Originally posted by Velociryx
I see that a number of folks have read this thread over the past couple of days, and just in case those who have read have also downloaded the game, I thought I’d share my latest game experience.
Started as France, used what has become my “standard opener” for that nation, heading south from Paris with my trusty engineer, with an eye toward road-building out to the three iron deposits the French have access to. Turn one, I set the “Large Hull – Indiaman” as my research goal, and began working on all three of the “level one” techs that are pre-requisites for it. Also established embassies with both the Italians and the Swiss with the long-term goal of bringing them under my control in the mid game without firing a shot.
Subsidies – I gave the Swiss and Italians 25% (this would be increased to 50% in a few turns, and finally to 75% sometime around 1600). All the other Great Powers in the game got a 10% trade subsidy from me.
Immediately recruited two new workers (which exhausted my supply of cloth), and a second Explorer (which left me with only two paper, and I promptly put those on the open market for some quick cash).
Trade-wise, everything worked like a dream. I was getting deals reliably from both the Italians and the Swiss every turn, and my progress with the Builder/Engineer team was plodding but steady.
In 1510 I discovered the New World, and my pair of Explorers immediately set out to do some serious shroud busting in the region. I found my first target right away ... a territory containing two sugar cane tiles that appeared (if the intelligence report could be trusted) to be lightly guarded ... so, I set my “fleet” – a single Carrack – to prep a landing site, and put the Army of Paris on alert for marching orders the following turn.
As I had hoped, the battle went swimmingly! There were only two native units present, and we crushed them under the heel of our French boots. The province was ours! Further scouting revealed that there were two “capitol territories” (the Sioux and the Pueblo?) nearby, and that’s when I knew this was going to be a real gem of a game. Two ports within easy striking distance, and every turn, my Explorers were uncovering more of what I wanted to see. Lots of mountainous terrain, and lots of sugar. Heaven.
Plans were immediately made to bulk up my military presence in the New World (since my trusty three units – 1 Pikeman, 1 Musketeer, and 1 Knight – would surely be insufficient to capture a capitol territory. I knew going in that this would set me back a bit economically, but the rewards were simply too great to be ignored!
So ... as I was making the necessary materials (cloth and bronze) I’d need to train a pair of new knights, my Explorers revealed that neighboring territories contained gold, silver, AND gems! Ahhhh, the riches of the mountains! And as luck would have it, those territories fell directly along the “conquest path” I had mapped out to reach one of the two Indian capitols.
Before long, the new Knights were en route to my new colony and my explorers had discovered more iron ore in the mountain regions nearby than was contained in all of France ... all of TWO Frances, actually, and my spirits were soaring! As fate/luck/good scouting would have it, I had landed myself right in the heart of the mother lode!
With the army reinforced, they swiftly began a program of systematic conquest, resting only when one or more units was really banged up, otherwise, pressing our advantage every turn and claiming more and more of the riches we had discovered thus far. Eight years later, we drew up next to the capitol of the Sioux, and stopped. My troops had a medal each, but would need to be at their best before attempting such a fight. The timing worked out great too, because I was running out of money, and I knew from previous attempts that capturing a capitol territory brought with it a cash windfall.
So ... a few years spent polishing my gains (and sending my overworked Engineer to the New World to begin the arduous task of road-building down from the mountains where all the riches were out toward the port that (hopefully) would soon be in my possession.
We held our breath, and waited anxiously ... praying that no other Great Power would beat us to the punch while we were prepping for the fight ahead.
Luck held, no one attacked or bought territory in the province we had our eye on, and battle was joined! This time, however, our goal wasn’t to crush the defenders. I knew that with the capture of the capitol, my army would be turning its attention elsewhere (the OTHER native capitol, several territories away). And, since I’d be spending no more time acquiring territories in this region, I figured I’d try to play to the metagame a bit and let the natives I did battle with escape (they would flee to neighboring territories, none of which I had designs on, which would make battling that much more difficult for my rivals!)
We took the province without a single loss, and managed to drive off the defenders without killing any of them, so everything worked exactly according to plan, and we repositioned the army for a move against the second capitol territory in the area.
Essentially, it was a repeat performance. A relentless drive until we were adjacent to the capitol, then drawing up and pausing long enough to rest the army completely and then, the big finish. This then, saw me with some eight territories in the New World, and my trusty Carrack had since found another (even larger!) continent with a great many tribes.
I was sorely tempted to not follow my own advice and take my now veteran (3 medals each) army and simply conquer everything I saw, but no ... having crashed and burned on two other occasions for getting too greedy, I wisely avoided that trap this time. I DID want to get a foothold on the other continent, however, and so sent my Explorers there to begin doing some more advance scouting.
I immediately liked what I saw.
