Sometimes I like to think that I’m smart, but then a puzzle game swoops in and kicks the shit out of me.
Bureaucratic Deity Simulator 2018 is a game by mmason and it was made for Ludum Dare 38, which ended a few days ago. The whole theme of that was “small world” and the game follows that theme by having you make small worlds.
As a deity working for some cosmic bureaucracy, you’re tasked to create worlds according to the specifications mandated. To do so, you place cards depicting environments on a playing field and transform them by placing certain cards next to each other. Putting an ocean next to a mountain erodes the mountain into hills. While the mountain couldn’t be eroded by a river, the hills are susceptible to being whittled down by a river card into a grassland. Putting the river down next to it again presumably creates a farmland that then morphs the grassland card into a city.
The cards can also chain together. For example, a mountain has the ability to uplift hill cards into other mountains. If two hills are next to each other and one of them becomes a mountain, it then goes on to uplift the other into a mountain. With this in mind, it means that you’re going to have to be more mindful of the card placement on the playing field in case you transform one of the cards by accident.
What really confuses me about the game is that I don’t understand some of the interactions. A river and a river combine to form a swamp, which I don’t get. Putting the swamp next to the city then transforms that city into a swamp, which gives the implications that it was flooded. If that were the case though, wouldn’t the other water features have the same effect? Since they don’t, why does a city become a swamp? Making the interaction the other way around changes the swamp back to the grassland, which I kinda don’t get either? Is this how geology works and I’m just out of my damn mind?
Anyway, there’s a decent number of levels to work through with different goals. There’s even a sandbox mode accessible at the bottom, which gives you a space to mess around with the cards and see what interacts with what so you don’t get confused like I did. As a puzzle game, it seems fine, though I feel that I would have enjoyed it more if I understood it better.