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Road to Independence
The single player story campaign in Empire: Total War centers on the birth of America as a nation and doubles neatly as a tutorial. It is entitled the Road to Independence and consists of four chapters which introduce you to the main concepts at play in the game. The challenge starts you off gently as you lead the early settlers to their first couple of victories over the natives. It then pitches you into the British war against the French. With the French driven out the battle for independence begins in Boston. Finally you are faced with the challenge of guiding an emerging American nation to world dominance.
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Chapter 1: The Jamestown Colony
The game starts out very gently and this first chapter is extremely easy to complete. Build three extra troops in your city while you construct the fishing village and the farm and then press north fast. Take Maryland, you won’t find much opposition. Now immediately take all of your men and head north to Pennsylvania. In the battles the Native Americans will rout very easily so don’t worry about being outnumbered just line your men up and fire away. If they get in close then switch to melee for hand-to-hand combat. With the basic mechanics introduced and your first couple of land battles out of the way you can press on to a more exciting challenge.
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Chapter 2: The French and Indian War
The French and the British are at each other’s throats once again and this time you are tasked with booting the French off the North American mainland. They have a spine of forts which they have constructed and you’ll need to march north and claim them for yourself. The first target is Algonquin territory but access to Fort Niagara is blocked by another fort. The advisor suggests brokering an alliance with the Iroquois and cutting through their land round the fort to reach your target. To be honest Fort Duquesne is not hard to take. Combine your armies and march straight for it. Build the farm and the shipyard in Virginia and make an alliance and trade agreement with the Iroquois. (Getting the alliance and going through Iroquois territory to take Duquesne works, but it takes a couple extra turns getting your army through the forest).
Once you have Fort Duquesne, assuming you took it with minimal losses, press straight on and grab Fort Niagara. If you need to you can replenish your force here retraining as necessary. Once you have taken the settlement you’ll need to build some ships and take Louisbourg. With the shipyard built start on a dockyard and build a couple of extra units in Virginia.
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Finishing the French
You don’t have to bother with it but Fort Oswego is all that stands between you and Fort Carillon which will give you control of the Iroquois Territory. Retrain your men, build a unit or two to leave behind in Fort Niagara and march on Oswego. Immediately after you take it march onwards and grab Carillon: it is hardly defended. Now retrain your troops and build extras if needed while you wait for the dockyard to complete. When the dockyard is ready build a Fifth Rate. I’d recommend building two and then taking your fleet up to batter a route through to Louisbourg. The French fleets will be no match for your two Fifth Rates. While you sink the French march your army from Carillon through Maine to the coast. Bring your fleet back to pick them up and land at Louisbourg.
Make sure you have built the farms at Virginia, Algonquin and Iroquois Territory. You may also want to build Tobacco and Furs to increase your income. Retrain your troops in Louisbourg because it is likely to be counter-attacked by the French. Meanwhile start building an army in Fort Carillon. Once your main army in Louisbourg is retrained march them towards New France, make sure you kill any French forces you see along the way. Take your fleet round and blockade the port in New France, once again kill any ships you encounter along the way. Use all excess money to build more troops in Carillon.
Take Fort Chambly with your main army and then press on for Quebec. Bring your troops from Carillon into Fort Chambly. Next turn you can march everyone on Montreal and the chapter is complete.
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Chapter 3: American War of Independence
The time has now come to rise up against the British and claim the United States. Trouble in Boston leads to the Battle of Bunker Hill and you are pitched into it here as the chapter opens. This battle is very winnable so don’t panic. First put one of your reserve units into the building on the right hand side of the battlefield. Now line up your artillery to fire on the advancing British and switch them to canister shot. Next take your cavalry unit round the advancing troops and charge down the British artillery before sweeping back round to hit the infantry in the back. Watch out for a flanking manoeuvre from the British cavalry. You may need to regroup as the British continue to advance and when you run out of ammo hit them with a charge and switch to melee combat. The game progresses whether you win or lose, the British won this battle in real life, but if you win you’ll start the next chapter with more troops.
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Claiming the Thirteen States
On the campaign map you will now find yourself with Boston alone. Your challenge is to take the Thirteen Colonies from the British. The first thing to do is gather your army and go for straight for Falmouth, Maine. This will give you an extra school for research purposes. Next take Fort Nashwaak, Acadia and to cement your position go for Quebec, New France and Montreal, Upper Canada. In the south you will need to build as many troops as you can and keep your towns and ports defended to prevent British incursions which will eat into your cash and halt your research.
Bring your veteran troops back and take Albany, New York and then Cayuga, Iroquois Territory. You can now focus on creating a defensive border in the south. The Iroquois are likely to go to war with you so build up your strength a little. When you have a decent stack ready and defensive troops to leave behind march on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and immediately on to Annapolis, Maryland. It is best not to pause for breath, just retrain briefly and march on the next settlement Williamsburg, Virginia and then Charleston, Carolinas. Take Savannah, Georgia and you have completed chapter 3. More than likely you will have to fight off at least British counter attacks in the north and the Iroquois in the south. Taking Niagara, Algonquin is a good idea and you can focus the defence against the Iroquois there.
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Chapter 4: United States A New Nation
This is essentially the equivalent of a Grand Campaign playing as the United States. There are lots of routes to victory here so this article will just provide a few general tips. You will start poor and weak with a disadvantage in terms of technology. In the early period you have to increase your population and wealth as a matter of urgency so drop the middle/low class tax to encourage towns to grow.
Build ships to try and grab trade route spots in the trade theatres but don’t worry about a major navy. You will struggle in naval battles until you have developed the necessary research and cash to built a decent fleet. Make sure you have trade agreements and try diplomacy with some of the old European powers. You may be able to strike deals for territory and research. Avoid war with the major powers until you have built up a bit of strength.
You can start by attacking the Native American tribes and seizing their land. The Cherokee are a good first target with rich lands. There are also rich pickings in India and you could set sail and go for Mysore and the remaining Mughal provinces. War with Britain will be inevitable and eventually you’ll want to drive all of the old European powers away from the Americas. Try to ally against Britain until you have the provinces you want from them in America and India and then you can consider fighting the French and Spanish. The early period is tricky but once you gain some momentum the emerging power of the United States becomes inevitable.