The Patrician

Title           The Patrician
Company     	Ascon
Game Type       Strategy
Players         1-4
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   All
Submission      Joachim Froholt Profiled Reviewer

The Patrician is a trading game, much like the old classic Ports of Call,
only a lot better. Each player plays the role of a trader in medieval
europe, when the hanseatic league controlled most of the trading. The
difference between this and most other trading games available is that in
The Patrician it is not your bank balance that counts, but your political
power and influence. The whole point of the game is to become the Alderman
(the boss) of the hanseatic league, but this is not an easy task
(especially if you have human opponents as well as the computer players).

To become Alderman, you first have to make a lot of money. This is done in
the normal fashion for games like this: You sail to one port, buy some
goods, then you sail to another port and sell the goods. In all, there are
about 40 commodities to barter with, and 16 cities to sail to. The prices
are calculated in a very realistic way, (taking things like the time of
the year and the amount of goods in the city into account) so you have to
be smart to earn money. Obviously, there are some sure winners, like salt
from Luebeck, furs from Novogorod and fish oil from Bergen, but the
process of making money is not an easy one. If you are clever and
creative, you may find your bank account blossoming. If you are unlucky,
or just plain stupid, your investors won't be merciful, and there is
nothing more frustrating than when they auction your newest ship away (and
when your human opponent buys it for a ridiculously low price...).

When you start making enough money, you must try to get elected mayor in
your home city. To get elected, the people of the town must favour you
instead of your computer and human opponent(s). So, you'll have to donate
money to the poor and to the building of a new church, throw some well
planned parties and do a lot of other things to get the publics attention.

If you become a mayor, then you will be admitted into the hanseatic
meetings held every fourth year, and you can get elected Alderman if the
rest of the members of the hanseatic council are impressed with what
you're doing. In general, you have to be well liked in as many cities as
possible to get elected. This isn't easy, as the city councils will not be
happy if you tend to sell expensive goods and buy cheap goods in their
city (thus making them lose money). Besides, they have their own mayor,
who obviously work hard to make them like him instead. You must also
remember to keep an eye on your own city, as your opponents there won't
give up once you have won an election. If they throw you off the mayors
chair, it won't matter how well liked you are in the rest of Europe.

What makes this game stand out is the attention to detail and the enormous
possibillities the players get. For instance, getting married is an
important part of the game, as you can get a great dowry if you choose the
right wife (or husband, if you play as a woman). Also, you may need to
defend your city from hostile attacks, and send out huge fleets to chase
pirates. On the other hand, you may choose to cooperate with the pirates,
giving them a well-armed ship and sending them to kick some butt. Then
they will happily sell you any ships they capture for a very small amount
of money. But if you choose to cooperate with theese shady individuals (or
do anything else that is illegal, like bribing city-officials), you run
the risk that someone find out about it, and decide to blackmail you.

This is truly a great game, possibly one of the best multiplayer games
ever, and still great to play alone. The images are well drawn and the
music is nice (but someone might find it annoying after a while). I have
not yet mentioned things like the (optional) action sequences, plagues,
spice fleets and fires, but even if I did, there would still too much more
to mention. One thing, though: if you only have 1 mb of free ram, you
should really install the game to a hard drive, as there can be a lot of

CU Amiga wrote this about The Patrician when they reviewed it in Aug 1993
(Awarding it with a screen star and 91%): "This has to be the single most
involving strategy game since Elite..." That is really the best conclusion
I can think of, so do yourself a favour and buy this game if you can find

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