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Silk & Spice: Trade Route Rework


Jun 8, 2019

Silk & Spice: Trade Route Rework accomplishes the following:
  • All trade routes are made intuitive by completing in a single round trip. A route takes as long to complete as the amount of hexes the trader will travel to and from the destination city (since it completes upon return);
  • Land Routes will now require establishing Trading Posts in the nearest cities, before being able to extend your trade networks further inland (Base game is 15. Changed to 8);
  • Sea Route Range will now depend on developments in technology and civics. It starts at a flat 12 in the Ancient Era and builds up to 50 by the Information Era (Base game is a static 30 throughout all eras). Check Excel screenshot for more details.
Requires Gathering Storm and Portugal DLC.
Requires a new save.

Steam Link (pictures are posted there): https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2794935656

Why I made this mod:
Firaxis had the great idea of requiring Trading Posts to be established before being able to extend trade routes, only to then make the mechanic mostly worthless by providing very high base values to land and sea routes. On top of that, the way Sea Routes are designed break trade route balance.

This mod is my attempt to address that: a) you'll have more control over the development of your road networks in the early game; b) extending your trade networks inland feels more rewarding as you see them grow from localised to global; and c) direct links between two distant cities without intermediate trading posts (such as it may happen between two cities on different continents) will now require the development of more advanced civics and techs.

  • Trade Routes are a bit buggish in this game. My mod doesn't change that, but by reducing the route length it might make them more obvious. Before reporting a bug here, check the following examples:

    1. In Appendix A1 Jamil has no path to Makassar because it’s looking for a sea path, but there’s an undiscovered tile which is blocking it (traders can only move through revealed tiles). By revealing the tile (Appendix A2), Jamil can establish a trade route to Makassar… but does so by land. This is not the mod’s fault, it’s just the game being silly.

    2. The game will automatically check for the most profitable path, not the shortest (see Appendix B);

    3. Coastal capitals seem to have a greater tendency to get buggy. Occasionally they don't refuel at a second city (Appendix C1). If that occurs, the problem is solved by extending sea range (Appendix C2). For whatever reason it's ignoring the Trading Post in Palembang and trying to draw a direct route (12 Sea Range is not enough, but 16 is).
  • In case you're unaware, the game trade screen does not always tell you the correct trade route length. That's why people use the Better Trade Screen mod. But Better Trade Screen will also not always display the correct trade route length when using my mod! Nevertheless, you’re HIGHLY recommended to use that mod so that you can access the “auto repeat” function it provides. Otherwise the micromanagement of trade routes in the late game will get pretty tiresome (Appendix D).
  • Portugal’s Sea Route Range has been reduced from +15 to +8. Since Sea Route Range is no longer a static value with this mod, Portugal’s ability is no longer a fixed +50%. See Excel Screenshot (might change it to +12 in the future, need more testing).

Other notes:
  • I use the same icon for Sea Range that is used for Trade Efficiency. It's an underutilised icon, so it shouldn't be an issue;
  • This mod doesn’t touch the AI, meaning it should be just as dum-dum as it usually is.
    I believe there was an update which made the AI more likely to ignore dead end techs and civics (or maybe it’s always been like that?), so it will often ignore Naval Tradition and Exploration and lose on +4 Sea Range from each.
  • The base files are annotated so that you can play around with it if you want (like changing from Exploration to Mercantilism).
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