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.
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.
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.
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.