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Guide to Win on Revolutionary.- The Spanish Conquistadors


Voluntas Omnia Vincit
Jun 15, 2004
Guide to Win on Revolutionary.- The Spanish Conquistadors

Vanilla Col2. Also tested for Dale's & Snoopy's PatchMod v 1.6
Map choice: Huge Western Hemisphere
Difficulty level: Revolutionary
Civ: Spanish (starting units: veteran soldier & free colonist)
Leader: D. José de San Martín
Speed: Marathon
Col2 specific acronyms.


The following guide has been tested at Normal and Epic speed as well although some tweaks have to be made as the number of game turns is significantly less and this alters the gameplay. Normal speed has 300 turns and Epic has 450 turns. I have no idea how many turns does Marathon have but it far exceeds 700 turns. In Marathon the food necessary to pop a new colonist is doubled the same as the number of muskets and horses requires to equip soldiers and dragoons besides other differences.

The main issue on vanilla Col2 regarding the speed issue is the building up of the REF as it has a direct correlation with the LB output. If you are playing a Fast or Normal game you just cannot afford the REF becoming too large or else you may risk running out of time to end the WoI. Bear in mind that during the WoI you will find that 8 turns go by without the King's troops landing because they are being ferried over from Europe. So if you declare Independence with few remaining turns left you might run out of time. You should rush the LB output close to the end to avoid the REF becoming too large on Fast and Normal speed to overcome this problem.

On longer game speeds such as Epic or Marathon, which are the ones described in this miniguide, the size of the REF becomes irrelevant.

Advantages of the Spanish civ for overall Conquest

Experienced civ players will be quick to pick up the Spanish for conquest reasons.-

a) It's the only civ that starts with a veteran soldier. Veteran soldiers are extremely valuable as they have as inherent promotion Leadership. The importance of the Leadership promotion and being the only civ starting off with a veteran soldier are explained in all detail in point 1 further below.

b) The Spanish have as trait a 25% advantage fighting against Indian natives which will come in very handy allowing for high odds in battle against them. This is developed in detail in point four further below.

c) And above all, if you choose D. José de San Martín (-50% XP) as leader your military units will be earning promotions in half the time against other units.

The logical conclusions are to combine b) and c) and earn both easy and fast track promotions attacking Natives.

Combining all three you are able to promote all your veteran soldiers (which can only be purchased in Europe, they cannot be educated or trained unlike Col1) very quickly to Veteran V units. This guide picks up on the three points above and exploits them to their maximum to win on Revolutionary level.

Step-by-step guide to win on Revolutionary.

1.- The single most important advice is to take out early fellow european colonies.

The main problem at this difficulty level is that the AI will declare Independence before you do. Specially nasty are the English which have a leader with an inbuilt trait of 25% LB production (John Adams). The AI ramps up the LB from the get go like there's no tomorrow. So you first goal is to take out the pesky european settlements one by one. America will be lonelier but your true goal is Independence. In any case the AI will continuously respawn more or less on the same initial spot it settled.

Send your caravel to colonize some nice spot, found a settlement with your free colonist and switch production to political points. You will not be building anything. The reason is that you want to win for your cause asap Peter Minuit and Pedro Alvares Cabral. These two FF are by far the most important in the initial and medium stage of the game. They also happen to be some of the first FF available so you will be hard pressed by the AI to win them for your cause. I've done it on Revolutionary so it can be done, no moaning :p. Once you've obtained both or one switch over from political points to building a stockade, warehouse, fort, dock etc.

Have your caravel with your second unit, the veteran soldier, combing America's shores on the look out for the English, Dutch and French you will earn a huge amount of exploration points on doing so helping you to earn FF Alvares Cabral. Once you've found their settlement which will not even have a stockade built, declare war and burn the settlement to the ground. Only if the settlement is close to your initial settlement keep it otherwise destroy it. The AI will respawn and send more ships to colonize that spot again. This veteran soldier should do nothing else other than being shipped around America destroying AI settlements. Useful captured AI units such as hardy pioneers or other captured specialists can be ferried back to your home settlement with the caravel and then start trading with Europe using this caravel; having left the veteran soldier wandering around for it's next prey.

The promotions you should seek for this veteran soldier should be: Grenadier 1 & 2 (plus 20% and 25% settlement attack respectively) and the Surgeon 1 promotion. Later on Veteran I, II, III ... The Surgeon promotion is very important so as to avoid giving time to the AI to build up a stockade or calling in reinforcements.

