Basic Strategy for Beginners

BackgroundI have been a Civ III player and have never tried Civ IV. I recently bought Civ IV Colonization and so I thought that I would write a few of the strategies that I have found successful in winning the single player game on the easiest level. I prefer the ‘builder’ style of play. A lot of the tips here are covered elsewhere in the forums, but hopefully this might be helpful for some.

1. Start choice. Play as the Dutch, Peter Stuyvesant. The Merchantman starting ship will give you an early advantage in trading and in settling.

2. Start. When you are starting with your ship in the middle of the ocean, go back to Europe immediately. Go to the Europe screen and rush as many immigrants as you can. Spend all of your money doing this. You may earn as many as 10 immigrants, most of whom will be specialists that are normally expensive to purchase directly from Europe (via the ‘$’ button on the Europe screen). You may be lucky and earn a seasoned scout and a veteran soldier. Once your ship arrives in Europe, load the soldier and scout if you have them, or other immigrants if not. Send the ship to the new world.

3. Stages. I divide the game into six stages: – early conquest, exploration, economy building, mid-game conquest, liberty bells, and finally revolution. I will provide tips for each of these stage below.

4. Early conquest. When you arrive in the new world, find your European adversaries. When you meet them, they will have started their city using a soldier to settle, and the pioneer will be working the land. Just outside of their border, declare war, move your ship to the city, and unload your soldier to conquer the undefended city. On the next turn, capture the pioneer, or if you have a second soldier on your ship, you can move the ship into the city and capture the pioneer on the same turn as your conquest. Explore and exchange maps until you find the other settlements. I usually keep these captured cities rather than razing them, unless the settlement is in a useless location. You should be able to make peace with the other European colonists in a few turns.

5. Exploration. It is important to either send out your colonists to explore all locations as soon as possible. There is a lot of gold available during this phase, which will enable you to rush more immigrants. Make sure that you keep the discovered treasure rather than sending it back via the King, as his 50% tax is too high. Build a Galleon as soon as possible and send it back to Europe yourself.

Be careful when exploring ancient burial grounds. Use a seasoned scout, or else the natives may declare war on you.

6. Economy building. Make sure that you build some inland cities only two tiles away from your coastal cities. When the revolution occurs, the King will attack your coastal cities, and you need good gun producing cities nearby to recruit more dragoons as the battle progresses. It’s important to remember that the King’s invasion will occur at or very near to the exact spot where you were supposed to make landfall when the game started. Your cities at that location should be very well defended. Make sure that you have cleared the forests on the city coastal city tiles immediately beside your coastal cities, so that the King’s invading soldiers do not benefit from the forest defence bonus.

Try to pair your specialists in cities (eg. expert lumberjack and master carpenter, expert ore miner and blacksmith, blacksmith and gunsmith). Purchase the experts from Europe if necessary.

Specialise your cities with:- at least one port city close to Europe (set up your automatic wagon trade to deliver finished products to your port city or cities); a gun producing city; a University city and cities specialising in particular industrial products such as cigars, cloth, coats etc. Try not to waste your cargo space to Europe with raw materials such tobacco, cotton, furs etc..

Don’t forget to trade and give gifts to the natives (especially to the unhappy ones), especially when the King’s tax rate becomes unbearable. Native leaders will pay very high prices for goods they desire if they have gold in their accounts. Make sure that you send out missionaries to all of your surrounding native settlements as soon as possible, as converted natives are excellent in producing raw materials. I usually upgrade my converted natives to specialists by studying in a native settlement (living among the natives). Make sure that you study the native leader characteristics via the Civilopedia, as some native tribes will produce more converts and some native tribes are faster in training specialists.

I also specialise some cities to produce political points. This will help you to obtain good founding fathers. Plan your choice of founding fathers beforehand, as if you reject them, you will not be able to obtain them later. Allow Hernan Cortes (founding father) to build your stockades rather than building them yourself.

Keep your free colonists in churches and cathedrals and not in the town hall at this stage of the game. You don’t want the King to build up his military for a long period of time. You should only need a few soldiers to defend your settlements that are close to native tribes that are either annoyed or furious with you. Forget about building frigates or ships of the line, as the King’s man-o-wars are far superior and it will take 3-4 of your ships to defeat one of his.

7. Mid-game conquest. Around 1650, I usually give my dragoons experience by sending them out to conquer a nearby European colonies or native settlements. The experience providing by founding fathers such as Ethan Allen (Free promotion of Ranger I and Mountaineer I for Gunpowder Units), Francisco de Coronado (+1 movement for Dragoons), Paul Chomeday de Maisonneuve (Free promotion of Formation for Gunpowder Units, +1 movement for converted natives), and Dom Pedro 1 (+50% Great General emergence, Free promotion of Veteran I and Minuteman I for Gunpowder and Mounted Units) are very helpful in battles. Use dragoons to attack and keep your ships nearby to evacuate the wounded.

8. Liberty bells. Don’t leave it too late (1700 is about the deadline) to assign colonists to your city hall to produce liberty bells. Train and purchase elder statesmen where possible, and make sure that your cities have printing press and newspaper. Particular liberty bell producing founding fathers are vital at this stage of the game. Use this stage of the game to stockpile guns and horses in all cities, and use stationary wagons as extra storage if needed. Concentrate your dragoon force near to where the King will land his forces (as previously explained). Make sure that you have fortresses on this coastal location.

9. Revolution. You should proclaim the revolution between 1740-1750 or earlier. Leave it too late, and you will have an awesome army but not enough time to defeat the King. Use dragoons to attack and make sure that you check the combat odds before deciding to attack (click on attacking unit and drag your mouse over the defending unit). You will usually lose the first encounter with a King’s dragoon, as he has more experienced veterans than you do (unless you have Veteran IIIs from mid-game conquest. After your first casualty, you should succeed with the following attacks when you use your dragoons. Soldiers and cannons are really only for defence. If you have enough dragoons, and they are well-positioned, it should be easy to win the battle in about 15-20 turns. The King will usually send his attacking forces in a few waves, so you just have to wait until they all arrive before you destroy them all.

Anyway, I enjoy the game and after losing lots of times, I finally found these strategies helped me to win! 😉

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