I realized that my other replay to this did directly address some
of these questions.

In article {371cs0$22v@vixen.cso.uiuc.edu}, mkohut@prairienet.org (Maryann N. Kohut) writes:
|} I've read the manual so I get the big picture, have done the tutorials 
|} with a number of games, but I have no sense of purpose or strategy as i 
|} establish my first cities and assign people to work.  (am an experienced 
|} Civ player/lover)
|} I would like to know what basic actions to take in the first stages; 
|} here's my list:

|} 1) How many cities should you focus on in the early stages?  And what is 
|} the early stage?  first 50 yrs?

   At the *very* start, you probably want a number of 1 or 2 person
   cities devoted strictly to exploiting the local resource, using
   skills learned from the indians.  1 or 2 people is about all you can
   put in a city without having someone growing food, or plowing the
   main square.  Ship the goodies to Europe and bring back colonists
   as fast as you can.

   By the time you have 5-10 colonists total in the new world, you
   should have founded a 'capital' with 3 or more people, and started
   plowing land.  You may wish to abandon the initial 'quick cash'
   colonies to move the people to the capital, especially if their
   long-term potential is poor.

   Do make sure to keep all your initial colonies relatively close
   together, for ease of shipping.  Don't sweat where you put them to
   start, as you can always pick up and move (after shipping out all the
   goodies, of course).

   The natural bias determining city size is the production penalties
   when you reach a given number of tories in the city.  At the easiest
   level, you can have colonies of 9 people chugging away productively
   without any statesmen; at the hardest level the limit is 5.
   Naturally, fewer cities means fewer numbers of duplicate improvements
   built, and so cities are more 'advanced', and you have fewer places
   to defend.  

   But a large number of cities gives more 'freebie' food, resources,
   liberty bells, and crosses.  Come the revolution, the capture
   of any single city is less devastating.  Plus, you rarely run
   into the limit of 3 people per building in town.
   
   I think you can play either strategy.   I tend to do both at one -
   have a few major colonies, and a few outposts exploiting resources.

   This is very different than CIV, where large cities spent too much
   effort just keeping their people happy and could not grow as fast,
   so a huge number of small cities was vastly more productive overall
   (until v1.2 or so changed the rules).  In COL, overall productivity
   and growth rate are independent of city sizes, and more dependent
   on overall population and choice of resource allocation.

|} 2)  How many people do you place in the early cities?  Should they be 
|} lumberjacks and carpenters, since all cities need to build structures?  
|} What items do you focus on building first?

   The first person in every town should be the person creating the cash
   crop.  Don't even think about building improvements unless you are
   certain you want a permanent city there.  If you do, plow the center
   square to grow more food, so more people can join.  If you are on
   good land, you may be able to support 2 or 3 people without a farmer.

   Your second person should be either another cash crop producer (if
   you can ship the stuff out fast enough) or else someone converting it
   to goods.  At the start, you need to make money to buy recruits.

   Once you grow above 3 people - a real town - you will probably need
   to add a farmer to feed everyone (on plowed land, of course).  This
   should allow you to have a population of 5 or 6.  Your next two
   people will likely be a lumberjack and carpenter to start building
   things.

   You don't need a mine and blacksmith until you need tools, and even
   then it will be cheaper to buy them in Europe for a long time.

   You can also have a colonist do double duty, by switching from one
   job to another.  For example, one person could be a lumberjack and
   cut (say) 40 wood; then turn into a carpenter and build the dock;
   then back to lumberjack for the next project, and so on.  This slows
   down development, and is a bit of a pain, but allows you to have an
   'extra' person in town doing something else.

   But neither money nor city improvements are your goal:  liberty is.
   You will want a statesman or two in every real town.  I know, it
   seems they aren't producing anything, but in fact they are producing
   the most important commodity:  liberty bells.  Without Sons of
   Liberty, town sizes are limited (to 9 at easiest level, -1 per level
   above that), so you NEED a statesman before the town reaches this
   size.  It helps to have one a lot sooner, as Founding Fathers show up
   more quickly, and you get production bonuses when you have over 50%
   of the people in town being Sons of Liberty.  And come the
   revolution, tories are enemies in your midst.

   Once you have a basic economy, you need to decide on your long-term
   strategy of how to grow.  You always want more colonists, and there
   are maybe 5 ways to get them:

      1. Grow 'em.  Producing lots of excess food can be slow, unless
	 you have master farmers working good land; and indians tend ask
	 for half your food before you reach 200.  Not optimal.

      2. Buy 'em.  With enough money, can just pay for more recruits.
	 You can get money in many ways:  selling stuff (but prices
	 fall), scouting, or killing indians.  I find this is fastest
	 and easiest.

      3. Capture 'em.  Attacking colonies of other nations gives you the
	 colony and all the people in it.  Fast and very lucrative, but
	 it does make enemies.  Good for the militarists among us.

      4. Convert 'em.  With missionaries, indians will show up asking
	 for work.  Indians are better than unskilled colonists at
	 growing things, but are poor at skilled work, and inferior to
	 skilled growers.  This is slow, but worthwhile.

