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I was stuck. The leftist Conservatives of 1800s England were on my side, but every other party had me at a standstill for what I thought was a slam-dunk issue – education. As I scared the right-winged Liberals straight and pleaded to the more individualistic party, Urban Empire’s politicking finally started to click. You don’t just win by constantly siding with what you’re comfortable with. Concessions and compromises have to be met – otherwise you’ll have no chance in maintaining long-term stability.

Urban Empire takes a different approach to city-building than its competition. Where some prefer the meticulous city-building of titles like Civilization or even SimCity, Urban Empire streamlines that in order to facilitate politics as a central core of the game. Bribery, crooked elections, even aggressive threats are all part of progressing in Urban Empire. Following the centuries of 1820 through 2020, the politics of the land will change as the decades roll on, just as much as they do in the real-world. As leader, you’ll have to accommodate to these sweeping changes or face heavy opposition from the new majorities that will fill in.


You’ll be in this room a lot.

Outside of politics, the game features a fairly simple way to introduce new technologies into your world. Every few years, you’re able to pick what your nation wants to invest in – be it transportation, writing, or even later, automation and communication. As the eras go forward, more of these ideologies will open up. Even in sure-fire discoveries like the internet, you’ll find a fair amount of opposition and an even more steady amount of tactical buttering-up you’ll find yourself partaking in. At times, the satisfaction that came from telling off a particularly hostile party felt great when they backed down.

The game makes it impossible to fail early on, which only makes your downfall all the more sour when you go from one age of a nation to another. Once you’re out of the first couple of eras, losing an election is game over. This mounts more pressure on you, politically. If you don’t heed the words of one party completely, it’s going to make plans a lot more complicated down the line. The three votes here, four votes there approach to losing support will come back to haunt you should the political pendulum swing a certain way.

I’m extremely interested in seeing how things will shift and change as the decades keep progressing. Worldwide events such as The Great Depression are stated to be introduced, and huge set pieces like that are sure to radically change the political platforms. Other parties may splinter off from your main three, and some may go away as time progresses – as was the case in real life. Urban Empire is set to release some time next year, no doubt to add a layer of detail and polish to an already intriguing game.

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