Copyright 1999 by Paul Rohrbaugh. All rights reserved.


Peace on the Edge: The Cold War is a two-team classroom simulation of the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union during the late 1950's and early 1960's. Players take on the roles of the Cabinet/Joint Chiefs of Staff (U.S.A.) or the Politburo (U.S.S.R.). Each team is attempting to resolve regional conflicts around the globe and extending communismís or capitalismís "spheres of influence." In the process, the players must take care to avoid the outbreak of a nuclear war.

Playtesters: The creator of Peace on the Edge: The Cold War would like to thank the following people who playtested the simulation. Without them the game could not have been developed. Amy Barnes, Brian Brennan, Jason Carson, Sean Kalic, Rob Kirkpatrick, Derek Mihalcin, Andrew Swinsinski, Daniel and Chrissy Thompkins, and the 1981-88 8th grade classes at St. Rose School in Girard, Ohio.

1. Components: Each copy of Peace on the Edge has the following pieces:

-1 map of the world.
-2 conflict resolution charts, one basic and one optional.
-2 unit counters charts (one for each team).
-Players aid chart. Owners of the game may make additional copies of this chart. At least 14 copies, 7 per team are needed for each gaming session.
-Cardboard game pieces.
-Plastic golf tees (red and white) used to represent nuclear missiles.
-2 six-sided dice.

2. Set Up: Lay out the map and divide the class/group into 2 teams, one for the U.S.A. and another for the U.S.S.R. The teacher/moderator assumes the role of umpire. (Designerís Note: All of the decisions by the umpire are final. Those who argue should be considered either communist agitators or anti-social fascists and dealt with accordingly!) Each team should appoint a spokesperson for the first turn. These players take on the roles of the President of the United States and the Premier of the Soviet Union.
Place 5 points of military aid, 7 points of economic aid and 1 nuclear missile in the U.S.
Place 8 points of military aid, 2 points of economic aid and 1 nuclear missile in the Soviet Union.
Place 1 military aid point from both sides in each of the nine regional trouble spots on the map.

The regional trouble spots are as follows:

-Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia)
-Middle East (Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon)
-Caribbean/Central America
-East Africa (Ethipia, Eritrea, Sudan)
-Cental West Africa (Congo, Angola)
-South America (Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia)
-Korea (North and South)
-Northeast Africa (Morocco, Algeria)
Neither team begins with any UN world opinion points.
Begin play with phase A of turn 1.

3. Sequence of Play: Each turn is subdivided into phases which are played in the following order:

A) Team spokesperson appointment. The United States team may elect a new President by voting, majority rules. The Soviet Union may elect a new Premier if all of the team members unaminously agree.

B) World event cards. Every turn each team spokesperson draws a card from their world event card deck and reads aloud the black text portion. Apply the red text results secretly with umpire verification.

C) Resource point calculation and expenditure. Each team calculates how many resource points (RPís) they have for the turn. The number of RPís is affected by saved RPís from last turn, interest from saved RPís, world event cards and, for the Soviet Union, a possible deduction for non-compliance of communist party doctrine (up to 3 points).

Resource points are expended on economic aid, military aid, nuclear weapons or saved for later use in the game. Use the player aid chart to record each turnís expenditures and allocations.

Players deploy military and economic aid units to the various trouble spots that are not controlled by the opposing team. Units should be deployed upside down to conceal their intentions during this segment of play.

D) Economic aid conflict resolution. Turn up all upside-down military and economic aid units. Teams that have economic aid in a trouble spot can attempt to win over the area using economic aid. Economic aid conflict is resolved before military aid conflict. Consult the basic game conflict resolution chart (BCRT). If one side has totally eliminated all opposing economic aid, and the number of friendly economic aid points outnumbers the opposing unmodified military aid points, that region is won over. All enemy military aid points are immediately removed to the mother country and a control marker is placed in the region. After resolving economic aid conflict the remaining/surviving economic aid points can be left in area, withdrawn to the home country, or converted to UN world opinion points.

E) Military aid conflict resolution. Teams that have military aid in a regional trouble spot following economic aid conflict resolution can attempt to win over the area using military aid. The side with the most military aid points in a region is considered the aggressor (attacking) player. In the event of a tie, flip a coin. Both players decide 1)how many points they will risk in combat and 2)if any will be held back ďin reserve.Ē The defending player must, however, commit enough points to meet the lowest odds on the CRT. Consult either the basic or optional CRTís depending on which version of the game being played. Remaining/surviving military aid points can be evacuated to the home country, or left in place for next turn. Finally, any economic aid points that are in the same area as an opponentís military aid forces are eliminated.

Note: The aggressor may launch additional 'rounds' of military aid conflict resolution in a region. It costs 2 RPís for each subsequent round per region. A team must have the RPís on hand to do this and may not 'deficit spend.'

F) Victory determination. Teams that have undisputed military or economic control of a regional trouble spot gain control of the area. Place a flag marker on the region to denote the teamís control. Military and economic aid from the opposing country is no longer permitted.

