We recommend that you consult A beginner's guide to Picaroon first
BASIC TIPS BEFORE YOU START YOUR PICAROON GAME:
Your first Island:
It likely will not be brilliant. This is a very big game, with many, many islands available and the randomly generated island you start with may not be the ideal home to consider as your main base. However it is where you will start your new and expanding empire.
I cannot stress how vital it is that you start tributing early and often, the classic game is based around the idea of sending resources back to your home nation. It may seem smart to ignore this feature till you have established yourself fully and built your massive fleet, but every little helps and you will be grateful in the End Game when you are more able to take advantage of your newly acquired Super ships.
Join an Alliance:
You might see yourself as a pirate jack of all trades who can handle everything the high seas throws your way, however you will not get far against a seasoned alliance. Make use of the noticeboards to see who is recruiting and ask politely if you can join, you will have access to stalwart allies and veteran experience at the game all for the simple cost of an embassy building.
BASIC ADVICE FOR YOUR NEW ISLAND:
First thing you should do is take a look at your available space, ignore that lovely blinking ! in lower left corner for a second and take a good look around your island. Ok with that done you should be aware of the amount of tree space/ ore space and shoreline as well as any terrain features such as hills/huts as these will all effect how you plan your island.
Now follow that blinking ! and do as it says in placing your first fishing hut, but rather than placing it just anywhere try to place it on a small piece of shoreline either at the very edge of a beach or on a small island area not right in the middle where it could block future developments. The following quests will award specials and reputation which we will get too later.
You will soon receive 3 quests: Give me wood, Rock hard and Farming. To complete these you again need to plan your available space, chances are high that you may not be able to fit a farm onto the starting island but it's worth looking into this quest first as the farm is crucial to deciding the path you take with the island. Assuming you have enough open space preferable away from tree edges and ore, then place your farm as your 1st none fishing hut building. Next look to place your forester within and on top of trees as these are the only buildings that can be placed on such space and otherwise it just goes waste.
Tip: Place 2 foresters now instead of 1 as it will help to have the resources available but also when you come to upgrade. Finally repeat the process with a mine (or 2 if space permits) this time preferably within/on top of the little blue ore crystals.
This is a good time to get used to the settlement summary screen, which will be a valuable asset throughout your game. Click the house icon at the top of the screen and you will see a small summary of your islands resources. The white numbers represent how much you have/how much you can store. The green number is the rate at which you gain resources per hour. The leftmost circle represents the number of people and limits how much construction you can carry out as well as how much tax you earn. Next is Food which decides how many building you can run at any time and will gradually increase in importance as game continues. The following 3 represent wood/ore/stone respectively. The last is the total gold you have available.
Having completed "Give me wood", "Rock Hard" and possibly "Farming", you will then be greeted with further quests to upgrade these vital resource producing islands.
The reason for producing 2 earlier is now more apparent because when you upgrade a building it can no longer act as a pre-requisite for any further constructions until that upgrade completes. So we can now upgrade 1 of our mines and Foresters to level 2 without causing a delay to building our shipyard (which relies on a forester being available), thus completing both "Down, down deeper and down"; also "Wood for the trees".
Tip: The construction time boosting specials are exceptionally useful during the set up of your islands.
As you upgrade resource buildings your food demands increase, so it is a wise time to build another fishing hut or 2 while waiting for your upgrades and to monitor your food usage via the settlement summary screen to see when you need more food via upgrading existing huts or building new ones.
Tip: While other food producing buildings such as Sea fishing huts or farms may look like they produce more food, the cost in not only resources and space make the fishing hut the best for efficiency.
Next a boatyard which you can build while your forester is upgrading assuming you had the 2nd one as suggested. This building is vital to your expanding your empire so it's nice to have early. With these buildings set up you have your basics sorted.
INTERMEDIATE ADVICE FOR ISLAND SET-UP
On building a boatyard you gain access to a small amount of ships , these can be seen via the fleet summary page (ship icon on right side of the bar at top) and consist of 2 light bombships a light cutter and a scout. Before you start building the next series of building take the time to familiarise yourself with the overview screen (# icon on top bar) and send a scout out to the squares adjacent to your island.
Tip: Scouting is probably amongst the topmost important aspects of the game. Knowledge of the map is vital so keep your scouts moving and have at least 4 to cover each of the main compass sectors.
The following buildings will satisfy the next batch of quests and also help you to further your islands potential:
- Stone Mason : As well as providing stone and being the only building to be able to repair damage to buildings it also is a pre-requisite for the most basic island defence system , the siege cannon (more on defence later). Tip: Should you be unlucky enough to have a volcano on your island and enough space to make it a viable island, the minimum number of stone masons at level 4 to almost entirely cover the damage is 3, 1 stone mason alone never copes.
- Smelter: A vital pre-requisite to all defensive buildings as well as a great resource booster.
- Sea Fishing hut: Not as efficient as the regular fishing hut however able to take more damage should you have a volcano island.
- Timberyard: Resource boosting building that is necessary for all upgraded ships as well as increased resource storage and the merchant. Tip: Upgrade this building early but time the upgrades so as not to prevent future buildings or slow ship production.
At this stage you should be looking into taking your 2nd island, but scout around for an uninhabited island that has enough space to make it worthwhile building on. Once you take a 2nd island repeat the basic steps for this island so as to increase your available resources. Be careful not to take a 4th island until you are sure you are ready as this will remove your Beginners Protection and allow others to attack you.
Following the quests is a great way to learn the game but not often the best way to win the game and since that's most likely a goal you have you need to plan for it. Reputation is what ultimately decides the game and this is earned through several sources; you will already have gained some through completing the various quests so far. The vast majority of reputation is gained through ship and island combat, with a secondary source being tribute which supplies a small hourly gain depending on how much you have tributed.
To find out ways of expanding your empire and preparing for Picaroon's unique end game, we suggest continuing on to A player's guide to Picaroon - Part II