Pinned What is the best way to increase production of resources?

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    • What is the best way to increase production of resources?

      A frequently asked forum question is "How do I increase my production of resources (goods, metals, food, oil, rare materials), and what is the best way to do it?" For anyone who has studied the costs in time and resources and then done the math, you know that the most resource-efficient and time-effective way to increase your production of any given resource is to do the following:

      1. Improve your core resource provinces first. Core provinces are those that your country has when the game begins. At 100% morale, core resource provinces produce resources at FOUR TIMES (4x) the rate of captured resource provinces. If the only goal is to increase resource production, improving your core provinces first before you improve your captured provinces is a no-brainer.

      2. If you are so fortunate as to have a "double resource" province, improve it before you improve your single resource provinces. Double resource provinces are those that produce resources at twice the rate of an ordinary resource province, there are a limited number of them on any given map, and not every country has one.

      3. If your only goal is to increase resource production, build all three levels of infrastructure in a given resource province before you begin to construct a new level 1 industrial complex there. Both L3 infrastructure and an L5 industrial complex increase resource production by 50% in a given province, but the L3 infrastructure takes less time and fewer resources to build than the L5 industrial complex, so build the infrastructure first before adding a new industrial complex.

      4. For speed of unit production, it is usually smarter to build out your existing four or five industrial complexes before you add new ICs. This is a separate issue from resource production.

      5. Naval bases should only be added to coastal ICs as needed for the production of naval units. If your goal is to increase resource production in a given coastal province, then a naval base should only be added after L3 infrastructure and an L5 industrial complex are completed. Naval bases are the least efficient way to increase resource production, i.e., they generate the least return on your investment of resources to build them.

      6. Adding naval bases to non-core single resource provinces rarely makes sense if the goal is solely to increase resource production. For example, adding an L1 naval base to a non-core oil province consumes 50 tons of oil per day when the base is enabled/active; at 100% morale, an L1 naval base in non-core oil province will increase oil production by 38 to 40 tons per day. Thus, it's a net loss to total production.

      7. Adding fortifications to non-core provinces to increase provincial morale, and thus increase resource production in a non-core resource province is the slowest way to increase production of a given resource, and it should be undertaken only after your core provinces that produce the same resource are fully improved. And, yes, I recognize that the construction of fortifications is often undertaken for reasons other than resource production, i.e., morale stabilization in a captured province, or for actual defensive purposes.

      The post was edited 5 times, last by MontanaBB ().

    • WiseOdin wrote:

      Ty, BB. This is a huge help to new and less experienced players that normally just suffer through the larger maps.
      Well, I can't tell you how many times I've had to explain the same 6 or 7 steps to junior allies. Most players understand intuitively that you need to improve your resource provinces to increase resource production. But even most experienced players don't seem to grasp that there is a best way to do it.
    • To be perfectly honest, I only played one of the 100p matches. I prefer smaller maps.

      I played in the 100p map, knowing that feeding a huge country would be hard.
      I still had trouble, but took third place in the map as Algeria (so food issues were magnified)
      The ability to create a powerful economy matters a whole lot in the 100p matches.
    • WiseOdin wrote:

      The ability to create a powerful economy matters a whole lot in the 100p matches.
      It matters a whole lot in the 50-player games too. The Pacific map is big enough that capturing and stabilizing provinces on the extreme side of it from your own country can be damn difficult unless you plan carefully and bring enough occupation troops and have stockpiled enough metals to build fortifications to raise morale. Making best use of the 10% morale boost from taking an enemy capital is usually a key part of one's morale stabilization strategy too.
    • A big part of "the best way" revolves around competing demand for your scarce resources at the start. You need to build units, research tech, and maybe build some forts in the early days. You don't have enough resources to do everything, so you need to have a plan.

      The toughest decision is often when to build the L1 IC on your core double that doesn't have an IC to start (many countries have a double-iron or double-oil that starts with no upgrades.) L1 ICs are a huge expense, particularly in "rare materials" which are in short supply at the start due to needing them for research.

