I’m very happy to announce that the sequel to our game The Cold War Era, Arms Race, (or TCWE – Arms Race) is going to be stand-alone game and will not require the original game to play! Many more new features and some other changes in the game’s mechanics are planned as well—I’ll share more about them below.
Firstly, the name basically says it all; the sequel will take place during the global arms race that went on throughout the Cold War. As you may know, various superpowers considered it extremely important, for the sake of both power and international prestige, to have the very best weapons possible. Each group of allies tried to ensure their weapons were superior to those of their enemies, often even those of their friends. With a combination of these same weapons and political pressure, these same powers attempted to dominate others in regional conflicts and proxy wars—but they had to tread cautiously, as use of these weapons and pressures could create far-reaching effects and have widespread repercussions. We’ve done our best to fill our game TWCE with these same regional conflicts and proxy wars, allowing players to sink deep into the feelings of power and conflict that our modern armies embraced… and we’ve done that more so than ever in TWCE – Arms Race!
The Cold War Era
Before I say too much about the sequel, let me remind you what TCWE is all about. This is a real-time strategy game exclusively for PC, based on the historical conflict between two superpowers: The Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States. In TCWE you can choose to play as one of these two countries and try your best to defeat the enemy. The Cold War Era is called “cold” because neither country fought in open war—so you don’t even have to use armies to attack your opponent. The war was happening between diplomats, spies, scientists, and those embodying ideologies of different kinds; in short, it was fought on many kinds of battlegrounds and between all sorts of people. Spreading your influence, supporting rebels or friendly regimes in proxy wars, competing in the Space Race—these are the tools you will use for global domination, and they’ve already been developed in-game for you to play. What’s more, the game has its own server, allowing gamers to play multiplayer P2P matches at any time. The set-up is simple: each country will have an individual score, so your job is to draw countries into your sphere of influence—at the end, whoever has the biggest score, or has the most influence, wins! TWCE is already available to download and play—try it out free at www.thecoldwarera.com before reading more.
In TWCE – Arms Race, the most exciting shiny new feature is a completely new military system. The military is represented by a tech tree, allowing you to develop the most significant (and realistic) military units from the Cold War. By developing units your army strength improves, allowing you to dominate your enemy in wars all over the globe. The units are classified in three fields, known as Air, Land and Sea. You can see ten icons in each technological line on the tech research graph below. (Please note: the version below is just one step in the concept, and not the final version—so some changes will be made to the graph shown in the image during development.)
You get the basic firepower at the beginning of the game: 10 each for Air, Land and Sea. Then, with each unit you develop for your armies you receive an extra 10 firepower in combat. (For example, if you will develop 5 military units in Air your Air Force’s firepower will be 60: 10 default + 50 for developed units). We’ll go into the significance of your armies’ firepower below.
Another big difference in TWCE – Arms Race compared to the core game is that you actually have to produce an amount of military units before using them. In TWCE – Arms Race you will not be able to add as many military as you wish by simply spending your cash (as you could in TWCE). In the new installment, we’ve improved the system of gameplay and made it more realistic—now you actually produce your military units and then “ADD” them to other countries, protecting your allies or supporting your chosen rebels. You’ll see a small icon with an automatic rifle with the number “12” on the screenshot below—meaning you have twelve military units in your pool.
In TCWE – Arms Race each country has geographical specifications as well: Air, Land and Sea. These specifications make each country specialized for certain kinds of combat compared to others, and are represented by three icons in game menu:
Within this system, a cloud symbol stands for Air, a tree for Land and ocean waves for Sea. But how does this work? You may know that Switzerland is mostly a mountainous country—so this makes it hard to have tank divisions climbing up and down the Alps, right? Air is the only way to really dominate the country, especially when (like with Switzerland) a country is not very big. As you may also know, Switzerland has no access to the world’s ocean at all—so, geographical specifications for Switzerland in the game might be something like Air=5, Land=1, Sea=0. This is true even as the situation in a country like South Africa is completely different from Switzerland’s. In South Africa the general landmass is mostly flat—so it would take tactical ground operations to secure it for your side. What’s more, South Africa has a very long coast line (almost 50% of its border), making a strong Navy key for military success. Considering all this the geographical specifications of South Africa might be something like Air=3, Land=2, Sea=1. In combat screen menu it will be seen as on the screenshot below.
(Please remember that these example screenshots are just concepts—and that since the game is not developed, the calculations behind these mechanics are not yet set in stone. I’m just sharing our team’s concept art to give a sense of how the game will look and feel when we develop it.
