Based on the date, the galleon on the box cover, and the pirate craze that's taken over pop culture thanks to a certain Captain Jack Sparrow, it's easy to think that 1701 A.D. is about flying the Jolly Roger on the Spanish Main. So you might be crestfallen to hear that this is actually a historical city builder that concentrates on the economic side of developing Caribbean colonies at the dawn of the 18th century. But even though that description sounds a bit blah, this sequel to 1503 A.D.: The New World and 1602 A.D. is more than just an economic simulation. Developer Related Designs has put a little too much emphasis on combat, but has balanced depth with such a great interface and a tremendous ease of play that this is still one of the most lively city builders to hit the PC all year.
Ah, the settlers are euphoric. Time for that massive tax hike!
The key is simplicity. Instead of going crazy with so many features and details that you get lost in micromanagement hell, 1701 A.D. is centered on the straightforward job of keeping colonists happy with necessities and creature comforts. So while you have an involved task ahead of you and must colonize numerous tropical islands, build houses and other town infrastructure, gather and produce resources like wood, fish, alcohol, bricks, gold, and jewels, and even set up island-hopping trade routes, the bottom line is always to make sure that citizens pay their taxes with a smile.
Best of all, you can't get lost in menus and spreadsheets (there aren't any), or ever reach that point where you're scratching your head over why the heck your homes aren't developing or your factories aren't working. There are four great tutorials here, and the basics are laid out so simply that it's easy to see at a glance what's wrong. Also, the game steps in with feedback that sets you on the right path during those rare moments when you can't immediately figure things out. It's been a long time since we've seen a city-building sim so free of finicky bits.
Much of this is made possible by the excellent interface, visuals, and sound. The game sports a clean, attractive look that lets you zip around the maps and zoom in on the 3D tropical paradises to check on your residents. Giving the people what they want is always easy; all you need to do is click on a house to see the face of a homeowner. A quick glance at his expression--laughing and jovial when things are going great, scowling when they're not--tells the whole story about your performance as head honcho, and the adjacent progress bars indicate how desires for specific products are being met. If this isn't good enough, you can also listen in for comments from the peanut gallery, which are always informative, if awfully repetitive. Hear "Our settlement is something to see!" or "What a wonderful day!" a lot, and you know you're on the right track.
You start with addressing essential needs like community, food, cloth, and faith through erecting buildings like town centers, fish farms, sheep farms and weavers' huts, and chapels. Meet these desires and the people will be pleased, which will result in both them and their buildings evolving to new social ranks (you start with pioneers, then move to settlers, then citizens, and so on) that bring with them demands for more luxurious items like education, tobacco, chocolate, and alcohol, and the ability to build new structures and facilities to provide all of these products.
Of course, if this was all that 1701 A.D. was about, the game wouldn't be particularly challenging. Thankfully, there are real obstacles to setting up a colonial empire in both the primary continuous mode of play, which is best described as an open-ended campaign, and the 10 one-off scenarios with specific goals like finding a lost ship or impressing a pirate captain. The most notable wrinkles in both modes of play are the islands themselves. They have limited types of resources, so you have to pick and choose a starting spot to set up, and then branch out elsewhere to access other necessities. Generally, you start off looking for a jack-of-all-trades island with plenty of basics like fish stock, good soil for grain, and maybe a clay pit, then head elsewhere as your colony develops a taste for the finer things, like booze and smokes.
This is where things get difficult. Since most islands permit the cultivation of just two or three resources, you need to sail all over the map in search of some goods. Maps are randomized at the start of each continuous game, but there always seems to be one vital resource that is impossible to find. One match it might be hops. The next it might be honey. At any rate, you can bet that by the time you find this missing link, a rival will have already set up shop next to it and won't be pleased about you horning in on the action.
You see, you're not the only European power colonizing the Caribbean. Competition is intense, and you need to race enemies to resources and slap up market buildings that stake your claim to all of the goodies in the surrounding area. Inevitably, either you or one of your foes is going to wind up in a position where a vital resource can only be accessed by an act of war. It generally doesn't take more than a few hours before you run into an enemy with control over some key island, like the only convenient one where you can grow the cane fields needed to make the booze that keeps your settlers too loaded to consider revolting. This is unfortunate, as military matters are the least compelling aspect of the game. Ship battles are simplistic, ever-turning affairs no more involved than what was depicted in Sid Meier's Pirates!, and land warfare is all about hurling units like pikemen en masse at enemy buildings. There is a diplomatic option, but efforts there are often wrecked by rivals who seem predisposed to hostility.
So the end result is that you have to put your dukes up a fair bit. That's a real shame, because 1701 A.D. does economics best, and the switch from ploughshares to swords is extremely jarring. Continuous mode campaigns are more enjoyable while they're still all about economics, which means that you wind up sort of dreading the moment when you have to move in on the turf of a rival like the pirate boss Carmen Marquez and spark the arms race that gets the fighting started. A more preferable option here might have been to keep combat at arm's length, and perhaps include a military advisor demanding money and resources for troops and ship expenses. This would have met historical realities and gotten the military into the picture, yet still kept the focus on the economics, where it clearly belongs in this sort of game.
What would the Caribbean be without the odd hurricane?
You have to suspect that battles would be a big part of the two-to-four-player competitive multiplayer mode of play (just like continuous solo play, but with human opponents), given the typically heightened competition whenever you go online. But that remains a question mark, as there doesn't seem to be anybody playing online right now. Servers were deserted through the first week the game hit stores, although this could be chalked up to apparently limited distribution in the early days. This is the kind of design that should work very well in multiplayer, however, barring any technical problems or other issues.
More of a lighthearted look at the age of exploration than a hardcore economic simulation, 1701 A.D. still has plenty of character and depth. It's not going to set the world on fire with innovations, but it has a fantastic interface, is very catchy, and boasts loads of charisma, even without any piratical yo-ho-ho-ing.
1701 A.D. Cheats
While playing the game, display the console window, then type one of the following codes and press [Enter] to activate the corresponding cheat function:CheatEffectBonanzaCreek100,000 moneyLinlithgowAll toolsSiliconValleyAll research completedParadiseCityAll custom goodsMariaDelTuleTrees and plants
1701 A.D. Game Walkthrough
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By F1_2004 AKA bob the builder
The purpose of this guide is to provide general and in-depth strategies, tips
and hints on how to build an efficient, effective and productive island colony.
