Terra Invicta – Cloak and Dagger: Stealing Control of Major Nations

A short guide for when someone you hate owns China (or pretty much any big nation with nukes), and you want to export freedom to it, without inciting a nuclear winter.

How to Steal Control of Major Nations

Introduction to the Problem

Has this ever been you? You’re reaching towards the mid game as The Resistance or Humanity First, have a strong set of nations, like the EU and Murica, and a strong set of councilors to go with it. In the midst of your space colonization efforts, you look towards the east and notice that that bloody suicide cult, The Servants, is running your old rival, China. Not only is that nation an economic powerhouse, but their nuclear option means that declaring war would be a bloody affair and a climate disaster, and no one sane wants that.

But what else are you supposed to do? Even with high public opinion, you’ll be lucky if crackdowns and purges hit above 0% due to the massive economy, even with those powerful councilors. Not to mention that in a totalitarian state like China, getting public opinion up in the first place will be difficult by itself. For a similar reason, Coups may be difficult, due to high cohesion and that massive economy. Without a high chance to cause unrest, the AI is likely to just undo your progress even with a few lucky successes, and if they’re hitting the spoils target, that might just make it harder. Not to mention that you’re likely to get detained when spamming that with middling chances.

But we can’t just let them have China. That would be disastrous to your game, and those purple ♥♥♥ don’t deserve nice things. So, what can we do?

What if I told you that with some finesse, we could make this happen?

That’s certainly a lot higher than 0%. Let’s take a look at how flipping a country works, and then discuss how we can make this happen.

Introduction to Taking Nations

For those of you new to the game, there are essentially three ways to take control of a nation that someone else has control of.

The most straightforward way is through a combination of crackdowns and purges. Crackdown is a councilor mission that disables a control point and makes it easier to purge, and purge takes control of it. Crucially, crackdown will always go off before purge, meaning if you stack a crackdown and a purge on the same point, if the crackdown goes through, the purge probably will too, and on the same turn, meaning no one else can steal it (not that the AI will usually have high enough espionage to go first anyway). This is the main way to take control of smaller or more middling nations, and is fairly easily accomplished with a high investigation councilor, as well as one with reasonable espionage.

However, there are some obvious downsides. Defending a nation’s interests tends to make this a good deal harder, which is annoying for smaller nations, but often a sort of deal-breaker for big ones. Public opinion tends to be needed in concert with it as well. Most importantly, huge nations, like china, have a natural defense against operations like this. This is due to their huge economy. This is also why nations can’t just run straight into the US or China at the start of the game, instead utilizing border nations, which gives bonuses to operations like control nation.

Your second option is a coup. Coups are good against nations that have higher unrest in general; normally this means anocracies like in Mexico. You can artificially raise unrest, but you’re fighting the tide in nations like China, and the AI can also obviously run in and stabilize it. This means you’ll tend to need high unrest success chances in the nation, which is again difficult in nations like China.

The third is war, which would be pretty easy if china didn’t have nukes. Unfortunately, China has nukes. Sure, they don’t have the nuclear arsenal that the US and Russia do, but do you really want to try and bait out their nuclear stockpile, wasting armies and screwing up the climate in the mean time? It doesn’t help that nukes are cheaper than armies, and let’s not forget having to build navies either. It’s not like the Servants care about destroying the world anyway.

However, there is one very crucial modifier to the success chance of operations like Crackdown and Purge that we can take advantage of, and that’s being over the CP cap. When way over the CP cap, not only will your sworn enemy lose influence, their points will also be easier to crackdown and purge. So, how do we take advantage of this mechanic to throw the suicide cult out?

Taking Advantage of the Cap

As the game makes sure to tell us, being over our Control Point cap makes us lose influence and makes our interests easier to take over. This tends to scale up very fast: being over it by a little isn’t usually a big deal, but once we get over the number moderately or, god forbid, by a lot, we tend to start losing mountains of influence, and our nations become very easy to take.

However, the AI, just like you, won’t usually go very far over this limit. After all, it’s extremely detrimental to do so. They, like everyone else, would rather just sit near or slightly over the cap. So, how do we make them go over their cap? We can’t exactly hand them the USA and ask them to sit over their limit while we crackdown stuff.

The secret is in what determines the cap itself, and to an extent the order of operations. Aside from the base, the cap is determined by research and, crucially, the skills of your councilors. Theoretically, with max stats, councilors could provide an entire 450 control points by themselves. This is unrealistic, but it shows how impactful they are. Each point of command, persuasion, or administration will increase the point cap by one each, and orgs obviously affect this as well, meaning admin tends to return more than one point by the time you add in the stats of those orgs. Our plan is to lower their cap, rather than increase their current amount.

