Colonial Civ Quick Guide - 1.17

SultanRedSnake

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In response to some recent pleas for help over on Suggestions and Requests I shall lay out some bare bones basics for the principal European colonial civs (Portugal, Spain, France, England, Netherlands) hopefully to help some at least not feel totally lost. The following *assumes* UHVs are being pursued, 600AD start is chosen, and at earliest 1.17 is being run (though I’d insist on keeping up with latest releases).

Central Principal: The extra-European world has different uses, purposes, benefits, and trade-offs for each Civ concerned. There is no standard procedure for each, especially considering that the lands themselves are dynamic vis a vis resources and natives over time. Remember your goals constantly.

The Crucial Element of Timing: If I could identify the most frequent and influential factor that seems to lie at the heart of *most* troubled campaigns is the simple issue of timing, usually on the side of settling far away too early. The mistake could also be expressed as misjudging your UHV-oriented priorities by placing the colonial element higher or with greater urgency than is merited. Each civ has its own sweet spot for the when and I will try to cover these in detail, accounting as best as possible for the vicissitudes of a given game. The value of the prospective cities is also a function of the Resource Spawn Schedule, and this effects each civ in various lcations and potencies. England is probably the only civ that doesn’t suffer sudden and palpable drawbacks to the first phase of overseas conquest in settlement at least in terms of city maintenance, though other no less important opportunity costs still apply. To France the Colonial Game might amount to no more than a necessary burden for UHV and is best delayed maximally. The little Ports and Dutch have no other options for expansion but can't challenge domineering neighbors directly so heavy pressure to settle early is fel. Spain is barely even a direct colonizer anymore *if played right* - hehe check My Ultimate Spain Guide. One rule does apply to all: under no circumstance does one settle abroad prior to Renaissance.

Oversimplified Summary of Colonial Purposes per Civ:

Portugal: settle and grab resources without going broke or dying to Spain. You will not be cultivating highly developed colonial power bases for a later payoff. Grab the swag and check off the "Settle Here" boxes. Hint: Slaves, slaves, and more more slaves. #BandyTheChad

Spain: one colony to check-off UHV #1. That is all. Keep your native subjects precious metals safe. Catholic population if needed. Bonus armies to rule Europe if even needed.

England: UHV #2 obvs for just the land but will also designate and benefit from investment and specialization on the regional level. North America the timber-fueled ship and redcoat printer, Central America for TC, trade routes, and hot swag, South Africa for the midway settler factory Plus the Durban hammer machine, India the Trade Company and Wonder/Shrine Jackpot, Austrialia for....ummm nm watch out for fuggin emus. Vacuum all the resources to keep Core cities healthy and happy and run the London Machine at max capacity.

France: Similar to Spain, the seasoned France players wins the colonial game in Europe before the first galleons even set sail. Unlike single-minded and equally-designed Spain, her three UHVs tug in opposite directions and most required NA territory must be settled, developed, and defended directly. France is probably the most apparent and recurrent example of the perils of settling too early. And like England, heavy investment is required for the NA settlements to pay off; unlike England, you have so much less less to gain that the opportunity cost alone puts the enterprise in the red. Necessary evil at best.

Netherlands: UHV schedule is so pressing and the world state on spawn so wildly unpredictable there's not to be said. By turn 5 the player knows if the game is won or lost not much use in discussion game play anyway. At some point I'd have finished a petition to Leoreth regarding the Dutch like...not...ummm..working? in their current state.

Oversimplified Grand Strategies:

Portugal
: You get My Overwritten Epic Guide instead. .

Spain: Yes I'm plugging my Guide to End All Guides again. I do know I still need to End (aka finish) said guide. TLDR; You win in the game in Europe. Spam Tercs Conqs and Canns.

England: Three main phases: beeline and build Santa Maria to transform and leverage the London snowballing specialist economy (Bulb tech > Free GP > Free Big % Modifier Building for Shrine Gold, Academy to squeeze even more research juice out of Specs and base commerce > Faster techs > New powerful Civics (Mmmmmm....the London/Reg Trade/Centralism triangle) > Oh damn now you have a Museum and Santa Maria in the same city that can fill BFC and run 8 specialists> More GPs > Faster Techs > Redcoats vs. Crossbows > Oh dang accidently reached Industrial Age > omg hiiiii Corporations glad I threw together this world spanning empire with like ALL the Resources. See where this is going?) Meanwhile Edinburgh builds galleases for the Religious War that *you* (yes you) are going to trigger. Academia is the priority, not Exploration. Naval superiority permits the player to trigger conquerors at will and after critical techs are cleared, with a juicy capital Shrine to help fund the adventurers. By the same token can you pick the time and place of foreign settlements as well. Specialize the districts of empire as outlined above. Phase three: Like Big Boats and Can Not Lie.

