Trade Route Rules of Thumb

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Cornhog, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Cornhog

    Cornhog Warlord

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    Does anyone have some good rules of thumb for food caravans or trade caravans in general? I've noticed that I tend to either reflexively send all food caravans to my capital, or pick the highest science output, or complete a CS mission. Given the power of trade routes, I should probably put a bit more thought into it. I'm sure someone smarter than me has figured this all out, but when I searched the forums I didn't find anything simply explained.

    For instance, the rate of return for that little bit of food to the capital has to drop off at some point, so I'd get more population/science by sending them to other cities, right? Where is that point? Then would it be better to send all food caravans to one city to get it up as quickly as possible, or spread them out?

    Little bit of background. I had a game that started off with me trying a tall 3 city NC game. Then the AI intervened and I had to punish them in the form of conquering the entire continent. So now I have a super wide empire, and I'm thinking I would be better off growing all my other cities instead of struggling to boost the capital one more pop point.
     
  2. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

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    Here's my first rule of thumb, can I keep the route safe for the duration?

    Beyond that, just remember that they last for 30 turns so you can and should do different tasks with each trade unit depending on what point you are at in game.
     
  3. Sessy

    Sessy Prince

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    1. cargo ships are almost always better.
    2. food is almost always better than hammers.
    3. 1st caravan/cargo ship to other civs with highest gold/science, other ones send to capital or other city for growth. (this is just personal preference) Swing them out later when you need money, but only to people you won't be at war with in the duration.
    4. sending trade routes can improve relations. also make use of trade routes if you're playing a culture game to get the modifier.
     
  4. unrendered

    unrendered Chieftain

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    I usually do only food trade routes unless its the early game when you can get free science from trade routes to other civs. After I've got NC up I think the beaker bonus starts to fade away and doesn't have much impact. I don't think you should ever have to convert food trade routes to gold. I only do production trade routes in the very end if I'm going for SV to make the SS part building slightly faster. As for why you should send multiple food trade routes to the cap is because it's better to have a huge cap than a few slightly above average expansions instead.
     
  5. Iberian

    Iberian Prince

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    Sending food routes to multiple cities is normally not ideal because of % multipliers. (If you have +50% from NC in your capital it is dumb to grow a city elsewhere.) If you need gold though skip the food routes and trade with CS's till you get Astronomy. Growing the capital isn't as critical when you have 8-10 cities.
     
  6. Shark Diver

    Shark Diver King

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    Valid points, but my typical game has a period of time where there is a big exception to the above. Quite often, I'll have a 4 city empire that is building Universities. 1 or 2 of these will have less than 10 pop. I'll do everything I can to make sure all 4 cities are receiving food caravans/cargo ships at this point so that I can immediately work all of the specialist slots. That's worth more than a couple of population points in the capital, especially because it starts the GS generation as early as possible. To me, those are the most important trade routes in the game.
     
  7. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    The first half of my post is for internal routes

    The tradition approach is usually 3 cargo ships from non capital cities being run to the capital. Initally all food, but some may switch to hammers later when other food sources increase (Freedom, Fertilizer, Hospital.)

    The liberty approach is usually running a cargo ship to a recently founded city just til it expires, after which the city will have grown enough not to need it, but it might then need hammers until it then expires after which the route does something else completely.

    For external routes, it's take a look at the route screen to determine which routes you get the most benefit from, excluding routes that would get cut due to barbs or a likely war. In addition consider that a turn would be missed if you have to change the origin city.
    There are however times in which you want routes for different reason entirely such as tourism or religion.
     
  8. tommynt

    tommynt Emperor

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    every single trade route to cap is pretty much the most "rule of thumb" and same time right thing to do.

    After that ships - whatever is possible with them.
     
  9. Strickl3r

    Strickl3r Prince

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    I don't know what starts you roll, but for me it seems to be necessary to provide a certain income over additional food to ensure additional culture and sometimes faith from city states(extra units are also nice) and also of course happiness, not to mention additional science in the early game. Everything else is just a super start where i can afford to do the internal trade route thing, because I'm rolling anyway or i have to deal with low food, so i might do one internal, but the rest is much needed income).

    So quests and routes to my neighbours are very important for me and beware of cargo ships, they are much more likely to be plundered, since getting out ships to provide safety seems like a big waste of hammers, while securing the land route to your neighbour often times doesn't even require anything, so if it is not a secure bay area i prefer the land route to the capitol of the neighbour(also i heard that it will decrease likelyhood of DOW).

    Of course a cargo ship providing extra food is very nice no doubt about that, but i don't like to take the best case scenario as an example, because that is not the way civ works in my opinion, if you play most starts you roll.
     
  10. neilkaz

    neilkaz King

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    In a Babylon Immortal game this evening I did my best at the 1st World Council in Babylon to vote down the World's Fair proposal since I had two must have wonders that needed a few turns. In panic, once the WC approved the Fair by 1 vote :( I bought two caravans to send hammers to cities (4 city Tradition as almost always with a peaceful civ) and reassigned a 3rd to hammers soon when its route to a CS wanting a TR expired.

