Taipan (Apple II)

Taipan Apple II Opening Screen


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Loosely based on Clavell's Taipan, this game is a trading simulation set in the Far East during the 1800s. The player is based out of Hong Kong and has a single trading ship with which he can transport one of four cargoes from place to place. There are different cargoes to be traded, from the cheaper general goods to the more expensive arms and silks, culminating in the opportunity to trade in the illegal opium trade.

Generally, the strategy here was buy low, sell high. To add some tension to the game, there is a random chance that you will encounter several obstacles to your trading empire. Random pirates, pickpockets, and thieves who rob you and your warehouse are all out there for their own benefit (and your detriment!) Li Yuen acts as the local mafia boss, extorting increasing sums of money for his "protection". Local authorities will seize your opium and fine you if you're caught, ruining an otherwise successful voyage. Local market conditions can render a price extremely high or low, giving you a chance to make a quick buck.

You have the option to trade up to a larger ship as time goes buy, as well as outfit your current ship with guns. However, beware! The larger the ship, the more pirate ships it attracts! Also, the larger ships are more expensive to repair.

You can play as long as you want--you're given the opportunity to retire once you reach one million. You're given a score at the end of the game based on your net worth, your ship size, and a few other factors.

All in all, this is a pretty decent trading simulation, even if the monochrome graphics left something to be desired. Although some parents may want to avoid a game with opium in it, overall it's great for teaching basic economic concepts to kids.


Taipan Apple II Opening Screen
Taipan Apple II Naming your company
Taipan Apple II Under attack from a small fleet
Taipan Apple II Trading Screen

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Alternate Titles

  • "Taipan!" -- In-game title

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User Reviews

Old school economic simulation with piracy and opium! Chris Gonderzik (11) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Original game was created in Basic as text based on TSR-80 computer in 1979. It underwent numerous revisions before being ported to the superior Apple II version which now sported graphics for the ship battle sequences.
ClarkBHM (282) added Taipan (Apple II) on May 28, 2004