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Posted on Oct 9, 2008 in Electronic Games

Supreme Ruler 2020 – PC Game Review

By Jim Cobb

Playing a campaign is the equivalent of a stay in a monastery; players will be stuck there for awhile and will be devoted to their goals. Players must be involved in and watch over all eight departments while answering email from ministers and other countries. Also, the UN is an overall player that can sanction bad countries and support their prey. Whether playing either of the two campaigns maps with one of the ten victory conditions, the first order of business is tranquility and sufficiency on the domestic front. Then, the military comes into play.

Units are divided into four types: land, naval, air and missile. Units are battalion, squadron and single ships, each rated for the usual factors such as experience and morale, along with any special capabilities. Forces are either active or in the cheaper reserve mode. Deploying troops from reserve requires time for them to reach top efficiency. Players will do well to use this “spin-up” time to do espionage on targets and to make treaties of alliance and transit to secure borders. Long-term thinking includes improving transit and facilities to assure ample supply when the balloon goes up.


Combat is made easier by creating “hotspots” at vital locations; the defense minister will rush available units there. Single units can be selected with a click while multiple units are ordered through the “lasso” technique. Selected units are sent orders via an extensive list including several kinds of attack, patrol and repair. Given the multiplicity of weapon platforms, fog of war and garrisons, the usual RTS “bum’s rush” tactics won’t succeed. Play speed should be set at the lowest and combined arms operations planned. Air and sea transport can yield a wild set of possibilities. The AI is canny.

Complex as Supreme Ruler 2020 is, flaws are apparent. The numerous choices and information from departments and other nations force players to click and pause frequently to stay up to date. Treaties cannot be cancelled unilaterally and diplomacy allows no threats short of war. Multi-player mode is most vexing as no documentation for it exists and the contact screen is confusing. Basic common chat features are absent, forcing players to ALT TAB back to instant messaging services or use voice communicators. Saving multi-player games is not possible, so up to 16 players better have large amounts of time and food at hand to finish a long game.

This game borders on greatness. The short scenarios are fast, clever and exciting. Campaign games require patience and thought. These long games can become tedious for the average player. Some of the problems may be fixed with future patches. If they are, Supreme Ruler 2020 should give insight into an uncertain, possibly bleak, future.

Armchair General Score: 79%


ACG Intel

Supreme Ruler 2020

BattleGoat Studios

Paradox Interactive

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