ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 5 — APRIL/MAY 1984 / PAGE 43


Chancellor of the Exchequer

    Since the time I got my Atari computer back in 1981, I have noticed a large number of economic strategy games on the market. The "run country" scenario has always fascinated me. So in great anticipation,I bought or typed in these games, only to be disapointed by their simplicity. However, until recently this has all changed.The reason is 'Chancellor of the Exchequer by Mach-ina.This game is terrific, being infinitely better than other early attempts at an economic strategy game that I have seen.

Stategy screen shot

    Chancellor of the Exchequer places you in control of Britain at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.(1805) At this time your country has for the most part an agrarian economy, lacking many production facilities. It will be your goal to make Britain an industrial power. Success is determined by your rating for Great Britain on the Analysis Program Graph. High ratings are achieved by merging all eight regions with Great Britain, increasing popoulation,maximize machine utilization and have at least 55,000 pounds sterling in the Exchequer by the game's end.
    At the start of the game Britain is divided into eight regions which have their own strengths and weaknesses. Each region has its own display screen with all vital statistics. As Chancellor it is your job to distribute surplus resources so that all regions operate efficiently. To assist the player in using resources, an Analysis program is provided. This program will indicate how well you are employing your people and how industrialized a region has become. When a region becomes industrialized enough it will automatically merge with Great Britain. This will help to unite the economy and increase your rating.
    Chancellor of the Exchequer's greatest strength is its, ability to create a situation where one strategy is not the only realistic option. Different economic problems that the game produces can be corrected using many different methods. There is no built-in pattern that can be followed to insure success. Each game can be a different experience.
    The game is structured so that it forces on experienced players to make decisions on a level higher than the "this or that" basis. The decision to produce either product 1 or product 2 does not end with production, it could have a rippling effect on the entire country's economy. For example, a player could be forced to make a decision to either produce goods or coal goods that could be sold abroad, the amount of money in the treasury will increase.There will be money for the many expenses. However,by selling consumer goods instead of making prducer goods one may be sacrificing growth for current prosperity. This is only a very simple illustration of what decisions must be made. Because it causes the player to be concerned with all the repercussions of his decisions, the "rippling effect" is one of the more interesting aspects of the game. Because this game is designed to promote many alternative strategies one may find that it is a little complex at first. During my first game I quickly became lost in the many symbols that are used. In addition, the instruction pamphlet, although useful as an outline, not clearly explain the mechanics of the game. Fortunately, Chancellor of Exchequer comes with an additional program called "Help". This assistance program does a fair job of instructing the player how to play the game. The various screens and symbols are explained here.
    Being an economic game, not 'shoot'em up' arcade game, there are no dramatic graphic displays. However, the region statistic displays are made with some degree of creativity. Using modified character sets, the symbols graphically depict the information that is being presented. The overall display is fairly understandable, certainly for one who has gone through the Help Program. Statistics from any or all regions can be printed out on Epson printers. The print-out is a summary, including the name of the region, date, economic statistics and cost of various manufacturable items. It would be best to have the graphic chip for your printer, because without it some of the artistry cannot be printed. However, it is not essential, all important data can printed from any Epson printer. Because Chancellor of the Exchequer is a well designed strategic simulation of the industrial revolution, it is a game that I would highly recommend.

Strategy Tips


    In Legionnare, the game is ancient warfare between Rome and the barbarian tribes of success. While fighting difficult tribes, the battle must unfold exactly how you want it to. Although easier levels can be played without much thought, the Romans must use their environment and legionnares to their maximum effiecency in order to survive. The best method of being successfull in this game can be outlined in three words: preparation, deployment and execution.
    Preparation consists of deciding where you want the battle to occur and moving the legions to this location without fighting the enemy. One cavalry legion should move to the far side of the barbarian army in order to draw it away from the rest of the troops. While this is happening the main body of legionnares should move to a predetermined defensive position. The defensive position should be one in which the legionnares would be fighting downhill.The effect of this would be two-fold. One, while fighting downhill the legionnares' fighting ability will be enhanced.Two, the enemy will tire as it climbs the hill to get to your location. The battlefield should be one on which the barbarians attack from only one direction.By doing this, the Romans will create a vacant area which enemy units could not penetrate. Being an essential part of any strategy this area could be used as a movement corridor for the reshuffling of units during the heat of battle,an area where depleted legions may recuperate and a safe place to retreat in case all else fails.
    There are a few places on the playfield that meet my criteria. The first, is the hill located on the bottom left corner of the playfield. Making a horizontal line with the legions, the player should be able to draw the barbarians from the north. The second, is a steep hill that is located half way down the left side of the board. To maximize the effect of the hill, draw the opposition towards this location from the east.
    The legions must be deployed so that the defensive effect can be maximized. Legions fight best when attacked from only one side. As a result,a tight box-like formation is always most effective when fighting the more difficult tribes.The barbarian cavalry will attempt to pry between the legions, thus destroying the box. Once this happens it usually means the Romans' inevitable defeat. By grouping the legions in a rectangular box,there is a twofold effect. One, the legions,except for the corners, can be attacked from only one side. Two, the barbarians, would not be able to pry between the center legions because they are grouped tightly together.
    The only legions that could be moved are the ones on the end of the line. Because of this the end units need to be the strongest. Casear Men or Cicero legions would work well in this location. The end unit's flank should be protected by one of the two Roman cavalry legions. Acting like a fire brigade, the cavalry would push back any opposition unit that moves to the flank of the legions . After performing its task, the cavalry should retreat one square to avoid being attacked. When a barbarian moves back to the flank of an end legion, this process should be repeated. By doing this, all or at least most legions should be at from only one side. Although the legions may be deployed effectively, a battle strategy must be planned and executed. Because the legions fight better while on defence, in the early stages of the battle all Roman infantry should only defend. The Roman commander should allow the aggressive barbarians to tire while he is preparing for a counter-attack. Because of fatigue, the number of barbarians fighting in relation to the total number of barbarians in the field is quite small.What the Romans need to do is defeat the barbarians who are fighting, rendering the others who are resting helpless. When the barbarians become weakened as a result of fatigue,the Romans should counter-attack. The entire line of legions should advance, overwhelming the weakened opposition. If timed correctly, this strategy should enable the Romans to eliminate several barbarian formations in one strike.