Skip to Content
Skip to Table of Contents

← Previous Article Next Article →

ATPM 4.03
March 1998


How To


Download ATPM 4.03

Choose a format:

Review: Settlers II

by Daniel Chvatik,


Product Information
Published by: BlueByte Software
870 E.Higgins Road, Suite 143
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (847) 995 9981
Fax: (847) 995 9956
Web: <>
Street Price: $40 US

System Requirements
68030 processor (68040 or PPC recommended)
System 7.1 or higher
10 MB disk space (25 MB recommended)
256 colors, 640x480 display
QuickTime 2.0 required for optional movies

Veni, Vidi, Vici
Once upon a time, there was a mighty ship called the "Torius," on its way to deliver cargo to the Laetonic provinces. Nothing seemed to stop its run through the smooth surface of the ocean. But then, just four days shy of its destination, a strong wind came up in the "Treacherous Sea of Storms." It blew the Torius far off course. The Torius then ran aground on an unknown island, far away from popular trading routes. Your role is that of of "Octavius," Captain of the Torius. Your goal is to establish a temporary settlement, explore the island, and find a way home to Rome.

Don't let the name of the game fool you. You didn't miss anything. There is no Settlers I; at least, not for the Mac. It came out for the PC some time ago and was a huge hit. It was so popular that BlueByte decided to come up with a Mac version of its sequel "Settlers II--Veni, Vidi, Vici," the Latin form of, "I came, I saw, I conquered," oft attributed to Julius Caesar.

Once you start the program, it is easy to tell that Settlers II is a "PC port." Actually, the evidence comes even earlier. There is no installer. You have to create a new folder on your hard drive, then copy the application, map, and data folders into it. Nowhere is this process explained. The authors assumed that users would run Settlers II from the CD-ROM. You can do that, but it limits your options. For instance, command-Q ends the current game, but doesn't quit the program. The interface is a collection of a main window and smaller tool windows that behaves like a mixture of windows and palettes. Overall the interface is weird, but it is possible to get acclimated.


The manual is short and not very helpful. It mostly says how, but not why.

One thing that distinguishes Settlers from other strategic simulations is that you don't command units. Instead, you give orders by setting priorities and guidelines. Your units try to follow them, which seems confusing at first. Basically, you don't select a worker and tell him to build a house at a particular location. In Settlers II, you order that a house be put at a certain position. Your units will do what is necessary to build it. You don't select a soldier and tell him to attack a building. Instead, you click on the enemy building and choose attack from the floating window. You specify how many soldiers should attack the building and whether to use experienced warriors or new recruits. Other units (e.g., woodcutters, hunters, and foresters) do what they want, but you can guide them by building their homes close to resources. You can specify a flagged destination for your scouts and geologists, but once they get there, they take off in whatever direction they want.

Transportation is the most important concept in Settlers II. Without roads, nothing moves. For me, this was a painful lesson. I played before reading the manual and put buildings all over the screen. Then I waited. For about five minutes. Nothing happened. As it turns out, you have to connect buildings with roads to your headquarters before your units can do anything. Once roads are in place, your units can start transporting resources from headquarters or the storehouse to the next flag down the road. There, the next unit takes over and brings the material (e.g., stones or food) to the next flag, and so on...This chain system is your major means of transportation.

Flags and building squares are the second most important concept in Settlers II. There are three different types of buildings: small, medium and large. You can only build a large building in a square that allows large buildings. How that is determined is a total mystery to me, but if you press the space bar, you'll see an overlay of flags and building squares on your territory. The overlay shows where you can build what. You can build small houses in large squares, but the converse is not true.

Be warned! Building a street or a house changes the flags and building allowances around it. If you build a street right next to a large square, it will probably be reduced to a medium square. The best thing is to put a large building there first, then construct the street. Streets can only be placed between buildings or between a building and a flag.

There is one helper per flag. This helper carries goods to the next flag one by one. Therefore, it is more efficient to put many flags on a road to shorten the distance between two flags. This way, the helper carries more efficiently. A heavily used street is converted automatically to a donkey trail, provided you have donkeys. If not, you have to build a donkey farm.

IMAGE imgs/set06.gif

Zones of control are another important concept (see picture above). Building is limited to within your zones of control. How do you get a zone of control? By building a military building. This is a bit of a paradox. How can you build a building that is needed for building? Put a military building on the border of an existing zone. You extend your zones of control piece by piece.