      A fully upgraded core double oil province (especially if it is coastal so you can add a harbour) can be a fantastic dynamo for your country... Just don't leave yourself so weak that you can be overwhelmed early, by throwing resources at it that are more urgently needed elsewhere. The compromise that seems to work best is building up the infrastructure in that province first (probably to L2), before investing in the IC.

      ---
      Also, I'm surprised nobody mentioned - As any decent business leader will tell you, you have to consider payback time. If you believe from experience that you're likely to face a rare materials shortage around day 8-12, you might think building an IC on your Finnish double-rares province will help with that. It absolutely won't! You will have to spend far more rares than you can possibly recoup by day 12, to start the IC. (Building infrastructure there instead may help with your problem, if you can spare the iron and oil in exchange for rares.)

      That is the most extreme example, but the same can go for building infrastructure on iron provinces, or a harbour on oil. The payback will take a long time. You will learn by experience what your play-style (and the resource availability of the different starting countries) faces in terms of likely shortages in the mid-late game, as well as the early game - To improve your economic situation you need to think twice before spamming harbours and barracks everywhere on day 1 just because they can be built very quickly (a classic n00b trap).

      ----
      On day 1 you start with a lot of resources to get off on the right foot, but you must think ahead and spend wisely.

      In nearly every case, your Day 1 priorities are:
      • Buy a bunch of key techs, including the quickly-researched Inf, AC and AT. After those, start two of the day-long techs - Probably Arti and Light Tanks (or Fighters or Subs if you prefer)
      • Build L1 harbours on all of your coastal core provinces having double-resources and/or Industrial Complexes.
      • Then build Infrastructure in your double-resource province that starts with an IC. You'll build LTs or Arti there on day 2.
      • Build Infrastructure on your double that does not start with an IC - That's just a great long-term investment for resource production, and you should be able to afford it.
      • Build L1 barracks on two or three of your highest manpower producers. (Manpower is a scarce resource too!) It's tempting to spam barracks everywhere because they seem cheap, but the upkeep will come back to haunt you (plus you need the goods early on for research and other things). Even for speeding production in your ICs it's a sketchy investment. If you are confident that you will be able to constantly stream troops out of each IC, then you should put L1 barracks there... But not before you start building troops (i.e. you may not build anything in the province before you finish the L1 infrastructure etc.)
      • Probably continue with L2 barracks on your capital, which is usually your highest manpower producer by far. This may have to wait if it's a double-goods producer. Your need for that resource vs your need for manpower will be a juggling act you can only learn with experience.
      • Consider what each of your IC provinces will be specializing in. L3 harbours, barracks, airports and infrastructure are necessary to build certain important units, but they are too expensive (in initial cost and upkeep) to just build everywhere. Building an airport on a back-line province that is likely to be spamming commandos for most of the game is probably a waste.
      • Consider the timing of your tech research completions. You don't need a harbour to produce subs before you have completed the day-long research, and you don't need to research tac bombers before you have completed a L2 airport. In a perfectly-timed economy you might complete those things at nearly the same time, if higher priorities can be met in the meantime.
      • Upgrade your IC provinces according to the previous two points. If you want to build cruisers right away you need to build an L2 harbour in your "cruiser province", not infrastructure. In a different province you may be building a L2 airport to allow you to start Tac Bombers fast (preferably one that is close to your first planned fight.) In your capital you are probably building a L2 barracks while producing AT guns, and the remainder of your ICs should build infrastructure so they can pop out arti and/or LTs.
      • If you border a rival and are unsure about his loyalty, you likely want to drop forts on key provinces in his path. Hopefully those disputed provinces aren't cities with ICs, because that's bad in a bunch of ways. You never want the fight to reach your ICs!
      • Start building AT guns in at least a couple of your ICs. This is where you will really start to feel the pinch of resources likely, so you probably can't afford to build 5. I almost never build infantry, but if you are confident that you can afford it you might as well.
      • Finally, start L1 infrastructure on all remaining core resource squares (non-IC) if you can afford it.
      • You are now all set for Day 1, with your economy humming away for a while. On day 2 you'll be upgrading all of your ICs to L2 as a rule, with the possible exception of your capital going to L3 barracks (or better, L2.9!), and your airport upgrading to L2 if you're rushing Tac Bombers.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by CityOfAngels ().

