|This article is about the random map. For campaign scenario, see The Great Lakes.|
The Great Lakes has two different settings; a Summer and a Winter version. In the Summer version, the large lake is present with a small island in the center which contains a mine as well as trees to chop down. Schools of salmon can be found swimming in large numbers in the lake. The large lake allows for a Water Boom and allows the player to weaken enemy defenses with warships.
In the snow version, the lake is nearly frozen (there is just a small pool of water left in the center.) Fish can no longer be found swimming in large numbers and a navy will not be needed. Players can move their units across the frozen part of the lake but Settlers, Coureurs, and Villagers cannot build on top of the frozen lake.
Regardless, there is a circular trade route that has six trading sites. Control of this trade route will be difficult but necessary as the generous awards it offers to the players.
"The five Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario - span over a 1,000 miles of the border between the United States and Canada. Water flows west to east from lake to lake, dropping 170 feet at the Niagara Falls between lakes Erie and Ontario before flowing into the St. Lawrence River and out finally to the North Atlantic.
The names of the Great Lakes varied over the years from simple or colorful names or names that referenced Native American tribes nearby. Lac de Chat (or Lake of the Cat), was a French name for Lake Erie, probably in reference to the wildcats found in the area; the name "Erie" refers to a tribe of Native Americans that lived in the area. Lake Michigan had an unfortunate early name, "The Stinking Water Lake," but later came to be called Michigan after the Native American name for the lake, "michi gami.""