On taking the rivals out you will accomplish multiple side goals. You will hamper greatly all their progress, avoiding them to steal FF from you, you will be able to capture very useful units early on such as hardy pioneers (the French always start with one so look out for them) or even Elder Statesmen. Remember Velocyrix's SMAC guide on early and combined pioneer units working tiles so as to create turn advantage on your rivals. Besides the above your vet soldier will be earning promotions from very early on. I normally play with the Spanish (start with a veteran soldier) and with D. José de San Martín as my leader (-50 XP) which means that this starting vet soldier will earn promotions pronto. He will go out in the starting caravel hunting out rival european settlements. In Dale's and Snoopy's PatchMod this has been toned down somewhat as you can only declare war after the first 20 turns into the game. In vanilla Col2 you can declare war on them from turn one. They will not even have stockades built up, so they are easy prey and easy promotions for a veteran soldier which has as a starting promotion Leadership which grants them 100% XP on winning battles.

Shortly after, when you 've earned enough money, buy a Merchantman and let it do all the trade with Europe (you need to ramp up your trading points now to earn FF Peter Minuit) whilst your starting caravel is busy ferrying about the vet soldier and captured european units. Ideally you should send 2 soldiers to raze european settlements. If you wait to have dragoons they will already have built stockades and forts and may even have veteran soldiers on garrison. That's why you have to exterminate them at the beginning of the game.

Once the rival AI's have been all but crushed (check the F9 screen) the game is yours and you can play it at your own pace (Epic & Marathon).

2.- Do not build inland cities.

Coastal cities are ideal for trading unless there is a particular sweet spot inland with resources such as 3 tobacco. You can choose to build a city on a sweet defensive tile right next to a forested hill for the 75% defense bonus on fighting the WoI. Naturally you will avoid chopping down the hill's forest to mine it choose some other hill tile to mine it and obtain ore. The city in particular closest to europe and most likely to be heavily attacked by the REF should be the closest to the far right where the REF will land eventually and preferably right beside a coastal forested hill tile for defense. If it's close to a chokepoint all the better.

3.- More settlements is not better à la Civ ICS.

You can win fast with only 2 settlements built keeping at bay the REF (30 regulars, 15 dragoons or even smaller) and upping rebel settlement on the last turns (Fast and Normal speed) or take your time as I do and build 5 or 6 very large settlements of pop 15, 20 and above (Epic and Marathon speed). More colonists means the LB output is less so you must know what you are doing. It's much easier to ramp up the LB in smaller sized settlements than a size 20 city. Also bear in mind you will need 3 Elder Statesman producing LB in each settlement and they don't come cheap. So the more settlements you build the more expensive it becomes and the more Independence is post poned.

Although adding Elder Statesman at a latter age is good to avoid the REF becoming too large I would however advise doing it as early as you can (Epic & Marathon speed). You will of course buy or educate, preferably the former as Education is broken, Elder Statesman and have three in each settlement as early as possible. Besides, keeping the REF size at bay is more of a game exploit IMHO. A REF 8 or 10 times the size of your standing army can be beaten through superior tactics and manoeuvre. At Epic and Marathon speed the size of the REF becomes irrelevant so don't concern yourself with rushing LB at the last hour, do it early on. A normal colonial army to win on Revolutionary would be 25-35 dragoons with very high promotions which include 3-5 generals, 10-15 soldiers and a handful of cannons. That's all you need to wage war successfully.

4.- Fighting the natives early on not trading with them. Build up and promote your stack of dragoons.

Being Spanish you have an inbuilt trait of 25% against Indians so I suggest you take advantage of it. The first turns of the game I train colonists in their tribes.- fishermen, farmers, trappers, tobacco planters, cotton planters etc. you cannot purchase in Europe trappers or planters so these skills must be learnt from the natives.

Indians are opportunists and will attack you over time when they sense you are weak. You can check the negative modifiers in the trade screen mousing over their heads. When the negative mods outweigh the green ones you know you will be attacked by them if you are rated as weak.

Normally by the time I'm in a position to create my second settlement, whether I buy the land from them or just plump the city risking their wrath, I already have ferried back from Europe muskets and horses in prepration for the First Indian War with the neighbouring tribe. Once you have wiped out the nearby Indian settlements you can think of expanding and settling a third town or more.

Foremost this game is about declaring independence and fighting a war against your motherland's troops. These troops will all be Veteran 2 at least if not 3 to reflect the ongoing European wars which have made them skilled. So it's important to start training an army early on to beat the REF.

