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Colonies - pros and cons

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Caspar_Esq., Apr 27, 2008.

  1. Caspar_Esq.

    Caspar_Esq. Chieftain

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    I know this will have been discussed before but I couldn't find a thread that answered all my confusion about this. There is nothing on colonies in the rather unhelpful Civlopedia;

    Could someone please explain the system to me and what the pros/cons are? I understand that you have to have two cities on a separate continent for a start. Benefits are;

    No maintenance cost
    +10 diplomacy to you

    What else?

    I'm playing on a Huge world map, and considering sending off a caravel with a couple of settlers, a priest (for apostollic palace) or a maceman. Can I send them off to the Americas, found the cities, make them colonies and forget about them?

    Are there benefits like vassal states with land/pop % going towards my victory total?

    I'm very confused and would greatly appreciate a simple explanation of what is involved :)
     
  2. DMOC

    DMOC Mathematician

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    Pros:
    • Can use colonies as a tech trading partner, especially if you found it very early in the game
    • They are another civilization who is friendly with you
    • They increase your overall power since they will create troops
    • City maintenance costs can be greatly reduced, which is probably the best benefit of them
    • Colonies can be used as a "landing" site on another continent, if you need to wage war there and your colony is on that landmass
    • You can also trade some critical resources that your colony possesses, although this impact on gameplay is quite minimal
    • Colonies make you feel proud. :) Prestige, that's what it's about (+1 happy)
    • Makes the game much more interesting

    Cons:
    • Civilizations will give you a -1 diplomatic stance
    • Civilizations will also take their diplomatic stance toward you and your colony, then average them out to determine their final diplomatic stance with you. If a civ is friendly with you but is furious with your colony, their attitude towards you will be cautious
    • Colonies will start with all technologies you have researched, making it a risk if you have just researched a critical wonder/military/game breaking technology and they trade it away
    • If you are going for domination, their land only counts for half -- therefore if you have three cities on a tundra continent but those three cities have culture that cover up the whole continent, it's better to keep them if going for domination
     
  3. Smakemupagus

    Smakemupagus Warlord

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    In fact, the mechanics are quite the same as vassal states. The +10 diplo modifier makes them quite reliable (unlikely to break away and good trading partner).
     
  4. Caspar_Esq.

    Caspar_Esq. Chieftain

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    DMOC -

    You said city maintenance costs will be 'greatly reduced' - not free?
    Actually do you have to maintain vassals too? I seem to remember something along those lines. How significant is the cost?
     
  5. Olodune

    Olodune Emperor GOTM Staff

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    This is the one that really makes me hesitate -- if I have even a small tech advantage. When coming from behind, or in the early game, its not such a big deal.
     
  6. Minor Annoyance

    Minor Annoyance Deity

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    Now that colony maintenance is caped at the distance from palace cost you can now just build the forbidden palace, and if the land is at all good for commerce then you'll more than cover the cost of maintenance of those cities. The cost really comes from the time it would take to develop those cities to pay for themselves.
     
  7. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

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    To add to what DMOC already said:

    *Colonies have to vote for you in leadership and victory elections. The latter is particularly important given the altered requirements for diplomatic wins (ie. you can't win if you have enough votes to elect yourself). Some of my highest scoring wins have involved liberating a colony a turn or two before the victory election. Cheesy, but very effective.

    *On B&S and M&S maps, a colony can be used to secure a load of seafood (for Sid's Sushi) from the island area. Just plant a couple of cities on one of the larger islands, liberate them, and let the colony expand to take in a load of other islands while you concentrate your own efforts on the main continent(s). Then, once you've got the corp, demand all their seafood and reap the profits of their expansion. As an extra bonus, you can spread the corp to the now resourceless colony to help pay the large maintenance costs you'll incur.

    Generally, though, I'd rather use a capitulated vassal to achieve these effects if possible. Only when that option isn't available will I look at using a colony.
     
  8. goldenhero

    goldenhero Warlord

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    Forbidden palace or State property, assuming you don't mind not having corps lol
     
  9. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam If A implies B...

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    The FP is huge though, because it is available at code of laws, not communism. I don't encounter many games where I invade or settle extensively off my starting island/continent before reaching CoL. I have MANY games where I never get far enough in the tech tree to have communism.

