Trade goods between ports all over the world in this economic simulation game.
As a 19th century merchant newcomer, the player need to buy a ship, find a crew, load a few goods on the ship, and sail into the horizon, until the player reaches a port with a demand for said goods. Eventually will have the money to buy more ships, create regular trade routes, and become the head of a regular trading company.
1869 focuses on management and economy, rather than action. Actual sailing is done by plotting a route and then watching the days go by, interrupted only by the occasional random event. Basically you'll be planning routes, watching out for special assignments (that pay well if completed on time) and generally trying to steer clear of the shores of bankruptcy.
1869 is a commercial simulation set in the nineteenth century and based on the economic system of imperialism. The game was developed by Max Design in 1992. Natural resources from colonies and underdeveloped countries are being shipped into the industrialized countries and processed there. The goods produced this way are sold back to the colonies, sometimes at a high profit. The game is based on historical facts. During the entire game, political or social events which are historically true affect the world's political and economic situation.
The player's task is (naturally) to earn as much money as possible. This is done by trading different goods. The economic system is quite complex, since the individual ports sell few goods and only pay high prices for goods which are much in demand. Furthermore, the variety of these goods is a very enticing aspect of the game. There are perishable goods, and each has a different longevity. Tea, for example, will last longer than fruit, and even the highest quality cotton goes mouldy after a while. You can make easy money with weapons, if you ship them to war zones. But whenever you sail there, you run the risk of encountering a sea blockade and getting raided. On top of that, part of your load - or even all of it - may be stolen in a port with an unstable political situation.
After you have registered your company and chosen your home port and the difficulty level, the game starts with a map of the world. This map is divided into four sections: Europe, Asia, North- and South America. On the map, all ports you can sail to are indicated, and in addition to this, there are some navigation marks available while sailing, but I will come to those later. Finally, there is a large ship on screen. If you select this ship, you can control your fleets, which you do not have at the beginning of the game, however. Thus, you first need to pay a visit to the shipping company.
Now you're at the point at which you have to deal with the interface - it's very unusual and to me it's one of the game's weak points. By right-clicking on individual ports you'll open a small menu of the places you are able to visit. This is only possible if you have at least one ship at the port (except in your home port). The events are handled in dialogues then (which are reminiscent of adventures). Not only can you select dialogues, but you can also change some of them by right-clicking. With a left-click on the ports you are taken directly to the local dealer, where you can buy and sell goods. You should always remember that you only have the money which is available to the ship in the port. That's another point which makes it necessary to plan your travels carefully. However, when you've finally found out what to do at the various locations, the controls get easier. All those things require a certain familiarity with the gameplay.
When you've discovered some lucrative commercial routes, you can spend hours on the game and get addicted to it quite easily. The graphics are beautifully drawn if you consider the age of the game, and the sound is very pleasant, but not too varied. Altogether, I rate this game at four, particularly because of its pedantic menu guidance.
A few hints for beginners: The first ship should not be too expensive, a second-hand sailboat will do. Otherwise you'll run out of money very fast. If it should happen that you don't have enough money on board to pay your crew, it's possible to dismiss the whole crew and hire new sailors. These will require payment after the next travel. But that method only works if the ship's cargo hold is empty. There are different tides and risks of storms according to the seasons. The shortest route is therefore not necessarily the best. If you bear those points in mind, there is nothing that stands in the way of your career as a successful trader. The rest you'll have to find out for yourself.
If You played Ports of call and if You liked it, then You'll like 1869. Just like in Ports of Call, you will have to buy ships, equip them and make them sail to distant ports in order to make some money with them. The game is full of micromanagement and if you are a business sim freak then this is the right game for you. You will start in the year of 1854 AD. You will have some money to spend at the beginning and make an empire with it. The ships are not as secure as the modern ships found in Ports of Call so crashes and damage are more likely to happen. If you turn on the historical mode you might even learn something while you are playing 1869. The game is not very entertaining if you're playing it solo, but if you have someone to compete with it gets on a complete new level. While you're in port you can do various things. You can visit the taverns and employ new sailors for your ships, buy and sell goods as well as buy, sell and repair the ships that you already have. Actual sailing is done by plotting a route and then watching the days go by, interrupted only by the occasional random event. Basically you'll be planning routes, watching out for special assignments (that pay well if completed on time) and generally trying to steer clear of the shores of bankruptcy. Pretty nice game for a family to play. 1869 will not amaze you but it can be very entertaining for a while. Making a profitable company and earning big money always makes the people feel good, no matter if it's just a game.
1869 is a fun 17th century trading game that is similar to its contemporary High Seas Trader but with more emphasis on trading and planning routes than on naval navigation. The game also (perhaps unwittingly) borrows concepts from Sid Meier's classic Railroad Tycoon to good effect, such as random special shipping assignments that will earn you extra cash if you complete it in time. Plan your trade routes, organize a fleet, and finances carefully-- this game is no cakewalk :) Definitely a great game that finally put underrated developed Max Design on the map.
17th century trading game. Similar to the Tycoon games. Plan routes, trade stuff, look after your cash and sail the high seas!
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