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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

endrsgm

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pirates - can i park a ship in each port i own to discourage them or do i need to "patrol" the area? are galley sufficient or does it need to be a bigger ship?

golden horde - great way to gain lands easy or trouble better avoided? it seems its very hard to get them to stop once they have started on you...

personal union - if i have one and inherit their throne all the lands come as cores?

intergrate - if i choose to intergrete the lands i get arent cores but on the other hand im not hoping to inherit something that i may or may not inherit?

is seizing the coastlines to prevent others from colonizing a viable strategy or does it lead to bankruptcy?
 

fulic1

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The easiest way to deal with pirates is to indeed park ships in ports. You don't even need to have a ship in every port, because they will keep nearby seazones clear as well. You can check out the revolt risk(?) mapmode, where only seas showing red can spawn pirates. I seem to remember any ship in a port will do.

Golden Horde is big and dangerous and collapses easily if you know how to deal with it. If and when you colonize it, I'd recommend setting colonial maintenance to zero and just using colonists to get the lands to save money.

As far as PUs go, you get cores on provinces in the same culture group as yours. The only exception is if you're a part of the HRE, in which case you inherit cores on provs belonging to the HRE even if they're in a different culture group.

I don't really understand what you're asking with the integrate question.

Seizing the coastlines somewhat works if you're ahead of the pack. Of course running a lot of colonies may be a tad costly.
 

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As pointed out above, since the Divine Wind expansion. parking a ship (any ship) in port will safeguard nearby sea zones for some distance, depending on naval tech. You don't need them in every port, only about every 3-5 sea zones. Before DW, patrolling was a major pain in the posterior, and the spawn rates for pirates have ALWAYS been insane: something like 25% chance PER DAY once the patrol's safe time expires after 30 days.

The Golden Horde is extremely dangerous in the early stages of the game, because they can draw replacement troops from a vast area, and are not bound by a lot of the usual limitations. They do end up with a lot of succession crises, so you can sometimes find an opportunity to take them on early, and once defeated, they often shatter into smaller hordes. After around 1500, once the western armies gain a few tech levels and better troop types, the GH becomes a paper tiger.

As fulic1 says, if you're in the same cultural group or in the HRE, you inherit provinces as cores. If not, it takes the usual 50 years until they become cores.

If you're in the HRE, annexing non-core land is problematical, since you'll suffer penalties for each province. If you're not, usually the only down side is the revolt risk and reduced income levels until they become cores. Each additional province increases the cost of research and the amount it takes to recover stability, so owning too high a percentage of non-core land can slow your tech development and leave you with little spare income to defend all of that additional land. Steady growth usually beats sudden surges, as I can attest after inheriting the entire British Empire in my current campaign. Too many non-core provinces can also inflict an "Overextended" penalty on a ruler with insufficient Administration skill, resulting in increased revolt risk and other problems.

If you can afford the fleet to exploit it, grabbing the coasts to deny it to your opponents is a very viable strategy. Your tariff income is based on the percentage of Large and Small fighting ships in your fleet (Carracks and Barques, or their successors), not galleys and transports. I've got the entire North American coastline covered from Maine to Florida, but failed to secure South America, and my tariff percentage is down to around 85% for lack of sufficient combat vessels unless I can build more shipyards to boost my fleet cap or until some of those coastal colonies become cores. I can now move further inland at my own leisure in NA, but am under pressure to grab provinces ASAP in SA.

Two opposing strategies for colonization:

A - Start a colony and throw colonists at that colony until it's complete. If you have excess colonists because you gain them faster than you can send them, you can start a second or third colony, but keep dedicating as many as possible to a single colony. That will cost less in colonial maintenance, and will complete your first colony sooner (so it becomes a core to use for further exploration and colonization range limits).

B - Start as many colonies as possible. That will cost a LOT more maintenance until they complete, but you'll get a lot more colonists in the colonies through growth in each one. Usually, some compromise between the two is necessary. I often start my first colony and rush its completion, but then start as many additional colonies as I can reasonably afford.
 

