Video Game: Shattered Union
is a turn-based strategy game on hex maps, released on PC and Xbox in 2005, on Steam
2006. The game is set in 2014
. Six years prior to the beginning of the game, David Jefferson Adams is elected as America's 44th President
, and a highly unpopular one
at that, resulting in high levels of domestic unrest, terrorism, and armed resistance that leads to the instituting of martial law. After he gets himself a second term in a blatant sham election, domestic terrorists detonate a low-yield nuclear device over Washington, DC
on Inauguration Day, killing most of the United States federal government and breaking the line of presidential succession. In the interest of maintaining trade relations, The European Union
dispatches detachments of armed peacekeepers into the ruins of Washington to help rebuild the city, maintain order, and eventually reestablish the original government. They are less than popular with the locals
In fact, they are so unpopular that, soon after their arrival, California
declare home rule and secede from the Union
. Many other states soon follow; within months, the only states still pledging loyalty to the original government are the ones under European Union control. Sooner or later someone's nerves get the better of them and a shot is fired, and the Second American Civil War is officially underway, with every single faction fighting every single other faction for control of the nation
. Meanwhile, Russia, under an ultranationalist government, invades and annexes Alaska
, claiming that it was rightfully theirs to begin with.
Gameplay-wise, Shattered Union
is divided into a strategic map in which you control higher-level decisions at the country level, and a tactical map in which you fight the actual battles, both turn based. Each faction gains money every turn based on the number of territories they control and the amount of resources in each territory. In each turn, factions can buy, scrap, or repair existing units and attack territories; when attacking or being attacked, the game zooms down to the tactical map level and combat occurs. Combat is stat-based, with each unit type having a number of effectiveness ratings against different other unit types, modified by things such as range, terrain, weather condition, etc. Each faction also has a number of special abilities that can be deployed in combat, some of them positively affecting friendly units and others negatively affecting hostile units; these abilities typically have a lengthy cooldown.
It is stated that a movie adaptation of the game will be made by Disney with Jerry Bruckheimer directing and written by J. Michael Straczynski
This work provides examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: The EU, according to loading screens. It never shows in gameplay - the EU can even have partisan units fighting alongside them if they maintain a positive reputation.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Each side can have a total of 42 units at any time.
- Artificial Stupidity: By modern standards, although in 2005 it was passable.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Bombers, though incredibly effective against nearly any target, are ludicrously expensive, difficult to replace, and easy to shoot down with even inexpensive, obsolete anti-air units.
- This is mainly at the beginning of the game. Not only that, but bombers can destroy most AA if they are caught in the open, since they do attack first, and AA is quite squishy.
- Boring, but Practical: The Bradley IFV. Much cheaper than tanks, and almost as effective, while causing much less collateral damage. Its only real weakness is its lack of anti-air capabilities. Spamming Bradleys is arguably one of the most effective combat tactics in the game.
- Civil War: The 2nd American Civil War.
- Colour Coded Armies: Pacifica green, Great Plains Federation yellow, Texas Republic red, California Commonwealth orange, Confederacy grey, New England Alliance teal and EU blue.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: All US factions use the same units, with the exception of experimental units. Justified for obvious reasons — a scant two years ago they were all part of the same country. On the other hand (and by the same logic), the European Union uses its own completely unique unit tree, as do the Russians.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted in that units become less combat-effective the more damaged they are.
- Cyborg: Can be recruited by certain factions, and can also be obtained from the Russians on occasion. They are the most effective infantry type in the game.
- Divided States of America: The continental US is divided into 6 factions plus EU. Hawaii decides to sit out, and Alaska gets invaded by Russia.
- Dual Mode Unit: European AA-units. Due to their range and power, they can serve as light artillery.
- Easy Logistics: Played with. Units needs to refuel at cities/towns, but everything else is automatic.
- Every Bullet is a Tracer
- False Flag Operation: The Russians were behind the attack on Washington.
- Fog of War: You can see entire battlefield, but you can only see enemy units if your own units see them.
- Good Versus Good: Quite possible if America is owned by two factions who both have good reputations while at war.
- Evil Versus Evil: Similarly possible if both factions have not-so-good reputations.
- Instant-Win Condition: Even if your army is just a single jeep, as long as you can capture that last point you win.
- Karma Meter: Referred to as 'political reputation'. Based on collateral damage caused, civilian casualties, number of enemy units killed, and aid accepted from the Russians. Wanton destruction lowers your reputation, clean, precise surgical strikes raise it. Lower reputation causes you to earn fewer partisan units (and may result in your own people actively fighting against you as partisans), but is balanced out by unlocking powerful special abilities. A positive reputation results in far more partisans joining the cause, but the abilities unlocked are slightly less potent.
- Shattered Union is also one of the few games in which attempting to keep your Karma Meter neutral actually has a benefit; although you'll be locked out of powerful endgame abilities, neutrality does get you access to the basic special abilities of both the good and evil paths, while going too far in one direction or the other will lock you out of certain powers after a while.
- La Résistance: Partisans, who will join the more popular side in a battle, or the defending side if both are equally popular.
- Monumental Damage: Nearly every map has one or two monuments on it, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Space Needle or the CNN Center. Blowing them up causes a much greater hit to your political reputation than normal destruction.
- It works in your favor, too, though, since enemies will be more reluctant to bomb your tanks if they're currently stationed in, say, Disneyworld.
- "Risk"-Style Map
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Can be tossed around willy-nilly without worry of nuclear winter, although they cause so much collateral damage that it's not generally a good idea.
- Slave to PR: Evil factions. Player needs to destroy random targets, even if enemy consist single partisan unit, to keep up his evil reputation. Even dropping a nuke is forgiven in few weeks.
- Support Power: Good powers tend to boost your own units and do field repairs. Evil powers, on the other hand, debuff enemy troops and cause damage. Oh, and evil guys get the nuke.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Somewhat. Jets beat choppers, choppers beat tanks, tanks beat AA and AA beats aircraft. There's some variation thrown into the mix, such as different types of light armor and other vehicles, various types of infantry with their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, artillery units for long range fire, and the like.
- Tank Goodness: With the exception of the Great Plains Federation who still use M1 Abrams tank (they get a heavy artillery unit), each faction's unique unit is a superheavy tank.
- Theme Naming: Every American faction's unique unit is named after a Confederate general, apart from the Great Plains Federation's Grant artillery, which is named after a Union general.
- Units Not to Scale: Because they're not supposed to be, as the 'units' represent large formations rather than individual soldiers.
- Washington D.C. Invasion: Can be done by anyone, although instead of the White House players finds a huge crater.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Nicholai Vladekov, the Russian president who nuked Washington and invaded Alaska. Player never personally fight against him, and after the final battle the game only tells you that he is wanted by Interpol. His fate is never elaborated upon.
- We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties: The intro has a news reporter giving a live report from Washington during the nuclear attack. Cue to trope.
- Weaponized Car: Partisans drive civilian vehicles covered in armor and machine guns.
- You Nuke 'Em: This is the "ultimate evil power" for several factions.