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Colonization: The New World


  • Colonization: The New World

    The New World in which you establish your colonies is the newlydiscovered Americas. You are the Viceroy of the New World for one of Europe's power nations. Colonization gives you the opportunity to change how history plays itself out. You set the policies, you make the plans, you choose what is important and what is not in running what will hopefully first be a successful network of colonies and eventually a new country.

    Once you have settled on your preferred pre-game options including difficulty level -- Discoverer, Explorer, Conquisdator, Governor or Viceroy -- you are ready to take the imperial plunge.


    These serve as the hubs of activity of your operations in the Americas. Their inhabitants work the surrounding land to grow food, harvest cash crops of cotton, sugar cane and tobacco, to mine ore and silver, and to trap beaver. They can also work nearby waters for fish in underground banks and reefs. Each colony is also home to a small cottage industry supplying processed goods including cloth, cigars and rum in small quantities. As it grows in population, it can support (and indeed need) more and more buildings.

    Trade: Once your colonists have established a cottage industry that produces enough food to sustain colonial life, and have learned to grow cash crops, you can begin to build an economy. To do this, you must trade with your home country. The market sets the prices of goods and commodities, and if you flood the market you’ll see prices fall. You must be careful, then, to create a balanced economy. As your colonial treasury grows and your people learn more and more skills, you can convert what has been a cottage industry into a much larger production machine.

    Taxation: Your King sees your colonies as a mere extension of his personal domain and as a source of revenues to support his international activities. From time to time, he increases your tax rate, enabling him to take more profit from your trade. He may also increase taxes whenever his government intervenes upon your behalf.

    Ships: In Colonization you will most likely start out the game as one of a number of colonists on a Caravel. You may even have a tradel vessel as part of your entourage. In order to maintain your trade, and protect your commerce from unfriendly sea forces, you’ll need to establish a naval presence in coastal waters. You can purchase cargo ships and warships from the Crown (your King’s government) or you can build them yourself if you have a coastal colony with a shipyard and plenty of lumber. There are three types of cargo ships (Caravels, Galleons and Merchantmen) and two warships (Frigates and Privateers). Sooner or later your European rivals will dot the coastal waters with their own offensive naval units, and blockade your main harbors — you must be ready for this. The Man-O-War is another type of warship, but does not appear in American waters until the War of Independence begins.

    Independence: Ultimately, if your colonies grow and become self-sufficient, your people will desire independence. When you feel ready to take on the Royal Expeditionary Force that has growing gradually throughout the game, you can declare independence. You must prevent them from capturing your territories in order to win the game.


    The major problem you will have upon arrival in the New World was survival. The amount of food supplies and tools you can ship across the Atlantic on your initial voyage is limited, so colonists will need to quickly establish a steady source of nutrition to enable them to live. Many of their early settlements vanished as quickly as they had appeared, and starvation was presumed the cause in most cases. If you find yourself in a pinch and are able to secure the aid of nearby native tribes, you may avoid perishing in this foreign land.

    Skills: Many of your colonists arrive in the New World as unskilled, indentured servants or petty criminals. Comments one uncredited Colonization player:

    Until you get William Brewster into your Congress, you are going to be plagued with indentured servants and petty criminals, especially at the higher levels of difficulty.The only thing I can suggest is to keep an eye on what's happening with the recruitment pool. [..] Petty criminals make great Dragoons early in the game... and great missionaries if you can get [Jean de] Brebeuf in, but are about useless for anything other than outdoor jobs. Indentured servants should be dropped off at the nearest [native] village and trained. Even if you have absolutely no use for the skill, you've at least brought them up equal to a free colonist.

    Towards the end of the game you should be concentrating on educating any colonist who is not a specialist of some sort. You get more points for specialists. You should also be saving [Bartolome] de Las Casas until the end of the game so you can get as many converts converted as possible.

    Some immigrants arrive as free colonists ready to work, and others still bring skills learned and practiced for many generations in Europe. These skilled workers can be very valuable because their output is far superior to that of ordinary, unskilled workers.

