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Thread: The tax man cometh.

  1. #1

    Default The tax man cometh.

    Its that time of year again again in the U.S. - Tax time!

    After filling out my 1040, I started thinking about taxes in M2TW:
    Is it better to lower taxes in a small city and make it grow so you can get more income later, or extract high taxes and stagnate growth with the possibility of having less income later.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The following applies to tax income only. Trade income is also based on population but this does not take it into consideration, as it would be extremely difficult and I am generally lazy .

    First I found out how the game calculates taxes.
    -'Normal Taxes' income = 421 + 0.0477 * Population, for other tax levels multiply the 'Normal' by: 0.8 for Low, 1.2 for High, 1.5 for Very High.
    btw this was quite easy, I'm sure someone has posted it elsewhere. I only had to look at 3 cities.

    Then I did a population growth simulation for various city populations (2000, 6000, 12000) with various 'natural' growth rates. For each case I assumed a constant growth rate (0%, 1%, 3% or 5%) which was adjusted by the +0.5%, 0%, -0.5%, -1.0% effects of changing the taxes. So for instance one of my experiments was a 2000 population city with 1% 'natural rate', and it had actual growth rates of 1.5% for Low, 1% for Normal, 0.5% for High, 0% for Very High. Next I did the 2000 pop city with 2% natural growth, or 2.5% for Low, 2% for normal, etc.

    The findings actually surprised me so I am glad I did this little experiment
    The actual results were much too complicated to fit in a post here. Although it took me relatively little time to come up with the results, it would probably take a 10 page report to fully explain them all, so I will very very briefly summarize:

    The time for a large, fast-growing city with low taxes to make more tax money per turn than the same city with very high taxes was ~30 turns. For more normal cities actually found in the game, it was 50-80 turns. For small, slow growing cities it was 'after the end of the game'.

    In conclusion, by the time your "low tax" cities grow to a size where they would make more money than if they had "very high taxes", you will have such a large empire that the tax income from an individual city will make little difference. In actuality, you need the most income as soon as possible, and so it is best to keep your cities on the highest tax level possible.

    I will repeat this: I ignored trade income, which also depends on population. Also ignored were the effects of farm, town hall, etc upgrades which become available as higher populations are reached. I also completely ignored the negative growth/happiness effects of squalor. One cannot base the tax rate solely on the tax income alone. I was only examining a very small part of the total picture. The best method of succeeding still seems to be trial and error by actually playing the game. Take heart in the fact that due to the complete lack of the 'I' in AI, it doesn't really matter what you do, you will still win.

    Winning by a crushing margin however, is still as fun as it has always been. I had hoped to possibly shed some new light on how best to do this, but seem to have failed. As a result, I conclude that this experiment was rather worthless in determining an overall strategy of adjusting taxes. I did have fun doing it however (I am a math geek what can I say), and that is what really matters.
    Last edited by ReiseReise; 03-02-2008 at 13:00.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.

    Now that is interesting, I always believed in growth growth growth. Not any more.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.

    This was based solely on tax income. The increased trade income from a larger pop may in fact make it better to increase growth. I did not analyze trade at all.

    After doing all this, I honestly still have no idea which is better, trade growth or immediate tax profit.
    Last edited by ReiseReise; 03-02-2008 at 13:07.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.

    After this, what will you do in your next campaign?

  5. #5
    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    In a hopeless place with no future

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.

    Well if you blitz then high taxes would be the best option, no question.

    But when I want to play a slower-paced game, I always focus on settlement growth. By the time I can built Merchants Wharfs etc, trade is usually my highest source of income.

    Low taxes also give high chivalry generals, which in turn gives a huge boost to growth, especially in castles, and so thats a major factor for the low taxes argument.

    However, by the time my settlements reach Minor City status, I usually raise the taxes, as by that time trade and the various buildings you get mean that you can have very high taxes and still see good population growth.
    At the end of the day politics is just trash compared to the Gospel.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.

    After suffering severe setbacks in two of my attempts, I am attempting Askthepizzaguys's house rules for Total War for Independence playing as Russia while trying to keep a relatively Russian empire. As far as I know, if I succeed I will be only the second person to do so, after Ramses. That is if I get around to doing it. I keep getting scheduled for 6 days at work and when I have free time I actually enjoy posting on here more than I do actually playing the game. In order to remedy that, I have started a campaign as Milan in which I will relieve all my tension by impaling hapless militia troops with crossbow bolts labeled "Made in Genoa."

    If you mean what will I do for taxes I will continue what I have done all along:

    Keep taxes as high as possible without red faces.

    However, there are a few circumstances when I do otherwise:
    1) Capture a village and it needs to get to 800 pop yesterday. This however, could just be a reaction to my own strategy of sieging villages with nothing but archers and a general. It works even better against palisades but that is my strategy, not the AI's. Against the AI I want to have at least SOME sort of wall so when they betray me they have to lay siege instead of attacking right away, giving me 1 turn to move an army into position to repel their attack.
    2) Am a few turns away from having enough population to build the next walls/fortress/citadel and I want those pretty units ASAP.
    Last edited by ReiseReise; 03-02-2008 at 13:58.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.


    That is another thing I thought of but did not take into consideration - raising taxes after a city reaches a certain point. It was a very simple simulation for discovering the potentials of tax income only. Of course, nothing is ever ideal. I would love to develop a trade simulation, but doing so would probably take more work than was put into programming the actual M2TW trade system itself.... I take the 'probably' back because the only trade thing changed from Rome was merchants.

    I can only hope they started from scratch on Empire.

    PS Why do people keep calling it 'EmpireS' when it is officially 'Empire'?

  8. #8
    Prince Louis of France (KotF) Member Ramses II CP's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Default Re: The tax man cometh.

    I think it's a fair balance actually, because low taxes and high growth have other benefits as well. Huge walls anyone? I've found, having looked only at a very few specific cities, that I make more money out of, for example, Antioch if I keep taxes low until it's a huge city, and then max them out while keeping my best chivalry governor in the city. Antioch can easily get over 10k income not including merchants on the resources nearby.


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