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Empire: Total War - Campaign & General Discussion
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Empire: Total War Heaven » Forums » Empire: Total War - Campaign & General Discussion » ETW: Looking for Early Economy Tips - All Factions.
Topic Subject:ETW: Looking for Early Economy Tips - All Factions.
posted 03-18-13 08:10 AM EDT (US)         
This is a big problem for me. I seem to do okay for about 15-25 turns and then poof! I'm broke. I end up with armies that need retraining, buildings that need repair, at war, getting raided, and lucky if I have 3000 per turn in income.

I read the forums and all the advice seems to be along the vein of "just take you ten stacks of Indiamen and put them in the Indies". Obviously, this is a problem in the early game, especially if you're not Britain or the UP. So...

My questions are these:

- How do you make money? What strategies do you find effective cross-faction for boosting revenue before turn 50?

- How do you get early game fleets and small armies to defend against raids?

- How do you build the infrastructure you need to make money when the early game so often forces you to spend all you money on armies to defend yourself and expand?

- Is there something I'm missing here? Do most of you have crippling money problems in the early game, or am I just doing it wrong?
posted 03-18-13 11:05 AM EDT (US)     1 / 7       
The early game is difficult. You are not alone. Money will be tight for awhile. However, good planning will allow you to operate comfortably after a couple dozen turns.

Buy the first level, maybe two levels, of roads. The benefit is two-fold. Your armies can move faster and it improves your trade income.

Generally, you need to devote early research to military development, primarily bayonets for the soldiers and canister shot for the artillery. This way you can do more with less. Avoid conflicts where possible.

Prioritize economic buildings, and your diplomacy should focus on establishing as many sustainable trade agreements as possible.

Don't be overly concerned about raiding parties. In the grand scheme, the damage they do is small.

Even a single trade ship on a trade route can give quite a boost in income. If pirates come, run away. Also, if you place a ship or an army on the trade line or path of a nation with whom you are at war, you will receive some income from it.

If you peruse our campaign strategy articles, you will see two very good economy articles: "Trade and Taxes Explained" and "Calculating the Cost." I have employed webstral's spreadsheet approach to each economic building, including farms and smiths, to great effect. It may seem silly to run a spreadsheet for a game, but it will help keep you in the black; and at least for my neurotic self, it is pretty fun.

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do.
Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -- Jerome K. Jerome

"Some people become so expert at reading between the lines they don't read the lines." -- Margaret Millar

ERADICATE CONDESCENSION! (That means don't talk down to people.)
posted 03-18-13 06:21 PM EDT (US)     2 / 7       
One tactic for defending trade routes exploits (mercilessly) an aspect of the game regarding naval battles: to win WHEN YOU ARE ATTACKED you need simply not be sunk nor rout (note: this won't work in battles with no time limit, nor in battles that you are the attacker). How do you exploit this? Put your stack of X merchant ships on a trade route but include a single warship. When the battles starts you put all the merchant ships to "withdraw" and the single warship you simply sail around the map avoiding the enemy. At the end of the battle the enemy loses and often loses ships or at least has theirs take damage which helps if they attack in subsequent turns.

For warship choice I have found the brig to be best. Yes, it is marginally slower than the sloop (23 vs 24 speed I believe). But, the brig has the huge advantage of having stern chasers. You set your shot type to 'chain' and even if the enemy ships can catch you the constant peppering of their sails will soon mean they can't even keep up with you. Yes, it will take micro-managing of the battle (in enemy fleets with sloops and brigs that will increase but it isn't impossible) but I have only very rarely lost using this method. The really annoying aspect of this method (to me) is very often the enemy fleet attacks every turn usually until it's totally destroyed. If you don't mind naval battles then it will only be monotonous and not irritating.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.

[This message has been edited by Warguppy (edited 03-18-2013 @ 11:54 PM).]

posted 05-08-13 01:40 AM EDT (US)     3 / 7       
Thanks for the positive feedback, Bast.

You've got to set priorities. In some ways, it doesn't matter which power you are playing; some investments always are better than others.

