Dots of War… Supreme Ruler: Cold War

By Richard Cobbett on July 19th, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

Hey, I can see my house from up here. And nuke yours. So watch it!

Giving me control over either the US or USSR in the middle of the Cold War would probably be a bad idea. Not only am I the worst RTS player in the history of the universe, I just don’t think I’d be able to resist the temptation of launching a few nukes to see if I could draw a big smiley face in the middle of Utah. If you’ve got the patience and tactical thinking required to take the job on though, Paradox’s Supreme Ruler: Cold War is out today. Very scary trailer follows.

I can safely say that this is the tensest battle between little red dots and pink dots I’ve ever witnessed. The opening scene of pink dots surrounding America is genuinely terrifying, if they’re the enemy, otherwise probably quite comforting. After that, it looks like the world has come down with an attack of measles, which the player is very capably taking care of by clicking buttons. That’s good. Looks like this is all under control, and now the little dots are-

Oh, they’re tanks… Well, that makes much more sense.

I have a headache already. But if you don’t, Cold War gives you full control over either the USSR or US in full campaigns, with other nations in the Sandbox mode, and up to 16 smarter people than me can fight it out at once. Or stare at each other in passive aggressive ways, without ever quite coming to blows. Either way, much clicking will undoubtedly be involved.

Supreme Ruler: Cold War is out today, but don’t look for it in shops – not yet. Physical copies will be available on the 22nd, but it’s launching via digital distribution (although at the time of writing, hadn’t actually gone live, so you might want to check back in a few hours.)

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50 Comments »

  1. Ryan Huggins says:

    The trailer is actually a little scary…!

  2. Real Horrorshow says:

    I’ve always wanted a cold war strategy game on this scale, but it just looks lame. Like all Paradox games, I feel like I’m having nothing to do with a war. Just a bunch of sprites moving around and excel spreadsheets. Except now the sprites have been downgraded to dots.
    What someone needs to do is combine a much more complex of Total War and World in Conflict with more units.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      Well, that’s why it’s called grand strategy.

    • circadianwolf says:

      “Like all Paradox games, I feel like I’m having nothing to do with a war. Just a bunch of sprites moving around and excel spreadsheets. Except now the sprites have been downgraded to dots.”

      Well, in terms of fighting wars on a strategic level rather than tactical… that’s probably accurate.

    • Vinraith says:

      Like all Paradox games

      This isn’t a Paradox developed game.

    • Real Horrorshow says:

      @circadianwolf – I’m aware thats all the game strives for, but something like this needs to give me some kind of connection to the battles for it to be interesting. When all it is is menus, I don’t care about the outcome. I want to be able to see the units on the battlefield and hopefully control them.

      I can’t think of anything less dramatic than a flag icon disappearing from a geopolitical map of west Africa.

      @Vinraith – They sure fooled me then. Paradox games are still lame, though.

    • IDtenT says:

      Oh no you di’int! Did you just call the most epic of games ever, lame? Lame!? I’ve clearly spent hundreds of hours being lame. :<

    • Caleb367 says:

      Dude, you don’t want a grand strategy game. You want Battlefield.

    • durns says:

      “I’ve always wanted a cold war strategy game” – but you’re not asking for this. Going down to battle level would make it a ‘tactical’ game. That’s fine, and would probably be great, but its not fair to criticize an apple for not being enough like a scooter.

    • Real Horrorshow says:

      - I don’t want Battlefield. Where did you get that from? I clearly explained what I wanted: a cold war and more complex Total War with the real time battles.
      - I never said people who like Paradox games are lame.
      - What you said durns is completely ridiculous. I’m not allowed to criticize the game? I’m not a reviewer employed by a website or a magazine, it’s not my job to objectively criticize every game. It looks boring to me, and I explained what something like this would need to get me interested. It doesn’t interest me and I explained why. How is that not valid? And of course, like the other guy, you completely missed the part where I said I wanted the turn based strategy game, just with tactical battles tied to it to make me care about the dots.
      Jesus Christ, RPS. Stop being goddamn obtuse.

