I started playing Col2 the day it came out and it still has the power to keep me saying just one more turn into the early hours of the morning. In my latest game I played at Revolutionary level as the Dutch on a giant XL map of 60x96 tiles which is 2½ times bigger than the standard huge map. Normal speed and vanilla (except the map size). My merchantman made landfall on a mountainous coastline and then headed south until it found a fertile plain with cotton, tobacco and sugar available. The French were there first so I wiped them out with an amphibious assault on Quebec, and then captured their hardy pioneer a promising start. With the enormous amount of land to explore I concentrated my early gameplay on putting seasoned scouts into the field, and by turn 30 I had four of them searching for treasure. One was from the immigration queue, one had been seasoned by a village and the other two were colonists who had been trained in a nearby Arawak village. It would be over 100 turns before they had uncovered the entire map and visited all 85 Indian villages. Meanwhile New Amsterdam was flourishing and I employed a statesman from the start to keep the political points coming. I took Cabral (faster trips to Europe) when he was offered and my trade with the Indians helped bring in Minuit (cheaper units) as well as giving my economy a head start. My first major purchase was a galleon to carry the incoming treasure trains, and its maiden voyage to Europe netted me $3400. The Arawaks gave up a village to my expanding borders and I was able to establish my second port only 4 tiles from the Europe sea-lanes as well as an inland town near the mountains for tools and later gun production. My first colonist each time was a statesman to keep the FF coming. With the local area fully explored I could design my settlement, flagging the future colony sites on the map with Ctrl/S, a handy tool. There would be one colony each for the production of Coats, Rum, Cigars, Horses and Guns plus two for Cloth. With extra colonies for raw materials and a couple of specialist statesmen colonies for later in the game I would have 12 colonies in all. My scouts reached the West Coast, to be met by a Merchantman I had sent to explore the NW passage. It continued on to Europe via the western sea-lanes to pick up a load of guns and horses for trading with the Indian tribes on that side of the map. With exploration, trading and colony management now well in hand I turned to the fourth aspect of Colonisation combat. My scouts had met the English well to the south so I sent a boatload of cannons in that direction to meet up with my lone dragoon who had been moving down the coast ahead of them. This left my homeland defence rather thin but I had recently accepted Pocahontas so the local Indians were friendly. The English didnt put up much of a fight and I only lost a single cannon taking over their three colonies. I sent my galleon south to help collect all the additional colonists who were soon working in my fields. I finally met the Spanish who were at the bottom of the map and looked to be more of a threat than the English had been. They had been fighting against the Sioux and their lead defender in Isabella had a general and an impressive 9 promotions. I amassed a considerable army before taking them on and I had 3 dragoons and 7 cannons beside their border when I declared war. In the end it was an anti-climax because Isabella only had that one defender and he soon fell to my cannons, as did the other Spanish colonies. With all three European powers essentially sidelined I now had no competition for Founding Fathers and I accepted all that were offered. I could afford elder statesman for Political points as well as firebrand preachers for Religion points. I was creating Trade points by selling finished goods to Europe as well as continuing to trade with the natives, and Exploration points were already high. All that was lacking was Military points, and my army had now returned home. My cannons had done most of the fighting so it was time to give my dragoons some experience by attacking the local Indians. Sorry guys. Eventually all this fun had to come to an end. The entire map was explored and my scouts were returning home. My trading ships and wagons had emptied the Indian tribes treasury while the Arawak villages were just smoking ruins. Meanwhile the REF was growing at an alarming rate. Nathaniel Hawthorne provided me with 3 elder statesmen and I bought more to push up my overall rebel sentiment % in a late surge. I loaded my ships with guns and horses and distributed them around my colonies (including those I had captured). When I had everything in place I declared independence in 1669 with my rebel sentiment at 71%. By a lucky co-incidence Dom Pedro (free veteran and minuteman promotions) arrived that same year. I chose All Men are Free then went round my colonies converting the indentured servants into dragoons. Those in the distant captured colonies would take a while to get home but their journey was speeded up by the work of a lone pioneer who had been working most of the game to build a 40-tile coastal highway down the length of the continent. Finally I gifted the captured colonies back to their original owners to avoid having to defend them. And so the REF arrived. They had 54 ships and over 500 ground units, outnumbering me 10 to 1. If they had used all their ships in a single assault it would have been game over of course but they didnt. They only brought in 6 ship-loads (24 units) initially and I cleaned them up for just one loss. That was the pattern for the rest of the game. My rebel sentiment soon hit 100% giving me a 50% combat advantage added to all the other bonuses I had gained from my 38 Founding Fathers. I continued to trade with Europe, using my few warships to keep the trade lanes open. When I won the game on turn 200 I had only lost 15 ground units in the entire campaign, mainly because the REF made few amphibious assaults and their landed troops were easily dispatched. The final score was 1241 (normalised to 3775). My XL map counted against me here because the land component of the score was only 260. My big haul of FF made up most of the score but this was reduced by 1943 because of a high tax rate (61%).