Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur
3
Platforms: PC, OS/2
Publisher: Stardock Systems
Developer: Stardock Systems
Genres: Strategy / Business Simulator
Release Date: October 10, 1997
Game Modes: Singleplayer / Multiplayer

7Entrepreneur bills itself as a wargame of sorts, with salesmen, marketing campaigns, factories, and research as the tools of warfare. Right out of the gate, Entrepreneur earns points for being unique. Comparisons to Interactive Magic’s Capitalism are inevitable, but whereas Capitalism is a dry and occasionally tedious simulation, Entrepreneur is a brisk, energetic, and entertaining game. Its approach to the world of business is lively and imaginative, playing out like a combination of Risk, Civilization, and Magic: the Gathering.

The map is divided into regions and the point of the game is to claim the largest market share in the most regions. Your means to this end is a single product, a computer, which you can adapt to certain regions’ preferences through technological updates. Research new CPUs, RAM, and hard drives for increased Reliability, hone your operating system for greater Ease of Use, or shrink your components into a mini-tower for better Aesthetics. A detailed product screen allows you to fine tune your computer.

The different kinds of companies (each company excels in either labor, engineering, or marketing) require different strategies, which is one of the subtleties of the game. The balance that has to be struck among the different aspects of a business is at the heart of Entrepreneur. Action cards can be played to occasionally throw this balance one way or the other. Certain regions give you resources when you control them, which can be spent playing from a hand of randomly drawn cards. These cards are great in theory, but most of them are underpowered, adding only minor twists to the game, and overpriced, making them hard to play. The variety of cards keeps them fresh, but the effects of many of them aren’t clearly explained.

One of the biggest problems with the game is its complexity. It has a steep learning curve, but even after you’ve mastered its mechanics, the detail can be overbearing. Color-coded filters are helpful at sorting out the map, but the game needs more detailed and comprehensive reports. As it is, there’s no convenient way to keep track of resources on the map, salesmen, marketing campaigns, and the specs of your competitors’ products. In many cases only coarse graphs and bar charts are provided where raw numbers would be more helpful. The documentation is often vague, providing little information about some things and no information about others.


System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

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