Hello. I worked out a spoiler strategy that allowed me to win at Viceroy level with well over 200%.
Hernando de Soto Strategy (no cheating involved).
This strategy works very well in the Americas, but you can also use it for a
random world. I will use the Americas as reference.
Take your initial exploration force and found 2 coastal Colonies.
The key for this strategy is to get Hernando de Soto as your 1st or
at least second Founding Father.
If you got some money, go back to Europe and recruit a Seasoned Scout (regular Scout will do for now).
Start visiting Indian villages with your scouts. Do NOT explore Lost City Rumours until you get De Soto!!!! [A non-expert may get promoted]
All other, non-scouting immigrants move inland and found small (size 1) continental Colonies. What would they produce? Liberty Bells! [They will also get lost of gifts from nearby Indians]
De Soto has arrived. Go for Cortez, Minuit, or Jefferson. Start
exploring Lost City Rumours with your SEASONED Scouts. Chances are, you'll get lotsa Treasure Trains. Don't share your riches with the Crown. Don't spend cash you got either -- collect $3000 ASAP.
$3000 is here, buy a galleon right away and start transporting those Treasure Trains back to Europe (alternatively you can wait for Cortez and simply move your treasure into your coastal Colonies, but many of the treasures will be far in the wilderness, so get the galleon anyway). [If you have Cortez and discover a Treasure Train near the coast but far from your Colonies, get the Scout to found a Colony - the Galleon corrects it immediately - and then turn him back into a Scout, this saves A LOT of time and a potential ambush]
As soon as you can afford it, buy yourself a Privateer and send it to explore... [As they are the fastest ships]
So, here you are: 6 or 7 measly colonies and $40,000 in the bank. Buy one more Galleon and 6 Veteran Dragoons. Send them to the nearest Aztec or Inca City and start pillaging. In America pillaging will give you over $100,000 more. Reinforce your troops as needed, you got the money :).
Build friendly relations with your Indian neighbours (like Iroquois), they are very helpful, later on build missions and watch Converts flood your colonies.
Of course I assume that all this time you've been developing your
continent, building more Colonies and recruiting Specialists for all your tasks (you got the money...), especially Hardy Pioneers (I usually buy 2 right away and 6 more later on).
Defend your Colonies as needed (duh).
Since you are rich, you don't need to kiss the King's *** every time he raises taxes. In fact, I refuse ALL the tax hikes. As long as you can sell some raw materials early on you're doing okay.
I've noticed that Ore and Tools are the key to complete financial
independence, so set up a Mining/Blacksmithing Colony as soon as you can, otherwise you will spend all your fortune on Tools from overseas. [You can obtain some by piracy or invading enemy Colonies]
After you've got between 14-20 colonies -- stop. Don't found any new ones, instead -- develop these, reinforce them with specialists, plow the fields, and fortify a Cannon in every Colony (from occasional Indian raids).
I pretty much ignore my European rivals unless they try to settle on MY Continent. Protect YOUR Continent at any cost, raze all Foreign settlements on it.
If another European Power occupies a large Continent, then go find
the largest Indian tribe there and supply it with Muskets and Horses. Then wait until that Tribe declares War on your rival (and it always does :), and watch their Cities burn.
At the end of your expansion summon Peter Stuyvesant and build a
couple of Custom Houses + lotsa Wagon Trains and start smuggling boycotted goods to Europe. Also trade with your nearest Indian Capital (again, Iroquois are the best). $2000 for 100 tobacco or 100 Tools is not bad.
Do NOT sell manufactured goods to Europe... yet. Wait for that. In
the meantime just flood the European market with raw materials (except Silver) and do not worry about those prices taking a nose-dive, it's okay.
Silver... Mine it but don't sell it until the Independence starts
and prices freeze forever. This way I usually get at least $60,000 on Silver alone. This strategy works for all manufactured goods as well, except that you can sell these goods to Indians, while maintaining trade embargo with Europe. Later on in about 18-22 brief turns of Revolutionary War I make around $250,000-$300,000 on all commodities combined.
At high difficulty levels (like Viceroy) your European rivals can
acquire Independence very quickly and easily. If you see this happening, find their largest most advanced City (before they get Independent) and take with 8 Dragoons and 4 Cannons. If you want to keep it -- be my guest, if not -- evacuate all of its population, except for 3 people (Stockade minimum) and leave it undefended. Let the enemy take it back. This usually nukes their Independence campaign. Repeat as needed (and it will be needed :).
When you are rich (and you are:), you can do pretty much whatever
you want, 'cause it's so hard to lose.
My last tip: the fewer Ports you have, the fewer spots you will have to defend during the War of Independence. [But they will be under greater pressure] I have as little as 2-5 ports for a nation of 14-20 cities.