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'''''The Settlers''''' is a series of {{RTS}}/empire-building computer games from Blue Byte Software, which premiered on the UsefulNotes/{{Amiga}} in 1993.

Missions in the game start with each player controlling a castle, the immediate area around it, and some basic resources like wood and stone in storage. Players use these resources to build basic structures for gathering more wood and stone to make more buildings. These extra resources are used for construction of guard huts, which expand your territory, in turn opening up more space for construction of more buildings--especially ones that produce other basic materials like raw minerals (iron, gold, coal). Yet more buildings are then erected to grow or forage for food to feed miners, process raw minerals into tools for your workers and weapons for soldiers, brew beer to make everyone happy, and so forth. The eventual goal is to expand your territory enough to establish borders with your opponents, then assault their guard posts to steal away their territory, eventually bringing down their main castle.

[[SpaceManagementGame Space within your territory is limited]], and some structures take up a lot of space, so the decision to place a structure in a specific spot can have a great impact. In addition, smart placement of roads to connect these buildings can dramatically cut down on the time it takes for resources to travel from their production sites to their processing sites and storage facilities, and failure to cut down travel times means losing the advantage. This makes the series unique among RTS games: it focuses on logistics and resource management rather than simple military might. In fact, in the first game it was often possible to win a level without any meaningful military engagement, as the AI would tend to eventually run its economy into the ground.

A second unique quality is its "high-level management" style of play, which eschewed a traditional CommandAndConquerEconomy in favour of a system where the player decided what buildings were to be built, what enemy structures attacked and what the transport priorities for various commodities should be, and the peasants carried out those orders to the best of their abilities. You do not have any direct control over any of your settlers.

Games In The Series Include

* ''The Settlers''
* ''The Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici''
** ''The Settlers II Mission CD''
* ''The Settlers III''
** ''The Settlers III: Quest of the Amazons''
** ''The Settlers III Mission CD''
* ''The Settlers IV'' (known as ''The Settlers: Fourth Edition'' in North America)
** ''The Settlers IV: The Trojans and the Elixir of Power ''
** ''The Settlers IV Mission Pack''
** ''The Settlers IV: The New World and ''The Settlers IV: Community Pack'' (German only expansions)
* ''The Settlers: Heritage of Kings''
** ''The Settlers: Heritage of Kings - Expansion Disc''
** ''The Settlers: Heritage of Kings - Legends Expansion Disc''
* ''The Settlers II 10th Anniversary'' (A remake of settlers II)
* ''The Settlers: Rise of an Empire''
** ''The Settlers: Rise of an Empire - The Eastern Realm
* ''The Settlers: Rise of Cultures'' (Another Remake of The Settlers II with features from The Settlers III, Germany only)
* ''The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom''
* ''The Settlers: Castle Empire/The Settlers Online'' (Online Browser Game)

The first two games are slow as molasses. Starting wood production, for instance, means designating a spot for a woodcutter's hut and hooking it up to a road. A leveler will then walk over from the headquarters and prepare the ground. A builder will then walk over and add planks to the hut as a bucket chain of carriers brings them in. Once the builder's done, a woodcutter will walk over to occupy the hut, walk over to a nearby tree, cut it down (then strip off the branches in the first game), carry it back and leave it in front of the hut. Carriers will bring it over to a sawmill, which will turn it into one unit of planks, fresh and usable once the carriers get it where it needs to go. Matches will take hours. The games will frustrate sane people (one review in an Amiga magazine provided a recipe for a tuna melt, so that players would have something to do while they waited for their orders to be carried out) but have a strong [[CultClassic cult following]], especially in their native Germany.

The third and fourth game take a different approach. While the basic principles remain the same, roads are no longer placed manually, now appearing on any path settlers frequently use and speeding them up. Maps are no longer tile-based, allowing for more precise placement of buildings. Additionally, soldiers and specialists can be moved freely and emphasis is shifted from individual soldiers fighting duels to skirmishes and battles between larger armies.

''Heritage of Kings'' dropped the quirky, adorable presentation in favor of more realistic looking Settlers. Territory is no longer limited by borders and more emphasis was placed on a story-driven campaign centered around a young prince reclaiming the kingdom once ruled by his father. Hero units with special abilities also become important to combat, and research is introduced to the series. The economy on the other hand is simplified - there are only five resources, as well as money, which are stored in pools and no longer need to be refined, thus removing the production chains from the predecessors.

2007's ''VideoGame/TheSettlersRiseOfAnEmpire'' has its own page.

Not to be confused with the board game ''TabletopGame/SettlersOfCatan''.

