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The world doesn’t end in 2012, at least that is not the check out date according to Fate of the World: Tipping Point. Also, there is no fugitive asteroid coming to claim us all. According to the game, the world will most likely suffer a slow, agonizing death full of drought, famine and civil unrest a century or two from now. This is good news for us, bad news for future generations and careless time travelers.

Despite the dark and sardonic outlook, this turn based card game manages to instill hope in an otherwise crumbling world. This is because in Fate of the World: Tipping Point, or FotW:TP for short, you’re placed in the mantle of power, with the chance to turn things around through real world solutions. This is no walk in the park, however, as with this power players must balance resources and public perception or they will wind up on the wrong end of a revolution. Are you up to the challenge?

Fate of the World: Tipping Point is actually comprised of the base game, FotW, and two DLC packs Migration and Denial. All makes up a total of 9 single player campaigns that put the player on one altruistic mission after another. Along the lines of raising the quality of life in Africa by 2045, or raising the world’s gross domestic product to $200 trillion by 2200, it’s safe to say these are not your typical save-the-world video game scenarios; and it is an understatement to say that they stray into the realm of the real world. In all honesty, every aspect of the game pits gamers smack dab in the real world.

Whichever campaign you choose, the game starts off with a series of devastating events. In 2018, the world’s first hypercane wipes out a massive number of the world’s population. Then, earth’s ice caps begin to shrink. In reaction, the world creates the Global Environment Organization (GEO). For some reason or another, this group winds up taking control of all aspects of the world’s development, from economics to technology, above the obvious environmental protection. Guess who is the next leader of the GEO?

On a high level, Fate of the World: Tipping Point is played on a turn by turn basis. The player visits each region of the world, laying down a number of cards representing anything from biotech research to water conservation to police funding. Depending on each region’s problems, the leader of the GEO must choose accordingly. Then, after all the cards are dealt, a simple click advances the world five years. This is when things get interesting.

Red Redemption Ltd. understands that nothing in the world goes according to plan. It shows in the reactive, randomized world they developed for FotW:TP. For example, playing that more expensive biotech card made 3rd generation biofuels available, but at the expense of civil unrest since jobs and industry were neglected. On top of that, a series of storms had struck both coasts forcing evacuation and panic. All of a sudden, the heart meter which show public sentiment goes down a notch or two. In this game, you truly have to think two steps ahead of the world, which makes for quite a challenge.

Thankfully, the game offers a wealth of analytics to help keep players abreast of all global machinations. In fact, it can get a little overwhelming if one really wants to dig in. How’s this for an inventory: Annual Emissions (MtCO2e), GDP, Life Expectancy, Education, Public Outlook (Consumerist, Materialist, etc.), Public Stability, Oil & Gas Need/Recoverable, Coal Used/Extracted, Agriculture GDP, Food ($/Capita), Forest Area Annual Change and Climate Refugees? Each one of these comes with its own graph/chart complete with bright colors and somewhat incomprehensible numbers.

Those who aren’t into numbers need not fear. Fate of the World: Tipping Point also has a news digest that gives context to all the analytics. Getting the news is as easy as clicking into region and then clicking on the envelope icon at the top of the screen. The digest lists both the accomplishments and problems that have happened over the past five years for each region, and is more important than it may seem at first. Each round can last twenty to thirty minutes, especially if one is prone to serious deliberation. Each round can therefore become a game in itself, with the digest as the player’s temporary leaderboard.

As far as the challenges go, that news digest can also become a primary tool in planning out the next round. The game boasts more than 1,000 dilemmas, from flash fires to global resource wars to political unrest. Depending on your view on challenge and punishment, you can be lucky and come face to face with 1,000 problems over the course of one campaign, as opposed to Jay-Z who only has 99. It is more than enough to keep you on your toes.

Albeit, it is important to vary one’s strategy. Reacting to the problem at hand is critical, if only to keep public sentiment on your side. At the same time, one cannot forget the main goal of the campaign as well as the various side goals to increase points. Add the fact that one must do all this with limited resources, FotW:TP is no piece of cake, not by a long shot. Keep your head on a swivel and start thinking in terms of decades in stead of day by day, and the game can get wildly addicting and gratifying for the amount of time you put into it.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point is not all about serious world issues, as it may seem. Red Redemption did have the foresight to add a campaign called Dr. Apocalypse. In this campaign, instead of saving the world, the player must drive the world into hell for as long as possible. Public sentiment plays a big part in the challenge for this campaign as playing the villain naturally creates enemies. Even if you fail here, you can fail with a bang, as a sniper’s bullet puts an end to your tyranny. In the end, this campaign is especially satisfying.

Ultimately, FotW:TP offers a beautifully designed card game to which I don’t mind giving an hour or two of my time per sitting. It dives headfirst into real world issues without climbing atop a soapbox or feeling too preachy. It just makes the player think, while at the same time hypnotizing with a very real experience of power and consequence. It’s a must have for card game vets and it’s worth a shot for those who have never touched a card game in their life. Bravo, Red Redemption.

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