Anno 1800 is the seventh main iteration of the city building simulation game, not counting spin-offs, developed by German studio Blue Byte. The game focuses primarily on workforces and the budding technological advancements of colonial times, from farming to factory work.
As with previous installations in the series, the goal is to colonize a series of islands, meet the needs of a growing and more demanding population, while eventually expanding to other settlements. Every island has a certain amount of fertile grounds for specific products, which enables a trading mechanism. Fertility can differ on the starting map, called The Old World, and a second map, South America.
There are three main segments in Anno 1800: A campaign, a sandbox mode and a multiplayer option that holds up to four players.
Anno 1800 has a campaign that spans four chapters. The story revolves around a family business, where the death of the patriarch sets off a power struggle. The player protagonist is cast out in a family argument with their uncle, Edvard Goode. Players erect a competing business on a separate island and attempt to work off a funeral debt in the first chapter.
A primary gameplay element in Anno 1800 is the separate, specific workforces that each production building requires. There are five tiers in total:
The tiers each originate from the Farmer’s Residence building and can be upgraded by meeting specific needs of stored products and a vicinity to services, like schools.
Upgrading a tier removes the populace number from the previous tier. Workers do not perform Farmers’ duties and so on. This leads to having specific residences throughout the map, to service buildings of certain tiers.
At certain intervals, a publisher will ask the player to print a newspaper that can affect the colony’s happiness or needs. Three front page segments will affect the people in a positive or negative way. By using an influence score, the player can adjust one of the three articles, by replacing them with propaganda.
Aside from just meeting the needs of the people, Anno 1800 also balances an attractiveness system to get people to move in. There are positive and negative elements to attractiveness.
Culture, Nature and Festivity contribute to a positive attractiveness score. Nature is the amount of open grounds and forests that are left on a certain island, while Festivity marks special events where the populace holds festivals and such. Culture can be built by placing ornaments or through the Zoo and Museum buildings, which can add more exhibition segments to their surroundings. The Zoo and Museum buildings are unlocked in the Artisan citizen tier.
Vulgarity, Pollution and Instability lead to a negative attractiveness score. Vulgarity marks things like pig farms, while Pollution contains buildings like coal-powered factories. Instability scores are events like riots or epidemics that get triggered in settlements.
Certain expeditions chances can appear that require a boat from the player’s fleet. Each expedition will have certain random events happen during it, which can be predicted beforehand in segments like Naval Power, Diplomacy, Hunting and so on. Boats can stock up on certain items to boost the effectiveness of these traits.
Random events play out like choose-your-own-adventure games, where choices with certain success percentages are prompted. Losing these events will lower the boat’s morale, which can lead to failure.
Returning from a successful expedition can yield special items, like Zoo and Museum exhibitions or building specialists.
The map has a set of different settlements with their own factions located on it. Some parties are more receptive than others, as some start with trading possibilities opened. For others, the player will need to engage in diplomacy to unlock trading rights or alliances. Factions can be influenced by flattery, offering gifts or performing quests, such as delivering certain goods or destroying enemy ships.
Pirates can also be their own faction and will start as openly hostile to players, though they can also be persuaded through this diplomacy system