    • You do it a little different than me....

      why the Build L1 harbours on all of your coastal core resource provinces, in any game naturally we are not going to sea to me this is strange to rush.

      I tell you what I do,
      Build barracks level 1 in all cities,
      research infantry and armored cars,
      build infrastructure in all provinces that provide resources.
      As soon as barracks is up infantry is researched build 3 to 4 regiments.
      Start researching level 1 light tanks ASAP after armored cars I never leave a game before I do that.
      Next day start pumping out light tanks or a few, keep upgrading your resource provinces
      with the infantry and tanks built start invading first NPC country nearest to you this is called my natural expansion.
      do not group your forces let your tanks get in front and wipe out their infantry let your infantry go into their cities etc... start researching air as well.

      If a player does this light tank rush against you, instead of researching light tanks go for AT guns they are cheap build them along side infantry AT guns are defense only attack with infantry only once the tanks advance and you kill them.
      while taking your natural expansions then I would start your navy if you have to.... this is all situational if I was playing a country like egypt I have no need for a navy at all for a long time.

      please tell me what is wrong with my 2 day build well 3 day build? light tanks are op at the moment great to expand with. you are building your economy and getting air on the side. with 3 or 4 infantry regiments and of course the troops you start with.

      Point is i want your opinion on why you might think my build is bad. other than a player like you building defensively with those AT guns.
      PapaSmurf86 - Ingame
    • papasmurf29 wrote:

      why the Build L1 harbours on all of your coastal core resource provinces, in any game naturally we are not going to sea to me this is strange to rush.
      Indeed. Naval bases are the least efficient way to increase resource production. Early naval bases should only be built for the production of naval units. (See my original comments above.)

      This thread was intended to be a discussion about maximizing resource production, so I'll let you fellas argue about what units to produce early in the game.
    • Papasmurf:
      Realistically you're likely to only have 1 or 2 costal core resource provinces. If on some map I had 8 of them, I would have to adjust to that because 8 harbours would be silly. If I had 2, and one of them was a double and the other a single with IC, I would definitely build a harbour on both. The double would then be further upgraded with Infrastructure (to maximize resource production there), while the IC with harbour would be producing subs.
      If you aren't building at least some subs early (and you aren't landlocked), you're probably doing it wrong. They are very powerful. But yeah, playing Italy or GB I suppose I probably wouldn't build harbours on all resource provinces.
      What I should have said was "all coastal doubles or ICs". I would stand by that in 90% of cases.

      You should build a few ATs early because you have nothing else to build while your infrastructure is being completed (except infantry, which is not a great investment of early resources usually). It isn't "a defensive build", because I don't have to sacrifice later LTs or arti - I can't build those on day 1 anyway. You say you wouldn't build them unless you had to because of an enemy armoured blitz, but you can't know that blitz is coming until it happens. Then you'll wish you had built a few AT guns back when your factories were sitting idle on day 1! It isn't "a defensive build", because I don't have to sacrifice later LTs or arti - I can't build those on day 1 anyway.

      LTs are "OP" mainly because bad players are bad at countering them. While a neighbour is sleeping I can break through their line and then race around their undefended underbelly with LTs (or my starting ACs for that matter)... Unless they were smart enough to place a few ATs to stop that from happening, in their defensive line and in their cities. Even one humble AT in a city will ruin a LTs whole day... Probably 2 LTs, although that would be a closer fight. And they will hold that city while you sleep, sit in work meetings, fly to Tokyo or whatever else might keep you from actively responding to enemy movements.

      Of course if you know your opponents are all baddies or AIs, you would probably not bother with anything defensive and just build for all-out blitz. I'm assuming that you have some reason for concern from competent neighbours. :)

      The post was edited 2 times, last by CityOfAngels ().

