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“Us And Them - Cold War” is a turn-based strategy game about cold war that you can play either as CIA or KGB. Although it is a game of territorial expansion, the rivals do not attack their opponent using military force. Instead they are using an army of Spies, Assassins and Experts of various kinds (like economy, technology etc.
Release Date: Mar 8, 2010
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$9.99

About the Game

“Us And Them - Cold War” is a turn-based strategy game about cold war that you can play either as CIA or KGB.
Although it is a game of territorial expansion, the rivals do not attack their opponent using military force. Instead they are using an army of Spies, Assassins and Experts of various kinds (like economy, technology etc.) in order to destabilize the enemy's countries socially, economically, politically and finally to change their governments’ ideology and attach them in their own political block.

The player will have to manage resources like money, oil and technology. He must place his units strategically on the map and create a series of spy networks waiting for the right moment to unleash a series of sabotages, assassinations, bribes, revolutions, arrests and interrogations of enemy units. Since most of the units are hidden to the enemy, the collection and interception of crucial information about the countries, the units' attributes and their whereabouts is essential for victory.

Features:
Take advantage of great Cold War personalities like Che Guevara, Henry Kissinger, Mao Ze Dong, Fidel Castro the Pope and many many more!

Research and develop spy gadgets right out of James Bond's laboratories and some famous equipment of real life spies.

Take part in the historic Space Race

Use your nuclear arsenal to intimidate the opponent.

A series of special rules will allow you to deploy special strategies like the “Domino Effect” and the “Communist sandwich”.

All units, as a representation of actual persons, have their own skills and attributes that make them unique.

The game features a series of random events that in the most part are real events of the cold war era.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7, 8, Vista or XP
    • Processor: Pentium 4
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024x768 Screen resolution
    • Hard Drive: 300 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
184 of 233 people (79%) found this review helpful
17 products in account
1 review
8.3 hrs on record
“US and THEM” is Icehole’s attempt at developing a turn based strategy game based on the Cold War. You get to choose to play as either the Capitalist United States or Soviet Russia. Your goal is to deploy special agents to the various countries around the world and, through various acts of subterfuge, sway their governments to your particular political ideology(Communism if you’re playing as Russia and Capitalism if you’re playing as the US.) When your special agents are deployed, they can perform a wide range of nefarious acts ranging from carrying out assassinations, stealing technology, sabotaging a nation’s economy and inciting revolts. Various historical “heroes” appear such as Che Guevara and Henry Kissinger and each have their own unique special abilities to help their respective sides. The player has to manage their financial income, vaguely defined “resources” and technological abilities. The game features a decent tech tree featuring tools that make your agents more effective, the space race and nuclear arms development(no, you don’t get to actually use nukes at any point.) Grainy Cold War era propaganda videos add to the game’s atmosphere and serve as both your introduction to and reward for a game well played. Altogether, it makes for a very intriguing concept if executed properly.

Unfortunately, it’s in the execution where “US and THEM” starts to fall apart. The game’s major problems stem from the user interface and some design choices range from questionable to downright horrible. For starters, the world map that takes up more than half of the screen can be neither scrolled nor zoomed. In a game where your interaction heavily relies on clicking various nations, this becomes a problem. While larger countries like Canada, the US and Russia are easily accessible, smaller nations require pixel perfect accuracy to interact with. Try clicking on Cuba, Ireland or Hungary and you’ll find yourself maniacally clicking shades and outlines and a handful of visible pixels in the area of these countries in vain hope that the game will acknowledge your actions. The developers attempted to reconcile this problem by including a drop down menu with every nation listed, for quick and easy navigation. Unfortunately, the ONLY way to place units into nations is by clicking the nation on the map.

The agents themselves pose problems as well. When you first try to get a grasp on the agents at your employ, you begin to realize that this game desperately, desperately, desperately needs the implementation of tool tips(desperately.) Agents are divided into 6 classes: Spies, Assassins and Political, Resource, Financial, Military and Tech Experts. They each perform duties that are pretty self explanatory, but for any inexperienced player it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the classes from each other. When you view your roster of active agents, they’re sorted by class. However, they’re not labeled by name, but rather solely by character portrait. While you can go to the purchase units screen and see the class’s name that each portrait represents, new players will need either amazing memories or a few hours of gameplay before they’re positive which are which.

