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01-06-2018, 04:08 PM
This is from the OLD FORUM that has been CLOSE. This could still help people that play "1503"

Thanks for this Guide - Kay_Bennemann

Hello 1503 Fans! Here's a valuable gem from the old 1503 board, the "1503 A.D. / ANNO 1503 Newbie Guides", created by ACid|88 and translated by Günter.
Enjoy! ...and if you scroll down further, you'll also find Hakea's popular guides on city building and easy money!

Part 1: Settling an island - Advancing from pioneers to settlers

This guide was made up mainly by own experience ("try ´n error" ) but can be seen also as a summary of some forum threads. Thanks to all the people how helped me out of my money problems, finally.

Having started the game you should save it immediately (not with the "žquick save" key F10!). Now you've got enough time to explore the map as long as you want.
Look at the northern islands to find a location for your first warehouse with ore and salt deposits nearby (I restarted several times until I was happy with my choice).
Now reload your save-game and try to arrive as the first one at your favorite bay.

Speaking about the game speed: press f7 to speed up the game, but F8 is also important to slow down (I'll come back to this question later on).
Build the first warehouse with the intention to divide up your initial building area, for example your housing at the left and supply buildings at the right side. This will facilitate the layout in the beginning and you won't find a sheep farm in the middle of your city. Of course you'll depend on the shape of the island and the location of the deposits.

Furthermore, the button "Stop supplying building materials" is very important and should be activated as soon as have built your first warehouse. It prevents your pioneers from an uncontrolled advancing to the settlers level when all their needs are satisfied.
Like that they won't have access to wood and tools (1 house needs 4t wood and 1t tool to advance).

Now let's start with erecting our settlement. To say it immediately: we have PLENTY OF TIME. Nothing forces us to hurry, as we are neither asked to form an army nor to erect our city in a certain time. (The computer opponents will adapt their progress more or less to yours.)

Begin with a plan for the infrastructure (roads, where which house, production chains), and don't be afraid, - you'll need no pen and paper
Look to the service area of the warehouse, and decide on which side you should build the production and supply area. Most of the time it's this direction where the ore and salt mines will be located later on.

Now you should reduce the game speed because your balance is going to turn red already. Each time this happens and building material is available, you should slow done the game. If building materials get short speed up again.

Build a main market building in the middle of a forest now. This one will be the center for your foresters and hunters.
Now build a forester's hut at each side of the market building, in a manner that their service area closes up with the market building and the fertility indicator shows 100%. The layout may look like this then:

FH ----- MMB ----- FH
(FH = forester's hut / MMB = main market building / ----- = road)

Be careful in the very beginning that the road connections fit to the green arrows of the buildings, otherwise the market wagons can't pick up the goods and a road symbol will appear above the building.
The main market building doesn't need a direct connection to the warehouse because all products arriving in one market are available immediately at every other one and the warehouse as well. That's what is said to be the 1503 teleport stations.

Now place two hunting lodges close to a forester's hut, for example like this:

FH ----- MMB ----- FH

Don't forget the roads, and your first supply is ready. Fisherman's huts aren't necessary and too expensive, you can do well without them, too!
Wood, food and hides are produced now, but your balance will be red. This isn't very important, though, since we still have enough money.
But don't erect other production buildings, please, because we want to welcome now the first pioneers.

At first build another main market building as far as possible of the warehouse. (Tip for future games: build a market to expand your area ---> build a second one at its best location ---> demolish the first one) Now use the Delete button to remove the trees around the market building, they will only disturb the further development (you can replant them later on) and you get a better view.

Then you should draw roads around the market building, and remember that here will be a center of your settlement and other buildings will be added during the game later on (church, tavern ...)

Now set the houses around the market (don't forget to reserve some space). Here in the board, people seem to prefer a checker pattern, with 4 houses in each square. But you can also surround each house by a road. The advantage would be that in case of a fire it won't be caught by all 4 houses, the disadvantage would be the higher need of space and the lacking prettiness. Me, I always built in some mixed manner and only made sure that the service area of the houses (click on a house – lighted area) always touched the center (tavern, church).