I don't trade with Indians I don't even try to convert them I just use them as cannon fodder to train my troops (dragoons). By the time the REF lands their 300 plus units I have a stack of 20-30 dragoons with high promotions (Veteran IV or V plus Formation) of which normally 6-10 are veteran soldiers purchased in European docks and the rest are colonial militia. I typically spawn 3 generals fighting the ensuing Indian Wars and a further 1 or 2 fighting the REF (check the F5 screen to see when you will spawn your next general). Using the General's promotions is key in taking out a REF even 8 or 10 times the size of your paltry colonial army. Surgeon 3 promotion is invaluable only available to General attached units. Use this stack of dragoons against the Indian tribes building up your dragoon promotions. You will continously add in new units. Indentured servants and petty criminals make great soldiers as they take too long to be trained and educated currently so they are better employed as soldiers. Use your money to buy veteran soldiers from Europe they are worth their weight in gold due to thier inbuilt Leadership promotion. As you buy more vets their price rises so eventually there's a breaking point in which it's not worthwhile purchasing more. 6-10 veteran soldiers should be about right. The rest of your army will be colonial militia. When you spawn generals make sure you attach them only to veteran soldiers as they have the Leadership ability which grants them 100% learning XP (=experience points used to earn higher promotions). Third tier promotions are only available to general attached units so you really want these unita that have a general to promote fast. Couple this in with having chosen José de San Martín as a leader which requires 50% less XP to earn new promotions besides the inherent 25% advantage the Spanish have fighting Indian tribes and soon enough you will have built a woping stack of 20 Dragoons fully promoted to Vet V with Formation (Formation gives you 25% against other horses making the King's Dragoons easy prey later on).

On attacking the Indians roast your stack to give newer promotions to the weaker units. Your goal should be Veteran I-V and Formation promotion for militia Dragoons. The veteran soldier Dragoons should follow Veteran I-V, Formation and as last Surgeon 1 & 2. An excellent general candidate would be a Veteran soldier V Dragoon with Formation and Surgeon 1 & 2 promotions.

5.- Key to winning this game is building up your Economy.

Trading, meeting natives with a seasoned scout and later on razing indian settlements will yield all the funds you require to win. Buy a galleon if you play vanilla Col2 or 2 galleons if you play with Dale's & snoopy's PatchMod (as a galleon in this mod can only carry one trasure the same as in Col1whereas in vanilla Col2 they can carry up to 6) and ship back the treasures. First buy the the muskets and horses and only then the lumberjacks and carpenters farmers and fishermen. Your priority is food, following that Elder Statesman and then the trading specialists (Master Cigar Makers, Master Fur Traders, Master Weavers etc). Education is currently broken even with the Patchmod because it takes forever. You are better off just buying them off from Europe. Leave Gunsmiths, Master Ranchers for last. You must set up a good trade system asap to raise much needed cash. Depending on your settlement spot you will be able to choose from tobacco (cigars), fur (clothes), sugar (rum), cotton (cloth) and so on. Other raw matarials such as silver in Canada need no processing and can be shipped diectly. Create wagons to shuffle basic resources from one settlement to another such as tobacco to build cigars. Some cities may be specialised in planting tobacco and others in making cigars. Later on during the WoI these wagons may be used to store muskets and horses.

6.- The only thing one should be afraid of is running out of time to fight off the large REF.

I have lost games because it took the REF 8 turns to come back and forth from Europe bringing in waves of fresh troops. I do not advise leaving only 30 turns to win the Revolutionary War unless of course the REF is small and maneageable. I've lost games having declared Independence on turn 60 because of the sheer size of the REF. Normally the WoI requires between 60-80 turns for a REF of 300 + units just to play safe. I play on Epic (450 turns) or Marathon speed (700 plus) so my game lasts longer than the standard 300 turns of the Normal speed.

If you want to play on Normal speed or below just follow my strategy only changing to ramp up the LB production during mid to late game so as to avoid a huge REF. You should declare Independence at least before turn 250 just to play safe on Normal speed.

7.- You need not loose ever a city fighting the WoI.

No matter if it's placed in the coastline. In fact most of your cities will be sprawling across the coastline. Use your combined pioneers to build roads on all the presumable landing spots of the REF. The REF will land on your settlement which is furthest to the right, on the shore closest to Europe. Try to build the most vulnerable settlement, the one closest to Europe, right beside a forested hill tile. Place soldiers on these forested hills (so don't clear them for mining puposes which will negate the defense bonus) with Mountaineer and Ranger (light forest defense) promotions, specially in a peninsula chokepoint. You may use a general to award these units said promotions. There are several FF that grant you many interesting promotions.

