Rise of Nations: Extended Edition – Cold War Toughest 100% Speedrun

Complete the Cold War campaign, on Toughest difficulty, with 100% Victory or any other type, in the fewest number of turns, with all Spy missions completed and Wonders built, as both the Soviets and the Americans.

Instructions

Note: Credit goes to infinity0

This is a no-nonsense guide for players rather than watchers, so I don’t add much narrative here. If you like that sort of thing please see some of the other guides. However, I do briefly explain why certain things are done in a particular way.

Gameplay instructions are written in concise shorthand. The notation should be self-describing, but in case it isn’t:

  • Each turn is a comma-separated list of “actions[:target][​=result] (notes)”. Actions can be:
    • A territory name, meaning attack that territory.
      • The last action is always an attack.
      • Non-last attacks are overruns. You need to reinforce with the appropriate number of armies. I’ve tried to list the appropriate number (2 re means 2 reinforce i.e. 3 armies total), but in case I forgot, it should be obvious during gameplay.
    • Number:territory/ies, meaning buy that territory/ies via diplomacy as a client state using that much tribute.
    • Card:territory/ies, meaning play that card on the territory/ies
    • Accept-reject means to accept entering negotiations but then reject the actual negotiation. If you straight up reject entering negotations then worse things can happen, e.g. you get nuked again.
    • Everything else is some special action or event that becomes obvious during gameplay.
  • Extra info or options are labelled as [footnotes].

It’s important to execute actions in the exact order listed, otherwise you might screw up the ability to execute later actions, e.g. by using up too much tribute and not getting enough rewards back to executing the remaining actions, or by not having enough armies available to perform overruns that require more reinforcements.

Soviets

You need 3 attacks after a war starts to win with 100%: Japan, NATO, Washington. With the final spy mission, the earliest 100% win possible is therefore turn 8, and we achieve this.

It’s unlikely to be feasible to skip the final spy mission, since then you don’t have the Treachery card, nor enough resources to declare war, nor enough territory to provoke Americans into doing it. The campaign for the Soviets is harder than for the Americans, as was the case in real life, and this is reflected in our speedrun where we need 8 turns instead of 7.

The main route requires a bit of adaptability as the Americans can take Mexico in either turn 5 or 6, giving you more or less tribute to buy client states with. The variant forces them to take Mexico in turn 4, but causes Finland to defect in the process. Therefore I consider the main route “more perfect”.

Main route: 8 turns, adapts to random seed. 2 wonders. Nuke aggression. Americans take Mexico in either turn 5 or 6.

  1. Upgrade to 2:Warsaw Pact, Spy, Middle East
  2. Upgrade to 3:Warsaw Pact, Spy=South Africa, South Korea
  3. Spy, 101:Egypt, China (2 re, Great Thinker) [cn]
  4. 25:North Korea, Spy=3 sabotage cards, 81:East Africa, 81:Central Africa, West Africa (1 re), India (Sabotage x2)
  5. Counteroffer 31:Cuba, (Americans take Mexico or not), Spy=Mexico[m1] or no territory, 106:Vietnam, Colombia [ns] if Mexico taken else Mexico [ns]
  6. Spy, 81:Afghanistan, Treachery:West Europe=Wonder card, nuke:{Gulf Coast, Alaska}, Japan (1 re) [ns]
  7. [choices] Gulf Coast (1 re), Alaska (1 re), 81:Mongolia[m2], 81:Brazil, 106:Peru, 106:Argentina, France (Sabotage x2)
  8. Disarm nukes[dk], nuked home territories x2 (place new armies in Britain, Eastern Russia), Pacific, Australia, 81:Colombia if not taken, [choices] 81:Panama, Wonder:Space Program, Wonder:Supercollider, Washington (all cards) [ns]

Variant: 8 turns, unaffected by random seed. 2 wonders. Nuke aggression. Force Americans to take Mexico in turn 4, Finland defects.

