This, without a doubt is the best Verzinsky game on NG. Great animated characters, extremely satisfying execution animations, intuitive strategic gameplay, excellent dictatorship simulator!
In this game one must make cold calculated decisions but the player is always tempted to err on the side of emotion and personal beliefs when judging his people. On the other hand emotions make you able to emphasize with how your judgement will be received by society so it can also be helpful - therefore the amazing an unique gameplay that requires both reason, empathy and intuition.
The game is not perfect trough. Sadly most authors don't ever finish and polish their 3 day contest submissions and Verzinsky, sadly, is no exception. What a waste of great potential! This game suffers from some unfinished design and balance issues, which do not permit me to give this the perfect rating a game with such unique gameplay would deserve if made without hurry.
A few things the game should have added to to be perfect if only Verzinsky would actually love his games himself and would have spent another day or to to tweak it up:
- Better explanation of rules
- Balanced resources, for now Iron is the least useful as it is not used in buying army units, it merely exists to trade with other resources.
- Balanced social classes - as it is now it seems that Politicians are too hard to calm down once they start to protest, while it might be so by design, it certainly looks very asymmetrical.
- Fullscreen mode would be nice
- Animated custom cursor instead of the boring windows default arrowhead would be nice.
- The potentially gamebreaking bug when answering phone straight after clicking on a prisoner can freeze the game must be solved.
For things that are great - I really like the animations of characters, how the dictator mouse smokes very much similarly to it's Georgian historical prototype and how the Vulture falls to sleep and then quickly wakes up and hands phone so very politely and carefully - very well animated characters. The execution animations are also well made and fun to watch.
For those who struggle with this game I want to give some tips which helped me to win. I am still not sure about all the mechanics but general guidelines are like this:
- You start at dark red island in north center.
- To win the game you must conquer about half the map.
- You can lose if your resources are low (more then two negative resources is a loss apparently).
- You lose of any social class has levels of unrest about 70 (you can check that precise number in report from Vulture, but you can get a pretty good idea about that from the amount of people protesting in red square on left side of map.
- Working class people have orange uniforms (both those waiting sentence and protesting in red square)
- Rich people have blue uniforms (both those waiting sentence and protesting in red square)
- Politicians have grey uniforms (both those waiting sentence and protesting in red square)
- When you buy units from the bulldog each unit has two prices. Pink is the price of food and yellow is the price of gold. Note that infantry requires only food. The more powerful the unit the more it starts to require gold and less food, but food is still always required and it will be more in deficit then gold for most of game.
- I am not sue how conquering works but it seems that a mix of units work better. If you don't send enough units you will lose all of the. If you send medium amount of units you will get some resources back, but you will lose all the units. Generally those resources are not enough to buy back the units you lost, you will be able to instantly buy back only arounf half your army sent. If you send plenty of units you will conquer the country and get all their resources, but still lose all the units you sent. With those resources you will be able to buy back around 75% of your army, but the most important thing is you have conquered a country and moved closer to victory. Conquering can also help with your popularity.
- To conquer any country it is enough to send about 50 infantry units, 15 bikes, 15 trucks, 15 tanks, 15 planes. If you send a few missiles too, you might only send 10 of bikes/trucks/tanks/planes. I always attacked only countries that bordered mine so I don't know what happens if you illogically attack the most far away country. All countries seem to have about the same military power.
- Executing people produces food which is important to buy military units.
- Sending people to gulag produces iron, but this is the least useful resource, it is not directly spent on military units. It can be used to trade for other resources. It is enough to send a few people to gulag early on to have stable iron production and then only refresh gulag population from time to time, bet generally aside from the very start of the game either forgiving or executing people is more beneficial then sending them to gulag.
- Gold is mainly obtained by accepting propositions from ministers (pigs and boars) to get gold by harming either working people or rich people. Only raise gold when the social class it says it will affect (harm) has low levels of protest.
- All resources can be traded by answering phone calls. You can click on any unconquered country on map and call them yourself, but the offer is random. The only limitations are resources that country has so if you need let's say food you should phone country that has a lot of food, but still it is not certain they will want to trade food.
-You should never sell more of any resource then you have. Check with report if you are not sure how much you have. This is especially true about Gold. If you go into negative Gold then ministers (pigs) will offer negative sums of gold for harming a social class. This is probably a bug, but what it means is that you will be able to get out of gold debt only by a lucky trade deal and sometimes it will never come when you need it.
- Food is generally worth 10 times more then gold. Any amount of iron can be used to acquire other two resources depending on what you need.
- Generally it is a good guideline to execute all rapists, send all murders to gulag and pardon everyone else, but sometimes you need to make exceptions if a certain social class is already protesting in great numbers. Generally all classes will calm down if your punish/cases ratio is below 50% except for politicians. That ratio is very fluid trough and depends also on your attitude to other classes and your social policies (pig offers). Politicians will be very demanding and will require a ratio below 20% as soon as you sentence more then two of them. However if you never sentence a politician, other classes will be harder to calm down. Since I don't believe that marital rape is a real thing, I usually also forgive rapists of wives and husbands and sometimes also murderers and rapists of old people to get a ratio that satisfies classes. Politicians demand more forgiveness then rich people, who demand more forgiveness then working class. In this regard the game is darkly realistic. If you have a lot of politicians and rich people protesting, then sometimes executing working class for murders or smaller crimes like thefts and exploitation can also be adequate to raise more food and buy armies. Conquering other countries can make you more popular so sometimes to calm people down you paradoxically need to execute a lot of them (safest to do so with workers) to raise food and buy an army.
I had a lot of fun trying to figure this game out and playing it. I wish Verzinsky would make more this type of deep strategy games and would take time to polish them instead of spitting out boring rushed jam nongames.