Ports of Call gives you the job of a shipowner. First you have to choose your hometown and after that you have to buy your first used ship. Then you have to charter freight and bring it to its destination. With this profit you can buy new ships and so on and on. You also have to repair your ships regularly. If you do not your ships will sink to the oceans.
Ports of Call is a classic German business simulation with some action sequences. In this sequences you must steer your ship into the port or have to rescue some shipwrecked people.
Up to 4 captains can play at one computer.
This game is basically about using your ships to transfer various goods and wares around the world, while trying to pay as little as possible for fuel and maintenance of the ships you own. Another important factor is always choosing the cargo that is valued the most in the harbour you are shipping the goods to.
After registering your name and the name of your company, you will set your start-point in one of the biggest cities of the world. You start with 4 million dollars, for which you can choose one older and damaged ships.
After 2-3 gamedays, you can choose between some available types of cargo, while carefully examining which will be most valuable in which harbours. After setting all options (repairing, refueling etc.), you must load the cargo and issue the order for leaving the port. When leaving the port, you will be presented with two options - you can either steer the ship out by yourself (which is not always easy), or let it be steered automatically by a tugboat. However, the second option costs substantial amounts of money, depending what port you are in.
If you decide to steer manually and don't succeed in a set time, your ship will be steered out by the tug, but for an amount which is much bigger than it would be if you chose to be tugged out in first place. Manually steering a ship requires 2-3 tries to understand the controls, but after that steering a ship is really simple. A thing to keep in mind is that a fully repaired ship is much easier to steer than the one with 70% or more damage.
Underway some random events can occur. One of those is bad weather, which can cause damage to your ship. You could also encounter survivors of a shipwreck that can be rescued for a reward if you steer the ship carefully.
Entering the destination port can bring up some random events too, depending of which country the port is in. For example, entering the port in Basrah could cause your ship some damage due to the war there and the insurance will not cover such damages.
There aren't too many things to keep track of, as the main point of the game is sending out ships with, getting money for it, and finally receiving new cargo. You can take credits in the bank, but with an interest rate. This means that you will have to pay back the bigger amount than the one initally borrowed, depending on the time during which you paid it back. When you have more money and decide to buy better and more expensive high-tech ships that can load more cargo and sail faster, you can sell your old ships to the shipbroker.
There are three degrees of difficulty in the game: novice, expert and master. In novice, goods cost less and getting rich is not that big of a problem, whereby in expert mode it is quite difficult to be profitable. However, with some patience and time, you can become somewhat rich. Speaking of "master" difficulty, you'll need a pocket calculator installed in your head and connected to the brain in order to predict where you will get make 5 dollar profit, or have a big loss.
From an overall point of view, this game is a lot of fun, taking its size into consideration. It can be quite motivating to watch your finances grow and acquire new and better ships. Still, at some point the game ends, so all there is left to do is start a new game and try to earn more money than you did last time. The gaming results will be saved to the highscore so you can compete with yourself over and over again. In conclusion, this is quite an interesting game, certainly worth trying out. Just give it some time.
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