I obviously learnt from the Spanish conquistadores...

Do you happen to like 1602 A.D., Caesar III, Pharaoh or Civ IV: Colonization? Then you’ll probably like Anno 1503, because it is so similar to its previous iteration. Graphics has been improved a little in this game, but gameplay is so similar that you’d think that you’re just playing an expansion with some fixes thrown in.

Anno 1503: The New World aka 1503 A.D.: The New World is a city building game that revolves around building and maintaining a 16th century colony in the New World.

Your task is to commandeer your people, settlers in an uninhabited land to success and glory. You start off with a ship, and you must find a new place to set up base, and start building your colony. From there, you will try to mine for luxury resources such as tobacco, spice and gold. These raw materials, however need to be processed either in your home country back in Europe or on your island, if you have a suitable refinery.

From there, you will need to improve the lives of your colonial subjects, by giving them what they want, and thus pushing them up the ranks of the social strata.

Your little ship from Europe is all it takes to build a massive colony

You’ll also need to get grips with running a colony with sound economic bases and politically correct trade relations. Of course, no colony would be complete without its wars, and at times, you’ll have to fight with an AI both on land and sea.

However, 1503’s great concept is sometimes ruined by the poorly managed technicalities. Pathfinding can be problematic and your troops can be idiotic. The buildings in 1503 also make an improvement over 1602 when it comes to telling you its status, but not really to a point where you can totally avoid manual efforts of clicking and checking. Management of your colony could be so much easier if the makers of the game could get the controls right, and this is especially so when you are in combat.

The good thing is that the game runs well fresh after installation. You don’t need to do anything, although you are stuck with a 4:3 resolution. And at 800×600, the game does seem a little too small.


Same old 1602 goodness with improvements

Simple installation

Sophisticated economics


In the outskirts, farms will be all over

Still buggy

Can get frustrating at times when your people get hard to manage


If you can get past the bugs, this game is quite exciting especially when you get full access to the game in later stages. It’s really engaging to be put in a position where you just wanna see your colony grow to its highest potential, and that is the draw of Anno 1503.


Gameplay: Good

Graphics: Great (30+ fps)

Work needed to get game to play: Minimal (5 minute)

Screenshots: MobyGames

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