As soon as you've built 12 houses, you should have stocked already some tons of hides.
Now it's time to build a tannery. Erect it also close to a hunting lodge to keep the transport distances short:

FH ----- MMB ----- FH
(T = tannery)

And now it's time to earn some money! In 1503 A.D. you receive only money buy selling your products to the population or by trading.
In the meantime, the first production chain should have filled the stocks with food and hides. Now build a food/salt stand and a cloth/leather stand close to the main market building of the settlement, and remember to reserve space for further stands. Your inhabitants will now buy food and leather. And with this very moment, any lack of food will result in the crash of houses, - there's no other reason for crashing houses!

Since you have already produced some surplus of food, you can sell food now. Either you do it passively via the warehouse or you look for a small flat island where the Venetians (free traders) dwell. As you're also in urgent need of tools, you can put up a trading route with the Venetian island and your trading ship. 50t food vs. 50t tools gives an approximately plus/minus zero balance. If the island isn't to be found (happened to me already), purchase the tools via your warehouse. Deactivate it after one delivery, it's too expensive. Soon you'll produce your own tools.

Watch your balance now carefully. Build houses (as described), houses, houses. When the balance becomes positive, your city should have a considerable size. Fires will become more frequent. Demolish a burning house with the Delete button and rebuild it to avoid that fires spread all over. Church and tavern can be built already, but we wait with their erection since the "stuff" is lacking still. Lemonade won't make these alcoholics happy, and there's a lot of them, ... believe me.

Build another main market building at the border of our small production chain. If possible include already deposits of ore and salt, but you can also wait with it until the next expansion. Build 4 small farms around the market building the same way like you did with the foresters. Don't forget to connect them with roads and plant potatoes. Wait until the potatoes will be harvested, and close down the food production of the farm (click to % icon).

Alcohol is now being produced. If you note your balance becoming negative again, don't panic and don't build anymore houses (IMPORTANT). As soon as some tons of alcohol are stocked, build a tavern. Remember to erect it in the service area of your houses!

Now only cloth production is still lacking.
Same procedure: market building, 4 sheep farms, wait until wool is stocked, build the weaving mill (4 farms because we'll soon need a second weaver).

After the erection of a church (next to the market and the tavern) your settlement has got all it needs to advance to settlers.
Check if your pioneers are still happy.
Look if you've stocked enough wood and tools. Reduce the game speed with F8 and let the people take some few building materials.
As soon as 2 – 3 houses have advanced to settlers, stop supplying them again!
You will see now that the population has increased. 7 people more live in the settlers houses. Even if only 2 houses have advanced, new production chains are activated. You should try to build as soon as possible a fire brigade and a smith. A fire brigade enables you to ignore finally the fires, and you can let run the game also overnight. For this, stop the production of none consumption goods (wood, bricks ...)
Care about the supply with salt, it brings a lot of money and can be traded very well.

Now watch carefully your stocks. If anything is short increase its production carefully. Decrease the sales of goods which you need yourself.
If you've got enough wood and tools, let advance some more houses.
If people are queuing at the stands, build some more of them. You should easily get a positive balance now.
Continue like this until all houses have advanced. Only then you should expand, but SLOWLY! Watch the consumption of your settlement. Like this you have learned the basics, even for a giant city!

Enjoy, and I hope nobody was bored by my long story.
Greetings, Acid

Part 2: Exploring the map, retrieving resources, advancing from settlers to citizen

I assume that your city is well supplying plenty of happy settlers and you've got a positive balance of more than 100 gold coins. If not, build more houses but SLOWLY until your workshops are producing neither too many, neither too few goods.

Actually, in this game it's much easier to compensate an overproduction by increasing the number of inhabitants (through advancing them to the next level or by building more houses) than to amend the lack of goods by building more production chains.

