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Tradewinds are blowing


SOC-14 1K
Last night at work, I was bored. On Yahoo, I saw a banner ad for their new game, "Tradewinds," so I decided to download the demo and try it out.

It was a lot of fun. You are the captain of a sailing ship. You start as either a merchant or a pirate with one ship, and you're in debt. You have to buy and sell cargoes at various ports, all the while hoping to avoid pirate attacks. The prices at the various ports fluctuate, so it's difficult to get a consistent feel for the markets.

Some cargoes are illegal, so you have to avoid the port authority. If they catch you, you have to bribe them to avoid arrest. Sometimes the prices in a port are too low for you to make a profit, so you have to store the cargo in a warehouse until it changes.

When attacked by pirates, you can either run, dump your cargo and run faster, or fight. There are different size ships, and you have to balance between cargo space available and weapons.

As you make money, you can upgrade your ship with more weapons, or even buy more ships. You can also hire mercenaries to escort your ships and help fight the pirates. If the pirates damage your ship, you have to get it repaired in the next port.

While playing, it struck me that a lot of the elements of this game are pretty much like Traveller. I don't know much about computer games and programming, but it seems to me that Yahoo (or whoever developed the game) could convert this game to a space-based trading game very easily. Maybe if we start an e-mail campaign and ask them to do this, they would. What do you think?

Oh, the full version of the game costs $19.99, I believe. Not a bad price for the fun involved.
I've played it... Fun, but not $20 worth of fun.... since there are 5 ports total. At least on the palm.

Space Trader is still freeware, and still, for my bet, well worth the DL time...
If you liked tradewinds, then you really need to check out a PC game called Port Royale. It's produced by a British company called Ascaron and it's basically tradewinds on steroids. you can choose to be allied with one of four nations (England,France, Holland, or Spain), You can simply do trading and build up your financial empire, or if combat is your thing you can become a privateer for your allied nation. Attacking her enemies when ever possible, or you can go completely rogue and become a full fledged pirate.
There are 60 ports in all scattered throughout the "New World" circa mid 1600's to late 1700's

It's a great game and if you liked tradewinds you'll love Port Royale. You should still be able to find the original Port Royale, and Port Royale 2 just came out.

One Word: Sid Myer's Pirates! I had a copy of this game way back on the PC. Same kind of thing. The game starts with you in a fight with the ship's captian to see who gets to be the next pirate king of the seas. You get to trade, attack ships, raid colonies, have brawls in taverns, get papers of privateers from the governers, and woo the Govener's daughters. What could be better.

And they're releasing a new version.
I like Patrician III myself. It is a splendid game but could be improved even more. I look forward to Patrician IV
Of, if you want a more sci-fi feel, look at Escape Velocity Nova. The economic system doesn't take into account spot supply and demand (where, if you import a bunch of stuff, the price drops), but there is still plenty of fun to be had by trading, running missions, and taking down ships of your chosen enemy. You also get to change ships from time to time and upgrade your own ship as your funds allow.

I recently got "Marco Polo", an old game about trading in Medieval Central Asia. It has a great period feel, and handles characters nicely. It needs more commodities and a more realistic haggling system(sometimes I can actually make a second bid in my own favor if I see that the rival is weakening-the opposite of what would really happen at a bazaar).
In any case it can be used as a source of ideas for a free trader campaign. Unfortunatly, it is somewhat rare.