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A.D., or simply Anno, is a series of city builder games by German developer Related Designs focussed primarily on the colonisation and development of a series of islands. It consists of (in order of release):

  • Anno 1602
  • Anno 1503: The New World
  • Anno 1701
  • Anno 1404: Dawn of Discovery / When Cultures Meet
  • Anno 2070

Each game has a 'Continuous Mode' wherein you can play as long as you want, competing with A.I. players (or other humans over multiplayer) for territory and resources, and a number of scenarios, often-times with several arranged to form a storyline. Players begin with a ship (or in some scenarios, a warehouse on an island) and a negative income. You have to build houses to collect taxes, but then your peasants want fish, and then they want something to occupy them.. and so on.


This series of Video Games provides examples of:

  • AI Is a Crapshoot: The central villain of the 2070 campaign is the Super AI F.A.T.H.ER going rogue after a computer virus corrupts it.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: The goal of the game.
  • Animated Actors: In 1404's credits.
  • Anti Poop Socking: How about a coffee?
  • Bad Boss: Thor Strindberg, in 2070, is more interested in going ahead with the "Two Year Plan" than listening to his chief scientist say the hydroelectric dam will come crashing down if they try to install the new turbine and run it at full speed straight away instead of running tests. Guess what happens next.
  • Cherubic Choir: A part of 1404's normal soundtrack.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Implied in dialogue and the style of occidental religious buildings. Justified in 1503, which takes place before the Reformation (and Orthodox nations never did much colonizing the Caribbean). It's even more justified in 1404, a time period in which Catholicism was at its zenith.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Nothing gets done without your consent. Certain things can be automated, but you're free to intervine at any time.
  • Continuity Nod: 1701 has Henrik Jorgensen, and 1404 has Leif Jorgensen. Their personalities and appearance are similar enough that one can assume that they are somehow related. 2070 continues with Tilda Jorgensen, who even notes that she comes from the lineage of the "great explorer" Leif Jorgensen.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: 2070 has an entire faction of them. The tycoons of Global Trust primarily care about the bottom line and have several unique technologies that let them take advantage of not caring about the environment, like strip-mining coal anywhere instead of wasting one of your precious mining slots for a coal mine. Factory Farming and fertilizers mean they have to spend very little space on agriculture as well and their populace doesn't care about a negative eco-balance. This may come to bite them in the backside when the natural disasters start hitting...
    • Thor Strindberg is basically the worst of the lot though. More ecologically-minded members of Global Trust do have some fairly solid eco-balancing buildings available to them later on though, such as the Soil De-acidifier, which restores up to 90 points of eco-balance if it has no overlap with other De-acidifiers.
  • Cyberpunk: While there is a noticeable absence of cybertech in Anno 2070, besides A Is that is, Global Trust definitely has this kind of aesthetic.
  • Damage Is Fire: Played straight with ships, but not so much with buildings - where fire from riots, invasion, or disasters damages buildings.
  • DRM: Anno 2070 has multiple layers of DRM, as expected from an Ubisoft release. It allows three activations per copy, and the game as launched required a new activation whenever the PC's graphics card was swapped out. This was (by Word of God from Ubisoft) an intended feature, but the graphics card issue has since been patched out due to massive Internet Backdraft. Furthermore, an online connection is required to start up the game and to access certain special features related to the ark structure.
  • Dual World Gameplay: In Anno 2070 you can build submarines which allow you to explore and colonize the deep sea.
  • Easy Logistics: Naval combat consists almost entirely of two ships pulling up beside each other and trading shots until one has sunk.
  • Endless Game: A staple of the series. Rumor has it there is also a campaign and scenarios.
  • Evil Chancellor:
    • Completely averted in 1404, Grand Vizier Al Zahir is an honourable, caring, almost grandfatherly figure to everyone around him, and is not only loyal to the Sultan but also deeply grateful for his appointment as the Grand Vizier.
    • And yet played straight with Cardinal Lucius who orders the Crusade during the unfortunate sickness of the Emperor.
  • Global Currency: Gold, which is. of course, Truth in Television.
    • By 2070, the world will have switched to Credits.
  • Green Aesop: 2070 has elements of this.
    • The Eden Initiative is all about this. Global Trust doesn't care much about pollution, but they can end up paying dearly for it when a nuclear reactor goes boom.
