Taipan! is a game based on the trade of the Far East at the end of the nineteenth century. I first played Taipan! as a kid in jr. high school back in the 80ís. We only got an hour class period to play the game and it was impossible to get very far.
When I started looking online for this game I wasnít disappointed. Game play is excellent, very similar to the original. You start out with either five cannons and no debt or no cannons and $5000 in debt to the money lender.
I donít recommend going the money lender route as interest accrues at a rapid rate. Itís best to start out with cannons and hit the high seas hoping to run into pirates.
For each encounter you have with the pirates chose the option to fight them to the death. You should be able to defeat them but you will have damage to your ship. Get to your home port of Hong Kong as fast as possible and repair your ship. After a few encounters with the pirates youíll have enough money on hand to start wheeling and dealing. Youíll want to hit the opium and silk as soon as possible as they offer the highest return on profit. After a few good
trades you will be well on your way to mastering the game.
I have gotten all the way through the game to being a billionaire in a dayís time. You can get there much quicker if you enable the money lenders bug. What happens when this feature is turned on is that if you over pay the money lender then you start accruing negative interest on your debt. In other words, the money lender owes you money and the same principle applies to the interest on the money; it accumulates at a loan-sharkís interest rate. I find the game less enjoyable with the money lenderís bug enabled. The game goes pretty fast as it is and with the help of the money lenderís bug the game ends too quickly.
Another facet of the game to be aware of is Li Yuen. Li Yuen is a pirate and often times when you come into your home port of Hong Kong Li Yuen asks if you would ďdonateĒ money to the Sea Goddess. Nice way of disguising a strong-arm extortion tactic, no? Li Yuenís requests are fairly reasonable at first but as the game goes on they become more and more outrageous. At one point Li Yuen wanted a ďsmallĒ donation of thirty two billion dollars. Yes, thatís right, $32,000,000,000. Of course, I had about seven hundred billion in the bank at the time, but thatís beside the point. If you chose not to pay the extortion money Li Yeunís pirates will come after you. As long as your ship has at least sixty cannonís onboard you should be fine. Always, always, get more cannons and a bigger ship when the opportunity presents itself. Taipan! is a great game of strategy and critical thinking. Itís definitely one you should have in your files. I give it two healthy and hearty thumbs up!