    Education: Your colonies can construct schools so that the skilled can teach the unskilled what they know. Education is a vital aspect of creating a viable society. Petty criminals can learn to be servants, and servants can earn their freedom through education. Free colonists can become masters of their new trade — capable of teaching others.

    Native Lore: Expertise in some areas such fur trapping, tobacco planting and wood lore can be learned from natives, so maintaining friendly relations with the Indians is important. As your presence in the New World increases, they become uneasy, restless, angry and somewhat unpredictable unless you trade with them and readily meet to their demands. You must maintain friendly relations in order to learn what they have to teach.

    Founding Fathers: From the moment your people build their first colony, great issues are debated in the Town Halls. There are five categories of discussion: trade, politics, military, religion, and exploration. As the discussions continue, great ideas are formed — ideas that fundamentally affect the course of history. As your colonies grow, these ideas. These ideas are embodied in the men who articulate them, and increase the potential inherent in your colonies as an independent nation.


    Maps include reasonably accurate representations of North and South America but, as in Civilization, there are any number of possible alternatives that are somewhat randomly generated according to criteria set by the player. The presence of Native American tribes and other European powers remain hidden until you encounter them directly. Once revealed, an area remains visible for the remainder of the game.

    Of the 3,920 total terrain squares in Colonization, they can be any one of nearly 20 categories including eight types of forest, each of which can be cleared to produce a one-time timber infusion and result in a specific type of open ground remaining. These can then plowed for more productivity. When forested, the agricultural potential of the terrain is severely limited. However, wooded terrain can produce lumber, and trappers can find beaver and deer pelts in the forests. Note that forests in the colder terrain types produce the most fur and lumber.


    Grasslands: Fertile soil in temperate areas, perfect for tobacco growing. You can also harvest food here.
    Plains: This area is good for growing a wide variety of food stuffs. You can grow a little cotton here as well.
    Prairie: Relatively flat, open land, ideal for producing cotton. You can also grow food crops here.
    Savannah: Rich, moist soil specially suited for growing sugar. This land is good for food production as well.


    Arctic: Cold and icy, almost incapable of supporting life.
    Desert: Dry and sparse difficult though possible to grow food in. You can sometimes mine ore here.
    Marsh: Cool, wet, and briny where the sea meets the land. You can grow some foodstuffs, and find ore in abundance.
    Swamp: Low, tropical wetlands that often harbor bog deposits of ore. You can grow a little food and some sugar cane here.
    Tundra: Rather cold, open land produces a minimal amount of food, but little other agriculture. However, you often find ore here.


    Hills: Gently rolling that offers easy access to ore. You can also develop some agriculture here.
    Mountains: Large areas of highly elevated terrain, difficult for travel but likely sources of ore and silver. Colonies cannot be established here.

    Lakes: Bodies of fresh water — good for fishing.
    Rivers: Its presence with nourishing water and sedimentary soil generally enhances the production of whatever can normally be produced in a terrain type. Fur trapping is more lucrative along these because of the many beaver dams found in such places. Additionally, they function much like roadways in the wilderness. Colonists and wagons moving along them are assumed to be using canoes or other types of boats to hasten travel. Any of the terrain types referenced in set above can have these running through them as well.
    Sea Lane: Open ocean that leads to standard sea routes from the New World to Europe, and vice-versa. To return to Europe, a ship only has to enter one of these and then move toward the east (if exiting east) or west (if exiting west) map edge.
    Ocean: Wide open water of the sea. It is somewhat useful for fishing, especially along the coasts.

    * All values area for forested/non-forested terrain, except where the terrain type cannot sustain forests.

    • Most Cost is the number of moves it costs a unit to enter that terrain type.
    • Defense Bonus is a percentage of a unit's base strength that is added to its defence in that terrain type.
    • Production Values are the number of goods or commodities produced per turn in that terrain type by a free colonist.


    The one commodity that the New World has in abundance for European explorers at this time are natural resources. Depending on whether you settle in North or South America, your colonists will be most busy cultivating new foods and staples of beans, corn, squash and wheat to establish a viable economy or extracting gold, iron and silver from mountainsides. The vastly undeveloped Americas hold largely untapped natural resources during this period, and served as the basis for many Europeans coming back to this New World in quests for riches -- as will no doubt be the case for the typical game player of Colonization.

