Besides my primary goal of obtaining the Grand Armada achievement, I also got the City of Cities and Voting Streaks achievement at the process.
Honestly, who need 500 heavy ships in single player? 200 three-deckers or 100 three deckers with some trade ships should be enough to win any sea battles against AI. Having 500 heavy ships is extremely expansive to build and to maintain. First, building 500 heavy ships costs 500 X 50 =25,000 ducats. Player may unlock the fourth idea in the Maritime idea group or play nations with heavy ships building cost reduction like Scotland, Sunda, or Majapahit, player can save up to 5 or 10 ducats. A player could save 2,500-5,000 ducats if they have these bonuses. Secondly, heavy ships are the most expansive ships to maintain, if all 500 heavy ships are active, it will take hundreds of ducats monthly just for being in the game. In addition, the cost of maintenance increases over time in the game. In the newer version of the game, it will hundreds of sailors for constructing one heavy ship. This achievement would sound intimidating in the early game as player lack of money and sailors.
However, maintenance could be reduced by mothball the ships. For me, I started at the Southeast Asia, which almost every provinces have ports and gives bonus on sailors and ship limit. I only build enough ships at the beginning of the game to expand and dominate the sea, I didn’t rushed to complete the “project” until the late game because I wanted Maritime to be my last idea group and wanted to save more money and build a strong economy to maintain this large navy.
So yes, more than half of my heavy ships are be mothballed by the time I got the achievement.
City of Cities
The achievement of City of Cities require a 60 development in a province. Developing province require more monarch points over time. Monarch points are very valuable in the game and they are needed for almost all aspect of the game. They are scarce in the early game. Players would use monarch point on developing technology, coring provinces, annex vassals, or military actions instead of developing a province, which gives very little return in a short run. In this game, expansion and technology are crucial for survival in the early game. Hence it is another achievement player would find intimidating in the early game.
First, all East Asian AI should thank me for raising my development for spreading the institution. They won’t be green in the tech map without my work on developing institution. For Malaya, all of the provinces are tropical, the best terrain would be grassland+trade port (Pasai). About 50 years before spawning the global trade institution (only spawns at trade node with highest trade value), I moved my capital to Pasai to “develop” the printing press, which was spawned at a German Protestant European province. And that’s all, I didn’t raised its development until the universities are build and having 60% administrative efficiency.
It would be easier if I play Ming and raise development in Beijing. Beijing is already the capital of Ming, started with 33 development, one of the highest in the early game. With its farmland and trade port bonus, it is the best province to go for this achievement. In addition, if player finished with their economy idea group, it will cost 20% less too! Having an university will decrease the cost as well. Therefore, developing in Beijing as Ming would save much more monarch points than developing at Pasai as Malaya.
Last but now least, voting streak is another late game achievement. Player will need a level 22 to unlock constitutional monarchy/republic to have the parliament feature. All this achievement needed is to switch to constitutional monarchy and give 100% in 11 debate. 100% are always immediate pass, and it eliminates the risk of “losing the debate” saving a lot of time on “debating”.