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The Basics|Starting Your Business|Business Models|Making Money|Spending Money|Winning the Game

The Basics

Offworld Trading Company is a real-time strategy game in which money, not military force, is your true weapon. You must stake your claims to resources, then extract and develop them into goods that are used for advanced buildings and upgrades, all while buying and selling in the real time, player driven marketplace.

The marketplace is the core of Offworld Trading Company. Supply and demand are the only rules, and whoever is most able to effectively craft their strategy to buy low and sell high will usually take home the prize. Running steel mills without iron mines is perfectly possible if you’re willing to pay the market price for iron to keep them fed - which may even be a winning strategy, if iron is abundant and the market is flooded.

Along the way, upgrade your headquarters to increase the number of tiles you can claim. Construct special buildings like the Patent Office or Hacker Array to manipulate wide-ranging gameplay effects. Though direct conflict is not possible -- you’ll never send marines into an enemy base -- a variety of skullduggery is available on the black market. It isn’t cheap to pay someone to smuggle an EMP into a rival base, or hire pirates to raid a competitor’s supply line -- but it is extremely effective.

Ultimately, accumulating the capital needed to build an orbit-capable launch facility and thereby access to astoundingly lucrative offworld markets drives the endgame. The player who can buy up the shares of every rival’s company gains dominance over the Martian market for good.

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Starting Your Business

The first colonization of Mars, back in the bad old days of the 21st century, failed miserably. Having licked its wounds, humanity is reaching for the red planet once again – but this time private businesses have been invited to the party to ensure that this colony does not fail. There is no shame in making a profit while helping to carve a new foothold for our species in the most brutally hostile environment we've ever lived.

The territory where you are founding your base has been scanned from low Mars orbit. There are spots where it's known there densely packed resources, but until you get your scanning equipment down there, every choice is a gamble.

Your first order of business is to get the basic necessities of food, water, fuel, and energy up and running – or to buy them on the market; it's perfectly viable to import your life support in Offworld Trading Company. Hydrolysis Reactors turn water into fuel and air, solar panels (or wind farms, or geothermal reactors) produce energy, etc. Mars is not a hospitable place, but carving out a living is far from impossible.

Survival is quite hard on Mars, which just happens to be great for business. Earth is so terrified of another Red Disaster they are throwing all the resources they can at the new colonies.

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Business Models

Choose one of four colony types to play as, each with powerful and unique advantages that dramatically alter the way players pursue victory:

Seneca Development

  • One extra claim with each colony upgrade
  • Needs half as much steel for buildings and colony upgrades
  • Units travel 50% faster

Yoshimi Robotics

  • Colony does not consume life support
  • Units use power instead of fuel
  • Double production from tiles under the colony
  • Buildings receive adjacency bonus for being next to other buildings that supply an input resource

Reclamation Inc

  • Uses carbon instead of steel to construct buildings
  • Learn about market news events earlier
  • Able to use the Black Market more frequently

New Meridians

  • Conversion buildings can use resource deposit on their own tiles (for example, a Hydrolysis Farm could use trace water to create food)
  • Recovers faster from EMPs, power surges, and mutinies
  • Acquires patents 50% faster

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Making Your Money

Once your colony has what it needs to function -- general 30 seconds into the match (Offworld Trading Company is a fast-paced game) -- you’ll need to decide how to approach resource extraction and/or refinement. Do you mine deposits of raw minerals, buy them on the market and make your money refining them, or some combination of the two? Some resources, like steel or aluminum, are critical for upgrading your colony and constructing buildings. Others, like chemicals refined from carbon, are used in the Upgrade Laboratory to unlock colony-wide improvements.

Everything has a price, though. If the market is flooded with chemicals, use your limited claims to construct buildings that produce more in-demand resources and use the money from selling them to buy the chemicals you need. Often the primary use of a resource isn't to fuel your colony, but to fuel your bank account.

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Spending Your Money

Money, though crucial to every aspect of Offworld Trading Company, is a means to an end. Filling in any resource gaps in your production chains or buying up what you need to construct a desired building is much of what you'll find yourself doing, but those are only a few of many uses for your cash. Choosing how to spend your money is at least as important as figuring out how to make it in the first place:

The Black Market

Pirates! EMP blasts! Espionage! The black market has many potentially useful things for sale. Even better, your target won't even know who’s behind their sudden difficulties. Moustache-twirling is a free extra on all black market sales.

Auctions

From time to time, patents and claims will come up for auction. These can get extremely expensive, but have potentially game-altering effects. You can always bid on an auction, even with an empty bank account – but remember, debt drives down your stock price and makes you an easy target for a hostile takeover.

Hacking

The Hacker Array special building allows you to create artificial shortages and surpluses of goods, driving the market price up or down for a time. This can be expensive, but extremely powerful – create a fake food shortage right after temporarily knocking out a rival's farms with an EMP, for example, to drive up their debt.

Stock Purchases

Buying up your competitors' stock is the ultimate win condition in Offworld Trading Company. Be careful, though; money put into stock purchases doesn't help you make more money until you fully buy out a rival – at which point you take ownership of all their assets.

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Winning the Game

Tutorials

Learn to play Offworld Trading Company against the AI in pre-set scenarios that teach you the gameplay mechanics.

Skirmish

Compete against the AI on a random map. Don't say we didn’t warn you if things aren't as easy for you as a traditional RTS compstomp, though.

Campaign

Choose your path through a dynamic campaign whose outcome depends on your decisions and on the outcomes of a series of matches.

Multiplayer

Test your skill in an Internet game against your friends.

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