- To achieve anything in this game you need lots of money, and the best way to get this (and the only way at the beginning of the game) is through trade.
- In general, you will want to trade specialty goods between ports. For example, Lisbon's specialty is sugar. Sell the sugar in Bordeaux and buy its specialty, grapes. Trade Bordeaux' grapes for Antwerp's sugar, and Antwerp's sugar for London's wool. Sell London's wool back in Lisbon and you will have made a nice profit all along the way.
- The price of goods in each port is multiplied by a market rate which can be viewed from the lodge. Selling goods in a port causes the rate to go down and buying goods causes it go up, so the more goods you sell in a port, the less you'll get for them, and the more goods you buy, the more you'll pay. Specifically, the rate will go down by 1% for every 1000 gold worth of goods you sell to a maximum of 10000 gold (10%). Similarly, the rate will go up by 1% for every 1000 gold woth of goods you buy to a maximum of 10000 gold. Prices can fluctuate between 50% and 150%. At the beginning of every month, the price in each port will move a little towards 100%.
- Since the market rate applies to all goods sold in a port, this mechanism is easily exploited. Selling a large amount of a good, say wool, in a port will cause the price of all goods to go down, which makes it cheaper to buy another good, say sugar. Buying a large amount of this cheaper sugar will cause the price of all goods to go back up again, so you'll be able to sell more wool at a similar price.
- The following are a few of the most profitable trade routes:
- Trading sugar and wool between Antwerp and London - This is an excelent trade route to start the game with. The two ports are only a day or two of sailing away from each other, so you can accumulate wealth pretty quickly. You'll be able to afford some new ships in no time.
- Trading Artwork and Wool between Pisa and Naples - This is probably the most profitable route in the game, since Artwork is the second most valuable commodity in the game and the two ports are very close together. Because there is a large difference in value between the two goods, you may find the market rate at the two ports becomes skewed, which lessens the profits you collect from this route. Care must be taken to avoid this. The greatest danger of this route is probably boredom.
- Trading Firearms and Coral between Lisbon/Seville and Santo Domingo - This route is more dangerous than the previous two routes, so you'll need good, ocean-worthy ships with good figureheads to make it safetly. Although this route is significantly longer, you will be well compensated for the Coral you bring back to Europe.
- Trading Firearms, Silver, and Gold between Lisbon/Seville, Nagasaki, and Mozambique. Silver is dirt cheap in Nagasaki and you won't need to sell many firearms to fill your holds with it. Exchange the silver for gold in Mozambique and when you return to Europe with your holds laden with gold, you'll probably have enough money to last you the rest of the game.
- As you acquire more wealth, you'll be able to afford bigger and better ships. Before adding another ship to your fleet, however, you'll need a mate to sail it. Mates can be found in the Inns. See my Mates page for a complete list. If you invest enough money in a port to bring its industry up to 1000, you'll be able to build the Heavy Galleon, which is the largest, most powerful (and slowest) ship in the game.
- To progress in this game, you need to gain fame. There are several ways to do this:
- Discover a port - You gain a certain amount of fame whenever you discover a new port (this is easier to do if you have a Telescope). In
general, you will gain more fame for discovering more distant ports:
- 20 fame for discovering Mediterranean and Northern Europe ports.
- 100 fame for discovering supply ports.
- 120 fame for discovering ports in Africa.
- 220 fame for discovering ports in the Carribean and Arabia.
- 320 fame for discovering ports in southeast Asia and the far east.
- Defeat an enemy fleet in combat - The stronger the enemy fleet, the more fame you will receive.
- Complete a mission - From time to time you may learn that someone is looking for you when you listen to gossip or tip the waitress in an
Inn. Sail to the indicated port and speak to the trader, innkeeper, or guild master to receive a mission:
- Acquire some goods - The trader at the marketplace will ask you to bring a certain amount of a particular good. You can learn where to find the good he is looking for by listening to rumors and tipping the waitress in the Inn, or you can look at my Goods and Ports pages. Bring enough of that good back to the trader to complete the mission. Early in the game, the trader will ask for goods that are easily found nearby, but will ask for more exotic goods later, though you will gain a greater amount of fame for delivering them.
- Defeat an enemy fleet - The Innkeeper will ask you to defeat the fleet of a captain that has been harassing him. Listen to gossip or tip the waitress in various ports to learn where the enemy captain currently is and where he is going. You can either track him down or wait for him to arrive at his destination and then attack him. Sink or capture his flagship to complete the mission.
- Find a treasure - The guildmaster will ask you to bring him a particular treasure. To find it, you'll need to follow a trail of waitresses and mates from the inns of various ports around the world. You can always learn the location of the next person you need to talk to by listening to gossip or tipping a waitress. Eventually, you'll find a mate who will either sell you a map to the treasure or inform you that a particular captain has the treasure in his ship. With the map, listening to gossip at the inn will let you know what direction to move in until the Speculum finally reveals a map that looks like your own (or you can use my map). Go off shore at the location marked with an 'X' and search to find the treasure. If the treasure is held by a captain, you'll have to track him down and defeat him in a similar manner as the "Defeat an enemy fleet" quest.
- Ally a port with Portugal - When you invest at the marketplace or shipyard, the support level of the port for Portugal will increase. Once support reaches 80%, the port will become allied with Portugal and you will gain some fame proportional to the economic and industrial worth of the port. However, if the port was an ally of Spain or Turkey, their hostility level towards you will increase when their support level drops below 80% and they may send warships after you. Many small investments will earn you more support than few large investments. I recommend investing 1000 gold at a time to maximum investment efficiency. Investment is applied on the first of every month in 1000 gold increments, with a minimum of 1001 gold investment.
- Discover a port - You gain a certain amount of fame whenever you discover a new port (this is easier to do if you have a Telescope). In general, you will gain more fame for discovering more distant ports:
- The goal of the game is to achieve the rank of Duke and marry the princess. The King of Portugal will reward you with a rank every time you
complete a mission for him. The following are the possible missions you may receive:
- Acquire some goods - This mission is the same as the one you occasionally get from traders (described in the Fame section).
- Deliver a message - The King will give you a letter for either the King of Spain or the King of Turkey. Sail to Seville or Istanbul and enter the palace to deliver the message and then return to the King of Portugal.
- Defeat an enemy fleet - This mission is the same as the one you occasionally get from Innkeepers (described in the Fame section).
- Find a treasure - This mission is the same as the one you occasionally get from guild masters (described in the Fame section).
- Rescue the Princess - For your final mission, the King will beg you to rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped by an enemy captain. This quest is the same as the "Defeat an enemy fleet" quest. Return to the King with his daughter to finish the game. Note: it is possible to receive this quest when you are only a Count which will allow you finish the game early.
- The King of Portugal only gives you a mission to achieve the next rank when you have accumulated a certain level of fame. Below is the amount of
fame you need for each rank:
- Page - 400
- Squire - 1600
- Knight - 3600
- Baronet - 6400
- Baron - 10000
- Viscount - 14400
- Count - 19600
- Marquis - 25600
- Duke - 32400
- Note: The King doesn't always have a task for you immediately when you achieve the necessary amount of fame. You may need to wait several days or weeks.