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I need help with the leaders of both superpowers

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Jumanjii View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Apr 2017 at 22:57
Hey, this is my first time posting here, but I need help and I think that you can help me. I am working on a game that is set in the cold war and yes I will need to oversimplify things, but I still want people who play it, to learn things from it and refind aspects of it when they go to a museum, have history classes or watch a documentary. So the revolutionaries that the Sowjet Union has on their side will look like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, while the American Scientist will look like Oppenheimer.

And now we come to the point where I need help. Yes I learnt about the Cold War, watched documentaries and heard the Hardcore History podcast about it, but I definetively know that I am no expert in the field and that my sight on things is not objective. So I want to ask you, to help me with the leaders for both sides, by listing them in the order of the strongest and most influential leaders of their sides to the weakest. 


The most important aspects for me would be the diplomatic power, how good they were in nuclear poker and how strong their position was in their home country. I dont care for sympathy or hate towards one of the leaders, just about their strength in those aspects. I would need a for US-Presidents and another one for Sowjet Union leaders. I would also be happy to find alternative leaders for the Sowjet Union if possible, since there are way less and I am worried that you could burn through all of them in the course of the game and be left with none.


My example:


US-side:


  • 1-Eisenhower
  • 2-Kennedy
  • 3-Truman
  • 4-Reagan
  • 5-Nixon
  • 6-Carter
  • 7-Bush sr.
  • 8-Clinton
  • 9-Ford
  • 10-Johnson


Sowjet Union:


  • 1-Stalin
  • 2-Chruschtschow
  • 3-Breschnew
  • 4-Gorbatschow
  • 5-Jelzin

I would love to get your results, advice and feedback and I know that it is no easy task, but I would be happy about any list I get and every bit of criticism.

Thanks to everyone, have a wonderful day.

PS: If anyone wants to know more about the thing I am working on I will be happy to answer questions.

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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2017 at 22:21
Are you trying to imitate what happened, or are you going for alternate realities?

Andropov was in a short time after Breschnev.  Died pretty quickly.  If you are going to make it for an English audience, you might standardize the spellings that way, not that you have to.  Yeltsin, Gorbachev, etc.  You might look up who is in the politburo or the supreme council or whatever it was called.

One thing that was key for the cold war is Nixon showing that communism was not monolithic, he did so by courting the Chinese and showing that the Chinese had different interests than the Russians.  That set the stage for Reagan to engage with the Soviet Union, and with communist fronts worldwide, upping the price tag until Soviet Union went bankrupt.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jumanjii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2017 at 23:24
Thanks for the answer. The plan is that the two players play the superpowers and try to win the cold war via many possibilities like winning the publiv opinion, gaining control over the lion´s share of territory (each territory is worth points, the one that hits a certain limit or has more than it wins), Outgunning your opponent by having more Nukes than him (I want to show the spiral of the arms race with this). There will also be the possibility to invest in science and win the space race, which influences your weapons and public opinion aswell.

From the starting positions and the possibilities I want it to be realistic, but what happens from there on is left to the players. If Russia wants to invade Europe and Africa or the Americans get China and Japan as vassal states. Everything should be possible. I try to use historic situations, themes and so on. For example there will be the domino effect card, which lets the USSR gain influence in one of the neighbouring countries. For now I am planning out the game in German, but I would be happy if I could also publish it in English. If I dont find anything I will post the rulebook and the cards and so on in the internet for free use.

Could you tell me how you would judge Andropov? was he a promising candidate or someone that was expected to fail and be overthrown? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2017 at 23:47
Andropov was appointed after Breschnev, I believe he was a KGB hardliner appointed to face off against Reagan, there was some concern about his hardline, but he died really before he could do anything.

So it is a boardgames? with a use of cards?  dice?  You might look at Diplomacy, a diceless game that was liked by Kennedy and Kissinger, and others.  There are obituaries out for the creator of Diplomacy that might tell you a little about the popularity of the game amongst people who actually were part of the cold war.

Germans make some of the best modern boardgames, so good luck to you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jumanjii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2017 at 08:11
Thank you. Let´s hope I can do it. I will look into diplomacy. I have a dice right now only to determine income and if the leader of the USSR dies. Both players have a deck of cards (some will be the same and some different) there will be a board with countrycards that have different values of income and point value. There will also be Weapons and armies that you can buy from your income, but you can also get bluffs from your deck, so your opponent doesnt exactly know where you have your troops and how many. Later in the game they can check that with satelites, but they need to be good enough with science and so on. Attacking countries will also give a hit on public opinion, so if you are just warmongering, the whole world will come together to stop you and you lose the game.

