Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4617)
Written on  :  Apr 06, 2005
Platform  :  Windows

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Economy sim very reminiscent of original Railroad Tycoon

The Good

Dozens of resources, lots of combinations, got that "one more year" feeling, stock market to play with

The Bad

Not enough feedback (like when a firm is losing money), no "firm summary" where I can jump to a specific firm and do some micromanagement, no physical reference chart on what can be used to make what (just online help)

The Bottom Line

Capitalism Plus is best described as an business simulator. Given a certain amount of capital, you can choose to build a certain type of business, and start making money. The goal will depend on the scenario.

In general, you want to start on the retail end, i.e. department store. So you spend a few million to build on (the land costs will vary!) Once that's done, staff the purchasing department and it will start to stock your store... but stock with what? That depends on what firms are on the map (in the game, seaports are considered firms as well) Setup the purchasing department and link it to the supplier. Voila, you've purchased inventory. Now you need to setup a sales department.... and link that to the purchasing department, and soon you will have made your first sale, and profit! Each firm is limited to 9 departments so choose carefully!

As time go on, you will want to invest in suppliers of your own, or even raw material production. Factories can be built and used to manufacture various goods though they will require different resources. You will need to put some money into R&D in order to produce some new products that should prove to be more profitable.

Each product has several ratings, including brand recognition, quality and price. Consumer demand is based on those factors, and will change as time goes on. Costs will change, and you must change with the times. Imported diapers getting too expensive? Build a lumber mill to product paper, and sent paper and cotton to a factory to produce diapers. Buy products from your competitors? May be a good way to round out your product line. Different products have different desirability, and all that is modelled into this deep yet addicting simulation.

Throw in random events like war, disaster, and more. The map is generated randomly each time and resources can appear randomly on the map. Cities and ports appear in different places, so no two games are the same.

There are many drawbacks, of course.

Each firm is limited to 9 departments, and an inefficient layout will force you to spend money to fix it. That means each firm can at most offer 4 products (4 purchasing and 4 sales), with perhaps 1 advertising. This creates a lot of micromanagement as you constantly add new firms to deal with increased demand.

The graphics, being from 1997, is quite a bit out of date, being limited to 640x480x256. Graphics are primitive and most of the game is limited to the top half of the window. The map zoom never goes in far enough, and it's cumbersome to scroll through the various firms with available production you can link to as a supplier. There's also no "boycott" or such where you can refuse to sell to competitors.

All in all, Capitalism Plus is an enhance version of a possible sleeper hit, if you can look past the simple exterior to locate the deep sim inside.