  • Kick the Dog: In 1404, it can happen that a Smug Snake like Guy Forcas can declare war on you simply because you are currently less powerful than him, and he therefore (rightfully) identified as easy prey. Not only will he either not give you the chance to make peace at all (or only against an outrageous sum of money), but also will your trade partners (and allies; even the mild and affectionate ones like van der Mark and Jorgensen) not help you to fight against him if they are allied to him as well. Instead, they will rather hate and denounce you for letting yourselves get a war declared on and even pull out of the defence contract entirely. Gee, thanks for the help, guys!
  • Money for Nothing: The late game can easily turn into this.
  • Nuke'Em: 2070 includes nuclear weapons. A World Event involves a group of pirates getting a hold of a bunch of them and threatening to blow everyone to hell.
    • Also a big part of the campaign. The second chapter ends with finding out that the Super AI mentioned above has been stealing, among other things, the materials needed for nukes. The third chapter deals with the aftermath, with the area heavily impacted by radiation.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: the music for bad events like war or fire in 1404.
  • Prequel: 1503 and 1404, naturally.
  • The Professor: Ibn al Hakim in 1404
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Emperor and Sultan - as well as their advisors, are like this in 1404.
    • Mr. Thorne sort-of takes this role in 2070 despite his potentially ominous name, recognizing that Strindberg is almost entirely at fault for the dam catastrophe and commending the player's role in containing the situation and helping control the other disasters that strike shortly after. He's not too happy if you side with the Eden Initiative, but he doesn't make any blatant threats like Strindberg.
  • Refining Resources: A major component of the series.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction; More like instant construction.
    • Inverted with Monuments, which can take hours to complete.
  • Theme Naming: All titles consist of "Anno" followed by a year, of which the sum is always 9 (1602, 1503, 1701, 1404 and 2070).
  • Torches and Pitchforks:
    • In the third installment, the population can go nuts for three reasons;
      • Either when being roused by a revolutionary,
      • When the taxes get too high,
      • Or when your tiny island(s) run out of vital resources, such as clothing, basic nutrition, alcohol, tobacco, or chocolates.
      • Then they will get out their torches, pitchforks and placards (with nothing written on them) and rampage through your towns, to lapidate statues of yourself, and to burn down all buildings they encounter, including vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses. While the Fire Brigade never intervenes. After the crisis is settled, they start revolting, because vital public institutions, firms, and their own houses(!) are amiss all of a sudden. It should be noted, that the higher your population is in the public order, the more they are prone to revolt. While Citizens, Merchants and Aristocrats are the most aggressive, the Pioneers and Settlers are almost always content.
    • In another case, in Anno 1503, a mob might sometimes attempt to topple your reign. However, they can be beaten down by your soldiers.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The games' campaigns lean toward the idealistic side of the scale, ending with peaceful coexistence of all parties.
  • Speaking Simlish: Most of the soundtrack, especially in 1404.
  • Infinite Supplies: Any resource that comes out of the ground can be refilled with a substantial payment of gold.
    • Not so much in the first two games, where stone and gold were always infinite, and iron had to be mined with an upgraded mine to get everything, which, depending on the map, could be finite or infinite.
      • 2070 mostly has finite supplies (though some sources are indeed infinite), but certain items that can be built by the tech faction or bought from AI players can refill the supplies for a hefty sum.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the campaign of 2070, you help the tech faction come into possession of what is described as an intelligent virus. So far, it sunk the prototype of the city-ship arks and may have been responsible for several minor near-disasters. So... let's plug it into F.A.T.H.E.R., the A.I. that rules the tech faction and administrates its city. What's the worst that could happen? Hint: You spend the rest of the campaign finding out.
    • Strindberg, again. First he breaks the dam, and when he rejoins you later, he wants to beat you to the punch of building up a strong fleet... only to focus exclusively on ships that are helpless against submarines. Guess what happens to his fleet... and then he seems to go downright rogue, only to be easily captured.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Leif Jorgensen is a wannabe bard, but his singing is terrible...
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: In addition to basic things like wood, stone, and tools, later structures require more advanced building materials with extensive production chains.
  • We Buy Anything: The AI will buy anything and everything you sell, regardless of cost or usefulness.
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