The plan is simple to conceptualize, but will require a coordinated effort from most of your councilors. First, aside from having agents with assassinate/detain and high espionage/investigation, we want a double agent, so that we know who to target and can easily target multiple agents in the same turn. This isn’t usually that hard to accomplish by mid-game. After they get that double agent, our persuader can go campaign to the masses in our target country, even if the effect of that is relatively low. It’s better than nothing

Next, we carry out a mass assassination, or detainment, of any high persuasion, administration, and/or command targets (including the double agent, if they’re very strong; if not, just wait until the AI figures it out and fires them, it won’t take long), combined with a high chance crackdown (influence investment recommended, even if it doesn’t show a change when doing it). The assassination/detainment will go through before the crackdown. This will cause the cap of the enemy to suddenly drop, as dead men provide no CP. In my experience (at the time of writing), the AI is often a bit slow to replace them/fire and replace them (often they won’t fire them at all), or even to abandon nations, and even if they aren’t, their replacements tend to be quite a bit weaker, leading to lower CP cap. With the enemy CP cap suddenly dropping, our crackdown (which should be targeted at points like the security apparatus first, and then the executive immediately after), will suddenly have a massively higher chance to succeed, leading to the picture in the introduction. From there, the follow up purge tends to be a lot easier: You can stack them together, but if your purger is busy shanking someone, that might not be an option.

The goal is to use this strategy to get the executive point after that first point is taken. We’ll then defend it, and instantly disarm the country’s nukes in the meantime if we don’t want to keep it. We can either continue the same strategy to get the rest of the points, or war the country, since the executive point has control of the nukes. In the latter case, the armies they still control will fight back, so keep that in mind. Obviously, make sure to keep control of the executive point, at least until you disarm the nukes, but preferably throughout the war, in case they want to fast track more.

After that, it’s up to you. Either develop it along with your other nations, or just abandon it and exploit it. With a country like China, even if you abandon it, it can still take a very long time for other factions to take control of it, and given you just lynched your rival’s entire council, they’ll probably lack the stats to easily take control any time soon.

Finishing Notes

Keep in mind that lynching the servants’ (and to a lesser extent the protectorate’s) agents repeatedly might piss off the aliens. I wrote this guide because I noticed several people asking about stealing control of these major nations. It’s designed to be difficult, strictly because stealing those big nations represents a huge power swing, whereas taking over some single point African nation isn’t likely to affect much. Seriously, I cut the servant’s mission control down to nine by flipping China in that game. Though difficult, it’s very much possible, if action heavy. Just make sure to check on your own nations during the operation, as it’s easy to forget about defending them when all your councilors are busy fighting over a nation like that. Similarly, you’re going to want to send your agents to ground afterwards, and generally play defensively with them. The AI will target you right back over such a blatant power move, after they’ve recovered with some decent agents.

You probably do want some maxxed out agents before attempting this too, because a low investigation crackdown is gonna suck in almost any case. You’ll also want a good store of influence and ops, which you tend to build up pretty high naturally over time. High investigation and espionage are, in particular, the big stats for this strategy, as well as persuasion to a lesser extent. If you intend to use war for the latter part of the strategy (which is usually easier and faster, since the AI’s point use will go down the more you oust them), you’ll obviously need some strong armies as well, because you won’t control every army of the nation you’re burning down, and a nation like China can pump out a new army every two bloody months.

It goes without saying, but if the faction in question has a lot of spare control points (which is very rare, especially if they own nations like China), then this strategy won’t work as well. On the flip side, that means they’re probably going to fall behind, so you should just wait until they work themselves up some more anyway.

There are some other ways to assist. In particular, the sanctioned investigations project will give you a plus 3, though if you have that tech and they take executive privilege (unlocked at the same global), you’re back to 0. maximum effort will let you shove more influence at the problem. These will assist with consistency and mean that you need to deal less damage to their CP cap, at the cost of having to spend research on them.

That’s all there is to it. Make sure you handle your new Chinese economy in the best way possible, as detailed below.

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4 Comments

  1. you can also hostile takeover their +admin orgs so they cant juice up their newly hired councillors as easily.

    • For sure. if you’ve still got hold of the intel, and have the time, getting your hands on their good orgs never hurts.

    • That’s basically how I felt when I worked it out in the middle of my game. I was just sitting there looking at China, weighing up that 0-2% crackdown chance, and then it hit me when I remembered how much my CP cap had fallen when my own councilors had been detained (from the four turn event detainments), or died. Felt genuinely good to weaponize the concept and have it work out as well as it did.

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