Shadow Empire - Mad Max meets Operation Barbarossa

Regardless of the cause (which can sometimes be very hard to figure out) the answer to 99.999% of logistic issues in Shadow Empire boils down to…build/upgrade more truck stations.

Curiously, it’s this sort of old school, reality reflecting curve balls that make Shadow Empire stand out.

Most games would apply UX principles and smooth things over for the player, but delayed gratification is very much the SE way and I respect it for that.

(E.g. You don’t get output from a new building asset on the turn you finish building it as it’s only just been built and no-one has had a chance to work it yet. Makes total sense, but it’s just not how we’ve been trained that how games work)

Which is true of many systems except for production. So you can save a several turns of IP and magically use it to build the shiny new tank corp, or airplane wing, or a building. So while I agree with you that SE is both realistic and unforgiving in creating a delay from when a resource is built before you get the benefit. They ruined the immersion by not using a realistic production system like HOI IV.

Now about 200 hours in. Latest observation is this game is all about the starting conditions. If they’re right for how you play, it’s pretty much the most absorbing game out there. Way beyond any 4X or similar. Thing is, you have to start about 5-7 games to get one good one.

I think the complaints about logisitics are off the mark: it isn’t an easy system to master and I haven’t mastered it but I am now a good deal less likely to have my game break down 50% of the way through because of it and it’s definitely part of why the game is interesting.

I just think hex by hex logistics is overboard, not sure why the dev thought that would be fun. Abstracted out to whole routes would’ve been a lot better. There are also little issues that I think will snowball into huge problems in late game. For example, when you set traffic lights, or tell assets to reduce production, how are you supposed to keep track of it all? There’s no way as far as I can tell, other than to go around clicking on every supply hex or every asset until you find something you messed with 50 turns ago. I can see it becoming a real nightmare.

I was thinking about starting conditions myself. I’m playing a PBEM with a friend and he has been largely unmolested and has plentiful resources as far as I know. Meanwhile I’m hemmed in by four or five factions, all of whom declared war on me instantly, and with not a single rare metal in sight. It’s exhausting trying to maintain all those fronts with the small number of troops I have; I’d create more but the aforementioned supply issues means I doubt I could maintain them. The lack of rare metals is going to create an energy crisis pretty soon I think.

In other games I’d be enjoying this challenge, but for some reason Shadow Empire just seems punishing beyond the point of enjoyment. Perhaps I just got unlucky.

As I said early starting conditions have the most variation of any 4x game, I think I’ve played. Not only can you have starts where you practically alone (which I find boring) but if you don’t find metal (early) and followed by oil and rare metals you are pretty much screwed, because the techs to replace them are far down the tech tree. Then there is the craziness of the random troops you find. In Civ, you found a warrior or maybe an archer in a goodie hut. In this game you can find a small infantry unit armed with a laser rifle and padded environ, which is only marginally better than your starting troops. Or you can find the heavy plasma tank which has more firepower than your whole army.

This bug not a feature IMO. I like the challenge of figuring out the logistic, but like @Paradroid my paranoia level of running out of logistic points has me checking excessively to make sure I’m ok, greatly slowing down my turn speed.

Quick question: I noticed that I was getting undersized worlds from the planet creator, like the heaviest gravity I think I saw was 0.59g, but a lot were between 0.25g and and 0.37g. I figured out, eventually, that this was because I was picking a small sized map, so it’s making me small planets, although this may depend on the planet type, too. This might all be in the manual, but I have yet to dig in to that.

Ok, that wasn’t a question, but here is the question: does gravity have any game effect? off the top of my head I could see it interacting with the type of air forces you can design, as I know atmospheric pressure does.

Gravity and air pressure go hand in hand in determining what kind of aircraft will be best suited for your planet. In 6.1.1. in the manual is dedicated to air units.

If you forget your planetary stats during game creation, you can head to Reports > Help > Planet Statistics Overview and your secretary will list what kind of air units to use.

This game immediately makes it’s differences felt. Start out on a peninsula with only a handful of hexes revealed, well, time to send some units exploring! On Turn 3 the low supply warnings are already coming in, just as I have barely begun to see the shape of the world immediately around my city. And so I begin my trudge down the same grim road as so many before me have trod…

I’m having that issue in my current game. Things have gone swimmingly for about 30 rounds, conquered 2 minor powers and established a stable perimeter for my regime. Now the supply problems have started, I’m broke, and not producing food so my troops are starving and dwindling away. No metals. I have a metal mine started but not enough input materials to finish it. Unrest everywhere. Oh, and some mafioso syndicates are now filling in the power vacuum as my governors flail about from crisis to crisis.

