Starting the Game

NWO is played on two different levels: regionally and globally. Your first priority is to secure the safety and growth of your country. This will come down to your regional diplomatic efforts, as with any other game of diplomacy.

We all know the saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Well, in NWO, you can extend that saying threefold. The inclusion of colonies means your immediate neighbours are also the neighbours of someone across the map. Argentina is next to the Falkland Islands, which is British (unless you ask Buenos Aires). Thailand is close to Singapore, which is also British. Thus, Argentina and Thailand have a common neighbor and have immediate things to talk about.

More importantly, this game is won by votes in the UN. You will need a minimum of 50% of the votes on this board to win. It isn’t feasible for any country to gain 30 votes on their own, so you’ll need to have friends across the board who will vote for you. The webs of alliances, allegiances, friendships, casual acquaintances and disputes that you have will come back to either reward or haunt you come voting time.

So whatever you do, don’t forget that this game is not just about you and your immediate neighbors. It may not be obvious at first, but what happens in Mexico does affect what happens in India!

Schoolyard Bullies vs the Twerps

What will become painfully obvious for some of you is that the A and B powers in this game start out with more units on the board. In the initial stages of the game, a couple of dynamics will be going on:

1 – Will there be a global alliance of the big powers? While global alliances of big powers have been attempted, the tension among those groups is immense. The question will become: can this alliance succeed? Can the big power players overcome their paranoia of each other to work together and swamp everyone else off the board? Can the big powers actually gain the huge number of votes needed to win the game?

2 – Will there be a concerted ‘take down the big guy’ coalition? This has been done successfully in past games and the leaders of these coalitions emerge as real contenders in the voting process. The question will become: will all of the little guys trust each other enough that they will all take their spears and daggers and run into a fight against someone with tanks and machine guns? Not everyone can win the game. A coalition of 5 little guys will have to eat each other after taking down the big guy…or will they?

3 – What are these strings coming out of my back? Yes, some little guys will ‘sell out’ to their regional big power in hopes that the two can work together towards mutual success, effectively becoming puppet states. This has also been successful in the past. The little guy requires much fewer votes to win the game in a coalition. If USA teams up with two E powers, it requires 14 fewer votes to win than if the USA teams up with two B powers! On the other hand, if six small powers ally with the USA from the outset, the USA can’t take them all along to coalition victory. Who will survive?

The opportunities for your country are endless! Well, not really. There is a limit to your options. What you have to consider is what is best for you in both the short-term and the long-term. The thing that matters most is that all three strategies have been successful in the past. If you are a big power, you have to keep your head on a swivel. If you are a little power, recognize that the big guys are not invulnerable but can contribute to your growth much more than a little power can. There are pros and cons to each strategy.

Taking Down Gulliver

I didn’t want to write this section at all – I am certainly not advocating for a ganging-up on the big guy strategy. However, many players in NWO assume that the big powers are unstoppable, at least at first glance. But, like the pygmies found out, you can take down Gulliver if you try (I haven’t actually read the book, please don’t critique my analogy!)

I’m not going to write a how-to on taking down big powers – that is your problem to figure out. What I will say is this: while it appears that big powers have an enormous advantage given their much larger size at the start of the game, players must realize that earning a victory as the USA is vastly different from earning a victory as Mali. The USA will not only have to earn more votes come the UN voting rounds, but they must successfully navigate playing in what amounts to 4 different games: North America, Europe (Wiesbaden), the Indian Ocean (Diego Garcia) and the Pacific (Okinawa/Guam). If the big powers lose colonies, they will have to find some way to manufacture 8-12 votes from their homeland. This is quite difficult, although not impossible.

This is not to say that you should take down the big powers. Quite the contrary. They can come in handy in helping you grow and in taking down the other big powers in the game.

Choose a strategy based on diplomacy, just like any other dip game that you play. Just remember that there are a lot of potential options out there and there is really no need to freak out if you’re Vietnam and you look up and see an enormous China to your north!

