In my Strategy Guide for 400 Level Imperialism II, I dismissed the idea of choosing a country on an island without other major powers to conquer and plunder. The strategy outlined there works so well that I became bored with Imperialism II to some extent, so I decided to try choosing a nation on an island with 2 or 3 minor nations to either conquer or sway.
The main difference in the start strategy is the technology goal you set. Rather than horse artillery or musketeers, the heavy warship Galleon (enabled by the technology Convoying) should be your goal. Make sure you get the two techs which allow you to establish embassies and train merchants.
You must prevent any major power from getting control of a province on your continent. To defend yourself, you’ll need a powerful navy (in a pinch 4 galleons, but try to have 6) and a “bridge army” to defend against amphibious invasions and deter declarations of war.
On your first turn, spend 500 coins for each minor nation on your continent to establish a trade consulate. Then start purchasing as many of the items those nations produce to begin developing your relationship.
Recruit a spy and place it in England. If you are England, place it in Holland. These two nations typically develop the naval technology you’ll need.
Your money will typically run out between trying to get your economy established through purchasing finished goods to complete your road network and basic infrastructure and wooing the minor nations. At that point, other major powers are extremely likely to have won more influence in all of the minor nations. This is a dangerous state of affairs. If no wars occur, eventually the minor power will join another empire. Alternatively, a different major power will declare war against the minor power, and the minor power will ask the empire with which it has the best relationship to defend it and join. Either way, you are very likely to have a hostile empire on your border, and you haven’t been investing in your army technology and will lose a land war.
You must sell a lot of items through the market to establish embassies in each minor nation, recruit a merchant, and then use the merchant to purchase one property in every province. If there is no property in a province, you’ll have to buy the province’s capitol, which is expensive. You’ll probably need to recruit some fluytes to increase your shipping capacity before you discover galleons.
When you’ve purchased a property in a minor nation province, no major power can attack that province without first declaring war on your empire. Your mighty navy should deter most empires from declaring war against you.
Most computer empires use sloops as their first navy. I prefer galleons because they will give you the cargo space to trade with your minor nations.
As you purchase properties in the minor nations, develop them to the extent you have cargo space. Remember, until you research Trade Fairs, you can only bid on three items, so try to identify three items which allow you to purchase at least one item from each minor nation each turn.
If another power has already purchased a resource, you may have no alternative but to purchase it. It puts your money in the other empire’s pocket, but you have to continue to develop the relationship with the minor nation.
Check the relationship bar with the minor nations to see how close you are to offering an annexation. If another power has a better relationship, your best alternative is to develop more properties in the minor nation and purchase more items. Another good strategy is to declare war against that empire and blockade its capitol port. This prevents the nation from trading with the minor nation, thus causing its relationship to stagnate while yours improves.
two four sample games in which I executed this strategy:
- England, key = Marphernarystwyth
- Portugal, key = Iogebintay (note the first letter is an upper case “I” as in India)
- England, key = Llarphadamrys (note 2nd letter is a lower case “l” as in Larry). I had no business winning this game, because England only contained 2 iron ore, no tin, and minimal wood. With a more powerful navy, I was able to hold off Spain and Sweden individually midway through the game. The most powerful nation, France, had some kind of vendetta against Sweden, so those two countries battled, preventing an alliance against my empire. This allowed me to slowly dismantle Spain. When I vanquished Spain and was within 2 provinces of victory, France declared war against me. I moved my mighty navy to blockade, and next turn I learned that all my ships were sunk and France had 5 ironclads which survived. Within 2 turns, I recruited another 5 ironclads, and on the third time, this time patrolling rather than blockading, they defeated the French navy. Using the spoils of the Spanish empire, I finally had enough steel to recruit more ground units, and I was able to take two French provinces to complete the victory.
- Year 1736
- Year 1795
- Year 1827 – In my slow campaign against Spain, I did take a New World province with 3 diamond mines. It was vulnerable, and I needed cash to attack provinces because my empire’s economy was so poor.
- Year 1852 – At war with France. I was not confident.
- Year 1862 – The year before victory.
- Sweden, key = Tardiga
P.S. I’m still ignoring the New World, except in the rare occasion when I can’t get an essential raw material within my empire’s borders or from the market. Presumably, in this strategy one would have less need of the New World because there are more provinces whose resources you can develop.