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Third World War
Occurred in Imperium Offtopicum IV
Date Turn 19–Epilogue
Location Literally every continent but Antarctica
Belligerents
Guardians of the United Nations
FlagoftheFederation Marian Federation
Flag of the German Republic Germany
Blank China (to Turn 22)
Blank Macedon
Flag of the Mapuches Patagonia
Blank Brazil (to Turn 23)
Blank Paradise Islands
Blank NATAR (Turn 23–24)2

Blank Guiana (from Turn 23)1
Blank Confederate America (to Turn 25)
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Flag of Vermont Vermont (to Turn 25)

Anti-GUN alliance
Flag NewEnglandAlliance New England Alliance
Naval Ensign of Japan Japan
Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union (to Turn 20)

Third-party aggressors
Blank Baltic Empire (Turn 20–23)
Blank New Zealand (from Turn 23)
Flag of None Kingdom of New England (from Turn 25)

Rogues and wildcards
Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union (Turn 20–24)
Flag of the Federation of Petrograd Petrograd (from Turn 20)
Blank China (from Turn 22)
Blank Brazil (from Turn 23)
Flag of None Rebel factions
Third fronts
Flag of Ontario Canada (from Turn 20)
Lionrampant Scotland (from Turn 20)
Flag of the United Nations United Nations (from Turn 22)
Blank Eastern Federation (from Turn 22)
Flag GreatPlainsFederation Great Plains Federation (from Turn 25)
Flag of the New Hetmanate New Hetmanate (from Turn 25)
1–Joined GUN's original declaration but peaced out almost immediately; resumed war after sneak attack by Brazil.
2–Invaded by China because Link forgot who Reiser was playing; white peace the next turn.
"Across the entire world, never stopping, never faltering, never fading. Canadians and hockey players and mounties will become dust. And the dust will become atoms and the atoms will become...nothing. And the atomic bombs will continue, breaking through the maple syrup at the heart of Ontario into every city, every province, every single corner of Canada. This is my ultimate victory, Captain2! The destruction of Canada itself!"
Kan' Sharuminar
"Am I the only one not nuking people and trying to help out?"
Reiser

The Third World War was a global clusterfuck of titanic proportions that grew to involve almost every player country in Imperium Offtopicum IV. Originally a sneak attack by several GUN member states against the Empire of Japan and New England Alliance, following the introduction of nuclear weapons on Turn 20 it devolved into a morass of opportunistic invasions, snap betrayals, and atomic Armageddon.

The war's scale prompted a second dumbing-down of combat mechanics into a literal coin-toss, and the nuclear escalation was expressly intended to bring the game to a quick conclusion. While individual countries filtred in and out over the final nine turns, the war only formally concluded in the game's epilogue. By its end, three countries had collapsed, two regimes were overthrown, and all major prewar alliances had effectively imploded.

BackgroundEdit

The Big Three had been locked in a cold war virtually from game's start, with Europe, East Asia and the Americas subject to exclusionary territorial policies of the respective power blocs of ANTIEDO/GUN, JapanEastern Federation, and NADTA, respectively. Japan and NADTA adopted a policy of common cause in the face of what they claimed was ANTIEDO imperialism, with Japan and New England ratifying a formal defensive pact on Turn 11. While several challenges to these zones of control occurred, with the notable exception of the Neo Incan Empire's annexation into the Marian Federation, there was no major contestation for most of the game.

Increasing belligerence on the part of NADTA's de facto leader the New England Alliance, in particular Omega124 and Domination3000's persecution of Mathalamus, led the alliance's founding members to quit in protest, charging the original defensive mandate was eroding in favour of a militarist agenda. NADTA ultimately collapsed during the Brazilian Crisis when the theocratic government was overthrown and the successor republic turned on New England.

On Turn 18, the Indian government succumbed to a communist coup, prompting a wave of denunciations and declarations of war by New Macedon and its former prospective ally Japan. New England refused a Japanese request for support, citing its earlier treaty with France that had been undertaken without NEA consultation. Japan attempted recompense by negotiating an end to the Brazilian war; however, Omega objected to an official declaration of peace before New England's formal signing, and continued bellicosity led Japan to terminate its defensive pact, shortly followed by the Eastern Federation.

With NADTA defunct and Japan preoccupied with India, ANTIEDO's successor alliance saw an opportunity to hit its rival kingpins at once. Shortly following the Yankee–Japanese split, the Marian Federation announced GUN was declaring war on Japan and New England; alongside the general casus belli were Marian-specific objectives that included the overthrow of the Japanese government, repartition of East Asian territories, and the removal of the New England state.

OverviewEdit

GUN's declaration of war prompted Japan to reactivate its alliance. Additionally, the Soviet Union, inheriting the previous government's anti-Marian antipathy, made peace with Japan and declared war on GUN, although said it would not pursue unprovoked aggressive action against members other than Macedonia and the Marians. The Eastern Federation announced a policy of neutrality; while Japan was disappointed, it did not pursue the matter further. The Federation would eventually be dragged into the war following Chinese nuclear aggression on Turn 22.

In the first of what would become a steady stream of knee-jerk declarations, Confederate America declared war on New England. The Guianan Union, a GUN-aligned but unofficial protectorate, initially joined the declaration, but withdrew after Japan stated it was in violation of the Brazilian peace treaty. While Germany initially endorsed the attack, it proceeded to waffle on its commitment over fears of retaliation against the mainland; musings of leaving GUN altogether led Japan and New England to rescind their battle plans, only for Germany to ultimately affirm its participation. e350tb, stating "I don't know what is going on", announced the United Kingdom would combat the anti-GUN alliance.

