Building a secure defense, especially
if you’ve got hostile neighbors, can strain a country’s
economy. Building a force that can attack another country
and win will cost you - big time. The key to doing it is
understanding your potential opponent’s geography
and military force, as well as your goal. Do you want to
remove him as a military threat? Capture a resource-rich
area? While no armed force should be made up solely of a
single type of unit, specialization, especially if it focuses
on his weaknesses, is the best way to save money. Yes, general-purpose
forces give you more options, and let you deal with unexpected
threats (“I thought we were allies!”), but they
And whatever you do, expect a counterattack.
Your AI opponent will hit you as hard as he can, so taking
that uranium mine with a few battered units is not a victory,
just a waste. Never launch an attack without a reserve that
can deal with emergencies during the campaign, and then
guard your gains afterward while you rebuild and reorganize
after your victory.
You will need ground troops of some sort,
but do you want to emphasize speed? Staying power? Infantry’s
a lot cheaper than armor, and combined with some cheap antitank
and SAM units, it may be enough to do your job, and if the
terrain’s rough, may be almost as fast as the armor.
And what about aircraft? Long-range strikers
are nice, and while it’s tempting to buy dedicated
strike aircraft like the F-111 or Tornado or Fencer, they
are expensive. How about a flock of (relatively) cheap light
strike aircraft? Light strikers like the Sukhoi Fitter or
Alpha Jet may be more affordable and just as
effective. Dual-capable aircraft like the Strike Eagle or
Flanker may also be less expensive than the pure strikers.
They can fill both the roles of air interceptor and ground
attack fighter, as long as you don’t need them to
do both at the same time. They can provide close air support
for your advancing troops. Don’t
buy F-111s when F-16s are all you need.
The naval equation is the hardest. A carrier
battle group will cost you literally billions. Air power
at sea is the Big Stick, but also the highest-priced weapon
in the game. Will you use it effectively? Is there something
else that can get you to your goal more cheaply (and quickly)?
And what happens if you lose the carrier? Can you recover?
This is all real-world advice. A good game
mirrors the real world, because realworld tactics work in
the game. And that will make you go and learn more about
the real word – geography, economics, technology,
and military history. You go and read things and get smarter
about them and bring them back to the game, and you’ll
be a better and a more dangerous player because of what
That’s why Supreme Ruler 2010 is
a very good game.
By Larry Bond
Larry Bond is 53 and lives in northern
Virginia. Before becoming a writer and game
1 | 2 | 3 | 4
designer, he served in the US Navy and worked as a defense
analyst. After co-authoring Red Storm Rising with Tom Clancy,
he has written five novels under his own name: Red Phoenix,
Vortex, Cauldron, The Enemy Within. and Day of Wrath. He
also published a novella titled Lash-Up, which appeared
in Steven Coonts’ anthology Combat. His latest book
is Dangerous Ground, will be published by Tor Books in May
of 2005. He has also co-designed the Admiralty Trilogy series
games, which include Harpoon, Command at Sea, and Fear God
& Dreadnought. All three have won industry awards.
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