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What are the positive and negative consequences of each of these choices? Particularly puzzling, for me, is the difference between enslavement and occupation - as enslavement makes a new town much easier to control, and distributes the population among older, more developed centers, at a glance, there doesn't seem to exist a good reason to ever choose occupation.

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In real life, I'd much rather my city be occupied than being made a slave to do dangerous manual labour for little to no food, so maybe (I haven't played the game so this is just a guess) Occupation gives a better morale/less chance of an uprising? – Robotnik Nov 29 '12 at 5:28
That's the thing though, occupation preserves the old population; enslavement halves it, distributing the other half to your other settlements. New conquests are always unstable, and the troops you garrison scale in efficiency with the settlement size, hence enslaving allows you to leave half the garrison you'd normally need. The slaves themselves go to regions already secure, and I don't think they contribute to unrest by themselves; there is however some negative squalor thing going on, which isn't explained by the tooltips. – Fadeway Nov 29 '12 at 7:03
EXTERMINATE THE INFIDELS – jumping_code Nov 29 '12 at 12:04
Once slaves are added to your population, they are counted as full citizens (there is no difference between them and the previous inhabitants). They bring the full unrest/squalor that happens with increasing population. – ChargingPun Nov 29 '12 at 15:14
All of them. In that order.. – DrFish Nov 29 '12 at 20:26
up vote 14 down vote accepted


  • Maximum Loot
  • Reduce population by 3/4 (to a minimum of 400)


  • highest money option
  • easiest way to control large enemy settlements


  • loss of population
  • could take a while for the settlement to recover/become useful


  • Regular Loot
  • Reduce the population by 1/2 (to a minimum of 400)
  • The population that this settlement is reduced by gets immediately distributed to all Governed settlements.
  • This settlement now has Slaves as a resource (for 20 turns), which boosts economy and population


  • Distribute Population to specific areas
  • Create Slaves Resource to further boost populations
  • easier to control large populations
  • no loss of population


  • need to have govornors in place before taking the settlement to ensure that the extra population goes where you want it to


  • Regular Loot
  • All population stays in new settlement


  • no loss of population
  • new settlement stays at highest population


  • hardest to control


Exterminate when you need cash now or need to control a large foreign settlement.

Enslave when you want to increase the population of your core cities (both by slaves now and slaves for the next 20 turns).

Occupy when you have taken a town or other small settlement (especially one that will grow slowly), and you don't want to hobble its development.

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You know, the trade resource thing actually makes enslavement seem better than occupation at both maintaining order AND boosting economy. You get the same income (no actual, net loss of citizens), and on top of that you also get a trade resource you wouldn't benefit from otherwise, not to mention the retainers your generals obtain (might want to add them to your answer). I used to think that a squalor penalty exists just because you enslave, but apparently it has nothing to do with that. Unless the conquest has some crazy good buildings I lack and won't get soon, I see no reason to occupy. – Fadeway Nov 29 '12 at 19:40
Personally I prefer enslaving a settlement to occupying, except when the population is around 1200-1999. If the town would be a candidate for growth soon, I take my benefit from having another Large Town at my disposal, instead of a less-useful Town. Most of the benefit comes by having access to the 2nd tier of economy buildings: port, market, mines +1, paved roads. – ChargingPun Nov 29 '12 at 19:49
I always used exterminate on settlements that had a revolt and involved me getting them. Works great for quelling that city for ALONG time. – Robert A Palmer Nov 29 '12 at 20:22

You exterminate if the town's infrastructure is of no use to you and you just want to loot and pillage, this one goes without saying.

You occupy if the city possesses buildings and resources that you actually want to use and get the most out of in the long run. If you capture a huge city with amazing infrastructure and buildings, you'll want to have as many people living there as possible to generate max tax revenue, etc.

You enslave if you would rather just distribute the population amongst your other settlements.

So the amount of unrest that results is inversely proportional to how much you want to get out of the city in the long run. To completely assimilate it with minimal damage costs you the biggest up front investment of garrisoned troops, whereas totally destroying it for some quick cash now will pretty much eliminate any resistance but also make it very hard to actually take advantage of the city's pre-existing buildings in the future.

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Exterminating is most useful in the larger cities. Obviously, you're not going to gain any immediate income for exterminating a tiny town. But if the city either has a huge population, or a ridiculously high growth rate, you're better off exterminating the populace than dealing with rebellion and riots. Unless you plan to use the new city to replenish thousands of soldiers in your armies, of course.

One of my biggest problems in-game is controlling the growth of population. Particularly when you get farther from your capital, you already need to sacrifice construction of more useful buildings to build things to increase happiness. It's virtually impossible to control a far-flung empire with complete culture penalties and massive populations that are so unhappy that there's almost no way to not have them rioting and revolting.

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