Growing Your Country

Ok, you’ve made your alliances and the game has begun. What to consider now?

Remember this very important general principle: growth is exponential. For those of you who flunked math, this means that, in general, small gains early result in small gains later on. Large gains early result in even larger gains later on. This can be seen in the Maximum Growth Rate. We’ll use an E power starting with 1 SC in our example:

(Assuming maximum growth)

Year 1: 1 SC

Year 2: 2 SCs

Year 3: 4 SCs

Year 4: 8 SCs

Year 5: 16 SCs

Easy so far, right? We won’t go any further than Year 5 because it’s extremely unrealistic that an E power will actually realize this maximum potential growth rate. But let’s make one small change. Say that in Year 2, the power’s 2 units only capture 1 more SC, rather than the maximum possible of 2. Look how this changes the maximum growth rate:

Year 1: 1 SC

Year 2: 2 SCs

Year 3: 3 SCs

Year 4: 6 SCs

Year 5: 12 SCs

Ahh, now we see a difference. By Year 5, the power can only be 75% the size of its original maximum potential and this is only because of one, single missed SC in Year 2.

So the key point here is to ensure that you are growing as much as possible early on. That sounds fairly basic but it’s easier said than done. Plan your tactical and diplomatic growth as best as you can.

What about votes?

An interesting early game dynamic is who jumps after control of votes and who bides their time. Votes, in theory, do not matter until the voting season. Some players won’t even bother thinking about them until then. Maybe they matter, maybe they don’t. While I am not going to speculate one way or the other in this guide, this is what is really important:

You must have the capability to control as many votes as you can by the voting season.

To be clear: this does not mean you must own the votes early in the game, only that you have a reasonable chance of capturing them. For example, if the USA swallows up Canada by Year 4 and there is no distinct threat from another country in capturing the votes, the USA player can reasonably feel safe that they will control this vote by the time voting season arrives. However, if the Philippine player captures Brunei in Year 2, plenty of other players have the ability to take that vote away before the voting season arrives. Therefore, those other powers may still consider Brunei as an achievable vote, even though the Philippines controls it.

You will have to decide if this means capturing a vote right away or making it one of your medium-to-long term goals. Just be aware that everyone else is making the same kinds of calculations and votes you may have thought attainable may soon become well out of reach.

Decision Time

The middle stage of the game is when powers start dropping like flies. One by one, countries will fall by the wayside, trampled underfoot by those more cunning and ruthless. Alliances will come and go but you’ll soon find that your alliances may not mesh with the alliances of the person you thought was your closest ally.

This is where NWO differs greatly from standard diplomacy. Stick 7 players on a map and you only have 6 other players to deal with. At most, you can have 3-4 alliances. But put 50 players on the map and the alliance combinations are infinite.

One thing you will have to consider is potential for strength – not only military strength, but voting strength. This comes in two forms: (1) having votes yourself; and (2) being able to convince someone else to vote for you. Both of these will become more obvious as the game goes along. Judging other powers on these qualities will help you make your decisions on your course of action.


Ahh, the biggest part of the game. Some of you will love nukes, some of you will hate them. It’s more likely that those of you who wake up one morning to a breakfast of nukes will not exactly be thrilled.

A little review: nukes destroy any units currently in the targeted zones before those units get to move. NOTE: This has changed slightly with the new Hidden Unit rules. Hidden Units move first in any adjudication phase, so for such a unit to be destroyed, the nuke must land in the space that unit ends in as opposed to starts in.

This has significant tactical consequences. It means that there is no such thing as a stalemate line because any unit holding, supporting or moving can be nuked off the board before their action is complete.

