At the beginning of the game, Europe is your best source of income. By producing goods in the New World and shipping them back to Europe, you can earn money to buy new Specialists, ships and combat units. But be aware - Europe will certainly want an increasing cut of your earnings. But with enough money and warriors on your side, you can declare independence from Europe and keep all your profits for yourself!
Sailing to and from EuropeEdit
On the edges of every map there are a series of colored lines. These lines represent the passage to Europe. You can click the "Sail to Europe" order at any time to send your ship on its way back to the motherland. If your ship is not currently located on a Europe tile, pressing the "Sail to Europe" order will tell your ship to automatically head for the nearest passage to Old World.
It takes several turns for a ship to arrive in Europe. Once there, the Europe Screen will automatically open. In addition, you can press [F2] at any time to visit the Europe Screen to check on your ships' progress to and from Europe.
To sail a ship back to the New World, select the ship from the "In Port" section of the screen and click the "Sail to New World" button. You can also click and drag the ship to the outbound window to send it on its way.
Ships' Cargo CapacityEdit
Transport vessels can carry only a limited amount of cargo. And while transport ships can carry both goods and units, only goods can be sold in Europe. Every transport ship type has a unique cargo capacity - Privateers carry the fewest goods and cannot units, while Caravels and Merchantmen have more cargo spaces and can carry both goods and units. Galleons have the largest capacity and are the only ships capable of transporting treasure units back to Europe to claim their true value.
Unless your colonial positioning is abysmal, sooner or later you are going to be earning a profit from your settlements. And sooner or later, the powers that be in Europe are going to want their piece of the action. As the game progresses, your King will occasionally increase your tax rate. This affects all your sales of goods to Europe, so that every time you sell something, the amount of gold you receive will be reduced by the current tax rate. The more you trade with Europe - and the more money you earn - the faster your tax rate will rise.
However, there is a way to break this cycle. Whenever Europe raises the tax rate against you, you are given the option to protest the tax increase by throwing a "Goods Party." If you choose this option, the tax rate increase will be ignored. You will, however, lose a shipment of the goods mentioned in the diplomacy box and will never be able to trade that good with Europe again. Take this into consideration before getting ambitious about not paying your taxes.
While a King's primary role is the taxation of goods sold to Europe, your King may at times request a donation of gold. If the King requests gold of you, you may choose to give in to his request, immediately losing the money but increasing your favor with the King. If you refuse, the King will grow angry with you. Although you need not fear the King declaring war, one can expect the King to increase taxes more often for those he doesn't like.
Conversely, if the King does like you, you can expect him to increases taxes more slowly. It will also be more likely that he will let you go to war with other colonies without payment. (See the Diplomacy concept for more information about inter-colonial war.)
The King can also aid you in times of need. If you are in need of quick military units, you may contact your King via the Score Display. By clicking your King's name, you can open the diplomacy window, where the King will offer a combat unit for immediate sale. If you purchase this unit, it will appear on the docks on the Europe screen.
The Europe ScreenEdit
Once your ship has reached Europe, you may access the Europe Screen ([F2]) to sell goods, purchase new goods or units and send your ship back to the New World. Ships in Europe will appear in the central "In Port" bubble, while ships that will soon arrive in Europe appear in the upper left and ships that will soon arrive in the New World appear in the lower left.
Buying and SellingEdit
The current price of goods is shown in the "Price List" at the bottom of the screen. The first number is how much Europe is willing to pay for such goods, and the second is how much Europe charges if you wish to purchase the items.
By left-clicking and dragging goods inside a ship that is currently stationed in Europe to the price list, you can sell those goods to Europe at the price indicated on the price list. Or you can press the "Sell All" button to sell all of the ship's cargo at the current prices.
You can buy goods by clicking and dragging the good you would like to purchase from the price list onto your ship. Note that you can only purchase goods if you have ships in Europe to carry them. Once your holds are filled, you'll need to send the transports to the New World to unload their cargo or purchase new ships to carry any additional cargo from Europe. If you are looking to purchase fewer than 100 of a good from Europe, you can hold [SHIFT] while you click and drag the good to your ship. A window will appear allowing you to specify exactly how many of the chosen good you would like to purchase.
By generating crosses in your settlements, you may cause free units to appear in Europe, ready and raring to join your colony. The next three possible immigrants appear at the upper-right of the Europe Screen. You can click on these three immigrants at any time to have them instantly become available for your colony (rushing immigrants in this manner does cost gold). Once an immigrant becomes available, they migrate to the "docks." To load an immigrant onto a ship, simply click and drag the immigrant from the docks onto the vessel you would like your immigrant to board.
By left-clicking the "Purchase" button in the upper-right side of the Europe screen, you can purchase trained Specialists, combat units or ships. Units bought in this matter cost an exorbitant amount of money (and if you are purchasing cannon, the price will rise every time you buy one), so if you are able to build, construct, or train such units in the New World, it will definitely cost you significantly less.