'Cold War' is on the surface stage two of Rivalry. Once you declare a Rival, the option to declare a Cold War on them because available in the menu. Once you do so, you will actually send an offer, just like it would be if you were offering something positive like alliance or treaty, to the rival, and if they accept, the Cold War starts – which includes your empire, your vassals and/or federation members (if you're leader), and them and their vassals and/or federation members (if they're leader). Thus, a political, economical, military and ideological competition begins between the involved sides, entering the Cold War. The target rival for a cold war must fullfill atleast one of three – Equal Fleet Power or Equal Economic Power or Equal Research Output for the option to be available. While parties are involved in a Cold War, they cannot declare regular war on the entities they're in cold war with, and must first forfeit from the cold war if they want to do that – which is something most empires, hopefully the AI too, wont want to do so eagerly. When a Cold War ends, all sides get a truce lasting ten years as if it was a real war, and revert to Rivals.
Cold War: The cold war applies positive and negative modifiers to all involved empires in it, and has a score to track, much like a "hot" war, which can be seen on the bottom right on the screen just like regular wars. However, this war is not waged with direct combat, and can be "won" in different ways; but before I get to explain that, here are the modifiers affecting all participants – the positives and negatives:
Galactic Cold War: +1 Influence on top of Rivalry (so +2 total)
Coldpetition Competition: +10% Research Speed on all technologies; +10% additional Research Speed on technologies NOT researched by the opposite side;
Counter-Counter Intelligence: +1 Sensor Range;
Big Brother: Enforcers become more effective at suppressing unrest;
Ideological Propaganda: +10% empire-wide Amenities;
(conditional) Ideological Clash: an additional +10% Research Speed if target enemy empire/federation leader is of Opposing government Ethics;
Arms Race: ships upgrade much faster with newer components;
Expensive Science: 25% increased upkeep for Researcher Pops;
Rabid Armament: 25% increased costs on applying ship component upgrades;
Economic Competition: An empire-wide increase of energy credits upkeep on EVERYTHING begins on participants. Starts with +25% energy upkeep increases and gradually ramps up the longer the Cold War goes on, potentially reaching a maximum of 1000% energy upkeep. This is deliberate, as the side that is unable to keep up with these increasing demands is supposed to experience a heavy economic crash, forfeit due to it, or give up before the drain becomes unbearable – all of which is the "attrition victory" for the side that managed to endure ahead of them.
Image To Maintain: -30% empire-wide Pop happiness of an empire/federation engaged in a Cold War loses a conventional war with someone else in any shape or form.
VICTORY TYPES of Cold War:
– Attrition Victory: Mentioned above – develop a stronger, more flexible economy than the enemy power and watch them slowly choke themselves trying to keep up. Them forfeiting serves the same effect. An empire/federation leader automatically forfeits if their Energy Credits hit 0.
Victor/Endurer rewards: +20% pop Happiness, +20% Amenities and the Sole Superpower modifier for a period of time;
Loser/Collapser penalties: -25% Stability on all worlds and -25% Consumer goods (or Amenities for gestalt) produced for a period of time, -50% Government Ethics Attraction, aswell as a possibly really damaged economy in general.
– (true) Cold War Victory: Score-based – win by pushing the bar/goals to decisive victory for you instead of winning by making the enemy collapse. The score keeps track of Research Output, Economic Power and Fleet Power, with research being somewhat of heavier weight than the other two. It merges the three measurements into a singular total score. In order to decisively push the bar/score to an undisputed victory, an empire must achieve being over 300%, or 3 times, more powerful in their score in comparison to the enemies. Then, they have truly surpassed, without a shadow of a doubt, their cold war rival(s).
Victor rewards: +20% pop Happiness, +20% Amenities, +10% Research speed (permanent empire modifier) and the Sole Superpower modifier for a period of time;
Loser penalties: -30% Stability on worlds, -30% Consumer goods (amenities for gestalts) production, -20% Pop Growth (all types) for a period of time and -50% Government Ethics Attraction;
Sole Superpower: A modifier symbolizing the zeal, newfound freedom and pent-up need to use their overbloated military by the victor, allowing them to swing their mandibles around with no one to challenge them; grants +10% Ship Fire Rate and +10% Ship Weapon Damage for a period of time.
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