I'm not in the mood to attack other civilizations after building my own city from scratch and I like a little more of a "story" when I build up my things, so I thought 1849 was going to be a nice panacea to my City Builder Sim illness.
Not the cowbell I needed.
1849 is very slow and frankly easy to win each level. However, it is time consuming. The majority of the time you've built the required number of buildings and you're waiting for them to accumulate the needed number of supplies to move onto the next section of California to colonize. The plot of land you're given is relatively tiny, given how much you can really move around.
Each game I was given an "edge" from completing a previous round. There was no right or wrong answer to what helps you, just whatever helps you in how you finish the objectives in the time alotted. This, I found helpful. It benefitted my playing style which is very kind because I have a certain way I like to set up my time management games. It also allowed me to experiment each level.
What drove me relatively bonkers was that nothing really changed from level to level. Usually there's something new introduced that makes a very significant impact, but this never happened in my course of playing. I had to use multiple important buildings because the reach was impossibly short and your town/settlement will go to hell in a moment's notice and you will not salvage it unless you can accomplish a few key things in the first few moments of establishing your settlement.
But once you figure out your pattern of play, you generally just sit there, wait for your settlers to upgrade their houses, and just keep refueling things.
It's perhaps the worst city building sim I've played and I was highly disappointed. Wasn't worth the price I paid. I've honestly just sat still most of the time and done absolutely nothing. It's also a bit dated-looking as well so there are prettier games out there for your money.
Maybe this could be a game to teach small children about areas of California during the Gold Rush, but I don't believe this could keep their attention too long. This likely plays better on a tablet or a phone, as well. Personally, I'm not a fan and even after forcing myself to give it a good go, it wasn't meant to be.