    • runtheplacered says:

      @Real Horrorshow ,

      What durns is saying is absolutely correct. you’re asking for this game to be something that it has absolutely no intention of being. A more accurate analogy would be to say that you’re asking for a Final Fantasy 13 when it’s Lords of the Realm.

      “And of course, like the other guy, you completely missed the part where I said I wanted the turn based strategy game”

      We saw that… and we also saw where you said you wanted world in conflict in there. Did you forget you mentioned that game or something? That right there changes everything about a grand strategy game and would make absolutely no sense. Sounds fun, but that’s not THIS genre. Instead of claiming that a handful of people are being obtuse when you’re barely paying attention (apparently) maybe you should not.

    • studenteternal says:

      The problem I see is that you did not say “I find paradox games too dry and abstract to enjoy, though they are well made for what they are” you said “paradox games are lame.” Those of us who enjoy grand strategy games, and are happy to abstract the actual fighting to my generals (as I tend to start doing for any except especially important battles in total war.) do not appreciate being told that the games we enjoy are “lame.”
      So, if you are trying to share your opinion on a review site, please take more care with generalizations or expressing subjective qualifiers without qualifying that that they are in fact subjective. If of course you are just being a filthy low life troll, then well done I guess.

      edit: forgot to close a quote and wrong ‘to’

  3. WMain00 says:

    MY GOD! DOTS! DOTS EVERYWHERE! AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE!!!

    • imirk says:

      Cry havoc and let slip the dots of war.

      Except they aren’t dots they’re flags, right well no matter

  4. Vinraith says:

    Paradox’s Supreme Ruler: Cold War

    Just a note for those not in the know, Paradox is the publisher here, not the developer. The developer is Battlegoat studios, who also made the previous two Supreme Ruler games.

    I mention this only because I’ve always been a huge fan of Paradox’s strategy games, but never much cared for Supreme Ruler.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Second that. Actually, I’m gonna wait and see how this one turns out. The mere thought of this concept – a grand strategy game set in Cold War era – is more than enough to make me giggle like a schoolgirl, but having bought and played thoroughly both Supreme Ruler 2010 AND 2020, and having found them both disappointing (broken economy + poor AI), and seeing like this one looks like a modded SR2020, I’m gonna be extra careful before coughing up the bucks.

  5. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Richard: “… I just don’t think I’d be able to resist the temptation of launching a few nukes… ”

    Don’t worry Richard, it’s normal human behavior. I mean, what’s the first thing you do when playing a flight sim? Crash your plane, of course.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yes, sometimes even deliberately!

    • Real Horrorshow says:

      The first thing I do is turn off the engine and try to glide land the plain in a grass field. Which usually results in the destruction of the airplane. So you are correct.

    • westyfield says:

      Nah, I find the nearest bridge and fly under it. Failing that, I see how fast and low I can fly whilst upside-down.

    • sinister agent says:

      Always, with one exception. The first time I tried to play a flight sim (granted, it was HAWX, so more on the playful side of simulation) properly instead of immediately strafing the control tower and nosediving into a farm, I spun out of control and crashed.

      Into the white house.

      I couldn’t have done that if I’d tried.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I remember coming in to land on my first attempt with; way too much speed, too high above the glideslope, and way too much Angle of attack. As a result I landed/crashed (on the runway at least!) with that much force that I bounced back up, popped my tires, and then when I came back down, I skidded down the runway and into a fence and tree at the end of it. Boom!

      That wasn’t my first time technically, the very first time I did all this, while managing to land going the wrong way down the runway. I wondered why the hills where so close.

  6. wodin says:

    I was interested at first when it looked like a very interesting scale when zoomed out…but then it got rubbish with sprites and such…

  7. Myros says:

    I wonder if they have improved the AI control of units this time around. Their previous 2 games were interesting but the AI was terrible, and the games had many ‘features’ only partialy implimented.

    Think I’ll wait for reviews from wargamer or armchair general.

