As a gamer I’ve faced countless nebulous organizations of morally ambiguous objectives and questionable methods. I’ve foiled evil plans galore, but I admit that, in between stopping goons, I’ve also stopped and wondered; how would I go about undermining the world’s power structures? Well thankfully we now have an answer to that within the new puzzle/strategy game Puppet Master: The Shadow Government Simulator.
Puppet Master: The Shadow Government Simulator allows players to become the Illuminati and slowly take over the world. Wearing it’s inspiration from games like Plague Inc. on its sleeve, the game starts on a world map, where players can select a nation and start infiltrating it. The game represents each country as a series of connected nodes. These represent the influential: celebrities, governors, generals, etc… The player’s mission is to capture these one by one until they are powerful enough to take on the leader of the region.
This is easier said than done. Each person has three stats which you can attack to convert them: bravery, charm and resources. In order to convince someone to join the Illuminati, you need to attack them with an ability that has a higher value in that stat. So for example, a banker with resources of level 3 can use ‘Bribe’ to convert a celebrity of resources 2. So far so good; where it gets complicated is that nodes will interact with those they are connected to, buffing/debuffing their allies. So for example, if the celebrity has a CEO buddy, then they might buff their stats via a ‘Stock Options’, protecting them from you. What this boils down to is that you’ll spend a lot of time managing who is connected to who and which abilities they have.
Because that is one other thing; you can choose which abilities each person has. After converting them they become sleeper units; it's up to you to decide when to activate them and equip their abilities. This is a really important step, as when they do so, they break all buffs they had with other factions and are under your direct control. There is a flip side; you only get to do it once. This means you have to be very careful on which abilities you need not just right now, but in the future. You don’t want to keep a thug with a Mugging ability, only to discover the rest of your targets are vulnerable in charm.
Puppet Master: The Shadow Government Simulator is an intriguing new take on strategy games, where information is much more important than might. Though still early in development, there are many new game-changing features planned in the kickstarter page. See ya in the geo-political chessboard!