Offworld Trading Company: There won’t be blood, just mining and corporate takeovers

Soldiers? Tanks? Irrepressible insectoid hordes? In Offworld Trading Company you have none of these things. It’s an RTS with a purely economic focus. Instead of micromanaging troops to perform large scale battles, here your weapon is money, and your shield a soaring stock price. Think of it as a Daniel Plainview simulator, sans the deaf son and milkshake analogies.

At the start of each skirmish, you’re in a race for land scanning the martian surface for tasty minerals. Each of the four factions require a slightly different set of resources to function. Expansionists, for instance, need plenty of food. Robots? Not so much. That defines much of the early land-grab, but there’s still plenty of squabbling over the best tiles. To upgrade an HQ, all factions need iron and aluminium, and a factory to turn them into steel. You also need power, which means placing generators.

The problem is you can only claim five tiles before your first upgrade. You’ll never be completely autonomous, and so much of the game involves buying and selling goods, and manipulating the market in order to do both effectively. With no direct fighting, victory is secured by earning enough money to buy out all of your competitors’ stock. They, naturally, are also buying up yours. Offworld Trading Company is currently available on Steam Early access, with a full release planned for sometime next year.

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