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The United Provinces: Another Golden Age

By Friesian

Introduction

The period between 1600 and 1700 wasn’t called the golden age for nothing. The Dutch with their rich commercial holdings all over the world had experienced an enormous wealth growth and they had made a lot of scientific discoveries. After freeing themselves from the Spanish in the 80years war, with their commercial fleets they went out to conquer loads of coastal regions in the most commercial interesting regions of the world. Kicking out the Portuguese, who went before them, the Dutch claimed the East Indies, Brazil, Ceylon, West Africa (slave trade), Malaysia, Formosa and scores of ports along the coast of Asia. They also founded colonies in South Africa and New Amsterdam (now called New York) and explored the coast of Australia and New Zealand. After a lost war with the English, New Amsterdam was swapped for Guyana. Brazil was lost to the Portuguese again. At 1700 the United Provinces were still playing a major part in the world though and with their strong field army they could challenge upcoming nations like the French and English. England went from enemy to friend after the glorious revolution when the Dutch prince William kicked king James out of the British isles.

Starting position

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The United Provinces' home region

The United Provinces have a unique starting position in the game; they have regions in all three campaign areas. The richest region is Guyana on the northern coast of South America. Further it has a strong navy capable of protecting these possessions and the trade routes connecting them to Europe.

Early objectives

The United Provinces are basically a trading nation. Getting your hands on as many trading goods has first priority to secure a nice income per turn. You also don’t want to overstretch your small army and navy to much, so keep out of war as much as possible until you are strong enough to take the initiative. Keeping your trade routes open at all time is very important. If you’re not at war the other nations can’t blockade your trade routes! Kill the Pirates early.

Turn based guide

The following description could be helpful if you want to have a nice growing turn income early in the game. Game settings: Grand campaign, prestige victory, H/H.

Turn 1

Trying to secure as many trading ports at the start in the four trading areas will give you a big advantage. For this you have 4 fleets. Using the scroll you can locate them.

  • In the East Indies there is a big trading fleet. Break the fleet up one by one and put single ships on all the trading ports except the one most north west. A pirate fleet prohibits the occupation of this port. The sloop can be used to bate the pirates away from the port. Bring the sloop close to the pirate fleet. One of the remaining trade ships can be sailed to East Africa to occupy a port there.
  • The fleet in the Indian Ocean can be sailed to East Africa
  • Move the fleet in the Carabian to South America. Ignore the pirate fleet
  • Move the fleet in the North Sea to the Mid-Atlantic exit area and choose the East African trade theatre. It will be needed against a pirate fleet

As soon as the fleets arive in the trading areas you should split them up and occupy as many ports as you have ships. Start recruiting trade ships (Indiaman) in all your 4 regions based ports. Keep recruiting them to replace the warships you station at the tradeports so the warships are free to occupy the next trading ports.

Move your army in Netherlands to the port. Move an army unit to the ports in all regions. This will keep the ports from being damaged if enemy fleets should blockade them.

You have one gentleman, move him in the school/university at Utrecht. Start researching Empirisicm, this will speed up the research rate and enables the building of the next level of schools.

Build roads in all three colonies. Further you can build the farm at Leeuwarden, the gem mine at Ratnapura and the logging camp ad Moengo.

Diplomacy

Get a trade agreement and an military alliance with Hannover and Westphalia, if you offer it in one go they will accept it. Don’t enter the war with Prussia, better break the alliance with Austria instead.

You can swap ministers for better prestige and money: America to Head and India to America.

Turn 2

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You can have control of all trade ports in the East Indies by turn 2.

Sail one of the nearest Indiaman into the remaining trade port in the East Indies and reoccupy the empty port left by it, by another trade ship from the original fleet. You should have occupied all the 5 East Indian ports at this stage.

The Pirates have blockaded your trade route to India by now. We will have to get rid of them soon. They cut your income by halve! For the final destruction of the pirates we will just capture their two island regions. For this you can build an army in Curacao after you get the funds for it when you have cleared the main trade route to the Indies.

Build nothing this turn.

Turn 3

Break up your fleet at South America and occupy three trade ports. Portugal will have taken one trade port already. Sail your new Indiaman from the Americas to South America, from Europe to West Africa and from India to East Africa. Recruit four new Indiaman in all ports. And repeat sailing them to the trade ports every two turns till the ports are all occupied. You can put more trade ships on the ports later, occupying them before other nations can is first priority remember.

