Re: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization Tips FAQ Help Tricks Hints Cheats Strat
I'm playing now at Governer level since I finished a couple of conquistador ones with wins. Met with the same problems as many mentioned here, but they can be overcome. Some easy wins with my dragoons even outnumbering the kings total army!!!
0 bells strategy works best in my opinion. Also, if you have a huge army of dragoons and a lot if cities with population the dragoons also seem to count as population for your empire. Even if all your cities have 100% I believe the army also counts, so no 50% for independence possible (very slow grow there). The first time I noticed this I just deleted most of my "unnecessary" units and specialists and watched bell rate go much faster. Then buy a lot of guns and horses, declare independance and change the working class in soldiers (at first I completely "drafted" ALL of my citicens for dragoons and stopped producing and trading).
Expension for cities with statesmans/bells is fine, just don't overdo it. You can get some pesty indians to go away with a little bells/city expension, just remember to remove the statesmen after your city expands the first time so the king will stop adding army. I only let cities get a max of 20 culture for the first level grow (and rarely). This does not guarantee the indian village to be conquered though.
Usually I build around six cities or so, get 0 bells while gaming (maybe one or two cities will grow to 20 culture, but thats it) and have newspapers ready in each city. Then I buy a few elder statesman, have one in most cities (with maybe some students about to graduate to save some gold). Then each city starts max-producing bells at the same time (3 statesman, preferably elder). This is also the time I start "drafting" the working class to dragoons, since I shall not be needing an income much longer. 2 galleons comming home loaded with horses and guns at this stage, while most cities are stocked with horses and guns also.
Usually only 3 statesman and the carpenters are still at work, with some farmers/fishers and lumberjacks. The rest goes to war ! Kill some indians or other cities with the army you still had or are making for gaining generals and xp while waiting for the 50%.
I never build boats because it seems impossible to win those battles. This might still be possible though.
I am now learning to change my empire to producing guns and horses just before I start max-producing bells. This ensures you can keep getting dragoons after independence since pop growth is easy at this stage. I don't really see the point of still trying to trade with Europe with all those man-o-wars. There have been games where I kept trading though. Most of the time not worth it I think.
Well, good luck all! Back to my game I guess.