Every once in a while a couple of the staff will get together and play a game, usually for the first time, and then we make them write down some thoughts about it it. Today’s game is Offworld Trading Company by Mohawk Games.
Offworld Trading Company is a game that starts out rather innocuous, with the ability to do nearly anything from the start it’s hard to see it as an insanely cutthroat experience; but do not let it fool you, give it half a chance and OTC will chew you up and spit you out. You’ll feel invincible with your mastery of a certain element when your opponent will flood the market with that stock and you’ll see your meal ticket plummet to not being worth the time it would take to hit the sell button, and that’s the good thing.
Wickedly challenging yet highly compelling the best part of the game is how unpredictable every moment is. Games are fast and frenetic often lasting only fifteen to twenty minutes, making multiple games not only a simple activity but one that it’s hard to say no to. You’ll find yourself wanting just one more moment, one more minute, just that last chance to buy out your opponents and clutch victory from almost certain defeat.
Offworld trading company is a surprisingly addictive RTS about managing your company on Mars and playing the resource market. Almost none of that description sounds like anything I would normally enjoy. I almost never play RTS’s and trading resources, watching the markets and any other economy-focused gameplay is very much not my thing. But here I am, falling down a deep youtube rabbit hole of high level tips and tournaments – when i’m not playing myself, of course.
The gameplay holds depth and nuance that slowly reveals itself as you understand more and more. And the more I figure out, the more I realise I don’t know. And that feels great. I can continue to sink my teeth into Offworld Trading Company and know that I’ll be rewarded with some new strategy or insight.
Matches are quick (especially when you’re as bad as me) going only as long as about 30 minutes tops. This is a great match length because if you’re on a losing track, you don’t have to wait hours before you know it. You can fail, assess what you did, and quickly hop into a new round, fine tuning your strategy each time you do so.
So far, I’m loving my time with OTC and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
Ok. So where do I begin. We have ourselves a Real time Strategy game where you a) Can’t build military units and b) You stare at stock ticker as your resources increase/decrease between every click of your mouse. You win by buying all the stock in the OTHER PLAYERS and firing them. Cutthroat capitalism on an alien planet. All this and some of the most intense moments all in a span of 15 minutes.
The closet, in my mind, that i can describe it as, in feeling, is Magic the Gathering. You pick your strategy before things really get underway, you hope its strong enough to be the rock to your opponents scissors. You execute and cross your fingers and if it doesn’t work out it will all be over in a short time to be done again.
There is too much to unpack in a single pay through and I have never hit “Play again” so fast after losing…repeatedly… to try a different tactic or to apply the lessons learned from the last game to the next. A delicate dance, on a knife’s edge, over a volcano, all balancing on a sentence filled with overused cliches to say that it’s a great time and I’m sad it has taken me this long to play it.