Oiligarchy is a fantastic Flash game anyone can play online where you're asked to take the reins of an oil company and explore, drill and invade your way across the global markets. For such a simple game, it sure packs a lot of interesting game play.

The game is played out in six locations around the world:

• Texas is the home of your first oil fields. It's politically stable and has plenty of oil in the ground. Fittingly, it's also where you will start to feel the effects of Peak Oil later in the game as reserves are pumped out.

• Washington, D.C., is where all the political action goes down. In our nation's capitol you'll fund political parties and green light covert operations aimed at propping up oil production around the world.
 

• Alaska is initially closed to drilling. Only after you spend enough money in Washington are you allowed to drill. You can see Russia from here, you know. Alaska features both on and offshore pockets of oil.

• Venezuela is politically stable most of the time (though it doesn't hurt to invest some money in keeping oil friendly government in power) and has both land and ocean to explore for resevoirs.

• Nigeria has lots of oil and local officials who are willing to "work" with multinational oil corporations with deep enough pockets. It's a dangerous land and requires mercenary guards, but the oil is worth it, even if you have to kill a dissident or two along the way.

• Iraq is another area that is initially closed to drilling. If you have hopes of drilling in this country, you have to spend a few years staging and then executing a successful invasion. Even after your oil drills are running, you'll be bringing in more troops and hiring endless mercenaries to keep operations running smoothly.


So things start in Texas. Before you can drill for the oil you need to find the oil. A quick visit to the Action tab will net an oil exploration crew parachuting in.

There's the oil.

With that, you're off. The first oil derrick puts your fledgling company ahead of the demand curve and brings in your first line of revenue.

As you click by the years however, you'll find that the market's demand for oil increases. To stay ahead of the curve you'll need to keep drilling. Soon enough you'll be dropping your drills in Venezuela,

and, once you've greased enough palms in Washingon, in the Alaskan arctic.

In addition to onshore pockets of oil, for those with enough funds there's also the resevoirs found offshore.

Your engineers use side-sweep sonar to find the oil under the sea.

And offshore rigs to suck it all up.

 

Every 10 years you're given the chance to participate in the elections.

The actual races are clever in their execution — a jacked-up version of a donkey and an elephant battle their way from Point A to Point B. A click from you will drop money and give a boost to which ever party you choose. It's smart to bet on the clear winner but not a bad play to drop some money to the loser as well so you're covered in the event of a political upset.

In this case I'm dropping cash to the badly lagging Republican candidate (after throwing buckets to the surging Democrats).

Your money buys you representation in Washington. The more oil-friendly legislators you have, the less likely some treehugger bill will be signed into law. The last thing an oil tycoon wants is more people riding their bikes!

As you can see in this screen shot, it wasn't a good election for oil. Look at all those greenies!

Iraq looks so peaceful. Let's bomb them. Because they have WMDs.

Yeah.

MUCH better.

Even still, the country is a dangerous place. The smart oil companies hire plenty of mercenaries to protect their facilities.

While we're on the subject of politically instable oil producers, we should mention Nigeria. Luckily the local regime is extremely friendly to anyone with enough money.

Put enough money in the right pockets, and you can get pretty much anything you want.

Are the locals getting in the way of drilling?

Not a problem — for a couple of thousand dollars the local authorities will "take care" of it (sadly, all too real).

Need extra troops to keep your oil rigs safe? That'll be just $50 per soldier, please.

Besides having a hand in local Nigerian politics, you'll dabble in changing affairs both domestic and international. If you've donated enough money to the party in power, you get access to the little room below the White House where all the real work gets done.

To keep things favorable to your business, sometimes you'll be required to engage in operations against your opponents on the left.

Eventually though, you'll find yourself unable to keep up with demand. All of your oil fields will be tapped and things will start to get chaotic.

But the geniuses in R & D have been thinking about this problem and have come up with a solution that's good for the bottom line — human burners!

These "renewable" facilities produce half the oil a typical derrick makes but can be placed anywhere and run off the sweet, sweet energy trapped in human bodies.

Like all good things however, this too must come to an end. You can only fight off renewable energy for so long and eventually you'll be cast out into the cold dark street with nothing more than the tens of millions of dollars you've made so far to comfort you. Take heart in the decades you delayed the transition and know that there is a LOT of extra of pollution in the air because of your work. Well done.

To have your own adventures as an oil mogul, swing over to Oiligarchy and give it a play.

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