SR 2010 is packed with classroom facts. The geography is outstanding with over 200 starting regions from around the world played on maps modeled from NASA satellite imagery that include major cities. In addition to national regions, SR 2010 contains US scenarios that pit various states in the USA against each other. Again, the states contain numerous real cities. Natural resources such as coal and oil are located on the map in the same regions that they occur in the real world. Resources that are not plentiful in the gamer’s region can be acquired directly from other regions, by trade, or sometime acquired on the world market.
The focus of SR 2010 is managing a region, and numerous real world governmental concepts are part of the game. For example, a player desiring more income from its taxpayers is not limited to merely more or less taxes. The treasury minister has a click window for taxation that leads to 8 individual types of taxation, (income, sales, corporate, etc.), that can be individually increased or decreased, and some of those have subdivisions that can also be adjusted individually. Another example of governmental concepts appears in the social services window found under the minister of interior. It offers a choice of 8 items, (health care, education, environment, etc.), that can be individually adjusted to receive more or less government support.
Six ministers are provided to organize information and to assist the game player with managing their regions. For the new player, ministers handle the details while the game player learns the game. The more SR 2010 is played the deeper the player goes in understanding regional management and the economics and civics concepts behind the game. Information boxes pertaining to the ministers are filled with bar charts, percentages and statistics.
For those game players interested in the military, SR 2010 uses real word weapons and weapons concepts.
Creativity & Imagination
By the Player
The vast number of options available to the game player for control of their regional economy offer plenty of room for a personalized strategy. Sometimes the game contains designer notes that recommend a strategy to win a given scenario, but with so many options available to the game player, there are always alternatives. Part of the fun of the game is to try different strategies in the same region, to see which work better. As the player develops their region, they have wide control over where to locate industrial, civilian and military structures. The game player can set the priorities of the ministers from lists of policies. Minster decisions can be prioritized, specifically selected and if the player desires, locked. In summary, other than the geography and starting economy of the player’s region, almost everything else is up to the player.
By the Developers
Battlegoat Studios projects a possible future world where the economic collapse of the United States, global warming, energy shortage and other events have fractured most of the nations in today’s world into smaller competing units. The task of the game player is to unify a section or all of humanity through superior leadership. Much of the developer creativity in Supreme Ruler 2010 is behind the scenes, in the game engine that successfully relates the many variables in regional economy management. Where that creativity becomes most apparent is in the information boxes and control windows that make it possible for the game player to deal with the complexity of running a region of the world.
Supreme Ruler 2010 scores well in the area of business skills because at its core the game is a simulation of a world region’s economy. As the game progresses, the game player’s region is constantly acquiring and spending wealth. The balance of the region’s treasury is continually displayed on an information bar at the top of the screen. If the treasury falls below zero, projects and important government activities shut down. If the treasury rises, then more money is available to strengthen the economy or if the gamer desires, to build more weapons. Also on the top bar is a number that represents the domestic approval rating of the game player’s government. When the citizens are unhappy it can hurt the economy, and pleasing citizens costs money. Depending upon the victory conditions of the game, domestic approval can make the difference between victory or defeat, so adequate spending on the populace is very important.
Money can be acquired in simple ways, such as increasing the income tax on the citizens, or in complicated ways such as in foreign trade where almost anything a nation controls can be traded in completely variable amounts including treaties, commodities, weapons, research and cash in a lump sum or paid over time. Trade is one of the strongest business skills in Supreme Ruler. Trade offers are composed from a user friendly screen that makes it easy to offer all kinds of deals to another region, even offering sections of land.
Money can be also be acquired through loans and by issuing bonds which are available through the department of treasury. Economic concepts such as inflation rate and unemployment rate are built into the game and displayed in the treasury window.
