Merchant Prince is an historical trading simulation set in the Renaissance and the golden age of Venice. Here, you play the role of one of the wealthy merchants in the period, wielding not only economic power but also political, religious and military.
The main work in MP is managing your trade routes, warehouses and commodities. You count on ships and land caravans to transport a wide variety of commodities, trying to buy low and sell where the price is high. The map (either historical or random) looks very much like Civ (top-down, tiles and cities). Apart from making money, you can expand your influence in the Senate (bribing senators and pointing them Ministers), or the Church (bribing cardinals, struggling for be the Pope) with all the possibilities it opens (conduct treason accusations against your opponents or calling a Holy Crusade, for example). You can also hire mercenaries (known as “condotieri”) to attack your enemies or force cities to open for commerce, or become a sponsor of the arts. Also there are more “subtile” arts to be used, as assassinations… but beware of being caught.
Your goal is to be the richest and most influential player at the end of the game (which can be set to end at diverse number of turns, each of one representing a year; the game must end anyway maximum at 1492), being a key indicator your Popularity rating.