I’m sure you’re wondering how I got here. How a country boy has ended up surrounded by fancy hotels, eating cheminée lobster dishes and surrounded by beautiful women while drinking Glögg. Well, the truth is that I have always known that he was destined to do great things, but becoming king of tourism I was not among them.
I was born on the island of Luttengraven in the year 1800 and they thought it convenient to call me Mariano, after my father. It must not have taken them long to regret it, because to avoid confusing us they ended up shortening the name and since then everyone knows me as Anno.
I’ve always been curious about nicknames and nicknames -like my friend Watch Dogs, who was actually born Driver but no one has ever called him that-. What is the use of having a name if they are going to address you in another way later? In any case that was mine: Annoof the 1800 and Luttengraven Island.
The story of Anno, from the 1800s and Luttengraven Island
The taglines that accompany my name are the only thing that brings me closer to more important status personalities -and pejigueras-. I, despite the facade, have always been and always will be a humble farmer. A poor unfortunate man who, surrounded by luxuries, is actually satisfied with a plate of fish, a piece of clothing to wear and a market in which to spend the little he has left after paying my taxes, if possible accompanied by a good liquor.
My grandfather was one of the founders of the city, a pillar of the community who was only thanked for his work with a letter of diplomacy and a position as a farmer. After building what is still our house today, he was entrusted with the task of planting potatoes, a job that years later my father would continue without even questioning its usefulness. By the time I was of working age – and it was much earlier than I would like to admit to the law – the warehouse at the port was already full to the brim and there was no space left to store more potatoes.
Why the hell spend our lives planting potatoes if no one really eats them? We are more of fish, the workers delight in their sausage sandwiches and the artisans limit themselves to devouring those disgusting cans of food without judgment. But erre erre with the potatoes.
I refused to waste my life among rotten tubers just because the big cursor dictated it, so as soon as I had the chance to leave that island, I didn’t hesitate for a second. When the captain told us in the pub about a mysterious route that led to that The new World everyone was talking about, I picked up a diplomacy card to make myself useful with and joined his crew.
It was neither the first nor the last time that I left the mainland behind to eat sausages for days while the pirates chased us and the storms besieged us, but thanks to it I was able to learn about other customs, places and snacks. Who was going to tell me that there would be something more than fish across the ocean.
I visited dozens of cities, I saw capitals being born and dying, and I absorbed everything I had experienced like a sponge. A knowledge tanned with experiences like using sugar to get rum, drying meat to keep it in good condition, or cultivating exotic plants to harvest teas and spices.
By the time the waves carried me back to Luttengraven, I was someone else entirely. Someone who had grown as big as my city, which by then was already the capital of an empire unafraid of being coughed. Someone who now knew what to do with all those potatoes that no one seemed willing to take advantage of.
A business opportunity
“But what to distil liquor or what dead child,” my father said when I told him my idea. You will plant potatoes as the great cursor dictates, as your grandfather did and as I have done for all these years.
It could be said that my ideas clashed a bit with the little provincial originality, but since the hole that I left in the warehouse was filled seconds later with dozens of potato farms with nothing else to do, my liquor distillery it could function without arousing suspicion or lowering the spirits of any working class.
Just as our neighbors on the other side of the pond did with sugar and rum, I took advantage of the potatoes to create liquor and, to my surprise, the idea was so popular among the villagers that smiles soon turned to discontent. It was impossible to keep up with the demand generated.
The first distillery was followed by a second, then a third, and by the time I got to the fourth, the excess liquor had become a perfect tool for trading in the newly opened port office. With the distilleries operating at full capacity, now I would dedicate myself to exporting my product and importing all those delicatessen that he had tasted in the colonies.
Before I could even assess what to do next, the growth of the city that my products were causing handed me the next step on a silver platter. Hundreds of tourists they came by boat to see the exotic animals he had once helped hunt and the museum pieces he had collected from the deep. What if he could extend his visit somehow? What if there was a business opportunity among those wealthy people who came to marvel at what they couldn’t find combined anywhere else?
