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Friday, November 2, 2018

The Best Management Simulator Games

Some games make you feel like a powerful warrior. Some make you feel like an authoritative commander. And some games make you feel like an ingenious master of all things mechanical, economical, and strategical. Sound good? Here are the best.

Specifically, we’re talking about “management” games that are more about careful planning and application of resources, rather than direct combat (real-time strategy games like Command and Conquer) or straight-up construction (Minecraft and a million imitators). In these games you’ll have to make constant decisions about how to apply time, money, space, and dozens of other factors to best achieve your goals. SimCity is the classic example, though that game has been surpassed by more complex (and less exploitative) entries in the city building genre.

If you prefer games where you solve problems more complicated than the usual “put bullet in bad guy” or “slide blocks around to move forward,” you’ll love the deep complexity and wide-open freedom of the choices below. Most are for PC, where the indie-friendly environment and keyboard controls are conducive to more complex games, but we’ve included a few console picks as well.

Stardew Valley (PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, iOS, Android)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the makers of Stardew Valley must love Harvest Moon to an almost creepy degree. The indie PC game started off as more or less a complete copy of the original farming simulator from back in the SNES days, but has been constantly expanded to add new elements and improvements.

Your simple life as a farmer is mostly about gathering resources to expand your crops, but you can also engage in some light dating sim fun and expanding your animal empire. This game has come out for every major platform, including mobile, and recent expansions gave it support for multiplayer and user mods.

Frostpunk (PC)

Frostpunk is one of the most original real-time strategy games to come out in years, mostly because the enemy isn’t faceless armies, but a cold and dark landscape filled with humans who aren’t always at their best. The bleak setup is that you’re managing a series of cities in an alternate history England, where coal reserves and massive heat generators are the only things keeping your Victorian-era citizens alive in an unexpected ice age.

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