    • CityOfAngels wrote:

      LTs are "OP" mainly because bad players are bad at countering them.
      The easy answer for a stack full of light tank brigades is 10 or 15 tactical bomber squadrons in 5-squadron stacks (maximum efficient stack size). LTs have lousy anti-aircraft defense, and it's almost like a free hit for the TBs.

      Players who rely to such a degree on LTs are usually bad players who get killed by better players.

      You are the first two players who have suggested (at least in comments I have read) that LT are over-powered. Personally, I think they are about right in their strengths and weaknesses relative to their real world counterparts. They are fast, they are relatively strong against infantry (especially on plains terrain), they are relatively weak against heavier armor, they are weak against bomber attacks, and they are weak in urban environments. That suggests a number of ways to deal with enemy attacks that are mostly LTs.

      BTW, your anti-tank regiments will perform much better if they are supported by infantry and armor units in the same stack. Otherwise AT units can get killed relatively quickly. Also note that AT units have significantly less strength on offense than defense, and like conventional artillery, they're slow-moving.

      An ideal way to massacre a large column of LT brigades is to entice them into a battle in an urban environment. All tank and armored car units lose half of their offensive strength AND half of their hit points in cities. If your defending stack has a couple of AT regiments supported by several infantry regiments, that will hold the attackers in place, and you can counter-attack with tactical bomber squadrons as described above. *Presto!* No enemy light tank problem.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by MontanaBB ().

    • MontanaBB:
      I said "OP" in quotes to indicate "so-called OP". I don't really believe they are either. However, against weak/inactive players they are really good at reaving/harassing, especially if the player didn't leave any defenses on their key back-line territories/core cities.

      While clearly AT guns are best in defense, they can easily beat an AC (or probably LT) if they get a chance to attack it in a city. Of course so could an Inf.
    • What are you guys even talking about? It is like you are trying to troll me with your guys logic.I am talking about EARLY GAME even day 1 here. Again why the harbours? NO player is going to attack you from the sea in the beginning not when you can grow by grabbing your natural expansions.

      Then you talk about how Anti Tank Guns are better to produce day 1 than Infantry. This is a completely defensive order. Anti Tank Guns suck at attacking anything only good at incoming look at their attack versus defense rating. Early Infantry is a great invading force.

      Day 1 tech to Light Tanks is very strong and it is OP....IF your enemy does not have you are screwed. Light Tanks can tear apart infantry and armored cars. The only thing stopping them is Anti Tank Guns as you want to build. The problem with that Idea is I also have infantry in my reserves as well that will completely take out the guns.

      Also who takes cities with tanks? if undefeated fine, no I always Use my Infantry troops. If you read it will actually state tanks suck in urban areas and infantry are needed to take cities more efficiently. I have not really tested or calculated this theory but I go by what the game says.

      also I am still building economy and I will be having planes very soon so I will see your guns, Basically a good defense is a good offense. even in this game if you're going to war you want it in their land not yours. I have been reading strategies on these forums and I am not the only person that rush's light tanks for the free early dominance that literally you can not stop.

      Say your north america I am south america you build your harbours and tech sub, you are already in a full disadvantage I already have more resources to throw at you. Light tanks backed up by Infantry then planes the next day. your Anti tank guns are not going to stop this. It is just going to get worse as I tech as well.

      Also I have never seen a game without tanks, all I have ever seen is tanks backed with tactical bombers this is the most common build out there. But I will not lie if I see an enemy with tons and tons of tanks and lacks infantry darn right i am going to make anti tank guns, or better yet tank destroyers.

