1503 A.D.: The New World

aka: Anno 1503, Anno 1503: De Nieuwe Wereld, Anno 1503: El Nuevo Mundo , Anno 1503: Il Nuovo Mondo, Anno 1503: Le Nouveau Monde, Anno 1503: Nowy Swiat, Anno 1503: The New World
(prices updated 10/4 3:22 PM )

Description official descriptions

1503 A.D.: The New World is, like its predecessor, a 2D-strategy game where the player colonizes a new world. The first important part is the constructing of several buildings which are used for different means, e.g. residences or plant facilities. There he needs to ensure a logical arrangement to reach short production cycles and the population's satisfaction. With preceding time there demands grow which force the player to expand and build more respectively more effective buildings.

As the game knows 46 resources it is unlikely that the player finds all on one island. This also results in the need of expansion which may be against the interests of the up to three AI opponents or one of the nine neutral factions. These problems can be resolved with trading or military action. The latter is still a small part of the gameplay but is noticeable more complex than in 1602 A.D., now the player has a few formation and behaviour orders to his disposal and the 14 military units gain experience. Other innovations are a research function where the player works on upgrades, four new climates and more production cycles.

Besides the free playing mode with randomly generated islands the game also features ten scenarios and, also new, a campaign with twelve missions.


  • Anno 1503: העולם החדש - Hebrew spelling
  • 纪元 1503 - Chinese (Simplified) Spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

205 People (188 developers, 17 thanks) · View all

Character Design
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Character Animation
Background Modelling
Add. Character Modelling
Add. Character Animations
Line Producer
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Average score: 78% (based on 39 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 24 ratings with 5 reviews)

Excellent Game. Deep and involved. NOT for twitch gamers

The Good
This game definitely encourages exploring and tinkering..
The tutorial gives you enough information to have a grasp on what you need to do in the game, rather than holding your hand for the first 1/3 of the game (Or, like Stronghold, the first 95% of the game). If you're confused about something, there's a comprehensive help system which explains most everything else.

The economic system is uncommonly complex..
Notice that this is under "The Good". I enjoyed Company of Heroes. The removal of economic management allowed you to focus on tactics and troop management, which was the point of the game. This game is not Company of Heroes. 1503 is not an RTS with economic management; It's an excellent city builder with an integrated combat system.

The setting..
It's unique. Most city builders take place now-ish. So, juggling a society with 16th century technology is interesting.

This game incorporates ships into gameplay in a way I've never seen before. Ships are usually way out whack with the rest of a game, if they're included at all. In addition to the war ships you will build, you also will maintain a merchant fleet, responsible for moving goods between your cities, and trading with your allies.

In AD 1503, trade actually happens. You find out what the needs of your neighbors are and ship it to them. On a ship; Not by transferring 350 tons of lumber through thin air. You don't select your market and click the "Sell Wood" button 38 times. Who exactly was buying all those bows from me in Stronghold anyway?

Civilization levels..
Pioneers are happy as long as they have a few basic needs. Add a few more things, they become Settlers. Give those Settlers some new stuff and they'll become Citizens. There are 2 more degrees above that and each degree improves the look of the houses and allows them to fit more people. Moving up the degrees is also how you unlock new technologies. It's sort of like researching a new age in Age of Empires... you know, without the whole awkward "researching" part. In this way, your technological advancement is based on your actual advancement, rather than by spending some arbitrary lump of stuff to enter a new era. Furthermore, if you cut off your Citizen's spices (for example), they go back to being Settlers. You get to keep using the new technologies, but your population just took a huge hit and so did your income. And though you get to keep using the techs you have, you're going to have to get the spices flowing again to open any new technologies. You don't just pay a bunch of food and wood to enter a new stage, you have to maintain it.

Though not 3D, the graphics are still very good. There is a high level of detail and accuracy. Buildings look like they ought to, down to minute details, and when you rotate the view around a building, you see the back of the it (not a magically spinning building as in some games). The city is very well animated, with villagers making trips to the market and church, little sheep milling about the sheep farms, and so on.

Beautiful. Good enough to be interesting, subtle enough to not get irritating. The one exception is "Scarborough Fair". Being so recognisable, it gets old quick. Fortunately, the game lets you add and remove songs from the playlist. I recommend removing that one early. Furthermore, as you move forward technologically, later styles of music start playing. From light Renaissance minstrel tunes, to full blown orchestral pieces.

The Bad
The combat system has some shortcomings..
You can't double click a soldier to select all troops of that type, though you can drag boxes around clusters of troops, and the game supports hot-grouping (ctrl-1, ctrl-2, etc). Still, it can be difficult to control your army during battle if you've had to do a lot of reinforcing (e.g.: New troops won't be in your hot-groups.) Mortars are way overpowered. Considering the limitations of a bell filled with gunpowder, it's amazing that these things never miss. They do nasty splash damage, but don't hurt friendly units. This means that you can fire a dozen mortars into a mass of troops and devastate the enemy with no loss to your troops... which also means your enemy can do it to you.

