Anno 1800, city-building in the industrial revolution

Yeah, this just got added into my game last night (Uplay+). All that I noticed was that there’s a botanical garden that I can’t yet build, but which I assume is similar to zoos/museums. I’m not sure they needed a third attractiveness booster, though I understand the appeal of collecting the items.

I think maybe I’ve had enough of Anno 1800 - thanks UPlay+ trial!!

After completing the campaign I started a sandbox game on the 2nd difficulty (advanced?). I built up my main island enough to then go grab 3 islands near me to ensure my future supply. The AI seemed to get cranky but they never declared war.

I steadily advanced my main island until I needed some goods from the New World and launched an expedition. I switched my focus to over there so I could ship rum and then cotton fabric back to my main island.

After getting to the engineers it just started to feel too much like work. I hate stopping because I feel like I’m giving up, but I need to remember the whole point is to have fun. It was fun getting those initial production lines up and having some trade routes from supporting islands.

I still think the actual city building mechanics of Tropico is one of my favorites, but the faction system annoys me. Kind of like how in Anno 1800, the ‘extra’ systems annoy me. No citizen, I don’t want to find your cows. No AI, I don’t want to go collect your stuff floating in the water, nor do I want to escort you or deliver anything for you - just leave me the hell alone! So I pretty much ignore anything the AI says and just keep building.

That being said, I’m glad I got to dink around with this and not have to drop the money on it. Hats off to those of you who have the staying power to keep those production chains going until you get to the most advanced pop type!

While there are some issues with the various subscription services, one of their best features is being able to try out games just like the old days with actual demos.

Is there a clear end-game / victory condition in the sandbox game? I’m basically just messing around treating it as a city builder

You set them when you start. So there are win conditions dependent on what you wanted to do.

The World’s Fair condition seems way too steep. Like, if you can even remotely afford to build it halfway, then you’ve already won. It feels like an anti “wrap it up” mechanic like the council in Master of Orion.

I haven’t got that far, but I don’t typically think of Anno games as being played to “win” like in MOO. I set myself a goal and go for that; a super-expensive end thing would be just the sort of goal to go for.

In other news, I’m now running low on money, which I had previously written off once my income got past 10,000. So that’s good! I guess the commuter piers having upkeep of 1000 is quite a lot. But previous Anno games have never challenged me for money in the late game.

I’ve also had a couple bugs, the most annoying of which is the port’s “Trade History” not scrolling correctly, making it nearly impossible to actually see what recent trades were.

Yeah - to me it feels like the game more or less stops prodding you to make progress once you reach the Artisan stage. Maybe it’s more that that’s the stage where you need to start ferrying stuff back and forth between the old and new worlds and I’m finding that super cumbersome.

I actually like the Old/New split, but I could see how that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

How did you feel the game was prodding you before that? I guess the race for new islands slows down after you get to artisans, but I can’t think of much else. The building chains are a lot simpler before that, so it’s easier to say “do this, then do that, then that”. Is that similar to what you mean?

Is there a way to suspend a building’s production in this (short of destroying it) to save upkeep costs?

I could have sworn you could, but now I can’t find it (I can figure out how to produce less to make the workers happier, but that’s not what I want to do, I want to lower costs by temporarily suspending over-producing buildings).

I know you could do this in earlier Annos by clicking a “Zzzzz” button or something similar.

Yea, I’m 99% sure you can but I don’t remember exactly how and I uninstalled it because I wasn’t going to play it anymore before the UPlay+ trial ended.

It looks like the hotkey to do it is F (for the selected bulding) but there is a UI way to do it too.

@robc04 is replying. :)

And the answer is yes, its the same screen where you can increase and or decrease building efficiency at the cost of happiness I think.

Select the building, click on the big blue/purple button in the middle that has the progress (percent) of the current production.

Oh. I didn’t even realize that was a button.

I do wish this game had a better UI. There are so many things that would benefit from tables, etc. Like I’d love to be able to see all of my flour producers on an island in table form, and just be able to shut them off one by one.

I feel the same way.

Agreed. They had a building in 1404 that would provide statistics, but it didn’t have what I really wanted, which was production vs consumption.

If anyone else feels the game is too hectic, do what I just started doing. Use the “cheat engine” program to make a new speed control setting. So in the program I set normal speed to alt+1, and half speed to alt+2. Works really nice.

Well, it appears my time with this is (regretfully) over, for now–the Uplay+ free trial period ended. (Given how much I like the game, I should probably just buy it, but I have a really hard time justifying game purchases when I have such a huge backlog.)

All-in-all, I though it was a really solid evolution of the Anno series. There were enough changes for it to feel fresh for me (industry requiring population, multiple maps, electricity, zoo/museum/garden), and the quality-of-life improvements will make it hard to go back to the older ones (better trading interface, and the ability to move buildings is huuuuuuuge to me).

In all, I think the zoo/museum/garden stuff was pretty well done–they manage to tap into the collecting urge that I think many gamers have (and I suspect it’s also over-represented in city-builder gamers, but who knows). The fact that you can get little bonuses for getting sets really puts icing on the cake (e.g. getting all 3 medicinal plants makes the doctors more effective).