Let’s take the example of proxy wars in South Africa better understand how closely developing your side’s units is connected with geographical specifications. Imagine, for instance, that our military strength of Air Forces = 15, Army = 30, and Navy = 25. We want to support South Africa against the rebels—who are themselves supported by the Russians. And the Soviet’s military strengths are: Air Force = 20, Army = 50 and Navy = 30.
Each military strength point is multiplied by its geographical specification points, with the general fire power as the result. So our Air Force = 15 gets multiplied by 3. And then our Army = 30 * 2 and our Navy would be 25*1. The total firepower number, then, is 130 against 190 of the Soviets—giving the Soviet army an advantage. The difference between American and Russian Air Forces is just 5, but because of geographical specifications the Soviet Air Force gets 60 fire power against the Americans’ 45, making a world of difference in the war. In Switzerland, where the Air=5, Land=1, and Sea=0 the Soviets would have an even better chance of winning.
So in this war the Soviets have a 62% chance of success at defeating the Americans. Should Americans increase spending for Arms Race to pull one over on the Soviets? : )
Another exciting new addition to TCWE-Arms Race is the expansion of the Budget system. The budget is now split into three different departments: Military, Diplomacy and Space. In all departments you will be able to spend a set quantity of money per month—as you can see on the new version of the diplomacy screen.
You can invest in units in a variety of ways—a Diplomacy unit (or Diplomat) costs $25. A Spy unit costs $10, and it takes 10 months ($1 subtracted each month) to acquire one of these. If you choose to increase to $2 per month it will take 5 months to receive another Spy. As a general rule, the more you spend the faster you produce—and the better you might do in the race.
Growing your budget in TCWE – Arms Race works the same basic way as in the core TCWE game. You will receive 5% to 10% growth in your budget annually, every January (so if your current balance for your budget is $500 you will get 5% from $500, or $25—but if you finish up the year with just $200 you receive 5% of that $200, making an increase of $10). The total score of all allied countries in your sphere of interest will also be added to the budget as an International Trade Bonus. The more money you save during the year, the more substantial your growth will be—so spend wisely! In TCWE-Arms Race you can actually see your monthly budget trend, allowing you to compare it to your past budget for reference, as seen on the Budget screenshot below.
Though it may look confusing at first, the new budget screen provides a useful tool, making planning your side’s finances manageable and convenient. Your main goal is simply to have your budget (the number on the top center) trend positively, or upwards. If the trend is negative it means your economy is shrinking—which creates problems for your side—in which case you might want to decrease spending in certain departments.
As we’ve learned from the examples described above how to produce units, let’s see how the new menu represents those units. There are a few very simple changes that have been made to the bottom menu, allowing you to see all your country’s resources with just a single click—just take a look at your example, with the USSR:
In this menu we can see what is available for use: 12 diplomats, 22 military and 6 spy units. Just like in the core game, you can place these in the targeted country by clicking on the “ADD” button. The toggle switch above the “ADD” button changes the menu between views, allowing you to see the Military Firepower Screen.
The Firepower Screen in-menu allows you to compare your military strength against that of your opponent in any country and at any time—even if there are no open military conflicts actually happening. This can be a useful tool to help you think many steps ahead as you plan your strategy against your opponents.
Customization of Leaders
Another great new feature available in the Special Edition of TCWE – Arms Race is Customization of Leaders, bringing the game to a whole new level of fun! But before I say too much more, it’s worth mentioning that you will be able to choose a leader and his abilities before you start the game in single or multiplayer, allowing you to affect the game’s course even before you actually begin. These leaders all have their own distinctive personalities and methods, affecting how the leader rules the state. For example, if you choose to play with Stalin it will be cheaper for you to produce military but much harder to impress the world with your diplomats.
But what if things were different? If Stalin could be an excellent diplomat, wouldn’t it make a big difference? Or what if Reagan had moved the USA further towards militarism, and worn a military jacket instead of a fancy suit? With Leader Customization, your leader’s abilities become something you can choose to alter, no matter who your leader is, whether that trait be Historical, Diplomatic, Economic or Militaristic. Let’s take a look at the in-game scenario we’ve already mentioned—what if Stalin were to become a great diplomatic leader?
In the image you can see Stalin in the Kremlin with heightened Diplomatic ability. Instead of “texts” detailing how this all works, you will be able to see what bonuses and penalties you will get to play using Stalin as your leader with the chosen ability. The Historic option will offer exciting strategic opportunities as well, giving your chosen leader the abilities they’re most famous for from real-world Cold War history.
But don’t think this is the end of the updates we have planned. These are just a few of the exciting features you’ll be able to explore and play in our upcoming sequel: THE COLD WAR ERA – ARMS RACE.