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On December 13th, 2097, an asteroid approximately 1.5 km wide smashed into northwestern Wyoming with an estimated force of over four gigatons, spewing millions of tons of dust and debris into the atmosphere. Yet more significant, this cataclysmic event destabilized the super-volcanic region within what was Yellowstone National Park. The day immediately following the asteroids impact, the greatest volcanic eruption in at least 650,000 years compounded the magnitude of the calamity enormously. The global winter that ensued persists to the present day as sulfuric ash and soot continue to block out the suns radiation and contaminate fresh water sources. This new era in the history of humankind was called AGD: After the Global Disaster.
A perpetual state of anarchy and chaos ruled throughout the first five years of the new era. In 6 AGD however, a new regime in the form of a benevolent dictatorship-known as the Alliance of Governors-succeeded in reinstating relative order. In the 4th decade AGD, the Ultra-light Component Production (UCP) industry brought about a global economic revival while supplying pre-fabricated interlocking components for the construction of Globopolis, the global city in space. Today, hundreds of enormous complexes in geo- stationary National Space orbits above each territory on the planets surface comfortably sustain a population of over five million.
Despite the immeasurable loss of life on the planet that the radical climate change has caused, humankind has adapted to the challenges of the new environment far better than most had ever considered possible. Although life on the surface is generally limited to indoor activity due to the toxic ash in the air, most people live comfortably in interconnected UCP community housing complexes with hydrogen heating. When leaving their homes, people have a variety of transport possibilities including hydrogen powered cars and buses, maglev trains, planes and the Orbital Rocket Shuttle Service. Most communities have pre-fabricated subsistence greenhouse kits, complete with high yield, genetically engineered seeds, grow lamps, infrastructure, equipment and accessories, all conveniently provided by the two Independent Territories of Israel and India. Entertainment, communication, education and commerce are all conducted via the Supranet. Life goes on.
Globopolis is a highly interactive game of territorial acquisition, economic development and aggressive takeover. Imagine a Global-opoly game, with aspects of Risk and resources. Throw in Mission, OPs and Influence cards that players tactically employ against one another at opportune times for that surprise "trump" effect, and a unique and highly praised mechanic to take over opponents territories using 10, 8 and multiple 6-sided dice -- and you begin to get the idea. Add in Network Infiltration Agents for a slightly more complex level of play and employ some of the numerous rule variations as you like, and you're hooked! Globopolis does have a lot to it, and thats what makes it so much fun! For families and hardcore gamers alike, Globopolis is a game that enthusiasts can play countless times and still have a great time with over and over again, because every game is surprisingly different from the last.
This game is terrible. I love advanced games of all types from Risk, Civilization to Puerto Rico and Settlers, but this game is just plain bad. We spent about two+ hours trying to figure out the rules and just set up the game. Then playing it? Forget it! it was the bad parts of monopoly meets risk with everything done wrongly. By the way this game is based on the United Nations concept of the world and believe me, its skewed.
Leave this game alone. Spend your money elsewhere.
One of the toughest chores that I face as a reviewer of games is to deliver an unfavorable review. I know fully that the heart and soul of a designer has likely been poured into a project and it is, in a sense, his "baby". No one enjoys hearing criticism about his baby.
However, to me, truthfully reporting my opinion on a game is of utmost importance if my credibility is to be maintained. I write reviews primarily because I enjoy writing, but also because I do feel a sense of duty to truthfully report my perceptions of the games I play to other gamers and the general public. Some have suggested that only positive reviews should be published and if a game is not enjoyed, it is best that a review not be written. I disagree with this approach and feel that everyone deserves to be informed of the merits of a game, be they good or bad. To do less, in my opinion, would be a lapse of duty and an injustice.
That being said, I also suffer no illusions that my opinion is the only opinion. Indeed, I fully urge anyone who reads reviews or reports I may write to also read the reports and reviews of other trusted individuals. I wouldn't want anyone basing their game purchases on my opinions alone.
This is a game built around a story. In the not too distant future, a large asteroid strikes the earth, causing massive volcanic eruptions. The disaster is cataclysmic and results in a global winter, with sulfuric ash and soot blocking out the rays of the sun and contaminating the earth's fresh water resources. After years of chaos, order is finally restored and man develops ways to adapt to this harsh new environment. The result is Globopolis -- the global city in space that helps support life and allows man to continue to survive and develop.
Certainly, this makes for interesting science-fiction and could conceivably make for an entertaining board game. Sadly, this game has its roots solidly set in the tired old system used in Monopoly. Perhaps the fact that the name of the game was originally known as Globopoly should have provided us a clue.