Basically, I'm going to try and show you how to build a powerful colony
surpassing the computer-controlled opponents (henceforth referred to as "AI's"
for simplicity) and eventually dominating the island paradise we know and love
as "Anno 1701". I will say that this is not the "best" way of doing things
(well, ok, I'd be lying, else I wouldn't be writing this guide), as there are
different approaches to this game, but the stuff described in this guide is one
of the best approaches I've seen or read about.
If you've played any of the previous games in the Anno series (more
specifically, Anno 1602), you'll probably feel right at home with this game,
since the basis is very similar to its predecessors.
I will try to go in as much detail as possible, however I will assume you've
got a basic knowledge of the game, more specifically, things such as production
chains (e.g. clay pit -> 2 brickworks, which I will refer to "brickworks chain"
or "brick factory chain" or anything with "brick" and "chain" in it), housing
and building layouts, trade and trading routes, the concept of civilization
levels and advancement, using a keyboard & mouse, and so on. I will definitely
talk about the best/most efficient ways of doing said things, but basic stuff
covered in the manual is stuff that I will generally not spend too much time
I will also be writing this guide from the point of view of someone competing
against 3 hard AI's and hard pirates. The reason for this being, if it works on
the hardest settings, it works for everything. If you really want to push your
city-building skills to the limits, with fierce pirates and computer opponents
dogging you at every turn, then this is for you.
I won't kid you, being at war and trying to keep track of enemy fleets and
troop movements while simultaneously balancing the fragile game that is public
satisfaction, can sometimes drive you nuts. So, if you're into a more laid back
approach, with maybe one or two easy/normal AI's, this guide is perfectly
suited to your approach, although you won't need to do things at the hurried
and accurate pace described in this guide. Things will seem easier than what I
describe, but the strategies will still hold.
- But why should I expand and advance my colony in such a rush?
Well, for starters, you only really start making a lot of gold once your
islands are inhabited by a lot of merchants, which is pretty far into the game,
and gold is ultimately the driving force behind your army & navy and eventually
your conquest of the island world. Most of the victory conditions also rely on
advancement as quickly as possible in order to meet said conditions. Plus it's
just plain fun to out-race the opposition and smoke them with an overwhelming
fleet of warships.
1.0.2 Legal Stuff
This guide may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web
site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation
of copyright. All copyrights and trademarks are acknowledged and respected that
are not specifically mentioned here.
Copyright 2007 F1_2004
1.0.3 Revision History
1.1 --- Soon. Need to fix up some of the horrid formatting, as well as add
1.0 --- 21/03/2007. First version. Most sections covered.
Table of Contents
1.0.2 Legal Stuff
1.0.3 Revision History
2.0.2 Production Chains and Quantities
2.0.3 Trading Vessels and Warships
2.0.4 Tips & Strategies
3.0.1 Analyzing the Opponent
3.1.0 Development Strategy
3.1.1 Pioneer Level
3.1.2 Settler Level
3.1.3 Citizen Level
3.1.4 Merchant Level
3.1.5 Aristocrat Level
4.0.1 Final Comments
Throughout this guide, I use certain shortcuts or slang terms instead of
writing out the whole thing. Laziness is mostly to blame, Here's a list of some
basic terms I use:
- passive-buying/selling: setting your warehouse to automatically buy/sell
certain materials when a free trader ship visits your port.
- rushing carts: using the command that calls the next available
warehouse/market cart straight to the selected building. This option can be
accessed when selecting any production building with road access.
- setting up a [insert product here] chain: basically, build an optimal chain
of a particular end product. E.g. building a bakery chain refers to building 4
grain farms, 2 flour mills and 1 bakery, within close proximity of each other.
- main island: the first island you settle, containing your housing and most of
your facilities. AI opponents will not attempt to settle on this island, no
matter how much free space there may be.
- secondary/satellite island: any island that is not your original, populated
island. I highly recommend that you only have one main island carrying your
colony's entire population, with various satellite islands supporting the main
island with different goods. This is the most efficient way of structuring your
- northern island: an island of boreal/temperate/northern climate. You can find
these islands in the northern half of the map; the vegetation is green and they
offer wheat, hops, honey, blossoms and/or marble.
- southern island: an island of tropical/hot/southern climate. They're located
in the southern half of the map; the land is often golden/brown in colour and
offers wheat, tobacco, sugarcane, cocoa, gold and/or gems.
- pioneer/settler/citizen/merchant/aristocrat civilization level: this is the
highest level of your housing. For example, if you've just upgraded your first
few pioneers into settler houses and unlocked the first settler buildings, I
will refer to that stage as "early settler level". If you're well into
upgrading all your settler houses into citizens, I will refer to that as
"mid-citizen level". If you're close to moving on to fulfilling the
requirements for advancing your merchants to aristocrat level, and have
unlocked all merchant buildings, I will refer to that as "late merchant level".
- gold: the currency in the game, not actually given any name, but "gold" is a
nice and short term. Not to be confused with gold, the raw material
(unfortunately, you cannot mint your own gold coins).
- tax bar: this is the bar visible when you select any house in your
settlement. The colours range from dark green, light green, yellow, orange and
red. Dark green means your population will grow and advance to the next
civilization level. Light green means your population will grow but not advance
to the next civilization level. Yellow means your population will neither grow
nor advance. Orange/red mean your population will begin leaving your island.
You always want to avoid orange/red, otherwise, you want the tax rate to be at
the very edge of each colour so as to get the most taxes possible while still
reaping the benefits of that particular tax bracket (or colour). The more needs
you fulfill, the more you're able to push the tax bar forward while still
staying in the same tax bracket, so you get more gold. If your population is
neither growing nor advancing, you want to be in the yellow zone, as close to
the orange zone (without going over) as possible.
- over-production: producing more goods than your population needs. If you've
got 400 settlers and you build 2 alcohol chains, you're over-producing a lot of
alcohol (double the amount your population needs). Some over-production is
good, but a lot of it is wasted gold.
