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Video Game: Anno Domini

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 1701: The Sunken Dragon (expansion)
    • Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery (Nintendo DS spin-off)
  • Anno1404 (known as Dawn of Discovery in North America)
    • Anno 1404: Venice (expansion)
  • Anno 2070
    • Anno 2070: Deep Ocean (expansion)

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:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The central villain of the 2070 campaign is the Super AI F.A.T.H.E.R. going rogue after a computer virus corrupts it.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: The goal of the game.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : The game will show messages if you're playing deep into the night. "How about a coffee?"
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI can appear to not think at all; for example you just build a massive fleet, blocked the enemy habour, razed the whole island to the ground and after all that offer peace and trading, to which the AI promptly accepts without a care.
  • Attack Drone: Employed by 2070's Viper (an anti-submarine warship), and a Socketed Equipment version can be installed in most other ships as well — though they're often inferior to the Viper's drone. Both kinds are quite handy though, since they can usually attack all targets such as aircraft, not just enemy ships.
    • Surveillance Drone: Of the submersible variety for collecting samples and retrieving objects from the sea floor, also installable in certain vehicles.
  • Bad Boss: In 2070, Thor Strindberg 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.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: The Eden Initiative in Anno 2070 is an entire society of them. Lots of nature-lovers who at the same time benefit from and enjoy advanced technology, most of which is built with inefficient but sustainable methods. But strangely their drink of choice is tea rather than coffee.
  • 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 intervene at any time.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: There are times where you can finally have the resources needed to expand to your first oriental island while your AI opponent has already settled 2.
  • 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.
  • Cool Boat: Several of the ship designs in 2070 fit this trope. Special mention goes to the Colossus and Keto's Anaconda.
  • 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 giving one flaming shit 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 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.
      • It's less ecologically-minded as "we have to get rid of these penalties before they choke us to death." Global Trust Ecobalance buildings can only restore ecobalance to 0, whereas Eden Initiative Ecobalance buildings can send it skyrocketing into positive numbers, which grants bonuses to agriculture and population opinion. Amusingly, this means that if you have a mix of both Trust and Initiative buildings, you can get away with using the Trust's compact, more efficient technology, and plonk down a few Ozone Creators to still have a positive ecobalance. Yana would probably have a heart attack if she saw one of her sky whales floating over an open pit coal mine, desperately counteracting its effects.
  • Cyberpunk: While there is a noticeable absence of cybertech in Anno 2070 (besides AIs), 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.
    • Otherwise averted. Logistics is the game's primary challenge, getting goods produced at point A to be processed at point B so they can be distributed at point C, if not more steps than that! Juggling all of these so that nothing bottlenecks, the flow of goods is efficient and reliable, and the total amount of income exceeds the total amount of maintenance paid is where most of the game difficulty lies.
  • Empty Quiver: The first world event in 2070, aptly named "Atomic Terror", deals with a pirate group called the Neo Skullz seizing a number of warheads and threatening to launch them at populated areas because their leader wants to watch the world burn.
  • Endless Game: A staple of the series. Rumor has it there is also a campaign and scenarios.
  • Enemy Mine: A good way to earn positive influence with Strindberg, who normally hates your guts, is to go beat up on a certain doctor.
  • 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.
    • Played straight with Cardinal Lucius who orders the Crusade during the unfortunate sickness of the Emperor.
  • False Camera Effects: In 2070 when you zoom into the underwater view the screen is briefly filled with bubbles, as if you had dropped a camera underwater. When you zoom back out, water droplets stream down the screen.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: You, of course. You need a powerful navy in order to win the games, no exceptions. In fact, the pirate faction leader in 2070 will compliment you if you build a large enough fleet.
  • Global Currency: Gold, which is, of course, Truth in Television. By 2070, the world will have switched to Credits.
  • Global Warming: In 2070 the polar ice caps have melted and the world's climate has been altered, hence many locations that were once barren are now fertile. Developing these locations is where you come in.
  • 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.
  • Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: 2070 introduced submarines into the gameplay.
  • 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 of ore, coal, oil and sand (and lobster, for some reason), but certain items that can be built by the tech faction or bought from AI players can refill the supplies for a hefty sum. Underwater plateaus have infinite supplies for everything but oil.
  • Mega Corp.: The Tycoons from 2070. If you choose to side with them you play as a subsidiary of Global Trust, the world's largest energy supplier.
  • Money for Nothing: The late game can easily turn into this.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Anno 2070, Leon Moreau is a computer player character affiliated with the Eden Initiative who prioritizes maintaining perfect ecobalance on all islands, and fiercely opposes anyone harvesting and using large quantities of oil. The computer player character Vadim Sokow is his Arch-Enemy for his focus on the fossil fuel trade, and Leon will attack any of Vadim's oil tankers every chance he gets. Destroyed oil tankers release oil spills, drastically reducing the ecobalance of any island the tide carries them into. Way to protect the environment, Leon.
  • Nintendo Hard: The games in general get increasingly complicated and difficult the further you play. It's one thing to set up a small village, another to turn it into a thriving country without crashing it into the ground.
  • 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. It's 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.
  • Ocean Punk: 2070 contains elements of it.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Global Trust in 2070 is effectively this, having been forged from various corporations and taken the place of many national governments that went under during the upheavals.
  • Pirate: They're a bane in 1701 and 2070, and have a habit of harassing trade ships. It's possible, however, to get on their good side if you yourself are particularly nasty.
