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My first new game on random map at the "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; 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:

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 numbers. 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 population 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 plus spaces for future buildings.

Existing buildings
  • Armory, near bottom left, showing what army units we can build
  • Trade school, just north of the Armory, where we can order (at a modest cost: $100 each) the training of untrained workers to be trained workers - double the productivity - then (at much greater cost: $1000 each) 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 as an untrained worker by giving him food, clothing, and furniture
  • Shipyard, north-east across the river, where we can order the building of warships and merchant ships
  • Food processing unit, 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"; note that this halves the number of people that can be fed, but:
    • it's essential for recruiting new workers
    • the cans (unlike raw food) can be sold
  • Warehouse, listing current inventory (impressive) and the number of horses and the number of unemployed "Labor" - equivalents of untrained workers; mouseover each icon to see its name and the number you are currently transporting
  • Railyard, in north-east corner, where we order the construction of additional "transport capacity", i.e. freight cars (and possibly barges from ports, though that remains greyed out on the relevant screen)
Future buildings

In the bottom half of the picture are spaces clearly indicating 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. A rail siding serves all buildings. Mouseover 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 pairs are:

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, using lumber and steel in greater amounts.

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 the one expert worker, two paper, and $1,000, 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 currently 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 goods products
  • $100 for food cans
  • $300 for any of the four intermediate products ("Materials")
  • $100 for any primary products ("Resources")
  • $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 resources our mills are short of. Right side panel tells us what materials we are short of, and at the top is a ship icon "Merchant Marine" showing the number of items we can move (selling first, then buying) 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 - and so that we don't waste potential "diplomatic points" by selling two to the same nation). 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 (if we have no subsidies operating).

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, letting you click each nation to see a variety of information about it and in some cases take action.

Knowing the great value of Trade Consulates, we spend $8,000 setting up one in each of the 16 Minor Nations. (Hindsight suggests that that's far too many to start with - AI nations seldom start with more than a couple.) That will help swing some of them our way. Most of them (curiously, because no trades have yet happened) 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 fulfils only part of the demand, the minor nation looks to its second favorite, and so on down the list. Second and 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.

Final actions

We will want more than four items traded each turn, and we can afford some merchant ships, so we order two Indiaman units, each costing 3 fabric and 7 lumber (cheaper than two traders and with the same capacity).

Train the four unskilled workers. (They could wait for guns and become cheap army units but there's no need to waste their potential at this early stage.)

Set engineer onto railroad building - primarily to reach fruit - and prospector to check a mountain.

Leave the army guarding the capital.

Balance $500.

"End Turn"

We are offered two cotton @ $99 and accept one, noticing that we have only three holds left, so we must have sold something. Two other MNs offer one cotton each, and we accept.

Deal Book appears and shows that we sold one furniture @ $906 and that one other MN offered cotton and two offered wool. At least one of those Indiamen will be useful next turn.

Military upkeep $100; profit $509; cash $1,009; credit limit $270.


Summer 1815

Read the newspaper without taking it too seriously. Useful information seldom appears.

Prospector draws blank and moves to try a hill.

Engineer starts second section of railroad.

Farmer goes to start work on a grain farm.

Workers start 1 lumber, 1 fabric.

Food: 0 fruit, 1 grain, 1 meat, 18 cans - so the two workers who wanted fruit are consuming the rather expensive canned food; we have 9 turns in which to start transporting fruit or (expensively) prepare to buy cans. Rail and the necessary depot will cost $2,300.

World page shows our military and everyone else's "Good" while our industry stands out as "Awesome" (despite producing next to nothing). Other GPs each have 2, 3, or 4 trade consulates; maybe they know more about the game than we do! We are the Most Favored Trading Nation for just the three MNs that we traded with. Offer 5% subsidy to every MN: suddenly they all favor us! Some, incidentally, already indicate that they export coal and iron; they must have fast-working hidden miners!

End Turn

Buy 1 wool @ 102, 1 iron (the only one offered) @ 117. Sell 3 clothing @ $799, 2 furniture @ $844.

Profit $3,761; cash $4,670; credit limit $652. Nobody was offering coal. No traders for hardware, arms, food, fabric, lumber, paper, steel, cotton, timber, horses? (Hindsight again - we think that that can mean we weren't offering or bidding on that item and therefore can't see who was.)


Fall 1815

Prospector has found iron and moves on. Farmer discovers that he had been carelessly placed on a grain farm that had been pre-improved, so he goes to do a proper start on a nearby orchard.

Food: 2 grain and meat, 0 fruit, 16 cans.

End Turn

Buy 3 coal @ $124 (the only coal offered), sell 2 clothing @ $788, 2 furniture @ %866. Cash $6997, credit limit 917.


Winter 1816

Steel mill, furniture factory, and metalworks start with 1. Food: 0 fruit, 3 grain, 3 meat, 14 cans. Order the training of a replacement expert. No other GP matches our "Excellent" industry.

End Turn

Buy 1 coal 130, 1 iron 128; cash 5539, credit limit 845. Only 4 coal and only 4 iron were offered.


Spring 1816

Find second iron hill. Food: 0 fr, 4 gr, 4 mt, 12 cans. All six processing units are working. Increase subsidy to 10% for two neighbours.

End Turn

Buy 5 wool @ 101, 5 coal @ 151; sell 1 clothing 783, 1 furniture 926. Cash 5888, CL 932. Four of us were offering 1 clothing each; nobody else was offering furniture; 12 units coal offered, 8 iron: we need another Indiaman, which uses fabric and lumber, as does a frigate.


Summer 1816

Prospector draws blank. Start north-west depot. Food: 0 fr, 5 gr, 5 mt, 10 cans; start bidding for food.

End Turn

Sell 1 clothing 827, 1 furn 912; buy 2 wool, 2 timber, 3 iron, 3 food. Cash 4308, CL 1012. Only 4 GPs were offering clothing; only we offered furniture; only we wanted food; only 8 iron offered, only 3 wool, and no coal.


Fall 1816

We sell the world's first hardware.


Winter 1817

(Evidently even less of note than in the previous quarter!)


Spring 1817

Spring 1817 depot: 2 fruit, meat, cotton. Order miner.


[more to come, maybe]

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