- "dancing" ships: method of screwing with the AI by sailing the ship currently
being targeted in circles around the enemy ships. More on that in the
"Mobilizing the Fleet" tip later on.
2.0.2 Production Chains and Quantities
First of all, a description of all the production chains, the ideal ratio of
production buildings-to-resource buildings, and how many inhabitants they can
satisfy. A big shout out to the SUNFLOWERS Community Boards for saving us all a
lot of time and grey hairs by providing us with this data.
Name of chain - (End Product) - Goods Produced Per Minute - (Optimal Setup):
Lumberjack - (Wood) - 3t - (1 Lumberjack's hut)
Fisherman's hut - (Food) - 1t - (1 Fisherman's hut)
Hunting lodge - (Food) - 1t - (1 Hunting lodge)
Stud farm - (Horses) - ??? - (1 Stud farm)
Cloth production chain - (Cloth) - 2t - (2 Sheep farms, 1 Weaver's hut)
Bricks production chain - (Bricks) - 3t - (1 Clay pit, 2 Brick factories)
Alcohol production chain - (Alcohol) - 2t - (2 Hop plantations / 2 Sugar cane
plantations, 1 Brewery / 1 Distillery)
Meat production chain - (Food) - 3t - (2 Cattle farms, 1 Butcher's shop)
Tobacco products production chain - (Tobacco products) - 2t - (2 Tobacco
plantations, 1 Tobacco processing plant)
Tool production chain - (Tools) - 3t - (1 Lumberjack, 1 Ore mine, 1 Ore
smelter, 2 Tool makers)
Lamp oil production chain - (Lamp oil) - 6t - (1 Whaler, 3 Whale Oil
Bread production chain - (Food) - 6t - (4 Grain farms, 2 Mills, 1 Bakery)
Marble production chain - (Marble) - 3t - (1 Marble quarry, 2 Marble
Chocolate production chain - (Chocolates) - 2t - (2 Apiaries, 2 Cocoa
plantations, 1 Confectionary)
Perfume production chain - (Perfume) - 6t - (1 Whaler, 3 Ambergris productions,
6 Greenhouses, 3 Perfumeries)
Jewellery production chain - (Jewellery) - 4t - (1 Gold mine, 1 Gem mine, 2
Weapon production chain - (Weapons) - 3t - (1 Lumberjack, 1 Ore mine, 1 Ore
smelter, 2 Weapon smithies)
Cannon production chain (Cannons) - 3t - (1 Lumberjack, 1 Ore mine, 1 Ore
smelter, 2 Cannon foundries)
Goods Consumed By 100 Inhabitants Per Minute:
Food - 0,800t
Cloth - 0,500t (till Citizens)
- 0,450t (Merchants)
- 0,400t (Aristocrats)
Alcohol - 0,500t (till Citizens)
- 0,425t (Merchants)
- 0,375t (Aristocrats)
Tobacco products - 0,300t
Lamp oil - 0,200t
Chocolates - 0,200t
Perfume - 0,200t
Jewellery - 0,145t
Colonial goods - 0,160t
Number Of Inhabitants Satisfied By One Production Facility:
Fisherman's hut / Hunting Lodge (Food) - 125
Butcher's shop (Food) - 375
Bakery (Food) - 750
Weaver's hut (Cloth) - 400 / 450 / 500 (till Citizens / Merchants / Aristocrats)
Brewery / Distillery (Alcohol) - 400 / 470 / 530 (till Citizens / Merchants /
Tobacco processing plant (Tobacco products) - 665
Confectionary (Chocolates) - 1000
Whale oil manufactory (Lamp oil) - 1000
Perfumery (Perfume) - 1000
Goldsmith (Jewellery) - 1380
This last table is the one you really want to keep in mind when expanding your
2.0.3 Trading Vessels and Warships
Your navy is your lifeblood in this game. Having complete naval supremacy in
this game means guaranteed victory, whereas a pitiful navy will get you invaded
and all your trade routes cut off. Try to at least match the navy of your
closest competitor (although you can get away with less by using various
tactics described later).
- Exploration Ship:
This is your starting vessel, and can be built through the small shipyard. It
has a cargo capacity of 3, can maintain an adequate sailing speed when fully
loaded with cargo, and can sustain moderate amounts of damage. It carries 8
cannon, so it can deal with single pirate ships (although barely), but that's
about it. Generally, it cannot deliver the ordinance needed in naval or coastal
engagements. I would just stick with the starting explorer; it's useful in the
beginning when you don't have easy access to cannon, but the more specialized
vessels are much better suited to their tasks.
- Small Trading Vessel:
Small, cheap, easily accessible vessel. It can sustain much less damage than an
exploration ship, and it has no firepower, but it is cheaper and easier to
produce in the early game (production only requires wood, cloth and gold). It
is also retains its sailing speed much better than an explorer when loaded with
heavy cargo, and is therefore well suited to early trade routes when you don't
have access to the larger trading vessels.
It becomes atrociously slow once it has sustained damage, though, and although
it might escape from one pirate ship (and crawl back to harbour at a slow
pace), two will definitely sink it. If the trade route is long and dangerous, I
recommend you either escort it with a small warship, or just go with a large
- Small Warship:
The first true warship you gain access to, it has a very respectable amount of
ordinance in the form of 12 cannon (which you obviously need to have stocked in
your warehouse before building one of these). It can sustain more damage than
explorer or trading vessels, and is the fastest ship available, although it
only has one cargo hold and slows down to a crawl if full. It will hunt down
and sink small trading vessels with no problems, and can sink pirate ships with
roughly 2/3 health remaining. It's your only choice of warship up until the
expensive large warship.
- Large Trading Vessel:
Perfectly suited for long trade routes, or large loads, it's a beefed up
version of the small trading vessel. 4 cargo holds, no cannon, and very
resilient to cannon fire. Start using these as soon as you can afford the cost.
They need to be researched at a university (a large shipyard is a requirement).