Occupy three trade ports with your fleet in East Africa.

Your lonely Indiaman in America might be attacked by pirates, just retreat.

Turn 4

At Utrecht you can build a college to speed up research.

Move one of your warships in South America to the still unoccupied port and reoccupy the left port with the newly arrived fleet in South America. Now all ports will be occupied here but you have to replace the warships with trade ships for profit. The warships can be send to West Africa after they are relieved to occupy ports over there. Don’t forget to move your Indiaman in America, after its attack by the pirates it has to be redirected again.

Kick the army minister if he has dropped below three stars. Its good advice to keep an eye on your ministers. Though you can only kick one per turn you might want to get rid of an incompetent bastard as soon as possible.

Turn 5

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Defeating the pirate fleet near Madagascar is essential to your early game objectives.

Keep moving your new Indiaman towards the trade ports and recruit new ones.

Reassemble your three warships in East Africa, join it with the newly arrived fleet from Europe and attack the pirates. You must win this battle, it’s crucial to the early game objectives. If you loose the naval battle you might not get as many trading ports as you want.

Leave three ships behind occupying the trade ports and move your fleet to west Africa to battle the other pirate fleet. Your income will be much higher after defeating the pirate fleet. You can recruit 2 line infantry units in Curacao per turn. 4-6 units and an additional general should be more than sufficient to capture both pirate islands.

Upgrade your roads in Holland, Ceylon and Guyana.

Turn 6

Attack with your fleet the pirates in West Africa, use the warships to occupy trading ports. The newly arrived warship in West Africa form South America can occupy another trade port. You will notice that Portugal has a trade fleet in this area also. To establish a monopoly on ivory and sugar you might have to make a small naval trade war with them later.

Your income has risen considerably at this point. You can build economic buildings and upgrade your government buildings as you like. You are only at war with the pirates and the Barbary states; you should keep it this way till you have destroyed the pirates and secured the trade areas. No need for military buildings just yet.

Turn 7

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It's time to deal with those pirates!

Use the Indiaman in Curacao to transport your army to the Leeward Islands (recruit a general).

The Leeward islands are the better choice above Trinidad (the other pirate island region) because of the protestant religion at the Leeward islands, so you don’t have to keep your army there to keep order but it can move to Trinidad next turn. If there are no ships and troops in the pirate held port you can disembark the troops in the port and attack the capital the same turn. Should be an easy victory. Destroy the port and turn it into a commercial port next turn. Without a commercial port you can’t export your sugar (or other trade goods) from the region! Always repair the government building after capturing an enemy regional capital to restore order.

You should have taken all the remaining trading ports by now. You could scupper the smaller warships (upkeep is higher than worth as a warship) after being replaced by the Indiamen. The battle damaged bigger warships can be send to Europe for the protection of your home port and retrained there. Rotterdam is your most important port. If it gets blockaded you lose all your trade income! Build some Fluyt ships in Europe to be able to defend this port together with the returning warships. War with France and Spain will come soon.

Turn 8

Keep replacing your warships with newly arrived trade ships. You will notice that other nations have send out fleets as well, but they are too late: you have taken the ports. Nice thing is that the AI wont attack ships in trade ports! Keep recruiting Indiamen. Their upkeep is very low and on a trade port and they bring home scores of money. The only downside is that the market prices of the trade goods will go slightly down if you bring more trade goods on the market.

Your trading empire has had a nice start. You can grow your trade income by placing new trade ships in the trading ports as you like. From here you could go for the Spanish colonies in the America’s. They harbor a lot of plantations. Going to war with Spain means war with France as well. Their small colonies in South America will be a nice addition to your own. After giving Spain some beating in the colonies you can ask for a peace treaty in return for another region of theirs. If it doesn’t have a major city in it you usually can get a region from them per treaty. You can always start the war again later after you have recovered your losses and build up your new holdings a bit.

In Europe you need universities. Most of the minor German states have good developed universities. Taking them will give you a most needed boost in your research capability. After some time France will get annoying and taking them out should be feasible. For the final victory you will have to take the southern region of India and New York. New York could well be in the hands of the USA in mid game so you can take it without going to war with England. You could also buy it from England if it is still theirs.

Keep good track of your trade partners and trade routes and the United Provinces will be good for a great campaign experience.


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