Military buildings house your soldiers. They are the only buildings you and your enemy can attack. Military buildings can hold different numbers of soldiers. There is even a catapult that destroys enemy buildings in a certain range.

When a military building is captured, all the opponent's buildings within that zone are destroyed and their units flee retreat to their remaining territory. You cannot attack civilians, only military buildings. Your patrols can attack incoming soldiers. The military system is very simple. Soldiers are the only military unit, but they come in six different flavors, i.e., strengths. The strength of a unit depends on how much beer and gold coins they get.

The military system is simple, but the economy consists of numerous goods.

set7For construction and tools, you need stones, treeschopped, delivered to the saw mill, and lumberproduced. You need to mine iron ore, coal, granite,and gold. Raw materials are converted to finishedmetals, from which weapons (swords and shields)are produced, tools (around 15 of them) crafted,and gold coins minted.Your fishermen need the line and hook tool to catchthe fish that feed your miners. Your farms producethe grain for the mill, brewery, and bakery, andfor feeding livestock. The slaughterhouse makesham out of the poor pigs. For some reason, minersare the only "units" that need food.

Playing Settlers II is frustrating at first, but onceyou have figured out how everything works, it is alot of fun. The graphics are nicely done. The back-ground music plays right off the CD. Your citizensare very cute; you can just lean back and watchthem do their jobs. You can zoom in on the window,however that merely magnifies the graphics pixelby pixel without adding detail. The game has an"accelerate" key (2x), should you feel hasty.

In an attempt to keep the game interesting, there
are multiple missions and custom scenarios.
However, I found them a little boring over time.
Settlers II is great for children. There is little orno violence. However, it will take them some time to understand the whole game. I'd advise parents to assist their children in the beginning.

Settlers II is a good game. The idea is excellent. Implementation is good, but could be better. It has an in-game help function that can occasionally spare you some consultation with the printed manual. I doubt it can compare with giants like Civilization II or Warcraft II, but it is certainly worth a try and the new concept is quite entertaining. Adding multi-player games in the future would be a huge plus.

Blue AppleCopyright © 1998 Daniel Chvatik, <>. Reviewing in ATPM
is open to anyone. If you're interested, write to us at <>.

Reader Comments (30)

anonymous · March 22, 2002 - 12:37 EST #1
This game is amazing! This review is right--it doesn't compare with games like Warcraft II in terms of user "friendliness" but it takes about half an hour to learn how and why to play. And if you want to compare the strategies needed for this game, well, you need about a million times more strategy to win certain maps in Settlers than you do to win ALL of Warcraft II. The military system strategy is amazingly hard to use efficiently because you have to balance your recruitment with your training. I think this review underrated this amazing game.

To the reviewers: If you don't think there is enough strategy, try beating three computers allied against you, and start them off with gold and coal, and open fields for farms. HA!!!
AKA · June 8, 2002 - 08:30 EST #2
A bit addictive, but becomes boring once you figure out the way it operates. Most frustrating (and what makes me hate this game) is the way it freezes suddenly. The screen turns to a lurid color "negative" and the computer has to be restarted. Saving regularly doesn't appear to help in certain games. Does this happen to anyone else? Makes me wish I could build a catapult real close to Blue Byte's barracks. Grrrrrrrrrr.
anonymous · September 28, 2002 - 16:02 EST #3
I love this game. It is simply amazing!
Hans Sigvart · October 14, 2002 - 18:22 EST #4
I love this game. I have played it a several times but I hope someone could tell me if Settlers I is for sale yet. Please! I'm crazy for this stuff.
anonymous · April 23, 2003 - 14:00 EST #5
Wasn't Settlers I for the Amiga?
anonymous · July 10, 2003 - 12:26 EST #6
This is the best strategy game, for me. If anyone wants to play with me, I'm open for contact.
MR · August 29, 2003 - 04:42 EST #7
This is one of the best strategy games I have ever played. I love it.
Victor · September 20, 2003 - 13:06 EST #8
This game is amazing. I have been playing for 10 hours and it is just amazing.
anonymous · September 22, 2003 - 17:20 EST #9
Where can I get a copy of this game? I've been looking everywhere.
anonymous · October 29, 2003 - 01:57 EST #10
Can I play this game online?
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 29, 2003 - 09:40 EST #11
Extremely unlikely Settlers II supports online play considering its age. Settlers IV, on the other hand, might. I advise visiting the BlueByte web site, and clicking the link for The Settlers on the left side and/or contacting them directly to ask.
anonymous · January 9, 2004 - 15:57 EST #12
Does anyone know how the beer works? I never see it being transported to the barracks, but I think that beer is required to make a soldier as well as a sword and shield.