- Large Warship:
The Queen of the seas, there's nothing that can stand up to this beast. Which
is just as well, since it costs a lot of gold to research, and even more to
build (4000g). Armed with 24 cannon and unparalleled ability to sustain damage,
once you can afford these babies, you can make your presence felt. They come
with two cargo holds, and are almost as bad as small warships at hauling cargo,
but that's not really a problem since these guys are too valuable to be hauling
cargo around with. If you put the money into producing these, I suggest you use
them for their intended purpose. If you're at war often, you probably won't
have the resources to produce too many large warships, so I'd preserve them as
best possible. They're good at drawing initial fire (they'll take a lot of
damage away from your small warships), but once they get too damaged, get them
out of the fray and into the dry-docks before you lose a fortune.
2.0.4 Tips & Strategies
NOTE: if you're not too much into reading my long writing, just skip to the end
of the longer tips, where I give a summary of the whole deal.
Okay, let's get into the real meat, the nitty-gritty details, some of which
might look insignificant in isolation, but eventually add up to save you a
bunch of time and money (or just money, if you're one of those philosophical
types that go by the "time = money" motto).
- Initial island selection:
A very important choice. For your starting island, you'll want a nice, big
juicy piece of land together with what amounts to 2 choices: a northern island
with grain, hops and honey, or a southern island with grain, tobacco and cocoa.
Sometimes you might see grain, sugarcane and tobacco and think, "Score! I can
sit on my arse all the way till citizen level and not have to settle another
island for crops yet" but you'd be wrong.
Fact is, you're going to need another southern island for cocoa anyways, as
well as a northern island for honey, making for an extra island you have to
worry about. The best way of minimizing the need for islands is to get hops &
honey or tobacco & cocoa, then branch out for tobacco & cocoa or hops & honey,
respectively. Your third island will be blossoms & whale oil, and bam, you've
narrowed down your main islands to 3. You'll have small settlements for gold &
gems, as well as maybe iron ore or bricks, but those are low maintenance
settlements that need the bare minimum of building materials and attention.
There are a couple other efficient island choices, but they're not as common as
the ones I listed above, nor as good in my opinion.
NOTE: You can invade the Aztec and Pirate islands to gain access to an
unlimited gold and gem mine, respectively. The Aztecs require slightly more
than a ship-full of troops to conquer, but the pirates will require a sizeable
fleet before you can make landfall, as well as significantly more troops to
conquer (their town centre is quite far away from the coast, and they've got a
lot of cannon fire).
Since you get access to alcohol before tobacco, it's better to go for the
grain, hops and honey island, so that you can get your alcohol chain up and
running while you ferry materials to the tobacco chain for when it unlocks.
Also, southern islands tend to be close friends with the pirates, and believe
me when I tell you that you do not want to be close friends with pirates
(smelly folk, plus they've got a lot of cannon).
Clay and ore deposits are common, so they're pretty much a given on any large
island. Don't worry about unlimited resources; you'll have the money to deal
with that later on when they run out.
So, to summarize for you lazy people, begin your settlement on an island with
grain & hops & honey, large sized, with ore and clay, then eventually claim an
island with tobacco & cocoa, an island with blossoms & whale oil, and finally
islands with gold/gems as needed.
- Claiming additional islands:
You must be very aggressive in your settlement of additional satellite islands.
Make absolutely sure that an island crucial to your development is in your
possession before any of the AI players hit a civilization level that might
need a crop or resource growing on that island. Colonize a good tobacco/coca
island before you or anyone else hits Settler level. By late Citizen level, all
of the good islands will be occupied, and you might be out of luck depending on
the rarity of certain crops or minerals. You do not want to be forced into a
war until your bank account is comfortably in the black (late Merchant level).
Also, once you colonize an island, make sure you cover it with marketplaces as
best as you can afford. AI's will not hesitate to settle an island if you've
already got a warehouse on it. As a matter of fact, they won't hesitate even if
two other factions already have a warehouse on it, as long as there is an empty
shoreline (i.e. place you can build warehouses on). The only way to secure land
is to smack your marketplaces all over it, or to "lock out" the shorelines by
covering them with a marketplace. Even if they've already settled, you can
close them into their starting warehouse by surrounding their land with a few
So, bottom line, make like a dog and mark your territory well. The extra
materials/gold you'll spend on marketplaces is well worth the land you'll
secure with them.
- Stocking up on building materials:
Building materials are the number one thing holding you back from expansion. As
soon as you settle your first island, throw down 3-4 lumber huts, set your
warehouse to buy tools (henceforth known as passive-buy, e.g. "passive-buy
tools") and make a beeline with your ship straight to the free trader warehouse
for tools. Always send your ship to the free trader as soon as tools become
available for sale, you'll want as many of those as possible.
In the very early parts of development, keep rushing carts to your lumber huts
(that button when you select a lumber hut, that orders the next available cart
to go there). The quicker you get that wood in, the quicker you can start
building houses and growing your population, which is needed to unlock the
As soon as bricks become available, have the materials necessary to throw down
a clay mine and 2 brickworks asap, since bricks now become just as important as
tools. Make sure you've got a market near these guys for rushing bricks in
times of need.
- Selling off excess goods:
900 tonnes of alcohol sitting in your warehouses are about as much use to you
as 90. Over-production happens (although it should be avoided), so make sure
you sell off the excess whenever you see the opportunity to do so. I can't tell
you how much you should leave in your warehouses, but generally you try to sell
off as much as you can get away with. What does that mean? Well, let's say
you're producing an excess of alcohol on your main island, and you've got about
600 inhabitants, experience suggests that you can get by on quite a small stock
(~20 or so) and easily increase production by throwing down a brewery and two
plantations. If you're producing tobacco on the other side of the world, with a
population close to the maximum population your tobacco facilities can handle,
and you have to pray that your small trading vessel makes it across
pirate-infested seas, you might want to leave a larger stock in store.
It's mostly a judgement call. Look at your production facilities' capacity,
your population, the rate of consumption, the route taken by the goods, and
decide how much you can pawn off to the trader/other cultures. Make absolutely
sure you won't be needing building materials before selling them off; they're
always needed - sometimes in large quantities at once.
