I have noticed a prolific number of articles relating to maximizing Tax and/or Trade. I have written on this topic as well and now suggest the next step, perfidy play.
This simple concept is briefly defined below: Perfidy: Deliberate breach of faith; calculated violation of trust; treachery. The act, or an instance, of treachery.
Yes, this is the dark side young Padawan.
There are a number of methods to achieve your elevation by interdicting your foes and allies. Why interdict you allies you ask? Because at the end of the day you only win when all nations hail you as leader. Global dominion, that’s the answer. Forget the attainable game victory conditions. Go for the GLOBE!!! This will also help you attain the in-game victory standards.
Simply position a ship(s) on a trade route(s). This works against nation’s you are at war with. By denying them a bit of trade you can lure their fleet to you for destruction as well as reduce their overall income a tad while having your coffers marginally filled.
In the four Trade Zones (TZ) there are five Trade Anchorages (TA). If you are making a solid income it is wise to occupy as many TAs with a trade ship, or any other vessel, as possible. This is done to deny the other nations trade income, if not boost yours. Be warned; this is not an inexpensive strategy and may be more of a mid to end game tactic.
Most players understand that you can send a unit into a declared war opponent’s node (village/college/farm/etc) thereby damaging it and forcing the AI to rebuild. This drains their finance somewhat. Every 1500 spent rebuild is that many less combat forces you need to defeat.
Part of the equation on damage is the number times you "raid" that node. One simple way to increase the node’s damage, thereby increasing the repair cost, is to simply move into and out of the node as often as you can in one turn.
A Cavalry unit can ride in and out of a node enough to cause the repairs to equal building an entirely new facility. Do this to three second tier farms with three Cavalry units and you (low-end) cost your opponent about 1350 gold in repairs. This is economically more than the roughly 600 gold cost per turn for the three full strength lower tier Calvary units.
You could use damaged units, say 50% damaged, and reduce your marauding costs by that percentage. Allocating 200 gold to deny 1350 gold to your enemy is not spending, it is investing.
The same can be done at sea with ports. Transport a land unit, let us assume a 25% strength militia formation, to land and flush the enemy’s fleet. Ensure you can defeat that fleet or else you may not wish to call into battle a fleet you may take a lot of damage from or even lose to.
Then sail into and out of the port numerous times per turn. Leave your militia and a Sloop there and sail your fleet to the next enemy harbor. Sloop maintenance per turn is somewhere around 150 gold and the Militia unit is roughly the same while port repairs can exceed thousands. These are the pure economics of destruction.
Gentlemen conduct a number of actions. They can provide a boost when researching technology at a School/College; attempt to steal technology from another nation (particularly one you may wish to incite a war with) and for this article, dueling to extinction other nation’s Gentlemen.
The first thing I do when gaining a Gentleman unit is to open their character screen and inspect their attributes. If they have an affinity for a certain research they go to that dedicated facility and settle down, develop tenure, go to Fraternity parties and sit by their academic fireplaces fanning the flames of progress. A note of caution is in order here. Some Gentlemen have traits which add to lower class discontent. If your education facility is in a region when dissent is high you have to weigh risk verse reward.
Those Gentlemen who possess no redeeming educational traits, too much discord or even have a predilection toward the blade are sent out to duel other nation’s Gentlemen. This single and continued action has a few noteworthy results. If the Gentleman is unsuccessful he either dies or flees. If he dies you will get another, perhaps more competent Gentleman. If he flees the duel he goes back until he dies or succeeds. If he succeeds consistently you have deprived competing nations of their research enhancements as well as grooming a well accoutered assassin.
Additionally, you can attempt to steal technology but if you fail, and sometimes when you succeed, your national reputation can suffer.
These are four easy ways to reduce your enemy’s productivity. Of course an even easier manner is to merely conqueror the hostile nation. If the enemy has expansive holdings this can be prohibitive. Using this belly warfare approach will at least enable you to begin taking down the beast.
Remember, there is really only one way to eat an elephant – one bite at a time.