Another lightly held territory containing sugar, not far from the capitol of the Inca.
So, three Knights were immediately dispatched, leaving a Pikeman and a Musketeer in my original New World holdings (That’s the bad thing about Carracks ... only a 3 space cargo bay!)
Fortunately, now that the Knights were sporting three medals each, they cut through the Incan resistance like it was a ginsu cutting through a tin can (and look! It can still slice a tomato like nobody’s business ... yours now for only 19.95 ... er ... sorry, too many late night infomercials ... lol).
The following turn, the rest of the Army of France was on scene, and we repeated our basic attack pattern for the third time.
And for the third time, we met with complete success.
Now, in the late 1600’s, with twelve New World territories under my belt (including three ports that I didn’t have to spend resources to build!), and running a solid first place with Holland and Spain fighting for second, I turned my full attention to my Merchant Fleet. Oh, I had been adding to it as I could of course, but with three ports, I suddenly found myself awash in so many imports from the colonies that I really began feeling the crunch where shipping was concerned.
My exploratory Carrack was sent home to be added to the Merchant Marine, and in the mean time, plans were made to construct three additional Fluytes – a step up from the Carrack, with 4 cargo spaces – (I had already built two of these and I STILL didn’t have enough shipping ... such are the riches of the New World.)
Before long, the ships were built, but sadly, all the time and attention I had to devote to building up the navy took its toll. I was now listed third overall, but I felt certain that my investment would pay off in the long run.
Technologically, Indiamen were finally on the horizon, which was a relief to see ... a relatively cheap ship with a massive cargo bay – fully double what my poor Fluytes could carry. I found myself looking forward to the day when I could begin launching them, and to that end, began stockpiling as much lumber, cloth, and refined iron as I could, with plans to go on a massive building binge the moment I could build my coveted Indiamen.
And, since those massive trade ships play such a crucial role in my long-term plans, the next logical step was to add more Builders and Engineers, and set about the task of making my New World colonies pay with a vengeance!
Three new Builders and two new Engineers were trained. One of each stayed in France, to finish out the road network to the last of our farms and cattle ranches – and to build improvements there to bulk up our population a bit more – and everyone else was dispatched to the colonies.
Much silver was mined. Gems. Iron deposits, and best of all ... tin and copper for bronze. (France has a single tin mine and nothing else ... I had been bleeding my bank account very badly buying copper and finished bronze, and was looking forward to the day when I could begin to make bronze myself, without having to beg, borrow or steal for it ... a happy day indeed!) And, when the Builders weren’t mining, they were prepping sugar cane fields (I had fourteen of them!!), because I was researching “Apprentice Workers”. Seven Apprentice workers could be supported by my available sugar fields ... fourteen as soon as I got the tech that bumped road transport to two goods per developed tile ... that was huge.
Once again, everything worked exactly as planned, and before long, my economic power was listed as “Awesome,” while militarily I was showing up as “Fair.” A quick check of general information revealed that I utterly OWNED the world export market (my shipping capacity was over a hundred at this point, and I was buying and selling like a mad hatter every turn, generating some fifteen hundred bucks in profits AFTER paying for all my research and despite the trade subsidies I was doling out). My relationship with everyone was rising steadily – the whole diplomacy map had this very soothing greenish quality to it. Every turn I was being courted by at least one of the Great Powers for an Alliance, and I knew that, despite the rosy diplomatic scene, I needed to cast my lot in one direction or another, else the “aligned” Great Powers would simply find a reason to attack my less-than-stellar army and take me out of the game.
I had been watching Sweden flounder about for much of the game, and decided I’d NOT go with them. England and Spain had been warring off and on for the past century, and I really didn’t relish the thought of getting in the middle of that, so they were out. It came down then, to either Holland or Portugal, and in the end, I chose Portugal as I feared Holland might make a move on either Italy or Switzerland that would force me to break the peace with them. At least with Portugal our interests didn’t collide, and it gave me a number of secure borders in the New World.
So, Portugal it was!
About ten years later, they declared war on England, and I was drawn into that conflict anyway.
I bulked up my escort fleet and kept building ships anytime I had the chance (though I have not yet gotten around to upgrading my horribly outdated Fluytes, and when I stopped for the night it was almost two, and 1738!), meanwhile, my awesome sugar production kept the economy humming along nicely even when I mass-recruited peasants into the army (I lost my “awesome” economic standing though, but wound up with “good” in both that and the military category).
So here I am, preparing for a war that I don’t really want with the English, otherwise minding my own business, and then ... Sweden just EXPLODES! They declare war with both Holland and England, and proceed to utterly thrash them both, kicking them almost entirely out of the New World, and overnight becoming the Godzilla of Europe. They also declare war on little Italy, who I’d been priming to join my side.