Nuclear escalation and degeneration of the warEdit

"Come on. You know those keys are too heavy... let me hold them. :evil:"
Taniciusfox
"Not before I watch everyone burn in nuclear fire."
Thorvald of Lym

World War III represented the culmination of both players' and the game moderator's frustration over egregious spam following Domination3000's joining. This led Joecoolyo to create the IOT Development Thread in order to address the issue in future games, and prompted Taniciusfox, under the premise of psychological relief, to pressure Thorvald of Lym incessantly to yield the game to him. In a deliberate effort to end the game before it succumbed to player apathy, Thorvald introduced codified nuclear weapons on Turn 20; partly intended to accelerate the war to a tangible conclusion, it was also designed to quantify a "winner" by attaching a national reputation score to how nukes were employed.

The result was as swift as it was predictable. Joecoolyo announced that the eight posts following his would be targeted for nuclear strikes, leading to the collapse of the Japanese–Soviet alliance. The Federation of Petrograd, being in a dispute with China over ownership of Krasnoyarsk Krai since Turn 16, launched an invasion of its Siberian territories. In an odd act of spite, China responded by nuking Krasnoyarsk, essentially declaring war on the United Nations itself. The Baltic Empire proceeded to break its neutrality and launch an invasion of Germany. Despite both countries being members of the Commonwealth of Nations, Canada proceeded to nuke Scotland.

Following the first exchange, Confederate America sued for peace and began decommissioning its stockpile. Patagonia, a long-time enemy of Brazil that had previously vetoed its accession into GUN, launched a full-scale invasion. Ukraine, which had remained neutral, founded the Nuclear Liability Legacy Programme on Turn 22 to chart environmental degradation caused by the war.

Political destabilizationEdit

By Turn 23, the political fallout was beginning to take effect, with protests in Macedon and Germany and violent riots in Baltica, New England and the Soviet Union. In response, the Baltic Union surrendered to Germany, ceding its conquests and reforming as a republic. At this point, Brazil relapsed into omnicide and launched a sneak attack against Guiana. Declining player interest led Thorvald to institute a standardized automation form for countries of absentee players to prevent the game from stagnating.

On Turn 24, framework for a non-proliferation treaty was submitted as a means of salvaging reputation score. Inspired by Perfection's attempted action the previous turn, nuclear weapons could now be used directly as ABM, with a minor risk of backfire and normal nuclear effects. Testifying to mounting player insanity/apathy, China attempted to invade NATAR despite being a former GUN ally.

Collapse of the Soviets and New EnglandEdit

Widespread riots led to the storming of Soviet government offices in Islamabad and the splintering of the country into multiple successor states, with taillesskangaru continuing as the neutral Kingdom, later Republic of Kashmir. Soviet loyalists smuggled the remaining stockpile out of the region to continue strikes against Macedon for the rest of the game. This was followed by similar protests in China, Vermont and Brazil, while New England collapsed the following turn. Omega continued as the splinter Kingdom of New England; Brazil immediately declared war on the communist splinter Great Plains Federation.

Defeat of Brazil and the KNEEdit

More uprisings followed on Turn 26, with Chinese and Brazilian stockpiles falling into rebel hands. Pacifistan began development of a multinational ballistic missile shield that, when rendered operational, would provide a 75% interception chance against further nuclear attacks to participant states.

Responding to a Brazilian nuclear strike the previous turn, Ukraine joined the war against the DCRB, immediately deploying to South America. Combined with other countries' strikes that turn, Brazil was completely and utterly defeated. As a result of captured weapons, the New Hetmanate became the only country whose final nuclear stockpile was larger than its starting reserve.

Despite initial successes on the British homeland, by Turn 27, the Kingdom of New England had been pushed back to Wales. With the country's survival hinging on the inevitable British invasion, the campaign was consolidated into the game's final battle in the original format. However, Omega opposed the default plan's use of a nuclear-armed SCUD and did not submit customized orders; the battle resolved to British victory and the end of the KNE.

Epilogue and conclusionEdit

IOT4-political-epilogue

Political divisions at the end of the war as detailed in the epilogue. Black indicates provinces destroyed by radiation.

IOTA-WRI-turn0

World Radiological Index based on outcome of nuclear exchange. Blue is minimal damage, yellow is moderate-to-heavy fallout, red is uninhabitable.

By Turn 28, remaining belligerents had exhausted their nukes and most players were on autopilot. Thorvald called for a referendum on the game's future, and with virtually no replies he declared the game proper concluded. As a springboard for a prospective sequel by Reiser, he submitted an epilogue roughly a month later, in which the war ended only due to remaining combatants exhausting their capacity to fight. While all surviving player countries would carry on into the sequel game, most were left devastated and often required territorial retrenchment: the governments of Scotland and Britain relocated to overseas colonies, while the Marian rebasing in Africa led to a dramatic shift in its political culture through the postwar years.

With member nations unable to maintain proper commitment, GUN dissolved; likewise, while the Commonwealth technically survived as an international body, its mandate regressed into a trade pact and Britain, claiming it had been betrayed, withdrew entirely in favour of a unilateral foreign policy. In the post-war years, Petrograd and the Hetmanate adopted the Non-Proliferation Doctrine to prevent future nuclear proliferation, becoming de facto world police.

LegacyEdit

While Reiser's sequel never came to fruition (Reiser himself vanished from CivFanatics later that year), the game's favourable reception, combined with the post-war political outlook and elements of post-apocalyptic science fiction led Thorvald to create Imperium Offtopicum: The Aftermath the following year.

World War III was the first time nuclear weapons were employed in IOT, leading to their adoption in various forms in succeeding games. This became a major controversy within the series, as outside of Thorvald's own sequel their acquisition, use and effects were trivialized, with long-term fallout significantly downplayed.

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