Getting Started: The year is 1644. You are 16 years old and an orphan; completely on your own on the streets of London, England. Your goal is to survive and hopefully rise in status.

To begin your adventure—Select New Game from the start menu. (If you have previously started a game and saved it, you can load an old game by selecting Saved Game.)

Next, select either a Female or Male character. You can select your character by either clicking on the picture or clicking on the button below the pictures.

Enter a first name for your character. The computer has already selected a historically accurate surname for you.

The computer will also generated a random amount of money in your purse. Just as in real life, your wealth will decide where you can live, which affects your status.

Money in the 17th century was divided into pounds, shillings and pence. To learn more about old English money click on either the coin or the text: About Money.

When you have chosen a character and a first name click on Next to continue.

Parish-Location-Floor: Your next big decision is where to live. There are four parishes to choose from:

  • Saint Botolph Billingsgate
  • All Hallows By The Wall
  • Saint Mary Le Bow
  • Saint Saviours, Southwark

As you pass your cursor over the parishes (the red areas) on the map of London, information about that particular parish will be displayed. Different occupations are available in different parishes. For example, if you want to become a builder you will need to select an address in either Saint Botolph Billingsgate or Saint Saviours, Southwark.

Displayed is other important information about each parish, including the percentage of residents liable to the surtax. The higher the number, the wealthier the parish, and the higher the rents will be. Also, the wealthier the parish, the fewer people there will be living in each house. When you're just starting out you may not have much money in your purse and you may not be able to afford living in the wealthier parishes.

Once you've selected a parish you need to decide if you will live on a street (which appear in red on the map), a lane (which appear in blue on the map) or a courtyard (sometimes called an alley that appears in yellow on the map). If you live on a street you will have a higher status than if you live in a lane. A lane, in turn, has higher status than an alley or a courtyard.

Status: This is a good time to talk about Status and how important it is in Londoner. There are four levels of Status: Dependent, Craftsmen, Professional and Bourgeois. As you move up in Status different options will become available to you. For instance, you will not be allowed to change your budget until you have achieved Craftsman status. Other options will likewise be denied you. For example, once you achieve Craftsman status, you will no longer be allowed to rent the cellar floor in any parish or location.

Higher Status and better Occupations will bring you more money. As you make more money you will be able to afford changing your Residence (not only moving from Alley to Lane to Street but also out of that dark cellar and up to the Second Floor or, maybe, even opening up your own Shop).

As you move your mouse about the Parish the rents for various houses will be displayed. Remember, status is tied to rents, so the higher the rents the higher the status you will achieve.

After you have selected a place to live you must now select where in the house you will live. Cellar has the lowest status while the Shop and 1st Floor (combined) has the highest status. You can see how the levels of status affect the rents. To select where in the house you will live put your cursor over the blue type in the box. The program will only let you select places you can afford on your first turn. On subsequent turns, however, you may select any floor on any street, lane, or alley you choose. As in real life, it's up to you to be able to afford the decisions you make.

Occupations: Your next big decision will be to choose an occupation. Remember some occupations are only available in certain Parishes. Other occupations only become available if you consent to serve an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Occupations—As an apprentice, you will not be allowed to get married, change address, or change occupations. To your advantage, during this time your "Apprenticeship Master", (i.e. your employer), will assume all the costs of your support, food, and lodging. You will receive as wages a small amount of money, either paid by the Apprenticeship Master, or from other sources, reflecting the historical fact that many apprentices worked more than one job, (much to the displeasure of the Apprenticeship Masters).

Click here for the Terms of Apprenticeship Information

Becoming an apprentice is an important decision that will affect your future. The occupations which require apprenticeships receive higher wages than non-apprentice positions. You may Cancel this decision before you enter into the terms of your apprenticeship, but once you click OK you will not be allowed to make any other choices for six years.

At the end of your six year apprenticeship, you will achieve the status of Craftsman, with corresponding wages, and move into the Shop floor of the parish, location, and address of the residence you originally chose during the first "start up" turn. You will be charged the rent of this Shop floor immediately upon becoming a Craftsman.

Once you have finished your apprenticeship and are awarded Craftsman status, you may not change occupations for six years.

Upon the completion of the six year occupation freeze, you will be allowed to enter any occupation, incuding those that require serving an apprenticeship. You will not be required to serve another apprenticeship even if your new occupation is associated with apprentices. While not strictly historically accurate, certain compromises are necessary to provide a more insightful experience for the player. Certain options are made available, (such as allowing women to apprentice in occupations historically not open to them), so as to give the player a wider range of choices, thereby allowing the player to experience the historical period with greater scope.