On that same roster screen, you have the ability to “train” any agents not in a foreign country. To do this, you click an oval to the right of the agent’s name. So what happens when you click the oval? Does it get a check mark? Does it display the words “in training?” Nope. The oval simply changes color from orange to green. Or was it green to orange? Either way, you better remember which means “in training” because there is no other distinguishable way to tell which agents at home are training. This again could all be fixed with a simple tool tip, but they simply don’t exist. Even better, the game SHOULD automatically have inactive agents at home go into training rather than just consuming a salary every turn until you remember to do something with them.

The most glaring problem with the interface happens every time you click “end turn.” First, you’re met with individual pop-up news boxes displaying all the actions your opponent took against nations under your control. That’s fine. That’s important information. You need to know what areas your opponent is targeting so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. What ISN’T important information, however, also pops up. Bundled in between the important information are morale updates for every agent you have deployed in a foreign nation. These updates go one of two ways: 1) Your agent is having a “great time” in whatever luxurious nation you sent him or 2) Your agent protests having to be stuck in some miserable place. As you play the game longer, you naturally end up having more and more agents in the field. As things heat up, you can have upwards of 2-3 dozen agents working in foreign nations at any given time. A separate window will pop up that you HAVE to click through for each.and.every.one. Each.and.every.turn. It’s beyond monotonous and incredibly unnecessary. To rub salt in the wound, you have the option of adjusting your “news” settings. Frustratingly, however, while you can turn off notifications for enemy actions, random events and the like, you can’t do anything about the morale updates. Apparently your opponents actions are trivial and optional information, but reading the same more updates 20-30 times in a row is so absolutely vital that the option to turn them off isn’t included.

There are other gripes to be had with “US and THEM”, including but not limited to the inability to save your preferences(they reset to default upon EVERY reboot), an almost intentionally inaccurate RNG(you’ll find yourself failing tasks that display a 75% + success rate far too often), nations randomly deciding to revolt on their own and failing(and potentially killing every agent you have in that nation in the process), horribly implemented “features”(such as the ability to “name” your individual agents: Here, the game DOESN’T turn off hotkey functions while you type, so a plethora of letters can’t be used, such as “C” and “T”) and certain “heroes” being far, far too overpowered(for example, sending Che Guevara and a Political Expert into any enemy nation guarantees a revolt in your favor in 2-3 turns.) Even these complaints seem trivial when compared to the final stab in the eye.

The game simply lags far, far too often. When playing other strategy games, it’s acceptable if the game hangs up momentarily from time to time. Games like Crusader Kings are processing actions of over a hundred AI’s in real time, so it’s to be expected. Games like Civilizations V have comparatively advanced graphics including waving flags, hammering workers and wavy oceans, so it’s ok if it doesn’t scroll as quickly as you’d hope. However, when this game lags, it’s absolutely unforgivable. The game occasionally lags during routine clicking during YOUR turn. While this is going on, the software has absolutely no other processing to do. There’s only one AI and it’s completely inactive during your turn. There are no immediate effects of placing a unit, clicking the word “cancel” or any other user operation that warrant any type of system hang up. The lag is reminiscent of what you see on an old computer system during a windows update and it happens often enough that I’ve found myself wondering if the program is doing something on my computer in the background that I really don’t want it doing. It’s completely unacceptable.

The saddest part is that almost every one of these problems could be fixed with a decent patch. Don't expect one from this developer though(look at their website, this game came out in 2010 with no updates.) So save your money.
Posted: March 19
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18 of 23 people (78%) found this review helpful
3 products in account
1 review
13.5 hrs on record
This game is a 7/10 for me.
The concept of the game is great but it suffers from a low budget production. After Patch 1.2.2 things are a lot better but there are still some interface issues.

In any case the game features a unique and original gameplay that I have never seen in any other game, also is the only serious PC strategy game about cold war.
The game tries to include everything that took place during the cold war era like, espionage, space race, arms race, heroes and villains, real events from the period and some fictional events that could have happened and many more.