Well, let's attack now the production of tobacco and spice to supply your future citizens. We start with tobacco first.
Load your small trading vessel with 50t of wood, bricks and tools each and don't forget the scout. Now start to explore the map. If you did this already before you've started the game (with the save/reload tip), you should know by now where to grow tobacco. Otherwise look for an island in the prairie zone (home of the native Americans).
Passing by smaller island which don't seem worth to be settled, your scout can still take the time to look for treasures. Each one gives you 2000 gold coins! And like this you will also learn where to find gold and gem deposits. Remember their locations, and if your balance allows you can even erect a warehouse there to prevent the AI from doing it before you.

Arriving at the tobacco island of your choice, build a new warehouse. If it's impossible you've forgotten to the required building materials.
Build a main market building in the service area of the warehouse as far off from it as possible and remember already that it will be surrounded by tobacco plantations. Look for the most fertile areas, to be recognized by the grass. Cut all trees (with the delete button) to improve the view. Now build two tobacco plantations and set tobacco plants around them. Put also a well nearby (is supposed to improve the production), and don't forget the road connections. The plants need some time to grow, so be patient. In the meantime, don't neglect your main settlement! Look from time to time if everything is going well over there.

Of course, the own balance of the tobacco island is always negative, as long as it isn't used for anything else than producing tobacco. That's why you have to watch always your total balance carefully (click to the question mark in the Player menu).

As soon as some tons of tobacco (as leaves) are stocked, they have to be proceeded to tobacco products.
In the beginning I recommend not to build the tobacco manufactories on the same island as the plantations. Later on you can well do this, too, but now rather set up an automatic trading route (like explained in the manual) for a small amount of tobacco to be transported to your main island. The loading indicator show set to almost nothing while the unloading amount should always be 50t (will be explained later).
After the activation of the trading route, the ship will supply your capital with tobacco (leaves).

No need to haste, - as long as you haven't build any tobacco stands nothing can happen. If you've build them already it was too early and you should delete them.
Search your main island for a free area outside the city where you can build another market. Connect it with roads and build a tobacco manufacturer close to it. (My own city even got a quarter reserved for production including butchers, bakery, brewery, and cigar manufacturer ). Now a kind worker will start at the market to take the tobacco brought by your ship, and the cigar production will begin. Check the productivity indicator of the tobacconist, the percentage displayed shows if he's working well. At the beginning the tobacco stock may be sufficient for a 100% productivity, but soon you will have to see that it decreases. The reason is that your trading vessel supplies too few tobacco. Mount the loading indicator a little bit and wait what happens. The productivity of the manufacturer should increase. Now caution is needed: continue to increase the ship cargo carefully until 100% productivity is achieved.

If you neglect this basic strategy (to be applied equally to all ship cargos), the following will happen later on: The tobacco island produces tons of tobacco leaves, you always load 50t and ship it to your main island where the tobacco manufactory produces at 100%, needing only some 25t for this. The moment will come that the general stock limit of 190t will be reached, and your ship cannot unload anymore but will be still be loaded until it's full. Trouble will start if the ship is also scheduled to collect spice which it won't be able to do due to the lack of space in the holds full of tobacco. Like this your citizen won't be supplied with spice anymore and fall back to settlers...

Now wait until some tons of tobacco products are found in your stocks. Then you build ONE and only ONE tobacco/spice stand in the center of your city (you should have reserved a place for it ). For the moment it isn't necessary to supply all the population with tobacco, we'll have enough time to do it little by little. No stress, please!

Now things will become a bit difficult, but that's why I like the game (but I hate statistics). Increase the production of tobacco leaves. Increase cautiously the ship loads. Build another tobacconist, another tobacco/spice stand in the city etc., until all citizen are supplied with tobacco.

Principally, spice supply works with the same strategy but should not be started in the same time. The small trading vessel can do this trip and supply the city with both products, but only until a certain size. If the city is becoming too large for this, build a hemp plantation and a ropemaker, erect a shipyard and command a new trading vessel of medium size.
It's always a good idea to call your islands and ships by significant names, for example "tobacco transporter" etc.
Don't forget the school and research everything available.

