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Video Game / Battle Of The Sands

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The future. Fossil fuels have been completely exhausted on Earth. Yet they remain essential for numerous human activities. Fortunately, vast resource deposits have been discovered on a desert planet in a colonised system. Six mega corporations are vying for control of these resources.

As Director of Production of one of the six companies, it is your duty to repel the enemy factions and ascertain your monopoly. Should you be successful in this endeavour, you will be in an excellent position to claim the Megacorp Vice Presidency. Should you fail, your career will end abruptly, with consequences so disastrous they do not bear thinking about...

The above is the prologue text for Battle of the Sands, a 2D Real-Time Strategy game, and the deepest its story ever goes. It was created in 2013 by Pierre Begue, a French developer better known for his 2009 Western RPG Knights of the Chalice, and is currently only available from his website.

It remains poorly known even amongst the people who played Knights of the Chalice due to its notable quirks. For instance, this is a strategy game where you only have a single unit type to do any strategy with. Another is its questionable presentation, whereas the game's window literally has scroll bars on both sides, like some office app, and the battle summary screen looks just like an Excel spreadsheet.

Battle of the Sands features the following tropes:

  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game will warn you if constructing a building will overdraw your power supply and lead to a blackout, thus ensuring you'll build extra generators first.
  • Clown-Car Base: Played straight. The factory buildings will rapidly spew out tanks without any raw materials or such ever needing to go inside.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: Downplayed. Mines work on their own, and factories only need to be ordered to start construction, and they'll keep on building units as long as there's enough gold, or unless you explicitly tell them to stop. Then again, the only thing they can build is one type of tank, so there's no peril of them accidentally building too many wrong units, as is possible in games where you have unit choice.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: You need to construct the factory buildings, gold mines and power generators.
  • Crapsack World: The game's world appears to be this from the prologue text. From a typical dystopian premise of the world where governments appear to have lost all their power to the megacorps, to the Fridge Horror of what the world where all the fossil fuels on Earth have been burnt would look like in practice.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Every unit or building is blown up in an orange explosion when destroyed, and leaves absolutely nothing behind.
  • Mega-Corp: Six of them. However, the only difference between them is in their colors.
  • Palette Swap: This is literally all of the difference between the factions. Even the mission briefings refer to them as "the Yellow faction" and "the Purple faction", for instance.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Exaggerated. Buildings literally appear on what was bare sand a second ago as soon as you click "Add Building."
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Mining a planet located in another solar system for the sake of fossil fuels to then ship them back to Earth is laughably inefficient, and would burn far more energy than what could be obtained in this manner.
  • Tank Goodness: Tanks are the only unit you get, so you better like them!
  • Timed Mission: Some missions are about fending off swarms of enemies until the time runs out. Others are about destroying their base in a set time - i.e. less than four minutes.
  • Units Not to Scale: Six tanks are about equivalent in size to the building that makes them.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: There's power, and gold, somewhat unusually for a sci-fi game. Especially since you are playing as already rich and all-powerful mega corps, and are on a deserted planet with (presumably) no current population of its own. (Though it had to have some life in the past, or else there would have been no fossils for you to fight over.)