To be clear, the game is much more than Monopoly. Many layers have been added to the system, giving the game far more options and a more aggressive nature. The question, though, is this: do the additional layers make the game more interesting than Monopoly and make it more fun to play? Well, they certainly add quite a bit of complexity and decision-making, but at the cost of a more confusing and difficult game to learn. This is not going to be a game that your average family can learn and play without considerable difficulty. Given a choice, I'd likely choose to play Globopolis over Monopoly, but hopefully my choices wouldn't be limited to just those two games, as both games pale in comparison to the abundance of German-style games available on the market. One can't help but get the distinct feeling that the designer's main exposure to games was Monopoly and similar designs.
The board depicts a globe with 64 individual spaces divided into four quadrants, with a scoring track running along the outer edge. The spaces themselves are each color-coded and labeled with the names of countries, guilds or special game locations. Most locations have a corresponding Title card which lists that territory's starting resources, cost to develop and income should someone land on that territory. Unlike Monopoly, the color-groups are not all adjacent, but rather several are scattered at various points around the board.
The game begins with each player being dealt the Titles to several territories, the exact number being dependent upon the number of players. Players set one of their plastic bases onto each of their territories and place the starting resource cubes onto these bases. These cubes come in five colors representing water, food, energy, Ultralight Component Production (UCP's) and Network Security Units (NS-Units). They are tiny plastic cubes, 1/4" in diameter and are designed to stack together, similar to the popular Lego blocks. The bases have space for two separate rows of cubes, as well as a row for the wider economic development units. Players ultimately strive to possess two complete sets of all five resources on a territory as this allows for economic development of that territory, which improves income and victory points.
In addition to the Titles, players also begin the game with cards and agent pieces. The cards come in three varieties: Ops, Influence (think of these as Events) and Missions.
Unlike Monopoly, territories you own are not secure in Globopolis and they can come under assault with regularity. The 'Ops' cards and the agent pieces come in here. These assaults are resolved by rolling dice -- lots of them -- with a basic advantage to the defender but many modifiers on both sides.
The game is played until a pre-set victory point limit is achieved, or until someone achieves the requirements listed on one of their Mission cards. The round is completed, giving each player an equal number of turns and a chance to achieve victory. Barring the situation wherein multiple players achieve special Mission card victory conditions, then the player with the most victory points, or the player who achieved their Mission card victory conditions, is victorious.
All of our games have clocked in at between 60 and 90 minutes, which is not a bad time frame. Victory points are fairly easy to earn, so there is a steady progression towards the required total. Further, since attacks have been relatively rare in the games I played, the loss of victory points is also rare.
So, with several playings under my belt, what is my assessment? Is the game worth playing? If you are a fan of Monopoly and are interested to investigate other possibilities with that core mechanism, then Globopolis may certainly be worth a look. It certainly adds many layers to that game system, but with corresponding layers of difficulty and, often, confusion. Although the rules are presented in an eye-pleasing, artistic manner, there are gaps and ambiguities. The average family would likely become extremely confused and frustrated when attempting to learn and play the game. Just think about how widespread the rules misinterpretations and blatant errors are in a game as relatively simple as Monopoly. Globopolis is at a much higher level in terms of complexity and this could likely deter the average family from making the effort to learn and play the game.
The designer has stressed that the game can be considered a 'kit', with owners free to design their own rules and variants to suit their tastes. I have no problem with this concept, but do have concerns when the game itself has ambiguities and gaps. The average family simply will not take the time or effort to fill in these gaps on their own. They, as do gamers, want a game that is playable right out of the box -- one that is easy to understand and fully developed. Anything less is bound to disappoint.
On top of the rules gaffes and complexity of the game system, however, is the fact that the game just doesn't measure up to the fun, excitement and ingenuity offered by many, if not most, contemporary games. In spite of some clever new ideas and layers, the game has that familiar feel to it. I guess as long as Monopoly continues to sell hundreds of thousands of games each year, there will be designers who have the urge to tinker with the game's system and offer new variants using that tired, old mechanism. I, for one, grew weary of that system years ago and have since moved on to better, more exciting designs and games.
I can't end without mentioning the marketing efforts being used to promote Globopolis. For years, I've been hammering game companies for their lack of creativity in the promotion of their games. The term "thinking out of the box" has been vastly over-used by corporations and groups, but it certainly fits here. Mike Lasher and his team have been creative, innovative and aggressive in their marketing efforts. Sadly, I just wish there was a better game in the package he is promoting.