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1602 A.D. is the North American release of a game that came out in Europe last year under the title Anno 1602, which was developed by the German firm Sunflowers. However, despite being essentially the original version of the game with a handful of additions (an included expansion pack, a couple of new building structures, supposedly improved artificial intelligence, and a scenario editor), 1602 A.D. is not just an afterthought release of some obscure European game. In fact, Anno 1602 is the best-selling game ever in Germany and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. As such, you might expect a radical new twist in the gameplay, but 1602 A.D. simply takes the tried-and-true real-time god-game formula and applies a bit of European sensibility. That is, the game is slower, less violent, and more cooperative, yet it still inhabits familiar territory.
Despite its historically allusive title, 1602 A.D. is set in a fictitious universe with no direct connection to the colonization of the New World. However, the game has a strong historical flavor, as it opens with the establishment of a small colony on an island that develops much like an early-17th-century town. Adding to the atmosphere is the game's pacing, which is very relaxed. There are several speed settings, but even at faster speeds the game moves along somewhat uneventfully unless you're drastically mismanaging the situation. It's this slow pace that will likely determine whether you like the game or not.
The gameplay proceeds along well-worn lines. You're charged with building and maintaining a colony on a previously unexplored island. The maps consist of approximately fifteen or twenty islands in a vast ocean, and competing players settle, develop, and expand their holdings in the hope of building a prosperous settlement in the New World. You initially have one ship with enough tools, wood, and food to get a foothold on one island. Once there, you must construct buildings such as fishing huts for food, foresters' huts for lumber, and various farms for wool and cattle. The objective is to eventually build as large and prosperous a colony as possible, so you'll need to build homes for your settlers. As the colony expands, the inhabitants will demand such things as schools and taverns to let them keep growing. Settlers progress through various states of development, up to the highest level of "aristocrat." The more advanced the settlers, the more they want. Eventually you'll be building cotton and tobacco plantations, churches, colleges, and theaters, as well as shipyards and armories. The relationships between the colonists and their buildings can become rather complex, and managing them efficiently is the point of the game.
1602 A.D. can be played in several modes, including continuous play, individual scenarios, and multiplayer. Continuous play is the familiar, open-ended mode in which you start with a ship, settle an island, and subsequently develop your colony through various stages to a thriving 18th-century metropolis while protecting yourself from marauding pirates and overly aggressive neighbors. Continuous-play games have no set ending point, and the mode continues essentially until you become tired of the game. On the other hand, scenarios require you to reach a certain goal, such as having a certain number of aristocrats in your colony. -- Bruce Geryk
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Top Customer Reviews
Never has a game captivated me so much, its Empire building and easy interesting progress of your City through development and trade always want me to try a new way and direction. One is not distracted by other players attacking you but to some regard you are left alone to better your own City. I now have reached the stage where the darn game shuts down after saying one should buy the full version and you have reached the level of under standing. I give this game 5 stars and recommend it most heartily. Perhaps when you have tried it you lucky Americans you can give me a email,, Good hunting, Grumpy Gramps
The colony-building portion of the game (and really the main portion of the gameplay) is very enjoyable. Detailed, yet not overwhelming (though at first, you might be a little harried) it strives to provide a complete picture of starting and maintaining a thriving colony. Your citizens must eat, so you must provide them with food (hunters, fishermen, cattle farms). They need clothes, so you must provide those also (sheep farms, weavers, textile trade). And the citizens will have demands (churches, taverns, alcohol), so ignore those at your own risk. Trade is vital, or you'll run out of essential building blocks for empire-building (especially tools!) and hopefully your island will produce some vital product that you can sell for an exorbitant amount.
It isn't as fast-paced, or intense as SimCity or Civilization, but there's so much to do that you'll actually have your hands full managing it all. No sitting back and watching here. And once you finally do grasp the multitude of activities in the game, then you'll find out how fun and rewarding it can be.
Just as in the Caesar III style of games, there are steps to take to create products. You take tobacco from the farm and turn it into cigars. Sugar cane goes to the distillery and becomes alcohol, and the tavern buys it. You can also establish trade routes. An island low in tobacco can ship that in, and send off the stones it is mining.
Homes develop in size as their needs are met. Quarry stone for more advanced buildings, and build your technology for more interesting options. Build up your sheep farm and send wool to the weaver for more content (and well dressed) inhabitants.
There's combat too - pirates lurk in the seas, and nearby settlements compete with you for land. You can invade their territory, or try to outmerchant them. You can even multi-play to take on your friends in high seas adventure.
While this is definitely fun for beginners, it leaves something to be desired for advanced players. I would recommend this to a family that wishes to play together, and for gamers new to strategy, who want to learn at a gentle pace how to manage resources and grow a city.
This is a sort of Civilization set in the olden times, 1602 of course, when galleons discovered new worlds and set out to create trade routes and garner wealth for aristocratic settlers. The game starts by settling an island (you are in a race with the computer, who tries to beat you to a choice bit of land. Some of the islands are lousy--too many volcanoes, for one thing, or lacking essential resources.)
You need to build up from wood-cutting plantations, to cotton and grain, up to the ability to mine, forge metals and eventually build some handy cannons and muskets to take out the pesky pirates. Did I mention pirates? Well, as you are shipping from island to island, running your important trade routes, these nasty guys pop up and take your stuff, not to mention try to sink your ship. Eventually, it's payback time and you'll deal with them.
Meanwhile, it's all you can do to keep the locals happy (tip; don't forget to build a hospital. It's demoralizing to see a once-happy island decimated by the Plague.) Then the locals want more, more, more. Schools, churches, universities, even a palace and cathedral. And they like their booze and tabaccy, not to mention regular meals. If you starve the people, they won't forgive you. And you can lose.
This game has nice graphics, and is pleasing as either a single-player or multi-player game. It appeals to women as well as men because the military aspects are secondary to building and developing a new land. The only criticism is that the military function is boring. You clear your enemy islands the same way every game and it gets old.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had this game at one time and somehow it got loaned and not returned so bought it again, only regret is there is no edit mode now, still a fun game.Published 18 months ago by Grandma KR
This game has crashed my laptop. Dell computers has done everything they could to get my laptop back going. Read morePublished on May 22, 2014 by Jonathan Black
I love this game. If you played this back in the day, you know what I'm talking about. I've spent countless hours playing this game and have built remarkable cities on the game... Read morePublished on October 21, 2013 by Brian