The absolute most important thing in any game of Stronghold Crusader is a strong economy. Without it, no war can be waged, peasants become hungry and leave, and things do not look good for your castle. A strong economy can easily make excesses of 1,500 coins per minute (assuming Game Speed of 90).
Gold is the main representation of economic development. It is completely impossible to accomplish anything without it. It should be noted that it is possible to play effectively without a good supply, however.
The most obvious form of income is taxation. While this is the easiest way to earn money, it is also the worst option in the early stages of the game. Put simply, peasants hate taxes. If taxes are implemented early on, the player's popularity will suffer. However, there are much more profitable (and popular) alternatives.
- Stone is the primary form of income for most offline and multiplayer games. Quarries produce stone, and ox tethers return it to the stockpile. Once its usefulness as a building supply is exhausted, the quarries should be left in full production. Excess stone should be sold for a monumental profit. When a battle is over, it is not uncommon for a player to return to his castle and discover 500+ stone blocks waiting to be sold.
- Iron commands a much greater unit price than stone. However, it is much harder to collect in quantities similar to stone. The primary use of iron should be as a raw material for workshops, and only the excess is sold. However, if there is a large quantity of ore nearby, it should be developed over the course of the game. If the vein is of sufficient size, it can yield about as much profit as a standard set of quarries.
- Effective Taxation: Once you do start taxing the peasants, there are a number of tricks that will help you get the most out of your peasants and popularity. The biggest principle to remember is that the popularity penalty for taxation isn't proportional to tax revenue. What I mean by that is the "-4" tax level does NOT generate twice as much gold as the "-2" level. Here are the tricks:
- Sacrifice popularity. If you're sitting at 100 popularity with a +1 monthly trend, increase taxes to -2 until your popularity gets close to 50. Then go back to +1 "no taxes" until your popularity recoups. This provides a little gold and you have to pay attention to it, but it's better than nothing.
- High population, low taxes. You get more money for the popularity hit if you have a big population with lower taxes. Consider building more hovels instead of increasing rations and taxes. You'll pull in more money, and you have more peasants to work with.
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Building a Strong EconomyEdit
A strong Crusader economy will consist of high food and ale production, coupled with stone and taxes. Here is a step by step walkthrough; it will demonstrate how to develop a strong economy from a 2,000 gold start. Also included in this walkthrough are some general tips for offline, start-of-game play.
- First, begin digging a moat. A moat is by far one of the best defenses in the early game, and only a handful of AIs will actually try to fill it in. After constructing the first few buildings (barracks, granary, and so on), build a few apple orchards. If hunter posts are available, use them. They are an invaluable source of food at this stage in the game. Also, ensure that you have 3 - 5 woodcutter huts next to the nearest cluster of trees.
- Second, you will need a lot of wood. At the moment, your woodcutters simply cannot cope with the demand that you'll be facing. Purchase approximately 150 planks. If you haven't read the ox tether glitch yet, here it is. If your quarries are completely enclosed, and if all of its workers are present and enclosed along with it, and if there are ox tethers outside of the enclosure(s), then a wonderful thing happens. The ox tether will automatically begin to fill with stone, regardless of its position. If all of the quarries are enclosed, three ox tethers directly next to the stockpile can handle any amount of stone instantly. So, take advantage of this. Build at least two quarries, if possible.
- The third step may have to wait a while. A reliable source of food must be secured for the town's population before this because unfortunately, the time it takes to set this up is very long. The most effective way to do this is through bread. Three wheat farms, one mill, and eight bakeries can feed the entire town well into the mid-game. The total cost in wood is 145 planks, and it requires 14 peasants.
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