Patrician IV Impressions - First Look

We get our first look at the next chapter in this economic strategy series at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Making your way in the Electronic Entertainment Expo today takes everything you've got. Wouldn't you like to go somewhere, where a small German developer makes in-depth economic simulation games such as Patrician IV? We're always glad we came…to see how the next chapter in the series from developer Gaming Minds will build on the economic and trading strategy from the previous games.

Patrician IV will still take place in Middle Ages-era Europe between England to the west and Russia to the east, encompassing northern Europe and the Baltic region. While you start your career as a humble grocer, your goal is eventually to become the wealthiest merchant in Europe and head of the Hanseatic League--one of the first international trade coalitions and arguably the progenitor of global commerce, thanks to its efforts to promote trade not only in different villages (often run by closed-minded burghers who levied usurious taxes to prevent foreign goods from disrupting the local economy), but in different countries around the world using the wonders of oceanic navigation.

Although Patrician IV seems to tread on a very complicated subject, creative director Daniel Dumont insists that the game is fundamentally based on the simple principles of supply and demand, and the fundamental strategy of buying low and selling high. In the world of Patrician IV, all goods are produced by and consumed by citizens (either workers or their families). And while there are some 20 different commodities in the entire game, each city in Europe produces only four or five. As a result, there will be a constant stream of supply and demand just waiting for an ambitious young merchant with an extra boat or two to ferry much-needed salt to preserve all the fresh meat produced by that one city in Denmark. Starting out, your job is to find new trade partners and establish automated trade routes, then further optimize each trade route by ensuring that each shipment is large enough to warrant the trip, potentially by adding stopovers for warehouse storage to the automation queue. However, in order to trade harmoniously with each town, you need to make sure you don't rob them blind by buying up their last kernels of much-needed grain--doing so will decrease your reputation with that town and potentially affect your future trade there. Fortunately, you can also increase your reputation by making timely shipments of much-needed goods to cities with scarcity problems.

Despite all the wonderful opportunity to make all that wonderful money, Patrician IV won't be a particularly competitive game. There will, indeed, be rival merchants who will try to establish their own trade routes and make more money than you, but from what we're told, there will be no danger of other merchants establishing a larger trade network than you and "beating" you at your own game. However, you'll still have to contend with rival merchants and wealthy commodity monopolists who may not look kindly on you horning in on their racket. For the former, you can either equip your own flotilla of ships with onboard guns or commission pirates to bump off the competition at sea; for the latter, if you're game enough, you can try to undercut the monopolies until you rack up enough profits to buy them out.

Patrician IV is scheduled for release in September.

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20 comments
dark4one
dark4one

the difference between patrician 3 and this one is that it fails to live up to its name, naval combat is so stupid and boring that you'll end up auto resolving all the battles, ship customization is gone, the map looks poorly designed and the trading becomes only sliders and numbers after a while, grab the demo version if you liked patrician 2/3 so you wont be disappointed if you end up buying this one

vanillacUp
vanillacUp

its all look exactly the same with patrician 3...so what the difference??

Shardz7
Shardz7

As much as I love these type of games very much, there is indeed some stiff competition out there with some high production values. I remember the old Port Royal days quite well and loved to spend the night getting rich. For now I'm playing Anno 1404 which I'm content with and this game will have to ramp standards quite high to match those production values.

fabg
fabg

The Closed-Beta Test for Patrician IV starts in early July, so far everything seems to be on schedule. I already had the chance to play the Alpha Version of Patrician IV, you can read my hands-on preview on http://patrician4-fansite.de

Yakuz-A
Yakuz-A

A bit of useless trivia for fans of the series: This is in reality Patrician 3. You see, in Germany, the country of origin for the series, "our" Patrician 3 was marketted for what it was, German Patrician 2 with an expansion. So for all true intents and purposes, this is actually Patrician III.:)

slimskelter
slimskelter

When I see screen shots like these I envision 10mm rounds and bunker busters hailing down. Too much CoD I guess.

Spitz6860
Spitz6860

looks awfully like Dawn of Discovery, some buildings are exactly the same.

Eneru112
Eneru112

Gonna be playing this with Civ 5 lol

f_monster
f_monster

I have spent countless hours with Pat II and Pat III, so I am sure that IV will capture more of my life. That's not to mention the fun I had with Port Royale 1 and 2. Good economy games!

cherrybomb257
cherrybomb257

I played II and III, very pleased to see another in the series. Very fun trading sim.

ElderonWise
ElderonWise

@luckysori Hah thanks for shedding some light on the mechanics for me. Now that I have a basic idea I now realise this will be worth a good look at.

luckysori
luckysori

@ElderonWise well, from what I can remember, the game itself is not really about city building, although with the money gathered and the reputation gained acting as a merchant, you can also build houses, buildings which can produce goods for you which you can then store or sell and even hospitals, universities and other similar buildings which you donate to the city for it to improve. You may even become the major of any of those cities you are established in, gaining access to some more city building options, although the game itself is mainly about ships going from one city to the next at its very basic level.

BangaaPride
BangaaPride

This is a decent series and I'm glad there is a new entry for it.

ElderonWise
ElderonWise

@luckysori I am very new to the Patrician games but I am a veteran of RTS and TBS games and was wondering is this similar to a city building mechanic? Do you build anything like buildings as such? Or is it more like sending orders off from your HQ that you can upgrade?

luckysori
luckysori

I really liked Patrician III, a game I recommend to anyone who likes this kind of games, because even though it didn't have great graphics and the mechanics were pretty simple, it had an interesting depth to it when you became involved and looked at it closely. Patrician IV sounds really similar, so I'm looking forward to it, although I seriously think everyone should try the prequel beforehand.

ElderonWise
ElderonWise

Wow, this has good graphics and seems like good gameplay, I will keep an eye on this one :).

bodylotion
bodylotion

I never played any Patrician game but i guess it's just trading goods and earning money right ? graphics look good anyway/

bodylotion
bodylotion

I never played any Patrician game but i guess it's just trading goods and earning money right ?

mitchmacca92
mitchmacca92

This sounds very interesting, doesn't sound like your typical RTS, which i like.

ic4ruz
ic4ruz

This game is looking promising, allthough releasing in the same month as CIV 5 could be a big mistake.