|Source // Wikipedia|
In most games where the victor is determined by the greatest military force, you're not tasked with managing a whole lot beyond where your units move, what they do, and how to pay for them to be developed in the first place. Juggling resources is often a case of asking yourself, 'do I have enough of Resource X? Yes? Good'.
Not so in The Settlers, for in order to dominate your neighbours in war, your must grow your mighty empire from the ground up, and everything needs something from somewhere else. Builders need to be fed, but fishermen need their huts to be constructed, and both will get on with their tasks as best as they can - if the required resources eventually get to them via your road networks.
Your carefully laid out road networks.
You did think about the road network, didn't you?
Unfortunately, I've not yet got my hands on The Settlers, but through reading and watching some gameplay, I think it's fair to say that for all its charm and cartoony graphics, this game is mentally taxing. Tutorial modes or not, you're going to need to be onboard with what The Settlers is all about before getting anywhere in it.
Once you've plonked down your castle, you've got to grow, and fast. You need to find resources, and use those resources to develop new buildings to produce new resources to fuel new builds. You've got to feed your workforce, so you need to build farms of various kinds. You've got to arm them, so you'll need to build blacksmiths, as well as the mines that will provide those blacksmiths with resources.
It sounds simple enough, but the tricky part comes with the delivery system of all your resources - tiny little dudes walking along the roads between your structures carrying every kind of resource you can think of, and then some.
Send them on a long journey, or an otherwise inefficient one and your building grinds to a halt as the needed resources are literally stuck in transit, all the while your neighbours are chugging away on their own builds, and their own strategies.
At some point, I might get my head around the intricacies of this game, and it'll all click into place and I'll know what to do in a given situation. Given that it takes hours and hours to get to that position, and I'm still yet to even play The Settlers, I think I'll just continue watching it for the time being.
The Settlers is a deep game, and you could easily spend those many hours playing around with it all, but it does seem to require some foreknowledge before going into it. The interface and menus rely heavily on icons, for example, such is the lack of resolution on older systems, with not a whole lot of text in sight.
In a game where building the wrong thing at the wrong time or in the wrong place can cause a bit of a problem, to say the least, playing blind without knowing what you've just asked your guys to build is far from an ideal way to play.
Hopefully, I'll be able to get into it outside of YouTube to see what it's like with mouse and keyboard in hand, but until then, I'll think of The Settlers as 'that real-time strategy game that requires a degree in project management'.
Not that that's a bad thing, you understand.
65,536 settlers. That's the upper limit for the number of on-screen action you could find in The Settlers if you had a particularly beefy Amiga.
The Settlers, developed by Blue Byte Software, first released in 1993.
Version watched: Amiga, 1993 (Necroscope86)