      I have had theories on why not just armor car rush people they are the fastest and can land grab so fast. Because the light tank beats them. What I don't see often which I think is a great unit is Mech Infantry.
      PapaSmurf86 - Ingame
    • DxC wrote:

      Light tanks are not overpowered in terms of strength per upkeep and build costs, but they are in terms of MP and build time which is often a factor early on. And they are also fast which is their main advantage. Many use them in concert with air to advance to front more quickly with their speed which isn't a bad strategy in many circumstances. However, strategies are still evolving and that simple TAC/INT/LT strategy isn't necessarily the way to go. Every country and scenario is different. What resources do you make more of oil or food? That is important. It also depends on what kind of game you are playing and who you are playing against and what their strategy is. For me a decent general target build is no INF except maybe first day before research is done. A tank or two per stack and shoot for 3 stacks with 8 each of ART, AA, INF. and a few AC/LT or whatever else you can stack it with. In the "meantime" build your INT/TAC. Sitting back and building your res and army isn't necessarily a bad idea, but it depends on the scenario you are in.
      I agree with this statement, I just don't agree with the navy so fast and no reason for anti tank guns. My entire point was to compare mine to yours instead we are nitpicking on a 2 units.......
      PapaSmurf86 - Ingame
    • papasmurf29 wrote:

      What are you guys even talking about? It is like you are trying to troll me with your guys logic.I am talking about EARLY GAME even day 1 here. Again why the harbours? NO player is going to attack you from the sea in the beginning not when you can grow by grabbing your natural expansions.

      Then you talk about how Anti Tank Guns are better to produce day 1 than Infantry. This is a completely defensive order. Anti Tank Guns suck at attacking anything only good at incoming look at their attack versus defense rating. Early Infantry is a great invading force.

      Day 1 tech to Light Tanks is very strong and it is OP....IF your enemy does not have you are screwed. Light Tanks can tear apart infantry and armored cars. The only thing stopping them is Anti Tank Guns as you want to build. The problem with that Idea is I also have infantry in my reserves as well that will completely take out the guns.

      Also who takes cities with tanks? if undefeated fine, no I always Use my Infantry troops. If you read it will actually state tanks suck in urban areas and infantry are needed to take cities more efficiently. I have not really tested or calculated this theory but I go by what the game says.

      also I am still building economy and I will be having planes very soon so I will see your guns, Basically a good defense is a good offense. even in this game if you're going to war you want it in their land not yours. I have been reading strategies on these forums and I am not the only person that rush's light tanks for the free early dominance that literally you can not stop.

      Say your north america I am south america you build your harbours and tech sub, you are already in a full disadvantage I already have more resources to throw at you. Light tanks backed up by Infantry then planes the next day. your Anti tank guns are not going to stop this. It is just going to get worse as I tech as well.

      Also I have never seen a game without tanks, all I have ever seen is tanks backed with tactical bombers this is the most common build out there. But I will not lie if I see an enemy with tons and tons of tanks and lacks infantry darn right i am going to make anti tank guns, or better yet tank destroyers.

      I have had theories on why not just armor car rush people they are the fastest and can land grab so fast. Because the light tank beats them. What I don't see often which I think is a great unit is Mech Infantry.
      I will attack you from the sea (Sweden to Germany or whatever), if you are my only neighbouring rival who appears competent. Sack a couple of your ICs while you are sleeping one night and most of your army is attacking your "natural expansions", and things will be easy for me from there with the only local threat crippled. And if you want revenge, too bad, you can't get at me because I started building subs before you and you'll never catch up. (Obviously there are lots of situations where investing in a navy is pointless. Playing Poland or Ukraine you will have your hands full guarding all your land borders probably. There is no one-size-fits-all build order.)

      Of course if you are playing a random game against opponents who aren't capable of attacking or counter-attacking you then it almost doesn't matter what you build - You're going to win anyway and it's just a race. It's a lot more interesting to talk about what is best in a fight that you aren't sure you're going to actually win. If you are playing competitively, in the PL or in 5v5 alliance matches, then you will be attacked from the sea and you will have to worry about holding one front while you fight on another. You will focus your strength on the South sector of his line, and he will counter-attack you in the North where he had been moving his LTs at the same time. In competitive play AT guns and forts save you early, and AA guns and artillery save you later. If you don't have them vs a strong player, you just lose when he brings his bombers or artillery to attack you.

