Cartel Tycoon has changed quite a bit since the demo version was released a while back. The game is still a management sim about building your own drug empire but now it has both a story mode and a sandbox mode. There are also plenty of new mechanics as well, with some being released in future updates.
The heart of Cartel Tycoon is a business management sim. You use simple cost benefit analysis as well as risk analysis to create a profitable business, although the ethics of the matter are quite a different topic.
For example, you can choose to bribe the mayor of a town so you can gain control of the area and expand your operation into that territory. You need to do the mayor multiple favors before winning him over in the form of side quests such as taking out rival gangs in the area and etc. It usually ends with a large bribe.
Now you could also use violence and take out the mayor by force but doing so will increase your notoriety and attract the attention of both the DEA and local law enforcement. This translates into game play mechanics where the police will now randomly investigate your buildings. This forces you to micromanage your buildings and close down the ones being investigated or face possible closure and seizure by the government. You can analyze the risk of each action as well as the benefit and choose the best route, often at the cost of your morals.
Managing your logistical network is vital as well. Not having enough vehicles in your fleet to transport your products, dirty money, laundered money, and etc. will severely cripple your operation. You can handle this in many ways, from turning on and off buildings to decrease bottlenecks, to upgrading your fleet, to using your lieutenants to handle the deliveries.
There are a lot of other mechanics to consider as well. You need to hire lieutenants to hold key properties to protect it from rival gangs. However, lieutenants can turn against you if you do not handle them correctly. Just one more thing to track and worry about added to the pile.
Overall, Cartel Tycoon is a solid business management sim. Cost benefit and risk analysis are both useful in this game and they are applied pretty well in the game mechanics. New mechanics such as guerilla camps and indigenous people are shown but you can’t interact with them yet as they will be released in future updates.