Read Balance of Power: International Politics as the Ultimate Global Game by Chris Crawford Free Online
Book Title: Balance of Power: International Politics as the Ultimate Global Game|
The author of the book: Chris Crawford
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Loaded: 1755 times
Reader ratings: 7.3
Edition: Microscope Publications Ltd.
Date of issue: October 1st 1986
ISBN 13: 9780914845973
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 863 KB
Read full description of the books:
This is of course, a book by Chris Crawford, the genius behind the classic computer game Balance of Power. There are lots of interesting insights into the development process of software generally, and of the game itself. BoP was actually designed FOR the MacIntosh. That in of itself makes it unusual. Crawford's thinking was that Mac users would be a little more sophisticated than the general game consumer, so they would be more accepting of a game of BoP's complexity. I played the game on the Mac, so he must have been right.
He illustrates the central mechanisms of the game, like the crisis, coups, and Finlandization with historical anecdotes. While Crawford is infintely smarter than I am, his illustrations are a little fascile, and wouldn't demonstrate much depth to even a casual student of the Cold War. Further, though it occassionally dips into the self-congratulatory, the book is a smoothe read. The reduction of complex international interactions into algorythms was suprisingly interesting as he walks the reader descriptively through them.
The most interesting chapter to me dealt with the things he left out and why. One was Arms Control. While cards of Twilight Struggle deal with the major arms agreements, we really do not have a subsytem for this major component of the Cold War either. Trade and a variety of other international considerations are gone. Its one of the beauties of his design that he did not weigh it down with a lot of distracting complexity. Its a temptation we see in action all too often now. Crawford did have to contend with the limitations of processors of the era, but still, it seems to have made a better game.
I also learned quite a bit about the proper play of the game from the appendix illustration of the game. I did win the game, but had to save a lot to do it. Now I see there was a minimalist ethic running through the approach to intervention, and I should have been more selective. Makes me want to download it again, adn give it a try.
Anyway, if you have the kind of nostalgia for this game that I do, I commend this book to you.
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