I decided to give 1849 a try after having a walk down memory lane of the Oregon Trail days. Just felt like doing something with a little more of a wild west feel. This is a city builder game, as the great games of like Caesar III, Pharaoh, or Zeus. It has just an older, retro, vibe about it even though the game is not terribly old, 2014.
The first thing that strikes me is the music. It is right on target with the theme, but oh my, is it loud! And you can only turn it off. There isn’t a volume slider. I’m not too fond of silence, but I hate loud music worse, so after the first round of the story mode, I had to turn it off. Not ideal but allowed me to listen to some Spotify while playing.
The gameplay is very traditional with other city builder games. There always seems to be an optimal layout for the houses to have the amenities that they want around to grow into larger housing. The supply chain is simple for raw materials into finished goods but still enjoyable. Trade is a significant component of the game as many of the towns you start cannot handle everything you need to grow a city. You will have to by and sell. I found this to become tedious as there was not a way to automate selling say over a certain amount. I also had to click a lot to sell a bunch of stuff at once.
The scenarios are kind of neat because they use real towns in California as the namesakes, and without doing some severe history research, it seems to follow what I remember as the critical trades and resources of those cities back in the day. At least I know growing Napa into wine country makes a lot of sense. Each scenario also has you start with three options. One is generally just a bunch of money, and the other two are starting with less money but maybe an already open trade route or starting buildings. I love accessible trade routes, as they can be pricy to open, but I do not like the free buildings because I cannot control where to place them, and having a pretty town is just as important as efficient for me.
Even the game is getting ‘older,’ there are some other odd things like you can’t use the mouse to move around the map. But so far, all the maps have been small enough to fit on my monitor without much moving. Can’t control warehousing or like I said automate trade. This seems odd for a game from 2014 as I remember other games much older having these features.
Even with the lack of features, I did enjoy my time in the game.
Maybe it is the fact that it is during the gold rush, although perhaps some brothels to go with the tavern would be more historically accurate for ‘entertainment.’
Maybe it is the fact that it seems to go well with my foggy memory of history class.
Having played it, and knowing what I know now, I would still repurchase it. It is a great starter city builder game for people not familiar with the genre. But as always, buy it on sale. I value a great developer, but I also love saving money.
Initial Release Date: May 8, 2014
Knowing what I know now, would I repurchase it? For Sure!