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Game Play (continued...)

Getting Started

You take the role of the leader of your selected nation. In order to win you must play this role well. Sifting through financial reports can be very hard if the Spanish are attacking you and at the same time you are trying to work out a treaty with England. It's a tough job, but if you're good you get all the glory.

The game doesn't exactly have a story line that you follow, instead each campaign is set at a different time and involves different nations and their struggles. All of course are historically accurate and set some time between 1492 and 1792. Each campaign has its own set of objectives and for that matter every nation has different objectives in order to win. Which once again means lots of re-playability. I guess you could say that it's an open ended style of story were you are in charge of a country's destiny.

Commanding units is as simple as pointing and clicking as they move in real-time through the various territories. Now just to show how realistic this game really is think about this. When you move units around the map, the amount of time it takes for the units to arrive is based on how far, weather, and even the type of terrain being crossed. This means the fastest way may not be a straight line if it happens to go directly over mountains or something like that. To keep track of how far away units are from their destination a handy progress bar shows you exactly how far they have gotten so you won't be left guessing on their progress.

At the start of a campaign it's a good idea to get the cash flowing and build up some military strength. Always try to leave a cash reserve for a backup plan if things go wrong. Also always be watching what the neighbors are doing because there is a good chance that they are planning an attack and its best to be prepared.

It's All About Management

Technology plays an important role in the game. It is done in a very simple way. If you reach say land tech 22, you will then start research on land tech 23 etc. This is done on 5 different tech items: "land" and "naval" are both military based while "stability" is based on public relations. This will help increase your stability rating that I will talk about in a short time. "Infrastructure" is another matter, at high levels it allows the appointment of officials such as governors, so it can be very powerful. "Treasury" is the last tech and it controls how much of your income is not put into investments and can be spent on other things.

Not only will you need to worry about your enemies, things like stability and attrition are very important. Stability ranges on a scale from +3 to -3. +3 means everything is going good, populations are growing, people are getting paid and most importantly taxes are coming in. At the other end of the scale at -3, well its bad, very bad. Rebellions are everywhere and chances are your enemies will decide that its time to attack (the AI is not stupid). The best way to control stability is to keep cash flow high in your provinces.

Attrition was a very big problem back then due to lack of good medical care and dirty living conditions. Not only is it something that needs to be watched closely, but it can wipe out an entire army if you forget about them in some far off territory. The best way to stop it is to keep armies standing in rich provinces if possible. Chances are if you leave an army in the mountains for an entire winter, when you come back there might not be much of an army left. The worst is when transporting units by ship. Men will be dropping like fly's if your not hopping from one port to another.

To finish off this section I will talk a little bit about the trade system in the game. Each nation automatically produces Traders, which you can use, as you like. I will just give you a general run down of how it works. The lowest tier is Merchants and if they do well on that tier they will climb up to the next. This continues on and hopefully they reach the top level, Monopoly, then they will really bring in the money for your state. If you don't want to be worrying about this Paxadox has added in a auto manage feature so you can set it and forget about it. Now that is a very basic description, but hopefully you've got a idea as to how this works.


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