REVIEW: ‘Anno 1800’ Brings in Policy With its “Seat of Power” (PC)

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Seat of Power

Anno 1800 was one of our favorite games of 2019, and with the addition of Co-Op and the last DLC of the first season, the team at Ubisoft Mainz has continued to improve on their real-time city-building game by listening to the community and adding new challenge and fun along the way. In the first DLC of Season 2, “Seat of Power,” players are allowed to construct a magnificent palace and use that palace in their capital city, to make policies that affect influence, workforces, productivity, storage, and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with Anno 1800, it’s the latest in the city-building and strategic Anno franchise and tasks players to prove their skills as a ruler as they progress their cities through the Industrial Revolution. Players can create huge metropolises, plan efficient logistic networks, settle an exotic new continent, send out global expeditions, and dominate their opponents by diplomacy, trade or warfare. “Seat of Power” offers up a new challenge that can be added to an existing saved game or a new game that allows you to boost your city’s production, wealth, happiness, and more. But with this boost comes the challenge of adapting your city planning to house the palace and the several departments within it, in an optimal location to gain the highest impact.

The initial palace is available when you unlock the Investors class of residents, the last to be unlocked. While this is “end game” in a way, you’d be remiss not to take your future palace’s location into consideration as you do for train tracks and power plant locations as you build your sprawling metropolis. With departments that impact production and your citizens, it’s important to balance the placement, laying it close to roads that reach townhalls and trade unions alike. Now, the reach of your palace is dictated by its size. We dropped my palace into a co-op game where we had ample money and materials which allow me to play with not only the design but also watch as its reach grows as you build new pieces.

The palace itself isn’t cheap, but it isn’t also unobtainable at only 1 million gold. The palace consists of one main building and a variety of modules that players will be able to choose different styles for, but be aware, there is a limit. Initially, though, while 34 may seem like a lot, it really isn’t. Each of these modules extends your reach and the ability to build piece by piece allows you to plan and gradually spend to grow. You can only build one main palace per profile but you can also build local departments in your other cities that allow you to activate one department and one policy per city.

The policies you can enact are each tied to the number of departments you have available in your palace. The departments include the Department of Administration which affects your workforces, the Department of Culture which gains influence, the Department of Labor with policies that impact your productivity, the Department of Welfare which influences public buildings, and the Department of Trade which affects Island storage. While each department enacts passive additions to your city like the Department of Trade which increases your Island storage, the policies that you select within the departments have more active effects.

Seat of Power

That said, the status of your palace is directly impacted by your city’s attractiveness. While this is easy enough to monitor and bolster, it means that a policy can be gone if you dip below the required amount and you’ll need to adjust. Once you get into a groove and add it to your monitoring, the policies can greatly impact and help your gameplay. Additionally, as you increase your city’s attractiveness, you get the ability to enact different and more beneficial policies.

But “Seat of Power” isn’t the only new thing to Anno 1800 right now. Additionally, the game also received an update that directly addressed one of the larger “end game” pain points: influence. Now, with the last update, you can adjust your influence gain for new and existing games by allowing it to gain more easily, the same, or make the influence gain harder. “Seat of Power” directly engages with this and acknowledges the importance of influence in the game by providing departments that directly help with the influence gaining issue. For example, our favorite department, the Department of Culture. Through its policies, you can gain more influence per tile through the zoo, museum, or botanical gardens. On a management level, the fact that you can only choose one policy per department means that you need to evaluate which ones will impact your city the most, and adjust as new ones become available for selection.

For our playthrough, we needed to vastly renovate our city, to make sure that the palace’s reach hit all the target areas, public buildings, town halls, and trade unions where policies would be the most effective. While this is a result of utilizing “Seat of Power” in an existing game, future playthroughs will have to take into account the palace, it’s impact and the optimization of roads and placement of the aforementioned facilities.

Overall, “Seat of Power” is a relatively small DLC, where other like the “Sunken Treasures” and “The Passage” added more to the World Map, this one’s impact is more about how you can add both difficulties and ease to your playthroughs, by adding a new mechanic to city management. With that goal, “Seat of Power” succeeds and is a wonderful addition to the Anno 1800 and start to the game’s season 2.

Anno 1800, “Seat of Power,” the Season 2 Pass and the Anno 1800: Complete Edition, which includes the main game, the Season 1 & 2 Passes and the Digital Deluxe Pack, are available digitally on the Epic Games store and the Ubisoft Store for Windows PC. “Seat of Power” can be purchased as part of the Anno 1800 Season 2 Pass for $24.99 USD or individually for $9.99 USD, and is downloadable for players who already own the Season Pass.

Anno 1800 DLC, "Seat of Power"
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    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

“Seat of Power” is a relatively small DLC, where other like the “Sunken Treasures” and “The Passage” added more to the World Map, this one’s impact is more about how you can add both difficulties and ease to your playthroughs, by adding a new mechanic to city management. With that goal, “Seat of Power” succeeds and is a wonderful addition to the Anno 1800 and start to the game’s season 2.