- Avoiding Over-production:
One thing you always want to avoid is over-production of consumer goods. You
can spend countless hours playing Anno 1701 and getting an intuitive feel for
the various production chains and how many goods they produce, or you can look
up the tables at the beginning of section 2.0.1 in this guide. Ideally you'll
use a combination of both, but never try to overproduce to "anticipate growth
needs". The best thing to do is have the building materials in store and build
the appropriate buildings when necessary. Your excess reserves will hold the
population off while your new buildings kick in (production chains kick in much
faster in this game than in previous Anno series, or at least I get the feeling
If you've got a good feel for things, you should try to build enough houses so
as to minimize overproduction. For example, the ~500 population mark is
particularly bad for settler/citizen level because you'll be needing more
alcohol/wool/food chains, but will be overproducing goods if you build them.
Use your best judgement in combination with the tables listed in 2.0.1 to hit
good population sizes.
- Building Placement:
As previously mentioned, I will not go in too much detail on patterns for
placing housing, roads and production facilities, because that is largely up to
personal taste. What I will do is give a few useful tips on how to use
land/cart capacity efficiently.
You generally want to have more markets in high-density production areas,
especially close to crucial building material outlets (wood, bricks, tools).
Upgrading marketplaces early in high-density areas is also recommended. Islands
that supply raw resources (blossoms, cocoa, honey, for example) also require
more dense spacing of marketplaces. This is why it is a good idea to localize
production of final goods, as opposed to ferrying raw materials around
A lot of crops require a cross-type area, as well as a 3x3 production facility.
Now, most crops can work at 100% with 3 (sometimes more) squares occupied by
something else, so often you can take up 2 spots of each to place the
production building and have everything aligned with a road, something like:
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr r = road
cccccPPPccccc c = crop/cattle area
ccccccPPPcccccc P = production building
ccCCCcPPPcCCCcc C = crop/cattle building
Cattle farms can work at 100% with 5 squares occupied by another cattle farm,
so you could pack together 2 cattle farms as follows:
Bakery chains take more space, so you can't fit them into tight corners as
easily as butcher chains. They can be structured as follows:
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr r = road
cccccBBBccccc c = crop area
cCCCcBBBcCCCc C = crop building
cCCCcBBBcCCCc B = bakery
cCCCcMMMcCCCc M = mill
- Managing the Population:
Two tools can help you control your population's advance; the tax rate bar (the
bar with colours ranging from dark green to red when you select a house) and
the "withhold building materials" button (offered at markets and warehouses).
Contrary to popular belief, these two should be used in exactly the opposite
way to how you might have thought. When you want to stop advancement, set the
tax rate to the edge of the light green section. Do not use the withhold
materials button, it just wastes tax money that could be had from moving to the
light green area (houses will only upgrade when tax rate is in the dark green
Similarly, when houses are ready to start upgrading, and you want them to, turn
ON the "withhold materials" option and upgrade houses manually and individually
(select house and press "U" or hit the upgrade button). Houses will upgrade
slowly by themselves, but when you withhold materials, you can manually upgrade
as many houses as you want, all at once. The quicker your houses upgrade to the
next civilization level, the quicker the population grows, the quicker you get
access to new buildings, and the quicker the new houses can max out on
population and you can crank up the tax rate to the edge of the yellow area
(where no more people will enter houses). It also lets you manage your building
materials more easily.
- Assisting the Free Traders:
The missions given to you by the free traders are the equivalent of winning the
lottery. In fact, it's not really a choice in the early-mid stages of the game;
make sure you do them, because you'll need the extra gold and tools they give.
If you're planning on competing with the hard AI, money will become a problem
eventually, and the gold bonus helps greatly in this department. You should not
have any hesitation in hunting down the Jolly Roger when asked to, which brings
us to the next tip&
- Mobilizing the Fleet:
Pirates are funny when they knock on your door at Halloween, but they're not
funny when they're knocking up your trade routes. Unfortunately, cannon is
particularly expensive to produce, and also requires you to jump through hoops
in order to gain access to it (citizen level -> build a garrison -> research
cannon foundry -> build an ore mine, smelter, cannon foundry). You're not going
to have the money or the time to do this early, so buying cannon from the
trader is the way to go. I always make sure to buy up to 24 cannon, exactly
enough for 2 small warships (and later&much later, for 1 large warship).
I suggest building a small warship as soon as possible, preferably shortly
after building your first trading ship (some time shortly after setting up a
tobacco/alcohol/whatever chain on your second island). Not only do you need to
defend your ships from pirates, but you might also miss out on the free trader
quests requiring you to sink a pirate ship. One of those alone can compensate
you for the warship you just built.
You can gain a huge advantage over the AI in naval warfare by "dancing" around
his ships, forcing them to get out of position while you pummel them with your
warships. The way this works is you engage an enemy ship (pirate or otherwise)
with one of your own ships (preferably an explorer), wait for them to get a
lock on your engaged ship, and send that ship sailing in circles around the
enemy while your other ship(s) move in and start firing on the enemy. The enemy
ship(s) will start spinning around in vain, trying to align their
port/starboard with yours. Sometimes they will switch targets, in which case
you simply do the same with their new target. You need at least two ships for
this, though, so make sure you've got them. This is practically mandatory
against groups of 2 or more pirates in the early stages of the game if you want
to avoid casualties.
In large-scale engagements, you'll want to pull back any ships that attract
heavy fire, and reintroduce them once the opposition breaks off. This way of
spreading the damage out over your fleet is effective for reducing own
casualties and increasing enemy casualties. A ship that has sustained heavy
damage still has as much firepower as one untouched by cannon fire.
Also, try to drag enemy ships into your coastal defences whenever possible, and
likewise avoid enemy coastal towers. The more firepower you can field and the
closer you are to your shipyards, the better your chances of success.
- Dealing with Conflict:
War in the early to mid stages of the game is something you want to avoid at
all costs. You'd expect war to set both of you back while giving the other
factions the chance to surpass you, but it's actually worse than that; with the
gold advantages the AI gets, you're now losing the war against all three.
You'll want to avoid war until your settlement has reached late merchant/early
aristocrat level, at which point you should have a very comfortable gold
balance and enough income to support large fleets and armies (both of which can
eat away your savings in no time). Until then, your best tool is the arms race
- the more/quicker you build up your population, goods production, fleet
(particularly effective in both discouraging the AI and keeping it at bay if it
does decide to attack), territory, etc., the less likely the AI is to get
aggressive and declare war on you. Igor is particularly violent, and the only
one really prone to declaring war in the early stages. If you share an island
with him, the odds are strongly against a peaceful race to aristocrat level.
