Usually found in the shadow of more complex management games like Cities: Skylines, the Anno series offers more streamlined city building. That doesn’t mean that it’s without complexity, however, and newbie mayors will benefit from a handy Anno 1800 guide. Like any good city builder, there are layers to Anno’s formula, and things tend to get more involved as the game goes on.
In this approximation of the industrial revolution, you’ll start with a simple farming population that needs food and clothing. Before long you’ll find yourself spinning several plates and managing three or four tiers of citizenry, as well as complex production chains, naval expeditions, trade routes, and diplomacy.
To help newcomers to the series, we’ve assembled this list of Anno 1800 tips that cover many aspects of the game that are easily overlooked. From city planning to emergency preparedness, these hints should help you build the best island empire possible.
Use Blueprint Mode
Planning your city’s layout is one of the most important parts of Anno 1800. Success depends on your ability to fit all the necessary amenities on your island, so you’ll need to efficiently use the space you have. If you’re worried about the permanence of building placement, the game includes a very handy Blueprint Mode. This lets you test your plans without committing to anything and allows you to experiment with different setups.
You can also use the ‘move’ tool by right clicking to relocate your buildings after you’ve built them. But, on higher difficulties, it costs money and resources to use. Instead, play it safe and use Blueprint Mode.
Low on money? Build more houses
The game doesn’t do a great job explaining this, but your citizens pay taxes. The happier they are, the more they’ll pay. So, by building and upgrading houses regularly, you not only meet the needs for the production of goods on your island, but you’ll also boost your income. Happy citizens are the foundation of any successful empire. And, speaking of happiness…
Keep your population happy by closely monitoring their needs. Each tier of citizen has different needs. For instance, farmers require the most basic stuff – fish, clothing, and a nearby marketplace – so set about erecting these. Once these needs have been met, you can upgrade them to the next tier of citizen with more complex needs, and so on.
Monitoring contentedness on a citizen level also contributes to the overall happiness of your island, which has several gameplay ramifications. Sometimes a happy populace will throw a festival in your name, which improves your city’s appeal to tourists or temporarily buffs production. Meeting luxury needs is also effective, so drop a church or museum into your town a watch the joyful numbers rise. Merry people are also far less likely to riot, which leads us to our next Anno 1800 tip.
Establish emergency services ASAP
There are few worse feelings in Anno 1800 than watching a fire or riot break out and being totally helpless to stop it. It takes time to train emergency service staff, so drop a fire department, police station, and hospital in your city as soon as you can. Riots and sickness have adverse effects on your island’s happiness, so be prepared with the necessary public utilities.
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Keep an eye on their area-of-effect, too; you may need multiple fire stations to cover larger cities. Also buildings like the Schnapps Distillery are more prone to explosions and late game advancements like electricity only increase the probability of fires. It pays to be prepared.
Settle a second island early
No island contains every resource in the game – usually you’ll at least find basics like clay and grain – so finding an island capable of producing goods your first island cannot is crucial. Set up trade routes between islands to ensure your entire population benefits.
This also makes you less dependent on trading with opponents. You can’t rule out the chance of an especially evil AI player betraying you and cutting off your precious beer supply. This heinous villainy brings us nicely on to the next part of our Anno 1800 guide…
Bolster your defenses
Anno 1800’s AI can be fickle: one minute it’ll pleasantly trade with you, the next its entire naval force arrive at your shores. So make sure you have at least a few ships and mounted guns defending your harbours. Throw in a repair crane or two and you’ll be fine against most acts of enemy aggression.
Beautify your community
Successfully leveraging the handsomeness of your home can be financially lucrative, so keep your island’s beauty in mind as you grow your community. Attract paying tourists by cultivating free, natural space with trees and parks, for example. Museums and zoos can provide huge attractiveness boosts, too, as long as you have items and animals to stock the exhibits.
Customise your settings
The pleasantly soothing experience of planning your city in Anno 1800 is so relaxing that the existence of opponents can ruin an otherwise peaceful time. Luckily sandbox mode lets you customise your rules and turn off AI opponents. Everyone should play at least one game of Anno 1800 this way; the satisfying gameplay loop of building houses, meeting population needs, and upgrading to the next tier is almost meditative. You can also choose specific victory conditions to suit your chosen playstyle, too. As a result, Anno 1800 is one of the most relaxing games of 2019.
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There you have it: thanks to our Anno 1800 tips guide, you can put your feet up knowing that you’re a mayor so damn good the Industrial Revolution won’t know what hit it. Or your treasured people are unwell/on fire as you sip Schnapps from the comfort of your palatial digs. Either way, if you’re looking for more ways to test your tactical skills, look no further than our list of the best strategy games on PC. Then there are the best 4X games around, if you’re really in the mood for conquest. Whatever floats your mayoral boat, just make sure you’ve looked after your shipbuilders. Just saying.