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Newbie help

Discussion in 'Other Sid Meier Games' started by say1988, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    I had been looking to play colonization for quite a while (didn't put much effort in, but always had my eyes open), but never got a chance. Recently in another forum, talking about civ 4 colonization I was directed to FreeCol
    (I recognize this site isn't about FreeCol, but I am already on it and it should be similar)

    So I got it running, but even on the easiest difficulty, I can't seem to get myself established. I either get crammed in by other Europeans and/or natives with only 1 or 2 colonies, or in my latest game settled my own island, but though it had tons of ore, it had one city with lots of food and decent wood (2 fish, 10 food city square a few woods), but little wood, food, and no luxury resources elsewhere. So I have one good city, a useful one, but the rest are really bad (I am switching the single colonist between ore and tools).

    I have a quite a bit of civ experience (II and IV) but that just seems to confuse me. I can't get used to the fact that my colonists are everything.

    So, any tips on how to get my colony going?

    I have been playing Dutch, as they seem to help get started with the merchantman.

    From my attempts, some questions i have come up with are:

    Is it worth taking the time to look for a good, clear site for my first city (I am used to civ, where that is far to crippling)?
    Should I focus on growth in my cities, or expansion early (other threads here show ~8 is a good number)?
    Is it worth putting effort into bells early or should I focus on money/improvements?
    If I get a good food site (such as my +24 food at 3 pop) is it better to spawn colonists, or use it as a production powerhouse (with lots of population) and rely on going to Europe for people?
    If Europe boycotts a resource, will they ever lift that boycott?
    Are coastal cities really that bad, their convenience is so nice?
    One thing that really stood out compared to civ: Terrain improvements. Are they worth it early, or should they be ignored until you get established? 20 tools can be expensive early on, at least for me.

    Also any other newbie tips, and perhaps a ganeral build order to get new colonies established.

    Thanks for any time you spent on this, and yes it may be different that real colonization, but I hope it is close enough to get me going (much steeper learning curve here than civ).

    PS: I apologize if there is another source for this info here, but I have looked and can't find it.

    Wow, didn't realise how long this was until I accidentally posted it in the wrong thread:mischief:
     
  2. one2tieyourshoe

    one2tieyourshoe Warlord

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    I always sail my ship around until I find a good spot to build (I usually only build cities next to good wood like prime lumber). It's far less crippling than Civ makes it out to be.

    I always clear the land under my city (again, dunno, probably aesthetics mostly) and I clear land around my city and plow it. Usually though I pick and choose which squares to improve to save my tools but it really depends.

    I usually focus on throwing up a network of little one person colonies where I want them. Then I start expanding my cities.

    I'm not sure about FreeCol, but in Colonization one of the founding fathers can remove the boycotts, but otherwise no. Can you trade with the other Europeans? Is Peter Stuyvesant still in the game? If you get him and build his customs house, it will automatically export the goods to Europe even if it is boycotted.

    And coastal cities are a hindrance in the fight for independence as thats generally the first colony the King attacks so the more you have, the more your defenses are split.

    The first colonist in my city is usually always a statesman. I put a lot of effort into getting a lot of bells.

    I don't so much have a building order but there are a few important buildings you'll need to build:

    Stockade, Warehouse + Expansion, Customs House, Specialized Production Building

    I hope this helps. :(
     
  3. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    If you build a stockade your colony becomes permanent...beware :)
     
  4. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

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    I don't have freecol, but do play the dos for windows version. So some advice might not apply to your version.

    Yes. This is one thing I don't have a problem using the alt-WIN activation with (save/reload tho). The random map generator is horrible and at viceroy you don't want to give the AIs a several turn head start (they already get that by being already landed on prime locations on turn one). I take a peek and decide if it's a viable map and locate the closest starting spot if it is. That being said, if you don't want to do that, then try and find a spot that has two bonuses. Preferably a fishery and a prime timber. Another option is to go straight for the pacific ocean. there tends to be a lot of good sites on that side if you don't mind the extra turns sailing there, and the extra turns going to the motherland via the pacific.
    I like to develop my colonies. early on, I get the basic buildings done as coin is harder to get and tools can get expensive even at low prices. When I start a colony, the worker sticks to lumber until I get 52 in the stock pile. Then I place 3 colonists to open the lumber mill and build that before anything else. One you select the lumber mill you can remove two of them for other uses. (IE one as a soldier, one as a road pioneer).

    Pay attention to the forest lumber production. Conifer produces more than tropical, for example. So use those early tools to road that tile (+2 lumber). DON'T clear any tiles yet. Doing so is a huge waste. If you have a clear tile then of course plow it, otherwise wait.

    There are three things you want before clear cutting forest tiles. A warehouse, the obligatory lumber mill, and a hardy pioneer (train one if you couldn't get one through other means by the time you reach that point). Both the lumber mill and the hardy pioneer doubles the lumber you get. Clearing a conifer can net you up to 160 lumber, provided you have space for it. Hence the needed warehouse (keep lumber stocks low when you start clearing so you have room).