    In the long term, one of the most important resources found in the New World is an abundance of metal ores. Your blacksmiths can process this ore to create tools and other metal products. Gunsmiths can then use the tools to fashion muskets. As European competition heats up, you'll find it more and more necessary to stockpile muskets. Aside from the intrinsic terrain of a square, some squares also contain special resources, represented by icons superimposed over the normal terrain. These icons indicate a particularly abundant source of produce.

    Game Areas: Presence of game indicates abundant food. Trapping is also worthwhile in these areas.
    Mineral Deposits: Generally rich metal deposits that yield both ore and silver. They are not as productive as other deposits, but have the benefit of diversity. These too may deplete after extensive mining.
    Oasis: Fertile with water reserves and nutrients, found in dry, arid terrain like deserts. They are capable of producing a surprising quantity of food, and a few other resources.
    Ore Deposits: Found in hilly spots, these are abundant sources of iron and other metals used in making tools and weapons. If mined, these also become depleted after a while.
    Silver Deposits: Mountains are particularly abundant sources of this. If mined, they become depleted eventually depending upon the extent of the deposit.
    Trapping Areas: Particularly large numbers of fur-bearing mammals are found here. These animals can be in any combination including the beaver, otter, and raccoon. This can be especially productive terrain if a river runs through it.

    Prime Cotton Land: Extremely well suited for the cultivation of cotton.
    Prime Food Land: This is an area ideal for agriculture involving food — bean, corn, squash, and wheat.
    Prime Sugar Land: Especially well suited for the cultivation of sugar cane.
    Prime Timber Land: Area of tall pine and straight oak that produces lumber perfectly suited for construction.
    Prime Tobacco Land: Particularly well suited for the cultivation of tobacco.

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    • Colonization: Colonization of America
      by Martin Gühmann

      The four European powers available for play in Colonization are the ones that had the greatest and longest-lasting influence on the New World: England, France, Holland, and Spain. Says the game's developer/publisher MicroPROSE (MPS), [i]f we had included a fifth nation, we probably would have chosen Portugal. Although Portugal's influence was larger than the Netherland’s, Portugal fell under Spanish rule for much of the time covered by the game and its policies and circumstances were very similar to Spain's.

      These four major powers first looked across the Atlantic Ocean for a passage to Asia that would allow direct trade for spices, silk, and other valuable items, and avoid Arab middlemen. On the eve of the discovery and colonization of the New World, Portuguese explorers had rounded the Cape of Good Hope and opened just such a sea route through the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese fought to defend their monopoly over this route because it offered tremendous trade advantages over other European nations. The have-not nations, led by Christopher Columbus and Spain, eagerly sought an alternative route that would break Portuguese domination.

      As we know, Columbus's voyage of 1492 did not discover islands on the eastern fringe of Asia, as he believed, but found instead a tremendous new land mass, unknown to Europe, stretching nearly from pole to pole. As disappointment over failing to find an easy passage to Asia subsided, there arose a corresponding curiosity about what Columbus had found. The early explorers returned to Europe with tales of gold, silver, furs, virgin forests, farmland without end, new foodstuffs, tobacco, and new races of people. The visionaries of Europe saw a wide range of opportunities in the form of quick wealth, fiefdoms, homesteads, religious freedom, raw materials, trading profits, and souls to save.

      The following is a summary of the "real life" history of England, France, Holland, and Spain's activities in the New World as described by MPS in the game's manual.

      September 27, 2012, 16:43
    • Colonization: Independence: Founding Fathers
      by Martin Gühmann

      One uncredited player recommends that [i]f you have started your first colony near one of the other powers (especially the Dutch), turn your first colonist into a statesman. The reasoning is two-fold: first, you acquire your first Founding Father quickly and second, you will reach the critical 50% Sons of Liberty number very quickly. As this same player notes, [t]his will immediately eliminate the weakest colonial power from the new world. Early in the game the odds are decent that you will eliminate the Dutch (assuming you're not playing them). Because of their economic advantage they are seldom the power to be eliminated if you wait until later to reach 50%. [..] [I]n any event you will now only have to deal with [two] rival powers rather than [three].

