by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Trade and strategy in the Age of Sail
Last year, Nitro Games launched what they call a series of trading and war games. The first of this series was East India Company that garnered mixed reviews from the press and gamers. The game also got two add-ons that basically added a few separate campaigns to play with no new additions to the main campaign. These add-ons, especially Trafalgar, seemed to hint that Nitro Games was building up to a full-blown Age of Sail strategy title, but that does not seem to be the case – at least for now.
The second instalment in Nitro Games' series is going to be Commander: Conquest of the Americas. The developers say that they have been reading all feedback that they received from their first game and that the new game should, therefore, be that much better. Well, let's take a deeper look to find out what Commander: Conquest of the Americas has to offer.
Conquer the New World
The original concept that the developers had was to create a game that could be called West India Company. However, they soon decided that the Americas offered more material for a game than trading and sea battles. After all, before the Europeans arrived, the Americas offered few trading possibilities. Thus, the game concept turned into a colonisation game, where the player will have to settle colonies, manage and optimise their resources and production and transport goods back to Europe or to other colonies.
Commander: Conquest of the Americas starts from the turn of the 16th century and spans all the way until 1774 when the American Revolution starts. Over this time, you will have to stay in good terms with your advisors - royal advisor, military advisor, trade advisor and bishop – in order to hold onto your job, while you also battle with other nations conquering the Americas and try to build your colonies richer and richer. Fortunately, you are not required to please all of the advisors all of the time. But when you displease one of them, you should take care to please the rest or your combined standing will fall too low and you will have to find other employment.
Manage your colonies
When the game starts, the New World will not have any colonies to start with. Instead, all the major European powers, seven of them, will race to start their colonies in the best spots. Each nation has their strengths and weaknesses, which should improve the replayability of the title as you try your hand with each nation. The map expands from the Hudson Bay in the north to the Caribbean in the south so you will have a lot of spots to choose from, even though the South Americas have yet again drawn the short straw.
After you have chosen your spots and taken the first steps in establishing your presence on the new continent, your main task will be to bring in more colonists, soldiers and supplies from the home country while you build the colonies building by building. Many buildings will have pre-requisites, such as the number of soldiers or colonists, before you can construct them.