If you’re a strategy game lover who’s yet to try Anno 1800, this weekend presents one of your best opportunities yet. Not only is the industrial city builder available to play for free across your choice of Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Ubisoft Connect, but it also boasts a majestic discount if you decide you’d like to keep playing beyond the free trial period. Alongside this, Assassin’s Creed and The Division maker Ubisoft also announces its next cosmetic upgrade pack, which will bring a rather distinct new flavor to the table.
Taking charge of a city at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, Anno 1800 places you smack bang in one of the most bustling periods of technological advancement in human history, making it a perfect fit for a city-building game packed with interesting decisions, research possibilities, and other innovations.
Anno 1800 is less about the individual buildings and more about ensuring you can craft and run supply chains and keep your economy flowing and burgeoning. You’ll want to organize the logistics of your ever-growing metropolis, negotiating with other factions and determining whether you wish to rise to the top via careful trade, well-oiled diplomacy, or military might.
This means going far beyond the cities of Europe, as the Industrial Age is powered by that fossilized black gold – coal – and that means you’ll be dealing in trade and negotiations with South American nations to get your hands on the resources you need to succeed in this age of steam and smog.
Curious to try it? Anno 1800 is free to play on Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Ubisoft Connect until Monday, November 6 at 12am PST / 3am EST / 9am GMT / 10am CET. If you like what you see and want to keep going, it’s also 75% off until Thursday, November 9 – expect to pay $14.99 / £12.49 if you decide to buy it. Most of the DLC is also on sale for between 20-50% off.
Many players on Steam are clearly already taking advantage of this excellent opportunity to give Anno 1800 a go. Tracking site SteamDB shows that the game has shot up to a current peak of over 8,000 concurrent players and rising at the time of writing – nearly four times what it typically pulls in on a day-to-day basis.
Ubisoft has also revealed its next cosmetic DLC, The Eldritch Pack. That’s right, soon you’ll be able to spice up your city with troubling ruins, gargoyle statues, surreal gothic architecture, unsettling ornaments, and additional details that will give your whole city a disconcerting Lovecraftian vibe. If that sounds up your street, the Anno 1800 Eldritch Pack releases Tuesday, November 14, and will be priced at $4.99 / £4.29.
For those of you getting started, have a browse of our best Anno 1800 tips, along with a guide to the best Anno 1800 mods for even more ways to customize your experience. Looking for more of the best strategy games in 2023? We’ve picked out our favorites to give you plenty of choices.