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|Sep 02, 2010, 10:21 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: East Coast, USA
Ancient Secrets of Colonization: Revealed I
Hunting through the inventory at a very used bookstore, what should I have happened across but Prima's officially licensed strategy guide for Sid Meier's Colonization, written by none other than Bruce C. Shelley! After checking it's going price on Amazon (~$140), I immediately ripped off its original shrink wrap and creased its spine. Why? So you don't have to! In this and another post, I'll be sharing some of the deeper insights and stranger factoids I gleaned about this marvelous game!
I. "Design Notes"
Shelley offers a number of interesting blurbs about the production phase of the game, about features that were considered and ultimately rejected, and even features that were at first incorporated before being removed from the final. Consider:
- Before the final version, colonies occasionally spontaneously cleared forest spaces around themselves, without even adding lumber to the stockpile, representing the environmental impact of colonization. This was removed when it was decided to limit the colony radius to nine squares.
- The colony radius used to be a 17-square BFC, like in Civ. This led, however, to nearly all-powerful cities, and there was hardly ever reason to build more than one city per game, which made the Revolutionary War far too easy.
- It was a conscious decision to make the second commodity produced in the "Town Commons" (the city's own square within its radius) never be lumber, to force players to work radius squares in order to build anything.
- A new colonist was originally added for every 100 tons of food produced. This was happening too fast, so they changed it to 1 per 200 tons of food. Now colonies without warehouses couldn't reproduce. So finally, they allowed extra food to be stored without a warehouse, past the 100 ton limit of other goods.
- Native converts originally were inferior to regular colonists in every way, somewhat like indentured servants. This is the reason for their eight-turn reversion to free colonist status, so you wouldn't be stuck with a sub-standard unit indefinitely.
- Dragoons originally required 100 horses and muskets, each.
- It's possible that 100% Sons of Liberty membership doubles the speed of education. This was meant to be changed in the final release, but was left in the first version, and it's unclear now how many versions have it this way, or use a different formula.
- If an Indian village has trained a colonist from another nation, it will no longer train one from yours. If it has trained one from yours, it may still train one from another nation.
- There was originally a 32 colonist limit, which was lowered to 24 to make the earlier-mentioned single-city strategy more difficult. With the reduction in colony radius size, there was no longer a reason for the lower limit.
- There was originally an "F" command for ships... "F" for "Fish!" Ships would sit in one spot and slowly accumulate food in their cargo holds. However, this feature was seldom used by the testers, as ships were too useful for other purposes, and the "carrying cargo" defense weakness was seen as too much of a handicap.
- There was originally no limit to the amount of warehouse expansions, again contributing to the rise of super(single)cities.
- The stable was the last building implemented.
- Buildings that were coded at one time: Sheriff's Office, Capital, Post Office. No function existed for these. Town Halls were originally called Meeting Halls; Town Halls could be built, expanding the colony's radius by four, with an additional four coming from a Colonial Assembly, which also doubled Liberty Bell production, and which also could be rebuilt with no cap.
- Tip: Building a lumber mill doubles the amount of lumber obtained from clearing a forest near a city.
- There is supposed to be a 50% dropoff in Custom House revenues during the War of Independence. It is, again, unknown which versions this actually applies in.
- Any size colonies could be abandoned at any point. This was one of the last features to be removed. Colonies could also be starved into dissolution.
- Wagon Trains originally had only one space in their holds.
- The War of Independence is supposed to be freeze prices. It is unknown which versions have this intact.
- Musket prices were intentionally made to skyrocket, to encourage domestic production late in the game.
- Tip: Taxes levied on products sold in Europe are directly invested in increasing the size of the Royal Expeditionary Force.
- Originally, buying ships, artillery, or trained specialists from Europe was always immediately followed by a tax hike, to encourage domestic production.
- Artillery originally filled four spaces in a ship's hold, and colonists two. Since Caravels only had two holds still, players only started with a pioneer.
- Frigates were originally regarded as "superweapons:" there could only be one fielded by each nation, and they were invulnerable. Later, they were made sinkable, but there could still only be one per nation in the water at any time.
- Rival (foreign power) units are removed at the start of the War of Independence, to make room in the game's memory for both the Continental Army and the Royal Expeditionary Forces.
- The REF originally could attack in the same turn they landed. Rebel artillery, on the other hand, were handicapped until at least one Rebel colony was captured.
- The REF will never move from a square until they are killed or capture the colony. A captured colony will immediately begin producing horses and muskets, to defend itself from Rebel re-capture.
That's all for Design Notes!
Isten Áldd Meg a Magyart!
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