PC Gamer

Potato factories explode in Anno 1800's rich take on the industrial revolution

Rick Lane

It was all going well until my potato farm exploded. There I was, erecting a few villager houses on the outskirts of my burgeoning milltown, when suddenly, ka-blam! Fire and mash everywhere. I’m still somewhat mystified by this turn of events. I mean, how do you blow up a potato farm?

The scene is chaos. People are screaming, and several nearby buildings have caught fire. I immediately deploy the volunteer fire brigade to douse the conflagration, but the local newspaper pounces, publishing its latest edition. Front page story? My entirely inadequate response to the potato farm explosion, which occurred precisely five minutes ago and was the least predictable event in the history of everything.

I could edit the paper to make myself look better, but as an advocate of the freedom of the press, I let the rag publish. Immediately my city’s productivity plummets, and with it my income. I spend the next half hour clawing my way back into the black, all because of some surprise chips. It’s elements like this that make Anno 1800 such an intriguing city-builder. As the title suggests, the game takes place on the cusp of the industrial revolution, a time of great social, political and economic upheaval.

As with most games of its ilk, it’s mainly a placid, gently enjoyable affair. But like those radically changing times, there’s always a sense that you’re one potato explosion away from disaster.

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