If you like settling in North America & Canada like I do (roughly where the historical pilgrim colonies were) there is a peninsula on the upper far right (Newfoundland?) which is ideal to create a killing ground for the landing REF. On placing cities on the map not only should you consider food and trading resource tiles but also the potential for defense. The REF will land on the far right always. However later on in the game they will also deploy troops further down the coastline or even attempt direct amphibious attacks on the cities themselves.

8.- Some FF are very important.

a. Key but not essential on winning initially for trading purposes, as this game is an economical one, are Peter Minuit (-25% cost of purchasing european units) and Pedro Alvares Cabral (-50%time to travel to Europe).

b. From a military point of view Dom Pedro I is fairly important to fight the WoI gives you free Veteran 1 and City Garrison 1 (Minuteman 1) to all units, both gunpowder and mounted units, as well as speeding the spawning of new generals. On attacking a cannon or a wounded REF unit it is easy to obtain for a militia soldier City Garrison 2 (Minuteman 2) later on in the game. For Minuteman 3 promotion you need a general-attached unit which has to be a soldier (gunpowder unit), it's not available to Dragoons (mounted units).

There are many useful military promotions only available to gunpowder units and not to mounted units. Take your time to become acquainted with all the game's promotions. Other useful military FF are Ethan Allen (free Ranger 1 and Mountaineer 1 to gunpowder units) for guerrilla type warfare in hills and forests and the Marquis de La Fayette which inceases musket production in line with the tax rate.

c. Other important FF's from a political standpoint are obviously all those that increase the LB output significantly such as Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Samuel Adams. You should build printing presses and newspapers in all settlements to maximize the LB output besides having 3 Elder Statesman in each town hall. The higher the LB production, besides being able to hit 50% rebel sentiment sooner, the better to access all these useful FF which will help greatly in the ensuing WoI.

All the mentioned FF are important because they make life easier but you can obviously still win without them even at Revolutionary.

9.- On declaring Independence you have to choose your Constitution's civics.

I choose slavery (extra 25% food is a must when you have settlements with 20 pop, food becomes scant also getting FF Cyrus McCormick is great further on), 100% FF rate, controlled arms to up the 50% rebel sentiment, I choose the extra 2 indentured servants per settlement which I upgrade immediately to Dragoons and with the help of generals I had spawned in the Indian Wars give them promotions to Veteran 3. The generals I never attach to militia, only to veteran soldiers) and Manifest Destiny giving you 50% against Indians in addition to your 25% as one of the specific Spanish civ traits.

10.- Fighting the War of Independence (WoI).

By the time of the WoI I've already made peace with all Natives to avoid fighting simultaneously on 2 or 3 fronts. Normally I fight the REF in 2 fronts, north and south (Canada and Virginia) splitting my dragoon force equally in 2 stacks of 13-15 units each. These stacks mount over time as the WoI progresses as well as replacing those KIA. If you are only going to be fighting in one front then 20/25dragoons should do the trick. Make sure to road and connect your distant colonies or else organise a good naval transport system to ship units quickly if needed be.

The WoI normally drags on for 50-80 turns when you confront 300 REF units plus. Remember that on declaring Independance you will still have 6-8 turns until the REF makes it's first landing and that during the WoI 8 turns might go by without any fights until the King is able to ferry in a new wave of fresh troops. The REF only lands a maximum of 16 units per turn. You have to kill them off each turn as they land. Don't be daunted by their size.

The REF has a bonus attacking cities. So it's very important that you don't grow confident with your Minuteman 2 promotions garrisoning a fortress (175% defense). Think that fortresses are only good against Indian raids not against the REF. On fighting the REF you should always adopt an aggressive stance attacking them relentlessly, don't coward behing the ramparts take the initiative and drive the war to them unlike Col1. On doing this you will negate the REF's bonuses on attacking your settlements.

Remember all them nice specialists that helped you earn so much money? They now become useless after the DoI, unless of course you selected to continue trading with Europe as one of your Constitution's civics. So the fiery priests, the Master Fur Traders, the Master Cigar Makers etc all of them can be turned into dragoons or soldiers.

Using your generals.

You can use the 3 generals that had been spawned in the Indian wars to promote these newly drafted units. During the WoI you will spawn a further 1-2 generals as well making a total of 5 generals to promote greenies.

Normally I move into a tile a veteran soldier/dragoon with Surgeon 1 & 2 plus 3 other colonial militia which are inexperienced units which have just been drafted (no promotions). I attach the general to the vet soldier and If it has enough XP I promote him to Surgeon 3. The other 3 colonial militia dragoons I promote to Veteran III (the advantage of having D. José de San Martín as leader). If you use one vet soldier and only 2 militia you will still get only Vet III promotions for them (so it makes no difference at that point, obvioulsy they have stored XP but not enough to triger a 4th promotion in a row). If you use 4 militia plus the vet soldier you can only upgrade them to Vet II. So IMHO a general and 3 militia is the optimum number to promote using a general having as leader D. José de San Martín. You now can use these general promoted dragoons Vet III against REF soldiers and artillery to win easy promotions. Once they reach Vet V with Formation you can also take out the REF dragoons safely with max odds.