It’s really breathtaking how my regime has gone so far off the rails even though from a wargamey perspective I’ve been doing great! Logistics and the economy trump everything in this game. Love it!

My hate/love relationship with the game continues.

Start a new game. Some expansion room but not a ton. Quickly befriend a major and we move to trade and science. I get lots of GR infantry, Sentinels , and a merly uber Heavy tank to the point where I decide to not build regular troops. I don’t really need them I have enough militia they can hold the line, while the troops I find are able to punch through the enemy lines with almost no losses.

The other reason I’m not building any troops. I have no damn metal. I have a accessibility 1 (the worse metal mine) in my starting area. I also find and conquer 5 ruins that I can build recycle plants , but turn 50 they are running low. A accessibility 1 mine is a 80% reduction in output. So building anything other infantry and some motorcycle soldier for recon is out of the question, which I start to build around turn 45. I continue taking over a couple minor by force, before I discover the easy way to conquer a minor. Diplomacy.

sy way to take over minor.

  1. Offer protection
  2. Request become a client
  3. Ask for reunification of annexation (
  4. Add a shadow spy to increase the roll

Each step has about 60-80% chance of success with a decent foreign minister, so you’ll spend 60-100 PP depending on your rolls to take over the country and 5-7 turns. But you get their militia army, so it is money well spent.

Finally around turn 50 after reveal over 1,000 squares I find a 2nd metal mine this is accessibility 2 so only 70% reduction in output. No hint of a rare metal mine, but I’m awash in oil and have plenty water. I have solar energy, and my most infantry army doesn’t burn much oil.

Then I hit logistical hell,I finally safe up enough metal to build a level 3 industry. But now I can’t get enough logistical points to fully work my ruins, metal mines, farms etc. I build one truck stop up to level 2 and build two more in annexed cities. Still shortages of logistical point. i get bored taking over minor with few die rolls and eventually quit.

What you describe is exactly why I love this game. It doesn’t coddle the player at all with fairness, balance, etc. It’s as variable as one might expect a post apocalyptic hell scape to be…

It is a completely fair point, and I’ll admit I would have quit earlier if I had more metal. It is also super frustrating for the same reasons, there is nothing balanced about it.

But, much like Civ V, VI and many other 4x games the computer has really no idea how to play the game. I have yet to see a major regime that has attacked me. So the game is bass ackward in that respect, it is as if the city-states in Civ were the hard countries, and Russia, Germany etc were the easy ones. The only thing that was moderately clever on my part was making a big push to research solar energy and then metal from soil, which eventually would probably provide my economy and army with enough metal to survive.

On the other hand being able to take over a minor every 4 or 5 turns with few die rolls is no fun. Spending dozens of turns to research Combat armor and gas power weapons, and still not be able to match the firepower of the tank you found on turn 20 is also discouraging. The players actions are pretty inconsequential compared to the die roll God.

I really wish there was a reality show, like Bar rescue for Games. Where Sid Meir, Will Wright, Dani Buten, Dan and Sam Houser, and AI programmer like Soren Johnson, would swoop in to help out struggling game designer. Shadow Empire would be might top choice, because it has so much damn promise.

I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said, after having very similar experiences. I’ve never tried so hard to like a game in my life, I’ve tried way harder than the game probably deserves. From logistical hell to never finding a single rare metal deposit, to being attacked on all fronts by minors for no apparent reason (and who can apparently send their units deep into my territory without supply issues), the list goes on and on.

There’s the kernel of a truly amazing game in there, even I can see that. But life’s just too short to hack my way through the vast outer layers of shit to get to it. I’m actually kind of sad that I’ll probably never play it again! It’s such a weird feeling.

We are definitely on the same page. I’ll probably give it one more shot, once yet another major (not really) patch is announced. I did same thing with Jon Schafer’s At the Gates, which I kept dutifully trying after each major patch.

I feel like the kid in Ronald Reagan joke, who upon seeing a huge pile of horse shit, grabs a shovel and starts digging. When the shrink ask him why, he says “there must be a pony in there somewhere.”.

I am hesitant to post about another game, but it may help someone else. I love the idea of Shadow Empire but struggled with the execution. I have switched to the Old World Blues total conversion mod for Hearts of Iron 4. It’s a similar premise (post apoc, military, etc) and similar rules (formations, equipment, logistics, industry, etc) but for me OWB is more accessible, more polished and less frustrating.

I looked at that just the other day but it wasn’t really clear to me how the mod differed aside from setting. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll have to check it out.

My last full game, I had a major declare war on me and push hard into my territory, conquering one of my border cities on either the first or second turn of the war. Their advance eventually stalled out and we ended up fighting a long grinding war where I slowly pushed the line back to their core territories.

Old world blues is a major conversion. Definitely worth your time.