    Early population should come from the docks. You can avoid getting stuck with criminals most of the time if you pay attention to your crosses accumulated. The cost of a recruit is based on that. It's cheapest to "pay the way" of one when your one cross short of getting it for free. Paying the way re-sets the crosses, and you get to choose which of the three ends up on the docks. If one does slip through, or if all three available are crooks, get them free and use them for missionaries or scouts.

    Wait to explore rumors until you get De Soto, and wait to cash in any treasure trains (or attack any indians if possible) until you get Cortez. IMO the best first 3 FF are those two and Brewster. I like to see them join (in order) De Soto, Cortez, Brewster, Jefferson.

    Get "tax galleons" as early as possible. Keeping one of these anchored in your costal colonies can save you from tossing tools because of a high stamp act. You tax or toss option is based on when is on the stockpile bar. Keep one or two of each raw material there and store the rest in the ship. Again, best advice is to save often. I'll take the tax if only 1% most of the time (up to about 10% total). And in conjunction with the ship, you won't get killed early on with the King's greed.
     
  5. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    Thanks for the tips, I shall see if i can get this game.

    That last paragraph, though, went way over my head.....
     
  6. renohol

    renohol Warlord

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    i recommend freecol at freecol.org...

    for start up option pick a small land mass and medium difficulty and start with $50,000.

    when the game starts go to "View" at the top left and select Europe, purchase a Gallion, 2 artileries, Train a Hardy Pioneer, an Elderstatesman, an Expert Farmer and buy 100 horses.
    then load them all into your Gallion and set sail for the new world, then hit close at the bottom right corner and you should be back to the original starting point of your game.

    Sail to the left until your reach land, you want a coastal plot next to trees and land that gives ore, within 2 turns you should find a good place to start a colony. Unload your soldier and pioneer and have the pioneer found your new colony and fortify your soldier in the city. Then feel free to explore with your Merchantman ship.

    In a few more turns your Gallion will appear close to your colony, move the ship into the colony then unload the horses and arts and passengers and put the Elderstatesman in the town hall, have your expert farmer farm your best plot of land, have your hardy pionner begin to build roads and keep an art with him at all time to keep the Indians from killing him. Next, take the free colonist you founded your colony with and equip him with horses, (right click on him and select). Now he is a scout and can go to Indian cities and get money from cheifs.

    OK, thats enough for now, have fun!
     
  7. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    Now that just feels like cheating. I could see giving some (more? do you start with any, I am not sure) starting gold, but that much defeats the purpose. I like the challenge, just wanted some advice to cut out a few wasted games.
     
  8. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    So I was playing a game today, and seemed to be doing better, wasn't getting many lucky breaks (i.e. fountains of youth), but not doing bad. Then my colonists (the expert ones of course) started disappearing while working in my cities (I assume a bug in FreeCol).
    But a question that came up: when I right clicked on ocean tiles, the each had different values. going from 3-15 food (basically worthless, to worth more than fish!). Can I tell how much they are worth, or do I have to manually check each one?
    Also, you mentioned not to get the goodie huts, will the AI not get them?
     
  9. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

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    As I said, I don't have free-col. In colonization, one of the first things I do is hit the "N" key in the colony window, which turns on the tile production number. makes it easy to tell at a glance how much each tile is producing (provided it is being worked). It does sound like a starvation issue, but can't comment on a "version" I have not played.

    As for waiting on the lost city rumors, the AI does grab a few of them, but it does not go bonkers trying to grab every single one of them on the map. If your in early game and close to another AI, you might want to go ahead and grab those, but save the ones out of reasonable reach of the AI for De Soto. I don't recall ever getting a fountain of youth before having him.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Panzeh

    Panzeh Warlord

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    The idea in the beginning is to try and get just a little seed money. You can get a lot of money at the start by buying trade goods from europe and selling them to the indians. One load should get you enough colonists to get your first real colony going.

    If you start with no money, you want to use your colonists to get furs, sugar, or tobacco. If you place your colony on top of the space, you will free up your other colonist to either start another colony(America) or explore(random). One load should get you started on the goods exchange. The idea of the game is to export stuff to europe early(or go on an indian death march if you play America) to get the money to rush buildings and become self-sufficient(early hammer production takes a lot of doing). You need to try and get stuyvesant or a tool line before the european market collapses.

    Many people may direct you to use silver for your early start but that's fool's gold. Because you have to use both colonists to get silver, and production is limited, it really slows down your development.
     
  11. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

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    I try to not build on special resources. Granted, they can make your center tile awsome in the beginning, but production with a specialist nets much more.

    I agree with silver being a weak commodity. You can make sufficient coin with level 2 products after that first load of furs ;). I have also read that some feel having an ore source with your initial colony is important. I disagree. It's much more important to have decent tiles around the colony square. A hill don't mean squat if your landing on, and surrounded by, rain/wetland/scrub forests. I target a good ore source for my second colony (landlocked, to avoid a costly "tools party").
     
  12. Panzeh

    Panzeh Warlord

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    I'm not talking about building on a special resource for your main colony, but establishing quick fur camps to get started. Because building off a fur tile requires a second colonist to work it, it can slow down your early game. It's better to have 2 quick fur camps than to have one, in the early game of course. It's important to have money to start a real colony because it's not really a good thing to be building hammers in the early game. It's way easier to make money than to get a good hammer line going that can get you buildings in a reasonable time.

