Playing with a Cold War-esque game idea

So I’ve been toying around with the idea of making a game where the MC is the newly appointed leader of a random tropical island during the Cold War, (Totally not Tropico. :smiley: )

How you got to be the president (or Dictator) would be kinda thrown into five categories of influence, which wouldn’t stay constant throughout the game. The categories are, “Popular Support,” “Military Support,” “Industrial Support” (which would be the bankers, industrialists, and CEOs,) “Criminal Support” which would be the Crime families of the world trying to take root on your island, and “External Support” (Which would be countries like the USSR, England, or the USA.) Each decision you made could affect these stats, so you could start as a Man of the People, but end up as a Military stooge.

Each of these categories would define your little island paradise. Got high popular support but low military support? You may find yourself in a civil war against a military coup, fighting along side your people, which could lead to them to silly ideas like actual Democracy! gasp Got high industrial support, but low Popular support? You’ll end up not having any workers to make you money or even an uprising! Got a High criminal stat? You may have to choose to work with them or fight their influence, which could lead to a street war! The External Support would be used for things like, the UN sending relief after a natural disaster. (Which would be an event that ‘could’ happen.) High External support would get you lots of money from other countries, but you might end up as a puppet government for another country! You’d have to balance each stat, because if you get one too high and you may end up between a rock and a hard place…

Each epilogue would differ on what stat and influence meter you had raised the most. The MC’s stats are a different story. For example, a Brutal/Benign, a Action/Thought, or a Caring/Apathetic style of stats. The MC would also have a storyline, probably where you have to make some hard decisions and face some terrible past that you have to come to terms with. (i.e. If you’re an immigrant, maybe your home country want to arrest you, if you’re an islander, you may have some family that needs help. Warning, this is my current weak point, I’m still working on this part. So please no yelling. :upside_down_face:

Obviously, there’s going to be character customization. As someone who like to really get into my MC, I’d want to give you lots of options for this, some of which may actually affect your game. i.e. Having purple hair and red eyes may lead the people to revolt thinking you were some supernatural demon. Or if you were an immigrant to the island, you may need to work harder to get that needed support for your regime than if you were an islander. Nationality will also play a part in the game, due to the political climate. If you’re a Russian, the KGB may end up looking for you, whether that’s to help or hinder you would depend. Or if you’re an Englishman, you may end up having a revolt on your island because your people were “oppressors” of old. If you’re an American, you may end up having a family member in massive debt to some very shady people (leave that up to the reader to decide on who these people are. :wink: ) and you need to choose whether to help them or not!

Then the actual gameplay would work in the fashion of Skyrim, where you have a main story, but there are lots of sidequests which could take literal days to finish. I obviously couldn’t write several days worth of sidequests, but I’d like to have enough to where you really feel like there’s some depth to your actions and something else to do besides the mainstory over and over again. Maybe you have to visit a middle school and indoctrin- I mean teach the little children or maybe you go and pledge support for a Workers’ Party that’s on strike which could lead to a civil upset.

Now, just as a PSA, I want to use actual politics and countries. That means I would mention Communism, Fascism and Democracy. (Note: Fascism and Nazism are two different things. I am not either of these, as I am a left-winger, but I want to acknowledge the politics of the time fairly and without bias.)

You may have to interact with other countries and their attempts to take your island! Your regime would change on how you played, support the workers and help destroy the monopolies on the island? You may be called a Communist. Maybe you spend mass amounts of resources on the industries and you work closely with other industrialists? You’ll be called a Capitalist Oligarchy. Spend literally everything you can on the military and put down any rebellion? You’ll be called a Dictator. Work closely with other Governments? How you do so will change the island for good. Maybe the USA gives you the option to be the 51st state! Maybe the USSR wants to appoint a puppet government in your place!

