The Patrician is set in medieval times, focusing on the trading efforts of the Hanseatic League. You (and up to 3 other players) struggle for money and respectability. You should build up sea routes between the 16 cities in the North and East Sea, and your ultimate goal is to be governor of your hometown. For this you need a lot of money and high respectability. The game ends, when you are elected to Ältermann - the highest rank in this century.
You earn money by buying goods cheap and selling them for higher price. With the profits you can buy new ships (out of 4 different types) or stores.
There are also pirate battles. For these, you can buy weapons for your ships and go with ships from other traders to hunt the pirates.
When Ascaron, still known as Ascon by that time, released The Patrician in 1992, they layed the foundation for a small but very successful software company. Although being their first game, The Patrician already has everything a really good business simulation needs, and was a smashing hit when it came to market in Germany. The game takes us to the late middle ages, when landlords still ruled the many small kingdoms of old Europe, but began to loose their power with the increasing wealth and influence of a trade organisation called the Hanse.
You are a young trader from a good family and want to make your fortune in these fast changing times. At the beginning of the game, you have to type in your name and may then choose your hometown from eight different locations. With this selection a small part of your further success is already coined, as each town has it's own strong and weak sides. The game may be played with up to four players in hotseat-mode, in which each player's turns are whenever a ship arrives at a port. The course of the game is therefore shown as a calendar, which includes all major events, like elections, epidemics etc. This game has a historical background and sticks quite close to it, so even the dates are given using the old german names for months, but this can luckily be changed in the options.
Your earn your money by buying goods, shipping them to other hanseatic towns around the North and East Sea, and selling them there with profit. However, the range of expenses is much wider. You must not only keep your ships in shape and pay your sailors, but also spend money for the church, arrange a publice festival from time to time and sometimes bribe a member of the town council. These are the three factors for your success: the church, the people and the politicians. Be well with all of them, and you will probably be elected as the major of your city and able to strive for your final goal: To become the Äldermann, the head of the Hanse and the most influent person of the whole aera!
In the later stages of the game, the pirates sailing the North and East Sea will become more and more active. So you do something good and refit your ships with some weapons. You may play the battles yourself in some quite well done action sequences or skip them and let the computer determine the results (which often is better).
The game's grafics are quite well done and the soundtrack keeps you in a pleasant and medieval mood. A small flaw lies in the conversion from german to english version, as some of the grafics are revised to hastily (take a look at the title screen, and you'll know what I mean). The game is entirely controlled by mouse and has a good interface, which requires some habituation in order to find all locations and options. So take your time to explore the city and all it's places before you begin your first career. As all cities are layed out similar, you won't have problems in other towns.
Alltogether I rate this game with 4, as it is a solid trade simulation settled in front of a very interesting and atmospheric background. Although Germany is widely known for many good business simulations, this one is still a real milestone amongst them. So take a trip back to the middle ages, experience the uprising Hanse and make your way to the Äldermann!
People who downloaded Patrician, The have also downloaded:
Patrician 3: Rise of the Hanse, Patrician 2: Quest for Power, Port Royale 2, Port Royale: Gold, Power and Pirates, Pirates! Gold for Windows, Populous, Populous 2, Pirate Hunter
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