The Settlers: The Birth of a Legend - Retro Special

The Settlers: The Birth of a Legend - Retro Special

The Settlers

The little guys in the first settler bustled into the hearts of millions of players all over the world and shaped the cozy gaming experience of building games, the joy of seeing the working settlers became known as the aquarium effect. Since we lost a few disks of the original over the years, we quickly installed the hardly changed history edition of the game and show you in our retro special what made The Settlers so special back then. Also exciting: Our review of the first four parts of Die Siedler.

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Table of contents

1. It's bustling everywhere 2. Brisk trade in goods 3. Peace and war 4. Real characters 5. Other countries, other settlers A deserted area full of mountains, meadows and forests welcomes us when we play a new game start. In the first settler, the cards are randomly generated by a seed, but we determine the location for our castle as headquarters ourselves. You can already guess the distribution of mineral resources and thus choose the ideal starting point. The computer opponent also sets up accordingly, and not infrequently quite close to us.

The pigs wallow in the mud. The animations are very lovingly designed. Source: PC Games Now it is time to build the first logging huts so that we can supply our sawmills so that we can continue to build houses diligently in the future. The paths between the houses and the castle have to be set by hand and their course is of great importance for the productivity of our settlement! If there are bottlenecks or traffic jams on the goods freeway, the whole economy quickly comes to a standstill.

After a few minutes, the aquarium effect sets in. We have given out enough construction contracts, a few buildings are up and the goods transport begins. Now you can sit back and watch the hustle and bustle. The animations are very lovingly designed, we see how the baker stirs the dough or pigs wallowing in the mud. It's fun to closely follow the extraction of resources, their transport, their further processing and ultimately their consumption.

It's bustling everywhere

An important aspect is the so-called bustle factor. It arises from the fact that the player only gives impulses and does not control the playing pieces directly. The settlers (buy now € 59.99) take care of the execution of the orders independently. However, since this usually does not only affect one settler, but rather several and different impulses run in parallel, there is a hustle and bustle on the screen. And like at an ant farm, you just watch it for hours. If you don't want to play yourself and want to pass the time by a settler screen saver, you can watch the computer settle in demo mode. An element that was never taken up again in later parts.


The Settlers History Collection: Trailer introduces the game collection loadVideoPlayer ('79772', '& sAdSetCsategory = artikel_featured', 12 , '16: 9 ', false, 1371292, false, 208281, 260, false, 0,' ',' ', false); The Settlers from 59.99 €

Brisk movement of goods

A special feature of the game design is also beneficial to the bustle factor: All manufactured goods exist in the world and are not just numbers, as was often done in other economic simulations becomes. There are also paths in the world and must be covered. Intelligent planning can make transport more effective, but dragging goods over a mountain still takes time and cannot be accelerated by any tricks. If you choose the direct path up the slope, the route is steep and strenuous and the poor settler assigned to transport it takes longer.

This often results in organic paths that lead to a winding road network, that looks very natural. That goes well with the medieval setting, where streets drawn with a ruler, such as those in the Anno series, are rarely seen. In contrast to Anno, which uses rectangular fields, the settlers also use hex fields, which automatically creates a more playful look.

After a while, the economy is booming and everything on the screen starts to bustle. Source: PC Games

Peace and War

However, the complex chains of goods at the time ultimately lead to one goal: to be prepared for war. The aim of the game is always to train as many well-trained knights as possible and thus to flatten the opponent. To get that far, however, a farmer first has to grow grain, which is then ground into flour in a mill. The flour is baked into bread in the bakery, which the miners use as a meal. The miners in turn mine raw materials for iron and gold smelting, which then provide the basis for tools and swords. So you see, it takes time for the simple field product from the farm to become a knight's weapon. And between all these stations, the transport is in the road network.

However, without the printed instructions, little actually works.

The special click, for example, where both mouse buttons must be pressed at the same time, is a relatively important one Part of the gameplay. It can be used to display construction sites and to do a few other things comfortably. However, you can only find out about him in the instructions. A tutorial that explains such subtleties is missing. There are training missions that are supposed to bring the mechanics closer to the player, but how to do them is only clear from the instructions. Likewise, the buildings and professions of the settlers in the game are only represented by icons. Which of the log cabins is the forester's house and what the dwelling of the woodcutter is, you have to find out by trial and error, or you just look at the instructions. This was even accompanied by a reference card for buildings, professions, raw materials and tools, so we were well aware of the problem.

Real characters

The various computer opponents also appear in the description. There you learn that the AI ​​can play different ways, which allows you to determine the level of difficulty. If you choose the Viking Homen Doppelhorn as your opponent at the beginning, because he wears such a funny helmet, you and the settlement will soon be in the dust. Homen is extremely aggressive and attacks everything that settles in his field of vision. We prefer to settle for the moment with Lady Amalie, who acts cautiously and lets us build first. Other opponents concentrate on accumulating as much gold as possible, while others try to sabotage the player's food production. The computers really have a few nice facets to their personalities.

If you connect a second mouse, The Settlers has a local co-op and versus mode. Source: PC Games

So that you don't become a single settler, there is also a pretty smart multiplayer mode that is unique to this day. You can connect a second mouse to the computer, with which you can happily settle together. Either you play cooperatively and divide a people so that, for example, one player takes care of the economy while the other attacks the neighbors with the military. Or war is declared between the players and you settle against each other on the same computer.

Other countries, other settlers

Incidentally, in the USA the settlers initially came under the name "Serf City: Life is Feudal "on the market. Americans tend to associate the term "settlers" with cowboys, Indians and the colonization of the wild west. A game with this name, in which you build a medieval city, would have only led to confusion, according to American PR.

Later and also in the new release in the "History Collection", the game was named " The Settlers "um.

The pigs wallow in the mud. The animations are very lovingly designed. Source: PC Games Volker Wertich originally programmed Die Siedler in the assembler programming language of the Amiga. As he told us in an interview, Wertich achieved an incredible speed compared to basic programming thanks to the direct machine language. "Like switching from crutches to a jet." But he also needed this computing speed, because he wrote the main work of the program all by himself. The optics are also the work of a single man, namely a graphic artist, with whom Wertich was in contact mainly by telephone and with whom he occasionally exchanged files. A kind of forerunner of the modern home office principle. For his next game in the settlers' universe, the third part of the series, Wertich got a bigger team, two people programmed the main phase for Die Siedler 3. This is almost unimaginable in today's times, with gigantic development studios and huge teams.

Wertich finally turned his back on the Siedler series and founded Phenomic in 1997, with which he created the SpellForce series. He has since returned to Blue Byte, which is now part of Ubisoft, as Creative Director for the new Settlers section. We hope that with the reboot, which is simply called The Settlers, he can build on his old successes.

Have you been a Siedler fan from the start? Which part did you get into the series with? Let us know in the comments!

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