; by sharing his game with the world, he has done a great deed. He was able to make a true educational and entertaining game. There are virtually no games like this made anymore.

Thank you, Chris Crawford.

The Bad
Well, there wasn't really any sound, but this type of game doesn't really need sound.

My only complaint really is that it doesn't seem like 8 years is quite long enough. I think the game might have been a little better if it took place over, say, 20 years or something like that to give the world events more time to develop (this would definitely be better suited to BOP: the 1990 Edition!).

The Bottom Line
This game will teach you about the Cold War. You'll learn about insurgencies, how coup d'etats affected the geopolitical balance, what Diplomatic Affinity was, what "Finlandization" was, and just how easy it would have been for the US and USSR to go to nuclear war. Cold War, anyone?

by Raphael (1245) on May 16th, 2001

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