I recently got 1701 A.D. Gold Edition to run, hope this walk through helps others.
Two things needed to run this -- install may work, but it will not run unless:
A. You have Tages SA copy protection installed, and B. You have Direct X 9 installed.
Vista x64 will not allow unsigned drivers to be installed in the system, atksgt.sys and lirsgt.sys are unsigned as delivered in the DVD. Signed drivers available from http://www.tagesprotection.com, I was able to use version 22.214.171.124, downloaded TagesSetup_x64.exe. Technical background on this system can be found on wikipedia.com. The executable is pretty nice, it acts like a toggle, if you already have it installed it will present an option to uninstall, otherwise it installs. As with all system driver installs, administrative rights are needed. Appears well written, because no reboot is forced, it does what it supposed to do.
Vista uses Direct X 10, for some strange reason, consumer versions of Vista do not include Direct X versions 1 through 9. You download the Direct X 9 runtime from microsoft.com, google "directx 9 runtime for vista site:microsoft.com". As of this writing, version 9.26.1590 published 3/23/2009 was on the site, name of file was dxwebsetup.exe, and requires validation. There are other places you can get the full download, it is up to you who you would trust. The version on DVD is quite old, I did not attempt to try it. The real problem with DirectX is that you can not uninstall it, to protect your system, make a system restore point before you install DirectX.
If you, like me had tried the install, got a couple of popups and "Anno1701 has stopped running" without so much as splash page, you should run the uninstall of 1701 A.D. before installing the Tages drivers, I do not believe it matters for DirectX.
I then went through the setup again, administrative are rights required. I did not install accept its offer to install DirectX and I was ready.
I did NOT need to set XP compatabillity mode nor run it as administrator. When it starts properly, the DVD drive will start to spin immediately looking for the DVD. Another poster suggested nVidia 8800 overclocked does not work, I do not have that issue, my OC 8800 GTS works beautifully.
After running the 1701 A.D., putting in key, watching intro, and creating a profile, I then ran the install (autoplay does not work without administrative rights) of Sunken Dragon. The start up remained the same, but the game name plate now has and added board, "The Sunken Dragon".
I see no way of knowing what version you are running, without Sunken Dragon, I thought I saw 1.02, with Sunken Dragon I expect to see 2.04.