In the early game for the Western powers (Great Britain, Spain, France, United Provinces, maybe Sweden) the name of the game is commodities, which means the name of the game is maritime trade. I have much less experience with the Central and Eastern European powers. The regions tend to have significantly greater wealth than the regions available to the Western powers in the Americas, so one exchanges the value of maritime trade for the value of taxing high starting town wealth and mature towns. If you are playing a Western power, get some Indiamen and sloops constructed and sailing for the Trade Theaters as soon as possible.

I hate to say it, but I have run the early part of my Great Britain campaigns getting a third or more of my income per turn from selling captured enemy ships. The Pirates are especially useful in this regard, as a galleon is a fat prize. Also, I save myself a good deal of money by capturing ships I'd otherwise have to build myself. The Pirates are a splendid resource in this regard.

Concentrate your spending on one or a few investments that will pay for themselves as quickly as possible. Seldom does this include upgrading your governance structures.

Concentrate your military resources on one or two fronts. Establish clear objectives. Where possible, fight with overwhelming superiority. You want your battles to be short and extremely violent, resulting in the complete destruction of the enemy's forces. The enemy's raiding is an annoyance, but seldom is it a game-changer. When you use your military assets effectively, more of your troops survive. When you have a good strategy for expanding, you can grow your own economy and research base quickly while denying these assets to your enemy. Once you're playing VH/VH, the enemy won't be as hurt by losing rich provinces as you are helped, but you can hobble his army by capturing his best military production centers. This makes his ability to launch a counter offensive much less of a threat.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
posted 11-02-13 02:08 AM EDT (US)     4 / 7       
Hello. I started the campaign a few days ago and I am playing as the Ottoman Empire. Already I am close to bankruptcy. I have opened trade relations with several countries but after 1 turn there was no income. How do I make more money??
posted 11-02-13 06:17 AM EDT (US)     5 / 7       
If you have sea trade going with countries who end up getting their port blockaded that will kill any income from them. Also, building too many armies at first is a temptation because the Ottomans start in such a dismal state compared to the size of their empire. There is a thread by Grognir in this particular forum called First Turn Ottoman Maximization that has a good, if unconventional, starting strategy for the Turks. I haven't been able to do it exactly as written (weird vagaries in the game I guess) but I have used it overall to very good effect. You shed territories but it gets you income and some security to build up your economy.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.
posted 01-20-14 02:28 AM EDT (US)     6 / 7       
I played most campaigns and I do not experience a financial crisis at all (Except for Spain I will explain why). This is mainly because I resort to a more conservative approach. Do not mistake this as passiveness.

What I mean by conservative approach is that I tend to keep most factions in the neutral zone if not friendly. I tend to reach a point where the uneasy peace is at its inevitable closure and then war is imminent however during this time I carefully plan out a strategy to hit the enemy as hard as I possibly can. This weakens them to a point where they cannot mass a counter-attack. (If you have played World of Warcraft or any RPG/MMO, it is kind of like playing a stealth class like a rogue.) You spend your time in silence analyzing the situation and pick off the weakest link. The last thing you want especially when playing a European faction is to have multiple fronts. You want to take out the opposition one at a time. The bigger they are the surer you have to be in your ability to take them out before having to deal with another menace. This allows you to have a substantially low military upkeep and gives you the chance to lower the upper class tax sliders in order to facilitate town wealth growth.

Sometimes the weakest link has the strongest allies. In this case war with a major faction is inevitable and a more careful planning is in order.

In the case of Spain, it is hard to do so. This is because many factions are Protestant and allied with your arch rival Great Britain. You European possessions are disjointed and scattered, not to mentioned surrounded by prospect enemies. The American theatre is filled with low income colonies, and all its riches are in the trade commodities such as Cotton, Sugar, and Cigars. However, since these colonies do not have advanced ports, investing in building plantations will not reap a favorable return. So evidently, regions that are not connected to your capital should be the last region you want to develop economically.

Spain is arguably one of the hardest campaigns in game. Because your taxation revenue is low, your trade revenue is stunted due to lack of port towns and even though you have many starting regions, they are fragments and share borders with prospect enemies. Developing all simultaneously and trying to recruit a standing army all over will soon empty out your coffers. Since a majority of the nations’ attitude towards is either indifferent or hostile you have very little trading options.

