Overthrowing Governments: A Beginner’s Guide to Politics, Force and Revolution

Ultimately, there are only two ways to overthrow a government: through politics, or by force. Both sides to domination are key features in The Cold War Era. TCWE is all about expanding your sphere of influence and using it to dominate other countries. Whether you play as a Soviet or an American, any governments loyal to your regime automatically extend your control zone. Getting other countries under your influence is the main focus of gameplay in TCWE, so in this blog we’ll discuss just how that works.

When the game begins, most countries and regions are neutral. The citizens of neutral countries are either happy about being outside any sphere of influence, or haven’t made a decision yet about which superpower to join — the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. Your goal is to convince them it’s in their best interest to side with you. Each superpower has a range of tools used to influence other countries, for instance their space program and spy networks. You’ll be able to use these tools to help you succeed in your goal of total domination.

We learned in the previous diary that each country is in one of two political states: Support/Opposition and Influence. Just like in real life, it’s almost impossible to overthrow a government through political actions if the populace is happy about the state of their government and actively Supports it. So, winning over neutral countries requires a combined effort of pushing your sphere of Influence into their territory, and destabilizing their government. You have several options for increasing your sphere of influence, such as achieving milestones in your space program. At the same time, you can deploy your spies, who assist radical anti-government Opposition within the country, causing the Opposition indicator to rise. Once your Influence in the target country is above 80% and local government Opposition has also reached at least 80%, they’ll be weakened enough for you to install a puppet government.

Here’s where it gets really interesting: your opponent is also working to spread their Influence, including in the countries that you control. The Statistics Graph will help you monitor your opponents activities: the graph shows the level of Opposition and Ideology Influence for both superpowers (you and your opponent) in all countries and regions. If you see your opponent actively trying to raise their Influence in a country, you can use your own methods of Influence and Opposition to try and reverse this. You can use your own spy networks to dismantle or disable your enemy’s spy network, and Influence the targeted country with your own ideology, thus pushing back your opponent’s sphere of influence. If your opponent successfully takes control of the country, you have one option left: Revolution.

Revolution is only an option in countries where governments oppose your regime, and thus won’t work in neutral regions. In a Revolution, you convince radical members of the countries’ population to take advantage of weakness in the local political atmosphere, and work to oppose the government. Once Opposition reaches over 80%, you have the option of sending in military assistance to help the radicals overthrow the local government. Doing so will cause these radicals to become revolutionaries, who can then initiate an armed revolt. If successful, they’ll install a new government allied to you and join your sphere of influence. Any remaining revolutionaries become official government troops from that point on.

To prevent revolutionaries from wreaking havoc in countries you control, you can deploy some of your troops to assist the local governments. This helps ensure countries remain within your sphere of influence. Your opponent can also do deploy troops, creating proxy war scenarios in contested countries and regions.

Here’s an example of how it can all play out: When TCWE begins, Argentina is a neutral country. The USSR and the USA’s Influences are both very small, only about 10% each, leaving 80% of the population to Support neutrality. Opposition is at 50%, which is not ideal for the government but stable enough to survive. In this example game, the USA has achieved milestones in the space race, causing global admiration and the USA’s Influence to increase, including in Argentina. To complement this, the USA player releases propaganda in Argentina to boost pro-American Influence. At the same time, he develops a very powerful spy network to assist anti-government riots which have started to flare up. These efforts combine to increase the pro-American Influence in Argentina from 10% to over 80%, and increase government Opposition from 50% to more than 80%. This allows the USA player to establish a new pro-American government in Argentina and add the country to their sphere of influence. The 80%+ of the population that formerly opposed the local government also become supporters of the new pro-American government.

Now the USSR player is disappointed that Argentina has moved into the American sphere of influence. He wanted Diego Maradona to wear a hammer and sickle t-shirt during his next game. The USSR player realizes it will take a huge amount of time and money to increase pro-Soviet influence in Argentina because the American Influence has become so strong. The only real option is to organize a revolution in Argentina. The USSR player starts by creating a massive KGB spy network in the region. Once well-established, the KGB spies wipe out the American spy network in Argentina, allowing the KGB to assist radicals and organize riots with ease. Sometimes these riots escalate enough to warrant TV news coverage, but the USA player doesn’t seem to take it seriously or is too preoccupied elsewhere. Eventually Opposition in Argentina reaches 80%, triggering the radicals to become full revolutionaries. The USSR player then provides military assistance to the revolutionaries, and they successfully overthrow the government. However, Soviet Influence in Argentina is at 0, even if the government is pro-Soviet, so the USSR player has to convince the general population to abandon their pro-American ideology. The disconnect between the citizens’ ideals and the government will cause Opposition to the pro-Soviet government in Argentina to rise until eventually the USA player can take Argentina back through political means. But in the mean time, Argentina is Soviet-controlled and scoring points for the USSR player.

After reading this example, you’ve probably figured out some ways the USA player could have prevented revolution. First, they would need to keep their spy network functional, to decrease the KGB’s ability to assist radical riots. Also, the USA player could have deployed military troops to Argentina so in the event of civil war they could have helped protect their allied government from revolutionaries. After all this conflict, both players have invested an incredible amount of resources into the area. Calling the shots in situations like this is all part of the strategy and decision-making gameplay that’s vital to success in TCWE.
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