Offworld Trading Company
Offworld Trading Company is a real-time strategy (RTS) from one of the lead designers of Civilization IV. Comparing it to Civilization IV, however, is a bad idea and their marketers should not have led with this premise…
Offworld Trading Company Gameplay
So in Offworld Trading Company (OTC), Mars has been colonized, and Earth’s corporate titans fight to dominate this new market. Competition is fierce in this fast-paced and this game labels itself as an economic RTS.
Unlike pretty much any other RTS out there – this game involves zero combat. None. Zilch. It’s a very unique game with a very steep learning curve and the gameplay revolves around economic warfare ranging that involve things like hostile takeovers to sabotaging your competitors.
Offworld Trading Company puts the player in charge of one of four titular offworld trading companies. The players’ choice of faction comes after they have their first look at the map, allowing them to tailor their choices to the situation. Regardless of their choice, players land their HQ and begin to construct resource extractors on the neighboring [resource] hexes.
Think Settlers of Catan, where you claim resources, but then you have to deal with the consequences of buying and selling them and then utilizing them at a very rapid pace.
Supply and demand is an important component of the game. If I buy up a large quantity of glass or electronics to expand my colony, an opposing player or friendly player may be able to hurt or help my cause depending on their own resources.
The goal of the game is to buy a majority stake in all of the other offworld trading companies in the game – unless you’re playing co-op, in which case you want one of your team members to buy out the companies on other teams.
If your company loses majority stock, you’re out of the game but you can still keep watching as the game falls apart for your teammate(s)….
Offworld Trading Company is an incredibly unforgiving game.
Alex and I have put about 7 hours in together and we’ve kept going back to it every few months, only to get our asses completely and totally handed to us by low AI settings.
OTC is a game where you have to memorize a lot of details in order to manage to play it and then figure out the patterns of the AI (or your opponents) to be able to even keep up. And usually, within 5-10 minutes, you’re either barely holding your own or you’re already 100% flailing as the AI outpaces you at a depressingly rapid pace.
We’ve not been able to get into this game, although I had really high hopes since we both enjoy Civilization so much. That’s the biggest mistake is comparing this game to Civilization – it’s nothing like it. Our expectations were too high going in, I think.
If you enjoy spreadsheets, economics and have a high level of desire to figure things out despite overwhelming odds (like maybe you play Eve Online or Dwarf Fortress), this game might be for you. If you’re looking for a casual co-op experience, I would absolutely recommend that you stay away. You can’t just pick this game up and play it without going through the tutorial and going through a lot of repetitive experiences in order to try to remember the basics.
This is also one of the very few games on this site that doesn’t sync up with the Socializer aspect of co-op games. There’s no time to talk, unless you’re doing voice chat or you’re playing with someone side-by-side/in-person like Alex and I do, but even still…you have to move so quickly. Socializing is sort of out of the question.
Also this is a bad game for people with anxiety or who get flustered or who want a game to help them wind down at the end of the day. It’s way too fast-paced for that.
On the bright side, this is pretty much the only game Alex and I have ever played together that I consistently win. But sometimes winning has meant that I stayed alive longer than Alex while both of our teams were gobbled up by the AI that was functioning at a supernatural speed and the experience still totally sucked.
Our rating: 3/10
Title: Offworld Trading Company
Developer: Mohawk Games
Game Type: RTS
Bartle Type: Explorer, Achiever, Killer
Player Count: 2-8
Average Play Session Time: 30 minutes
Type of Co-Op: Online
Platforms: PC, Mac