From January 31st through February 4th, I was lucky enough to get to beta test the game Anno 1800 – a city builder strategy game set in the 19th century. This is a game I came across a few months ago on youtube when watching videos about upcoming city building games, and the trailer was in multiple compilations, and I thought it looked really good and it made me really want to play the game! I did watch a few people play earlier Anno games on youtube as preparation so that I knew a little bit about what I was getting myself into, mainly Anno 1404 but also Anno 2070 and a tiny bit of Anno 2205, which are the three last games to come out in the series. Despite 1404 being the oldest of these 3, I actually liked the look of it better than the futuristic 2070 and 2205, but that might just be because I love history and I didn’t connect with the futuristic buildings in the same way. So I was really excited about 1800 coming out this year, a game set in the past, but with today’s graphics and all. And I was lucky that I got to play the beta for a few days, especially now that the release has been delayed from February to April!
I haven’t played any of the other Anno games before, this was a series I hadn’t heard of until I saw the trailer for 1800. I also don’t self-identify as a “gamer”, I just like playing some games from time to time, and I can get sucked in and get addicted and play a game non stop for hours or even days, which is exactly what happened over the few days I got to play this game. Having never played an Anno game before, I prepared by watching a few youtube videos, and there are people out there who have been making videos while playing the beta as well. I particularly like League of Ungentlemanly Warfare, but I also know Geekism has been playing it, and others as well, you can just search for “Anno 1800 beta” on youtube and you’ll find them! I also had to start over a few times, as I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing and I tried and failed a little, but ultimately I’m very happy I got to play this free beta and test out the game, so I know for a fact I will want to buy it when the game comes out!
Bottom line is, I really enjoyed playing Anno 1800. I enjoyed learning how the game works, working my way up from farmers to workers and eventually to artisans, which was the top upgrade level in the beta, although I know there will be more in the full game. I enjoyed learning how to set up trade routes and using multiple islands to maximise the space and potential of each – for example, I ended up moving all my animal farms to separate farming islands as my city grew, and the majority of my food farms as well, although those are dependant on finding islands with the right fertility.
I started playing single player to learn the basics of the game, and then my boyfriend and I started a multiplayer game together. We then started another multiplayer game with a third person, and I got really far into that! I also had a second single player game at this point, but I liked the three person multiplayer game better as I’d gotten a lot further over 2 days of playing it. On the last day, I actually started from scratch in a 3rd single player game, and I plated on full speed for about 11 hours. I got very far into the game, but I could not get my expedition ships to find the new world. Every time, it turned into a zoological expedition or I lost the ship or it returned early. So I didn’t get to discover the new world and I was unable to provide my artisans with all their needs and wants. However, I got very good at playing the old world, in my own opinion, and these are skills I will take with me into the full version of the game when it releases. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach the new world then!
Between now and then, I want to go back and watch as much beta play by others as I can, to try and learn from their skills, ideas, and mistakes (because we all make them, there’s no denying that). Specifically, I want to focus on city layouts, and learn from what they do, and also how they utilise the parks and other decor to make their cities pretty. I also want to learn how the use the different beaches to maximise functionality as well as beautification – because I want to be able to create functional islands, as well as beautiful ones. And any other tips and tricks I can pick up as well…
I want to leave you with a little slideshow of pictures I took from the main island of my last single player game, to show what I was able to do. I know it’s not the best, that things aren’t even, and that I have a lot to learn, but I’m really happy with this and how it turned out! Also, can we just appreciate how beautiful the details of this game are? The textures, the colours, the fact that when it rains you can see splashback in the mud, and if you zoom in on the sea you can see the fish, and the movement of the fountains and the trees and aaah just everything, this game is so beautiful! Enjoy!
Are you looking forward to this game?