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Trade route strategy

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Rohili, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Rohili

    Rohili King

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    727
    I'm still trying to get my head around this new trade route mechanic. It seems like there are two choices to be made:

    1) Whether to use caravans or cargo ships; and
    2) Which cities to send them to.

    In my limited experience with BNW so far, it seems like cargo ships tend to give you more lucrative cities to choose from, so I have been using cargo ships more heavily. I also tend to just choose the city which gives me the highest gold (usually a civilization's city), unless there is a CS that has a trade route quest. (In my games so far I have always been the leader in science, so I don't usually take science into consideration.)

    I also never bother with forming trade routes between my own cities, unless I have a new city that is struggling to grow.

    Just wondering whether this is the best way to use trade routes?
     
  2. Ra's Head

    Ra's Head Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    Trade routes between cities are very strong. By the mid game, they are stronger than Hanging Gardens or a Hospital and so if you don't need the trade route for money, you should at least consider them. Basically, they allow you to work specialists in a city and not sacrifice growth which can be great in a capital or other major city.

    You are right that cargo ships have higher returns. I think sea trade routes are close to twice as good as land. They can be harder to protect, but are sometimes easier. For instance, if there are multiple continents, and I am at war with people on my continent (or plan to be) then sea routes to the other continent are safer. If I am friends with my continent, but fighting another continent, then land routes will be very hard for my foe to plunder.

    Early in the game, you should also consider the science and religion you get from trade as they can be significant early before you catch up in tech.
     
  3. Rambuchan

    Rambuchan The Funky President

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    London, England
    Yeah I'd agree with that advice and info from Ra.

    One thing I'm trying to work out is: When and how to get that first caravan going? Especially when playing with the likes of Morocco and that early extra culture really matters.

    When there are things like shrines, monuments, libraries, key wonders and units to fend off barbs, it just seems like a foolish move to spend that production on a caravan. And there always seems like a much more urgent or important thing to spend that precious early cash on. So buying them never really seems an option for me. Thus I pretty much always build them and it always feels like I'm building them too late in a typical build order.

    When and how would wise folk advise getting their first caravan up and running?
     
  4. Tich

    Tich Prince

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
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    418
    One thing you have to remember is that Caravans only have a short range early on. If there isn't a city within 10 tiles of your Cap then it's not worthwhile to build one too early. Trading with a CS or whatever is complete trash after all. Do not build one until you'll have an actual trading partner.

    A basic BO for a Pangea map might look something like:

    Scout, Scout, Shrine (if you care about religion), Monument (ignore it if you're opening up with Tradition), Worker, Granary, Caravan, Library, NC. Obviously you have to include Settlers in there at some stage but that depends on how many you need and whether you're opening with Collective Rule or not. If you are then you probably want to build 2 as soon as it completes. If not then you can probably ignore the Monument (Legalism will nab it for you) and start building them straight after your Worker is completed. Once your Cap has 5ish food then that's typically ideal but I mean some starts are food-light and you'll have to Settle for 3 or 4. Work as many hills and such if you can to power them out. Use one of your Scouts to steal another Worker and immediately escort it to your first expo location to start working luxuries, horses, iron, etc. to sell if possible. Build Libraries in your cities and use the GPT from selling stuff to hard buy a Worker and a Library in your 4th city so that you can finish your NC at a reasonable clip. Use those 3 Workers to improve every luxury/strategic resource in your vicinity and sell as much of it as your possibly can. Horses and Iron can usually be sold for 3g and 1gpt PER to someone who likes you (or just 1 gpt if you don't have any friends). Luxuries sell for 6gpt to people who like you, 5 if they're a little pissed and 4 if they want you dead. Sell everything you can, even if means going unhappy for a bit. Hopefully you can ally a CS or two to mitigate that.

    Once your satellite cities have a Monument, Library and Granary you can usually afford to build a Worker/Caravan at them. Get Sailing reasonably early to open a second route and focus on gold and BPT. On Deity early trade routs tend to give me 5-6 science per turn which is huuuuuuuuuuuge at that stage of the game. That's 10-12 science and 16-18 gold every turn for my 2 routes. That GPT will add up quickly and eventually you can sell GPT for lump sums so that you can buy Unis and such to boost your science further.

    Personally I use my Caravans for trade routes and not food. Food is so bad if you go unhappy early on (which is basically inevitable) and so I'd rather get a big boost to science and GPT. Granted, you only get those good bonuses on Immortal+. There's no way that Trade Routes would give you 5bpt on say Prince. Still, I think that getting a lot of GPT is very important because I want to hard buy Universities, Public Schools, Labs etc. IMMEDIATELY and you need a ton of gold for that. I find that I typically struggle with happiness enough as is and growing my cities a bunch faster isn't going to help me very much. Maybe I'm just doing things wrong but I can't seem to keep CS allies on Deity when the AI can just pour gold in to them and churn out 10 cities to produce twice as much faith/culture/etc. as me. They can also rip through barb camps with their early units and so I find that it's even hard to complete those quests nowadays. My Archer or whatever is grossly outmatched by their armies of spears and warriors.
     
  5. JBossch

    JBossch King

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    Washington, DC
    I find the trade route overview menu really useful. When I have a new route available, I always check the 'available routes' tab, usually sorted by gold so I can see what would be most lucrative and makes plans to build either a caravan or a cargo boat.
     
  6. penlin

    penlin Chieftain

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    May 1, 2013
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    I agree with most/all of the above. Internal trade routes can be very strong when you want to grow tall quickly. If I go for an external route, there are a few other things to consider besides total gold coming to you each turn:

    1) Who are you trading with? If I am in the lead, maybe I don't want to trade with my closest rival, giving them some gold and science. Or, if I'm lagging, maybe I don't want to trade with the civ in first place.

    2) Differentials. For example, maybe one trade route gives me 20 gpt and my trading partner gets 16 gpt (differential of 4). If there is another one that is 18 gpt for me and 6 gpt for the same trading partner (differential of 12), maybe I take that instead. It depends on whether I see the partner as a threat or not.

    3) Religion. If spreading my religion is a serious part of my game, I will take this into account. Even if it's not the primary reason for the trade route, it can be a tiebreaker for routes with equal gpt. Or, it might convince me to take a route that is just a little worse in gpt if it helps spread the religion.

    4) Trade route safety. I agree with above. There is a significant investment in building the caravan. Losing it to plundering barbs or other civs is bad.
     
  7. Rambuchan

    Rambuchan The Funky President

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    Really great info there Tich. Thank you.

    Yeah, you're absolutely right about very early trading routes not being too available or indeed safe and so there's no need to sweat about getting a really early caravan. I only think about this when playing Morocco anyway tbh.

    As I move up the difficulty levels, and the AI is out in front with techs, the science value of trade routes takes on a whole new importance. Libraries get built after caravans now, as in your example build order. And the science that's on offer is a big incentive to trade and swings my decision on whom to trade with.
     
  8. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    I keep quitting my games with Venice as I have no idea how to leverage their bonus trade routes; I'm eagerly awaiting some kind of trade routes guide.
     
  9. spellsteal

    spellsteal Chieftain

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    Jul 28, 2013
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    if there is a capitol right next to mind or someone build a city next to me, I would rush caravan befor libary because the returns it just uncomparable. I'll also station a warrior there just to be safe because if you lose that caravan, you lose out A LOT. tbh I'd just ragequit
     

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