The Price of Jupiter's Folly

Written by Paul Goodhead

October 13, 2011 | 07:52

Tags: #jupiter #neptunes-pride

Companies: #iron-helmet-games

Jupiter's Folly: As pricey as Neptune's Pride?

Publisher: Iron Helmet Games
Platform: PC

Hopefully some of you will remember the bit-tech game of Neptune’s Pride. It nearly killed us, sowing animosity and suspicion within the team, making Harry resort to real world bribes and creating a drastic drop in our productivity.

It was amazing.

It also inspired a number of games between forums members, so hopefully some of you can sympathise with just how all-consuming it can become. It therefore didn’t take me long to answer when bit-tech freelancer and Gaming Daily editor, Craig Lager, sent round a group email asking for volunteers to play Jupiter's Folly, the sequel to Neptune's Pride.

Oh god’ I said, ‘I can’t say no, but I know this is going to be bad for me. I'm the fat kid, this is my cake.’ That was my roundabout way of saying yes, by the way.

The Price of Jupiter's Folly The Price of Jupiter's Folly
Each company competes to mine crystal from the map nodes

The premise of the game is simple. You're a mining company competing against other mining companies to mine things, namely crystals. The first one to excavate X tonnes of crystal wins and all the other companies go bust. Crystal is gathered by placing mines on map nodes rich with the resource (which isn't all of them) and you can hire security forces to protect these mines from hostile takeovers. Ah, capitalism.

You’ll also have to do battle with the randomly moving aliens that litter the map. These haven’t taken kindly to your drilling (and won’t take your offer of a back-hander) and so will kill or destroy everything with which they come into contact. They’re meant to act as a mutual threat that the companies can eliminate together, forming bonds, alliances and joint ventures they then have to tear asunder when the aliens are finally out of the way. In practice, however, the aliens dictated the lay of the land in our game; the hives from which they spawned were hugely overpowered, meaning players who started with hives in their immediate vicinity were at a big disadvantage in our game. Some never recovered. The market didn’t care for their weakness. Thankfully, this is an annoyance that's been largely fixed in the latest beta.

The Price of Jupiter's Folly The Price of Jupiter's Folly
You can hold up to ten cards initially and they're dealt out randomly

Providing the intrigue in the game are cards that companies play to perform any action more complex than moving a unit. These enable you to do anything from raining down fiery death on your competitors (apparently acceptable business practice) to placing another mine. Each company has a unique hand too, so you need to keep an eye on your opponents' cards. You’ll also get three trade cards, which you can’t use yourself but can gift to other businesses - another sly attempt to force co-operation from Iron Helmet Games. These, more than any openly called truces, are the best way to see who’s actually working together.

In fact, it’s actually too easy to see who’s working together. Unlike Neptune's Pride, Jupiter's Folly is very open, allowing you to see your opponents' cards, trades, mining rate, balance sheet, military strength and more. This means it only takes a few minutes of investigation, a management consultation and a little imagination to work out what your closest competitors are doing. You can’t see their forces (unless they’re near to yours), and you can’t see what they’re saying privately to other companies, of course, but it still feels far too transparent. This is business dammit, not kindergarten.
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