      5. Lure 'em.  Churches and preachers generate crosses, which
	 increase the immigration rate.  They don't seem to do anything
	 directly, but a church with a preacher or two in every town is
	 a wise investment.

   You also need to consider what skills your people have.  Put all your
   people to work doing what they do best.  You may need to found a
   whole new colony just to take advantage of someone's skill - do it.
   Build cities to specialize around a single skill/product.  If you get
   a few generalist experts, like farmers, then build a school and have
   them train others.

   Your goal is to get as many people in the new world as possible, give
   them all skills, use their skills to best advantage, and make them
   all Sons of Liberty.  Everything else will follow.

|} 3)  Should you grow lots jof food to make more people or should you 
|} recriut at early stage?

   Definitely recruit.  Never come back from Europe without a full cargo
   of colonists (to start), even if you have to pay to recruit them.
   But do save some money for tools and ships.

|} 4)  How soon should you put the pioneers to work buiding roads? plowing 
|} fields?  

   Once you have a city that has (or soon will have) more people than
   can be fed by the central square, you need to start plowing.  Every
   square on which you grow food (central square first) should be
   cleared, plowed, and have a road built ASAP.  This will maximize food
   production, and minimize the number of farmers needed to support the
   rest of the populace.

   Clearing and plowing cash crop land is definitely lower priority, but
   it is worth plowing prime sugar/tobacco/etc land.  Only plow what you
   plan to use, and even then preferably after you've started using it.

   Roads between towns are lowest priority, unless you have created
   inland towns (which shouldn't happen until you have a number of
   coastal colonies humming along).

|} 5)  Should you always carry goods back to home country even if you don't 
|} have lots?  Should yu recruit and purchase in the early stages?

   There is no reason to leave cash crops (fur/cotton/sugar/etc) in the
   colonies at the start, and the only reason later is if you plan to
   convert the stuff into finsished form..  Wood and ore should be left,
   and always leave food; you can always use them, and they pay very
   little.  Definitely haul back what you have no use for, and can
   profitably sell.

   Don't purchase what you don't need.  You will always need colonists.
   You will need tools, but not be able to make them yourself; even
   later, you may prefer to make other stuff (that you can't buy)
   instead.  Likewise with muskets and horses, when you start needing
   soldiers.

|} 6)  How do you avoid having goods tossed in the sea due to lack of 
|} storage space? (should building a warehouse be a top priority?)

   If you don't have a warehouse (which should be among the first things
   built), then the answer is:  stop producing the stuff!  Move whoever
   was producing it to doing something else in town - like converting it
   to something more valuable, or being a statesman.

   I know it hurts to have your expert lumberjack not cutting down
   trees, but full is full - he can do something more useful.  Like, if
   you have 100 furs, turn the trapper into a furrier and convert the
   furs to coats - which are worth far more, to start.

|} 7)  At what point do you trade with the Indians?  My experience so far is 
|} that they give things in friendship or sneak attack.

   Until you have a number of colonies producing a variety of goods,
   trading with indians is useless - they already have the stuff that
   can be produced in their area.  You need non-local goods whose price
   has collapsed in Europe.  Since you also need a wagon, this is likely
   to be awhile.

   Trading with indians is especially good after you had a few
   'parties', when a commodity is boycotted in Europe, and you can't
   trade with other countries yet.  Some of your towns will still be
   producing the raw crops (because the town is on cropland), so you
   might as well sell it to the indians.

   If the indians are sneak attacking you, then you've been annoying
   them.  Have you been settling on their land without paying them off?
   You could pacify them with gifts.  Or, you can send in missionaries.
   Convicts make great missionaries (which seems odd).  If you get a
   Jesuit, send him to their capital for best results.  Or, you can arm
   up a half-dozen dragoons and raze their capital, which works wonders.

   But the best approach is to get Minuit and Pocahontas as early
   Founding Fathers.  With those two, it was 1650 (at the 3rd level of
   difficulty) before I had indian problems, at which point the
   Cherokees learned about cavalry...

|} 8)  What do you do with the horses if you put the rider to work in the 
|} city?  Those horses multipy like rabbits and then suddenly into the 
|} drink they go.

   You probably don't need horses in towns until well after you've built
   warehouses, as they are used primarily to create dragoons on short
   notice.  Especially at easy levels, you hardly ever need to create an
   army fast.  But do make sure you have at least a couple of scouts
   running around, and it is always wise to have a dragoon guarding a
   town.

   Also, horses don't reproduce unless you produce excess food.  If you
   have that much excess food, you probably could have a farmer doing
   something more productive in town, and live off your food surplus for
   a long time.

|} I am amazed at how quickly some of you seem to "master the game".
|} Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
|} Maryann

I hope all this helps.

-- 
Douglas Zimmerman  kdz@template.com  uunet!template!kdz   703-318-1218
Template Software  13100 Worldgate Dr, Ste 340  Herndon, VA 22070-4382


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