The island itself would be pretty idyllic. You’d have a population that was oppressed by, say the English, and you were liberated or rebelled. (That would be a background choice) You’d basically have a single large city and everything else would be farmland and small villages. That’s literally it. You’d have to build your country from the ground up, keeping a steady balance between environmental and industrial constructions, keeping homelessness down, keeping your country out of (or in) debt to people (or yourself), and creating a market for your goods to be sold.

Obviously, I need to refine it a little, and that will come as I get suggestions and mull it over myself, but I wanted to get some opinions and suggestions from the community as a whole before committing to anything. So please let me know what you think! I’m looking forward to what people think about this idea!


I like the idea of “hiding” the actual form of politics into something people can figure out for themselves… for example, how about…

  • Controlism
  • Superiorism
  • Sharedism
  • Equalism

I like that! It never occurred to me to try and hide the stats like that, thanks for the idea!


Hm… maybe have different advantages depending on the history of your island pre-independence? Like a farming colony would have an easier time feeding people but less developed technology, or a Monaco-esque tourist trap/tax haven would have funds and a bit of pull with certain countries, but little natural resources.

This really reminds me of Tropico, lol. I like that game and your idea too. An interesting middle ground I like achieving there is being a “good dictator”. Like I get economy, freedom and life in general great for the citizens and high relation with the US, but I disallow any elections and rebellions are put down swiftly.

A suggestion I would have is that it doesn’t need to be an exactly caribbean setting, it could be maybe like in the pacific, with culture, language, religion and other stuff of the island selectable. Like for example if I could select if my island is in central america, polynesia, near Japan or something like that, that would be cool.

I actually had the idea in my game to put something like this, an island controlled by a dictator and you had to do a mission for her, but I ended up scrapping it a I didn’t think it wouldn’t fit very much.


Firstly, let me go ahead and say that I played your demo and loved it to absolute bits! I thought it was amazing!! The amount of stuff you already have! It made my head spin for a demo!

But yeah, I have a slight obsession with Tropico and I just love creating little countries until the modern era, when everything goes to heck in a handbasket. Usually due to my economy and the occasional US invasion. I mostly play as a Communist country because in the Cold War, you can get so many Communist immigrants that it makes all other parties obsolete. Plus the Inquisition and Espionage DLCs allow you to pick and choose what parties you want around. :smile:

But regarding your island idea, I’d love to try that, I’ll have to figure out how to write that in, but I think that it’s a great idea! I was debating about it due to the issue that most islands around Japan and Indonesia are already claimed, but it really doesn’t make sense for me to limit it like that! I’m already creating an island, why not throw it near Japan? Plus, if I did give people the option to put it near Japan, I could tie in their island-hopping during World War Two. Makes for an interesting history, eh?

The culture, language, religion, and such was already going to be implemented in the customization area. I was debating the language part (mostly because I only know English… :slightly_frowning_face: Despite my best efforts) and was just going to say that English was the primary language, but I can definitely add that! I think that the more customization there is, the better a book can be.

And the “Good Dictator” path is definitely one I was planning on writing. Probably use it as the “true” ending for it. But again, it’s all just speculation for the time being. I’m not if I want to get into writing it, as once I do, I’m probably going to ignore everything else. :grin:

But I want to say thank you so much for commenting!! It makes me very happy that another author thought the idea wasn’t completely bat-guano crazy! Please let me know if you have any other suggestions!

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I think that’s a great idea! That may take some elbow-grease, but I bet it would be a welcome addition! Do you have any ideas on some specifics? I’d love to get your opinion!

Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Right now the thread died down a bit but I’m working on chapter 1 right now, and hopefully I should be able to put a demo of the chapter 1 soon, as I just started my vacation I have the whole month to write.

It doesn’t need to make a big difference, I mean like for the religion and stuff they could all work on the similar manners, just being selectable would make the player be able to create exactly the island or country he wants to dictate in.

