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Balance of Power

DOS - 1986

Also available on: Amiga - Apple II - Atari ST - MSX - PC-88 - PC-98

Alt names バランス・オブ・パワー, 權力平衡, Balance of Power: Geopolitics in the nuclear age
Year 1986
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Simulation, Strategy
Theme Cold War, Historical Battle (specific/exact)
Publisher Mindscape, Inc.
Dosbox support Supported on current version
4.48 / 5 - 52 votes

Description of Balance of Power

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Balance of Power is among the first political simulation that emphasizes diplomacy and politics over outright aggression. When he first released this seminal game in 1984, Crawford single-handedly established the political simulation genre and left a lasting legacy on how to design good diplomatic models in a game that gives a nod to reality.

You must use diplomacy, make treaties, issue risky, covert CIA or KGB actions, or riskier, direct military intervention to prop up 3rd world countries or help their insurgents and win them to your governmental philosophy: Capitalism or Communism.

The game, not surprisingly, attracted many non-gamers to the field and inspired countless books on the subject. International cold war politics at its best!

Review By HOTUD

A retrogamer provided a fixed version of the DOS game:

I've put together an improved package for Balance of Power (1985 DOS version) that adds graphic options and fixes some gameplay-affecting bugs. As far as I know, there aren't any abandonware sites with any versions of BOP for DOS that work correctly.

The version that you have has some bugs in it. An easy one to reproduce is to start a game, click on the South America menu, and choose Argentina. Instead of highlighting Argentina, the engine will highlight the entire ocean. The various geopolitical maps generally don't work; some countries will never be shaded when they should, which harms gameplay.

The bug seems to be tied to the graphics mode. So I made a setup tool that lets the user select one of five graphics modes. They are high-res EGA monochrome, Hercules, low-res EGA color, CGA, and high-res EGA color. The first four work perfectly, the fifth one looks nicer but exhibits odd behavior.

To play the game properly, don’t launch the bat file directly. Run DOSBox, mount the BOP1985 folder, and run the bat file from within DOSBox.

You can see the different video mode in the screenshots, in the following order:

  • EGA high res monochrome
  • Hercules (green one)
  • EGA low res color
  • CGA
  • EGA high res color (has bugs)

External links

Comments and reviews

AgentBell 2023-11-01 -1 point

This game is a joke because of “we do not reward failure” then why was nuclear war in the game in the first place

Joe Mama 2022-02-08 -3 points DOS version

I can't get this game to run under DosBox. It keeps saying it needs Windows to run. Then when I try to run it in Windows 3.11, it says it needs an earlier version of Windows (apparently Windows 1 or 2).

papion 2021-09-23 -2 points

Can someone list steps how to run Balance of Power on Windows 10?

mymoon 2021-01-21 1 point Amiga version

The best game over screen ever! 15 year old me played this on an Amiga.

wisdom of the sages 2020-03-04 8 points

Too add, I worked on this game's development and am impressed with the comments here.

Today's youth are not the problem. The youth have never been the problem. The problem as you will see as you age as well becomes clear as day.

Also to highlight why working in programming is a cruel mistress, I never really made anything from this game and was more a technical achievement of mastery of skill. To any young up-n-coming coder wizards, you know where the money is.

Peso 2019-02-06 82 points

This game is good practice now that the arms manufacturers have their Cold War 2 up and running.

Who knows, we may live to see those mushroom clouds since today's youth thinks nuking people will be just like a video game

Badwolf74 2015-09-18 -1 point DOS version

Not quite sure how I'm supposed to get anything done. No matter what side I play, I enact any policies and the other side nukes me because I refuse to back down. I tried to switch to diplomatic relations with Lebanon to help slow down their revolution. Apparently that's capitalist behavior worthy of ending the world, thanks USSR.

unclemoneybags 2014-06-09 1 point DOS version

I couldn't get this to run on DOSbox... :-(

CJR 2013-06-10 0 point DOS version

Works on the BBC Master 512

Another Linux User 2013-04-18 0 point DOS version

@Linux user
sudo apt-get install dosbox

@LinuxUser 2013-04-18 -2 points DOS version

If you can't get this working on linux then stop using linux..

Linux user. 2013-04-18 -1 point DOS version

Make support for my computer please? :)

Atari Old School 2011-10-16 1 point DOS version

This was one of the best games I played when I was 15 on my Atari 520ST. It not only taught me about politics and world affairs it was also a game that till this day I can remember almost all about how to play it. I am eager to relive my youth with the game.

And Yes Atari did make some of the best computers at the time, the graphics were better then Apple and Commodore.

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Download Balance of Power

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DOS Version

DownloadEnglish version 309 KB DownloadFixed Game English version 2 MB

Amiga ROM

Apple II Version

Game Extras

Various files to help you run Balance of Power, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

ManualHD Manual English version 25 MB

Atari ST ROM

MSX Version

DownloadAlt Version
DSK format Japanese (ja) version 262 KB
DownloadDSK format Japanese (ja) version 262 KB

PC-88 Version

PC-98 Version

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