High Seas Trader


One of the best things about E3 is seeing games you normally wouldn’t. Take a look at mainstream media (or even some enthusiast outlets) and you’d think the only games on display are cartoon platformers, war-themed shooters and gore-filled hack fests. While that might be true to some extent, there are a few gems hidden all around the show floor.

Case in point, Patrician IV: Conquest by Trade. Though not an unknown name, the Patrician series is one that has found a loyal, dedicated fanbase. As with other games, Patrician IV takes place in the late Middle Ages in Northern Europe, which includes London, Cologne and Bergen. The game depicts the trials and tribulations of traders in the era, challenging you to rise through the ranks from a small time businessman to the most powerful merchant in the region.

In order to rise to the top, you’ll need to sail between ports in the region, visiting towns and villages. Gameplay is based on simulating supply and demand in each of the various settlements. Each will produce their own trade goods, but also require items they aren’t able to produce. Your job is to find out what people need in each area and develop trade relationships. The ultimate goal is to establish trade routes, and then adjust prices and shipments to help develop your business.

As you establish your trade network, you’ll eventually have to deal with political fallout, as well as your partner’s competing interests. You’ll want to make sure you’re not overcharging for any particular product – opening the possibility for a rival to swoop in and steal your connection. Additionally, you’ll want to find a balance between what you give and take. Taking more from a community than you give probably won’t endear your business to the locals.

If things become particularly tight with a rival company, there are always more aggressive options. You can arm up your ships and knock other ships out of commission. Probably not the best idea, but business is business. You’ll also need to keep a wary eye out for pirates, who will attempt to steal your cargo and otherwise disrupt your trade routes.

To top it all off, Patrician IV will also feature a redesigned interface, which should help make trade-route management easier for series newcomers.

Patrician IV is set for release later this year.

Patrician IV: Conquest by Trade
Kalypso Media