  1. Spy, Middle East
  2. Spy=South Africa, China (2 re)
  3. Spy, 101:Egypt, Upgrade to 2:Warsaw Pact, 81:Central Africa, 81:East Africa, West Africa (1 re), Place Army:{Central Europe, Balkans}, South Korea
  4. 25:North Korea, (Americans take Mexico), (Finland defects), Spy=3 sabotage cards, 133:Panama, Colombia [ns]
  5. Counteroffer 31:Cuba, Spy=Mexico, Upgrade to 3:Warsaw Pact, 81:Brazil, Vietnam
  6. Spy, Treachery:West Europe=Wonder card, nuke:{Gulf Coast, Alaska}, Japan (1 re) [ns]
  7. [choices] Gulf Coast, Alaska, 106:Peru, 106:Argentina, 106:India, 81:Afghanistan, France (Sabotage x2)
  8. Disarm nukes[dk], nuked home territories x2 (place new armies in Britain, Eastern Russia), Pacific, Australia, [choices] 81:Mongolia, Wonder:Space Program, Wonder:Supercollider, Washington (all cards) [ns]

[choices]

  • For Victory 100% with a generic non-Cold-War victory message, follow the above exactly
  • For Total Victory 97% with a Soviet-related victory message, skip buying last client state Mongolia or Panama
  • For Industrial Victory, click yes in turn 5/6/7 when the game offers the option
  • For Nuclear Victory, skip France and instead build 3 nukes and launch them
  • Swap France and Japan if you want to recapture nuked home territories earlier. There’s nothing else to do with the extra NATO supply centres.
[cn]Some people seem to think this battle is hard. It will take a long time, but there are harder ones in terms of execution. You start off with a large army and lots of resources, so just rush the first two cities, boom, and build aircraft.
[ns]Sabotage cards don’t make these scenarios easier, the buildings are fixed.
[m1]The in-game text is wrong, you actually get Mexico + ~160 Tribute, vs 100 Tribute if Mexico was not already taken by the Americans. This isn’t a big deal, it only forces us to buy client states later, e.g. [m2].
[s6]For the Final Spy Mission, you don’t actually need to complete the side objectives i.e. infiltrating the cities, just bribe an army then go straight to the missile silos and destroy them. You can locate them even without vision as the terrain beneath them has no grass.
[m2]You can take Mongolia a turn earlier if the Americans took Mexico in turn 5, since you’ll have more tribute. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.
[dk]If you want to win the dіck-measuring contest, you can decline disarming and buy more nukes this turn (and don’t invade Washington, to continue the game). The Americans will likely nuke you again with 1 nuke. You’ll get some shіttу bonus cards next turn as a reward. Yaaaay, not.

Americans

You need 2 attacks after a war starts to win with 100%: Warsaw Pact, Moscow. With the final spy mission, the earliest 100% win possible is therefore turn 7, and we achieve this.

You need to overrun a territory neighbouring Moscow just before attacking Warsaw Pact, so you can attack Moscow next turn. In practise this means overrunning Central Asia with 4 armies. If the Soviets declare war first, you can nuke Central Asia and overrun it on the same turn with only 2 armies; this is not possible if you declare war first.

The main route is straightforward. The variant provokes Soviets into declaring war on turn 6, but this still results in a turn 7 finish due to the constraint mentioned above. It may be possible to do this even faster by provoking a war on turn 5, but I didn’t have the interest to try yet, as I consider the main route “more perfect” due to completing all the Spy missions.

Main route: 7 turns, unaffected by random seed. 2 unused wonder cards. Nuke aggression. Or: 8 turns, 2 wonders, waste a turn to use those cards.

  1. Spy, Middle East
  2. Spy=China [cn], 111:Afghanistan, 61:Mongolia, South Korea=North Korea
  3. Spy, Upgrade to 2:east NATO x5, 13:Mexico, Panama
  4. Spy=500, Upgrade to 3:all, Vietnam [ns][b1]
  5. Spy, 86:Cuba, India (Sabotage x2)
  6. Spy, nuke:{Eastern Europe, Central Russia}, Central Asia (3 re), West Central Europe=Wonder card (2 re), 61×4:Africa, West Africa (1 re), Central Europe (from Italy) [ns]
  7. Accept-reject peace, 61×3:South America exc Colombia, [choices] 115:Colombia, nuked home territories (likely Gulf Coast), Eastern Russia (2 or 1 re), Eastern Europe (1 re), Central Russia (1 re), [choices] Moscow (all cards) [ns] or Karelia if you want the wonders.
  8. Wonder:Space Program, Wonder:Supercollider, Moscow (all cards) [ns]

Variant: As above, except: Nuke retaliation. Final spy mission not completed.

