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Trade Empires (videogame)

Last modified: 2014-02-15 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
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Trade Empires was developed by Frog City Software, San Francisco (US), and released in 2001 by Eidos Interactive. It is a pausable real-time strategy computer game about building a merchant empire. More info at Wikipedia, deafgamers, gamespot, Strategy-gaming, gamershell and mobygames.

In the map-like game setting, players' trading depots are identified by long, not-tappering, forked, solid-color flags, hoisted on poles ending in a ball finial, all pained in the same color. The color identifies the players in action and can be chosen at the start of the game. There are five available colors (red, white, yellow, pale blue and dark blue).

The number of flags identifies the rank of each depot. In the image here, a Chinese merchant family headquarters uses two solid red flags. The shape of the flags remains unchanged in all different scenarios of the game, showing Far Eastern, Middle Eastern, Classical Mediterranean and Early Industrial European otherwise varying landscape and architectural settings.

The use of flags in this game is exemplary of a many such cases, with flags being used for token identification in terms of both intra-player rank hierarchy and inter-player allegiance mark.
António Martins-Tuválkin , 7 August 2008