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Trade routes help please!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by RNMorton, Aug 23, 2019.

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  1. RNMorton

    RNMorton Chieftain

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    So I've been playing Civ 4 since it came out, aced I and II, IV is fun to play but has always had me stumped at the Noble level, particularly on Beyond the Sword. I'm sure it's because I don't have the first clue on trade routes with other countries. One articles talks about an Export/Import button on your city screen. Can't see those buttons. Also talks about assigning a boat to the route. Haven't ever seen a button for that either. I haven't seen one article on this that agrees with another. It absolutely amazes me that the game has such an apparently crucial element that isn't explained in the least in the game materials. So I will send a $50 check to the first person who takes me through step by agonizing step for foreign trade routes in a manner that works for me.
     
  2. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    Eh...no such buttons exist in Civ IV, to my knowledge, but I think those mechanics exist in Civ V and/or VI? In Civ IV every city will automatically pick a city to trade with and automatically manage all of the logistics thereof, including "building"/assigning ships and so on. The only aspect of trade routes that the player influences is whether another civ can be traded with (there's a few things that allow/disallow/forcefully allow it, depending on the situation), as well as making sure that the actual routes are secure and available, tech-wise.

    Unless you're talking about resource trades, but those don't have specific export/import mechanics and logistics either. You just phone up another civ you've got a trade route connection with and offer them something for something else, and if they accept, viola, you've got access to whatever you traded for. It can happen that a resource is cancelled because either supplies or the trade route are cut off, but it can't happen that a city of yours is missing a resource you're trading for because you haven't assigned enough ships to handle the load, for instance.
     
  3. RNMorton

    RNMorton Chieftain

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    Thanks for the reply. My question is, generally, what are those things - "there's a few things that allow/disallow/forcefully allow it, depending on the situation". I understand you need to have open borders with the other civilization, but is there more you need to do as in actually offer to share trade routes with them? Thanks again for the help.
     
  4. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    You don't need to offer rivals anything, just maintain open borders and maintain a secure route with them. Secure routes can be disrupted in a few ways, but there's nothing special you need to do in order to restore trade routes if that happens. Resource trades you'll likely need to renegotiate, but trade routes will manage themselves. Open borders can be cancelled in a few ways, like if the AP forces a stop trade with an infidel, but I don't think open borders can be cancelled in any way that you won't see coming. And I don't think AIs will ever abruptly cancel open borders with the player, either. Well, unless they DoW you, but even that you can usually see coming.

    The big issue with maintaining foreign trade routes is the Mercantilism civic. It prevents a civ from forming foreign trade routes, so you can't have trade routes with rivals running that civic or anyone if you're running that civic. Naturally every rival in the game will readily adopt it if they notice that you're profiting off of having trade routes with them, even if their favorite civic is Free Market. The exception to that rule is if a civ is your vassal - you can have trade routes with a vassal even if you're both running Mercantilism, for some unknown reason. In either case you don't have to do anything special to manage trade routes, they'll manage themselves.
     
  5. Anysense

    Anysense King

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    Apart from open borders you need some kind of connection. There are four ways to connect cities: roads, rivers, coast, ocean. You can use roads as soon as you have the Wheel. By default rivers and coast only work within your culture, to use use those outside your territory you need Sailing. Ocean tiles require Astronomy.

    @AcaMetis vassals are de facto the same state. Seems logical to me.
     
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  6. ArchGhost

    ArchGhost Prince

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    Writing tech is required to sign Open Borders and start foreign trade routes. They aren't a visible mechanic (like assigning units to run the route such as in AoE or similar) in the game but are instead a sort of free commerce generated by each city that has routes set up with other cities.

    You can view them under the city summary screen to the top left:


    Trade routes automatically set themselves up so long as you have a connection between cities. Theres a whole bunch that goes into the way it selects the specific routes...I understand it generally searches for the "best" route -- routes across longer distances, between larger cities, between different landmasses all give more commerce. But for routes internal or foreign, routes only set up between connected cities.