      Random games create very bad habits because the competition is nearly non-existent. Competitive games (any game where you butt up against a clever and active enemy) are a constant learning process. The game is quite deep in terms of strategy that simulates reality, such as the development of static fronts, an eventual breakthrough in one province followed by the danger of collapse with light mech units ravaging ICs behind the front... Air superiority... Naval superiority... Large terrain advantages and defensive advantages... And the power of mixed unit stacks. (There are also some unfortunate glitchy exploits especially with Air combat, and it's really unfortunate imo that to excel requires sacrificing sleep, which is terribly unhealthy.)
      One example you might or might not have faced is a navy-supported landing (again, quite realistic). Landing troops are very vulnerable, so you'd figure you can either kill them on the beach with a smaller force, or keep some bombers near the shore and bomb anyone who tries to land. But if the enemy brings a few cruisers up close to the landing troops, even though they aren't in the same stack they will cover the landing craft and shred your bombers. It makes sense, but I had no idea they could do that from a different stack! So the first time someone did that to me I was horrified, and they were able to come ashore where I thought I was safe.

      Of course the solution to that problem... Is subs! :)

      Just in general, no unit is so OP that you can focus on it and just ignore other areas. LTs and Tacs are great, you should certainly build them. But if you focus 80 or 90% on building them, you will get wrecked in a fight with a good player who pushes into your territory with mixed-unit stacks that you just can't attack. 5AA in a stack with some inf and whatever else, and attacking them with pretty much any number of bombers is suicide. Same idea with AT guns. Add in some artillery to do all the attacking, and now you have to come up with a different plan fast to save your capital because your LT+Tac army is helpless. You can't attack him, and he can attack you freely.

      Specifically in response to "Again, why the harbours?": So the original question of the thread was about increasing production of resources. Harbours certainly do that - That was all I was really thinking when I originally suggested harbours in all coastal resource provs. (I would never actually do that.) But L1 harbours are cheap, can probably be fit in to your builds without slowing production of anything else (I'm certainly not going to delay getting some LTs because I built harbours), and over time they are a good long-term investment in terms of resource production. Plus they allow the ability to produce subs, which you will usually need in a competitive game, and they allow better supply lines once your territory spans a sea.
      Like a lot of things you could potentially do (researching militia, building an airport in your capital, etc), it's probably a good idea unless it's going to cramp your ability to do something more important.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by CityOfAngels ().

    • CityOfAngels wrote:

      LTs are "OP" mainly because bad players are bad at countering them. While a neighbour is sleeping I can break through their line and then race around their undefended underbelly with LTs (or my starting ACs for that matter)... Unless they were smart enough to place a few ATs to stop that from happening, in their defensive line and in their cities. Even one humble AT in a city will ruin a LTs whole day... Probably 2 LTs, although that would be a closer fight. And they will hold that city while you sleep, sit in work meetings, fly to Tokyo or whatever else might keep you from actively responding to enemy movements.

      I find it odd how many people think that a ring of units around the borders of their empire constitutes "defense". Without realizing that there is not perfect defensive line, they don't realize that saving a few units back can make a difference between surviving a war and getting gutted while they are at work or school....or sleeping in front of the TV.

      papasmurf29 wrote:

      What are you guys even talking about? It is like you are trying to troll me with your guys logic.I am talking about EARLY GAME even day 1 here. Again why the harbours? NO player is going to attack you from the sea in the beginning not when you can grow by grabbing your natural expansions.

      Do yourself a favor and don't be exclusive with "natural expansion". Though you should have your own play style, just realize that NPC's can be natural buffers against powerful enemies just beyond your borders on one side while you focus your early conquest efforts on another side. This is especially true if you go after human opponents early. Also, you can set your relationship with those NPC's to RoW and eventually you might pass-through to the other side to surprise your opponent later on. Also, by saving some of the NPC's near to you, you can take advantage of their easy targets later in the game to get morale-rescuing capitals that can be played out (given a certain design flaw in the System AI) so as to repeat that boost several times over before the ultimate demise of the NPC.

      Remember that any time you fight an NPC, your human neighbor has less opposition in his way to conquering you. Let them fight the NPC's while you gut them and then clean up their weakened armies with your pristine troops.

