This page is based on a section of User blog: Robin Patterson/Col1 FAQ by Toby Douglass. Comments on it should be on its talk page rather than on the blog.Material copied from http://45mercystreet.com/computing/col94/index.html with specific (e-mail) permission of author (Toby Douglass)
When all is said and done, the final goal of your colonies is to resist the attacks of the Expeditionary Force. Accordingly, the ultimate purpose of your economy is to produce liberty bells, fortifications and cannon, for these and only these items meaningfully contribute to military victory.
There are of course a million different ways to play the game, but in my experience, there are a small set of particular strategies which pay off and the more of those strategies you can concurrently pursue during a game, the better you'll do.
These strategies are;
- Maximize early money production
- Optimal Rumour exploitation
- Early military conquest of other Colonial Powers
- Minimal number of Colonies with optimal placement
- Cannon and Liberty Bell production
Some of these depends on chance. Optimal Rumour exploitation requires de Soto and Brewster and if you've not been offered them, then you can only poorly follow that strategy. Similarly, if you start in a position well away from other colonial powers, it is hard to engage them. In these unlucky situations, you will not be able to pursue all strategies and your game will be accordingly weaker.
Maximize Early Money ProductionEdit
To grow quickly, both economically and militarily, you need a good supply of money. What this amounts to in the opening game is establishing a few single colonist colonies next to bonus squares and trying to obtain the appropriate specialist skills.
Remember to check European prices right at the start of the game so you immediately have an idea what's worth looking for. Furs are the very best choice, because their price in Europe falls much more slowly than anything else and because fur trappers produce large numbers of furs.
Maximal Rumour ExploitationEdit
The most powerful Rumour is "The Fountain of Youth". This provides eight free colonists. Hernando de Soto is crucial to this sub-strategy, since his presence in Congress means all Rumours produce a positive outcome, which in my experience approximately doubles or triples the number of Fountains you will uncover.
Of crucial importance is the presence of William Brewster in Congress; he ensures no criminals or indentured servants are produced in Europe. This has a huge uplifting effect on the quality of immigrants, for it appears to me that if the random generation of immigrants would have led to a criminal or indentured servant, rather than merely promoting that immigrant to a free man, what actually happens is that the game has another try at determining the type of the immigrant, and keeps trying until an immigrant which is not a criminal and not an indentured servant is produced. If the game promoted, you would find with Brewster a large number of unspecialised immigrants; what you actually find, in my experience, is a large number of specialised immigrants.
I hold that Brewster is in fact the most powerful Father.
Early Military Conquest of Other Colonial PowersEdit
In the very early stages of the game (e.g. first cargo being delivered to Europe), the other colonial powers are defenceless. It is trivially easy to buy 50 horses, create a Dragoon, and capture other powers' towns, since they are defended by civilians.
The key issue is to conquer settlements before a stockade is built. A stockaded town cannot be disbanded and so it extremely likely to leave you with a settlement which you really don't want in a really awkward place. This is more of an issue than it seems, because when a settlement is captured by a hostile European power, you will lose a lot of money from your Treasury - the amount you lose doesn't seem to be in proportion to the size of the settlement, but rather in relation to the number of settlements you have. This problem also occurs when Indians make a Raid, and the raid captures money.
Other European powers don't particularly set out to build stockades, however. For example, the Spanish often end up with a size 7 or so colony without a stockade. However, if a power is at war, it will try to build a stockade quickly. Also, if you attack a settlement and fail to capture it that turn, it will immediately switch to a stockade and of course it had plenty of hammers, it will instantly build.
Furthermore, having established military superiority on land, you will then find the other powers continue to land individual colonists in much the same area, where they are easily captured. Essentially, you obtain the other powers European supply of colonists.
After a little while, however, the other powers will try to colonise in other locations. But by this time, you should be in a position to pursue them, for example with a Privateer shipping a cannon and a dragoon.
Minimal Number of Colonies With Optimal PlacementEdit
The more colonies you have, the longer you will tend to take to be ready for Revolution, for there is more work to be done to make a larger number of colonies ready than a smaller number.
The minimal number is, in my experience, four or five.
If the Port town can effectively produce cannon, then four towns are needed, otherwise five.
There is no need for a University town. Four or five Statesmen and two or three Preachers can be trained in Europe and there is in fact no need for Dragoons, come the Revolution; only Cannon are necessary.
Colony placement is simple; the port is on the coast and the other towns are well away from the coast, so that the Expeditionary Force does not attack them.
Cannon and Liberty Bell productionEdit
The port town needs a fortress, 100% liberty and about a dozen cannon. Once you have these assets, call the Revolution.