    In many of my continents dominations/conquests (and even in 2 of the LHC games), I relied on the FP quite extensively...My typical approach is to invade a landmass and use the FP there to pay for a large, large colony (usually towned up and quite capable of footing any remaining bills and then some quickly). Remaining intercontinental holdings are then often relegated to...vassals :evil:. However, one does want to be big enough to hold vassals, and having a super colony helps with that, as well as staging further offensives (and making units for such an attempt).
     
  10. goldenhero

    goldenhero Warlord

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    OH, I didn't realize how early the FP came into play >.<.
     
  11. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

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    On a side note, how do you create colonies? I tried to find this out in my last game where I had 5 seperate cities on another land mass but was not able to make it a colony. Should have checked the manual propably but couldn't find it out ingame. Anybody care to elaborate?
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam If A implies B...

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    Yeah, you go into the screen that shows all your cities/beakers produced/hammers produced etc, highlight the cities you want to liberated, and then click on the "liberate" button.
     
  13. Smakemupagus

    Smakemupagus Warlord

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    Woah ... I always did it the opposite way (click the liberate button and select the new colony from the list that appears). The way you describe sounds like it gives more control, i'm intrigued.
     
  14. ICNP

    ICNP The Third Superpower

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    The thing that gets me on colonies is how little they accomplish. I've liberated a colony before but because I let them off in the industrial age the techs were so expensive it took them 100+ turns a tech. Sure it was only two cities but it just felt pointless.

    And I believe the "Reduced Mainenance" comes from the fact you do pay some maintenance for vassals.
     
  15. jkp1187

    jkp1187 Unindicted Co-Conspirator

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    A couple of things to add/clarify:

    1.) Each colony (or vassal) gives your civ +1 happiness.
    2.) Having a colony (or vassal) will *sometimes* give you a diplomatic penalty with other civilizations. Sometimes it will not. I am not sure of the logic behind this.
    3.) Colonies (or vassals) will always vote for you as the AP/UN leader, and for your diplomatic victory.
    4.) If you are going for a diplomatic win, you cannot propose the Diplomatic Victory resolution in the AP or UN if your team directly controls enough votes (population) to vote yourself as the winner. (Colonies and vassals are NOT considered to be on the same team as you for this purpose, but permanent allies ARE on the same team.) You will need to spin off one or more colonies to get a diplo win if you are in this position.
    5.) It can be profitable to spam the cities of your colonies/vassals with your corporations.
    6.) You can also force colonies to give you (or trade to you on favorable terms) resources that you need for those corporations.
     
  16. Diamondeye

    Diamondeye So Happy I Could Die

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    PRO: +1 Hapiness in all cities for as long as you maintain the colony as a vassal (this applies to all sorts of vassals), traderoutes available while in Merc

    CONS: You divide your empire, losing focus in production and commerce, gpp, and you do no longer have direct control of the colony - the colony also pops soldiers of its' own.
     
  17. siggboy

    siggboy Monarch/Epic

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    Wow, lots of good information here already. I just want to add one more thing:

    Since the colony is AI controlled, it does get the bonuses to production and research according to the difficulty level that you're on. So if you create a colony on, say, Immortal difficulty then those cities will immediately become a lot more powerful than before.

    If the colony is large, this can possibly be decisive (and it also compensates for the fact that you can not directly merge your research efforts with the colony, as you could if it was a proper team member).

    My biggest issues with colonies are that they leak techs (unless you enforce a trade embargo which can be very bad for diplo relations) and that they're quite useless in wars, like most AI civs.
     
  18. gezahs

    gezahs Chieftain

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    Wow ... I am so glad to finally found this discussion.

    I have another question about colonies I would like to add:

    - If you already created a vassal-AI by giving independence to some settlements on another continent, what happens if you create new settlements on the same continent and give them independence again? Are they merged with the previously created vassal-AI or will a new one be created?

    oh and another one

    - Do you have experiences how this colony-feature fits into multiplayer? Is it more like a "do not" (create colonies), because you loose control of your recently discovered Civics, which the AI probably give away very easy.
     
  19. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

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    They're useless at fighting wars, but they can act as distractions for your enemy's troops. And, because their power rating is added to yours, they can be helpful in persuading AI civs to capitulate.

    Again, I prefer to use capitulated vassals where possible (because they already have troops, buildings and culture, and because you don't risk them trading your monopoly techs to all and sundry). But if you do end up creating a colony or two, there are hidden benefits on the military front alongside the more obvious economic advantages.
     
  20. Minor Annoyance

    Minor Annoyance Deity

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    You can do either.
     

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