Help Beginner Lost!


Oct 10, 2007
I am completely lost at this game. The game manual doesn't help me much either. Where should I start learning the basics of this game? It seems like a fun game to play and I want to learn. Please help. What do liberty bells do? Should I focus on food in the beginning? Thanks for any help.



Dec 15, 2008
I can offer a brief overview of the game, but there are many paths to actually winning so I'm not going to get into too many specifics.

I do recommend going to the MOD section of this site, downloading and installing the Age of Discovery II mod by Dale. It fixes and adds a whole bunch of things, I would consider it to be more of a patch than a mod, but that's just me.

Alrighty.. so the general goal of the game is to declare independance, and then kill all of the troops the king sends at you, thus winning independance. The liberty bells are a reflection of your colonists desire to revolt.

Typically when I play, I found my first colony in a spot with plenty of food, then I work towards getting some income going. Income being my ability to generate one or two of the trade goods; silver, cloth, cigars, rum, or coats. You'll notice that aside from silver, the trade goods are refined from base resources; cotton, tobacco, sugar, and furs respectively.

After you put down your first colony, send your ship back to Europe - get used to sending the ship back and forth to Europe, as this is how you sell most of your produced goods, and it's also where you can pick up free immigrants. In the Europe screen there is also a very important button that will allow you to buy specific masters of professions and you can buy some troops and ships.

With that said, once I've got a bit of income from refining resources, then I start trying to buy the specialists that I need in Europe. You will notice at the top of the Europe screen that there is a reflection of how many crosses you are generating and how many crosses you need to get your next free emmigrant. You can increase your rate of getting crosses by building churches and cathedrals in your colonies and then staffing them with colonists. To get the really big bang for your buck, you staff your churches with Firebrand Preachers.

This leads me into what is typically my next step, I get some churches going so that I can increase the rate of emmigration from Europe.

Along with the topic of emmigration, I should mention that you can build schools, colleges, and universities in your colonies, this allows you to put a colonist in and train him. When the colonist has completed his schooling, you can then choose from the professionals in that colony and he gains that profession himiself. Typically I use this as a method for replicating the professions that are most expensive to buy in Europe - Firebrand Preachers and Elder Statesmen, but I do occasionally use it to get some other profession I am short on.

Once you get some economy going, you'll probably start replacing general colonists with professionals (more bang for the food they eat.) Then you'll start thinking about building some guns and horses. You'll need to build the required buildings to generate them. Each type has several upgrades.

You can click one of the icons in the top right corner of the screen to find your current rebel sentiment and also see what the king has allocated for the Royal Expeditionary Force. As you start getting into the midgame, you'll start paying more attention to this. It will reflect how many troops you need on hand to withstand the kings assault, and you'll also notice that you need 50% rebel sentiment in order to declare independance.

This is where the liberty bells come into play. Generally I don't put much effort into generating liberty bells until mid game. I do generate some that I can recruit founding fathers, another icon in the top left shows them to you along with their benefits and requirements. Once you start really wanting to get that rebel sentiment up, you can do it by putting elder statesmen in your colonies, you can also build printing presses and newspapers inside your colonies. One big note here - the more people that are in the colonyand in all of your colonies, the more liberty bells it you will need to have in order to reach the 50% requirement for declaring independance.

Look through this forum and you can find many different strategies that give more specific info on how to play the game. What I've written here is a pretty high level overview.

Good luck and have a happy revolution!


Oar Master
Jun 2, 2005
Pittsburgh, PA
I already put this on a previous post today, but a good way to learn the game is to limit yourself to 2 or 3 colonies, then you can see how functions of the game work without getting confused. If you try to micromanage a bunch of colonies you might not figure out how certain things work. I just won an Independence Victory in 1778 using the French. I only had two colonies, Quebec & Montreal, but I figured out most of the intricacies of the game. If you have a small colony, the King doesn't build up the REF too much either, (but will still outnumber you about 3 to 1). I wasn't all that concerned with winning, (since I just bought the game a week ago), but I declared independence around 1730 and retook my captured city of Quebec in 1778 while killing his last soldier with my last soldier & two dragoons for the victory. It was a fun game. Read the tips on these forums too, they will help you.


Mar 2, 2006
Yes, going with two or three colonies is probably the easiest approach to winning. Here's something I wrote to a friend who was having trouble at Explorer. (I don't claim that any of this is original to me!!!)

