How to have a tax rate near 0% and buy goods cheaply in Europe


Jan 3, 2009
Park a few wagons with some cheap goods in nearby native villages (say, with 50 horses or so on board). Save your game at the end of each turn. If the next turn gets you a favorable outcome (the goods you buy in Europe get cheaper, or the goods you sell get more expensive), save and keep on playing!

If you get a bad outcome (the king raises your tax rate, or the goods you buy in Europe get more expensive, or the goods you sell get cheaper), reload the saved game, and try buying or selling goods in a native village using the parked wagons. This usually changes the "trigger" for good or bad things happening, likely getting you at least a neutral outcome. You can also save up known "triggers" (combat, buying goods in Europe, etc.) for the end of the turn, and refrain from doing one or more of them that turn if the outcome for the next turn goes awry.

You should be trading extensively with the natives anyway, since they will offer some goods for sale (especially fur) at prices that are a fraction of what you can sell them for in Europe. I've gotten fur for about 1.5 to 2 gold apiece.

Using this technique, at turn 73 in a Pilgrim game, I've got a tax rate of only 1%. (The 1% raise happened on a turn where I got about 2000 gold in ancient treasure from a goody hut, so I wasn't going to forgo that just to keep the tax rate at 0%.)
Some (including me) would consider continual reloading to get different RNG outcomes to be cheating though.
I discovered another way to achieve this kind of task.
If you are not selling goods to Europe, your king is going to do nothing. I was playing with the dutch when notticed this. Only when sailing to the Europe with goods to sell, after transactions, in short time my king rised my tax rate.
Good catch!

Welcome to the Forums Stefanidis81. :beer:
Using this technique, at turn 73 in a Pilgrim game, I've got a tax rate of only 1%. (The 1% raise happened on a turn where I got about 2000 gold in ancient treasure from a goody hut, so I wasn't going to forgo that just to keep the tax rate at 0%.)

I have to say that this seems very tedious.
Why not become good at the game instead, so you can overcome even unlucky results?

I've won a Pilgrim game on turn 84.

It's by the Fall from Heaven II Art Team member seZereth.

You can find his gallery here.
I agree that its cheating, but it shows the length that people are resorting to, to actually enjoy the game......
I agree that its cheating, but it shows the length that people are resorting to, to actually enjoy the game......

I don't think this is cheating, but just another point of view of this anoying situation. And like you said, I played this game for a long time and this sorts of things came to me because of this fact. I liked the first and I like this remake even more so I don't think I'm doing something wrong by finding a way to avoid paying taxes. I don't remember to read somewere something about paying the taxes is duty of mine just to please a king that is asking me for money even when he is borred. This is my point of view.
I play Col2 with no reloads because I have had plenty of experience with the original game and the civ series. Other games that I am not so familiar with I might reload when I get wiped out. It's all up to personal choice, use the gameplay method that you enjoy most.
As a libertarian, I find it's refreshing to beat the king's attempts to extort money from me. I can certainly understand how this exploit might not be enjoyable to others, and they would prefer to play fast and reckless and let the chips fall where they may. I find it challenging and interesting to find a way, for example, to change a BS offer of experience from a goody hut into a 2500+ gold haul of ancient treasure (this really happened!) Different personality types enjoy different play styles, yeah?

IMO, if the game designers didn't intend this exploit, they should fix the game engine so that a certain amount of transactions (either by volume or by amount of gold -- the latter makes more sense to me) automatically triggers a tax increase, with far less randomness about the degree of increase. For example, if you've bought or sold 20K in goods, perhaps the tax rate should be at 20%, plus or minus a percent or two. I mean, it takes away from the willing suspension of disbelief about the game when buying 3 sugars from the native village right next to my port city changes a permanent 5% tax increase to a 0% tax increase.
For example, if you've bought or sold 20K in goods, perhaps the tax rate should be at 20%, plus or minus a percent or two.

So by your logic when you have sold 100k worth of goods your tax rate should be 100% + or - 1%?

Im sure that when america was founded the stock brokers and bankers evalurated the GDP to be X amount and increasing by Y % and so therefore after X times 5 - ( 5X times Y % minus ( X - Y ) times 5 divided by ... = Z

And determined that in Z years the world would end because everything they shipped to europe to sell was paid for in X gold - X gold for taxes = 0 Gold shipped back to America for PROFIT of X times 0 = end of the world...