  1. As above
  2. As above
  3. As above
  4. Spy=500, Upgrade to 3:all, 61×4:Africa, West Africa (1 re), Vietnam [ns][b1]
  5. Spy, 86:Cuba, 61×3:South America exc Colombia, [choices] 86:Colombia, India (Sabotage x2)
  6. Soviets declare war, nuke:{Eastern Europe, Eastern Russia}, Central Asia (3 re), West Central Europe=Wonder card (2 re), Eastern Russia (1 re), Central Europe (from Italy) [ns]
  7. Accept-reject peace, nuked home territories x2 (likely Gulf Coast, Midwest), Eastern Europe (1 re), Central Russia (1 re), [choices] Moscow (all cards) or Karelia etc as above [ns]
  8. As above

[choices]

  • For Victory 100% with a generic non-Cold-War victory message, follow the above exactly
  • For Total Victory 97% with a Soviet-related victory message, skip buying last client state Colombia
  • For Industrial Victory, click yes in turn 5/6 when the game offers the option
  • For Nuclear Victory, skip Moscow and instead build 2 nukes and launch them
[cn]Spy mission 2 is very hard as you start off with only 1 Spy. Some of the huts (the primitive ones, not the apartment buildings) give you extra Spies when you infiltrate them, which is crucial. Figure out which ones these are, and do them first.
[ns]Sabotage cards don’t make these scenarios easier, the buildings are fixed.
[s6]For the Final Spy Mission, you don’t actually need to complete the side objectives i.e. destroying the other buildings, just go straight to the fort holding the scientists, and destroy it gently so the splash damage doesn’t kill all of them. As long as 1 makes it to the fort you win the mission.

[b1]

Vietnam battle can be hard due to inability to build extra production buildings and yet still having to fight a full battle.

  • Build lots of carriers, and a few other ships to protect them.
  • Preserve your ground army, engage with air fighters first.
  • You can’t build extra buildings, so make sure to keep them busy producing and not idle.
  • Take out Pol Pot early for a resource boost.

General Notes

During hard battles, use and abuse the Pause button. The game’s help hints explicitly encourage you to do this, and you can think of it as compensation for RoN’s half-implemented shift-click queuing system, which in particular doesn’t work for mass bribing.

Random seed (for AI decisions) is generated each time you begin the campaign, you can’t just save-and-reload on a later turn, you’ll get the same reactions to the same things you do.

If you want to quick-play the campaign via cheats, you can use “cheat victory” EXCEPT when rewards are given via in-game triggers. In that case you must NOT use “cheat victory” but other cheats to actually complete the objectives to execute the triggers. Fortunately the only examples (if I remember correctly) are:

  • Most Spy missions. You can e.g. “cheat nuke” to destroy the required buildings or “cheat add 50 marines blue” “cheat add 200 marines red” to kill the required numbers of units.
  • American Battle of South Korea, which gives you control of North Korea as well. “cheat victory” here results in a defeat. Instead, you can “cheat add 50 marines” around every city to capture it. You don’t need to wait for the “we can proceed into North Korea for 30 Tribute” trigger, just bear in mind this means you’ll have 30 more Tribute than in a normal non-cheating game – unless you are insanely good and could have done this without cheats, i.e. before the timer trigger. Our guide above assumes you did spend the 30 Tribute.

Soviet spy mission 4 is an annoying one where the trigger is a 5-minute countdown. Luckily the rewards are not that important, and so you can skip them and just do “cheat victory”. Or if you really want the rewards, “cheat add 10 special” around every target you need to protect, then wait out the timer.

Some other guides here have claimed that you need to capture all non-capital territories, before finally the capital territory, in order to win with 100%. This is simply not true, you can just take out Washington or Moscow directly. What is disappointing though, is that the 100% Victory achievement message is a generic one unrelated to the Cold War. See our [choices] footnotes on how to get a 97% Total Victory achievement message actually related to the Cold War.

According to some older internet posts, the “Total” in 97% Total Victory refers to a combined Industrial and Military Victory. However there seems to be no way to get a standalone Military Victory – even if you engineer a victory where you have <50 income after militarily defeating the enemy not using nukes, you still get “Total Victory”.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3204 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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