The economic system is uncommonly complex..
I have to list this under "The Bad" too, for the sake of those who believe it should be here. In a city builder, a complex economic system is a very good thing. Micromanagement is the heart and soul of a well done city builder. In an RTS, it has become a dirty word. If you're looking for a game with simplified eco-management, this game is not for you.

The answers aren't handed to you..
The help system will answer most of your questions, and the tutorial explains the basics and some of the quirkier game mechanics (like setting up an automatic trade route). However, if you're not interested in discovering the game as you go and gradually gaining a deeper understanding, your play style is probably better suited to Medal of Honor, Counterstrike Source, or maybe Company of Heroes.

The Bottom Line
As detailed above, 1503 is a really well done city sim with a built in combat system. The economic system is simple enough early on to be approachable, and complex enough later on to stay interesting. The graphics are highly detailed and quite good for 2d. The music is well done and, even if the combat system is kinda simple, it's plenty. In my opinion, the real meat of this game comes from eco-management, which this game does very well.

If you're continually disappointed by simpler and simpler economic systems in strategy games, then 1503 is for you. I can't recommend this game enough. It is complicated, which is a GOOD thing, but it is definitely NOT aggravating or boring, as a fellow reviewer believes. It's very rewarding to successfully manage a system of islands comprising a few thousand citizens, and (frankly) surprisingly soothing watching those cute little cows and sheep grazing. ;)

Windows · by Eloquius (4) · 2008

Great game - but not as addictive and fun than Anno 1602

The Good
The game has nice and detailed graphics, several different production line, it has more of everything that made Anno 1602 so addictive. You could wait hours doing nothing and keep looking your town grow bigger and greater.

The Bad
- Even as it tried to be better than its predecessor it failed as they changed some mechanics of the first part. Money is earned via shops and not via taxes any more. This makes the game really hard in the beginning.
- In addition are the AI is something not really worth mentioning as the enemy only builds on a little island and not really disturbing you any more.
- After 1 1/2 year the multiplayer part was finally cancelled.

The Bottom Line
Fun manager game settled in the time of Christoph Columbus. It is nice to see your city grow. If you know and liked Anno 1602 you will most likely have fun with this one too.

Windows · by Wylaryzel (173) · 2004

OK game, but lacks map editor

The Good
The game's petite fun. I mean, it's kinda fun to explore the game world, meet other players and Natives, and watch your cities grow from simple pioneers to aristocrats rich in wealth. The graphics aren't 3D but still high in detail level. And the music is nice and easy for a game around the time of Christopher Columbus.

The Bad
There is no multiplayer mode in the game. Money is earned from shops and not taxes, this makes it hard for new players and at the start of the game. Unlike 1602 AD there's no map editor, which stinks because I liked the map editor for 1602 AD it was fun to make your own ideas for missions come to life in that game.

The Bottom Line*
A fun mix of RTS and city-building during the time of Christopher Columbus. If you like 1602 AD you'll probably like this game even more!

Windows · by Jacob Larson (4) · 2013

[ View all 5 player reviews ]



When Anno 1503 was released, there was no multiplayer-mode included - officially... In fact, they placed a file in their /data directory which enables it. The mode was not finished. It lacked a lot of features, balancing and so on. But they wanted to get some feedback from their fans without starting an official beta test. So they hoped a small group of people found out and offered feedback.

Source Code

The Anno 1503 source code is about 400,000 lines long - almost everything coded by just two coders. And the graphician, Ulli Koller, has studied architecture - thus the very detailed buildings.


  • 4Players
    • 2002– Biggest Disappointment of the Year
  • German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany)
    • 2002 - Gold Award for selling more than 100.000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • 2002 - Platinum Award for selling more than 200.000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • 2004 - Special Award for selling more than 500.000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Additional information contributed by Xoleras

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Anno 1503 A.D.
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Anno 1503: History Edition
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Dawn of Discovery
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Anno 1602: Creation of a New World
Released 1998 on Windows
1701 A.D.: Gold Edition
Released 2008 on Windows
1602 A.D.
Released 1999 on Windows
1701 A.D.
Released 2006 on Windows
Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery
Released 2007 on Nintendo DS

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7613


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Felix Knoke.

Additional contributors: Corn Popper, JRK, lobo rojo, Sciere, jaXen, Aubustou, Crawly, rrrr hhjjh, Patrick Bregger, Evolyzer, 一旁冷笑.

Game added October 28th, 2002. Last modified September 16th, 2023.