Only when the tobacco and spice supply is assured (with a small surplus), the church should be built. Then again let advance carefully the settlers to citizen and watch always the supply with food, alcohol etc. Advance SLOWLY !!!

Enjoy and don't give up, it's really simple and as soon at it will become stressful you made a mistake.

THE END of Acid's Guide




Many of us start out a little confused by all the options in this splendid game. How many farms do I need? Where should I put the tavern? What the hell's happening with the money? How do I get Citizens? Etc.

So this is an attempt to show you (with progressive screenshots) how to build a profitable little empire with over 2,500 inhabitants, who will all be Merchants at the finish.

Then we can add the icing on the cake - a single aristocrat mansion (for us of course!), complete with personal winery, tailor, goldsmith, parks and pavilions, etc, and even a gallows to subtly remind the peasants not to trespass....

However, every budding dictator has to start out as a lovable, muscular adventurer with a heart of gold and a head full of dreams - so now it's back to the basics.... open the basic Continuous game, at Citizen level, and off we go....

First a word of warning. This is neither the best, the quickest, the most efficient, nor the highest paying way to go - but it should allow you to see in reasonably clear steps what happened and how you achieved it. It's not an expert's guide, just an account of one Newbie's experience that happened to work.


There are two key elements in 1503 city planning, one is the 'reach' of the markets (you can't build anything outside its radial reach) and the other is the reach of the houses (they won't be able to get the benefit of goods or services outside their 'area'). Usually it pays to try for the maximum spacing of market buildings (which is a grid of 25x26 spaces) as markets get progressively more expensive to build and run as you progress.

Random looking cities can be fun to make and view, but for clarity this time we'll use a modular layout for the town, and also build our production chains mostly within a simple grid system This will make everything easy to find, and simple to count and repeat when necessary.

Our layout will cluster the essential 'local' services in the center where all the houses can easily reach the goods and will also be covered by the Fire Brigade and Doctor. The basic module has 25 houses, but it will support many more around the edges too, provided you have the production chains to service them. However, you could also just keep repeating modules next to each other, in any sort of configuration, to get a bigger or more interesting looking city. (Note: The first church you place will be called a Chapel, but it will auto-upgrade after you place a large Church, anywhere in your settlement)

Click here to see the town layout diagram

OK. Let's begin by unloading the ship and then running a road straight out at right angles to the starting Warehouse. Then place a new market at the right side of the road, at the furthest possible distance.

Click here to see how it will look

Now add 3 Foresters and 3 Hunters above and to the right of the 2nd market (the Hunter can overlap some of the Forester's space). Leave the Hunters set to produce food and hides. Two Hunters should be enough, but a little overkill on the basics doesn't hurt at this stage. When you reach Citizen, Leather becomes irrelevant so you can shut down all Hides and Leather production (if you can't sell it through the Warehouse trade option).

To keep it simple we will add most of our fields and farms to the right of that first road we built from the warehouse, and just add more markets each time we need to expand. We'll leave most of the space to the left of the road so that the city could be expanded up there later (it also demonstrates that you don't need to try and cram everything around one spot.

See how it will eventually look (much later!)

Now your pioneers tell you they would like food, leather and salt, so add a tannery (to the right of the top market, near the foresters will do fine) and send your scout down that inviting looking mountain chain to the left.

You will discover that it contains not only salt, but also sites suitable for brick and marble quarries plus locations for iron ore and salt mines.

Ultimately you will have a ribbon development that looks something like the picture below (although you get a choice of sites for most of the mines/quarries). With careful placement you can reach the marble mine with only the number of markets shown, but you may find that you need one more. Don't start building the mines just yet though.

It's Mine, all Mine


From here on it's more or less just a matter of following the pictures below. At various stages you may need to add more Foresters, Hunters, Brickwork's or whatever, depending on the speed at which you want to press forwards. You can usually develop slowly and wait for them to catch up, or add more and then delete them, shut them down, or try and sell the surplus later. My recommendations are rough numbers only.

