Power Struggle
for Amiga (OCS/ECS)

Mr Creosote:
Company: PSS
Year: 1988
Genre: Strategy
Theme: Board / Historical / Multiplayer / War
Language: English, Deutsch
Licence: Commercial
Views: 9297
Review by Mr Creosote (2011-07-23)

Yet another cold war game: Western and eastern block finally have enough and they fight it out – by any means necessary. Well, not quite; nuclear war is not part of this game: Economic, diplomatic and conventional military means can be used to achieve world domination.

Power Struggle is played on a plain world map (which is all you're going to see throughout the game) in a turn-based fashion. Each turn, both sides can give orders to each of the provinces it controls: build armies, build factories, move armies, move production capacity, politically influence another country or flat-out attack it. Each turn is time-limited, though: After this time has passed, the commands of both players will simply be carried out, no matter what they are.

The game usually starts out with a diplomatic battle to gain influence over the initially neutral countries. Each of them has got an alignment value: Once this swings fully to one side, the respective side will gain control over the country. At some point, though, direct military action will be required to defeat the enemy. This is when Power Struggle turns into a much more conventional wargame in the vein of Risk: You shuffle your armies around the map, try to defend your borders (of which you hopefully don't have too many) and attack whenever you believe the chances of success to be high.

Consequently, a few typical problems of Risk comes up in Power Struggle as well: Just from looking at the small map, it is not always entirely clear which countries are connected. Also, the endgame turns into a bit of a chore: Once one player clearly has the upper hand production-wise, conquering the rest of the world is just a matter of time, not skill.

The game also has its own quirks: As a single-player game, it's virtually useless as the AI is too predictable. For example, it will never use direct military force before all initially neutral countries have been conquered first. This is not a bug – it is even officially disclosed in the manual! Such inflexible strategy can be easily exploited by the player. Also, both the interface and the time limit of the turns are clearly geared towards two-player games: Icon sets of both players are always visible, both players act at the same time (ideally, you should have two mice) and they can always see what the other is doing.

That said, as a very light-weight strategy game which goes a little beyond the usual scope of Risk, Power Struggle can be a lot of fun if played against a friend. In this case, many of the simplicities become advantages: For example, the fact that you can finish your game in one session; or that virtually no learning of the rules or the mechanics is required. So, on the whole, a nice low-budget production.

P.S. Since the manual scan is in German, here is the most important piece of information to play the game: The space bar ends the turn prematurely.

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