Your goal is that on confronting the REF your success odds should be above 75%. The stack of dragoons which were promoted against the Indians will be now your Army's backbone in the ensuing WoI. These heavily promoted dragoons (Vet V plus Formation) will all have 95% success rates or above attacking REF units (dragoons, soldiers and artillery). Needless to say before you engage a fight you should mouse over to check the combat odds maximizing at all times your unit roaster to always have the highest success rates and promote your weakest units picking up easy targets.

Choosing your general's promotions as well as individual unit promotions wisely are key to defeating a REF 8 or 10 times the size of your standing army. Dragoons are the key units to attack the REF. Unlike Col1, soldiers should only be ever used to garrison cities (never dragoons) or be placed atop forested hilled mountains on defense mode preferably with Mountaineer 2 and Ranger 2 promotions perhaps with a cannon or two to boot.

Only foot soldiers (gunpowder units) can earn the necessary Minuteman (to effectively garrison cities), Ranger and Mountaineer promotions. And only general-attached units have access to third tier promotions such as Surgeon 3, Mountaineer 3, Minuteman 3, Ranger 3 and Veteran VI.

You should garrison every city with 2 soldiers. The cities closest to the REF landings and which are more exposed as well to amphibious attacks should have a minimum of 5 soldiers in garrison mode. Try to promote these garrison soldiers to Minuteman I & II. They should only attack weak REF units such as cannons or wounded units to earn an easy promotion to Minuteman 1 & 2 besides the Veteran promotions which give them additional base strength.

Your unit-attached generals can be either soldiers left as garisson in cities or else dragoons. It's important to get hold of the Surgeon 3 promotion to speed up significantly the recovery of wounds. This becomes critical after the multiple REF waves that attack you relentlessly. An important factor is that Surgeon 2 & 3 cures units in adjacent tiles so play with this factor. My generals have the Surgeon 1-3 promotions. I nearly always have my dragoon stack right beside the city tile but out of reach of a shore tile should the REF attack amphibiously or land their troops there. The general in the dragoon stack with Surgeon 3 will heal both my stack of dragoons as well as the besieged soldiers in the adjacent city tile. Dragoons are only good on offensive and weak on defensive. So as a rule-of-thumb dragoon for offense and soldier for defense. Only if I'm seriously overwhelmed and risk losing my dragoon stack do I garrison them in a city until they heal completely in only 2 or 3 turns (the magic of Surgeon 3 promotion). Dragoons are killed very swiftly within a besieged city.

I also like placing 2 soldiers (Mountaineer 2 and Ranger 2) with a cannon or two atop forested hill chokepoints through which the REF is forced to pass on their route to a coastal city. The dragoon stack is adjacent to this forested hill (with a Surgeon 3 general-attached unit that heals swiftly both the dragoon stack and the units on top of the said fortified hill) and is ready to pounce on the REF units that have to neccessarily go round it. Cut the roads on that chokepoint (the REF dragoons will pillage them anyway) and create a killing ground for them.


All the above comments are valid taking in mind my aggressive play-style as the Spanish which will be very different gameplay from others and will differ depending as well on the civ and leader chosen. On following all the above I've won on Revolutionary level. Naturally if you choose other civs and leaders the strategy outlined might not work out as well as you do not start with a vet soldier to wipe out early on rival European settlements nor are you able to promote easily your dragoon units killing off Indian natives. The above strategy hinges on the said two points.

Although you can always buy a vet soldier in Europe early on by popping money with seasoned scouts on meeting native settlements. There are ways to overcome initial limitations or scant resources on choosing other civs and leaders. All you need is to plan ahead as every decison you take will have an opportunity cost which must be pondered carefully. This is an Economics game.
Memo: this strategy suffers a slight setback when the vet soldier dies in the first combat (against a Brit militiaman).
Memo: this strategy suffers a slight setback when the vet soldier dies in the first combat (against a Brit militiaman).


That happened to me also! But that is just bad luck. The strategy seems fine and executable. Nice work!
Agreed, it seems to work well. Now I'm not disciplined about following it. I kept the statesmen out of the town halls and I persistently traded with some natives...while exterminating the Incas, a fine Spanish tradition.
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