I saw people having trouble handling a big Royal Expeditionary Force (REF), not getting enough liberty bells, or winning. I believe I have figured out the winning strategy, although it can be highly situational. Here I shall tell you how I won, and that even you can possibly learn something from my experience. I didn't start producing liberty bells until the mid 1600's, kept only 2 settlements up until that point, and never went to war. Throughout the entire game I spent most of my effort towards getting as many horses and guns as I could, and avoided selling things to Europe as that leads to tax increases. The King of England usually asked for small sums of gold, but there were two times I refused to kiss the ring and my tax rate only ever went up to 8%. The only things I bought from him were specialists, horses, and tools, and I only would sell to him things the other players wouldn't buy such as raw materials (that apparently includes silver). I was lucky to have a Cherokee friend south of me giving to me Silver I could sell to the king, since it was a raw material nobody else would buy from me (see 1st screenshot). I traded my cigars, coats, and cloth to the natives and even to the other Europeans on occasion. When you are making forces to defend yourself, Dragoons are purely meant for attack. Soldiers are purely defense, but tricky to use at best. Cannons are only good for attacking cities. I didn't bother at all with building ships because I knew Ships of the Line would take forever to build, and they weren't like militia and dragoons where I could hide them from the king prior to DoI (I think he adds units to the REF mirroring the ones you have). Because I had no warships (just a single caravel and maybe another transport) he never had more than 4 Man-O-Wars. According to the 4th and 6th screenshot, I apparently sunk one of his MoW (possibly it was in Jamestown when I retook it). The other players had privateers, but I got lucky and didn't get my ship sunk by any of them. I guess the French and Spanish were too busy screwing one another over to notice inconsequential me. Since he had only 4 Man-O-Wars, he couldn't bring more than 16 units at a time. That and the fact that he always left a garrison of troops at cities he captured, and that I managed to bribe the Arawak in an ill-fated war against him possibly helped. Be careful where you found your settlement; the natives do have borders, but they're invisible. You can tell if their borders are there if it says something like "100% Arawak" on a tile. I tend to try to avoid upsetting the natives by settling where I won't be on top of one of their settlements, so they don't get upset at me with "Your way of life is threatening to ours" or "You have stolen our land". The other European powers didn't seem to care (especially not the Dutch or Spanish) and they incurred the wrath of the natives who weakened them so they couldn't rebel effectively. I also avoided other Europeans as much as I could to avoid them encroaching on my territory and allowing me to grow without getting involved in their pointless wars. Of course, the Dutch apparently figured out what I was up to and plopped down an additional settlement south of their main colony to mess with me (for the lulz). Unsurprisingly, their antics resulted in attacks from the Incas and Sioux on their own private continent, and from the Aztecs and Arawak on the one I was on. I put Jamestown down at a place that wasn't too close the natives or other European colonies, near food resources, and next to a tile that had a hill with a forest on it. This give units on that tile a 75% defense bonus, and with the revolutionary war you will need to fight later on in the game in mind, you should not clear that forest. This isn't like regular Civ IV where automating improvements has no consequence. Building improvements costs money, and automated pioneers will be tempted to clear forests given the opportunity. When I lost and retook Jamestown, that forest-covered hill was key to me beating the REF. When the king's forces invaded, I let them take Jamestown and used a colonist that wouldn't have been able to outrun their forces found Barbados as a diversion. The king didn't ignore it, so he split up his forces by sending some of his army to defend the newfound city. I was scrambling to figure out a strategy, and at some point I took my two cannons at Plymouth accompanied by four militia and sent them to the forest hill the cursor points to in the second screenshot. The soldiers have a 25% defense bonus, plus the only founding father I was able to get had given my soldiers extra defense bonuses on forests and hills. All of that on a hill with a forest (75% defense +25% militia defense +50% defense from FF) made them virtually unbeatable. Plus some of them had Veteran and at least one had surgeon. After their troops would attack them and die, my cannons would attack the settlement at winning odds, continually withering down their REF forces in Jamestown to the point where I could retake the city. I did this with Barbados, but it was harder because of a river in the way. As you can see by the last screenshot, I only ever got 1 founding father. The French and Dutch went on a founding father blitz when I was busy making Newspapers, Ranches, Magazines, and arming my citizens for the inevitable war. But the one founding father I managed to hitch was a real winner for my situation. The Spanish declared independence much earlier than I did, making me very nervous. But they had a much larger empire, resulting in a huge Spanish Royal Expeditionary Force to beat. The King of Spain took many of Jose san de Martin's settlements, and Jose tried many times to drag me into his revolutionary war. I obviously declined, because that's the strategy I use to drag people into my wars! Why would I fall for one of my own tricks? Wishful thinking I suppose. After I won I wanted to see what the Spanish were doing. The 5th screenshot shows what their situation was like. The English Man-O-War you see hanging out down there was probably the same one that tried to sneak in English REF from the south for a sneak attack. Did this thread help you learn anything you didn't previously know? Let me know what you think!