Whatever you are doing, you aren't doing it right. It's easy to float money as long as you aren't going to war or making fundamental mistakes.
Here, some actually useful tips:
First play through the tutorials and easy scenarios again, and actually pay attention. You clearly missed some things... Then you can start the endless game and do the more difficult missions. It might take a while for the game to *click*, but once it does, it's really fun, in my opinion. Give the game a chance, I wan't good at it first either. It wasn't until I came back to it again after a few years, that I found it enjoyable.
There is Auto Trade and it's absolutely necessary to use it, if you want to be good at the game:
-Set up trading routes by pressing the f5 key. Select goods, ports, ships, etc.
-You can sell and buy things at your ports and send out courier ships to quickly get missing goods.
Keep an eye on the amount of goods in your ports.
Anything you have too much of, you should sell or move to another port.
Anything you have too little of for your inhabitants, you should buy or set up a supply line (with transport if necessary).
(In some of the scenarios, you can't buy tools from the trader, it's part of the challenge to use limited resources)
Try to get your production to match your population size. Too little = unhappy inhabitants; too much = wasted money (although you can sell excess at your port if you have a sale slot open, and then too much is good)
Put buildings to sleep that you don't need, to save money.
Make sure your supply lines are efficient and you are placing buildings to use space well.
Click on production buildings to see, if they are running at 100%. Figure out the optimal ratios for buildings or look it up.
Set Taxes according to what you want:
Dark green = People can ascend to the next level, as long as demands are met and building materials are there
Light green = people will move in, but won't ascend
Yellow = populations stays the way it is, no ascension, but also no riot
Red = people will move out and eventually riot, setting stuff on fire
The game might seem slow and forgiving, but in the beginning you have to be quick. Be sure to get tool and ship production going asap, so you can move on to settle new islands, before others do. It's much easier to settle a new island early, than to conquer it later.
Using control groups is a fundamental skill of RTS games and also helpful to win in anno.
To react well in RTS games, you have to set up control groups, i.e. select a units, press control+numberkey to add the unit to a number.
Now when you press that numberkey you will select the ship. Double press to center the camera on the ctrl group.
You can put multiple ships in one ctrl group. To do this press the button of the ctrl group, then hold shift and left click drag over the units you want to add, then press ctrl+numberkey again to assign the newly added troops.
You should try to use as many seperate control groups as you can, rather than lumping all your troops onto one key.
Get used to it though, before overdoing it.
The control groups help keep track of your ships/troops and split them up across the map and use them quickly, so you
are less likely to forget about them and have them sit around uselessly.
Only start a war, if you are quick and good at playing the game peacefully, or if you are prepared to have fun failing and learning. For a war you have over 50k saved up, as well as building supplies, weapons and lots of troops and war ships, as well as replacement trade ships ready.
Before you start the war, be sure to spread out weapons and building materials across all islands, so you can react quickly to tricky situations.
Defence is easier than offence. Towers/walls: put them at entry points of your islands (where ships can drop troops). Let the enemy troops fight the towers first, use your troops to clean up or defend if your wall is breached.
The medic building heals troops.
The beginning of a war is decisive.
Your priority should be to sink your opponents war ships first.
Your opponent will try to sink your ships and invade your islands too, be prepared.
The trickiest thing is that you need to keep your trade routes going during the war.
Pay close attention to the warning that your trade ships are being attacked. Always send an equal amount of war ships to fight your opponents war ships. Immediately replace sunken ships on trade routes in the f5 menu.
Don't give up your production islands. Buy depleting goods at ports if something goes wrong, until you've fixed the supply line.
If you've survived the initial onslaught, move on to blockade the opponents main island with your ships at all entry points.
Next you should destroy all ship building yards and then all ports to starve your opponent of resources.
Once you've done this, you're past the most difficult part.
First take your opponents smaller islands, either set up production for goods you need or make simple settlements for extra money. You can get rid of them later too.
Once your opponent is weak, you can move in with troops on their main island to finish them.
Ok, now this post is too long. Hopefully there were some helpful ideas in it for newbies.
Post edited May 06, 2018 by 3dk