Explore And Colonise In Spice Road

Peculiarly-named Aartform Games have released a demo of their trade route ’em up, Spice Road. It’s a management type affair with hints of exploration, allowing you to build up and control distant trade towns, while you caravans of explorers eke out new lands in the wilderness between civilisations. It’s looking rather amiable.

The game is available to buy direct from the devs now, but it would also rather like to be on Steam.


  1. phelix says:

    Looks intriguing, though I find that vaseline filter awful-looking.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    I love that there seems to be a renaissance for spice chuters.

  3. blobb says:

    Looks shite

  4. SuicideKing says:

    Interested, mixed feelings about the look of it, and I wonder how those battles play out. Will download the demo, most likely.

  5. GallonOfAlan says:

    Aartform Games?

    Are they based in Somerset?

  6. King in Winter says:

    The spice must flow!

  7. stoner says:

    I’ve been playing the demo for a couple hours. I doubt that I’ll buy the game. My chief complaint is that you cannot determine what you’ll buy or sell nor the quantities. No control whatsoever. I prefer trading games like Patrician IV and the Anno franchise, where you control these things directly.

    Concerning combat (in which I have little interest), you simply build a Barracks and target a Bandit camp. You do not view the skirmish; the results are simply reported to you. In an interview in 2010, the dev stated that he simplified combat to the point where you can tell a unit to attack or retreat. That’s all.

    Finally, if slave trade, drug dealing, and opium dens bother your, then you may wish to avoid the game as well.

    • Montavious says:

      Slave trade? Wow, just wow…. Ill pass.

    • Jimbo says:

      Slave trade? I’m in!

    • kobadow says:

      Oh my.

      Some people are a little too sensitive. Apparently there are games out there that allow you to run around with guns killing people or run them over with a stolen police car. Or murder small children to further your dynasty.

    • stoner says:

      While the drug dealing and slavery don’t bother me, the settlements lack good, old-fashioned bordellos. That’s what I want to own and run.

      • Montavious says:

        Just tried out the demo. Pretty fun game, but dont think I would spend 20 buck on it, maybe 10.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        Try StarTopia.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think it’s fair enough not to airbrush history. There’s a balance between representing something because that’s what happened, and glorifying it. I assume they won’t go for the latter.

      • aleander says:

        The thing is, it’s quite tricky to put a player in a role without glorifying the role. Especially if you want to keep the game fun/relaxing. A vast majority of games are power fantasies, and even when they are Dark and Asking Questions and even Unsettling[patent pending], they still tend to intentionally-or-not glorify whatever the main character is doing just so that the power fantasy remains maintained.

    • iridescence says:

      Some people do not want unpleasant historical realities in their history-based games.

  8. notenome says:

    King of Dragon Pass?

  9. AartformGames says:

    @RPS thanks for the article :)

    The game use to be more of an RPG with manual control of travelling and trading. However I really wanted to pursue the whole trade-empire side with so many trade-routes that manual control would make for too much micromanagement. This comes to light later when you are playing with 10+ towns. Likewise the combat is much simplified so 100’s of caravan and town battles can pass freely as the decades go by – Spice Road is a long view game.

    I removed the red light district buildings for sake of good taste.

    Even the classic “Elite” game had a slave trade. But in Spice Road you get the choice of using an actual slave workforce with knock-on effects on the morale and unrest in your towns.

    Drug Dens are a great way to bolster morale, but with an undercurrent of moral corruption from overuse of Opium. If you depend too strongly on this you will end up with an unruly town requiring extra guards to keep from civil disorder.