If this is the last turn, verify that one team has more UN world opinion points than the other to determine victory. Finally, see if nuclear war has broken out at the end of each turn.

G) Summit. At any point in the above sequence of play a teamís spokesperson can request a summit. A summit request can be done a maximum of once per turn. (Thatís once per turn period, not once per team per turn.) If the other teamís spokesperson declines, there is no summit and play resumes. If they agree apply the following procedure:

1) Both spokespersons write down on a sheet of paper one specific action (that is allowed within the rules of the game) they want their opponent to agree to as well as a number of RPís they are willing to give up.

2) Both spokespersons exhange requests. If the opponent agrees to the request they get the RPís the other side wagered and the request is implemented immediately. If the opponent disagrees with the request, it is not implemented and the requesting team loses the wagered RPís. If both agree the requests are implemented immediately and both sides get RPís equal to the total that both had wagered.

H) Victory determination. Teams can win, lose or draw in Peace on the Edge. A team wins a marginal victory if they A) control more regional trouble spots than the opposing team or B) have more UN world opinion points than their opponent. A team wins a decisive victory if they achieve both conditions A and B ( the other side obviously decisively loses). A draw results if neither team has met the conditions of A or B or if one wins per A and the other wins per B. Both sides lose the game immediately if at the end of any turn one side has three times as many nuclear missiles as the other. It is assummed in this case that one side has taken such a lead with this weaponry that the other has launched a pre-emptive nuclear attack. The game is over, the world ends, and everybody has a bad day. (You blew it!)

5) World Event Cards: Every turn each teamís spokesperson draws a world event card from their teamís deck. The black text is read aloud so that all can hear. The red text results are applied immediately and noted on the teamís player aid chart. The umpire should verify the results and application of the event cards. The cards represent events that did occur or could have occurred during the time period of the game. Die roll results are done with a six-sided die. Once a card is drawn it is given to the umpire and not subject for use again in the game.

6) Resource Points (RPs): These represent the portions of each nations GNP that could be utilized for foreign aid. Players expend RPís on economic aid (2 RPs each), military aid (1 RP each in the basic game, varies with the optional rules), or nuclear weapons (8 RPs each). Economic and military aid points are sent to the various regional trouble spots. These are used to resolve conflicts or, for economic aid only, garner UN world opinion points. Nuclear weapons never leave the home countries.

20 RPs are awarded each turn. Unspent RPs from previous turns are added to this amount along with 10% interest (fractions rounded up or down). Additionally, RP levels for each turn can be adjusted by World Event Card draws. The Soviet Union may also lose up to 3 points for failure to adhere to communist party doctrine (optional rule).

7) Optional Rules:

A) Democratic Doctrine. This requires that the U.S. team make the final decisions for summit meetings, RP expenditures and economic/military aid allocation figures with a majority vote. I.E., the U.S. President proposes to spend 18 points out of the 23 they have this turn. This must be voted upon, a simple majority needed for approval. The President also wants to send military and economic aid to 5 of the regional trouble spots. The proposed allocations, in its entirety, is to be voted upon as well. Failure to gain a majority approval results in a reduction of 1 UN world opinoin point for each (up to 3 maximum per turn. (This makes it important for the President to put forth a proposal that a majority of the team can support. Of course, the Chief Executive is in charge of foreign policy and overrules these votes at a cost.)

B) Communist Party Doctrine. This requires that the Premiere of the Soviet Union to make the final decisions for summit meetings, RP expenditures and economic/military aid allocation figures with a Party consensus. All members of the Soviet team must approve, as per the rules regarding the democratic doctrine (above), the Premeirís proposals for RP expenditures, aid allocation and the asking/approving of summit meetings. A Premeir may override these votes but this will result in a 1 RP reduction in the next turnís RP allotment for each override (up to 3 maximum). (As above, but the RP penalty reflects the negative effects on the economy from the Communist Partyís total control of the bureaucracy.)

C) Varying Force Capabilities. In the basic game the military aid pieces are treated much like coins, i.e. five 1 point pieces are equal to and can be exchanged for one 5 point piece. Use the following rules for a greater variety of force capability with the military aid markers:


Unit Type Cost Combat Factors (CFs)
Infantry 1 RP 1 on attack
2 when defending against infantry or naval only
Armor 2 RPs 2 CFs when attacking or defending
Air 2 RPs 3 on attack
1 on defense
An air unit may remain in a region only if there is at least one friendly infantry or armor unit in that region as well
Naval 3 RPs see note below

Note: Naval units normally have 1 CF when attacking or defending by themselves. A naval unit may, however, double the attack or defense strength of any one other friendly infantry, armor or air unit in the same regional trouble spot. As with air units, a naval unit may not remain in a regional trouble spot without a friendly infantry or armor unit.
Naval units in the same region as enemy naval units resolve conflict seperately. Each side pairs off a naval unit with an oppossing naval units. Excess naval units from one side can be used to launch multiple attacks on enemy naval unit(s). For every pair each side rolls one 6 sided die. A die roll difference of 2-3 is no effect. 3-4 results in the lower roll sideís naval unit being out of the game for 2 complete game turns. A die difference of 5 means the low roll unit is eliminated from the game.