Can you still give me a list of the leaders in terms of their skill in nuclear poker if possible?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2017 at 23:08
It was said that Ronald Reagan was playing poker, while the Russians were playing Chess.  The Soviet Union was very careful in its moves, a gain here, an edge there.  But Reagan came along playing poker, engaging the Soviet Union everywhere (Grenada, Central America), Afghanistan, even support for the anti-communist apartheid government in South Africa, Pershing missiles in Europe, MX, "Star Wars"
and in a way the Soviets could not keep up with his escalation, and bankrupted themselves.
Reagan outbid the Russians
There is a story that the Soviets were stealing software from US companies, and the US knew they were going to steal some software to run their oil pipeline planned for Europe, something to get them needed cash.  So the US arranged it so they would steal this one program and at a particular time, a message in the program (after it was installed by the Soviets), would say that there was to be a test of the pipeline at 200 times normal capacity.  Needless to say, it blew up, and spy satellites detected an explosion the size of a nuclear explosion in the Soviet Union.  Of course, the satellite analysts freaked, and those who knew about the software sabotage had to reassure the without explaining what precisely happened.

One question is how much do covert operations make a difference?  and can you incorporate those?

Soviets were masters of camouflage, had their own style and techniques of it.  Liberals in the west look back and say "of course, the Soviet Union was a paper tiger (looked good militarily on paper, but didn't actually have those kinds of forces), and so of course it fell apart."  Thing is, even if that was discovered to be true after the fact, that wasn't what people understood at the time.  So maybe in a way it was the Soviet Union that was bluffing (and blustering, Khrushchev beating his shoe on the table, shouting "we will bury you."  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jumanjii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2017 at 17:27
There will be a huge part about bluffing where you station your troops with bluffing troops and things like overthrowing governments, sabotage and assassinations will be a thing too. The difficulty right now is giving both sides different strenghts, while making it balanced. The first prototype will probably be finished next week and then I will see how good my idea actually works. A friend of mine was complaining, that it will be impossible to win easily with military, which is kind of the point. But it will need a lot of fine tuning.

BTW I looked into Diplomacy, but unfortunately I wont be able to get enough people togeter to play such a long game.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2017 at 18:34
So, how many players do you anticipate?
Games usually combine skill and chance, 
with some being heavier on skill (chess, Go), 
others on chance (dice).  
How would you characterize your game?
How long would you expect your standard game to be?

Is there a particular time era, and place setting for the game?
If personalities are involved, can non-contemporary personalities face off against each other? 
(Like Eisenhower-Yeltsin, Stalin-Reagan)?
Could you have a Soviet LBJ or an American Gorbachev, or even an American Thatcher, or a Soviet De Gaule as one party?  I mean, not all the time, but could the game be expanded in that way.  (But first get it going.)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jumanjii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2017 at 15:27
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

So, how many players do you anticipate?

It will be 2 players controlling the 2 factions of the cold war with a red and a blue deck symbolizing both sides. I thought about a 3rd player component controlling the 3rd world, but it wouldnt be as fitting.

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Games usually combine skill and chance, with some being heavier on skill (chess, Go), others on chance (dice). How would you characterize your game?

To be quite honest I dont like luck based games (as much) as games that need skill, but I will have some luck based points in the game, that should put some uncertainty into the game and the need to adapt to new situations. The Sowjet leaders turn timer is a dice right now, that decides if they will die or not. I am not to happy with it to be quite honest, I like the "election" system of the US side much more, that works with more strategy. If you are someone that likes to take chances, then there will also be aspects there for you, like the whole centrail intelligence part, that lets you assassinate, sabotage and overthrow. If you have bad luck then it might not work and even worse it will come out and ruin your reputation.

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

How long would you expect your standard game to be?

I am trying to cut myself, because I love to go to much in depth. Right now I am planning on ~45 minutes - 1 hour of play time, but I could think of aspects to make it faster or shorter. The board that is right now in planning has a lot to do with it. If you have a lot of ways you allow more strategic development. If you only have a few, then it could get stale, so that´s what i am worrying about right now.

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Is there a particular time era, and place setting for the game?

Yes the cold war, as i said already. Starting right after the 2nd world war.

Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

If personalities are involved, can non-contemporary personalities face off against each other? (Like Eisenhower-Yeltsin, Stalin-Reagan)?  Could you have a Soviet LBJ or an American Gorbachev, or even an American Thatcher, or a Soviet De Gaule as one party?  I mean, not all the time, but could the game be expanded in that way.  (But first get it going.)

Theoretically that would be possible, but I am trying to only use the historical figures right now. Although it would be exciting to use well-known characters like Thatcher, De Gaule, Tito and Castro as leaders. Maybe as a second way to play it, if you like things like that. But right now it is difficult enough to balance the historical personalities. Especially since the Sowjets and the USA should have different strengths. So far it is planned to maybe see people like Thatcher and Castro in different roles.

Thanks for the questions, it helps to overthink it and get back to what you actually want, so I am always happy to answer those questions. If you have more or suggestions I would love to hear them. Right now I am building the leader cards for the game and design the board. If you have suggestions for certain areas that should be in there I would be happy to hear them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2017 at 03:40
Another game system you might look at is Axis and Allies, which is WWII and there are also specific versions for the European theatre and the Pacific theatre.  There is also a WWI version.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jumanjii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2017 at 14:24
yeah i heard and looked at it already, but it goes in way deeper than I am planning on. It is way more hardcore and takes way longer than what I am looking for, but thank you. There is always the possibility to add things, but right now i just want to stay at the very basic level.

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