The Settlers - Playing Guide Constructing Buildings At the beginning of the game, the position you choose for your castle is critical. Make sure that the area you choose contains plenty of lakes, mountains and forests - fish (for your mine workers), stone and wood are the three most important materials when starting a game, and youíll need to have all of them within easy reach. To construct buildings you need planks and granite. While some of the smaller buildings donít need any stones, the bigger buildings, like warehouses (stock) and watchtowers, must be supplied with large quantities of planks and stones. Your first buildings should always be a sawmill and a fishermanís hut near a lake. If you desperately need raw materials of a specific kind, make sure that you build the correct type of buildings to manufacture whatever it is that youíre short of early on, otherwise youíll run into big problems very quickly. In the first missions the amount of material you need will be quite high, but that will change as you progress further through the game. If you expand too quick and forget to build a sawmill, for example, youíll soon run out of wood and have to start all over again. Take care that no enemy is in reach when you are founding a building, especially when he is about to build a guardhouse or watchtower. If his military building is finished before one of yours, his border will move towards you and, in the worst case, suddenly run across your land, cutting off everything in the area from your infrastructure and destroying all the buildings that now lie on foreign country. Remember that if one of your buildings is destroyed, all stocks inside it get lost. Roads A well-structured network of roads is vital in The Settlers. If you havenít got enough of them, the goods to be transported will get clogged up around the flags in a sort of medieval gridlock, and your transporters may have to move other, less important, goods first to clear up the blockage. Slowing down the passage of goods and workers slows down every aspect of your entire settlement, and this should be avoided at all costs. The best way to lay out your roads is in a grid across your land. The worst is also the easiest - in a star shape, where all roads lead to and from the castle. A Ďnetí of streets enables your settlers to move around and transport goods much faster than by having to go back to the castle and then to their destination. You should also think about foresters. The more trees you have in or near your kingdom, the easier it is to expand. Unfortunately, the more roads you have built, the less space there is to plant new trees to replace those cut down by the lumberjacks. While roads are vitally important to your success, itís not enough to simply throw down loads of them all over the place. You have to think carefully about each one. Buildings Next to the general hints already given in the game manual, here are some further things to bear in mind about some specific buildings. Woodcutters and Foresters Get into the habit of always placing a forester next to the location where youíve just placed a woodcutter. One does exactly the opposite of the other, so they complement each other perfectly. Probably the best way for setting up large forests is to plant the trees on slopes. This way you make sure that thereís always a large amount of wood at your disposal without wasting flat space that could be used for buildings. Sawmill Erect your sawmill right at the beginning of the game, as wood is one of the most needed materials. Remember that trees cut down by your lumberjacks can be used only if itís been processed into planks. Farm Farms are another important part of your settlement. Farms produce corn and make sure that your miners will be supplied with bread by the baker (who will be delivered with flour by the miller) and the pig farmers with corn to feed their pigs, which will later be delivered to the miners. For the production of loads of corn itís best to choose a nice wide area, where the farmer has plenty of space to sow his fields. At first, two farms should be more than enough, but after growing for a while your community will soon require more of them. Fishermanís Hut The fishermanís hut is the fastest and easiest way to get food for your workers, and this building should be one of the first to be constructed. But take care that you donít place too many huts around a small lake. Soon all the fish will be caught and you will have to move to another lake. It is better to wait a while between each fishing expedition, allowing the lakeís stock to replenish. Boatyard The boatyard is really only useful on maps with a lot of water, and normally one is enough to provide your settlers with boats. If youíve already got boats in stock, turn off the delivery of wood to the yard. Itís better to start boat production again later rather than waste wood by manufacturing hundreds of boats that arenít needed. Warehouse (Stock) A warehouse has all the same functions as the castle, and as such is the most important building available to you. Make sure that they are well protected against enemy attacks, guarded by at least one stronghold - the loss of a warehouse is a painful blow for your settlement. Also, bear in mind that knights will be taught much faster in warehouses than in strongholds. Castle If you are playing a level and you realise that the enemy has found a superb place to build a castle, just leave the current map and start over again, immediately occupying the spot. Yes, this is cheating, but sometimes itís worth it. Economics Making sure that your settlement prospers is not just a matter of having a lot of roads and a large stock of materials - you should also think about the position of your buildings relative to one another. If you place buildings that rely on each other closely together, youíll cut down on the amount of travel time required to move materials between them. You should consider your roads as well. Your transporters always deliver goods by the shortest route, which is based on the number of flags that must be passed (the more flags, the Ďlongerí the road). Reduce the number of flags to the minimum and transportation will happen faster. For maximum growth you should keep an eye on how many unemployed workers you have, and adjust your plans accordingly. Expand quickly when you have a lot of available workers, but slow down when everyoneís got a job. Attack and Defence During play only military buildings can be attacked, such as watchtowers, guard huts and strongholds. You can get a lot of information by looking at the flag flying in front of these structures. Depending on the colours of each player, you can immediately see who is occupying it, and the higher the flag flies, the greater the number of soldiers inside. Thus, if a building has just been attacked and occupied, and the flag is flying on the lowest point, itís probably a good idea to get it back earlier rather than later. Another important factor in your strength is the gold that is stored inside military buildings. Every piece of gold increases the morale of your knights. If you want to attack a strong enemy fort, strength and morale should be at least around 90 per cent. Build a weapon maker as soon as possible so that you have a steady supply of weapons. Remember to look for good resources of coal and iron, because these materials are needed for the production of swords and shields. A lot of strong warehouses are required for the most effective training of knights. Theyíll train in the garrisons as well, but not as effectively. You shouldnít attack your enemies right at the beginning of the game because the knights training and morale will be very low, so save your knights for as long as you can. Bear in mind that every lost attack is a waste of raw materials, training and military power, so plan your attacks carefully. Another thing to think about is how long your knights will have to walk until they reach enemy territory. If your knights are tired or sleeping, they wonít be very useful in battle. The effectiveness of the knights will be displayed using four symbols, reaching from sleeping (on the far right) to active (on the far left). It would be best, of course, if you always attacked with active knights, but this wonít always be possible. Remember that you can damage the enemy without having to make an attack, by constructing military buildings near to his border, expanding your territory and hopefully encompassing and destroying the enemyís nearby structures. If you are in desperate need of defending a part of your country, look for the nearest enemy garrison and give the order to attack this building. If your knights meet the enemies on their march, they will start to attack them right where they meet them. Of course, they must see them - if thereís a hill between the soldiers, theyíll march right by each other. This is the best way to defend your country. Another possibility, if the enemy has perhaps occupied a garrison inside your borders, is to construct a stronghold right next to it and then wait until the garrison has become strong with knights and gold. If you attack the building now, you will have a much easier time than just letting knights attack this house one after the other. Another effect of the strategy is that this part of your country will be strengthened by the garrison.