In the eventual case that war does happen, the AI tends to commit most of its
fleet to one or two engagements, usually focused around or near your main
warehouse, unless it meets your fleet along the way. Once you defeat its fleet
(which shouldn't be too hard with the dancing manoeuvre already described),
send a warship or two to each of the enemy's secondary island warehouses. This
will greatly disrupt trade routes, with very little risk of counterattack since
the majority of the enemy's fleet is already broken. Once you mop up outlying
outposts (destroy the warehouse a few times, maybe land a unit or two to
capture some markets), you can slowly close in on their capital, mopping up
coastal buildings and shutting down any shipyards they may have. Blockaded and
without a navy, the AI is completely under your control, its islands up for
capture one at a time.
I won't go into too much detail on land combat, because frankly it's the one
part of the game that is very poorly done. What it amounts to is building a mix
of units, landing them on an enemy island, sending them headfirst into enemy
units, and hoping for the best. You might as well close your eyes and pray,
because you're not going to be able to do much once units get tangled together
in a mess. Most of the combat happens in thick forests or crowded cities, so if
you were planning on putting on your Napoleon hat and playing general, this
game will sorely disappoint.
3.0.1 Analyzing the Opponents
Before you set out to conquer your opponents, you must first study your
opponents. The hard AI basically comes in 3 forms: Emilio Castelli, the Italian
trader; Prince Igor Yegorov, the warmonger; and Madame Nadasky, the
dark-looking widow-type (for lack of a better description).
Castelli is mostly focused on trading, development and expansion, with the
least focus on military and defence. He will most likely offer to trade with
you, and he will likely be the biggest competition in terms of score. I find
that Castelli is the least violent of the three, showing very little
aggressiveness, and defending his lands very lightly. He also does not have a
particularly noteworthy navy. This makes him the perfect target.
Madame Nadasky is the most "balanced" of the three. She is economically strong,
and has a decent amount of watchtowers and troops scattered across her
settlements. It's hard to notice any particularly special type of behaviour
from her; she will occasionally use some lodge activities on you, but not
frequently. She also will not threaten you with war unless you've really
Igor is the most aggressive of the three. He's also often last in the score
charts, although that does not make him any less of a threat. His islands are
stacked with watchtowers and cannon towers, and his main island will be packed
with troops. This makes his islands a real pain in the arse to attack, so you
might want to not bother with that until the end. Crippling his navy is another
matter; if he had a particularly bad day, he will start threatening you with
war unless you pay tribute, so depending on the stage of the game, you might
want to consider laying the smackdown on his (fairly large) fleet and end the
threat on your colony. It's hard to recover from a complete navy wipe and
destruction of satellite islands, so he shouldn't be a threat (at least no more
than the pirates) if you decide to do so. It's actually a good way of keeping
him under control, as later on in the game (late merchant/aristocrat level)
he'll start massing warships, which can give you a big headache if he then
decides to declare war.
In general, the AI will always have some form of defence on his islands
(commonly watch/cannon towers, as well as troops on their main island) and
plenty of small warships with the occasional large warship. They will also
relentlessly expand to every single island until there are no more island
coasts left to settle, so try to cover as many coastal areas with marketplaces
as possible. Don't bother with trying to bankrupt the AI, it seems to never run
out of gold. Materials (building materials, weaponry, consumable goods) are
another matter; you can deprive the AI of these by shutting down any islands
that may produce these. It'll still get some from the free trader and from its
main island, but there's only so much you can get from those 2 sources alone.
3.1.0 Development Strategy
At this point, you're probably thinking to yourself, I finally cut the crap and
got to the real good stuff. Well, you'd almost be right. First, I'd like to
list out some assumptions I'll be making, so as to make the writing a bit more
straightforward (since the game can vary wildly based on initial settings and
For starters, I'll be writing this from the point of view of someone competing
against 3 hard difficulty AI's and "strong" pirates.
As previously mentioned, I'm writing for a challenging game, because if it
works against 3 hard AI's, it'll work against anything. The aim is to stay
ahead of the resource-advantaged AI by out-managing and out-producing it. I've
chosen the following settings to set up a challenging, yet interesting game (at
least from my perspective). If a setting isn't mentioned, then the choice isn't
- Island World: large
The smaller the island world, the sooner you'll have to declare war on
opponents. Since war is the least refined part of this game, and 4 different
factions can take up quite a bit of room, I always opt for large.
- Island Difficulty: normal
We want to keep things interesting, but having to wait 4 minutes or so for the
demolition crew to clear out rocks is just annoying.
- Map Composition: big islands
See "Island World".
- Raw Material Outcropping: few (or normal if you wish)
I'm going to go with few, although I'm leaning towards normal, since the AI
snatches up islands like a rabid dog, which brings about the land combat issue
- Start With Warehouse: no
You can't choose a starting island if you don't have a choice.
- Revealed Map: yes
Micromanaging a ship around and relying on getting lucky and hitting a good
island isn't my idea of a fun time. If you think otherwise, feel free to hide
- All computer players present, including the 3 hard AI's
- Seed Capital: plenty
If you start off with 25k or 10k gold, you're just not going to have enough
gold to support continuous development. This means that, at some point (usually
quite early in the game), you're going to have to jack up the taxes and just
sit there watching the bank account slowly increase while you do practically
nothing. Just start with 50k and minimize waiting time.
- Pirates: strong
Y'arrr, there be no other way, cap'n.
- All disasters on, trader assignments & guests on.
I will also assume, for simplicity's sake, that you've chosen a large island
with grain, hops and honey for crops (as discussed earlier), as well as at
least one ore and clay deposits. If you, for any reason, have chosen an island
with tobacco and cocoa, or whatever it may be, adapt your plans accordingly.
3.1.1 Pioneer Level
So you've just settled down on your first island. Birds are chirping, trees are
swaying, your opponents are floating about in the ocean making merry and having
tea parties. You need to act quickly, because this is your head start.
