The Game

Anno 1404 postcard view F1

Anno 1404 postcard view F1


Anno 1404 is a nicely done medieval city-building, trading and diplomacy game. You can explore the islands in your region of the world, discover the Orient, fight battles, or just build happy little towns, as suits your preference. In terms of the system used on my game reviews pages, I would rate it as 8 overall, with an educational value of 8 and a replay value of 8 as well: 8/Ed8/Rp8.
Anno 1404 opening menu

Anno 1404 opening menu


On the minus side, I would say that the world it is played in is rather simplified and unrealistic-looking on the grand scale, consisting of a bunch of small islands pretty close to each other representing the world, but the economy is pretty complex and the art of getting rich and growing your population and defending your islands all takes a while to get the hang of. The game gives you tips pretty often by way of your boss, Lord Northborough, and there is a long and complex tutorial (the Campaign Game) if you want to learn everything in depth. All in all, I would highly recommend this game for adults and older children.
Anno 1404 my Northern town

Anno 1404 my Northern town

Windows Versions and Virtual Machines

It runs on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7. I haven’t tried it on Windows 8 but apparently it works except that scrolling to the left is a problem because putting the mouse to the lower left corner of the screen pulls up the Windows 8 Start “menu”. You might find similar problems on the right edge of the screen as well. You can, I suppose, scroll as I do in the below videos, using the right mouse button and dragging.

Anno 1404 my Southern town

Anno 1404 my Southern town


For old games in general, you can install the free Windows Virtual XP Machine on Windows 7 if you really have to, to run older games. This allows you to have two versions of Windows on the same PC for the price of one. In Windows 8, it is a bit more complex, because Micro$oft are just like that: you can, apparently, use Hyper-V, included with Windows 8 Pro, and install XP into that using an old licence key (if you have an old one somewhere). Not having Windows 8, I haven’t tried it, however. If you have Windows 8 Home, if you don’t have Hyper-V you may have to download VirtualBox (free) and put XP on that. Again, I haven’t tried it, and doubt that it will be totally simple, but it should be possible to make it work.

Beginners’ Guides or Walkthroughs

The videos below are also viewable on my Alphatucana YouTube channel. Basically, the videos are intended as a kind of beginners’ guide to how to get started with the game. A game like this has so many options and possibilities that it can take a while to get to understand what is going on, so I thought people might find it useful to see how it works. Each video is just under 30 minutes long.

Anno 1404 Beginners Guide Walkthrough Gameplay Example Part 1

Anno 1404 Beginners Guide Walkthrough Gameplay Example Part 2

Anno 1404 Beginners Guide Walkthrough Gameplay Example Part 3

Anno 1404 Beginners Guide Walkthrough Gameplay Example Part 4

Anno 1404 Beginners Guide Walkthrough Gameplay Example Part 5

Anno 1404 Beginners Guide Walkthrough Gameplay Example Part 6

  1. Jeanwulf says:

    What really annoyed me about the game was how terribly unrealistic it was. You don’t even need ROADS CONNECTING EVERYTHING TOGETHER. Your people eat tonnes of spice a minutes (one tonne in real life could probably handle the average person for a lifetime, even an Indian).
    They even need NEW GLASSES, TONNES OF THEM!? I estimated once that each citizen uses fifty every few minutes.
    They must burn their clothing every few minutes, use cider as oxygen.
    If they get upset THEY BURN THEIR OWN HOUSES DOWN!! Making it WORSE!

    There is absolutely no warning what resources you will need after the next population increase. This means that you have NO IDEA WHAT TO PLAN FOR. There is no planning toolbar.
    Cathedrals don’t tell you WHAT YOU NEED TO FINISH THEM UNTIL YOU ARE FINISHED THE SECOND TO LAST STAGE!

    • alphatucana says:

      Heh… it’s crazy, but fun. I suppose most games stretch realism somewhat for the sake of playability. It can result in questionable compromise sometimes though. I would just say that in real life too, when people get upset, although they don’t usually burn their own houses down, they do burn their neighours’ houses down – like in the UK riots of a year or two ago, so perhaps that bit isn’t so unrealistic!

  2. Jeanwulf says:

    But wait, there’s more! You have more NOBLES THAN PEASANTS. No children. Your espionage buildings DON’T STOP SPIES, THEY SIMPLY LET YOU FIND THEM, which is RIDICULOUSLY DIFFICULT.

    And after all these things you have to build walls, armies, an armada? That is impossible, to be honest.

    And people say Stronghold 2 has too much micromanagement!? Everything in that game has logic. Examples include: gong appears where animals are and where people live. Criminals spawning where hovels are. One stockpile that can be enlarged where raw materials are stored.

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