Man, this game rocks. Have you ever played “Settlers of Catan,” a great German board game? No? Well, go buy it, and then go buy 1602 A.D.
You have played Settlers, you say? Then definitely go buy this game. The developer seems to have taken some of the basic concepts of Settlers and transmogrified and amplified them into computer form. You’re still playing on islands, you still get lumber and bricks, but man, there is so much more to do now. At the beginning of most of the scenarios, you have a boat with a liberal amount of tools that you use to search out a suitable island to colonize. Going up to an island and clicking inspect will, after a few seconds, tell you what sorts of crops grow well there and if the island has ore or gold deposits. If it has what you want, you build a warehouse and start the game proper. Various buildings give you various resources, or upgrade certain resources (wool) into others (cloth). Buildings have to be placed in the range of effect of the warehouse or the marketplaces, and ones that use items from certain locations have to be placed in range of those as well. Sound complicated? It is, at first, but once you understand the floating borders around your structures, you’ll learn to place the buildings and houses with feckless abandon.
Cutting down trees and growing crops is well and good, but chances are that any island you build on will not be able to grow everything you need. That’s where trading comes in. You can trade with the other “players” in the game, or with the free traders that appear once you’ve built a few warehouses. You set the price you’re willing to pay, or willing to sell at, and if it’s right, the traders will come and give you what you need. There’s also ship and land combat which isn’t quite as much fun as the bulk of the game, but is certainly passable. Most of the game, however, you’ll find yourself happily micromanaging your various colonies, shipping stuff between them, and in general, babysitting your world like you babysit your Sims. And you’ll enjoy every minute of it.