  • Plunder: Enemy ships drop all of their cargo (in later games) when destroyed, so of course this is in full force. AI ships can also drop special items that can be 'sold' to other AIs in exchange for research/tech 'licenses' as well.
  • Prequel: 1503 and 1404, naturally.
  • The Professor: Ibn al Hakim in 1404.
  • Real Is Brown: In 2070, this can happen when the eco-balance level in your island drops at 25 negative and lower. This turns the land and coast around it to turn darker and browner, getting progressively worse as the number goes down. At around 200 negative and lower, your island can turn into a desolate looking wasteland. If your eco-balance is far below acceptable levels, you run the risk of creating a tornado in your map, and there's no way to curb it when it appears. This happens as a result of putting too many buildings that pollute the environment, especially coal plants and resource mines, or having oil spills. However, certain modules can be either bought from your neighbors or researched at your Academy to help curb pollution and maintaining the eco-balance on your islands. Additionally, there are certain buildings that serve the same purpose that modules do at the expense of increased costs and power consumption.
  • 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. Indeed, his main complaint about you using wind power is its inefficiency, and whilst Strindberg is panicking and raving on about all the money he is going to loose, Thorne is quickly and efficiently Directing you to rescue Trapped workers, straight out saying they are more valuable then the surviving goods/facilities . his main Character Trait appears to be a Fairly positive form of Pragmatism, and Valuing competent and efficient subordinate's greatly.
  • Refining Resources: A major component of the series.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction; More like instant construction. Inverted with Monuments, which can take hours to complete.
  • Shout-Out: 2070 has shoutouts to practically everything in its achievement names. Add them here if you must.
    • In 1503, your ship's commanders will occasionally reply to your orders with "Captain! My Captain!", echoing the famous Walt Whitman poem. Debatable whether it's also Anachronism Stew.
    • In 1404, wanna-be minstrel Leif Jorgensen will hum a hilarious 're-imagining' of the famous Reichston poem by the real-life German minstrel Walther von der Vogelweide.
    "I sat upon a stone, and was stretching my legs.
    Then I raised my arm, and suddenly I felt... warm!" note 
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The games' campaigns lean toward the idealistic side of the scale, ending with peaceful coexistence of all parties. The Sunken Dragon campaign is an exception, as both Grace Bonnet is probably dead although no body was found, and Diego del Torro is captured by Madame Nadasky.
  • Socketed Equipment: 2070 has Vehicle Upgrades, Island Upgrades, and Ark Upgrades. Most vehicles hold at least one upgrade slot, some as many as three. Whilst they're mostly used for 'permanent' effects (increased speed, firepower, shields, etc.), these slots are also used for consumables like the Boarding Party or even Detonators. Islands can have three upgrades that can work on only that island. Ark Upgrades have an influence on the entire map and come in three tiers, but three of your slots are locked until you reach certain Career levels in each faction.
  • Speaking Simlish: Most of the soundtrack, especially in 1404.
  • The Ark: These serve as flagships in 2070.
  • Theme Naming: All titles consist of "Anno" followed by a year, of which the sum is always 9 (1602, 1503, 1701, 1404 and 2070).
  • 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.
    • It gets worse. First of all, C.O.R.E. is on an island. Why in God's name does F.A.T.H.E.R. need a complete Ark to house his systems, complete with engines? He's been built into the harbor for crying out loud! Second, why does F.A.T.H.E.R. have complete control over C.O.R.E.'s systems? The airborne drones are perhaps understandable, but you'd think that the shore batteries would need some kind of manual intervention to fire, or at least have an entirely-mechanical analog safety mechanism that could be thrown to prevent F.A.T.H.E.R. from shooting up the city in the event he turned into an insane artificial intelligence. Thirdly, who in their right mind would equip an AI, which is intended to be a fixed installation, not only with an entire ARK capable of carrying him out to sea from a cold start, ripping its way through the seawall to do so, but with the facilities to then create entirely automated armed sailing ships. Is F.A.T.H.E.R. commanding some kind of insane faction of humans who are manning his ships that we never hear about, or are they really that dumb that they either build their ships completely automated, or provided F.A.T.H.E.R. with humanoid drones capable of operating the equipment, performing maintenance and refueling etcetera? It's never explained.
    • 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.
      • In continuous games, he's also the only AI reckless enough about his ecobalance to cause tornadoes.
  • 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 Anno 1503, a mob might sometimes attempt to topple your reign. However, they can be beaten down by your soldiers.
    • Meanwhile in 2070, the pitchforks and torches are replaced with protest signs, as citizens may make demands in the form of an Ultimatum mission. Failure to comply results in fairly peaceful rioting compared to earlier games — you're not going to see anything burning down except the amount of money in your wallet, since you're also losing any tax income... and you're looking at dealing with mass emigration due to unhappiness.
      • Most of them can also be avoided entirely fairly easily if you know what triggers them. For instance, citizens may complain about a lack of electricity even if you have a surplus. But keep it above 50 or so and they'll never complain. Same with ecobalance for ecos, and income for tycoons.
  • Transhuman: The Tech faction in 2070 appears to be heading in this direction. Lower tier tech populations are unmodified humans, but in the Deep Ocean expansion as they go up into the Genius population class, their material goods needs begin to encompass things like neuroimplants, immune system enhancing drugs, and bionic exoskeletons which preempt or satisfy physical demands of the body. One Genius quote says that thanks to "neuro-optimization", he requires 68% less sleep than normal.
  • 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, in the later games, later structures require more advanced building materials with extensive production chains.
  • We Buy Anything: In later games, the AI will buy anything and everything you sell, regardless of cost or usefulness. In the first installment, however, it will buy only whatever it needs (which may be nothing at all).
    • However, the standard selling price often reflects usefulness. In 2070, you can easily sell sand en masse to AI players (it's also one of the few goods every AI that visits your Warehouses will buy) but it's not going to make you a lot of money.

    Creator/Ubi SoftAnno 1404
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alternative title(s): Anno Domini
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