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The game to end all games. Supremacy takes you into the world of international trade and military strategy. Supremacy mirrors the global tension of the real world. It's your chance of a lifetime to find out what it's like to be the leader of a Superpower, with the opportunity to conquer the world through economic, political, and military power.
With Supremacy as each player's goal, the build-up of resources begins as players open companies, buy and sell in the market and among themselves, and borrow if need be from the bank. Resources and cash are used to amass costly power--armies, navies and nuclear weapons. The chill of the cold war is soon felt when the first nuke is built, then the other players find no comfort, until each has one too. The race is on--even into space.
Winning the game by Supremacy does not necessarily mean nuclear catastrophe. Indeed, that player is ranked a "5-star general" who triumphs over all his opponents without resorting to the use of nukes.
In Supremacy there's a time to buy and a time to sell, a time to build weapons and a time to attack. Everything is done in order, but as a Superpower leader it's up to you to shape the world rather than be shaped by it.
Supremacy Games Incorporated
Players: 2 - 6
Weight: 1,885 grams
Average Rating: 3.8 in 2 reviews
Sometimes I describe this game as Risk + Diplomacy on steroids. But it is much more than that. The board is divided into territories which correspond to geopolitical and strategic zones resembling the Earth. Each player plays the part of 1 super power and attempts to achieve world domination while avoiding nuclear apocalypse ("coup final" where all players lose.).
Many of the flaws of previous version of the game are indeed corrected in the final v.3.0 rules. (the board and pieces are identical in all versions). The Market can still fluctuate a great deal however as players must take turns selling no more than only 1 resource each, the element of luck is reduced. No more can a lucky die roll earn 36 Billion dollars for a single player. The result is still not 100% realistic but is abstract enough and fair enough not to interfere with the main part of the game which is the strategic planning and warfare itself.
The strategic options here for how to win are deep range from trying to drive your opponents bankrupt via an every accelerating arms race and market cartels, laying siege to an opponents territories, opportunistic warfare when a player overreaches and spreads themselves too thin, taking numerous calculated risks based on your superior understanding of statistics, probabilities and one's estimation of the other players' readiness to attack or erroneously commit units to defend territories which are not important to you, to leave the territories you need vulnerable.
One great element to the rules is the simultaneous nature of play. Each turn is broken up into phases and generally every player has something they can do in every phrase.
This game has all the sophistication of the best collectible miniature or card games without the need that every single player invest in their own pieces.
My only real criticism is that this game can take many hours to play. But there is no tedium involved. Rather you can start a game, and spend 6 hours playing and feel that every move you've made was critically important.
I believe a basic understanding of modern world history and global events will greatly enhance one's enjoyment. Also anyone who enjoys tweaking rules has plenty of opportunity for that here, as the map and pieces are fairly agnostic, and many players have come up with their own house rules. This is also why the original game was able to support so many optional expansions easily.
Excluding chess, this is literally the last board game I ever played. Once I played Supremacy no other game would do.
I am a big fan of this game, and over the past decade, have collected all of the expansions for this game. This game has taken on a cult following among gamers, ever since it announced itself in the mid-80s. People either love it or hate it. For the purpose of this review, I will be referring only to the Basic Game.
To be successful in this game, you must be very adept at resource management, negotiation, and strategy. To neglect even one portion of this three pronged feat would spell certain doom. Each player controls a near-future Superpower (the game was designed in the 80's), which includes the USA (yay!), the USSR, China, a unified Europe, a confederated South American continent, and a conglomeration of African states not completely controlling all of its continent. Canada, Central America, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Australia all fall into the 'neutral' catagory and the superpowers control their few client states for added resources.
Everyone pushes hard to build their war-machines, but such machines need money and resources. There is a world market in which Minerals, Oil, and Grain are produced and traded. Each superpower usually produces a balanced set. On the roots of these resources, Superpowers can build Armies, Navies, Nuclear Missiles, and L-Stars (Laser Satellites/SDI).
Not everything is about guns and money. The options are so varied, and the opponents so easily matched, that the world quickly desolves into mutual defense pacts and an 'Us vs. Them' situation. Because of market fluctuations or a hiccup in the supply of resources, somebody can become weaker than the rest, and someone will risk stepping up to squash their neighbor, and war ensues.
The nukes fly and the board turns into an orgy of conflict. Does everyone back down before the world is turned into a cold nuclear winter?
This game has many flaws; the market jumps up and down as players buy and sell massive amounts of resources, nuclear winter can make it so no one wins, and strategy sometimes comes down to being able to overwhelm your enemy with numbers. Regardless of any shortcomings, I am easily a fanatic of this game. You will not find another game like it, and I haven't after 15 years of searching.
Expansion sets include an additional set of resource cards, fortuna to include random natural disasters, warlords and pirates of the neutral zone so that it is a little harder to push around those little countries, unconventional forces to include assassins, spies, saboteurs, generals, admirals, and chemical, biological, and environmental weapons, nuclear submarines, main battle tanks, neutron bombs and anti-satellite satellites, middle powers (to include Canada and Australia as players 7 and 8), Hi-Tech Edge stepped technological advancement for Strategic and Conventional weapons, a Mega-Map (which expands the territories), and the Colonial Legions and Merchant Marines. All of the expansions are collectively called 'Mega-Supremacy' and it falls into the realm of other ber-games like Star Fleet Battles.
I play this game whenever I get the chance and if you love a large variety of games, whether they be trading games, negotiation games, or pure strategy games, you will find this game to be very worthwhile.