Or in other words a slave nation generating goods and materials for free so the king can buy bigger armies to prevent you from rebeling. Eventually your rebel % will reach 999.9% and the king will be forced to spend his gold on production of the hydrogen bomb to eliminate the threat the new world causes to the stability of the world at large.

Hey it kinda sounds like our current economic relationship with china!

Anyway GG on flipping a coin over and over and counting how many times you get heads, but when it comes up tails you shut your eyes and scream this is not happening! and you flip the coin again and check it for that oh so lovely heads.
I tested another strategy that doesn't involve reloading.
In my other games, I rushed all commodities to Europe for sale, and by independence my tax rate was often in the 60%-70% range. But in a new game I tried *not* sending goods to Europe at all during the initial phase when I was out discovering treasure around the map with my scouts. I only sent finished goods (cigars, rum, coats, cloth) to Europe, and lo and behold, my tax rate hardly rose at all. Sure, there was a lot of wastage, as initial stocks of tobacco, sugar and skins tended to top out long before I had built storage capacity for them, but all in all I didn't really suffer from lack of income.

It made a huge difference in my tax rate, since I was only selling finished goods in Europe.

Cheers, --- Wheldrake
That's interesting, Wheldrake. In my first, and only game, I did the same thing - I rarely shipped raw materials to Europe. Just from common sense, you can make a lot more from that tobacco after it's manufactured into cigars, around twice as much. With just one cloth, cigar, coat and rum factory each I was able to pump all the mfg goods out I could handle. This also resulted in a huge treasury, 15,000-20,000+, so I could hurry anything I wanted.

By the time I declared independence, around 1670, my tax rate was 20%, low enough to still make very good profits. I did have a couple of parties, cloth and coats, and just converted those cities to maximize food, ore and lumber and build ships/dragoons. With only two manufacturing streams I still had plenty to trade. I took small loads of cloth and coats in my caravels and peddled them around until they were all gone, even if I had to take a "loss" sometimes. Never got as much as I would have in Europe, but anything you can get is better than dumping them. Picked up raw goods I could use on the return trips to augment my own resources. This all worked pretty well for me. In this game the other EU cols were weak, impotent colonies that never had enough money to really build up bilateral trade. From some other threads, this would probably not be the case playing on a large map.

It should be pointed out to all those freaking about having to pay taxes, this is a necessary evil you have to put up with until you are fully independent. First off, the King funded your original expedition and thus became a shareholder in your enterprise, and as such deserves some share. And the profits to be made trading in Europe even with fairly high tax rates far outweigh what you can make any other way. A 2500g treasure is nothing compared to a galleon fully loaded with mfg goods.

I did refuse all "gift" requests from the King, so I was not popular at all at court, but then since I lived in the New World, I didn't care. This actually worked to slow down somewhat the tax increases. And I did have a few "parties" for my less productive industries and any time the "party" was for raw materials which I already produced plenty of. Guns and trade goods you can also do without. Later in the game trade goods are less in demand by the natives compared to guns and tools. You can make all of those you need. In fact, most of the time I had 25%-50% of my blacksmiths and gunmakers laid off because my warehouses and wagons were bursting.
Re this: "In fact, most of the time I had 25%-50% of my blacksmiths and gunmakers laid off because my warehouses and wagons were bursting."

I've had 100% of my blacksmiths and gunmakers laid off permanently, in the sense of never having acquiring any to begin with. Why on earth would anyone devote resources to turning ore you can sell in Europe for 3 gold into tools you can buy in Europe for 3 gold? After taxes you're turning a loss on the operation. Even turning tools that cost 3 gold into guns that cost 6 gold isn't a great marginal use of your citizens, since it costs a hell of a lot of production to get those buildings up and running -- production that can go toward more critical uses. And, since the price spread between guns and tools (3 gold in the game I'm playing now) is generally less than the price spread between other manufactured goods those same citizens could produce instead, why not devote those citizens to their most profitable use?

In the game I'm playing now, I can buy fur from the native villages for 1.5 to 3 gold apiece and turn them into coats at 10 gold apiece, or buy tobacco for about 4 gold apiece and turn into cigars worth 10 gold apiece. And then I get back all the money I've spent in the native villages by selling the natives horses and guns at exorbitant prices.

Unless you have so many hammers and citizens that you're running out of productive things to apply them to, it doesn't seem economical to produce guns from tools. Better to devote those resources to building roads to the nearby native villages and then send wagons to barter with them.