As for language you don’t have to write on the language itself. Just selecting like that like your island speaks spanish for example is something that could be represented in the game that it’s like “you respond in Spanish: “Hello””. Like if you are speaking in that language but since the game is all written in English, that’s what its displayed for the player. You can also use language for things like it could attract tourists from countries that speak that language, or have better relations with countries that speak that language etc.

Great idea, it’s something that can give a little change to the story, even if it doesn’t change it completely and it’s some small diferences here and there, I think it’s very cool. There are also some interesting atlantic islands, like the Azores and also St Helena, if you want to make the atlantic as options.

If you are looking for more background suggestions, maybe you could have a background of the island as it divided in to two countries, and you fought to unify them or something, like the Koreas.

I don’t really have suggestions on the gameplay part like stats and stuff, as that is an area I’m struggling with, but if you want help in coding things like nationality or religion let me know.

A few.

Farming colony - low money, probably unerdeveloped technology, but rich in natural resources.
Mining colony - developed industry and technology, partially depleted resources, likely discontent.
Tourist trap - Very low resources, decent technology, good amount of international influence
Banking center/tax haven - Very high starting money, high international influence, low everythig else.

First of all, this sounds fantastic, though I can imagine the logistics and branching would cause category 5 hurricane headaches.

What about neighbouring islands/countries? Of course the influence wouldn’t be as great as the USSR or US, but neighbours would understandably have some preferences, e.g. if their main income source is through tourism, they’d probably prefer your island not to have any major military conflicts because it would put off tourists who would be worried about spillover or just general instability in the area, so they would probably support your efforts to quash rebellions.

And actual historical events? Depending on where the island’s located, I can imagine things like the Marshall Plan, Cuban missile crisis, proxy-war-like involvement in the Middle East, Hungarian revolution, Khrushchev’s volatility, etc. would have an impact on the island’s political atmosphere.

And also, you’ve obviously researched/are knowledgeable of things relating to this era, but I’d just like to say that hopefully you’ll do justice to some cultures and countries. Some of them are unfairly villainised or misunderstood by pop culture, and there seems to be an inability to grasp the idea that a country’s people are not necessarily reflective of or aligned with the leader or the leader’s ideology, and even if they are, it might be due to practical considerations rather than actual ideological indoctrination.

Would we also be able to become another republic of the USSR? :stuck_out_tongue:

Are there going to be major economic indicators, such as inflation, interest rate, unemployment rate, GDP growth, currency value, etc.? Because it’d probably have a huge impact. Take, for example, the strained Sino-Soviet relations during that era that was in part due to economic considerations, and the offer to employ Chinese workers in Siberia - an island with high unemployment might be offered something similar and then have to deal with the political fallout.

How important is religion going to be in contributing to events? Could a leader use it as an instrument (a la Stalin)? Would religious tension have an impact (like in the Bosnian ethnic conflicts)?

Did you say this country has a leader? laughs in a Swiss accent


Thanks! I’m glad you like the idea! And yes, it’s going to be difficult, but I don’t think it’ll be any worse than usual. The amount of history I’m going to use is the worst part. And the coding, but that’s easy to learn. :smile:

I don’t have any plans to add any other neighboring islands, as of now; but I haven’t even begun to write it, still trying to get a feel for it. It’ll be my first game, so I’d like to do it right. But if public opinion wants more islands, I can see if I couldn’t put in at least a couple of them.

This is a loaded question. Here’s why, I’m obviously going to have to reference these things, i.e. the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Wall, Chinese Communism, and the Japanese SDF. (which will probably be used for a diplomatic incident, perhaps they left weapons on your island when they invaded, which is a static history event if I write it so you can be located near Japan, btw. Debating that approach atm.) And depending on where your island is you may be affected by the Pax Americana, which could lead to some other events.

