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Anno 1800

Cheat Codes:
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Submitted by: David K.

Guide to Master Difficulty:
---------------------------
Written by Bralore

-=Overview=-
Master difficulty is nothing like easier difficulties. Itís also the most fun 
Iíve ever had playing an Anno game. Iím just going to be talking about broad 
strategy, other people have done an excellent job of covering the basics.

There are three major challenges introduced by Master difficulty. The first is 
all or most AI will usually be at war with you, meaning the only way to occupy 
an island is to either colonize it first or conquer it. The second is the AI 
plays fast and aggressively colonizes. There will be no free islands after the
first hour or two of game play. The third challenge is you cannot move 
buildings, even in blueprint mode. This forces you to be precise and can really 
slow you down. While it would be hyperbolic to say seconds matter, minutes
 really do.

-=Phase #1: StarCraft Ė City Building Edition=-
In the first couple hours of the game you need to building houses as fast as 
you can. You need to have about 500 houses on your first island. If your 
playing the campaign getting to iron is a priority, but in order to colonize 
and start producing beer you should buy iron from Mr. British so you can grab 
a couple of islands that produce hops and bricks. 

In this stage optimized layouts are a must. Thereís no time to carefully 
squeeze a production block into a marginal space. Every production chain needs 
to be self-contained. The exception is "feeder islands.Ē These islands will 
likely have only farmers harvesting what your main island needs. On this point 
its important to overbuild schnapps because feeder islands either wonít have 
potato fertility or will be so small you need the space for a more valuable 
production.

In order to sustain the pace of building necessary to outpace the AI you need 
8 sawmills and twelve brick kilns working continuously as soon as possible. 
Youíll likely want to have a clipper loaded up with basic construction 
resources that can be moved around to enable production on feeder islands. 
Feeder islands usually can't be self-sufficient.

Two hours into the game you should have two or three feeder islands and two 
large islands. Your income should be net positive by a couple thousand.

-=Phase #2: Fortress Islands=-
Phase 2 starts when the AI declares war on you. The AI will attempt to conquer 
poorly defended islands and target your trade routes. Youíll need to fortify 
your islands with 3 Ė 4 turrets each and build up a fleet strong enough to 
conquer and feeder islands you need and werenít able to acquire earlier. It 
will also be important to seize islands that could block your trade routes 
even if they don't produce anything you need. 

You can delay war by not using propaganda, gifting money, and attacking 
pirates. I found this was less effective than having a higher military score 
than the AI. The AI counts all your defenses collectively when determining 
your military strength, so if you have enough defenses to outclass them, they 
will be less likely to declare war, even though they will certainly have a 
larger navy that could take any one of your islands.

Its generally better to be aggressive and conquer enemy islands sooner rather 
than later. Around hour four the AI will start laying down enough turrets that 
youíll need five to six ships of the line to take an island, and by hour five 
"Big BerthasĒ will come out meaning you cannot conquer islands until you have 
steamships.

By end of hour four or five you should have two large developed islands 
dedicated to housing workers and artisans, and four to five feeder islands. 
These islands should be fortified well enough that you donít need to protect 
them with your fleet. You should now have a measure of security so you can 
ignore the AI and focus on generating income.

-=Phase #3: Teching Up=-
In this phase you will be largely focused on generating income and building 
more complex chains. You should actually downsize your fleet to achieve a 
higher income. A battle fleet will cost up to 2k to maintain, income that 
would be better spent on items that can reduce expenses and accelerate growth. 

The AI is smart enough not to go close to an island they canít capture. This 
means islands create a zone of safety within the range of their turrets. It 
also means that if the AI attacks and island, they can take it. This also 
means that adjacent islands effectively protect each other, and that you can 
effectively seal areas of the map off from AI you are at war with. 
Itís especially important to adjust your trade routes to take advantage of this.
To make room on your main islands youíll be shifting farming production to 
feeder islands so you can upgrade more houses to workers, artisans and investors. 
Youíll be buying items take advantage of trade unions to minimize the footprint 
and maximize the output of your feeder islands.

At this point in the game frigates and ships-of-the-line offensively useless 
unless you have a silly number of them. The path finding for your fleets is 
terrible, and you actually have to micro youíre ships in order to get them to 
engage sensibly with enemy defenses. It's very easy to lose a large fleet by 
engaging badly and allowing enemy defenses to sink a warship before your navy 
is fully engaged.

Itís better to scrap most of your sailing navy and focus instead on getting 
to steamships. This doesnít mean you should let your sails and guns go to waist.
Continuously produce warships and sell them immediately.
 

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