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Economy is One Thing...
Dawn of Discovery at first glance looks to merely be a city builder. But the game incorporates numerous strategic elements which compliment its economic system. Players need to know when to expand, how to deal with hostile forces, and how to improve relations with troublesome neighbors. This strategy guide covers the non-economic problems which players must solve in order to achieve victory in Dawn of Discovery.
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Growing PainsExpanding to new islands is a critical strategic decision in Dawn of Discovery. In sandbox games and in most scenarios you'll start with one or two islands and you will have several opportunities for expansion. Expanding is obviously important because it ensures that you will have the resources you need, but expanding itself has some costs associated with it. Before expanding to a new island you should form a plan in your head which includes why you need to expand, what the new island will be used for, and how you'll promote its growth.
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Why Expand?The basic answer to this question is simple - to earn more resources. But your goals should be more specific than that. For example, expanding to an island which has a huge amount of stone isn't really attractive if you already have more stone than you can use. This is particularly true in the case of stone, which is a resource that doesn't have a high selling price in trade. Other examples of resources that don't have high selling prices in trade include iron ore, hemp, wood, and other "raw" resources. Don't expand if you don't actually need what the island offers.The only exception to this is if you're looking to claim an island before an opponent does.
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Before expanding you should also try to formulate a long term plan for use of the island. Take our stone island example above. You may need stone very badly, in which case it would make sense to expand. However, most islands are large enough to fill multiple roles. Can you use the island later to increase population to gain income tax income? Are there a lot of open spaces you can use for farms? Having a plan is important not only because it gives you a definite way to move forward but also because it lets you decide what to not do. It is easy to get into the habit of expanding just for expansion's sake, but doing this can result in a island which is poorly planned and seems to lack a purpose.
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Remember, Dawn of Discovery is game which requires balance. Expanding to a new island means building new structures which have upkeep costs. For example, you may discover an island which has the resources required to make leather jerkins but is too small to support a large population. Colonizing this island will be important to your goals, but before you colonize it you also have to either find a place where you can build new houses or find a trade good you can regularly sell.
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Dealing with Hostile NeighborsSometimes your neighbors will not be friendly. This can be a real issue, particularly if they're bigger than you are.The most basic and most important strategic military move in Dawn of Discovery is the blockade. Remember, your people require certain goods in order to be happy. Citizens want spices, Patricians need bread, and so on. And as an island becomes larger and its citizens become more advanced the goods required become more complex. Nobles are incredibly picking and need huge production chains devoted to their happiness.Production chains which can't be contained on island. Production chains you can break with a blockade. Simply place your warships in the path of your opponent's trade and you can starve out an enemy island. The population will become unhappy and eventually begin to riot.Of course, your opponent will likely have warships of their own, but you can still be disruptive even if outnumbered by going where the enemy is not. In most cases there will be one "main" island - usually very well defended with ships and towers - and other smaller islands such as Orient outposts supplying spice and other luxury goods. Blockading these creates the same result but is likely to result in less opposition - at least until your opponet realizes what you're up to.
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The Peaceful AlternativeWhile blockading an enemy is one way to get them to see your side of an issue, you can also try to turn their opinion through more peaceful means.Actively trading with opponents seems to have a positive effect on relationships over time, so taking the time to trade with neighbors is can be an effective means of heading off future conflict. Taking this action early in the game can make life easier for you later.Relations with some neighbors can be improved through the use of gifts which are purchased for honor. These are basically essential when dealing with the Sultan as they allow you to obtain higher levels of orient structures, which are must-have for advancing your islands.Finally, diplomatic relations can be improved by completing quests which will occasionally be given out by neighboring factions. These questions can range from simply "complex task x" questions to chained quests which involve multiple stages and multiple objective. Successful completion of a quest is a sure-fire way to improve relations.