    • amandachen says:

      Yeah. The first two games were dreadful. Like playing with a bug-ridden spreadsheet.

    • wootles says:

      I’m wondering that as well. The premise of these games was great, and I could get over the crappy sprites in the sheer determination of the magnitude of the strategy, but with a retarded AI to play against. It just wasn’t any fun.

    • tims says:

      Bug ridden spreadsheets are the worst! It’s bad enough with normal sheets.

  8. Therlun says:

    Richard Cobbett, wow. I used to enjoy reading your blog… until you stopped writing about games. Seems you picked that up again!

  9. fallingmagpie says:

    Um, how can you not see that the pink dots are US flags? And the red dots are USSR flags?

    Eyesight destroyed by years of gaming!

  10. Ginger Yellow says:

    We cannot afford a dot gap.

    • LionsPhil says:

      *sends covert USSR agents to chlorinate US water supply*

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!

  11. AgentTBC says:

    A perfect Cold War geopolitical grand strategy game has already been published. Unfortunately you’ll have to travel back in time to 1985 to play it. Balance of Power by Chris Crawford.

    Man, what a great game.

    I particularly liked the part where if either side launches nukes you immediately go to a “congratulations, you both lose and everyone is dead” screen.

    • Wartooth says:

      Or you could drag out the ol’ Amiga and boot up Nuclear War. I always liked playing as Mao, his propaganda seemed the best somehow.

    • sinister agent says:

      That game’s treatment of brinkmanship was terrific.

      Each superpower took turns to take various actions in other countries, wherever it saw fit. At the start of your turn, you’d be told what actions the other side had taken, and you had the option to criticise it (and ministers giving you a rough idea of whether or not that would be a good idea).

      Each time you objected to an action, the other side could concede, or counter, forcing you to either drop the issue or press harder. This would go on, with the stakes raising at every exchange, until either someone backed down and lost massive amounts of prestige, or someone pressed the button and destroyed the world.

      Oh, and once in a very great while, if you cut it too close to a global all-you-can-eat uranium buffet, you can trigger it by accident.

      It’s just occurred to me that there’s a parallel there wiith poker, and that there might be some mileage in a Cold War / poker game. Maybe.

  12. Frostbeard says:

    Unless my search-fu is failing me I cant believe I am the first to say this:

    I dont see enough dots! More dots now!

    …Trow more dots, more dots, more dots ,more dots. Come on more dots. K, stop dots.

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    Colthor says:

    “Not only am I the worst RTS player in the history of the universe”

    Feature idea: Richard Cobbett vs. John Walker in a game of Supreme Commander. First to a nervous breakdown loses.

    Unless Hearts of Iron has multiplayer?

  14. Sinnorfin says:

    Music and theme reminded me of how much i want a proper Red Alert piece

  15. destroy.all.monsters says:

    At least the smiley face across Utah would make it inhabitable again after removing those pesky Mormons.

  16. Adam says:

    I’m super skeptical to play a game like this, just looks like a “filler” game for me, may deliver a few hours of enjoyment…may.

  17. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    I thought I wanted this type of game, But I realised after watching that clip, and reading commnets here, that what I want is actually a Global Thermonuclear War simulator, like that one from that really old movie with the computer and all that, and of course the real test that the movie is based off, if I recall correctly, America’s little, who would win in a game of ‘Global Thermalnuclear War’ during the cold war almost brought the apocalypse down.

    That is the game I want, I can’t be assed with tanks, and ships on this sort of scale, just give me hundreds of nukes, and I’m good to go. Fuck everything else.

  18. Jeremy Mac Donald says:

    I like the subject matter but can never understand why a game like this is not designed from the ground up to be played by email. I mean if your going to control a super power in a really detailed game it makes a lot of sense to design it so that you can play it against some one else with a similar interest.

  19. jomz says:

    I was just wrapping up with watching Colossus: The Forbin Project last night and the guys at Paradox cook up (or aide in) something like this. Mighty interesting