Big powers have the ability to build nukes earlier than little powers. However, this shouldn’t be seen as a distinct advantage. Rather, big powers face immense pressure to use their first few nukes effectively. Remember how growth is exponential? Since someone has to effectively waive a build for one year in order to build a nuke, big powers will have to decide when to pass on precious builds and limit their maximum growth rate. That is unless they can use that nuke to maintain their growth rate. Big powers will be looking to use that nuke as effectively as possible in order to maintain a high growth rate. If they don’t, they will very quickly lose ground to their competitors.

You don’t have to be the one controlling the nuke to reap its benefits! This is very important. Remember how the enemy of your enemy is your friend? If your ‘friend’ happens to be Russia and he controls 4 nukes, he can lob them anywhere in the world. He could easily lob one on to the head of your enemy, allowing you to take control of an SC, a vote, or even just to break through your enemy’s defensive lines. Why would he do so? Well, you tell me. Or better yet, tell him. What does he get out of it?

This brings me back to the point I made before: you must be aware of your global surroundings. On several occasions, players are caught completely off guard that they were nuked once, twice or even completely off the board. This should not happen to you.

Gather round kids, it’s story time! Several games ago, a player took Serbia, a lowly 1-SC power, to a very respectable 9 SCs and 4-5 votes. This is a very strong position for a little power about to go into the voting season. The problem was, diplomatically, Serbia wasn’t paying attention to global alliances. One of the leading factions decided that Serbia was too much of a threat (and rightfully so). In 1 season, a barrage of nukes from all over the world landed on Serbia’s head, allowing the faction to conquer a large portion of Serbian territory and destroying what they couldn’t capture. Serbia, a country on the brink of victory, was all but eliminated from the game in one season as a result. The good news for that player is that he is now in NWO folklore!

The moral of the story: If you don’t want to get Serbia’d, pay attention!

Now, I don’t want it to sound as though only the little guys are in danger of getting nuked. No, the USA probably isn’t a candidate to get Serbia’d. However, if the Russia were to launch 3-4 strategically placed nukes that effectively halts American growth and allows American enemies to capture a few American SCs, that can all but eliminate the USA from contention. Even though the American player is still in the game, he can be taken out of it almost as easily as little Serbia. We need only look back to the last game to see an example of two B powers being effectively removed from contention by the power of nukes.

In conclusion, nukes can be used for good and for pain. They can be used against big guys and little guys. They can raise hopes and crush dreams. It’s all up to how you use them, or how you convince others to use them.


Ok, not a lot to say here. Wings have the key attribute of terrain versatility. They will help naval powers transition into land powers and vice versa. They will also help players cross continents and, if necessary, cross impassable territories like the Himalayas or the poles.

It’s unlikely you will actually build a wing, although they have their uses and can’t be discounted as a possibility.

With the added ability to seek out and destroy Hidden Units, more wings may get built this time around.

End Game Procedures

Simply put, this stage is like an election. Everyone gets to nominate a coalition for victory and then we go about voting for the winner.

This is where the bulk of your diplomatic work in the early stages will pay off. This part of the game is like Survivor: you have to convince other players to vote for your victory. No coalition will have the needed number of votes all by themselves.

Now, if you’ve thus far ignored my not-so-subtle hints to pay attention to global politics, you had better open your eyes now. Voting factions will form, if they haven’t already (and they probably have). Horse-trading of votes will occur. Threats will be made. Offers for military action in exchange for votes will be given.

One interesting aspect is balancing the need to continue growing without alienating the person who currently owns the votes you are trying to capture. It’s a delicate balance and requires a verifiable silver tongue.

You’ll notice that the guide gets shorter for the later stages of the game. This is because the early stages of the game are by far the most critical. A lot of players will get eliminated. That comes with the territory of playing in a 50-person game. What matters most at the end of the game is that you take advantage of the work you did in the early stages: continue accumulating votes, holding together voting factions, destroying your opponents. You know, the fun stuff.

NWO is an intense game. The global web of alliances can cause migraines. It requires many hours of hard work to win but is easy to sit back and enjoy at the same time. Prepare to bring your diplomacy game to a whole new level. Have fun!