      The order in which you work towards gaining the following Founder Fathers and in what order is open to much debate. One strategy offered is by the uncredited player first quoted above: Minuit, Cortez, De Soto, Franklin and Drake. His or her reasoning is simple: money. For more on why this is so, watch for his notes (highlighted in this colour) that appear in each of their entries.

      The following is a list of all the Founding Fathers that can be in your Continental Congress. A short biographical sketch and summary of the effects of each is also included.


      Francisco de Coronado (1510-1554): A Spanish Conquistador, he led the first European expedition into the American southwest. He was the first “white man” to observe the Grand Canyon, and the Pueblos of New Mexico.

      Coronado was a great and careful organizer and scout so when he joins your Congress, all colonies currently on the map are exposed, including the area immediately surrounding them.

      September 27, 2012, 16:41
    • Colonization: Independence: Tensions and Winning
      by Martin Gühmann
      The goal of Colonization is independence from the Crown. This is not an easy task. All the growth, planning, building, manufacturing, and exploration you’ve engaged in throughout the game will be tested by fire. You must withstand the onslaught of the Crown, and defeat his forces in war before your nation has the right to call itself sovereign. INCREASING TENSIONS As your colonial government improves and becomes responsive to the needs of its citizenry, the mother country begins to be perceived as the source of problems. The Crown is continually raising taxes -- for what appear to be whimsical purposes -- so that trade with the mother country is no longer as profitable for the colonies. The King’s share increases while the colonial share decreases. The growth and development of your government aids in your cause. As your colonies grow and your people work on creating government institutions, leaders emerge to help in the struggle. These “Founding Fathers” join the Continental Congress. A growing sense of independence and community in the colonists themselves aids the cause, making the people more productive and able. When half (50%) of your people feel a sense of urgency about severing the ties to the mother country, you may declare your independence! TAXATION AND BOYCOTT At the beginning of the game, the King of your home country is happy to support your efforts at colonization free of charge, but as time goes by, he’ll want a larger and larger cut of the profits. The primary method by which the King exacts payment is through the implementation of taxes. After all, he granted you the right to settle the New World, he supplied the initial funding and materials, and when you need naval support... who offers you the use of frigates and galleons? The King announces all tax increases and tells you the reason for imposing each new tax. The King always seems to have a reason for tax increases, but you may tire of them. Whenever he increases your tax rate, some of your people may rise up, expressing opposition to taxation without representation. You are given a choice of submitting to the new tax, or demonstrating against the Crown. If you demonstrate, by throwing some of your cargo into the sea and refusing to pay the new tax, rebel sentiment will increase but you will no longer be able to buy or sell that item in your home port until you pay all back taxes accumulated during the boycott. Once Jakob Fugger joins your Continental Congress, the Crown no longer remembers the anti-taxation “parties” you had, regardless of how many commodities you threw into the sea. You may once again trade the boycotted items, even if you never paid your back taxes. ...
      September 27, 2012, 16:37
    • Colonization: Natives and Foreign Powers: Foreign Powers
      by Martin Gühmann
      Aside from the details of growing your economy and expanding your population, you also have to contend with other European colonists and with natives. The cultures that the European invasion of the Americas forced into contact couldn’t have been more different. The competing Europeans have, for the most part, interests in common with your own. Like you, they want to establish profitable trade arrangements, expand their colonial empires, and build a viable society in the New World. Conflicts often develop over valuable resource deposits like silver mines, prime commodity lands, or ore deposits. In some cases too, there are conflicting land grants and charters. In addition to these issues, there are a host of purely European conflicts that date back through the generations and occasionally erupt into warfare that spills from Old World to New. In short, the behavior of both natives and Europeans can, at times, seem chaotic due to the complex societies from which it springs. All four European powers depicted in Colonization can be controlled by a human player. To help distinguish them from more than just name alone, each has their ows advantages and characteristics that they bring to the