Entering the game the user has to select between CIA and KGB.
Playing with CIA seems easier but KGB side has a lot of good heroes and it is not so depended from oil producing countries, mainly because Soviet Union produces enough energy to cover all eastern block needs. This gives the communist player a clear target to attack the capitalists’ energy production countries.

The user has to manage a lot of things in 2 levels. There is a grand strategy level that includes Space Race, Nuclear Weapons, Tech Research, Money and Energy and a micromanagement level that involves the Agents that operate inside each country on the map.

If a political block is ahead in Nuclear Arsenal gains an intimidation advantage that pays each turn in converting more citizens into its ideology. Something similar happens with space program achievements that give prestige points.
Tech research helps your Agents to attack or defend better, to intercept information, to endure severe interrogation and many more benefits.
Finally energy sufficiency is important to maintain economy and a high quality of life, while money pays for your units and operations.

But the real dirty job that provides resources for the grand strategy level of the game is done from the field agents on the map.
The user has to produce and deploy an army of secret agents on the map in order to defend, attack and collect crucial information. All agents are hidden from the enemy and this keeps them safe. The longer they stay in a country the better they get, but this also increase the possibility to reveal their existence to the enemy and the minute that this happens they are not safe anymore.
All agents when placed in a country of the same political block act as experts of their type and when placed in an enemy country they act as saboteurs.
In this level of the game there is a lot of micromanagement and a mini RPG level, since each agent harvests skill, experience and stats while on the field. His loyalty to the cause is also very important for his performance and not to accept bribes. So try not to send them to impossible missions or station them for very long in a country with low luxury level like Mongolia.

The most important unit is the Spy. Spies have the ability to uncover the enemy secret agents. They can also arrest and bribe enemy agents. The 2nd most important unit is the Assassin. Use him to kill your enemies and the enemy heroes (but they must be really good and experienced in order to do that). Political, Financial, Energy, Tech and Military agents might look equally important but they are not. Political agents are far more important than the others because they can convert citizens, make political sabotages and incite revolutions. Financial experts are also very important as they can increase your funds and sabotage the enemy’s income.

Another huge part of the game is the Heroes. Each one of them has his special ability to help you in your cause. In my opinion Communist heroes are a lot stronger but this balances the fact that Capitalists control more countries and have a lot more money. You can use your assassins in order to take them out and if you are a cold war ear fan there is for sure at least one prominent public figure of the period that you want to kill!

The game plays turn by turn and you have to think a lot and plan ahead your moves in order to win.
There is a lot of micromanagement involved and since there are many countries on the map and the grand strategy level at the same time, there are some interface problems. The user interface could be a lot better designed and more user-friendly, so be warned about that.
Another thing that I didn’t liked is that playing with CIA is very similar like playing with KGB. There should be some different units for each side that would make the experience different.

In all I had many fan hours with this game and I recommend it for such a low price.
Posted: April 15
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
218 products in account
55 reviews
12.5 hrs on record
☭ ☭ ☭ Awesome game ! ☭ ☭ ☭

But i took over the USA in only 6 hours :/ (you win when you make a revolution in USA or in USSR)
a bit short and not that much replayability.

But taking over every countries of the world should take much more time, it's VERY HARD to do.

Anyways, if you're into the cold war or into communism, you MUST buy this game on a sale !
Posted: May 26
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
20 products in account
8 reviews
4.5 hrs on record
it took a while to really know how to play but i got use to it (thanks to youtube) its really fun even though I always lose xD
Posted: July 23
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15 of 22 people (68%) found this review helpful
2 products in account
1 review
4.2 hrs on record
This is a really low budget production game, but I still like it! Is like a good b movie, which means you have to be a fan of the theme and the genre in order to overlook some big flaws that it has.
Personally I love the cold war period and I play a lot of board games (especially Kremlin from Avalon Hill) and old school grand strategy games.
Us and Them is a deep strategy game that doesn’t take itself very seriously.
In order to win you will have to plan your moves very carefully many turns ahead like chess. If you play turn by turn you don’t stand a chance. So this is a very serious part of the game. But in the meantime many funny things happen. Some events, some comments from your agents, the sounds, some ridicules sudden deaths, even the clumsy interface represent for me perfectly the cold war period that was at the same time tragic and hilarious.
Posted: March 20
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