To understand how I could help them, I just had to put myself in their shoes and think about everything I had missed when I stepped on other lands. I had to leave behind my humble perspective to think like a rich man, and make your comforts mine.
The king of tourism
The first step was clear. No one in their right mind wants to arrive in a city, tired from a boat trip that has sapped months of their life, and have to deal with an endless walk to the first tourist attraction, be it a zoo, a botanical garden or a Universal exposition. Had to find a way more comfortable and efficient to cross those mud roads and dilapidated houses without the visit losing its charm.
That vision automatically transported me to Embes and, remembering with nostalgia the first time I experienced how water flowed from one place to another through the African people, I thought about how I could translate that solution into something that would solve my problem. While its network of canals gave life to its orchards, I had to create one that would invigorate my city. They carried water from one place to another and I would do the same with the tourists.
And so I did, taking advantage of what I had learned with the motor vehicles that had revolutionized our farms and traveled through our streets, I set up a bus network that would allow you to leave the ship, get on one of them and travel wherever you wanted without worrying about its distance again.
With stops strategically placed in Luttengraven key points like theaters and museums, the next goal was to give each bus shelter even more weight with new buildings that would attract the attention of tourists. The solution was to devise a new structure of houses so that, around each stop, there were the key points with which to expand the idea by building my first Hotels and restaurants.
I soon understood that the number of tourists grew as more hotels were built, but as was the case with my neighbors, if their needs were not fully covered, the hotels only operated at a third of their capacity. I had no choice but to entrust myself to the great cursor in search of help and, together with his power, we began to restructure and improve the city to attract more and more tourists.
Improve the zoo with new specimens, tidy up the palace and, above all, create more factories that could exploit the interest of visitors to spend money on jewelry and fur coats while away from home. I never came to understand what was the point behind that -was there no pearl hunting or trading in your city of origin?-, but the important thing is that the flow of visitors did not stop growing and that meant adding more businesses to my network, which by then also had cafeterias and cocktail bars with an increasingly exquisite menu.
My plan in each of the stores was to merge products from the island with everything I had found on my travels. The Montmartre 75 cocktail, for example -so called because it contains 3.75 centilitres of brandy, 3.75 of aged rum and another 3.75 of triple sec-, we made it with a base of champagne, imported sugar and a touch of citrus that we took of the new orchards -a trifle that I came up with to take advantage of plantations that served both as an ornament for the landscape and a source of new ingredients-.
The best of all is that, strategically placed, those premises managed to unexpected effects. In the case of the aforementioned cocktail, the nearby houses ended up with a couple of new tenants -in reality they were drunks who stayed to sleep in the portal- and the consumption of cans of food, beer and rum were noticeably diminished.
Best of all, we began to use the surplus from the orchards for other purposes, for example to make shampoos and colognes that tourists could use during their stays at the hotel. An unprecedented success not exempt from a good amount of work and organization between colonies on the other side of the globe, but a success after all.
And that’s how I got here, surrounded by luxury hotels, eating cheminée lobster dishes and surrounded by beautiful women while drinking Glögg. Tourism has been a blessing, an opportunity to renew myself and, from what the company that now surrounds me has seen, also a way of attracting the attention of potential investors.
I provide the ideas, they provide the money, and we all have a great time hand in hand with a city that seems to have no roof. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with a certain Gustave Eiffel who has a proposal for an iron tower that could be another good boost to my business. Let’s cross our fingers for what it may mean for me in the future.
P.D. If you have been wanting to know more about my travels and adventures away from Luttengraven, some historians wrote about it with more or less success in the past. I leave these documents below.
In ExtraLife | Anno History Collection is another valuable stepping stone in the uncomfortable but necessary fashion of preservation and nostalgia.
In ExtraLife | Not all tutorials have to be slow or boring, and Anno 1800’s campaign mode is proof.
In ExtraLife | Tierra de Leones is the perfect goodbye for Anno 1800, and a great excuse for those of us who don’t want to say goodbye