    I barely won the Fair and it pushed me into a GS and I soon burned 1000 faith for a GE to get Taj so I had a GA for the entire 20 turns of double culture.

    An easy win will follow.

    Without the production internal routes I'd not have won the fair, and might have even finished 3rd noting that I lost several turns finishing must have wonders.

    .. neilkaz ..
     
  11. phillipwyllie

    phillipwyllie Wannabe Deity

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    For it's all available routes to the capital, then onto expos who have built a university. Later on when my cap is around 30 pop then I might allocate that route elsewhere.
     
  12. tetley

    tetley Head tea leaf

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    Actually, I feel I have graduated past rules of thumb. It is highly situational; and not just for your trade routes, but for choosing where your East India goes. Of course first, it comes naturally that you look for your juiciest TR's. But beyond that, you have diplomacy, tourism, safety, internal-vs-external; and if you go internal, to which cities. I have no problem shipping hammers internally, if I'm working on a wonder that city is eligible for or I need it for a national wonder. Besides, hammers can produce food; sometimes faster than food can produce hammers (to produce granary when you have 5 deer, for example). And besides, maybe it's happiness I need and food produces unhappiness.

    One rule of thumb I say is, shorter is better. Maybe some of the juiciest TR's are long, but you just have to weigh that against being shorter. Shorter means safer, and getting plundered is an expensive occurrence. Expensive enough that I will gladly forego a few gpt or bpt to get a shorter route. Maybe I will first relocate the ship to a closer city rather than my capital just to make it shorter?

    If another civ is a different ideology and beating me on tourism, I won't TR them I don't care how juicy it is (unless maybe they TRed me first). If I'm beating them in tourism, I will gladly TR them even if it's not very juicy.
     
  13. Strickl3r

    Strickl3r Prince

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    If you want to ship hammers you need a workshop and in most cases there will be no more settling new citys(which need to build a granary) if workshops are online, also if you get 6 food internal trade route via caravan that pays for 3 mines which is more hammers than you can get with a trade route.
     
  14. Fluphen Azine

    Fluphen Azine What is Fluphen Azine?

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    Deleted Post... Strategy Only In the Future!
     
  15. tommynt

    tommynt Emperor

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    this is strategy and tips selection.
    No1 cares about which way you have fun. And honestly i dont think u should try to give tips to other in which way they can have fun. This leads to nowhere.
     
  16. Grendeldef

    Grendeldef Trancerelic

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    It may lead to people having fun which is, I assume, why most of the people still play the game.
     
  17. Fluphen Azine

    Fluphen Azine What is Fluphen Azine?

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    You have a very good point that this is the Strategy and Tips page. I guess having fun is not considered a Tip. I did however suggest that
    your way was the most optimal but I guess that goes without saying. I will try to refrain to only Strategy on this site from now on. I do
    find it odd that nobody on this site/page cares about having some fun. I really love your attitude by the way... however Im not sure that
    anybody on this site cares about that either.

    This point is pretty valid as well and made me laugh, actually both yours and tommys posts made me smile very much.
     
  18. sun8119

    sun8119 Warlord

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    Not even 1 caravan to deity AI from which you might get a decent initial science boost? Well, I have not really seen the maths here. Perhaps sending food to the cap is still better than initial science boost from that one caravan.
     
  19. tetley

    tetley Head tea leaf

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    I don't try different things just to have fun. I do different things because different maps call for different approaches.
     
  20. dasaard200

    dasaard200 Prince

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    I am finding that when I take a capital, which I cannot raze, I'm going to MAKE that damn city useful !!
    Here, timing us important, as you will want a couple of TR's available, for the 'resistance' to die down; so that when a courthouse is built/bought, those TR's are ready to go to Bozo's former city .
    In my current game, China offered a pieces treaty, Shanghai (12 pop, Machu Pichu), which I took; and now am moving heaven, hell, AND Home Fleet to completely blockade China .
    China is going to be MY exclusive TPartner; love it, or shove it . China thought that giving me a 12pop. happy hit was going to work; I was sitting on +8 happy, and, on next turn, 3 zoos and Notre Dame came on-line, to bump my 'happy' to +12 (+8 -12 +6 +10 = +12) !!
    It seems that Chinese spys did NOT see that coming, or China would have offered more and uglier cities to sue for peace ... Shanghai being NEXT DOOR to Bejing !! So, 3 TR's(food) are targeted for Shanghai, my army is learning to use chopsticks, and in 12 turns or so, Chinese capital will turn US blue. At which point, another 3 TR's(food) await targeting for Bejing . I shall leave China its crappiest no-resource city, as I did Babylon, and procede to next Civ on my list .
    Aren't Archipeligo maps FUN ?
    My other 18 TR's are external cash TR's ! This with RYIKA's Caravansary mod,; which I swear by (not at !!) .
     

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