Posted: 7/1/2007 6:52:46 AM
Hi there. I noticed several "how do I do this and that" threads on these boards, and as most people are probably new to the series, I thought I'd write a small tutorial/guide for beginners, sharing a few thoughts and hints about how to master the game, and how to avoid the more common mistakes.
1. BASICS OF FOUNDING A NEW COLONY
In most cases, you start with quite a lot of money and a negative income of about -50. Now, don't worry to much about the income, and don't be afraid to build. This is the point in the game where you have to care least about money. Be sure to build 2 lumberjacks, stone mine + mason and a fishing hut first. When you've done that, you've reached one of the more crucial points in your game. Because now is the time to decide how your settlement will look like once it's done.
--1.I. A RESSOURCE OFTEN NEGLECTED: SPACE
Let's face it: Most if not all of the island are pretty small. Most people tend to just build their settlement and whenever there's a new danger or requirement, they try to somehow build something somewhere. Don't do this. The moment you get to build the first houses, you should plan very carefully how your settlement will look like once you've reached aristocrat level - Meaning that 1 minute into the game, you should start thinking about where to put your palace once you get there. Divide your island into three parts: 1. Production facilities. 2. Housing 3. Culture/Splendour buildings. Reserve a big part of your island for your people! They are your main source of income. Once you've decided where your houses are going to be, you can start building roads. Lots of roads.
--1.II. ROADS AND HOUSES
The best way to place houses is in blocks of 2 x 4. From your marketplace, draw houses as far as your building range goes, place Chapel, Tavern and School, and then build as many houses as you can. Be sure to leave space for the bigger buildings later on, and be sure to leave space for firefighters, medics and policemen - You don't need to build them now, but you will thank yourself for leaving space once you reach the higher levels of civilization.
Build many roads. Make every house easily accessible. There is nothing wrong in build several chapels, firefighters etc. on one island, even if it seems lavish. Remember: One house of merchants is worth a lot more than 4 houses of pioneers.
--1. III. THE SHIPYARD
As early as you can - Build a shipyard. It doesn't cost too much and the operating costs are reasonably low, and Ships only need wood and wool to be build. Don't think that Ships are something for later on in the game - You'll need them faster then you think. Be sure to have enough sheep farms, then build a shipyard and begin assembling exploration ships. When you reach chapters 3 and 4, you'll find that your island most frequently doesn't provide cotton, or tea, or sugar - Which brings us to the next point.
2. YOULL NEED MORE THAN 1 OR 2 ISLANDS. ALWAYS.
Before you reach merchant level, you have to have every ressource available, or you'll end up with a lot more "Your people need some goods very urgently!!!111one" than you can manage. You have your shipyard. Build 2 exploration ships. Let one ship explore the entire map, and let the other settle on the island with goods you don't have yet (in most cases, your first island doesnt provide cotton and jewels). Always have at least 1 exploration ship explore the map, they move painfully slow, so you have enough time to do other things while they move around the map.
On every new island, build a fishing hut and upgrade it to the highest possible level! Also once you've reached merchant level, be sure to produce bread or meat on every island.
-- 2.I. MORE PEOPLE!
You don't have to have a settlement of people on every island - In fact, it's a good idea to save a larger space on one of your production islands if there are any sudden needs and you don't know where to build. But two thirds of your Island should have houses. And these should be citizen's houses - Build a church, two taverns, two schools, firefighters and medics, leave space for a prison and then build 10-15 houses. Doing that should ensure you always have enough money - If you manage to fulfill their needs.
3. NEEDS AND INCOME
Negative Income is not an option! No, seriously. The moment your income becomes red, you will encounter serious problems. Luckily it's not that hard to avoid this problem, if you have the right strategy.
~ Think ahead. This is #1 rule of every strategy game in the world. In the best case, you shouldn't encounter any "your people want this and that"s at all - Always keep a close eye on your iventory. Every important good should have at least one little green pixel-bar of storage. Regularily build more of your plantations and production facilities. The only ressources you do not have to add to every 20 minutes are the stone and iron factories, and the lumberjacks.
