Who Needs to Ratify
Sometimes the object of a treaty clause must ratify the treaty too - for example, if France makes a treaty with Austria for Austria to give a province to Britain, then Britain gets a chance to ratify or decline the treaty. Note that their desicion would apply to the treaty as a whole, not just the clause relating to them.
On the other hand, if France requried Austria to give Britain money (with any of the payments clauses), Britain doesnot get a chance to decline.
Most clauses have a start date, which is when they commence. Typically that date is a few months in the future, since it will take 2 months for the other side to get the treaty and ratify it, and then implement in the following turn. You can specify dates, which could be useful - for example:
- I just won a war, so I am going to get 12 months of enforced peace. So I will schedule some more enforced peace to start 12 months out
- To make sure the other guy has the cash to give me, I might make them pay me 750 (or some other number) each year for the next 5 (however many) years
Sharing depots lasts for the duration of the treaty - so if everything else happens immediately, you get 1 month. Put in a nice long clause into such a treaty (like promising to respect the neutrality of some place ont he other side of the world).
When you make a treaty as a result of surrender, the valuation process is obvious: you can watch the available VPs go down with each clause and see the impact of changing clauses. The same actually happens "under the hood" in treaty negotiations with the AI. A human player doesn't have to get anything back in a treaty - but the AI needs to get at least as much as they give.
With the AI, it will assess the value of the things the treaty gives it, as opposed to the cost of the things the treaty would cost it. There are a number of other factors that impact the valuation - your current relations with the AI matter (both alliance and relationship). In more complex assessments, the AI might not be willing to declare war on a particular nation no matter what you offer [it is cheaper if they hate the nation in question].
Dishonouring a Treaty
If you make a treaty provision for an action that cannot be legally carried out when the time for it to happen comes, then the other side will be forced to dishonour the treaty. For example, if you promised to cede province x, but it had already been ceded to another player [often happens during surrenders to multiple powers]. Or you promised money, and dont have any. Or my personal favorite - you promised to decalre war, but when the time came you were prohibited from doing so (either because of mandatory peace, because you are allied, or because you are war with someone who the proposed enemy is also at war with, as 3 examples).
Every turn that you break a clause, you suffer a glory penalty. Note that this may require you to lose glory every month (trading despite an embargo for example, or failing to pay reparations), or might just be a one-off hit (failing to cede a province).
You can also choose to break a treaty by going to the treaties screen and pressing the cancel treaty button. This might actually be cheaper in glory than suffering repeated penalities for a clause you cannot satisfy.
Treaties with Enemies
In COG 1.1, if you propose a treaty to someone you are at war with, it is automatically cancelled, regardless fo contents - they don't even read the mail. In COG 1.2 (in beta as I write this) we are hoping they will read a treaty as long as it contains a peace proposal...
The manual says that breaking a secret treaty costs less than breaking a public treaty - but why would I care?
Against the AI, I don't think you would care (while I may be wrong, I have always assumed the AI knew about all treaties). I don't think the AI offers to make any treaties secret (although it will accept such offers from you).
Against humans, a secret treaty means they wont be able to see it. Rumours may leak, but...
(A) Against AI, always keep a watch on the treaties screen - you may see other countries doing deals to attack you!
(B) Against humans, consider whether there might be benefit in the others not knowing the precise details of the deal...
The AI's evaluation of your friendliness will go up a small amount every month that you are honouring a treaty with them. If you care what AI nations think of you, try to always have a treaty going with them.
The AI will value a non agression pact even more - sometimes when I can't get the AI to agree to a treaty where they promise not to attack me, I will give them a treaty where I promise not to attack them... They sometimes value it enough to leave me alone!
You can abuse the dishonour penalties to cripple a player's glory. Humans should be alert to the potential for this. I think it is an abuse (especially where a bankrupt country loses lots of glory because it cant make payments) - we'll see if it gets changed.