Aggressor/Defender Ratio
Die Roll 1-1 2-1 3-1 4-1 5+-1
1 4:1 3:1 2:1 2:1 2:1
2 3:1 2:1 3:2 3:2 3:2
3 2:1 3:2 3:2 1:1 1:1
4 3:2 1:1 1:1 1:1 1:2
5 1:1 1:1 1:1 1:2 1:3
6 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:2 1:4

Procedure: The aggressor decides how many points of aid (Economic then Military, each done separately) are to be used. Compare the 'wagered' amount of aggressor points to the total number of defending points. Odds worse than 1-1 are not allowed. Roll one 6-sided die. The result is the ratio of aggressor's losses in points to the defender's. If the aggressor can not meet the required loss then all of the attacking points are eliminated with no loss to the defender.

Note: Economic aid conflict is resolved first. Players must decide to convert any or all remaining economic aid points to UN World Opinion points before committing and resolving military aid conflicts.


Use the following CRT for the varying force capabilities of military aid units. Continue to use the basic game CRT for economic aid units.
Die Roll 1-2 1-1 2-1 3-1 4-1 5-1
1 E/1 3/2 3/2 2/2 BBX 2/4
2 3/1 3/2 2/2 BBX 2/3 2/4
3 2/1 BBX BBX BBX 2/3 1/4
4 BBX BBX BBX 2/3 2/3 1/4
5 BBX 2/3 2/3 2/4 1/4 1/4
6 2/2 2/3 2/3 1/3 1/4 1/E

#/# = minimum number of strength point losses eliminated by the attacker and defender, respectively.

BBX = bloodbath. The attacker must remove a unit or units with an attack strength equal to the weakest defending unit. The defender must then remove the weakest unit. At his option, the attacker can continue removing units. The defender must then remove unit(s) whose defense strength matches that of the eliminated attacking units. (Note: units held in reserve are not affected)

E = all affected units are eliminated.


Peace on the Edge: The Cold War presupposes some knowledge of the Cold War by those who are playing the game. As with any classroom simulation, this instructional technique is best used to extend studentís knowledge or broaden the understanding of concepts introduced by the instructor. The game is not meant as a strict recreation of the actual historic events during this time period, but rather it is a model in which players can experience to some extent the issues and challenges of the time.

Unlike most conflict simulation games, in Peace on the Edge the players must try to avoid the outbreak of a major war and attempt to manage the conflicts that already exist in order to win. The victory conditions do make it possible or one team to dominate the other, a stalemate to develop, or as in real life, a hopeless quagmire to develop. Hopefully the game will be a catalyst to discussion and reflection by the participants.

The most crucial person in the game is the umpire. This role should be filled by the teacher or group moderator. While strict enforcement of the rules is not necessary, fair play should be maintained. Relating an umpireís decision/clarification to an actual historical precedent will aid in understanding and playing the game. The umpire should also insure that the game progresses smoothly and is enjoyable. Above all, players should have fun and enter into the spirit of the game. Taking oneís shoe off and yelling "We will bury you!" is entirely acceptable behavior for the Premeir of the Soviet Union. It is also not unknown for the U.S. team to chant "The whole worldís watching" as troops and economic aid are dispatched around the globe. For all concerned, enjoy and learn!


Definitions: Based upon the playerís experiences in the game Peace on the Edge: The Cold War, define the following terms:






-Mutually Assurred Destruction (MAD)

Short Answer:

1) What advantage(s) did economic aid points have in the game? Military aid points?

2) At what point(s) were nuclear missiles acquired by the teams? What reasons/circumstances prompted this action?

3) Was a summit called? Why or why not? What made a summit a risk-taking decision?

4) How was history simulated in the game? Give at least 3 examples.

5) In what ways did the Soviet Union and the United States differ? How were they similar? Were these differences/similarities important in the conduct of the game? In your opinion were they historically valid?


The following books on the Cold War are appropriate for junior and senior high school students. Check them out at your local library!

Divine, Robert A. Eisenhower and the Cold War. New York: Oxford, 1981.

Foster, Leila M. The Story of the Cold War. Chicago: Childrenís Press, 1990.

Isaacs, Jeremy. The Cold War: an Ilustrated History, 1945-1991. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1998.

Kort, Michael G. The Cold War. Brookfield, Connecticut: Millbrook Press, 1994.

Lafeber, Walter. America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-1996. New York: McGraw Hill, 1993.

Matthew Polesetsky and William Dudley, eds. The New World Order: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1991.

Sibley, Katherine A. S. The Cold War. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998.