You're aiming to hit settler level at around the time when the last AI settles
on an island, so you want to get those pioneers up as soon as possible to
unlock the cloth production chain while stocking up on as many tools as
[As soon as you settle land with your explorer, send him off to the free trader
to buy tools, and passive-buy tools at your warehouse. You'll want to buy any
tools from the free trader's warehouse as soon as they pop up, so make sure you
keep checking. Keep passive-buying tools for now]
Start off by building 1 fishing hut right next to your warehouse, as well as 3
or 4 lumber huts. Hunting lodges are cheaper, but they are farther away from
the warehouse, take a heck of a lot more room, and will probably require
another marketplace, which ends up being more expensive. Build a marketplace as
far away from the warehouse as possible while still having 2 or 3 lumber huts
within its range. This marketplace should accommodate your first housing.
You'll want to start rushing carts to the lumber huts as often as you can since
food isn't needed for now.
Once you've got that, set up a town centre and keep pouring the rest of the
wood into housing (17 to 20 houses should do for now). During this time, you
should scout out a good tobacco & cocoa island, preferably with gold & diamonds
as well (but not required). Some time between placing your houses, place 1
sheep farm and 1 weaver, followed by another sheep farm.
As soon as you get the tools for it, place a church, withhold building
materials from the market, and wait for those yellow arrows to pop up above the
houses, indicating they are ready for upgrade. Meanwhile, scout out a good
northern island with blossoms & whales (preferably 2 to 3 whales). If you
managed to find gold & diamonds on the tobacco & coca island, and both the
blossoms & the tobacco islands are relatively big, you will be able to support
a large population of aristocrats with just those 2 and your main island.
Anyways, soon after the church goes up, the cloth should start kicking in, and
your settlers should arrive.
3.1.2 Settler Level
As soon as you get one settler, put up a clay mine and a brick factory
(eventually build a second one), and start producing bricks. Also, visit your
newly founded church and pray that you get a visit from the smith, because the
extra tools will be a huge help. Once the brickworks are up, continue
mass-advancing your pioneers whilst providing tools for them via free
trader/passive-buy/trader quests. Start buying passive-buying bricks also;
you're going to need them soon for breweries and cattle farms. You should get a
visit from the free trader some time soon, and provided you advanced a lot of
housing at once (blow all your tools on advancement), the free trader should
hit at about the time the brewery gets unlocked.
The free trader will sell you tools and bricks, and your explorer ship should
be returning from the free trader house with some tools. This is when you build
a second brickworks, a hunting lodge and a brewery chain. Also, load up 7 tools
and bout 13 wood on your explorer and go to settle your tobacco island right
away. Make sure you place your warehouse there in a position to claim as much
land as possible, and put down a marketplace somewhere in a central area, to
claim as much land as possible (including any important resources). If the
whaler & blossoms island you spotted earlier is "too good to be true" (i.e.
lots of raw materials, large land, hops, etc), you might want to go settle that
one right after, because an AI on a southern island might very well grab your
future settlement as its first satellite island. It will settle your island
anyways, but at least you get first dibs on the land ;)
While the settler population grows (as quickly as possible, using the manual
upgrade button), your objectives are three-fold:
1) Build an alcohol chain, and later a butcher chain
2) Gather up the necessary materials for a tobacco chain as soon as it opens up
3) Build a shipyard and a small trading vessel, after the tobacco production
has been set up
Depending on your population (try to keep a population that would pay taxes
that keep your income no worse than -50) you might need to build a second cloth
chain. If so, also build a school, raise taxes, and research weaving mill.
Cotton will be needed for ships. As soon as a brewery opens up, build one chain
right away (1 hops plantation, then 1 brewery, then another hops plantation).
The wait between unlocking alcohol and unlocking tobacco can be significant, so
use this time to increase your housing and build that shipyard you always
wanted. Make sure building materials are waiting at your second island when
tobacco gets unlocked. If timed right, the shipyard should be built shortly
after you build your tobacco chain, so start producing a small trading vessel.
By the time the vessel gets built and sails across the seas to the tobacco
island, there should be a decent stock waiting. Set up the trade route, and
once that stock hits your main island, the citizens should follow shortly after.
Before you hit citizen, send your explorer out to settle your whaler & blossoms
island before anyone else gets their hands on it.
The game is usually at the ~35-minute mark at this point.
3.1.3 Citizen Level
There is a short waiting period between the time you hit citizen level and when
you unlock the whaler chain, so use this to increase population, build up your
fleet, whatever needs doing. You're going to need, more or less, 45 houses to
get the chocolate chain unlocked and have a decent tax income (~300g per
minute), so expand accordingly and build appropriate cloth/food/brewery/tobacco
chains to accommodate the population. Passive-buy cannon (up to 24t) and build
at least one warship, because pirates have a hankering for citizens it seems,
as does Igor.
Set up the whaler chain as soon as it pops up, and build a second trading ship
to ferry the stuff over to your citizens. It's a fairly easy chain to set up,
for now you just need 1 whaler and one whale oil shop. Make sure to turn up the
taxes to the max after the oil lamps get into the system.
At around mid Citizen level is when money usually starts to get low, especially
if things have been working out well for you and you've been expanding at a
fast pace. Citizens also happen to pay a handsome amount of taxes, so you
really want to get them all upgraded as soon as possible and jack up the taxes
to the edge of the yellow zone.
Also, start going out and actively selling goods to different cultures, as
trade sales can make a lot of money (provided you're trading the expensive
goods - alcohol/tobacco/whale oil/chocolates).
This is also a very good time to set up your tool chain, if you haven't done so
already (I usually set it up some time before I hit citizen level, or during
mid-citizen level if I haven't had the resources/opportunity to do so earlier).
Depending on how much you've been building, you might need to keep buying the
tools, because when merchants hit your settlement, you'll be needing a lot of
Once chocolates become available, have your tobacco & cocoa island start
producing cocoa right away (you did have the building materials ready &
waiting, right?). Build about 3 cocoa plantations, and wait for a decent sized
amount to build up (20 or so) before integrating it into your tobacco trade
route. Ensure that by the time the first cocoa hits your main island, a
confectionery and 2 honey farms are waiting.
