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Trade Empires is a PC game developed by Frog City Software in San Francisco and published by Eidos Interactive. During development its working title was The Silk Road, however this was changed by Eidos Interactive as they were concerned about the title being too highbrow.
Trade Empires is a pausable real-time strategy game about building a merchant empire. Gamers build vast transport and trade networks that change over thousands of years as new technologies are developed and more modern products are discovered. The rules of the game are simple; the variety comes in through the discovery of new products to trade and new ways to transport those products.
- Play the first trading and transporting simulation to emphasize the effects of technological change over thousands of years on the relatively simple model of producing and delivering commodities to make more money than the competition.
- Start out simple, with one merchant and his donkeys. Gradually build up your merchant empire until you control a vast trading web.
- Manipulate the supply and demand economy to dominate the other merchant families. Corner the market. Undercut their prices.
- Explore and Exploit: Continually discover new markets and products, from silk in the Far East to steel in industrial Europe.
- Adapt your family's trading network to an ever-changing economy or instead face defeat when your competitors purchase advanced technology and deliver superior products.
- Span the centuries and the world, in regions from Ancient Sumeria to 19th century Europe.
- Build vast transportation networks, using anything from dirt trails to railroads.
- Compete against other merchant families who are powered by a clever artificial intelligence that plays by the same rules you do.
- Rendered units and buildings on a 3D map.
- More than 200 structures and 30 units in 15 different episodes.
The game features 19 campaign scenarios based on historical trading periods in human history. A step-by-step walkthrough is playable by users on the Learn to Play mode for the Shang Dynasty of China (1,700-1,100 BC). The game imitates the historical period through the supply and demand process of that time. Goods such as rice, millet, silk cloth and jade idols are traded during the campaign. The Tang & Song Era (AD 615-1280) of China is also depicted, although not as a Learn to Play option.
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