So how do I avoid bankruptcy while still retaining all my territories as Spain?
- When you start off by managing a huge empire, there are many regions you are not familiar with. (Another reason why many consider Ottoman Empire to be a hard campaign.) . I suggest that you spend enough time looking at each nook and cranny of the empire to scan for neighboring faction activities. Use your agents to reveal areas that are obscured by the Fog of War (FoW). Example: When playing Spain I send my missionary to Portugal so that he can reveal their activities such as their garrison size, their army movements. Similarly I send my spy to the Netherlands to keep track of the United Provinces. I also use the spy to sabotage buildings so it forces them to spend on repairs and puts the brakes on their militarization.
- The early, profitable buildings to invest in are: Farms as they promote population growth and towns therefore emerge a lot faster. Roads as they increase trade and town wealth. Ports as they open new trade routes and improve connectivity within your empire. Building plantations are comparatively expensive and will not yield a sizable return without a port or road that connects that region to your capital.
- Study your diplomacies and government officials every turn. Yes keeping track of your diplomacy tab, will allow you to establish trade agreements at the earliest possible, as reveals which nation harbors the most hatred towards you giving you key insight to which region will need the garrisoning and which region will not. This helps to cut unnecessary upkeep costs. Try to establish as many trade agreement and alliances with the European nations as possible. The objective is to stabilize you holdings in Europe and then go expansionist in America and India, not vice versa. Once you feel home base is safe you are free to think about colonizing other theatres with more natural riches. For this reason Great Britain is one of the easiest factions to play early game as their geographic location gives them the protection they need from hostile European factions. Government officials offer boosts to your economy in the ways of increased taxation, town wealth, region wealth, and low upkeeps, and repressions. Try to circulate your government officials whenever, a suitable candidate is available. Remember to put the unworthy candidates in office before you put the intended officer. This way you clear your candidate roster opening it up to generate new officers.
- War! Yes wars are profitable as they increase your holdings and safeguard your own territories from possible aggressors by being pre-emptive. But overdoing it can create multiple fronts that will require a huge upkeep from multiple standing armies. Target the faction which has the lowest allies and attack them. But be quick and decisive about it. If you can take them about in one turn do so. For this reason, one region factions that are not a protectorate and have minimal alliances, or allies that are located far away from your turf, are the best targets. As Spain, I first scanned through the region of Madrid, Spain and found three neighbors, Portugal, Morocco and France. The first two were hostile and France was allied. So I took it up a notch with France and strengthened our tie up with an agreement to mutually unlimited military access. To go to war with Portugal would mean to go to war with Great Britain, who are currently at a better position and can easily go to war with Spain and deeply hurt Spain on multiple fronts. So I chose to be conservative and observe Portugal by sending a missionary and therefore I can match their activities. When I see that they are recruiting I strengthen my garrison in Madrid. Lastly, there is Morocco. No allies, only one region, easily accessible, poor garrison. Bingo I know my first target to eliminate. I work towards it. And just like that I have control of Morocco, gaining revenue from Morocco, and eliminated a threat from the South. All that remains is Portugal to the West, whom I will go to war with eventually but when I deem the time is right and I can sustain a war against the English.
In general, you want to prevent unnecessary recruitments and building and spend where it will profit you and pick your battles carefully to ensure that you will win.
posted 04-14-14 10:36 PM EDT (US)     7 / 7       
Many of the strategies and guides written for ETW that can be found on TWH were written for unpatched or otherwise early versions of the game.

At one time, one could apparently send unescorted Indiamen to trade-nodes, where they would sit in a state of productive tranquility.

A patch, and no more. The bug that enemies would not raid ships in trade-nodes was fixed and so whole new stratagems needed to be established.

My strategies are pretty simple:

1. Build enough forces to defend against invasions near your home territory (and if you can do so by continuously expanding your borders, so much the welcome!)

2. Crush any antagonistic minor factions that sit near your territory as soon as possible.

3. Give any tech you develop to the Mughals and closest allies. The longer the Mughals live against the Marathas in India, the better.

4. Create a minimum of four schools to develop technology and intellectual achievement. Every bit is worth a ton of cash in trade when needed: even junk developments like "Fire and Advance".

5. Burn schools/academies in newly-conquered areas... especially if such area is a capital region. Replace them with inns and such.

-The exception is with Native Amerindian "Meeting Halls". These are actually worth keeping.

6. Remember that repression=happiness.
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