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!!This series embodies the following tropes:

* AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: In ''The Settlers IV'', priests can use mana to perform miracles. Unfortunately, each individual miracle becomes more expensive the more you use it.
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit:
** Justified in ''The Settlers IV'': Regular settlers and builders require a bed to sleep in, else they will go on strike. This isn't a big deal though, as beds are provided by the houses the settlers spawn from and only exist so players don't just demolish their houses once it has spawned all the settlers it can provide. Most other civilians live in the buildings they work in and soldiers as well as specialists don't require beds at all.
*** In the manual, this is explained as specialists sleeping under the night sky and soldiers sleeping in the barracks. Ironically, players rarely need more than one barracks-building, so apparently, hundreds of potential soldiers can be housed in a medium-sized building. And even when the barracks are demolished or destroyed, it won't affect your soldiers.
** In ''Heritage of Kings'', the limit is as arbitrary as it can get. How many units (both civilian workers and soldiers - only heroes are excluded) you can own depends entirely on how many city centers you own, which you can't even build whereever you want - they can only be constructed on special locations.
* ArtificialStupidity:
** In ''The Settlers IV'', the AI doesn't use certain buildings a human player would find useful. The most notable examples are large towers and fortresses for defensive purposes - if the AI doesn't start with them, it will never have any at all. They also won't build warehouses to store surplus goods or build, let alone use ships unless scripted to do so. This means that if you are on different islands, you don't have to worry about being attacked at all.
*** The AI is also incapable of manning towers to their full extent. This means that if you take an enemy tower and they retake it, it pretty much stops being a threat since they will only put one soldier in there.
*** Ironically, the AI could man towers it captured in the predecessor.
*** On the other hand, the AI will make liberal use of priests and squad leaders, the latter of which are often neglected by human players.
** Allied AI players usually behave very passively in the fourth game, at least in the campaign. They will build their settlements as usual and can occasionally be manipulated into expanding towards the enemy, but unless it's scripted, don't expect any help from them. In missions where you have to protect your allies, they are additonally scripted to behave even dumber. One such mission requires you to protect a roman and a trojan settlement for two hours, which in this case means making sure both of them retain more than ten settlers. Now, the trojans will actually try their hardest and only require a little military support to make sure their barracks don't get blockaded. The romans on the other hand will not finish building their houses even if you give them the resources to do so, and the two large towers that protect them from the Dark Tribe are manned by one lone archer each, compared to the three each of those towers could house.
* CommandAndConquerEconomy: The player must order any construction project, that's pretty much the point of the game. You do not tell your settlers what to do and where to move though, you only set guidelines and they take care of everything else. Justified because of feudalism: everything in your kingdom is your property, so you call the shots.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard -- After the first level or two, it always has better troops than you do. Although this only applies in the campaign mode. In Free Play (aka Skirmish), the AI starts with the exact same resources as the player. Computer players don't have an infinite resource pool and will in fact run out of resources if they can't gather them.
* ConstructAdditionalPylons -- Not only is this trope in effect, it is actually the whole point of the game (at least early in the series), and its application is what set ''The Settlers'' apart from its direct competitors (early RealTimeStrategy games as we know them today). Instead of building an elaborate field base, the player is building a whole kingdom from scratch - and the objective is usually to expand that kingdom (often, but not necessarily, through violence) to the point where it edges out all competition. This requires careful placement of a very wide variety of buildings, each of which is absolutely necessary for victory. You must create a long economic chain where which slowly converts raw resources step by step into military units. These units occupy guard huts, thereby increasing the size of your territory and allowing you to build more and more buildings. Although military force is often required to actually push your enemies back and eventually raze their castles, the primary skill being tested is your ability to build the kingdom and its economy properly; battles themselves are almost unremarkable in comparison.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience:
** Justified by fact that units of the same race, but belonging to different players would be indistinguishable otherwise.
** Kind of subverted with the Dark Tribe in ''The Settlers 4'' - while they are assigned a regular colour like all other players, their units are all black and grey regardless. In the rare instances of more than one Dark Tribe being present, this makes it impossible to tell which unit is part of which Tribe.
* CopyProtection:
** Notoriously in ''The Settlers 7'', as part of a humongous DRM program at Ubisoft. It was already bad on ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', but here, if your internet connection dropped out, it was an automatic quit. Thankfully, Ubisoft has since rectified this issue, so the internet is only required to boot the program. This is still a pain in the ass, but better than before.
** Also present in ''The Settlers III'': If you tried to smelt iron ore into iron ingots with a cracked version of the game, they would be smelted into pigs.[[note]]Cast iron intended for further refining is sometimes known as "[[StealthPun pig iron]]".[[/note]]
* DarkIsEvil - In full effect with the Dark Tribe in ''The Settlers IV''.
