Supremacy


Supremacy Games, Inc, 1986, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up. In Supremacy, players take the reins of one of the world's superpowers (South America, Africa, China, USA, USSR or Europe) and attempt to conquer the entire world. You receive a starting allotment of resource cards, a supply center and a pile of army and navy units. The global market and each player's supply center are the heart of the game. On the supply center you keep track of your supplies of grain, oil and minerals. Resource cards are used to produce the aforementioned supplies (each card producing for you one of the basic raw materials of the game each turn if you control the territory listed on the card). The global market tracks the current prices for buying and selling the various resources of the game. When a player sells resources, the market goes down. When a player buys, the market goes up. Turns consist of paying salaries (all of your military units on the board must be paid each turn), production (increasing the stockpiles on your supply center based on the resource cards you have that correspond to countries you control), and then selling, attacking, moving, building and buying/prospecting for resources (of the latter 5 actions, you can perform up to 3 during a given turn - a classicly great game mechanism).

I won't go into the nuts and bolts of purchasing units, moving units, attacking and defending, etc. It's pretty basic stuff. The real strategy here is juggling your resources and playing the market. It's also the part of the game that is most broken (although, from our perspective, broken in an endearing manner). Basically you play for the times when you can "rape the market". Even though your supply center has a limited number of each resource that it can hold, you can buy beyond that in an attempt to manipulate the market (the excess that you can't store simply goes away). So, people will sell resources until the market is as low as it will go, then the next turn they will buy enough to absolutely max out the market, then vie to sell whatever they can to get a gigantic stack of money that will last for many turns. Then you focus on purchasing military units and beating up on your neighbors.

Back when we were young, foolish and had a lot of time on our hands, this game was a huge obsession. We literally played it once (or more) a week for several years. However, it eventually fell way out of favor and we haven't touched it in years. This, mainly due to two a couple of fatal flaws: it's a "last man standing" kind of game (players are eliminated until there is one victor remaining) and it takes forever to play. For three people to play a game to semi-completion (one player is eliminated and a second player is going to obviously win) it takes a couple of days, usually 8 hours per day (give or take). Now, I must admit we liked a long game back in those days, so we each played two superpowers and fired up the warlords and pirates to give us something to fight while we jockeyed for position. The final straw, though, was usually the "nuclear armageddon" feature (where everyone loses) which more often than not would rear its ugly head when somebody got bored and petulent. Nevertheless, we have many fond memories of playing it and I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone who has the time from giving it a try.

This game must have been pretty darned popular, because over the years Supremacy Games, Inc. released about a zillion add-ons for it (some of which are good, some of which are less good and all of which still command some pretty decent prices in the after market):

These are the ones we went with:

- Neutron bombs and killer satellites (all the fun of the nukes, but without the armageddon downside)
- Resource deck 2 (more resources to go after)
- Warlords and pirates of the neutral zone (converts some of the neutral territories into bad guys)

These may are may not be good, we never tried them:

- Boomers (ballistic missile submarines)
- Main battle tanks
- Colonial legions and merchant marines
- Field marshall's handbook (strategy and whatnot)
- Fortuna (random events)
- High-tech edge for conventional forces
- High-tech edge for strategic forces
- Mega-map (a larger map to accommodate all the fershlugginer new pieces)
- The middle powers (converts some of the neutral territories into new superpowers, for those who have a lot of friends, I guess)
- The unconventional forces (assassins, spies, chemical and biological weapons, et al)



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