But when it comes to the big things, i.e. the Cuban Missile Crisis, it’s going to seriously affect your island, IF you are based in the Caribbean, otherwise it won’t be such a big deal. But things like “American Imperialism/Democratic Freedom” (which will change on what politics you follow, ;D) will definitely affect you. But just be aware, you’re a tiny island nation in the middle of the ocean, so you won’t be a target for anything specific, unless you happen to… I dunno… Find a cheaper way to create uranium? (Very unsubtle reference to The Man From UNCLE.)

Another major part of this will be immigration. If you’re a very democratic or communist country, you may get people moving to your island due to their respective beliefs. But it’ll also depend on what type of country you are! If you follow Cuba’s example and open lots of casinos, cabarets, and such, you’ll find yourself attracting tourism and criminals coming to your island looking for business opportunities. If you have a very high employment rate, people will migrate to your island looking for work, which means you could end up having a very multi-cultural people!

This question is a fun for me. Yes, I have studied the Cold War exstensively, mostly due to the fact that the Geo-Political situation and ideological structure is so different from now, plus the amount of history made. But I digress.
My goal is to create a game where there is very little bias or injustice made to either side, as I am something of a slavophile and an American, it makes things a little harder, but I’m going to have at least three waves of Beta-Testers, who will usually be different people each time, so there’s very little bias from before. I’m also going to try to have Beta’s from the countries that I write about, so it’ll be from a citizen of that country’s view telling me where to improve. :slight_smile:

That will, hopefully, be an option, yes. But you’ll have to balance your stats to do so, same with the 51st state idea. The stats will work in the way that you won’t want to become entirely brutal or benign, while trying to have a bias in the favor of the stat you want. If you go too far down either stat, there’ll be a way to warn you to improve either way or you’ll face some difficult decisions. But there won’t be any major GAME OVER events unless you do something really stupid. Which I imagine will happen, but whatever.

Nothing quite that in-depth! While I’d love to create something like that, I do want to keep the game open to people who aren’t quite that economical. But yes, you’ll have to make decisions on your economy. i.e. tax rates, national interest, loans, employment laws, industrial laws, union laws, whether or not you nationalize the banks (which will affect your game greatly) and general economic growth on your island.

You’ll want to keep your island afloat, but I want to give the reader different options to do so. If you want to be a raw goods producer, you can do that. If you want to follow the modern Chinese example of producing luxury goods and importing raw goods, you can do that. If you want to be a consumer country, you can do that! (but it’ll be a little more difficult due to your population and size)

I am trying to follow this KISS rule, but I’m also going to make it somewhat difficult to keep you island together. Wouldn’t be much fun without at least some measure of difficulty. :wink:

This’ll be debated when I actually start writing. At this precise moment, you and your island’s religion will definitely play a part of your politics, if you’re a Communist you probably won’t be religious opposed to a Monarchist Catholic, which are two different play styles; but it won’t affect your day-to-day life unless you want it to, i.e. oppressing a religious minority or creating a state religion, which make certain events trigger differently. There’s also a chance that you’ll get to create your own religion and attempt to spread it to the island, but I’m still on the fence with that.

But yes, you’ll be able to use religion, ethnicity, and race to affect your island. I’m really not pulling punches here, so you’ll have to deal with casual racism, a cultural bias against certain minorities and possible hate-crimes, which will all depend on how you play. (i.e. you can choose to make hate-crimes a capital punishment or simply let it happen, which could affect your relations with other groups.)

I hope I answered your questions well! If not, just let me know! Also, if you don’t mind, I’ve already put you on my list of future Beta-testers, if you want. Like I said though, I haven’t even begun to write, so I’m still outlining this and it won’t be ready for a very, very long time.

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Ooh, this’ll be an interesting and highly ambitious idea, hope it works out! Really liked the Tropico series (and its sense of humour) and Twilight Struggle, and I do like CoGs with intrigue, politics and management.

