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Imperialism 1

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My first new game on random map in "normal" difficulty level; started fairly soon after I got an overwhelming victory at the first vote in my second try at "Beginner" mode.

(Indented lines are generally direct quotes from the game display.)

Country name "NZ", of course. Choose the "Random" option for names.

"Request from your Interior Minister"
"Select City Site
"Like any port or depot, your city will draw in resources from the surrounding countryside. Your city will be the hub of your transport network and your industrial command center."

Mouseover shows that a coastal site is required. I choose one that will have minimum overlap with the site of a later port that will exploit a grain farm on a promontory and two cotton farms, the chosen site having a reasonable amount of food plus timber.

"Candidate City Site
"Local food can sustain 4 healthy population (6 maximum)

It produces:

  • 4 grain - better than I expected, and as I later realised it's because the grain farms are pre-improved
  • 3 timber - the city site and two of the six adjoining tiles
  • 2 fish - two ocean tiles

That will do nicely. Click the approval button. City appears, named (predictably?) "NZ City".

Spring 1815

We have $10,000, a Prospector, and an Engineer. Technology stated to be purchased in 1815 amounts to Seed Drill (which lets farmers improve grain farms and orchards to Level I) and High Pressure Steam Engine (which lets engineers build railroads between tiles that are deserts, farms, forests, plains, or tundra. We later find that orchards are implied somewhere in that list.

Transport

"Give Transport Orders" is the first button in a row of four key buttons that appear at the top of most screens and just below the mini-map on the map screen. It leads to the Transport Ledger, which currently shows 2 Fish and Livestock, 4 grain, 3 timber, thus using (as shown in the Transport Capacity total at bottom right) 9 of the 15 freight cars indicated. A red line draws attention to the fact that there's an exploitable surplus there: we won't need to build more cars for a while. In addition to the three detailed icons that have numbers, there are 15 greyed-out icons hinting at future products. Mouseover each, and in the top right we see its name plus "Warehouse:" and "Needed:" followed by nombers. The numbers for the three that we produce (and another one that will soon become significant) were not noticed at the start. After we reduced the populatiob to 6 the numbers were:

  • Fish and Livestock: 0, 1
  • Fruit: 0, 2
  • Grain: 0, 3
  • Timber: 0, 0

Buttons at top left and right take us back to the map or to a "Help from your Interior Minister" menu "Transport Ledger Briefing".

City

"Give Industry Orders", the second key button, takes us to the city, in isometric view, presumed (for purposes of description here) to be viewed from the south. There are eight existing buildings and spaces for future buildings.

Existing buildings
  • Armory, near bottom left, showing what ground units we can build
  • Trade School, just north of the Armory, where we can order (at a modest cost) the training of Untrained Workers to be Trained Workers - double the productivity - then (at much greater cost) Expert Workers - double again, i.e. worth four untrained workers
  • University, north-east of Trade School, where we can turn Expert Workers into specialists - initially only Miner, Prospector, Farmer, and Engineer
  • Capitol, east of the Trade School, where we can arrange for a yokel from the countryside to come to the city by giving him food, clothing, and furniture
  • Shipyard, north-east across the river, where we can order the building of warships and merchant navy
  • Food Processing, north-west corner, where we can combine two grain, one fruit, and one meat (livestock or fish) to produce two units of processed food, which can be referred to as "cans"
  • Warehouse, listing current inventory (impressive) and the number of horses and the number of unemployed "Labor" - equivalents of untrained workers
  • Railyard, in north-east corner, where we order the construction of additional "Transport Capacity", i.e. freight cars
Future buildings

In the bottom half of the picture are spaces for six future buildings that we can build. They are functionally in pairs, with a primary processing mill next to the main spine road and a related finished goods producer south-east of it. Mousever will show that each building requires two units of input material and two labor units for each unit of output.

From left to right:

The factories have capacity 1 and cost one lumber and one steel to build; the mills are double that in all respects. Each can later be enlarged.

With our three timber units per turn, we will be able to produce three units of furniture every four turns if we have lumber mill and furniture factory built in time and enough labor to staff them whenever there's material to be processed.

What's in the warehouse

10 fabric, 5 clothing, 8 paper, 24 lumber, 5 furniture, 19 steel, 20 food (cans)

That's more than enough lumber and steel (nine each) to build all six of the buildings we can initially build. Build them all.

Workers

Four untrained workers, two trained workers, one expert worker. See the numbers in the left side frame pane

Using one expert worker, two paper, and $1000, we order one Farmer, who can start improving the grain farms and orchards we see near NZ City, so that they can contribute more when we build ports or depots within range.

That leaves us with a population of 6. Desired food requirements, according to the mouseover of the right side frame pane, are 3 grain, 2 fruit, 1 meat. It seems one person eats one unit of raw food (corresponding with the "6" maximum that we were told about the city), with the total requirements spread over the products in roughly the same proportion as are needed in Food Processing, i.e. half grain and a quarter each for fruit and meat. We produce 4 grain and 2 meat. So what happens to the two that want to eat fruit? We shall see.

Buttons at top left and right take us back to the map or to a "Help from your Interior Minister" menu "Industry Briefing #3" with easy access to previous briefings in the set.

Trade

Imperialism-trade "Give Trade Orders" is the third key button, taking us to a screen that lists 15 commodities (all possible products except individual raw food items). (The above screenshot was from the starting turn of a tutorial game, with prices the same but commodities not.)

For each, we can "Bid" to buy or "Offer" to sell, but not both in the same turn. Prices may change from one turn to another, more or less according to demand. Starting prices:

  • $900 for any of the four finished products
  • $100 for food cans
  • $300 for any of the four intermediate products
  • $100 for any primary products
  • $300 for horses

A column matching the warehouse numbers says how many we have available. Sliders set the numbers we want to offer for sale. (For bids, we will get presented with individual offers and can either accept in whole or in part or reject.)

Left side panel tells us what primary products our mills are short of. Right side panel tells us what intermediate products we are short of, and at the top is a ship icon "Merchant Marine" showing the number of items we can move (buying first, then selling) each turn - currently just 4.

As we have at present only enough food for our current population, we will not have any immediate desire for clothing or furniture to attract immigrants from the countryside; we therefore offer one of each for sale (just one so as to see which way the market will be trending). We also offer one lumber, because we will be replacing it soon with our plentiful timber supplies, and any trade offer accepted will add a diplomatic point in the register of the purchasing country.

Bid for cotton, wool, coal, and iron, because we produce none of them and have mills waiting to add value by processing them. At starting prices, any processing we do in mills or factories will produce a 50% profit.

Buttons at top left and right take us back to the map or to a "Help from your Foreign Minister" menu "Trade Briefing #2" with easy access to #1.

The world=

"Give Diplomacy Orders", the fourth key button, takes us to a map of the whole world with nation names. Five tabs change the map and accompanying text in various ways.

Knowing the great value of Trade Consulates, we spend $8,000 setting up one in each of the 16 Minor Nations. That will help swing some of them our way. Most of them currently have Great Powers Bin or Vasolo as their "Most Favored Trading Nation". Minor Nations look first to their favorites when selecting a trading partner for any desired buying or selling. If the favorite isn't in the market for that commodity, or flfils only part of the demand, the minor nation looks to its second favorite, and so on down the list. Second a subsequent favorites can be ascertained not from the trade map and text but from later examination of the Trade Pages that are available at end of turn, where each commodity's page shows which nations were offering (listing their preferences among the bidders).

Buttons at top left and right take us back to the map or to a "Help from your Foreign Minister" menu "Diplomacy Briefing #1" with easy access to later briefings in the set.

[more to come]

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