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Colonization Tutorial

This is a basic tutorial for Sid Meier's Colonization. Throughout this tutorial there will be links to other ColonizationFans articles explaining different game concepts in more detail. You might want to check them out when they appear and then come back to this tutorial.

Game menu

Start a game on the original Americas map, then select the easiest difficulty level (Discoverer), and finally pick a European Power to play as. It doesn't really matter which European Power you pick, the goal here is to learn the aspects of the game. Once you get the hang of it you can move on to being more specific in long-term strategies -- this is covered in some of the other Colonization strategies.

Making landfall

Ok, so now you find yourself out at sea. Having just crossed the Atlantic, you are ready to find land. Start moving your ship to the left. You will probably find land within a turn or two. Once you reach the coastline, try moving a couple of turns along the coast so you get a sense of what it looks like.

Your ship holds two units -- a soldier and a pioneer. Now it's time to make landfall. Move your ship towards a coastal square. You'll be asked if you would like to make landfall and that's what you want to do.

If there are any natives where you land, they will probably contact you. This happens every time you meet a new tribe or another European Power. Accept their offer of friendship and move on. If you want to learn more about the natives in Colonization, check out these articles: Natives in Colonization and Cooperating with the natives.

Establishing your first colony

Now it's time to establish your first colony. Any colonist can establish a new colony, but note that your soldier will be stripped of his muskets, and your pioneer of his tools. (You don't lose them -- they will be stored in the newly founded colony)

Use your soldier to found the first colony. That way your pioneer is free to start improving the land surrounding the colony.

Why do they get stripped of their weapons or tools? Because once a unit joins a colony, he becomes a working colonist inside that colony -- he can't do two things simultaneously. Later on this will become one of the challenging aspects of the game, namely, how do you make the best use out of the colonists available to you; Work or defend? Scout or improve land?

Here are some important things to consider when building your first colony, and bear in mind that your colony has a radius of one. The colony square is in the center, and the surrounding eight squares belong to that colony. (See image -->)

1. It should be situated on the coast. This is vital, because your ship needs access to the cargo your colonists produce and the ability to bring in new and important cargo from Europe.

2. It should NOT be adjacent to an indian settlement. Preferably two squares away, because the natives use the land surrounding their settlements.

3. One of the surrounding squares should be a forest. You need lumber in order to construct new buildings.

4. Be on the lookout for prime resources. This isn't a must, but it's a great advantage. In the image above there is a fur resource, so this would be a good colony for gathering fur and maybe making some coats out of that fur later on.

When you find a spot that fits these criteria, move your soldier there. Then, when active, press 'B', and the colony is founded. This brings you to the colony screen.

The Colony Screen

This is an inside view of your colony. Here is a screenshot with descriptions of the different areas:

Colonization Colony Screen

You can put your colonist to work in one of the buildings or in one of the surrounding land squares that belong to this colony. We won't go through all the different options here, but you can find descriptions of them in the Game Topics menu on this site. When you are playing, you can always check the Colonizopedia which is at the top of the screen on the right. The menus and shortcut keys in Colonization are decribed in further detail here.

You'll notice that when you founded the colony, the colonist was automatically assigned a job. In the image above, he was automatically set to gathering fur from the land square with the prime fur resource. You may choose to keep him there or assign him to a different task. If you want to move him, simply drag the colonist to another land square, click on him and select what he should do, or drag him to one of the buildings.

You will also notice that his muskets were stored in the warehouse, which now holds 50 muskets. If you ever want a working colonist to leave a colony, you simply drag him to the colony fence. (Bottom right in the colony buildings area)

Colony screen explained : Buildings are where your colonist produce certain cargos, build better buildings or produce liberty bells or crosses. Buildings can have up to three colonists working in them at any time. Land squares are where you gather raw materials such as food, lumber and fur. There can be only one colonist per land square.

The Sons of Liberty membership shows you how many people support independence. (In this image there are none yet, our colonist supports the king -- represented by the blue crown) But you'll notice a bell on one of the buildings. That's the Town Hall, and it currently produces one liberty bell per turn. Liberty bells increase Sons of Liberty membership over time, and they also work towards getting new Founding Fathers. Here's an article about Liberty Bells in Colonization.

There is an overview of any ships that may be in that colony, and cargo hold runs along the bottom of the screen. To the right you can toggle between production overview, units in colony, and building progress. Building progress will come into play when you assign a colonist to the the Carpenter's Shop colony building, but notice that you must have lumber in your colony to build anything. If there is lumber available and a colonist working in the Carpenter's Shop, hammers will start appearing in the building progress box. This is also the place where you decide what to build, for example new and improved buildings, wagon trains, ships or artillery units.

In general, this is where you manage your colony. Here you decide what to harvest and produce. It get's a little more complicated when you have 10-20 colonies with 20+ colonists in each of them!

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