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i was asking why one would intergrate vs waiting to inherit. inherit you get them all as cores whereas integrate you have waited forever already. is the advantage to integrating that it removes the chance of maybe never having that personal union result in inheriting?

i am starting as castile because it seems easier (less enemies close by, easier to explore and expand, not a bad economy, a largish country, not adding in tons of "new" mechanics to me like HRE, etc) for someone to go with than some of the other available choices.

i ran into the golden horde because i got a quest to "liberate" judea from the mamalukes and in the midst of doing so ran into the golden horde. i cant figure out how to make peace with them, if they concede defeat they are back in an eye blink to fight again and if i concede defeat but dont pay they attack again soon after and if i do pay i lose prestige like crazy.

i got "over-extended" as well. the only solution is to either create vassals out of the territory, give up some of it to someone else (sell for instance) or just ride it out til you increase cores??

ive realized that the islands bermuda, canary islands, etc are vital because they allow you to explore further and deny others the chances to do the same. are there other really super important strategic spots on the game map?
 

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The only reason why I would choose to integrate rather than inherit would be if my prospective heir is female or not of my blood line. Without a legitimate male heir, you're likely to lose the Personal Union, so integrating the provinces before that happens would be the logical alternative.

Finding and colonizing the Azores and Verdes islands gives you a head start on colonization in the New World, but it's POSSIBLE to launch a series expeditions to discover the coast of North America without them. You've got to explore one or two sea zones at a time, then turn back to repair while a second expedition pushes further ahead. I was able to discover the East Coast of North America without colonizing any islands, and not even owning land near the Atlantic (Hungary is a long way from North America) by requesting military access from a country on the Atlantic coast. Once I found the native tribes, I was able to militarily seize a couple of provinces, which gave me a huge head start on colonization. With Castille, you can launch those expeditions from your own coast.

You can conquer an inhabited province along the coast of Africa, rather than colonize the islands off the coast, which can accelerate exploration of South America by a few years. You can conquer a colony and use that immediately as a forward exploration camp while you wait 50 years for it to become a core, rather than sending colonists for several years, and then still having to wait another 50 years for a core.

Peace with the GH is difficult in the early stages of the game, because they're still huge, and the hordes have a few significant military advantages. One of those is that they suffer almost no War Exhaustion, so you can't wear down their will to continue by inflicting casualties. You have to take provinces, and that's not easy when you're badly outnumbered by more powerful mounted troops than any of your own troop types. No matter what the treaty says, the GH will return in 5 years since the signing of the last treaty, except when they're suffering a succession crisis and don't actually control the provinces on your border. When they do suffer a major crisis, those are about the only times that you can defeat them in the first half-century of the game.

Overextension can be removed either by releasing vassals, or by getting a ruler with higher Administration skills. Usually, it's best to just ride it out until you get a better ruler or the provinces become cores. Rapid expansion is dangerous.

Other strategic spots might include Sinai or one of its neighboring provinces, which allows you to build a port on the opposite side of Africa and bypass the long slog around the Cape to explore, conquer, and colonize the Far East before the other European countries can do so. A province in Central America on the narrow isthmus between the Atlantic and Pacific can speed exploration of the American West Coast, north to the Aleutian Islands, and across to Korea, Japan, and the various Pacific islands.
 

fulic1

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At least in multiplayer it was not uncommon for players to integrate key areas if an inheritance failed to proc. For example Castille integrating Aragon after a failed inheritances just to be able to form Spain at some point. Uncored land is still not worthless ofc.

Castille is indeed an easy nation to play. Remember to recruit charge cavalry from the Granadan provinces to make it even easier. They are really OP at the beginning of the game.
 

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Good point. Western Europe gets some very good infantry only a couple of decades into the campaign, but their cavalry is sub-par. If you can annex a province where you can recruit some type of Eastern cavalry after they get their first cavalry upgrade, those will be a big help until at least 1500, although you'll eventually need to disband them and replace them with western units before 1600, once western cavalry surpasses the eastern. That can give you the perfect combination of eastern cavalry and western infantry for over 100 years, and Castille is one of those countries well situated to take advantage of it.
 