Non-apprenticeship Occupations—By choosing not to serve an apprenticeship, you are offered more opportunities sooner than those in apprenticeship occupations. You may marry sooner, change residence sooner, and change occupations sooner.

However, you also face certain limitations. Your wages are severely restricted, and you may not enter a new occupation associated with apprentices unless you agree to serve the required six year apprenticeship.

Should you choose to change to an occupation associated with apprentices, your rent during your apprenticeship will be nothing, and the personal expenses for the player will be nothing. However, if you are married, your spouse and however so many children you have will still add to your yearly expenses according to the budget you have selected. Since your apprenticeship wages will be reduced to between £2 and £5 per year, this could pose a serious hardship. (If you are married and have children, this option should be choosen with caution.)

Some specifics about certain occupations—As a male Domestic Servant, you will not be allowed to get married, but you will live rent and expenses free. Your wages will always be £4 per year, regardless of status. If you are a female Domestic Servant, you are allowed to get married, at which time you will assume your husband's status and earnings.

Persons employed in Distribution/Transport or as Street Vendors or Labourers, no matter what status they achieve, will not earn wages of more than £27 per year, nor less than £15 per year.

Victuallers who achieve Bourgeois status will nonetheless receive the wages associated with Professional status.

After you have decided on an Occupation you will see the results of all your decisions.
Click Next to continue.

Yearly Report: You will now see a complete report of your expenses for the year.
Click Next to continue.

New Year Decisions: Every year (except for the six years that you are an Apprentice) you can make some important decisions.

You can Get Married, Change Residence, Change Occupations, Change Budget, or, (if you have £50), Emigrate overseas.

Getting MarriedGetting married will affect your budgetary expenses in a number of ways. Your spouse and subsequent resulting children will increase your expenditures each year. The Labourer budget results in £5 per year/per person, regardless of age, being deducted from your earnings and savings. The Middling budget, while it increases your status, will also increase your expenditures per person to £10 per year.

About Children—While having children increases your yearly expenses, children are employed in the general workforce a soon as they reach twelve years of age. Their wages will be added to your Yearly Income. However, children leave home and no longer contribute to the family's support once the child reaches an age in excess of sixteen years .

Children are born, they can earn income, they will leave home at sixteen years old, and they may possibly die. Birth and mortality rates in the game simulate as accurately as possible the actual historical rates recorded in the latter half of the seventeenth century for London, England.

Birth rates are affected by gender. It is assumed that husbands will remarry if their wife has died, (as many did), and so they would continue to have the possibility of producing children well in old age. Female characters, however, need not fear having children at an advanced age. Their probability of producing children declines according to historical norms for the time period.

Changing ResidenceYou can gain or loose in status depending on your parish, location, or floor. You can reduce your rent by moving to a less expensive address.

About parishes and occupations—If you choose to change addresses to a different parish, and the occupation you are currently employed in is not available in that parish, you will be automatically redirected to the page where you may choose a new occupation. You will be warned if an occupation change will be required in the Confirm Parish pop-up window that appears once you have initially selected your parish by clicking on the Select Parish map.

Change Occupations—You may choose to change occupations except while you are serving an apprenticeship, or during the six years immediately after you have completed your apprenticeship. You will be required to serve a six year apprenticeship to enter an occupation associated with apprentices. However, you may change to an occupation that requires serving an apprenticeship if you have previously completed an apprenticeship in another occupation. (see: Apprenticeship Occupations above.)

Changing BudgetIncreasing your budget from "Labourer" to "Middling" will give you a rise in Status but, obviously, you will spend more money on expenses every year. Decreasing your budget will result in a corresponding reduction in status.

Emigrate—If you have accumulated £50 in wealth, you may then emigrate abroad. This effectively ends the game because you are no longer a resident of London, and you are therefore beyond the scope of this simulation.

Expenses/Yearly Income: If your yearly expenses exceeds your family's income, you risk the danger of being thrown in debtors' prison. If you are sentenced to debtors' prison because of your debts, the game is effectively over. Few people ever redeemed themselves during the seventeenth century once they had succumbed to debt. So, should you begin spending more than your yearly income, you should take immediate steps to reduce your expenses by reducing your budget; changing your parish, location, or floor to reduce your rent; or by changing to a more lucrative occupation.