In my current game on Pilgrim, it's just past turn 100 and I'm closing in on the 50% sentiment needed to declare revolution. All four of my cities are cranking out one wagon every single turn, each of which I'm promptly loading up with 100 horses and 100 guns being bought in Europe and hauled home in my galleons and merchantman (loaded up with cigars and cloth and coats from my factories on the outbound leg of the trip), stockpiling arms so I can switch every single citizen other than a handful of natives into a dragoon in a single turn to handle the laughably tiny REF force awaiting a swift demise. I'm drawing down a stockpile of well over 10,000 gold, and once I've got guns and horses for everybody, the remaining gold will be used to buy veteran soldiers at a bit over 1,000 gold apiece (plus horses to ride, natch).

Looks like the REF is gonna get slaughtered.
Regarding: "Even turning tools that cost 3 gold into guns that cost 6 gold is a great marginal use of your citizens"

Making guns is the most profitable and productive thing you can do in the long run. Of course turning ore into tools is really a waste since ore sells for like 3 gold and tools only cost 2 gold. You can sell the extra ore you have from indians and from your center city tile to europe and turn around buying tools for a net gain of 1 gold per transaction plus the benifit of tools that have use where ore is just a pile of rocks. If you dont make money this way you will at least break even or at worst lose one gold in the trade once prices get changed.

Then you build armory and all upgrades to it and fill it with gunsmiths. Fill your town hall with statesmen for the production bonus and make sure you have the expanded warehouse since you will be generating 45-65 guns a turn. Now you can either sell these guns to indians who will pay 2 to 3 times as much as what they cost in europe. And since guns cost on average 8 gold each you will get over 20 gold per gun from the indians.

Now lets do a little math, 2 gold spent for 1 tool becomes 20 gold earned from indians equals 18 gold profit or in other words a 1000% return on your investment. I cant think of anything else you can do repeatedly that generates that kind of profit margin.

Not only are guns a good way to get gold from indians but you can also build warships with them. Since you will always have shipments of tools comming in from europe all you need to do is wait 6 turns and you will have 300 guns to build that ship of the line. You can also get the production up with 3 carpenters and 3 lumberjacks. They will be able to make ships of the line in about 7 turns. Once you have your infrastructure set up all you need to do is move tools and guns around and a couple galleons can handle that, you can build them even faster than ship of the line.

But yes its very inefficient to mine ore with miners, forge tools with blacksmith, and machine out guns with a gunsmith. Its 3x more productive to just have 3 gunsmiths and buy the tools from europe.

Making guns even generates more profit than mining three different silver tiles generating 6 silver per tile. Not to mention the fact that over time the silver will get devalued and you will have diminishing returns. I showed the numbers on a different thread, could be on civ fanatics i forget. But good luck finding 3 silver tiles next to rivers all in one city. Most silver tiles have a base of 1 silver. And its rare to find more than 2 next to eachother.

Oh yeah dont forget that having alot of guns means you can muster a giant army of soldiers and dragoons. Population you can generate for free by fishing and farming in one town with no one else there to eat up the food.
Why on earth would anyone devote resources to turning ore you can sell in Europe for 3 gold into tools you can buy in Europe for 3 gold?

The trigger for tax increases is the volume of your trade with Europe, not the value. So if you buy a lot of low price goods such as tools your tax will go up faster than if you make them yourself.
And if you're buying a lot of tools your next tax increase may involve a tool party as the alternative; if you have your own manufacturing set up you can easily afford to "throw the party" instead of take the tax hike. Basically, it is best to be as independent as possible.

Second, if you are going to build up a lot of dragoons and ships, you will need a lot of guns, which needs tools, and tools. In the long run it is more profitable to make your own. And don't forget, the natives will pay better prices for tools as well a lot of the time. Use those holds to transport useful cols and the cheapest things you can get in Europe, usually horses and trade goods. Especially as horses are the least productive thing you can make yourself and are a big drain on your food supplies.
FWIW, in Dale's AoD2 mod, tools are more expensive - around 700 or 800 from Europe, and guns are a lot more expensive - around 1800. This makes a huge incentive to produce your own, and in fact I find I've got to get busy producing them ASAP in order to garrison my cities to protect against war with the natives. If I don't get busy right away making guns, the natives will declare war and crush me before I can defend myself.

In the vanilla game, it seemed all too easy, not only to buy guns and sell them to the natives for huge profit, but also to arm my own forces.

Cheers, --- Wheldrake
Top Bottom