A few months ago, I wrote a preview for this title. In it, I stated that it could become a very good tool to educate people on the issues of climate change, and that it demonstrates the effects that climate change has on our world in a progressive style. The entire concept was wrapped into a strategy based card game that could be effective if the game was balanced properly. Now that the full version has been released, it is time to see if the game is a fun to play educational game that balances real-world situations with a choice based card game.
As an educational game, Fate of the World needed to target one or more subjects. The subject chosen was Climate Change. The climate model used to base all events within the game comes from research data provided by Prof. Myles Allen at Oxford University. Thanks to this, there are over a thousand events that can occur based the player's decisions.
The version reviewed has four campaigns. The Rise of Africa campaign centers its focus on North and South Africa. You must maintain the region and improve life for all African's by 2045. Two of the others feature the entire world, and you play up to 2120 or 2200 respectively and prevent the world from being destroyed by global warming, political tyranny, and famine. The last campaign also involves the entire world, but with a twist. The Dr. Doom campaign is based on destroying the world, so the overall goal is to undermine positive changes and allow the destruction of the world.
If you buy the game off Steam, there is one more campaign. Sadly, I am reviewing the basic version, so I have no access to that content. All I know is that it revolves around a water crisis. I have no idea what regions are used. On April 15, an update was released that includes another campaign. That campaign is also not a part of this review.
Gameplay is accomplished through a card-based strategic system. Cards can be sorted by type or viewed together. The types of cards are political, environmental, society, technology, project, and resources. Most projects take five years, one turn, to accomplish, while the other card types either tend to take quite a few turns to show effects or be accomplished, or are infinitely long. The infinite cards are normally society or political cards. Each country or region reacts to what you do differently, and if you piss one off enough, you will get kicked out. If you survive enough turns, there is a chance that the region will allow you back. The longer you hold out, the more cards will be unlocked that will help prevent environmental destruction.
The entire game is based on GDP. The more GDP around the world, the more you are paid. The more pay you receive, the more people you can hire for each region, allowing more work to be done. If you lose too many regions, you must either not be able to move on without freezing or canceling projects to complete a turn, pass Tobin Taxes for additional revenues, or automatically lose the game. Every time you lose and regain a region, you have to rehire workers.
There is also a massive amount of data that needs to be paid attention to in order to make the right decisions. There are employment figures, news reports, GDP indexes, and other reports that tell you what needs to be done during your current turn. If you ignore the data for too long, you will lose a region's trust and be kicked out very quickly. So, make sure that if there is a decline in agriculture jobs, push them; if there is a decline in commerce jobs, push them. If there are reports for droughts, pass wild fire preventive measures.
As I stated in my preview, there is not really too much to look at. The 3D global in the background looks nice, but otherwise it's menu after menu, and chart after chart. The only major thing that was updated from the preview version is that you can display which areas of the world changed using red and colors over regions affected by abnormally hot or cold weather. Most of the time, it seems that all you get is red for changes, but if you are lucky enough to do something truly positive you can get a blip of blue for a turn or two.
The music is still very annoying and repetitive. The elevator music within this game never changes. It is truly annoying and mind numbing when you are trying to analyze all the data. Another tune or two would be fantastic, and would help you keep your sanity in check if you play for a long period of time.
Overall, Fate of the World is a great title to educate people on the issues of climate change, and is also a good strategy game. I enjoyed playing this for the many hours I put into this title. Experimenting with how each card effects the world makes it so no play through is the same. Fate of the World is worth a purchase, especially if you want a turn based card game that will keep you thinking for a few hours. Considering there is no price difference between the Steam and non-Steam versions ($9.99), I would recommend the Steam version due to the extra campaign even though the campaign is not a part of this review. If you are an educator, definitely buy this title for your Earth Day classes.