      R.I.P. Swirl, chaos has earned you peace.
    • I have to admit, after reading all the responses in this thread, I'm amazed that not one person seems to share my belief that this is a terrible question. Not all questions are good questions. At the same time, it's certainly understandable that this question gets asked a lot by newer players. And experienced players should be ready to give a short, succinct answer that will help them along and give them a chance to enjoy the game a little before the harsh reality of how much they really suck (because of how inexperienced they are) causes them to lose matches and get discouraged.

      That's the whole point of my answer to this question, that it's only for new players (though I will give a long and drawn out answer below for the sake of this thread). And new players don't need a huge litany of procedures and order of investments and whatnot. They need the basics to get started. A few barracks, a few IC's, a few Infrastructure, a few seaports. Don't overspend and don't pay too much in the market. Don't build all of one type and don't build only exotic stuff. Standard common units are best for beginners because they are easy to use and standard building plans for their economy have the same merit.

      It isn't until a player is experienced before they start to realize that there are significant advantages and disadvantages to each choice they make in their economic development, their unit builds, their strategic unit placements, their diplomacy, and more. An experienced player doesn't just stick to a solid plan. They develop a dynamic strategy that works for them. It has a core idea of how to proceed but is flexible enough to handle different and changing situations. In one match, spam tanks and take out the NPC's, in another, build lots of AT's and hope your mid-rated neighbor doesn't have a hefty wallet and a penchant for using premium points to spam bombers at you.

      ~o~

      I have my own way of doing things that works for me. The method to my madness in every game is to join up as early as possible, assess what kind of competition I am likely facing based on their player rating and any familiarity I have with their names, and sabotage the market with sucker deals. Only after I have done those tasks, do I start considering my economic, military, and diplomatic strategy. And I don't spend a lot of time fretting over those things. I make a set of judgements, begin execution of them, and stay flexible for the eventuality that any assumptions I made about others in the match are wrong.

      Along the way, I'll usually start with a level 1 barracks in every province over 300 Manpower (upto 4 or 5), research Infantry and AC and AT and then start building Infantry and AT's....usually balancing the number to get the most units started before running out of Manpower.

      ~o~

      I'm not fond of building Infrastructure before IC's. I know I'm in the minority on this one. But I've been burned more than once for not having upgraded IC's right off the bat (think "mass-sabotage on day 2"). As a rule, probably the only other thing I stick to the most (after the barracks), is that I will usually upgrade most -- if not all -- of my IC's to level 2 before Infrastructure. And I won't build level 2 Infrastructure until the IC has been upgraded to level 3. That way I don't have to worry about battle losses because the IC is recoverable and survives both being invaded and liberated without having to (re)invest the Rare Materials.

      Another likely direction I'll go is to go ahead and start a new IC in a double resource....unless it's Food. Otherwise, I usually start level 1 Infrastructures in resources that are harder to come by in the late game. That's the other thing about me. I plan ahead....way ahead. So I always invest in economy more than most even at the risk of not being able to field enough units early, sometimes, because, if I survive the first few weeks, my early investments in long-term resource production increases will start to outpace everyone else in the match and my unit production capacity usually becomes higher proportionately.

      ~o~

      A BIG part of why I prefer level 2 IC's before level 1 Infrastructure is that it speeds up production time along with the barracks. And that helps my army to grow early and fast before I level off to await Manpower to catch up with me. Blitzing strategies benefit from this because your long-term economic growth gets an early jumpstart with lots of little sums that add up as you are going to acquire more resources from conquering than from internal expansion. And early conquest means more long-term return on those occupied provinces. The sooner you capture provinces, the sooner they start producing and the sooner their morale improves and the sooner you can upgrade important ones (you usually should still focus on cores for upgrades,of course).

      Remember that where you choose to invest resources has to have a return on the investment. How soon will it start producing and at what rate? Will you need more return up front or more stretched out over long term? Is a province (you are investing in) danger of being overrun or is it safely in the center of your empire...far away from the action? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself before upgrading. If one province isn't good to upgrade, try upgrading another, or more than one.

