The Settlers: Rise of an Empire is a real time strategy, and the sixth game in The Settlers series. Developed by Blue Byte and published by UbiSoft.
The game features races from Medieval Europe (such as the Vikings), as well as Northern Africa. Unlike other games in the Settlers franchise, much of the gameplay involves trading with other settlements in order to create a flourishing community.
A key aspect of the game now is the climate of the map that is being played. The game features four climatic zones, cold, mild, warm and hot. The cold zone has long hard winters which prevent grain from being grown and, for most of the winter period, fish from being fished. The mild climate has much shorter winters with similar effect. The warm zone has no apparent winter at all, but the land here is less fertile. The hot zone again also has no winter, although here the land is less fertile still.
Female Settlers have been included for the first time. Unlike the Amazons in The Settlers III, these are spouses that are available for all races, not a specific race. This dynamic adds a number of new game play features, such as Viking raids for women. Settlers now fall in love and marry, an occurrence heavily influenced by the player through town celebrations and fairs.
The settlers have various needs that have to be fulfilled to keep them happy. If they lack something, they will go on strike. At the start of the game, there is only one need: food. As the player promotes his knight, the setters will develop more needs and wishes. When the player reaches the highest knight title, they demand food, clothing, cleaning tools, and entertainment, and wish for prosperity and decoration. Fulfilling wishes is not critical, but satisfying them raises a city's reputation.
In The Settlers: Rise of an Empire, the developers put a great deal of attention to detail, including ecosystems within the game world. For instance, if in North Africa you see a herd of zebra, you will no doubt see Lions preying upon their herds and thus keeping the numbers of zebra down, preventing over-population. However, if the player herds the zebra, then the Lions search for other food, which could include the player's Settlers or the rival players' Settlers. A compromise has to be made by only hunting small portions of zebra and lion in order to foster a balanced ecosystem. The same mechanics are seen in the European areas with deer and wolves.
In terms of complexity, the economy system falls somewhere between Settlers 1-4 and Heritage of Kings. There are 10 types of resources and 18 types of goods. The goods are grouped into six categories, each satisfying a specific need or wish (except for military goods).
The player's storehouse acts as a hub of commerce within the settlement. Resource gatherers bring resources to it, and the artisans living in the city fetch them from there. There is no benefit in constructing related buildings near each other like in previous incarnations of the game (except in Heritage of Kings). Resources and goods can also be sold from the storehouse.
In Rise of an Empire, there are two types of custom maps: one involves free settlement where you build up a city in peace and quiet, safe from attack; the other is a quest where you have multiple things to complete and are sometimes attacked.
There also is a campaign consisting of sixteen missions across the game's four climatic zones. The campaign involves a war against the evil Red Prince and his right-hand lady, Crimson Sabbat. Throughout the campaign, the player must attempt to gain allies in the fight against him so to eventually end his evil doings.