Some ideas:

History: Pre Independence
  • Strategic Colony - Your country is strategically located and a former major base for a European colonial power. (e.g. Malta, Malaysia and Singapore)
    • High starting infrastructure
    • Better relations with former colonial powers (trying to butter you up)
    • Possibility of intervention from your old colonial masters
  • US Acquisition - Some time in your country’s history Uncle Sam came in, overtly or not. (e.g. Cuba, Phillipines)
    • Good relations with the US
    • Increased opportunity for US investment
    • Increased attention from Uncle Sam’s letter agencies.
  • Coal in the Crown - A former colony with very little attention paid to it
    • Reduced likelihood of attention from anyone
    • Reduced likelihood of being affected by espionage
    • Poor infrastructure

As for neighbouring countries, as a game set in a backwater of the Cold War I think it would be expected for some brush war or proxy action to show up at one point. Of course, that’s a whole another matter that could take up an age in terms of coding if the player gets directly involved (and probably forum debate about what gear one would arm one’s nation with).

Also, how much attention are you going to focus upon the PC? In Tropico, Presidente is in-game a sidenote compared to the country itself, whereas in CoGs one might expect the PC to have more attention on them (e.g. Choice of Robots, Metahuman Inc). I know you mentioned it briefly in the OP, but hopefully origin and background will have more of an impact than in Tropico.

Looking forward to see how this goes.


I like this background, so who would have been the former colonial power on the island. Britain, the boring default, but they’ve already got Singapore and retain plenty Carribean and Pacific territories of their own.
France is slightly more interesting, historically they are also more interventionist towards their (former) colonies, particularly if ours used to be a fictional French Singapore or Hong-Kong.
Spain is another one, it is currently languishing under Franco though and has very limited power projection capabilities.
Portugal and my own country, the Netherlands would round out the list of usual suspects. They are of course smaller and less influential then the big three, in addition Portugal is in a similar boat to Spain and languishing under Salazar during the earlier parts of the Cold War.

An interesting option, if we can be a pacific Island, might be being a former Japanese colony, though that likely means we now would fall into the US sphere of influence.

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great idea! this kind of game is kinda
rare on the forum, so good luck :slight_smile:

for suggestion, how about background on how we rise to the position of leader and the effect to the nation? for example we rise from a US-sponsored coup, so we have a high relationship with the US, businessman, and leaning towards Capitalism.

I meant real countries, so for example if it were possible to have an island in the Mediterranean or the Aegean (? my geography’s not too hot), Greece would be more willing to give the MC aid to help fight rebellions and reduce armed conflicts so it doesn’t put off tourists from visiting their islands. It would probably be more of a flavour thing that won’t affect much but grounds the situation a bit. Just a suggestion xD

High density of any major natural resource available would probably be enough. Or maybe depending on location again Bikini-like incidences could occur :slightly_frowning_face:

If I may provide my opinion on this, it’d probably diminish the excitement of the realism aspect of the story. There’s also the fact that it’d probably require quite a bit of propaganda, a few generations of residents, and might not have as much of an impact as the other elements.


Thanks for answering my questions. Looking forward to the demo when it comes out :grin:

:+1: Portugal’s Colonial War and Salazar’s overall influence would definitely make for interesting backdrops.

Here’s hoping, It’ll be a challenge, that’s for sure…

I really like the fact that you made such a detailed list! I’ll probably steal a couple of parts off that. :wink:

I’m sure there’ll be some type of proxy war, but again, I’m still in the earliest stages of the brainstorming process, so all of this is subject to change.

While I seriously love both Choice of Robots and Metahuman, I’m not sure what “character customization” will include when I actually write the thing… Like I stated in an earlier reply, the character customization will affect how you run your government, but I’m still not sure how in-depth I want to get. If it’ll just be “here’s your character and now you’ll never see them again, except for some small scenes.” or “Now your character’s race, religion, language, star sign, birthday, and blood type will directly affect what decisions you have for lunch today.” It’ll all depend on what I can do and what works for the game.

But thanks for making a response! If you have any more questions, I’ll be happy to answer them!