SR 2010 has a handy interface for diplomacy. There are eight categories of diplomatic exchange, including treaties, finance, products, military units, missiles, unit designers, scientific research and tagged land. Within each category is a list of choices. For example, click treaties and a list 14 options appears ranging from criminal extradition through formal alliance. It is not required that trades be equal. Any combination of any of the options can be exchanged for any combination of what the other region has. This leads to wheeling and dealing, especially in human against human multiplayer games. There are seven levels or styles of approach that can be selected when offering a diplomatic exchange, ranging from threatening to pleading, and most diplomatic exchange offers can be composed by easy point and click from user friendly windows. Counteroffers are just as simple to compose. Diplomatic exchange makes it easy for allies to execute common strategies by sharing resources, money and military units, all of which can be freely exchanged in unequal amounts.
Supreme Ruler 2010 presents one big interconnected problem, how to run a region of the world amidst other competing regions. The game can be played in real time or turn based. The game player has ministers to assist, but the game player is ultimately responsible for success or failure. Essentially, the game player in a real time game must multitask all the aspects of running the region, including the decision of how much latitude to give their ministers, who themselves can be replaced. Regions begin with economic and military shortcomings that must be addressed early on, and at the same time the game player must begin to plan how they will strengthen their economy. While the player is improving their economy a neighboring region may construct a new military base near the common boarder. E-mails arrive from ministers and the world market announces current events and sometimes making offers to the game player or the game player’s opponents. In the background, other regions are offering diplomatic exchange, not just with the player, but with each other, growing stronger. The game player must constantly weigh changing events and decide how or whether to respond. Is the treasury rising or falling? Is public approval rising or falling? Supreme Ruler 2010 is constant problem solving, initiating strategy, considering responses and adjusting to constantly changing conditions.
The manual states that Supreme Ruler 2010 is "the most detailed model of a country that has ever been commercially produced," based not on showing roads and cities, but by having the player run what makes a county work - "its economy." Without question, this game is a superb simulation. The concepts of nation building can be grasped and applied without too much difficulty, and a game player can learn why one strategy works and another fails, and in the process learn a little about the world. The maps are great with accurate land formations and real city names. By playing Supreme Ruler the game player can get an appreciation for the economies underlying different regions of the world and gain a sense of just how disparate some regions of the world are economically, and how challenging it can be to improve their situations.
Supreme Ruler 2010 is a popular game, but in this category its strengths are also its weaknesses. Players who enjoy strategy games and want the experience of running a real national economy based on real economics and to engage in combat using real weaponry rate Supreme Ruler 2010 very high. Game players who lack the patience to learn the depth of the game, or who are not interested in that much depth prefer simpler games with less reality. On our part, GRADE did not find SR 2010 overly difficult to learn to play well enough to have fun, embrace the challenge of running a nation and learn a few real lessons about world domination. We let our ministers carry the load while we learned to play by reading the manual and experimenting. A tutorial is built into the game that is lean, but the manual is excellent. Supreme Ruler 2010 contains numerous screens and concepts, but the more the game is played the more it all makes sense and the easier it becomes to execute chosen strategies to dominate and unify the fractured world.
Critics comment on the quality of the graphics. Mechanically, the graphics are fine. They just aren’t state of the art eye popping. Critics also comment on the lack of music. Video game music is getting better and better, and some critics expect a good sound track in every video game. While good music is always a plus, we found playing Supreme Ruler in real time so engrossing that we forgot there was no music and we didn’t really miss it.
SR 2010 contains optional nonviolent victory conditions.
Controls & Options
SR 2010 has five levels of difficulty, speed settings and turn based play option.
It is difficult to imagine playing Supreme Ruler 2010 without learning something practical about the real world. Anyone who plays will be exposed to a considerable amount of educational content, especially classroom type facts. We recommend this game for individuals who like strategy games with detail, who like games about the real world, and who would enjoy the challenge of building a real nation into a powerhouse that dominates all competing nations, either through superior economics or military conquest. SR 2010 is one of GRADE’s highest rated games for 2005.