Arms Race - TCWE

Arms Race - TCWE

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Welcome To Arms Race 102
By citizen5033
This is a mini-guide to help illuminate further certain in-game concepts as well as offer tips to achieve victory. This is a beta version of this guide and if it is something that players of this game and the developers find useful I would be glad to keep updating and expanding it. This is not a replacement for the game manual. This mini-guide assumes that the player has already read the manual and understands most of the game at the most basic level. If the official manual is Arms Race 101 then this would be Arms Race 102 where we cover a lot less ground than in the manual but go way more in depth. On a personal level I happen to have a great affinity for this game and I think it has massive potential to take over this niche (Cold War Strategy Games). Hopefully fan made content of this sort will help to convince Max and the other developers to take the game to the next level and not only add multiplayer (desperately needed or the game will stagnate and die) but continue improving and refining the game in all directions. I urge the developers to let me know if I have made any mistakes regarding game-play mechanics (I don't want to confuse anyone with erroneous information). At the end of the day I am learning the intricacies of the game just like everybody else.
The Space Race

The Space Race is the most crucial area of the game. In fact it can not be overstated how important the space race is.The amount of global influence that will accrue to your side is massive especially if you are leading in the space race. Nothing else compares. During my initial games where I only had a basic conception of this game I became a successful warmonger (leading in scores by toppling countries through proxy wars) only to fall so behind in the Space Race that it crippled me mid-game as the enemy's global influence becomes so high (especially compared to mine) he was able to coup countries basically at will. Wars affect individual countries while the space race is global. This is a key thing to remember: a good space program is worth vastly more than a good military-industrial complex.
Global Consequences
Global consequences are the second most important game-play concept (after The Space Race) and they happen in a random but controlled way which means there are certain techniques that can be used to work your way around them. This will be unorthodox advice especially given the fact that the game allows you to choose up to 4 leaders but if you are not choosing Reagan and Gorbachev you are handicapping yourself big time. Only Reagan and Gorbachev will have any power over global consequences allowing you to influence up to two consequences per decade (or block an opponent’s global consequences).

Since during the duration of a war it causes the game to accrue global consequence points slowly to either one side or the other your best bet (especially if you are playing with Reagan and Gorbachev as I advised) is one of two things or a hybrid of these things: A) Limit the number of wars to only the most crucial conflicts B) start small wars in regions like Africa or keep small wars going like the Korean conflict to finish global consequences that are going in your favor.

Global Consequences if they follow one after another in a superpower’s favor can cement a lead or bring a loosing adversary to parity. Be warned that a war either has to be in duration before you select a global consequence or has to start right after it or you will simply waste influence points that decade (you can not influence the event if the world is in peace). Also if the world goes from a state to conflict to a state of peace and stays that way for years global consequences that are in the pipeline will stagnate and not trigger literally stopping halfway. If you become an expert at influencing global consequences and assuming your opponent is not either Reagan or Gorbachev you can expect to win 4 to 5 out of the 6 global consequences every decade (on average).

The most important Global Consequence currently are for each decade are:
Unthinkable (1950-1960)
French Question (1960-1970)
Warsaw Pact vs NATO (1970-1980)
Crisis Of The Elites (1990-2000)

Make sure they either occur in your favor or do not occur at all.
Proxy Wars And Coups

At the end of the day you win the game by accruing the most countries to your sphere of influence and turning them into your client state in order to surpass your enemy in the global scoreboard. Wars are although highly attractive at first glance are highly overrated. The cost in the amount of military units (especially since at this point in arms race you can not withdraw units from a combat zone) means you are making a direct investment in a situation that might go completely belly up and turning into a classic case of chasing good money after bad.

That is why the rule of thumb with proxy wars is to only wage the most crucial of proxy wars which means under almost all circumstances waging a war in a Score 1 neutral state is never worth it. To give an example the amount of resources many players spend trying to reunify Korea is absurd and can cripple you mid-game. Your best bet is waging wars in countries like China, India, Czechoslovakia, Brazil etc... that are at least 2 scores or higher. The only time you should ever wage wars in Score 1 countries is as part of an overall global consequence strategy (continuing the Korean War in order to trigger the Indochina event, etc...).

Coups are infinitely more useful than wars but given the current game-play mechanics can be very tricky and backfire horribly if not done correctly. Before you coup a country make sure to bring it's neutral military units to 8 (out of 10 possible military units). If the country's army is less than 8 military units they will rebel against you seeking to join the sphere of influence of the opposite super power leading to a counter-coup. Of course given your 50+ influence in the client state and the fact that client state will still technically be in your sphere of influence after a counter-coup has taken place you can beat down the coup counter militarily but it is a waste of time and resources that can be easily avoided by just adding a few military units before you launch your coup.

