Description of Balance of Power
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
- EGA high res color (has bugs)
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).
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.
@LinuxUser 2013-04-18 -2 points DOS version
If you can't get this working on linux then stop using linux..
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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Apple II Version
Various files to help you run Balance of Power, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.
Atari ST ROM
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