Well, considering that I was already in a war with England, I didn’t really want to leap to Italy’s aid and open up the fight with the Swedes as well, so ... I did the next best thing ... I declared war on them too! (Figuring I’d net at least a couple territories out of the deal).
The Spaniards weren’t having any of that, however, and promptly declared war on ME for declaring war on Italy (kind of a double standard, I thought ... they didn’t seem to mind when Sweden did it, but they got all rowdy when I decided to join the party).
So now I’ve got war on a huge front, and the cursed Spaniards have territories bordering some of my most lucrative New World real estate (exposing about two thirds of my sugar production, and ALL of my precious metals to attack!)
Well, clearly, I couldn’t very well lose that stuff, so I gave up my designs on Italy for the moment, and split my army into two camps ... one for home defense, and one for defense of my threatened colonies.
The home guard got the bigger chunk of troops (with more being trained every turn), because of the extremely wide front the Spanish could invade along, and I broke off small detachments (2 Musketeers) and put them in forts along the border, moving them to match the moves of the Spaniards who threatened.
For a few years, the front in Europe was eerily quiet. Move and countermove, a few false start invasions and quick pull-backs thanks to accurate reading of where the invasions would actually occur.
In the New World, my smaller force had their hands full, however. I lost one of my richest sugar-producing states, which whacked my economy pretty hard, and wound up sending a good many of my reinforcements planned for France down to the Colonies in order to bulk up my presence there, and a terrific cat-and-mouse game ensued in the colonies. I’d get my territory back, but would not have enough time to build a fort there, so would have to abandon it to preserve the army.
The Spanish would take it and do the same.
Then I’d hit a Spanish territory (destroying the fort, and again, unable to keep it ... so I’d pull back), and he’d reclaim it – and of course, while he was reclaiming it, I’d be off to go get my original territory back).
Thus, it was something of a stalemate in the New World for a time.
After watching the computer fight for a while (and wasting thousands of dollars in abortive attacks), it finally dawned on me that the way to fight in this game is to simply defend everything that’s currently being threatened, dump every man you’ve got into one massive attack force, and punch through where you want to.
Thus, after about ten years of cat-and-mouse, I changed things up on the Spanish ... defending all currently threatened French territories in Europe, and creating a massive army in the Colonies.
We stormed in and destroyed a fort of his, and instead of running, we stayed put.
He countered and a bitter battle erupted, with neither side seeing the benefits of a fort.
Thanks to my preponderance of artillery, we carried the day, but the losses were pretty cutting (four of my “three medal” musketeers, and two regiments of horse artillery bit the dust). Still, the Spaniards lost far more, and once we routed them out and held the territory long enough to rebuild the fort, I had figured out my basic battle plan.
About the same time I figured out how to fight in the game, my ally, Portugal came riding to the rescue with a declaration of war against Spain, and Holland followed suit shortly thereafter (In fact, for a while, even England joined in against Spain, apparently setting aside her differences with Portugal and I to join in the feeding frenzy).
In short order, I had kicked the Spaniards out of the New World, stripping them of all their colonies – which, as luck would have it, all bordered mine. Eventually, warfare would see them with a couple other colonies far removed from mine, but for the moment, we not only carried the day in style, but we booted them out of the New World.
And then, with no time to waste, we shuttled the army back to France.
While France, Portugal, Holland and England descended on the luckless Spaniards (who got into this whole mess by valiantly coming to the defense of little Italy), the Swedes continued their wrecking ball campaign through Italy and the New World, occupying the lion’s share of the continent I only had a tenuous hold on, stomping out the Aztecs, Mayans, and ... I dunno, somebody else, and even declaring a brief war with Holland to consolidate their position and boot the Dutch out of their section of the New World.
Meantime, Portugal and I pretty much divided up Spain (with Portugal also pressing their war with the British, acquiring most of Ireland and a smidgeon of Scotland as well).
It was almost two when I saved off, and the year was 1738. Thanks to finally figuring out warfare in this awesome, brilliant game, my ally and I have reduced the Spaniards to Madrid itself, and I’ve got the forces just outside the city gates to land the knockout punch (Oh! I forgot ... they also still have Sardinia ... but not for long…::evil grin:: )
Soon as Madrid/Sardinia are mine, the now “commando strength” (almost everybody has four medals) French forces will be loading up on a few Indiamen and landing in lower Britain. I’m looking to the day when Portugal feels she longer needs France and casts off our alliance. I hope they don’t, because they’ve been GREAT allies, but ... they might, and I want a foothold in England if they do.
My goal is to end that fight quickly and then get the army back to France, because here’s how I think the game will shake out (if I’m reading the flow of it correctly).