I really like Xenonauts' 1970s cold war setting. In the turn based combat, this really comes through (and will be helped by the coming inclusion of Soviet achitecture). In the geoscape though, the country blocks feel much more like 2010 than 1970. The boundaries for Europe for example, combine NATO's UK and France with the Warsaw Pack's Romania and East Germany. IndoChina combines Western leaning Japan, with soviet leaning mongolia and Non-Aligned Indonesia.
Chris, I know you said in the past that you intend to retouch the countries in the geoscape map (such as include the philipines, sort out some land sea mask issues). I think it would make a big difference to the feel of the game if the country blocks could be revisited at that time.
What I would like to suggest is blocks which match power blocks that existed at that time. The easiest solution is to ensure NATO and Warsaw Pack blocks fit as they were in the 1970s - and leave the other blocks almost as they are. I think it would be fun (better) if we could take it further and include blocks based around political alignment at that time, including Non-Aligned Member countries. These new blocks could be based around a Nato block; Nato leaning block(s); WARSAW Pact block; USSR leaning block(s); Non-Aligned Members (NAM) blocks and Neutral countries.
- NATO: USA, Canada, many countries in Western Europe, Turkey
- NATO leaning group(s): Could be group geographically: Oceanania, Japan, South Africa, South American and African countries with US backed strong man governments
- WARSAW Pact: Boundaries of WARSAW Pact countries
- USSR leaning block(s): Could be grouped geographically: Could include countries like Mongolia, China, Cuba, South American and African countries with socialist backed strong man goverments.
- Non-Aligned Members (NAM): India, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Indonesia, Ghana. Many African and South American countries could logically be placed within this block (based on historical alignment).
- Neutral: Swiss, Sweden, Ireland, Iran, amoungst others.
Benifits: A geoscape which does not immediately clash with the cold war setting. There has been lots of great discussion about possible Geopolitical changes. I think this one change would go along way to help set this scene (our imaginations will do the rest).
- Geographically seperated blocks. Yugoslavia, India and Ghana don't exactly share borders. So, unless care is taken, players may loose the sense that it is important to locate bases in certain parts to sure up block support. I think actually there is a lot that can be done to mitigate this risk by coming up with blocks which cluster nations together. Outside the core blocks (NATO, USSR and core NAM countries) almost all the other nations could be justifiably placed in one of a couple of blocks (e.g. Cuba could count as a NAM member, but more flavour might be had in placing it in a USSR leaning block, with other similar Central/South American nations). The most difficult blocks would be core-NAM (including Yugoslavia with south Asian or African nations). To some extent, I think we can get away with some mixing (beyond making the map maker's task more difficult) - while protecting most of the NAM nations - I would understand NAM member countries being upset if they percieved that Xenonauts weren't protecting fellow member Yugoslavia. As long as most of the land area for the various blocks is clustered together, I think the players can coupe with the occasional bad event that happens in the small country isolated from the main area (the small area would mean that the risk of lossing the block with you base in is small, even though the occassional event may happen in the isolated outlying country that is uncovered). In short, clustering similar countries between NATO, USSR or NAM aligned blocks should mean that we get geographically clustered blocks for most of the world (I imagine we're aiming for about 10 blocks in total).
- Neutral block - to include or leave out? Neutral block countries could justify their inclusion as a block due to the financial weight of their members, but I think it would be almost impossible to think of ways to geographically cluster them (as some are completely surrounded by NATO and/or Warsaw Pact countries (which can't be changed without completely jarring). While it might be interesting to have one block, whose finacial support couldn't be guarenteed by appropriate base placement - if this was thought to be a deal breaker they could always be merged into NATO or Warsaw pack neighbouring blocks.
I'd be interested to hear what you, and others, think Chris? I think there is a little bit of work that would need to be done in coming up with suitable clusters (building 1 or more NAM blocks; clustering other countries into NATO leaning or USSR leaning blocks - trying to make them as geographically clustered as possible. The map would also need to be redone). If this was a go-er - I'm happy to help out with the map region drawing. I currently do not know enough about 1970s alignments in C. and S. America and Africa - so I'd need to do a little research, but I am sure that there is enough expertise on the news group that we could come up with something workable. What do you think?