If you have ~45 houses on your island, the population should be somewhere
around 850, meaning one confectionery and one whale oil shop should be enough.
If you have over 1000, you'd have to overproduce on these two, so try to stay
under (but as close as possible to) that number. Once you hit merchant and add
a few more houses (6 or so) and upgrade them all to merchant level, you'll hit
that sweet spot of ~1600 population, where most of the expensive production
chains are well used with just enough overproduction to make a decent profit
3.1.4 Merchant Level
Merchant level is when you start making lots of money and building up a
powerful fleet, so in a way you get the most creative freedom so far - the rest
of the game can vary greatly depending on what you choose to do now. If Igor
hasn't declared war on you yet, this is a good time to declare war on him (or
one of the other AI's if you've got beef with them). You'll be making a lot of
money from taxing your merchants once your population has stabilized (i.e.
everyone's upgraded), but will also need a lot more to supply them with the
colonial goods they need to advance, so it's best to focus on more pressing
issues for now.
NOTE: waging war on Igor or any other aggressive AI opponent at this point is
not mandatory, but it is recommended. Eventually, the aggressive ones will
declare war, and the more you delay it, the more difficult it is to deal with.
War takes a lot of time and attention away from managing your colony, though,
so if the AI has not bothered you this far and you feel so inclined as to
continue peacefully, feel free to skip the paragraph below.
Igor is a ticking time bomb, and he's bound to attack you eventually. My theory
is that the sooner you start attacking him and disrupting his colony, the
lesser the damage he will do to you in the long run. Mid-merchant level is as
good a time as any; build up a sizeable fleet of small warships (and a few
large ones if you're particularly stellar at trading and managed to build up
enough currency to research them) and start scouting out his fleet. Notice the
locations of his large warship groups (the AI often has his warships travelling
together in packs) and prepare to ambush them. I also like to send one warship
to each of his satellite island warehouses, so as to disrupt his trade routes
and repeatedly demolish his warehouses. Once you defeat his main naval force,
he should be tamed. See "Dealing with Conflict" in the tips section above for
Anyways, at this point in the game (mid-merchant level, with a decent income
coming in) you might want to consider upgrading some dirt roads to cobblestone,
especially main roads with a lot of traffic density. The speed boost is
significant, but not crucial. If funds are required elsewhere, roads can wait.
In terms of goods, perfume is quite easy to produce; you'll want it on your
whaler island close to your ambergris factories and blossom fields. Since half
of the infrastructure for perfume should already be set up (lots of whale oil
in stock), you should set up your perfume chains (build 3, to cover up to 2600
inhabitants and complement the 2 jewellery stores you've already got) as soon
as they open up. Jewellery can be a bit trickier, maybe requiring you to
transport gold or gems to another island before making the final product, but
one of each mine can support 2600 inhabitants so you're in no trouble. Jewels
also sell for a lot, so if you overproduce, don't worry. Make sure you put up a
marble quarry and a marble hut (one is enough for now, the second one will come
into play when you're close to advancing to aristocrat level).
It's now basically a matter of growing your population & production chains to
the point where you've got a sizeable income (1000+ per minute should do the
trick) and enough over-production for trade, that you can afford to start
buying colonial goods and not go in the red. From there on, it's up to you how
you want to continue playing the game, as your settlement is, for the most
part, set up and good to go for the rest of the game.
3.1.5 Aristocrat Level
The great thing about aristocrats is that they pay a lot of taxes, and are
henceforth your new best friends. The one problem with them is that they
require colonial goods, which are extremely expensive. At the early aristocrat
level, where your bank account might not be as great as you might have liked,
it is wise to try and obtain colonial goods by any means other than buying from
the trader. Doing trader quests at this point will net you a lot of money and
free colonial goods, and native civilizations will also sell you a certain
amount of goods at a lower price. Once your aristocrat population grows in
size, you'll eventually have to start passive-buying the goods, but at that
point your tax income should be able to handily cover the costs, and then some.
Your main objective at this stage is to grow your aristocrat population (while
supporting it with the necessary production chains) and unlock the various
castle sections. You should build one of each type of castle section as soon as
possible, because they increase your tax income significantly. You only need
one of each for the tax bonus (any subsequent duplicate sections do nothing
other than look pretty) so go ahead and build an ugly castle for now - you can
work out the finer details later on. The lighthouse, on the other hand, doesn't
turn much of a profit, so don't rush it unless independence is one of your
Eventually, at around mid-aristocrat level, the Queen will come knocking on
your doors. What this amounts to is the Queen asking for ridiculously large
amounts of gold as payment for her initial investment. Your choice is to; (a)
pay the successively larger sums until she decides to visit your colony and
grant you independence, or (b) refuse to pay tribute and engage her royal fleet
in glorious naval engagements. I suggest you build up a large fleet of warships
(preferably the large variant) and challenge her to a duel, so to speak. She
sends about 10 or so ships per wave (half large and half small), so you're
going to need a sizeable fleet of at least 6-8 large warships. Trust me, this
is the cheaper alternative - unless you enjoy paying up to 100,000 in tribute.
I'd personally rather invest the money in a fleet than in the Queen's coffers.
Fortunately for you, years of British naval supremacy have not taught the
Queen's captains how to deal with your simple "dancing" manoeuvre, so you
should do just fine (albeit spending a lot of time on the naval battles). They
will, however, try to hunt down your trading vessels, so you'll have to engage
Assuming you've not been madly waging war throughout your aristocratic days,
now is a good a time as any to start doing so. There's not much else to do,
other than build more housing and production chains, and make even more money
(which, by now, you should have more than you know how to spend). The aim of
this guide was to get the good tax-paying merchants and aristocrats to your
colony as quickly as possible so as to have the power and gold to wage war won
the AI, and hopefully some of this has been of use to you.
4.0.1 Final Comments
I appreciate any contributions/comments/critiques/questions/love letters you
might have for me, so please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with
any of the above. I'm always looking for good reader contributions to add to
this guide, so don't be shy. You'll even get your name in a pretty line in the
credits section below.
- GameFAQs for hosting this guide
- SUNFLOWERS Community Board for providing various data
- Myself for being awesome...nah, just kidding