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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
165 of 212 people (78%) 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 19th, 2014
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65 of 85 people (76%) found this review helpful
125 products in account
2 reviews
1.5 hrs on record
Plays like a boardgame. Needs lots of micromanaging (unless you use the auto tools, but seriously why would you do that).
You need a good memory + geographical memory (otherwise youll have to click a lot between news panel and country selection). Has somewhat a steep learning curve, but this is merely cause this is not your ordinary concept pc game.

I havent had the opportunity to play real boardgames like Diplomacy or Twilight Struggle. But this game keeps me entertained. I wouldnt worry about the price (seen worse games for more).

Only minor bad points are: mediocre tutorial (there is a manual however, see your local files), resolution swaps to a fixed 1024x768 (font is not sharp/smooth), has an old flash standard-stock button look (the theme looks nice though), there is no ingame option to adjust the sound volume (not a biggy imo)

I will update this review later on, when Ive had some aditional hours into this game. As I am not entirely sure about the replayability of this game (the price vs fun ratio of the game is reasonable imo)

Oh yeah, almost forgot: +1 for the company name ;)
Posted: March 18th, 2014
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49 of 67 people (73%) found this review helpful
2 products in account
1 review
5.9 hrs on record
I recommend this game for all Cold War history fans or Board Games players.
It plays like a board game and goes slowly, also interface and graphics are not the best possible.

That been said, this game is the best effort I have ever seen to create a serious and deep strategy game about cold war. It leaves nothing from the period and the events out. Secret Agents, Cold War heroes, Arms Race, Space Race, the need for oil, need for money, Military dictatorships…

Gameplay is pretty original in many parts of the game. To give an example: When you place an agent in a country is invisible to the enemy and safe. The longer he stays there he improves his operational ability (in sabotages, assassinations, starting a revolution etc), but also the longer he stays the more possible it gets to be uncovered and a target. Also if another agent is arrested in the country or in another country that is a member of his spy network (big spy networks are more powerful and more in danger to collapse the same time), he might reveal the presence of all his fellow agents in the country (better research fast a suicide tooth in order to help your agents not to break under torture).

Since every agent is a person with certain skills, loyalty and morale, they don’t like to be left exposed. So after an assassination or arrest attempt or if somebody from the network is arrested or dead, they expect from you to protect them and if you don’t bad things can happen (they even might change sides to save their life).

The above is only a small part of the gameplay of a complex game about all aspects of the cold war. So you better see the tutorial and read the manual if you want to win.

For me another huge plus of the game is that it has lot of humor. All the Spy Gadgets Research part is hilarious! Also there are many random events that never happened but could have been real.

For the end I left the best part which is the Heroes. In this game you get to use Che or to assassinate Fidel Castro, the Pope and the Queen of England!
Posted: March 18th, 2014
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16 of 20 people (80%) 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 15th, 2014
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34 of 53 people (64%) found this review helpful
468 products in account
1 review
7.5 hrs on record
Good game, but frustrating at times when countries rebel and join the opponent. VERY hard to get them back in the fold. Micromanaging is indispensable to remember which agents are where. Just finished 1 compaign in 7 hours. Great price/fun ratio. Although not a big game, its not a casual game, lots of depth.
Posted: March 18th, 2014
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