On the other hand if you have a client state where the enemy's influence is 50+ and is in fact 20 points or more ahead of you increase the nation's military only to 7 units and keep it there. This makes your client state coup-resistant because if the enemy coups your client state then the government will immediately launch a counter-coup in your favor with the 7 military units (remember 8+ military units guarantees no counter-coup). This is how in many a game I have managed to hold on to my Indochina client state (or at least not loose it immediately) after managing to win the Vietnam war and immediately getting couped by the Soviets.

Of course the coup will put the client state in the enemy sphere of influence (unfortunately with only 50% opposition) so if the enemy really wants the client state he will get it as you will be unable to increase the military units there but still it makes the enemy think twice before launching a counter-coup and make it's very hard for him to do so. So to recap if the client state is firmly in your sphere of influence (50+ influence and/or more than 20+ influence points over the enemy) make sure they are completely stable (8 to 10 military units). If the client is not firmly in your sphere of influence (less than 50 influence and/or more than 20+ influence points under the enemy) make it as powerful as you can but still unstable by keeping it at 7 military units.

Spies are incredibly useful and in fact given their usefulness are quite cheap. A global spy network is a must in this game. Just one spy in a country can allow you to do damage to that countries government (via terrorists) or the enemy superpower’s ambassador in a way that magnifies your power in that country many times over. A fully fledged spy network in high score countries like Brazil are absolutely crucial when you launch a coup or proxy war. A global spy network overall with a full local spy network in certain select countries is the most efficient ways to use spies. Your spy networks all over the world will be involved in shadow wars even in countries that are supposedly in peace so expect spies on both sides to be captured every once in a while. The outcome of spy conflicts is very similar to that of military conflicts in that sense that the more spies you have the bigger the chances of eliminating enemy spies. So do not neglect your intelligence agency and it's spy networks. Also remember if you have no spies (not in the country but overall) you can not coup a state even if you have all the other requirements met.

Diplomats are only useful under certain circumstances and so for that reason they have very specific uses (unlike spies that are incredibly flexible in how they can be used). They are quite useful for taking a country’s support from 75% to 80% but it will be a massive resource sink and completely inefficient to try to get your influence from 55% to 80% in one country using diplomats. Let your space program do almost all your major influence grabbing for you. What diplomats are good for is making sure that your influence level in a country stays above 50% by engaging in a constant push and pull with both the neutral and Soviet supporters in a country. Remember if a superpower keeps it's influence in a country over 50% it can either strength a client state or destablize a neutral state. Both the influencing and destalibization will happen at the rate of 0.1% per month or roughly about 1% per year or 10% per decade. That means that a neutral state that starts out with 50% opposition and 50% support in the 1950s where you have more than 50% of the population as supporters will be ripe for the taking in the 1980s without you doing anything except maintaing your current level of support (and making sure enemy spies don't bring down opposition).
Tips For Victory

  • The best game mode to play in is in Real Time Strategy (Slow).
  • Choose Reagan or Gorbachov as your leader.
  • Invest heavily in the Space Race from the get go (achieve parity or lead).
  • Use your military forces for only the largest of conflicts (unless your are making a power play for a global consequence).
  • The majority of the countries you bring into your sphere of influence should be done via coups (prepare the country beforehand to avoid a counter-coup).
  • Create a global spy network (at least one spy in every country in the world) and create special localized spy networks in high value countries like Brazil and China.
  • Always allocate one of 3 yearly political points to invest in budget growth and keep a handle on your budget. Therefore for all intensive purposes you only have 2 political points to spend per year. Spend wisely.
  • Do not trigger a crisis of the elites event (easier said then done) because if you do you will be a sitting duck for an entire year or more. This can easily turn into a vicious cycle ruining any chances you had for victory.
By simply incorporating these tips into your game-play along with absorbing and applying the general info in this mini-guide easy mode should become a breeze. I went from being dominated and demoralized constantly on easy mode to over the space of a few games dominating and completely crushing my opponents after I applied all these concepts that I learned through many painful and frustrating defeats. Once you get a hand on the core concepts and how to apply them towards victory you can become an expert player.

USA Victory (On Medium Difficulty)
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Max Sprin  [developer] Oct 21, 2017 @ 12:53pm 
Awesome guide, thank you!