France: Rome and Italy is the key. Paris can only culture and Wonder. Bordeaux is doomed to either be mid at best or to hamper Paris. Marseille is strong but can't pick up Bordeaux's slack. Rome is the first critical missing piece. Gold to play the deficit research game longer and a military machine in case Marseille needs to Wonder. Naples can get versatile with production. Italian spawn is just a 10-turn delay of the inevitable, usually with a free Manufactory or some settled GPs. Santa Maria once again is the key to leveraging your food rich capital into the Specialist Snowball machine similar to London but, ya know, with more culture. You'll probably be drowning in GA's. One will obvs build Museum, the others are to be SETTLED, not wasted on a one-off Great Work. Why? Settled artists produce a per turn base culture amount that is exposed to any and all % modifiers that apply to city. Be amazed as the unimpressive +12/turn is suddenly magicked into +70. With Notre Dame and Santa Maria beelined, the next priority is Firearms. This is the start of the Winning America in Europe part; or otherwise said, we will be eliminating the competition, not racing against it. Spain and Portugal swiftly subjugated and their research steered away from the naughty techs. Take a break and build ships. England is now your island. New World competition no more. Conquerors whehevs for more subjects and more commerce for Paris fueled by the Tributary/Reg Trade steroids. Found Protestantism if you feel like hehe, wreck HRE. No more Wonder competition. No race to settle NA since England's territory counts as yours. Instead wait for the Cotton and Cow bonanza and roll up blinging Gendermes for sporty Mohawk whacking. Game is already won. Bored? Start gifting settlers. More free heavily multiplied commerce for gay Paris and protection against instability. Bored waiting for German birth protection to buzz off? IDK, West Africa? Early Napoleon on the Pollacks?

Netherlands: CTRL + Z autoplay turns. Watch Portugal. Decide on restarting before spawn. If not, restart on turn 2 when a Privateer mercks the Fluyt carrying the two precious bombards.
 
Coloby is expensive except for England, so here's some suggested spots from my experience:
1. Sugar island on Caribbean. It provides commerce, happiness and health for your cities, and you don't need worker to improve it. I usually settle there as my first colony.
2. Cartagena de Indias. Building that city allows you to ship across the new world.
3. Guyanna. This area will not flipped by anyone.
4. Montreal. Very productive city after you build levee. But be aware of the Mohawks!
5. Winburg. Very productive too. It is surrounded by mine resources.
6. Colombo. There's a wonder giving your artists +1 food, which helps you micromanage your cities and may help french uhv. It never obsoletes.


The worst colony I have seen is Macau. I was killed by China everytime as Portugal.
 
Coloby is expensive except for England, so here's some suggested spots from my experience:
1. Sugar island on Caribbean. It provides commerce, happiness and health for your cities, and you don't need worker to improve it. I usually settle there as my first colony.
2. Cartagena de Indias. Building that city allows you to ship across the new world.
3. Guyanna. This area will not flipped by anyone.
4. Montreal. Very productive city after you build levee. But be aware of the Mohawks!
5. Winburg. Very productive too. It is surrounded by mine resources.
6. Colombo. There's a wonder giving your artists +1 food, which helps you micromanage your cities and may help french uhv. It never obsoletes.


The worst colony I have seen is Macau. I was killed by China everytime as Portugal.

Can’t remember last time I was able respond with “I agree with every numbered point and have nothing to add.”

*But* I have to submit Mascate as my nominee for worse colony. Macau can be kinda decent if handed over peacefully and once you get a Feitoria and Jail up. Even better if China collapses soon after.

P.S. for #1 you mean Spice island in Caribbean Im sure? Ditto.
 
Colombo for Germans/Austrians, hmm.
 
Don't agree with France strategy. It's not fun. Rome is must have, sure.
Last time I played France - I started Napoleonic wars then we all have replaceable parts in Europe. It was fun))
 
Which tile improvements do you guys go with for Paris? If you cottage everything Paris will have horrible production. I tried lumbermills on all the forest and cottage on open tiles, seemed like a decent compromise
 
Which tile improvements do you guys go with for Paris? If you cottage everything Paris will have horrible production. I tried lumbermills on all the forest and cottage on open tiles, seemed like a decent compromise
That's what I did, lumbermills are enough. But I have built the forge first, even before the theatre and always ran an engineer.
 
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