Absolute power corrupts absolutely, the old adage tells. And what better stage could there be on which to examine your maniacal tendencies than that of global politics.
In what can only be described as fanatical detail. Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition (successor to the award-winning Balance of Power) takes the player through eight years of world politics as figurehead of either the USA or the USSR, protecting their interests in countries around the globe.
The basic aim is to increase the geopolitical prestige of the host nation above that of the opposing superpower. This means getting friendly with powerful nations, and making sure enemies are few and weak. At the higher levels, this is achieved by using every military, economic and diplomatic trick in the book. However, the opposition doesn't just sit there and take it: if disparate policies can't be sorted out across a debating table, problems escalate rapidly through the Defence Conditions: push too hard and it's time to re-boot the world.
The simulation provides four levels of play, including the newly-added Multi-Polar scenario where players have to contend with 80 countries, all of whom indulge in active foreign policies. (The monumental logistical task of coordinating global intercourse is most evident in lengthy delays as the computer works out the effects of each turn!)
To attempt to summarise all but the most basic mechanics of this simulation cannot be covered in any great detail here; it takes the 91-page instruction manual to do them all justice. Suffice to say, that this is a strategist's dream. The sheer size and scope of the simulation mean that it is possible to become totally immersed in the proceedings; single turns can take hours to fully digest and implement.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
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