After starting my first 'trial' game as the English, and producing liberty bells for 200 years, causing a giant REF To form , I abandoned that futile effort (100 HOW many troops plus dragoons etc?), and set out for a new world with the Spanish. This being my second game, there were still a few things I didn't know - as I had not visited the forums yet. One of my failings was not realizing that you can PURCHASE specialists. This is obvious if you clicked the big green dollar sign, but for some reason this eluded me. I blame poor UI. Or too much New Spanish wine. Funny we can't grow grapes, but I guess viniculture out here is a relatively new thing. Anyway, after muddling through the game with a rag-tag force of semi-specialized labour-folk, I realized I should declare independence soon. But something else was bothering me - the French had been pumping out liberty bells like mad, while I was sensibly waiting for the "blitz" period. The unfortunate side effect was that they were next door to me and their borders were eating into those of one of my former awesome cities. It ended up losing almost all its work cells to their borders! Sad. By this point I knew that the AI had horrible, well, intelligence, so I mustered up all my free colonists and sent them to invade and destroy the French for this travesty of game design. Except I stupidly made diplomatic contact and demanded all their money. And of course this was that rare scenario where they complied. Now the game is telling me I have a 10 turn peace treaty. Wonderful. Fine, I'm Spanish, let's get our jollies by setting fire to a native settlement instead. On the way to one big known village, I find the last Comanche holdouts, who had earlier terrorized my people over some silly "non-payment" dispute. The mini-native war over, I turned my forces around, only to see that Champlain had cleverly declared independence, and the French king was destroying him with haste. Great, so much for that idea. No matter, time for independence, in my next post.