    I would never build on a resource tile after i get my first few colonists, however. I'm just suggesting that you not start the game off with your main colony when you do not start with any money. Real colonies take a lot of time and seed money to get going and start being profitable, and it's not really worth it to use your starting colonists that way.

    Basically, get money early while it's very useful, because money is a lot less meaningful later in the game.
     
  13. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    Never thought of buying buildings. Figured that would be a late game/emergency thing.
    Will take that into account.
    Right now in my game, I have ~25000 in treasures returning to my territory (and a lot more huts to pop), just got to get my galleon bought. Plan to use that money to go on a genocidal rampage.

    And with your resource colonies, is it possible to disband one once it is built? I notice someone said you couldn't with a stockade, implying you can before, do you just pull all the villagers out?

    Tools are fast becoming my bottleneck (the Indians have the good ore sites). Is it worth it to buy from Europe?

    It is getting to be a PITA to transfer goods from inland colonies to the coast. is tehre an easy way to do this? I assume this is what the trade route feature is for, but I can't figure it out.

    PS thanks for all the help.
     
  14. Panzeh

    Panzeh Warlord

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    When I talk about a resource colony, i'm certainly not going to be building anything, much less a stockade. You can disband any colony you like so long as there's no stockade or any fortification. Because of this, you should never put up fortifications unless you plan on getting a fortress.

    If you have buildings that need tools it's best just to rush the building with gold rather than go through the trouble of getting tools, even if you built the hammers yourself. For pioneers, go ahead and buy the tools from Europe, but make sure you store them on your spare colonists as a tool party will get rid of all of them in a warehouse.

    As far as indian genocides go, go after the big fish, the Inca and Aztecs first. The little indians are not worth the military effort required to exterminate them and it's best to save them for training up soldiers, arming them to hurt your opponents, and trade.
     
  15. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    Well, got going again, and several of my colonists got butchered by the Inca......
    I suppose I should have acquired more guns a while ago (my initial 50 don't go very far :blush:). I more want to get rid of them because their braves are cutting of my paths between cities than for the money, there are just so many of them.
     
  16. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

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    Are rush buy costs cheaper in FreeCol? In the original it's not that hard to get a hammer line going, and there are better things to spend early coin on IMHO. For example take docks. They require 52 hammers to build. If you rush buy it with zero hammers already applied it costs 1352 coin (x2 penalty). If you wait a turn and have 3 hammers applied it costs 637. and 598 with 6 hammers done. Early game you can get tools for 2 coin each. I feel it is more valuable to have 300 tools to work with early on than a single completed building.

    That's why the first thing I build is the lumber mill. I build the colony with my solider and put him to work harvesting lumber, use the pioneer to road the best forest tiles and explore for a few turns with the ship. Once that first colonist appears on the docks, I bring the ship home, load what goods are available and head for Europe. I'll buy whatever tools/horses I can get, or recruit another colonists if a carpenter or lumberjack is available.

    I watch my solider so that I have at least 52 lumber, then put him to work building docks (temp). When the ship returns from Europe I have the 3 population required to build the lumber mill (the colonist from the docks and the pioneer) and switch to that. Once switched, I can re-tool the pioneer and send him on road duty to the next colony site, along with the available free colonist. Alternately, I will put one colonist to work as a farmer and the other two as carpenters to get the mill built a bit quicker. Once that is done, you have a decent early game hammer line and can use your coin for more important things (cheap early muskets, horses and tools, or train colonists you want early such as a carpenter and lumberjack, and artillery).

    One other thing I keep an eye on is the hammer overage bug. If your producing 6 hammers per turn and you only need 1 hammer to complete the building, the carpenter will still use 6 lumber. I use the ship or wagon trains to trim down the lumber stockpile to match the required hammers to build. No sense in wasting lumber.
     
  17. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    My experience agrees, stick with building using hammers, until I get larger cashflow (i.e. wipe out eh Incas). Though I find it seems to pay to rush the tools.
     
  18. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    A new question:
    How do you get missionaries? I can buy one from Europe, but I can't figure out how to make my own. And what is the benefit, I see missions get you Indians, but is there any other benefit?
     
  19. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

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    you can have a colonist be "blessed as a missionary" on the docks, or turn one into one if your colony has a church built. At the higher levels of play, I don't bother with them. Your lucky if you get one convert, and quite frankly, I would rather have the criminal. At least it can be upgraded. I use Jesuit Missionaries to nix the other's powers missions. If I don't the Spanish get an absurd amount of converts.
     
  20. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    Dang, I wish I had known about right clicking people on the docks (just tested the missionary thing).

    Never built a church, as I didn't see the point of producing crosses.

    Right now I have more criminals/servants than I can find a decent use for. I have established many 1/2 person settlements to gather resources. I don't even have any enemies to invade (haven't met a European). And for some reason I don't pay taxes (there was 1 attempted increase, but since I didn't plan to export any ore, I told them to shove it).
     

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