Choosing European Power
The first thing you have to do is pick a European power. So then the questions arises -- which one?
It all depends on what long term strategy you are planning. Each nation has its special advantage.
If you want to focus on trade and a strong economy, the Netherlands would be a good choice. Prices in Europe do not collapse as fast as for other nations. Trade with the natives can also be quite lucrative. Another great advantage is that the Dutch start with a Merchantman instead of a Caravel, and that extra cargo space can give you a head start during the first part of the game. Your military will be financed by your ever-growing economy. The Netherlands are, by far, the most preferred European Power according to the poll here at Colonizationfans.
Another good choice for a trading and cooperation strategy would be France. Since they co-operate well with the natives, developing land near them and expanding your production capacity will generate less alarm. That means you can go about your business a little less disturbed than with any other nation. France starts with a Hardy Pioneer, and that gives you an advantage in the early period of the game. Develop the area around your first colony rapidly, and you will soon start to earn good money. France is third in our poll of preferable European Powers here at Colonizationfans.
Then there is the option of a conquest-based strategy. If you choose this option, Spain is a good choice. They get a bonus when attacking the natives. They always start with a Veteran Soldier. Other powers don't get a Veteran Soldier after the Explorer level. Large native cities can provide great spoils of war, escpecially the Aztec and Inca nations. Razing these settlements often results in 10K+ treasures.
Finance further military strenght with all the treasures you send back to Europe. Guard your treasures well. It's wise to escort them safely with a soldier or a drogoon. Spain is the last choice in our poll here at Colonizationfans -- make of it what you will.
England has the immigration advantage, which means recruiting colonists in Europe will generally be cheaper, or if you haven't recruited anyone in a while, new ones will appear quicker. The other nations have an additional unit advantage (Hardy Pioneer, Merchantman, Veteran Soldier), but England has no such extra advantage. Nevertheless, according to our poll, England is the second most favored European Power to play as.
On most difficulty levels, the Dutch seem to be a superior choice. If you get production going, start shipping goods to Europe and establish trade with the natives, the income you generate will soon amount up to more than you can spend. If you are superior economically, you will most likely be superior militarily!
France is a good choice for trying a co-operation strategy. Interaction with the natives can be quite advantageous if done right. For more on this, check out our article on Cooperating with the natives.
On harder difficulty levels you will soon run into trouble, which means that you will need a strong military force from the get go. If this is the case, it seems that the conquest-based strategy is a good one -- then Spain is a good option.
England can be quite good as well, but be sure to bring in enough Firebrand Preachers or assign your Free Colonists to working in your churches to make full use of their advantage.
Now it's time to Establish Your First Colony. (Back to Colonization Strategy Guides )