Let's see if I can give you some ideas and a suggested strategy for Explorer level. I've been playing at Conquistador and Governor, and things do indeed get harder, but let's go with a basic strategy that should work at many levels. After you have a victory at Explorer you can explore alternate strategies (and of course you can ignore this one!!) Okay, let's go, remembering that there are many other ways:

Basic Keys: Win fast with early scouting, only two or three Towns, and late Liberty Bells.

Faction and Leader: perhaps the best choice is the Dutch with Van der Donck as that gives you a merchantman and cuts in half the rate of tax increases. (With John Adams, be cautious to avoid premature generation of Liberty Bells. Champlain is a poor choice.) Besides, it would seem that the Dutch are your natural choice!

Towns: Starting location isn't as critical as you might think, but ideally one city is on the coast with lots of food. You want to have about two finished exports (better yet, silver), but you probably won't have time or need for factories. I want the second (and third) city inland leaving the one port as the target of the REF. Ideally, build next to an inland forested hill (and don't cut down those trees), this can be your defensive base.

Scouting: Get a scout ASAP. Sell your tools to the nearest natives and send the former pioneer out on foot. At Explorer you can safely--if nervously--sell your starting guns for starting capital. (I have yet to get burned selling them at Conquistador.) Have your "non-colonist" start scouting while you scurry back to Europe to grab a seasoned scout, or if none are available grab whoever showed up on the docks and convert them right there to a scout. Send the scout off in the other direction. When you run out of land ship your scout to another land mass, preferably one without European colonists (and their scouts). The goal of course is to visit as many villages as possible to get money and treasure. Unless you find a lot of treasure you probably shouldn't pay for a galleon since you have to find 6,000-worth to break even compared to giving the King his piece of the action. [Treasures on other land masses are problematic, since you don't have a town there for the King's galleons. If you're pumping out goods then a galleon may have a dual purpose.]

Cash: Use your cash to get your economy humming quickly, then build (or hurry) a school and college. Buy an Elder Statesman (and cheer if one turns up on the docks). Use the rest of the money to buy a bunch of cannon (6-10), and enough guns and horses to equip 10-15 dragoons (plus a token garrison--one soldier--in each town).

Education: Statesmen, only Statesmen. Put your first Statesman in the town with the college then slap three colonists in there, making sure that you have enough cash at the right time to pay for each graduation. [That's one of my favorite mistakes!] Then put in two more students to give you the six Elder Statesmen that you need for two cities. If you nine Statesmen you will probably have to buy some, and that's a good reason to limit yourself to two towns. printing presses and newspapers in all your towns (and build roads in all the tiles within two of the coast).

Once you have the elements in place (Statesmen, Newspapers, Cannon, Guns, and Horses), put the Statesmen in the Town Halls. You will go rapidly to 50% and declare independence while the REF is small, perhaps 10 regulars, 10 dragoons, and 8 artillery. [If sentiment is rising slowly you can dismiss surplus population, I stop accepting converts (dismiss them) late in the game.]

Once you declare, convert almost all your population to dragoons and pull them inland, one or two tiles away from your coastal city. If the REF takes that city they are sitting ducks for your counterattack, but you can handle the ones that land elsewhere. You should wipe out each wave as they land, or perhaps one turn later for stragglers.

Rinse, repeat.

This should work on any map size, probably even in a Quick game (though I've never played at Quick). It may fail if you have only a bunch of islands where the scout can't make enough money.

Give it a try and let me know how it works.

-- Ed

Oh, there's a trick that makes it even easier: initially build Political Points and defer everything else until you get Pedro Alvares Cabral (-50% Travel Time to Europe) and Peter Minuit (-25% Cost of Recruiting Units). It won't take long (even at Revolutionary!) and gives you a leg up.

Yet another: buy guns and horses and sell them to the natives until they run out of cash, that will give you a lot of quick cash to accelerate your development. If you do this be sure to build stockades and keep a garrison in each town. [Don't try this with hyper-aggressive tribes like the Inca, the Aztecs, and the Apache...unless they are close to other Europeans, preferably on a different land mass!]


Mohawk Games Developer
Mar 14, 2002
One important thing to remember, which I see as the golden rule of Col, is that everything has two paths to get it. :)

There is the specialised method of obtaining something, and the cold hard cash method.

For instance:
You can increase your production output by staffing a building with a specialist trained in school. Or, you could just buy the specialists in Europe.
You can build muskets from tools, or just buy the muskets.

One thing I find is using a mixture of these methods produces the most efficient colonies. So use training to teach resource gatherers, but buy the manufacturing specialists. This way you're not waiting too long to reap the benefits, but aren't just wasting all your cash.
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