The very best logistics games that produce supply chains fun (no, really)

I have been thinking a lot about supply chains recently. It is a marvel of science that a lot more than 1.7 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccines have already been administered globally by 27 May, just a year . 5 after the virus was first discovered, but it can be a triumph for logistics.

Getting jabs in arms has meant boosting manufacturing convenience of everything from fatty nanoparticles to glass vials, and we’ve had to make certain that everything is precisely where it needs to be at specifically the right time. It is amazing that we are managing it, though a lot more must be done to get vaccines to lower-income countries.

What does any of this want to do with video gaming? Well, this month, I have been playing a few games that boil down to managing supply chains, and that is more pleasurable than it sounds.

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First, there is The Colonists , recently released on consoles. The premise is easy, if a little daft: a couple of self-3D-printing robots opt to escape humanity and create their own colony. For reasons uknown, they need food, water and shelter just as humans do, meaning you need to create a civilisation from scratch.

It starts simple – you land a colony ship that is capable of making a few basic resources, then commence expanding. Make a logging outpost and the robots begins cutting down trees that you can use to create a mine to assemble stone. As the overall game progresses, the supply chains become increasingly complex.

All of the resources are written by robots following paths you lay out, which creates traffic jams if, like me, your town-planning skills aren’t up to scratch. Thankfully, there exists a percentage meter near the top of the screen that tracks how efficiently your robots are transporting resources, weighed against a theoretical perfect journey.

“Perhaps your apples are experiencing to travel across half the map to attain a cider press, and that means you should move it”

You can drill down and see which routes will be the worst performing – perhaps your apples are experiencing to travel across half the map to attain a cider press, which means you should move it nearer to your orchard. If all this sounds like work, I assume it sort of is – nonetheless it is fun, I promise!

The other game I have been playing that is along these lines is Subnautica , which includes more of an exploration factor to it. You crash-land on an alien world that’s covered by an enormous ocean, and must scavenge to survive. Getting started with a restricted toolset, you mine ore, harvest plants and catch fish, but eventually you will be able to build underwater bases and submarines, letting you expand further in to the creepy ocean depths. It has really sucked me in, and I am pumped up about looking into the recently released sequel, Subnautica: Below Zero .

Nowadays there are plenty of games in this supply chain/factory simulation genre – the 2D Factorio is among the most expansive, as the 3D Satisfactory splits the difference between Factorio and Subnautica by allowing you to wander around your ever-growing factory. One I haven’t yet played, but have my eye on, is Dyson Sphere Program , gives you entire star systems to harvest in the service of building a Dyson sphere, a megastructure that may capture the energy of a star.

Of course, there is another reason I have already been considering supply chains. The global computer chip shortage, caused partly by the knock-on ramifications of the pandemic, means PlayStation 5s are an issue. Thankfully, after months of trying, I’ve finally got my hands on one.

Games

The Colonists

Codebyfire

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Subnautica

Unknown Worlds Entertainment

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Factorio

Wube Software

PC

Satisfactory

Coffee Stain Studios

PC

Dyson Sphere Program

Youthcat Studio

PC

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I have been thinking a lot about supply chains recently. It is a marvel of science that a lot more than 1.7 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccines have already been administered globally by 27 May, just a year . 5 after the virus was first discovered, but it can be a triumph for logistics.…

I have been thinking a lot about supply chains recently. It is a marvel of science that a lot more than 1.7 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccines have already been administered globally by 27 May, just a year . 5 after the virus was first discovered, but it can be a triumph for logistics.…

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