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Change World War history in this new city-building grand strategy game

Kaiserpunk combines city builders and grand strategy games to create an alternate history spectacle operating on a local and global scale.

Kaiserpunk - A soldier in a wide-brimmed helmet with a stoic expression.

City builders such as Cities Skylines 2 and Frostpunk demand you to manage the intricacies of managing a city down to the minute details –  organizing resources, production, and infrastructure to keep things flowing smoothly. Grand strategy games like Hearts of Iron and Crusader Kings, meanwhile, operate at a vast scale, demanding you oversee entire regions and continents as you push your nation and its forces across the map to secure your lands. Bring them together and you have Kaiserpunk, an ambitious combination of the two genres, set in an alternate history 20th century, and coming to Steam in 2024.

“What if moments in history as we know them didn’t happen, and you could shape it anew?” That’s the question posed by Kaiserpunk developer Overseer Games, makers of strategy games including Aquatico and Patron. Its latest outing, it explains, is built on “five pillars of gameplay” – city building, grand strategy, production, logistics, and causality – and sees you shape a city-state from the street level up to the global scale.

Set in an alternative early 20th century during the eras of World Wars I and II, you’ll be tasked with handling everything from the overarching state of the world, where leaders struggle and fight over economic and territorial control, to your individual city layouts, complete with all the intricacies of managing your production chains, resource management, and of course the morale and health of your citizens.

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Overseer Games emphasizes that the pairing of the genres is “not just for show or to have a buzzword. The two genres are deeply intertwined. The only way to have proper agency on the global scale is to have a functioning local level.” That means that the grand strategy parts also take place in real-time, moving in parallel with your city.

This isn’t a game for the faint of heart then; indeed, Overseer Games wants your choices to matter, as indicated by that fifth pillar of causality. Stories built by your actions are paramount to your journey through Kaiserpunk, whether that’s a simple action such as building a police station to help quell riots in a city, or an extended narrative over years where an accident on your border leads to unrest between you and a neighboring country, potentially dragging you into conflict if tensions escalate.

Kaiserpunk - A convoy of cars move down a town street on a rainy night.

Kaiserpunk is set to launch on Steam in 2024. It certainly sounds ambitious, and I’m fascinated to see how well the two core genres blend without one drowning the other out. But the pitch is certainly promising, and I’m eager to see if Overseer Games can deliver on it. If you’re curious about Kaiserpunk, you can add it to your Steam wishlist to keep track of it.

Until it arrives, we’ve got both the best grand strategy games on PC and, of course, all the best city-building games to choose from as well. If you’re more interested in the conflict side of things, meanwhile, perhaps the best war games will suit your tastes.

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