      ~o~

      continued next post....

      R.I.P. Swirl, chaos has earned you peace.
    • ....continued from previous post.

      ~o~

      Then there's the sucker trades. This is a wildcard that benefits you once in awhile but not usually. Don't bother leaving them up if there are no takers after a while. But a little patience can go a long way when dealing with the fickle behavior of the market. Even after the sucker trades are no longer viable, don't buy up everything. Buy what you need and only pay what is reasonable. Remember that the prices vary just as your ability to pay and your need for the resource varies. If you put orders up that are competitive BEFORE you need the resources, then you'll have the time to be patient and see those orders filled. But if you wait until you run out of Metal to go shopping, then you are likely going to overpay for the Metal. Alas, if you've waited too long, you'll have to accept what you can get and work with it.

      The market can be great for your economy....or disastrous. If you buy, buy, BUY!, you are likely going to run out of Money and find yourself not being able to do a lot of stuff. If you sell, sell, SELL!, you are likely going to find yourself running out of Goods or Oil or even Food just when the thick of battle with a strong opponent makes you realize that you probably should have been building those AT's that some other dude recommended.

      Do some buying. Do some selling. If you have a surplus of a stock that is producing very well, consider putting some in the market. You can get more Money to trade for other harder-to-come-by resources. You might not be able to sell it. You might not be able to keep it in the market because of demand. Test the waters with small offers and see where the trends go...then beat the trends. If you play your cards right, you can both buy and sell...often even the same commodity...and make a profit along the way, either in Money or in the other resource. Though investment in your economy matters greatly, sometimes being a broker on the market can be almost just as lucrative and give you good supplies of resources that your starting nation can't provide in numbers needed for your game-plan. Though the market can be good, it's no substitute for long-term investments. But it can cover your butt while you are investing a little heavily in the long-term game if you play more like me.

      ~o~

      And that brings me back to being dynamic. Nothing is set in stone. Be dynamic. Don't use my choices unless they work for you. And don't use someone else's choices unless they work for you. Make your own mind up. Stick with your decisions, change your strategy if the need arises. Be dynamic and adaptable to future problems. Try to anticipate what might come against you and plan accordingly.

      Finally, don't forget the single most powerful tool in this game. Use diplomacy. Diplomacy can get you allies, get you resources often at better rates than the market, get you clues about an opponent's strategy, and you can even use diplomacy to mislead your opponents. Tread carefully, though, as diplomacy is a two-way street and you should be prepared to accept what you dish out.
      Be dynamic. Build Infrastructure...or build IC's....or build Nuclear reactors!....whatever makes you happy. And don't fret the finely-tuned numbers because, in the long run, it's the long term trends that last. So, don't mistake being dynamic with being reactive. If you plan ahead for the possibilities, you can be able to switch gears relatively-effortlessly and keep your economy growing and your army marching.

      ~o~

      One closing point....and this is probably the most important thing I can tell anyone in this game. Stagnation is death.
      If you aren't growing your economy either by internal investments, market manipulations, conquest, or even diplomacy and intrigue, then you are slowly dying. There's no standing still in this game. If you aren't growing, know that your competitors ARE growing and that means you are shrinking proportionately. Sure, you can save your resources and your Money and Manpower and hold back your units in defense of your cities....saving for a rainy day. But you will lose. No one -- and I mean no one -- wins from stagnation in this game (well, unless everyone gets bored and leaves in which case you can vote to end it by yourself....but that's just sad). If you aren't growing you need to assess why that is and address the situation soon or you will find yourself needing to start another match.

      Another person wrote above that old adage that offense is the best defense. Well, I would say that, in this game, offense is the only strategy and defense is suicide....not that you shouldn't defend yourself, but if you aren't on the offensive early and often, you likely won't come out on top. So get you some allies, build you some factories, and build those tanks or whatever floats your boat and go to war.

      Even if you lose, you'll have so much more fun that way.

      R.I.P. Swirl, chaos has earned you peace.