Supreme Ruler 2010 Updated Impressions

We get an updated look at this very ambitious wargame, which gives you supreme control over any nation on Earth.

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Supreme Ruler 2010 is a grand-scale wargame in every sense of the word. This aspiring offering will hand over to you the economic, political, and military reins of a modern-day nation to do with whatever you wish. Developer BattleGoat has been working steadily on the game for the past year, and we recently had a chance to check out the game's progress.

A naval task forces launches cruise missiles against Japanese targets.
A naval task forces launches cruise missiles against Japanese targets.

The game postulates a great depression that causes a global market crash, and, as a result, countries disintegrate into component pieces. Thus, France separates into a north and south, the 50 states of the United States go their separate ways, and so on. You'll take control of one of these newly formed nations, and then you'll have to forge your way. While the game won't feature every nation on Earth, it will cover the major continental regions, such as North America, Europe, and Asia.

Basically, as supreme ruler, you can try to do whatever you want, because you pretty much have ultimate control. Of course, there are limits, not the least of which is the fact that your government's survival rests with the happiness of its citizens. If you lead your nation into an economic quagmire, or if you lose a war, your popularity will dip. If your popularity falls too far, you'll be booted from office. While you're trying to stay in office, you'll have to deal with the myriad concerns that face all governments, like growing the economy, investing in its infrastructure, strengthening the military, spending money on health care and education, and so on.

While there's an immense amount of sheer strategic depth to the game (you can actually control mineral resources, taxes, trade policies, weapons research and construction, conscription, and more), the developer is trying to also make it accessible to its players. One way it's doing this is by relying on computer-controlled cabinet advisers. You can issue these cabinet members goals, and they'll do their best to work toward them. They'll also communicate to you via e-mail, and, oftentimes, if they make proposals, you can simply enact or decline them by clicking on the "yes" or "no" in the e-mail message. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that each cabinet member has a political ideology that ranges from conservative to moderate to liberal. As a result, each member's ideological belief may affect his or her job performance. So, for example, if you give a highly conservative cabinet member the job of reducing your military's size, he may drag his feet. Thus, you'll have to constantly juggle your cabinet to adapt to ever-changing governmental needs.

Combat is relatively simple in Supreme Ruler 2010. First you have to activate your units (most military units are held in a reserve state until needed). Once activated, simply select them, and click on your target. Then your units will move out and do their best to carry out your orders. You can call upon a wide arsenal of vehicles and equipment in the game, of which there are more than 1,600, the vast majority of which are drawn from the real world. These include F-14 fighters, M-1 tanks, Nimitz-class carriers, and so on. Since the game also projects its play into the future, there are some science fiction-based units at the end of the tech tree as well.

There are more than a thousand real-world military units on offer in the game.
There are more than a thousand real-world military units on offer in the game.

We had the opportunity to watch a French civil war unfold, with Marseilles (in the southern region of France) battling Paris (in the northern region). With a handful of clicks, the Marseilles ground forces went into action by battling against a Parisian salient in the middle of the once-united country. For air cover, the Marseilles forces constructed some forward airfields, from which Mirage fighters armed with air-to-surface missiles were able to operate. After hammering the Parisian forces, the Marseilles military pushed the northerners out of their territory. They then advanced and successfully captured Paris.

Needless to say, there's a lot going on in Supreme Ruler 2010, and it'll be interesting to see how such an ambitious game pans out. Supreme Ruler 2010 still needs some more work, but BattleGoat is looking to wrap up development on it within the coming months. The game is scheduled to ship sometime in March of 2005.

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