In the Imperator Scenario there are 3 hard AI players who build very fast, and are very aggressive. There were a few tricks in the original 1404 that could be used to beat them (date-trick) but these tricks seem to have been fixed in Venice. Another approach is to quickly capture a lot of islands, in an attempt to deny the AI the best spots. This often results in an AI player attacking the player's ships and warehouses as soon as he hits Patrician (required for warships), and in Venice he will also aggressively settle the player's islands. So the player will need to steer clear of the AI until going to war is affordable, which is usually not before the Noblemen stage. In the early stages it is very important to build up the population and to get the required production chains up and running.
- Only settle one Oriental and one Occidental island in the early stages of the game. If you settle more, you have a big chance of taking an island the AI wants, which will result in very early war and harassment. It is hard to survive this.
- Try to avoid 'finding' the other AI players' settlements. This also means finding as little uninhabited islands as possible, since the AI could settle there later. If the AI does not know you, he is less likely to bother you.
- The AI is able to call in an auxiliary fleet from the get-go. You will need to wait for 400 honor. So don't bother harassing the AI early on.
- Use the production calculator to figure out how many houses you can build/upgrade with your current production
- Use some of the other tips on this Wikia: Scenario: General and Hard AI guide
- If playing the Venice expansion version, build Bases of Operation to cover your entire settlement because the arson and riot acts of sabotage instigated by enemy henchmen will cripple your economy.
- When the beggars arrive you are probably in dire need of gold. Deny them access to earn a certain amount of gold coins (first time: 5000, than each time more). This increases the danger of getting attacked by the beggars.
- It is a must to explore the map beforehand
- Find the biggest Occidental island with Hemp and Cider, and preferably more than one source of Iron and Stone.
- Make sure that either your first island or second island (Occidental or Oriental) has a river with at least 4 to 5 river sites in order to secure the possibility for later production chains of Books, Leather jerkins and Fur coats.
- If possible look for a second island, in case you need of bread and beer later in the game. This island should be very near your first.
- Look for the biggest Oriental island with Spices, Dates and preferably Clay and a lot of green areas.
- Remember where these islands are, and where Grand Vizier Al Zahir and the Venetian are.
- Restart the map.
- Immediately sell your 10 starting fish to Lord Northburgh
- Buy all wood and tools from Northburgh (-2200g)
- Sail to the occidental island and settle there with your Small warehouse.
- Build the following buildings:
- The fisherman will only support 24 houses, and because you have to watch your resources this is fine for now. Put the Peasant's tax level to Happy (Light Green), so they will move in and still maximize your revenues.
- Load all remaining resources from your ship into your warehouse, and sail back to Northburgh.
- As soon as you hit 60 peasants build 1x SMB + 1x Cider farm
- As soon as you hit 90 peasants build 1x Chapel, and put your peasant's tax level to Euphoric to make them ascend.
- You earned 50 honor through the 90-peasant-mark, so immediately buy the 50-honor scroll from Northburgh and head for Grand Vizier Al Zahir.
Your first citizens
- Your ship is sailing to the Vizier, and as soon as it reaches him turn in the scroll and buy the 10 tools he has for sale. His tools are cheaper than buying them from Northburgh or the Venetian. Send your Orient ship to the island you picked.
- In the meantime: as soon as your first Citizens pop up you should put their tax rate to Happy. Lock the building materials and manually upgrade (this is faster) as soon as possible until you have 16 citizen houses. Your first priority is to unlock your tools production and get it up and running: 16 houses is enough to do this.
- After your first citizen also immediately build:
- These 16 houses should only be built with 'excess' wood. Don't let your wood stock drop under 30: you will need the wood to build the tool production.
- When your Flagship reaches the Venetian you need to check how many tools you need to buy. A complete tools loop will cost you 22 tools. Buy enough tools so that (Tools in main town + Tools on ship) = 22. Now sail back to your warehouse and drop off the tools.
- Ask for a quest from Northburgh (Through diplomacy screen) if you didn't get one yet, and do it with your flagship.
- Build the tools production. This will cost you a lot: 2950 gold, 43 wood, 22 tools and 13 bricks.
- 1x SMB
- 1x Ore mine
- 1x Charcoal burner's hut
- 1x Iron smelter
- 2x Toolmaker's workshop
- Now build another 14x Peasant house as soon as you have the wood. You should then have 38x peasant + 16x citizen. This is the maximum amount of houses that is supported with your current production buildings, although you can safely upgrade everything.
- You now have 54 houses, all in range of the chapel, and your balance is over +300. There are two cider farms and two fisher huts on your island, and you have some basic resource production going.
Expansion and Orient
- Now it is time to build your oriental settlement, and to get to patricians as soon as possible. Your balance should still go up, so you need to build at least one more marketplace and a lot of extra houses.