Imperial Age within the game. Each of these advantages and characteristics have basis in fact which is considered historically accurate. NATIONS The Dutch, English, French and Spanish competed for New World dominance, When the dust settled, only the British and Spanish remained. There are still French-speaking peoples in North America today, notably Louisian the Canadian province of Quebec which is home to the world's greatest concentration of Frenchmen outside of France. Colonization gives you the opportunity to change all of this. Every one of your European rivals will attempt to dominate the Americas, to establish a monopoly on the valuable trade coming in and out of American waters. As you operate your colonial concerns, you will encounter foreign vessels on the high seas and sometimes even in waters you consider your own. Rival Europeans aggressively attempt to colonize the entire area of the New World through whatever means available. If they sense weakness in your attitude or deployment, they are likely to take advantage of that and attack your forces. They attempt to capture your colonies and force allegiance to their rule upon the population. To achieve dominance in the New World, your rivals will use their naval and ground forces in a variety of ways to interrupt the smooth flow of your commerce. ...
      September 27, 2012, 16:35
    • Colonization: Natives and Foreign Powers: Natives
      by Martin Gühmann
      Aside from the details of growing your economy and expanding your population, you also have to contend with other European colonists and with natives. The cultures that the European invasion of the Americas forced into contact couldn’t have been more different. Generally speaking, the Amerindians had a long-standing, deeply-rooted respect for nature and viewed themselves as an integral part of the ecosystem. Some of the concepts that Europeans found basic to society such as “ownership” and “progress” meant little or were interpreted in totally different ways by these American natives. The vast differences which separated Amerindians from Europeans created misunderstandings that would flash into violent confrontations. Looking back, the friction seems inevitable— everything the European needed to grow and prosper (in his way of thinking), the aboriginal needed to maintain. Europeans were consumers, the natives, conservers. TRIBES None of the aboriginal tribes are human player controlable. They are all controlled by the game's Artifical Intelligence (AI). They are three different categories of native tribes: nomadic (Apache, Sioux, Tupi), woods-dwellers (Arawak, Cherokee, Iroquois) and city-dwellers (Aztec and Inca). They are represented by teepees, long-houses and pyramids or terraced stone buildings respectively. Each tribe consists of several settlements scattered over an area of the map. A settlement is the dwelling place of several braves that patrol the map nearby. Cities are much better defended than the other native settlements because of the large populations that dwell there. In addition, cities are wealthier than other settlement types -- according to European standards -- and are therefore much more likely to yield large treasures if captured. Villages are not as populated as cities, but are still quite well defended. Camps are poorly defended. ...
      September 27, 2012, 16:33
    • Colonization: The Old World
      by Martin Gühmann
      Regardless of what nationality you represent and how ‘independence minded’ you are, the bonds that bind you to your home country are strong and enduring. Your home country supplies you with people to populate the New World, ships to get them there, goods to trade with the aboriginals as well as muskets, tools, and other provisions that allow your colonies to exist in the early years. However, this relationship is not without price. The King wants to profit from your endeavors. He will charge exorbitant prices for seemingly indispensable skills and military equipment. He will tax your colonies in order to gain revenue for the Crown, and he’ll get you into unwanted wars with your rivals. EUROPEAN ECONOMY The prices of goods and commodities in Europe fluctuate throughout the game. The forces that drive the economy are many and varied. Each nation’s economy responds to the trade it is receiving from its colonies, but it also responds to the economies of other nations. The primary factor is the amount of trade in each commodity. In other words, the more of a particular item sold in Europe, the lower the price drops. If there is little trading activity in a particular good or commodity, then the price rises. The economy is strictly supply driven. To some extent, the prices in your home country are affected by trading activity in other ports of Europe. Therefore, if you can corner the market on an item that other powers are not trading, you can get rich fast. But since you cannot count on chance, it is to your advantage to remain flexible in your production capability, so you can switch from one item to another as easily as possible. ...
      September 27, 2012, 16:32