It's all politics
If you've played the Port Royale series from developer Kalypso, you're going to feel right at home with the developer's next title, Rise of Venice. If not, there's a whole lot for you to learn about trading in the Mediterranean Sea during the Renaissance era. Rise of Venice puts you in the shoes of a trader as you build your empire with the power of the coin rather than the sword. While the developer's previous games focused mainly on the trading aspect of the world, Venice has another variable you'll have to manage: politics.
As you earn more riches and gain influence on your trade routes, you'll have to build your reputation with the most powerful families that sit in Venice's Senate Council of Ten. Each of the council members help decide how much trading power you have. When you gain experience and want to raise your Overseas Merchant Rank, you have to approach the Ten to get your promotion. If you haven't done enough favors for a family, or you're not in their inner circle, you might not get their vote. In order to improve your reputation with the families, you can win their favor by taking missions, doing favors, or offering bribes.
Rise of Venice also allows you to manage your family tree and build a family business. As you earn enough reputation to build additional trading fleets, you can assign whatever siblings, uncles, or other relatives you have and appoint them as commanders of your fleets and convoys. You can also expand your family through marriage, which can significantly grow your power and influence in the Mediterranean--especially if you manage to snag one of the council member's daughters.
Check out the following slide for more information and images.