Developing your Settlers

It's not essential to always build exact numbers of farms, mills, etc in precise ratios to each 100 people - and in fact they rarely ever match perfectly. Just keep a regular watch on your stock levels and make sure that you are neither grossly overproducing (which will waste money when the chain jams up due to lack of storage) nor running too lean (which will cause your settlement to wither). Also check that each field and building is producing as close to 100% efficiency as you can manage.

You can fine tune the city when you get to the end, and add or delete to get the best balance.

Time to explore

Onward to Citizens

Back to sea


(Note: Rather than use two 'modules', as in the previous picture, many people would prefer to keep clustering houses around the first one. 50 or 60 can be supported by one center. It's whatever appeals to you. )

A last look at the Map
Finally - a life of luxury
At the finish I had built less than I could have done in some areas (I ignored some things like Cattle Farms and Cotton) which you might prefer to use. But I had also built more than I needed to in other ways (Pioneers don't die if you don't give them Leather, Citizens can survive with either Tobacco or Spices rather than both, Merchants need Lamp Oil or Silk, etc. But supplying it all is another opportunity to explore and sell - so why not... )

I ended up with a city that was making a regular profit of about 1000 gold. If I fine tuned it I could double that figure, or more. E.g. Build up the Tobacco, Spices, Silk etc to match the maximum that my people would buy, plus deleting any overproducing or unnecessary items (e.g. some of the materials, the Tannery, etc). And of course, my whole wasteful Aristocrat chain of luxuries, personal mines and suppliers etc could either be put to the torch, or made to run more profitably by adding more Aristocrats. (Although, what better to spend the profits on than an exclusive rock star life style for yourself... ). I was also well on my way to doubling my initial half a million.

Enjoy yourself, I'm sure that you can easily outdo this simple starting exercise.
Good luck. Hakea.

A Simple Guide to Easy Money

All you need to do is sail around until you find Eldorado – then you'll have so much gold that you won't know what to do with it all. But if you can't find that, then sell Eggs – they fetch huge prices and people will buy any amount of them.
Well, OK, that's rubbish – but it's the sort of tip most new players seem to want to find. Alas, economic management is a central part of 1503 and it isn't as simple as some players would like. I actually love that aspect of the game and find it an enjoyable and rewarding challenge (Oh, bully for me, eh... ) but understandably it bores and enrages some players too.
Here's a rough draft for you to all pull to pieces, correct, edit and add to. Or better still, suggest what to subtract from it – I'm knocking on a bit (born in the first half of last century) and I tend to waffle on a bit.
For the 'attention challenged' ,here's the short version. The longer one follows in the next post.
1. Learn to WAIT and WATCH. It takes MUCH longer than you first expect for the effects to flow through, so don't build 4 Farms when 2 would have worked if you had just waited.
2. Build plenty of houses. Your own people are your best and easiest customers.
3. Use an efficient layout, with 30 –50 houses serviced by each Tavern, Stall, etc (Cluster houses round a shops and services centre).
4. Don't build things just because you can. E.g. Salt mines will almost certainly LOSE money for you unless you already have 1000 inhabitants or more to sell it to.

Part 1


Your first experience should go something like this:

Open the Continuous game at the basic Citizen level.

Yikes! Running at a loss already, and we haven't so much as eaten an apple yet! There must be some lazy swine of a store man in that warehouse who we're paying to sit on his bum doing nothing. Never mind, we've got some supplies that we can build with and some food to sell.