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[...] No matter what the treaty says, the GH will return in 5 years since the signing of the last treaty, except when they're suffering a succession crisis and don't actually control the provinces on your border. [...]
You sure rebels occupying the border will prevent the onset of war? Also, isn't truce in latest version(s) 10 years? or are the nomads an exception to that? How does tribute work by the way? Not sure but it feels like people paying it will never have their truce end.
[...] (any ship) in port will safeguard nearby sea zones for some distance, depending on naval tech. [...]
You saying tech increases anti-pirate radius? Interesting. May I please ask for a reference or an approach to speed-test this?
i got "over-extended" as well. the only solution is to either create vassals out of the territory, give up some of it to someone else (sell for instance) or just ride it out til you increase cores??
[...]
Excellent choice of Castille, it's pretty much the best for a first-game.

Overextension kicks in when two conditions are satisfied: you have too much land, and a big percent of your land is non-core. The exact limits vary, as having decentralization helps you tolerate more land, and having a ruler with high administration skill helps you tolerate a bigger percent of non-cores. However, they both have their limits in helping you too, and you'll definitely hit overextension when owning more than 120 lands, and more than 50% non-cores.

You can check overextension's exact limits & other details in-game, from the "Triggered Modifiers" menu, as well as ledger pages #8 and #15. Be advised though that wiki claims "overseas" territory do not affect overextension's non-core percentage.

Depending on what you plan to do, and in how much time, overextension's likelihood will range from definitely-not-happening to will-always-be-present. As rough examples, a domestic HRE player will probably be very overextension-free, while a world conquerer will have to bear overextension for decent periods of time.
 

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Regarding pirates, I see nobody mentioned that bigger fleets have bigger anti-pirate ranges. As an example, 3 ships separated but standing over each other will have identical ranges, but combining them together will grant them all one larger anti-pirate range. I always operated believing nothing else affects that range, but I wonder if that's correct.

Regarding integration, there's also the concerns of -1 stability, +1 infamy per province, and of course the relations impact with other unions, as well as the likelihood of accepting.
 

ktx2skd

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Regarding blocking the colonial coastline, before trying to evaluate its costs, there's another important concern: Wars. The coastline tactic relies on owning several colonies. If you go to war and you can't guarantee 100% protection of those colonies from enemy land units, they'll be subject to getting stolen from you, and their recovery isn't free, and sometimes it might not be possible. Any wars you'll end up with, you'll probably want defensive fleets that 100% guarantee not even a single enemy transport can pass, and if there are land approaches then you probably want to 100% guarantee nothing pass through those too.

As for the costs, I recall the default being 20 ducats per colony per year, so compare that with your current & alternate economy to decide what you can go for. Even if you had infinite money, there's kinda a limit to how many colonies you can simultaneously have, since colonists are limited and colonies will eventually grow. It can be calculated as:

900 x ColonistsPerYear / ColonyGrowthPerYear

So for example, if you have 1.1 colonists a year and mostly 50 yearly growth, you usually can't grow more than 20 colonies simultaneously, so a yearly cost of 400 is kinda your funding limit for this ratio of colonists to growth.

For any colonial tactic involving ownership of multiple colonies at the same time, you'll always benefit from any colony growth buffs such as national idea of +33%, and Narrowminded bonus of +25%, as growing colonies faster will reduce their overall cost (since they existed for less years), and reduce how many colonies you'll have to simultaneously own (so less pressure on your yearly economy). Also the more you leave colonies to grow by growth instead of by colonists, the more these buffs will apply themselves.

However, for blocking the coastline specifically, yearly growth doesn't help you do that faster. What you need are mainly more colonists and more colonial range. Of course the more colonists you get the more yearly budget you'll need to reserve for colonial work, which is why yearly growth will still be on your priority list, to balance the economy changes. Bonus tip: Hurting opposition's homeland and spy-wrecking their colonies might be things you want to consider.

