MPope said that future AI will be clever and its colonies better defended.
I did not read (and understand) the AI code in trunk enough to judge its efficiency, but I think that only an extremely clever code can beat the following strategy:
If the player (immediatelly after the game start) sells the initial tools and muskets to the natives (it should not be so hard to get 300 gold, I think), equips both colonists as scouts and visits all chieftains very quickly, then he will have something more than 10.000 gold. But it takes much less to fill a galleon with 1 artillery and 5 dragoons (maybe 2 initial colonists, one emigrant and two recruited). So the scouts will get the needed money quickly and this army can immediately strike against the AI colonies. (MPope promissed "better competition in future versions" from AI Europeans visiting chieftains, so that less will remain for the human - but will this competition be enough to counter this strategy of human player?)
I think that a galleon full of non-veteran dragoons so early in the game will easily capture colonies even of a very cleverly defended AI. This is the core of my today's message, am I wrong here?
Furthermore, the human can choose the best of the following options:
- If the "Difficulty dialog" contains "Artillery increase = 100" from "very hard" level, then the human can load 2 dragoons, 100 horses (to re-equip the dragoons) and 3 artilleries. The dragoons will protect the unload artilleries for one turn before they can attack.
- As the default value for "Allow amphibious attacks" is "checked", I assume that AI should not be quite easily beatable with this setting. But I think it is very easily beatable by a ship full of artillery, which will attack and capture the colony without any fear from counterattacks. (I mean counterattacks before capturing the colony. Of course the captured colony must then be defended).
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Will the AI be clever enough to counter this strategy? If not, maybe it would help to add one of these fields to the "Difficulty" dialog:
- "Chieftain gold" factor (I don't care if it also affects gifts from natives; then it could be called "Indian gift factor")
- "AI initial units sets" - how many "sets" of inititial units the AI should start it; now each player gets one set which depends on the national advantage