With player input and a desire for realism, developers designed Settlers: Rise of an Empire to revolve around the seasons and environments of Earth. Gamers begin with acres of land and nothing more. They must command a group of workers to build roads and facilities that feed, clothe, protect, and entertain the people in town. Players choosing to live in a seasonal area must store food during the winter. Animals also suffer from extreme weather. On a map based in Africa, water is scarce and makes farming a difficult task, but over-hunting the population of gazelle and zebra can draw predators including lions.
Although time-limited play is available on a few campaigns, most objectives are based on efficiency and beauty. "Freeplay" is available for solo gamers, and in "Skirmish" mode, single-players can attempt to build a thriving economy and take the title king or queen in 60 missions. There are six different heroes to earn over the course of the game. Other towns exist in each level that gamers support but cannot control. Players may nourish or sever ties with any neighboring community by trading good and services, or by attacking the settlement with siege weapons. Multiplayer action is available through a LAN, supported by 15 levels and a map editor.
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