Building cotton farms when your people reach merchant stage is too late. You have to have clothing production up and running when you let them advance. Luckily, you can control the growth of your people by taxes.
~ Tax wisely. You don't have to keep taxes in a green level - When you think you have enough people for the moment, set the taxes to a yellow level and ensure they have all their needs fulfilled. They won't upgrade to the next stage, you can slow down your pace a bit, gather money, and then when you think it's time, lower the taxes and let them upgrade. This is a very handy tool you should never forget to use! As long as your island isn't that big and you don't need military, there is absolutely no reason to bother yourself with aristocrats! Your main income should come from the merchants. Have 1500 happy merchants and you'll rarely face money problems. Merchants give a x2 of money, meaning that every merchant gives you 2 gold per second. That should be enough. And when you got everything organized and have jewellery and chocolats, lower your merchants taxes and let them upgrade to aristocrats. If you have enough space left for university, theater and palace, that is.
~ Shut off production facilities. Stopping production when you temporarily have anough of a certain ressource saves you a lot of money. It's annoying at times, but it really helps. Shipyards don't need to cause operation costs when you don't build ships, so turn them off. The academy can be town down once you made every update. Chapels aren't needed anymore once you've got churches. This saves you time and money.
~ If you do happen to encounter a negative income, because your people are unhappy and need goods, don't try to produce them yourself. Use all of your remaining money and BUY them what they want in the trade menu. That way they'll be happy, you can tax them higher, and THEN you can build the necessary production buildings. Always try to get out of a negative income first.
Military is all nice and good, but it's awfully expensive. Build 2 or 3 barracks, but don't build soldiers if you don't have to. Don't build outposts, unless you have a very good reason to do so. I advise you to upgrade, though - Build an acadamy and upgrade your soldiers and ships to the highest level, as soon as possible, always. Non-upgraded soldiers are practically useless. But once you get to have to use military, you shouldn't need this guide anymore, anyways.
5. HOW MANY BUILDINGS OF WHAT TYPE?
There are just my recommendations, but I found them to be working quite well:
~ 3 lumberjacks and additional ones once you need apiaries or smelters
~ as many fishing huts as you have marketplaces
~ as many houses you need to have an income of
~~ at least +150 (pioneer level)
~~ at least +300 (citizen level)
~~ at least +700 (merchant level)
~~ at least +900 (aristocrat level)
~ For Tea & Sugar production:
~~ 3 Tea plantations, 2 sugar plantations, 1 tea factory ( repeat until your peoples needs are fulfilled)
~ For Bread production:
~~ 4 grain farms and 2 windmills
~ For Wool Production
~~ 1 wool farm OR wool farm upgrade every 20 minutes
~ For Chocolat production
~~ 5 cocoa plantations, 4 apiarys (proximate to lumberjacks or marketplace) , 2 chocolate factories
~ For Jewellery Production
~~ As many mines and smelters as you can build!
6. WHAT ELSE?
Just a few more tips that come to my mind:
~ Use stone roads for your production facilities. It'll speeden things up.
~ Always upgrade all your marketplaces!
~ Don't upgrade all your production facilites if you don't need to. Keep a close eye on your inventory. If a good gets sparse, upgrade a few buildings.
~ Selling goods is a good way to get money.
~ You have time. Waiting a few minutes doing nothing while your gold increases doesn't hurt.
~ Build splendour buildings. If you have free space in your settlement, why not build a few gardens, statues or pillars? I'm not saying that it will make your people happier (though I can very well imagine that it actually does), but the game is just more fun that way - decorating your city. And they don't have maintenance costs.
~ Building makretplaces seldom hurts. It gives you more space to build, it gives your people faster acces to their goods, it provides you with more market wagons and they are cheap military buildings.
~ Don't be afraid to build many "protection buildings" (medic, prison, firefighter).
~ Keep a close eye on how many people of what level you have and how many taxes they pay. It'll give you a better feel of how to spend your money.
~ Build organized. Make everything sort of square-shaped. There is a reason real cities are build that way - It just works better.
Hm. That's all I can think of now. I hope it helps. :) If there are any questions, I will try to answer them.
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