** The same goes with Kerberos and his forces in ''The Settlers: Heritage of Kings''.
* GreenAesop: The Dark Tribe campaign in ''The Settlers IV'' has the main villain be a banished dark god who wants nothing more than to destroy all of Earth's greenery. And you have to stop him [[EnemyMine by letting the three main tribes (Romans, Mayans and Vikings) work together]].
* MarketBasedTitle -- The original game ''The Settlers'' was renamed ''Serf City: Life Is Feudal'' in the United States. All subsequent games went out under the ''Settlers'' banner.
* MookChivalry -- In the first two games and their remakes, all fights are one-on-one, and the rest of the knights will simply stand around waiting for the opportunity to step in and pick up where the previous one left off. Since standing knights occupy space, [[ZergRush bum rushing the castle with low to mid-level units]] can be enough to clog up the area and stop them from moving goods and people around, crippling their economy.
* PainfullySlowProjectile -- In Settlers II, a catapult may fire on an enemy building, only for that building to have been captured by the player by the time the boulder lands, resulting in loss of the building to friendly fire.
* RefiningResources -- Virtually every resource in the game either ''must'' be refined in order to be useful, or ''can'' be refined to make some other resource. Some resources can go through two or more levels of refinement.
** A good example of one of the longest chains of refinement is the process of turning water into weapons. Firstly, water has to be collected from a well, and transported to your farms. With water, farms can grow wheat, which is sent to the windmill. There it is refined into flour, which is sent to the baker's. The baker combines flour with more water to make bread, which is sent to the iron mines and coal mines. The miners eat the bread and dig out iron ore and coal. Both are sent to an iron smelter, where they are combined to make iron ingots. These are sent to the weaponsmith (along with more coal) to be turned into weapons. The weaponsmith makes swords and shields separately, and one of each is needed in order to train one soldier. The process can take a very long time, as you can expect, especially if the roads become congested...
** In ''Heritage of Kings'', resources are no longer refined to create other resources. Instead, buildings like the sawmill multiply resources you already have and allow for research related to it.
* ShieldsAreUseless -- In ''The Settlers II'', low ranking soldiers carry shields. High ranking soldiers do not.
* StopWorshippingMe: The plot of the third game revolves around 'Him', the god to whom other gods are subservient, trying to stop mortals developing monotheistic religion.
* TooDumbtoLive: Since you don't directly control civilians in most games, you cannot order them to flee from the few threats civilians can actually face. Also found a few times in the behavior of some factions, story-wise.
** The Dark Tribe featured in the fourth game uses Shamans to enslave civilian settlers. That alone can be quite a pain in the ass, especially since the tools these settlers used and any resources they carried are lost, but it's particularly infuriating when you see how your settlers will not even try to avoid these shamans. Builders who just worked near your borders, where you may have built defenses, may still be standing there if they weren't assigned another task, and will simply allow themselves to be enslaved.
** The Trojan expansion to the same game has a mission where the Vikings and Mayans have turned on the Trojans and Romans, believing that the Dark Tribe was defeated. As you would expect, the Dark Tribe is still very much present (and is actually scripted to destroy the Romans, even though the tribe is not shown in the statistics menu), and upon viewing the entire map, you will realize that the Dark Tribe was sitting pretty much next door to the Mayans and Vikings.
** The fifth game has a mission where you arrive to help protect an important city. The city's inhabitants are confident that their walls will protect them, and their defenses are actually quite formidable - unfortunately, they completely fail to realize that in winter, the sea around their main fortress will freeze over, completely exposing it.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential -- Destroying the last enemy storehouse, harbor, or headquarters in ''The Settlers II'' will cause the settlers, workers, and donkeys within to flee. Usually, they'll head toward the closest storehouse they can hide in--but without one, they'll aimlessly wander around with nowhere to go and nobody to save them. Eventually they starve, let out death knells, and collapse, turning to skeletons.
** The Settlers III has dying settlers turn into coloured smoke. The Settlers IV advances this to angels (or demons for the Dark Tribe), who then rise towards the sky.
** The first four games do not allow soldiers to attack non-specialist civilians (even the Dark Tribe adheres to this, though they can do much worse). In the fifth game, soldiers will not automatically attack workers, but can be ordered to do so.
* VideoGameSettings
** BleakLevel -- In The Settlers IV, pretty much every level featuring the Dark Tribe can turn into this, if you don't stop the Tribe's expansion. Luckily, the damage can be reversed.
** DecadeDissonance -- Heritage of Kings features the cities Cleycourt and Barmecia. While ruled by brothers, Barmecia is much more religious and are mindful of the ecological impact of their economy. Cleycourt simply exploits the local resources with no regard for the consequences.
** GreenHillZone -- Your standard generic green island(s), including the first level of the campaign.
** LethalLavaLand -- The wasteland maps, first introduced in level 5 of the campaign.
* YouRequireMoreVespeneGas -- In fact, this is more the point of the game than fighting is, but at least you can plant more trees.
** In The Settlers IV, Sulphur is pretty much uselessium. The mayans and trojans can use it as ammo for warships and catapults, which are rarely useful. The trojans can also convert it into iron using magic. The romans and vikings have no use for it at all, making you wonder why the devs put sulphur on maps where you play as any of those two.

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