Hope you don't mind them extra details, & good luck.

- KitCat.
 

Kovax

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Inciting the native tribes against opposing colonists can remove the competition, if you catch it early enough. The AI is also reluctant to build colonies adjacent to another country's if there are other options, so if you space them out a bit at first, and grab the most profitable ones right away, the AI tends to look elsewhere, and then you can fill in the gaps later. I've had a fair amount of success in grabbing most or all of one continent in several campaigns, but monopolizing BOTH North and South America is beyond what I've been able to pull off.

In my current campaign, despite the serious colonization disadvantage of playing Hungary (Eastern tech, initial naval force limit of 2, and a long way from the Atlantic coast), I've managed to carpet the N.A. coastline from the St. Lawrence seaway down around Florida and across into the edge of Texas, except for one province in the Mississippi delta region. Two other countries colonized the marginal lands of northern Canada, with a couple of those desolate provinces still unclaimed, but they're now cut off from expansion any further to the south. Likewise, Portugal's lone colony on the Gulf is safely isolated. I've only got one little enclave of around 4 provinces in South America. I'll get most of the rest of Texas and most of Mexico when I inherit the current owner. In a campaign starting with Castille, England, Portugal, or some other naval power with Western technology, doing at least that much should be a relatively trivial task.
 

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im really enjoying this game. it is very fun. i am taking all the advice into account and trying it out. which sometimes works and sometimes i think i see why it didnt (poor implementation usually). but usually it leads to more questions. i hope you all dont mind...

im still on play through to try to learn the concepts before i increase it to a harder mode and suspect this process will go on awhile before i feel really comfortable.

ive been grouping ships together for awhile since i learned the hard way how long it takes to get a ship to some places and how dire the consequences can be when there is no patrol. i didnt realize that multiple ships increased the distance. is there a formula for that? or maybe simpler ... is it a larger patrol distance or is it a wider area of control that pirates cant spawn in with these fleets? how far would 3-4 ships exert this area of control or can they patrol effectively? ive been grouping 3-4 ships and having them patrol 3-4 areas max.

speaking of ships, sometime a ship in a fleet starts to get weak and needs a rest in port for repairs. but the game doesnt really show that without actually clicking to open the fleet and then checking, which probably gets old in late game where there are tons of fleets. anyway to easily tell which ships are in bad shape so they can be sent to port before they sink?

i have multiple save points and am trying out new ideas.

in one save i grabbed some of south america eastern coastline and some of the caribbean islands. the colonies are all very small due to lack of colonists to expand them.i am going bankrupt. i thought viceroys would help but its not. does it work well in conjunction with something else or am i just too over-loaded? what ideas can one use to manage to bear this backbreaking financial load without going under?

i get sound dues notifications from denmark regarding their owning the sounds and am either faced with losing merchants from a market or else paying an ever increasing tax ... long term what do you all do? pay, refuse, land troops on part of the sound and thus break their monopoly control on traffic?

if i own more than one COT is it sometimes smarter to wipe out one to force its traffic to my other COT or is it smarter to try to keep them both going?

how long does a settlement in the americas or africa have before the local tribes start to tech up faster from their neighborhood bonus?

does japan keep its markets closed until the player forces them to open them via some sort of war?

the special building item we can build... i have manufacturer as my first and only one. as it is built it seems to increase dramatically in cost. is that increase perpetual or does it eventually hit a flat cost? what are some of the better special buildings, for instance post office (game isnt open right now but im pretty sure i saw that could be opened eventually) looked quite good.
 
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Kovax

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If you park a fleet in a port, you don't need to patrol the local area, so one ship can cover 3-5 coastal provinces. I wasn't aware that fleet size increased the safe zone radius, I was under the impression that it had something to do with tech level, because it seemed to increase over time, but bigger fleets would also occur over time.