Changing the items to have special buildings (harbor master, trade union, town hall) with a radius was a positive thing, I think. It was certainly more convenient before to just stuff them in your harbor, but (1) this lets you use more of them, (2) it makes them more focused, and (3) it feels really good when you set up a nifty combo: for example, I put a sugar cane fertility item, a chocolate/banana maker person, and one other agricultural item together and had a little chocolate / sugar / banana mecca–and it saves on the one resource that is most precious–open space. Plus, the tradeoff between using your items on the map and on expeditions is cool, even if it fades away as you get more items in the endgame. And some items are pretty revolutionary; I got one that made the coat factory (1) run on workers rather than artisans and (2) use (old world) wool instead of (new world) cloth. (!!!) That really shifted labor allocations throughout the islands.

Another change that I don’t think was discussed is that passive trading has been seriously toned down (sales, anyway). That was a major source of income for me in 1404 and 2070–especially to cover the early-middle stage where tax revenue barely kept up with expenses. I actually ended up using automatic trade routes to sell items. (The fur coats, which were in great oversupply due to the item mentioned above, were a huge moneymaker.)

The downsides have been discussed pretty well in this thread. The pacing is generally too fast, though there are lots of things you can postpone/ignore nearly indefinitely even if they seem urgent, such as quests. The Sunken Treasures DLC is a big problem here, as it opens up a whole new map and gives a very long-running quest line. I figured out on my second play-through that you can pretty much ignore it, though. (I actually spent a while googling how to disable the DLC, but it seems you can’t. The tradeoff, I guess, is that you get a really ridiculously large island with tons of resources–almost unfair, tbh.) The one thing you can’t ignore is the initial land rush–with two 2-star opponents, I basically had to open with 4 or 5 lumber mills and aggressively scout for islands. I suggest people who feel rushed look into @jpinard’s solution above, though I didn’t try it out myself. (Did you notice if it unbalanced anything to do with timing, e.g. production or revenue times?)

As far as the opponents go, the diplomacy is a little underbaked, and generally not too different from earlier iterations. Having different opponents like and dislike different things (building mines, using / not using propaganda, etc) is a nice touch, flavor-wise. The main issue with the opponents, IMHO, is that sometimes they declare war on you just when you don’t want to be distracted. And once you’re at war, you basically never restore good relations. In my first game, I went to war with Beryl (because I was allied with Willie) and even though we periodically made peace, she never forgave me (until I eliminated her). Similarly with the architect dude in my second game, and Baron Carl in my third (though I had wised up on the alliance front by that point–he was just a jerk). I recommend avoiding any foreign entanglements (e.g. alliances) for that reason, especially if you want to try to ally with the pirates. Generally, though, the naval combat is fine (for a city builder), and thankfully they didn’t try to re-introduce land combat. Disclaimer: I never tried playing against any of the 3-star opponents.

A related issue to pacing is that there are tons of distractions. The quests were enough of a distraction in earlier games, but here there are also expeditions, collectibles, diving (in the DLC), and I’m sure some more I’m forgetting. I’m on the fence about expeditions–the choose-you-own-adventure scheme is fun, but it might have been better to stick with the 1404 approach and just send the ship off the edge and wait for it to get back. Most of these distractions can be pretty much ignored, though.

Which brings me to the final downside, which is not unique to this iteration of Anno, and is in fact pretty common to city builders: the game is fairly easy to “win”. Once you get past a certain size, revenue outstrips expenses by a wide margin, and the main problem is making sure you have enough building materials on your supply islands. Resources aren’t really a constriction, either, though I suppose you might have to take islands from opponents later on if don’t have any rubber or something. In the end I don’t think this is too much of a problem, as (1) I’m not looking for a really competitive game here (or anywhere else, these days, but that’s just me) and (2) they fill it up with other things like the collectibles, and the world’s fair, which makes for a better end-game than the cathedral / mosque in 1404, FWIW.

The DLCs were generally underwhelming in my opinion. I played one game with the anarchist, and other than having some new items to buy… shrug. Botanica adds the botanic gardens, which I liked, but you already have the museum and zoo in that niche (though the plant sets seemed to be easier to collect). Sunken Treasures, the big one, was a fun quest chain, the first time through. Diving is a great mechanic for the collectors, and the big island you get there will really let you build the city of your dreams. (Though it’s annoying that you’re pretty much already at tier 4 of 5 in your main island by the time you get there, and the queen wants you to start all over.) In all I’d say get the DLC on sale (if they ever go on sale)–they’ll be well worth it then. I guess the last planned DLC is polar-themed; I wonder if it will be a fourth region, which could either be cool, with new resources, or a really big distraction.

So, yeah, I really like it and would strongly recommend it, especially if you like the earlier Anno games. It’s also quite pretty–and I like the loading screens, too. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to use the dreaded “v-- s–” term, but I really liked looking at it, and thank god they moved away from the 2070 blue-green-grey color palette.

[Well, I guess that turned into my Anno 1800 review.]

On the blog today, the devs stated that co-op and the statistic building are coming in December.