First priority – customers

1. Build 10 or 12 Houses and put a few roads in.
2. Look and see if that did anything. [Nope, just used up some wood]
3. Build a Food stall. [Yes, that helped a bit, but doesn't look like making us rich]
4. Add a Hunter [We need to get more Food coming in & the Hides will be useful too]
5. Build a Forester [In the woods of course. We need to rebuild the woodpile]
6. Build a Sheep Farm & a nearby Weavers Hut
7. Build a Tannery to make Leather and a Stall to sell the Cloth & Leather.
8. STOP, WAIT and LOOK [The most important part of the exercise. But, WOW, look at that debt!]
9. Check that everything is within the required practical range of the relevant buildings (i.e. householders can reach the Stalls, and that Carters have roads to pick up goods, etc.]
10. LOOK at each building to see what it tells you. Watch the figures, but WAIT until they almost stop changing.
11. This should tell you that the Weaver would be more efficient with 2 Sheep farms and that the Tannery could handle another Hunter. You should also conclude that you could build more houses. You might also find that you've built something in the wrong place. And add another Forester.
12. Build another 15 houses to make 27 Use some of the wood still in the ship [Nothing magic about 27, it's just a handy figure for now]

Now STOP and look again. What do you see? Probably a howling debt still, and not much clue where to go next. So go and get a coffee or something and leave the game running, or take your scout for a walk down the mountains.

You come back, prepared for the worst, but – HELL'S BELLS – we're making a profit (which should rise to around 70 gold per minute. Not a fortune, but not too bad for a brand new landlord.

The above can be done in 20 minutes, from arrival to profit.

Why did it work? Because we were PATIENT, and because we LOOKED to see the effects of what we did.

Is there a catch? Not really. We should already be seeing our wood pile starting to recover, but if we plan to do more quick building soon we should add another Forester. Maybe even right from the start if we are not the patient type. We are still slowly accumulating Leather, Cloth and Food, which tells us we are still at or below optimum population numbers.
Wow, we're an economic genius after all. Look out Bill Gates.

[B]Part 2

So what next?

We could explore a bit and let the bank total build up again.
Or get the road gang out and start making tracks towards the Salt.
Or go into the bootlegging business and supply them with some rotgut spirits.

The salt looks a long way off and therefore expensive in building Markets to get there, so for now let's go for the booze. If you put down 3 Small Farms growing potatoes, plus a Tavern, that will keep them happy. You can either put them all down at once or go into debt again for a short while until the word gets round and you've started making money from the Tavern.

OK. Let's leave the town there for a while as the next step is to put down a chapel, and that will unleash an almighty rush to Settler level, and will soak up some of your tools, plus over 100 tons of wood (if you have it).

Now is the time to step back and have a long hard look at your town, which almost certainly looks a bit of a mess, and probably has a few spots that don't work as well as you'd like. Maybe some Carters seem to have too far to walk, Foresters are in bad spots, or it just takes forever for everyone to discover you've got new goods on sale.

But, now you know that you can make it work, it would be a good time to consider either deleting it and working out a more efficient town layout (if you really hate it), or just demolishing bits and reshaping. Basically, variations on the theme of a service center surrounded by houses works OK if you leave room for later needs in the middle.

(NOTE: If you had used something like the plan at this link, you could actually put 25 houses in the middle and at least that many again around the outside. So with good planning, 50+ houses can be supported by one simple service centre and make a steady profit at Pioneer level.)

Click here to see Diagram of layout

But if what you did build (with 27 houses) works OK now it will work right up to 1000+ merchants, so long as you can keep the goods flowing from outside town. And you can always develop another better looking town-site/suburb further up the road when you want to.

As soon as you have a house or two at Settler level you can either use the option to deny building materials (if you're still short of wood) or just let ˜em rip and wait for the frenzy to end.

Either way, you now have access to a whole new set of goodies to build – and a whole new opportunity to run up a howling great debt again. But you also have a stack more customers to sell to (which means adding a few more of some of those basics you just built).

You will almost certainly go into debt again for a while (unless you are ultra-cautious and VERY patient) but now you know the style that works so you don't need a step by step guide from now on. Just build steadily – always looking, checking and consolidating as you go, and soon the cash will be rolling in by the thousands.

My tip would be to risk the debt for a while and build a Quarry and Brickworks followed by an Iron Ore Mine, Smelter, plus the all import Toolsmith (before you run out of tools). That list will soak up 25 tools or so. Then you're most of the way to the salt anyway... so.... Ah but time for me to shut up and go back to running my own cities.

Good Luck.