So, how does it increase ranks?
Young · March 28, 2004 - 21:03 EST #13
I love this game. I was in Middle School when I first played the game on a demo and it was fun so I decided to get the Settlers II Gold, but now after I graduted High School I still love playing the game, but I wonder if there are any different levels to beat on the Settlers II rather than Settlers II Gold..
Didgeridoo of Love · August 6, 2004 - 17:00 EST #14
You probably already figured this out by now, but the beer gets transported to the nearest storehouse. A soldier will be created at the storehouse if there is one sword, one shield and one keg.
w00t · November 18, 2004 - 19:37 EST #15
this game is so awesome! i could only find the demo in german for mac, so if anyone could tell me where to find a demo for mac, or even where to buy it?
tim tovey · December 18, 2004 - 07:11 EST #16
I love sttlers one!!! unfortunaly i had it copyed onto my computor and my hard drive roke and i lost it forever!! i have been looking for it for ages but still no luck.
Silent Arrow · April 1, 2005 - 15:30 EST #17
This game is simply awesome. One of the best strategies games ever produced.....
Rob · June 2, 2005 - 08:12 EST #18
Settlers 1 was also called 'Serf City' if that helps you find it.

I'm still playing this to death, a good few years after I bought it. Finding the Campaign levels pretty easy now (except the last level), but if you play around with the settings, the Free Game levels are still challenging enough, especially the ones with 5/6 opponents.
ukas jacek · September 22, 2005 - 13:09 EST #19
it's a very good game.i think it's a the best game from the all setlers.
Richard Billings · November 21, 2005 - 16:22 EST #20
Can I get a manual for S2?
ATPM Staff · November 21, 2005 - 17:10 EST #21
Richard - maybe. Check the Blue Byte web site (link near the top of this page).
Johan · February 23, 2006 - 01:52 EST #22
One of the best games ever, no question about it but i would really like some new maps. Does anyone know where i can get it? I have played all the cames included in the game in unlimited play. I found 2 new maps on Blue bytes homepage, but i am playing a lot and i would really like some new ones.
boris Adzaip · April 28, 2006 - 09:55 EST #23
this is the best strategy ever4
karl · June 8, 2006 - 16:01 EST #24
try for new maps ("Welten").
Martin · September 18, 2006 - 09:28 EST #25
As with most contributors, I'd say this review is a bit harsh. Getting to grips with the game system doesn't take that long, and the subtlety of its game system reveals itself over time.

To clarify, the first game was originally for the Amiga, then ported to the PC. It was "Serf City: Life Is Feudal" (an attempted pun I didn't get) in the US, "Die Siedler" in German-speaking lands, and "The Settlers" elsewhere
Kristian · November 23, 2006 - 12:19 EST #26
how do i play this? i have the cd, but i dont work:S i did installed it:/
Chas · January 11, 2007 - 08:23 EST #27
I was 7 when I got this game. I figured it out in about fifteen min and after i ran through the campaign I couldn't put it down. Amazing, ten years later.
Haroen · January 28, 2007 - 11:26 EST #28
haha Chas, I was 7 too when i first played the game at my uncle's place. now almost 10 years later I still love to play it, it's just an awesome game.
Andy S · February 27, 2007 - 05:25 EST #29
I had the joy of finding a settlers 2 cd laying on the street. It was kind of scratched, but I brought it home and installed it. I cannot believe what I was missing! It kind of seems the click-fest-RTS games that came after this were sort of a step backwards in depth and strategy. What happened? (Don't get me wrong the AOE/Warcraft games are great too)
ATPM Staff · September 19, 2008 - 14:39 EST #30
Carlos - the game we reviewed here is a 10-year-old version. I'm not seeing on the new web site that they develop the game for anything other than Windows now. :-(

Add A Comment

 E-mail me new comments on this article