Strategery 2012 is Advance Wars Meets American Politics
Have you been keeping up with the 2012 presidential race? Have you ever played the hit strategy series Advance Wars? If the answer to both is no, you now have the chance to knock them both out at the same time. Strategery 2012, by Silverware Games, comically simplifies the Republican Primaries, eventually leading up to a battle for votes against Barack, all in the turn-based format of the classic retro-esque, top-down strategy game. By accident or on purpose, it paints a poignant picture of American politics.
Political parodies are standard fare for this time of year and most of them are straight obnoxious. Just check Youtube. But, Strategery 2012 is actually a hilarious re-skin of classic war strategy. Instead of capturing cities by force with combat, your PR team occupies them for a turn to secure their votes. All the while, your varied “soldiers” take on roles like Press Secretary and Fundraiser and can square off in split-screen interviews that replace actual combat. Public relations is hell!
The satire is light on the surface, with the biggest jabs at candidates being their special leader abilities, like Mitt Romney’s Voter Suppression, which neutralizes one of the other cities already captured by your opponent, or his Moderate Mitt ploy that makes the other leader confused and lose credibility. Obama receives double the vote gain and – well, you get the point.
Of course, you won’t really come away with any strong understanding of actual politics after playing Strategery 2012, but the game does precisely what these sim games are supposed to do and gamifies something complicated. It takes all the weapons utilized by political campaigns and turns it cartoonish, which frankly isn’t too far from the mark.
Watching all the satirical, but believable campaign jargon in action just demonstrates how shallow and flimsy it all is. As each PR team reuses each other’s PR gibberish throughout the battles to aggressively “capture” the votes of cities. Like the denizens of Advance Wars, you’ll never actually see any of these voters either. Instead, they exist only as landmarks on the map for conquering. All the while, you fight to gain enough votes to be the final boss in the presidential election, as if it was a game-like conquest all along.
The looping midi soundtrack even exhausts you in the same way the campaign does and – OK, I may be taking it too far. But, you should definitely still play it. I promise it’s actually fun.