Pride of Nations is a turn-based strategy game with a very detailed and rich historical base. Players can choose from eight different countries: USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Russia, Austria-Hungry, and Italy. You play as one of these powers in the years between 1850 and 1920 your goal is to become great, and how you get there is the real challenge.
If you choose to play as the U.S. you have a large country, much of it landlocked (not close to sea routes). The challenge with this is finding the right resources to build and and infrastructures to maintain. A transportation system to move your goods is critical, and while doing this you have to look at your borders make sure they are secure, deal with the Native American issues and your neighbors in the southwest; you also want to consider building colonies around your nation to keep other nations from getting too cozy with you.
You have a vast assortment of human resources to choose from to reach the goals presented to you. Many of the military and political figures you will deal with are historically correct; not just in picture but also in personality. As is the case today, back then not everyone played well together, even though they were on the same side; this is depicted well in Pride of Nations.
Political and Military actions are not your only options in this game when it comes to colonizing. Players can choose to soften the area up by sending missionaries to convert the locals, or send in merchants and open trade posts to show the locals what they are missing. Why not send some immigrants in after-wards?
Combat is unavoidable when it comes to building a great nation. You have those small groups that don’t want you moving into their part of the country or you have those other countries who want it all. While you will use politicians and diplomats too gain new areas the only way to keep them is to project your power to the world. This is accomplished by building your forces and placing them in strategic areas. Pride of Nations also gives you the option to project power by doing war games for the other countries to see your true might. As with the political side of things personalities come into play, even though they may be on the same side.
I was trying to find something I could compare this game to and the closest I came to was Risk, but not your normal Risk; Pride of Nations is Risk on steroids. This game is not for the casual user. You will need sit down with a plan and dedicate spending a great deal of time to reach your goals; even if you choose some historical battles.
Users can click on a unit to get a list of information, but to use it correctly you will need to look at the detailed unit info. This is also true in the non-combat portion of the game. This isn’t exactly intuitive and despite the big screen, I had some trouble reading the text.
Movement is simple with a click and drag system, but not all your units are movable unless certain things happen such as the progression of a turn (after 2 or 3 moves); or that unit is attacked. While I found this annoying, it made sense in the grand scheme of things and to keep with the accurate historical picture of events. As time progress and battles are waged you will lose people; so the need to train new people arises. Players will be forced to draft and train new recruits, which just adds even more complexity to a game that frankly doesn’t need it.
The manual offers a lot of information and tries to explain how events are resolved through a point system, unless you have played a lot of board games you may find this confusing. Each turn is 14 days so in the grand campaign you will find it essential to make several moves and actions (anywhere between 10-20) to get the most out of your turns. It would have been nice if the tutorials were a bit more in-depth, or the developers provided some video tutorials.
I ran Pride of Nations on a HP with a AMD Phenom II x4; with no problem. The display was a 20″ wide-screen monitor and I feel this is essential to viewing the big picture of your map. Even with a large monitor I did find the text somewhat small.
Pride of Nations takes about a minute to load to the main menu but once there everything runs smooth. The music gets old after a few minutes so I turned it off . The sound effects are minimal and offer nice cues when something occurs in the game.
If you know your history and have an above average knowledge of politics and want to see if you can do it better a second time around; then this is the game for you. If you’re looking for something more challenging than Total War, then get out your geography book and bone up on your history and politics because this game is not for the casual user.