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Machiavelli the Prince is set in a time of history when Venice, Italy, was the focus of world trade and expansion. Other nations banded together to try and control the threat posed by this powerful nation. Your main goal is to be the wealthiest trader in Venice at game's end through conquest, political maneuvering, and trade. The trade aspect requires you to explore the world, finding new trade routes and discovering valuable goods and commodities as you use the basic tenets of supply and demand to grow wealth.

As you explore, you encounter various obstacles from natural catastrophes to enemies, such as pirates, rival cities, and stubborn rulers. Successful completion of your mission will require involvement at the base level with the Church of Rome and the political figures of the day. Bribery and slander will be but two of the tools used in manipulating your environment.