Active patrols keep pirates from spawning for 30 days in the patrolled provinces ONLY, so a larger active patrol group does nothing, until pirates spawn (then you've got more ships to fight them). Patrols in port have an effect radius, safeguarding nearby sea provinces in addition to their own.

I normally move fleets directly from port to port, so they get more opportunities to repair. Repairs are always done on the first of the month, so if you dock the ship on the last day of the month, you only need to sit in port for a day or two. As long as you remain in supply range and in a coastal province, you should take no Attrition.

Starting more colonies than you can afford is a bad idea. Finish one ASAP, to help get back within your budget. In most games, I've got 2-4 going at a time; any more than that takes too much money away from other things, any less and I'm not getting much of an advantage from the natural growth rate of the colonies themselves. Normally, I try to send colonists to the province with the lowest natural growth rate (usually due to hostile natives, except in Tropical provinces where there's a penalty), and let those with the highest growth rates develop on their own. If there are passive natives, they'll add population to the colony when it completes; hostile natives are far more likely to attack your colonists. I usually sent troops to wipe out a few of the most violent tribes, while assimilating the more passive ones. The native tribes will gain a few tech levels fairly quickly, but won't catch up. You should be able to retain a massive technological edge through the end of the game. I had colonies adjacent to the native Americans by 1500 in my current campaign, and still have not wiped out the last of the natives by 1630. I'm at Land tech 27, they're up to around 6. They're in a different tech group, so the neighbor bonus isn't that high.

The Danish Sound Toll is something you'll need to decide for yourself: can you take on Denmark and whatever allies and vassals it has, and end the toll, or will that end up costing you more than the tolls? I assume that Japan won't open its markets without a war.

If you've got two coastal CoTs, I'd keep both for the bonuses. If one's an inland CoT, you might consider deleting it, but if that makes the other too profitable, someone else will open up a competing CoT of their own. I occasionally delete inland CoTs that I capture, then open coastal CoTs to replace them.

The cost for additional special buildings increases, but the costs seems to depend on some unknown factors. I've bought them for 900-ish ducats, built another for about the same cost, and then the next one cost over 1400. If I start building another right away, the cost is even higher, but if I wait until the previous one is completed, the increase seems to be lower, or it's the same price as last time. No idea how the cost is figured, whether it's based on the percentage of your provinces with them, tech level based, or there's some time delay before you can build another without raising the price. I'm up to somewhere around 12-14 such buildings, nearly half of them Universities from annexed provinces. There are factories, where you can build one per province, and then there are unique buildings that you can only construct one of in your empire, once you've reached the tech level to unlock them.
 
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endrsgm

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is there some rule of thumb with COTs that one can know whether to open a new one, destroy one, or keep it as it is?
 

Kovax

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is there some rule of thumb with COTs that one can know whether to open a new one, destroy one, or keep it as it is?
There are several factors involved, rather than one simple "rule of thumb". First, the location strongly affects which provinces are included and which end up in someone else's CoT. Deleting and replacing a CoT in a different location can either undermine someone else's Trade income, or boost it at your expense.

Coastal CoTs provide a few extra benefits, such as an additional 0.1 colonists per year, if my memory is still working, and have a chance to assimilate into your native culture if you have at least 5 merchants there, so it may be worth the 500 ducats to open a new one on the coast for either of those reasons. The former reason is why I shut down the CoT in Arkansas and opened one in Manhattan: for a few extra colonists over time. The latter reason is mainly why I opened a CoT in London in my current campaign: to spread my culture to the British Isles (and the extra colonists are a bonus). Antwerp already assimilated by that method, and Alexandria is probably next. If I end up taking Novgorod, I'll move the CoT to the Baltic coast. I've got Astrakhan, but there's no coastal province nearby to move it to (the Caspian Sea isn't considered a "coast" by the game), so it stays.

If your existing CoT has less than the minimum 400 or 500 ducat total trade value required to open a competing CoT, you're probably stuck with it for a while.