Oligopoly is a turn based strategy game for two to six players which is similar to the board game Monopoly. The object of the game is to build up your business empire and become the richest player while other players are forced to either declare bankruptcy or resign. The game world consists of 52 different countries, each of which contains one company. You begin the game with 100 million dollars, and need to travel around the world to buy companies.
Each turn begins in the board room, and then you will be randomly sent to one of the countries. If the company there hasn't been bought yet, you have the option to purchase it, but if another player already owns it you will have pay them a profit for landing there. In addition to landing on a property, you also have other options on each turn: you can invest in companies you own (this increases their profits), borrow money, pay back money, sell companies, make deals with other players, or even resign if there is no hope of winning. Each turn is equivalent to roughly a months time.
Each of the companies available is part of a different industry (chemicals, manufacturing, electronics, and textiles). In addition to building plants, you may also increase your companies profits by building vertical monopolies. To obtain a vertical monopoly, you must own three companies, one in each area of a particular industry (for example, a vertical monopoly in the electronics industry requires that you own companies in copper mining, semiconductors, and computers). Their is also a fifth industry which is owned by the computer and cannot be bought by players: shipping. Since the companies owned are located in different countries, each player will need to pay shipping costs every quarter (every three turns). A players shipping costs are determined by the number of companies owned, their locations, and what industries they are a part of.
From time to time, a random event may occur on a players turn which can help or hinder progress. Natural disasters can destroy factories, workers may strike, you may have a chance to gamble at a casino, you may take a vacation (and lose a turn!), you may receive a grant from Washington D.C., or you may become ill are some of the events that can occur.
One of the most unknown business simulation games ever made, Oligopoly from XOR is best described as a "macro" version of classic board game Monopoly: instead of plots of land in a city, you buy and sell industries. The game includes some micro-management options, such as setting product pricing, but they pale in comparison to the real meat of the game: taking over other companies. As the name implies, Oligopoly is all about getting your way in the market at the expense of others. You can buy and sell stocks, engage in hostile acquisitions, price wars, and other niceties that make up modern-day capitalism. Your objective is to be the biggest, most powerful, and only conglomerate left standing at the end of the day. While Oligopoly doesn't boast good graphics, it does pack a lot of options and commendable realism given its age. Overall, a fun, unassuming "light" business sim that is ideal for armchair businessmen who found Dani Bunten's Cartel$ & Cutthroat$ a bit too complex and abstract.
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