His Majesty the Budget

It’s time for Diary 5, and love it or hate it, we’re gonna talk about $$ money $$.

The Budget controls all actions in The Cold War Era. History has shown us that the USSR was a mighty superpower in the Space and Arms Races, but was no financial giant in the end. The USSR’s Communist government system couldn’t stand up to the world’s rich capitalists like the USA. The USSR had no money to improve its financial situation or to give their people what they wanted — which was often what the capitalists had. The Space and Arms Races quickly drained Russia’s riches. As a result, the Soviet people — constantly influenced by Western culture — overthrew their own government so they could achieve their dream to live better.

In the top menu you can see each player's budget, and in the bottom menu you can see the selected country's score value, which also helps determine budget.

In the top menu you can see each player’s budget, and in the bottom menu you can see the selected country’s score value, which also helps determine budget.

You can replicate this economic war in TCWE. Putting money into wars and the Space Race can drain your Budget before you blink an eye. When playing TCWE, always remember it’s easy to spend all the money in your Budget well before the year is out, and it takes several years for your Budget to rebound. If your Budget is significantly smaller than your opponent’s, it’s time to worry. Maintaining a bigger Budget is a key to victory because having a bigger Budget means you have more money available and you can spend more when it really counts. Figuring out how to spend your money wisely is key to a good strategy in TCWE. We can’t tell you how to spend your money, but we can tell you how you can earn more!

There are lots of great strategy games available and most of them utilize a simple method for earning money — if you build an industry or mine more resources, you get more money/gold each turn/time you spend. TCWE’s budget system is a bit different. If you notice how earning money works in real life, you’ll notice that a government’s money is represented with GNP or GDP, but not an actual sum. Increase or decrease in the GNP results from changes in the country’s economic status. The GNP is the most important thing for any country’s budget, which is why TCWE uses this index to determine players’ Budgets. An economy needs money to produce more money. Once you take money from the economy for external spending (such as the Space Race, wars or spies) your country’s economy (GNP) decreases. Balancing how much you spend vs. how much you earn is extremely important in TCWE.  

In the real world, a country’s GNP is only calculated once per year. We have the same system in TCWE. In January of each in-game year your GNP rises randomly from 2 to 8%, based on the actual GNP you had in December of the previous year (keeping in the spirit of “money follows the lucky” ha ha). So, the more money you keep in your Budget during the year, the bigger percentage growth you will receive in January. If you use your Budget for external spending, that’s less money in your economy and less growth you’ll receive. Figuratively speaking, this is what the USSR had to keep in mind in the late 80′s when the Soviets spent huge amounts on the Space and Arms Races, while their internal economy dwindled until the Soviet people had nothing to eat, markets were empty, and no money was left to keep Eastern Europe under Russia’s control. This quickly led to the USSR’s demise.

TCWE provides players the possibility to use this strategy against their opponents — forcing them to drain their bank accounts to keep up. Mr. Henry Kissinger, you can impose your Space and Arms Race strategy on your opponent to quickly bankrupt him or her!

Another important aspect of how your budget is calculated is how many Allies you have. The countries you trade with significantly improve your GNP. The more countries enter your Sphere of Influence, the more your GNP will grow. Each country’s score value is an index of its economic power. It’s always better to be allied with countries that have bigger score values. For example, Spain is a 4, while Israel is a 1, so it’s more beneficial to have Spain on your side.

To sum up, here’s a basic calculation to show you how your Budget is calculated each year:

(GNP + Score) x random growth %

(score = total economic value of all allies)

For Example:

If the GNP in December is $250, the player’s score is 25, and the random percentage is 4, the resulting Budget for January is 286.

 (250 + 25) x 1.04 = 286. 

To balance the gameplay we created two additional rules related to Budget:

  1. Once your budget reaches $200 you can no longer spend money.
  2. If your Budget dips to $700 you’ll be penalized via a decrease in the random growth percentage range from 2-8% to 1-4%.

PS: TCWE’s Budget system recreates the real economic climate during the Cold War. It’s why the USSR was leading at the beginning of the Space Race but completely fell behind as the 1990s loomed. Yep, Mother Russia was spending too much, while the USA was investing in its own economy. History has shown us what the result is when a country doesn’t foster its own GNP. So play strategically, balance your priorities and make compromises where necessary. After all, that’s what the Cold War was all about!

To learn more about TCWE, visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter@AlinaDigitalDev, check out the official website, or email us at mcmastersPR@alinadigital.com.

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