Tuesday 12 November 2013

Neocolonialism: Greed Drives The World Upside-Down

Neocolonialism is a turn based strategy game to come out from Subaltern Games. This game has a decent tutorial that takes you through everything you might need to know. The mechanics are pretty straight forward so the fun is pretty accessible to most people.

This game is designed for you to manipulate the world in a strategic way and gain power through money. The games are played online against other people. You point is to be the one with the most money at the end. You do this through a system of 12 turns.
Each turn having 3 parts.
  1. Buy votes from different areas around the world. Your goal here is to elect Prime Ministers. These PMs are your fellow players. You want to work with them, making secret deals to try and rise in power.
  2. Afterwords the goal is for the PMs to select certain policies. These policies are for expanding the economy through means such as building factories or making mines, upgrading those mines or making trade agreements? This is done by the PMs making the proposal to the other players who then vote on whether they want to let the bill run it's course or reject the PM.
  3. At this stage the game chooses one of the players as they take control of the international monetary fund (IMF) of the world and then make a decision. The game allows every player to get a turn at this.
The game itself is described as a 'Marxist strategy game for 1-6 players' according to Seth Alter who has been the main driving force in the games production. Different elements such as natural disasters can cause the game to create drastic and unexpected changes which set you or another player back.

The map is upside-down giving the player a sense that they might be looking at a different world. Though this could be symbolic of how politics plays a role in spinning the world around in a perspective that suits certain people. As a result the upside-down orientation express that the world is not as it may seem.

The premise of the game involves a lot of communication between players to make deals other don't know about and see how well the relationships you make work in your favour. Though everyone has to play with a sense of greed and selfishness because the way to win is to have the most money. The idea that other have discussed secretly and may make decision to your detriment or against you specifically is all a representation of how politicians have to do their work. 

The message seems to be; the more power you posses the better you are in life due to your ability to manipulate people.

It's a scary one but as stated in the trailer, "ruin everything."

Seth hopes this game will be, 'a forerunner for what I hope will be a new paradigm for educational games' and for now is available on his website/ Amazon for $10.


He stated in a blog post he first intended the game to require an account to play an of the modes. Since then he has announce a no-DRM policy. He will no longer hold up these restrictions and allow people to play offline without having to sign in. He stated that because of his one man studio business he would really need all the sales he could get and making sure his revenue was coming to him was of high importance. Though he elaborated that DRM seems to directly imply a mistrust between the developer and customer, so he stayed away in the end.

The game is also on Greenlight (which will have the obligatory Steam DRM if it gets passed through there). This is if for some reason you want to use Steam... beats me.

Sources: RockPaperShotgun, Subaltern Games,

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