Ahhh… That makes much more sense. But yes! If you’re located nearby another island, say Indonesia, you’ll definitely have options to interact with them! I’m trying to keep it more of a tropical Cuba-esque island, but in future and depending on how this works out, I may make more games, so that’s definitely an idea!

My thinking is that it’s more of a matter of, “Do you have Uranium? No? Oil? No? Alrighty then. Stay on our side and no one gets hurt.” I can’t really forsee any major events where the USA invades (unless you turn to a more Socialist-style government or vice versa.) The island itself isn’t that big of a player on the World stage, or you would have been “liberated” already.

But alternatively, if you do have some strategic value to either/both sides, you may have to deal with events leading up to that, but again, still brainstorming. Though, I do like the idea of it, just not sure how to implement it and get it to work well…

It’ll really depend on how you make your government. Having a massive industrial base may cause the USSR to move in, both in the figurative and literal sense, while having more Tourism and a larger military may make the USA move in to “quash criminals” in your country.

Yeah, I’m not totally sold on that either, but I like to give folks the option at least. I’m not talking about a full-conversion, more of a cult-like entity. But again, brainstorming. Nothing is safe while this is happening. :smile:

I’m happy to answer your questions! You gave me a lot to think about and work on!

While I like the idea of an Atlantic island, it fits more with the theme of a tropical island paradise if it’s based more in the Pacific and Caribbean. But Portuguese and Spanish influence will be present depending on where you’re based. If you’re a Caribbean country, you’ll definitely have influence from those countries, as you were probably one of the two’s colony at some point, but if you’re a Pacific based island, I’m not sure how much that would work out. That feels like it would be more towards the English, French, and Dutch.

To be honest, the Netherlands were part of my inspiration for the tourism-style island, a place where most stuff is legal and policed, but still fun. :upside_down_face: But they also have a very loyal people and are willing to fight for their land. But if you choose to be based near Indonesia, you’ll probably be a former Dutch colony that was freed, much later than others due to some mistake, but you’ll still have a lot of Dutch citizens on the island.

But depending on how this turns out, I may or may not have other game ideas, so it’s entirely possible you have a country like Sealand (which is another idea I toyed with before this one), but that’s not anywhere on my agenda at the moment.

But please keep the comments coming! You’re giving me tons of ideas for the demo in future!

So essientally cold war Spain


But not if you were poor and certainly not if you were poor and gay.

With a few tiny tweaks to history it’s not impossible Portugal could have ended up with a tropical, Carribean island in their possession.
@ruhenri or one of the other Portuguese members might be able to help you if you want to explore Portuguese colonial issues, Salazar and the “Estado Novo” more.

Making the otl Azores, larger more prominent and more resource rich is another alternate history favourite of mine too. I do respect that it may not fit this game as it’s location relatively near Europe is highly likely to just put it into the Western European/EU/EEC sphere of influence, particularly if you give it more land and resources.

Our colonial governments were usually highly conservative and farmer dominated however. Apart from a minority of educated civil servants and merchants the South African (and Rhodesian) Boers are a more accurate reflection of the typical Dutch colonials of the period.
That said I won’t lie and I’d like to be the dictator of one of our fictional Pacific possessions and make it into a den of sin and vice. Legalized/decriminalised prostitution, gambling, drugs and of course banking/money laundering in addition to exploitation of whatever resources there may or may not be. So it would probably be an economy heavily geared towards services and poised for tourism and provided the island is big enough an agricultural sector probably dominated by reactionary farmers.

The pacific and being a former Dutch possession will give it a very different flavour from Spanish speaking and Carribean Tropico.
If you want to have a reason to have English as (one of) the official language(s) of the new nation in-game that is probably fairly easily done by having it by fought over between the British and the Dutch throughout its history and having changed hands a couple of times between them but being a (nominal) Dutch territory on the eve of its independence/decolonisation.