Explore the new world
Following on from Anno 1503 and Anno 1602 comes this cracking but complex game. Like its predecessors, it's a historical strategy game that combines things like Tropico and SimCity into one superb package. It's not for everyone, but if you want something deep to sink your teeth into, this is a great choice. The game itself is pretty open-ended and thrusts players into a wonderfully realized world where they are free to explore, trade, or engage in politics or war as they see fit. You can become a trader, a strategist, a builder or politician, with the gameplay tailoring itself to your choices. There's everything here from city building, to trading, exploring and fighting. You start out in control of a small settlement and must build it up by any means necessary, fighting off pirates, finding allies and doing business with passersby. You goal is to rise up through the ranks of civilization, while keeping your people happy by building houses and supplying them with all their needs. In many ways, this is a very familiar RTS-style game but which manages to be enjoyable despite its familiarity. The world created here is detailed and believable, and highly interesting to explore, with all its characters and events. The strategy is pretty deep, and requires plenty of thought in order to succeed, with well thought out systems for trade and resource management. There is a strong focus on this latter aspect so if you're looking for more action, consider the classic Command & Conquer instead, but otherwise this is an absorbing time sink of a game.