    In the case of foreign cities, Open Borders agreements are a prereq too. You can trade resources but not earn commerce off foreign routes unless you have open borders. This means being at war also precludes trade route with rivals (the one(s) at war with you), and they are automatically cancelled and recalculated elsewhere when wars interrupt trade.

    Cities are most commonly linked up through either road networks, or along coasts/down rivers when you have the Sailing tech. It's also possible to link cities without Sailing if every river/coast tile between the two cities is completely within your borders. Last, Astronomy tech allows any cites with coastal connections to link to one another across the oceans; these trade routes are more lucrative because they are always boosted by way of being intercontinental.

    The simplest way to see it in action is to create a road network linking your own cities. Every city connected on the network can trade back with at least the capitol. If you connect into a foreign rival's road network by building a road on a tile that connects to one of theirs, if you have Open Borders you can see the routes in your cities swap over to more lucrative foreign routes.

    By default cities can only run a single trade route.. Techs like Currency, Corporation, the civic Free Market, the Great Lighthouse wonder, a UN resolution etc. can increase the number of trade routes each city can run.
     
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  7. Tobiyogi

    Tobiyogi Prince

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    Btw, there is a little trick. If you finish a road towards some neigbour FIRST and then open borders with him/her, you get instantly foreign TR and therefore double commerce. If you already have OB before connecting the two empires, you get those better TR only on the next turn. Same counts for TR within your empire. Finishing the road to a new city before settling it will provide you an instant trade route. On the other hand, for some folks, TR are not nearly as important as cottages or other improvements, if your workers can only do one thing at a time....
     
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  8. Donald Duck1

    Donald Duck1 Chieftain

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    From an ancient post on this forum:
    - Unexplored tiles will block a trade route, up until the open border. You don't need to explore all the cities you trade with. You just need a valid trade path to their border.

    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/how-do-foreign-trade-routes-work.249150/#post-6108452

    So I guess you could get an early foreign trade route if an AI city is connected to the same river as your city; you only have to explore the river connection to their border and Open Borders with them.
     
  9. RNMorton

    RNMorton Chieftain

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    Guys fantastic stuff, I think Acametis wins the prize but all of these were helpful. Odd how the game doesn't give you much information on it. I never allowed open borders (until now), so armed with Acametis' info I have foreign trade routes running like crazy now. Imagine playing this game for ten years and not knowing? Thanks to all.
     
  10. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    If you hover over the Open Borders option in the trade screen the game will actually mention that OB will "generate commerce from trade routes". Nothing overly specific, or even true since that assumes you've got a secure route prepared which isn't necessarily the case, but it's sort of there. No clue whether the old vanilla tutorial ever mentioned it, either. I kind of doubt that tutorial went as far as Writing, honestly.

    EDIT: Actually went and checked the tutorial's audio files, since those still exist in the Civ IV folder - the game mentions being able to form "military alliances" and "other diplomatic agreements", but nothing specific is mentioned RE: Open Borders and trade routes. Just that you can trade stuff through the diplomacy window, including units, which (at least in BTS) isn't the case at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  11. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    That's from the Colonization city screen not Civilization.
     
  12. RNMorton

    RNMorton Chieftain

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    All great info, and thanks again. My economy Is much healthier and I can stand up to most of the big boys in Noble play. But two things:
    1) I am running a big negative trade route number (which I assume means if I'm getting something out of trade my partners are getting a lot more out of me), how can I fix that? and
    2) When I sent my mega fleet over to Korea it got tactically nuked with positively tragic (as in one surviving transport) results. How can I avoid that with a big armada in the nuclear age?
     
  13. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    1. If you're talking about the import/export values listed in the...statistics? The same thing that lists stuff like soldiers and approval rating and what have you, you can ignore those values completely. They either don't mean anything worthwhile or are bugged in some fashion - I've heard both, but couldn't tell you which one it is.

    2. I'm not sure, honestly. SDI defences can shoot down nukes that are launched within that civ's territory, but that's obviously not relevant if you're invading someone. The UN can pass a resolution to ban nukes, but that doesn't dismantle whatever arsenal anyone already has, nor would cutting off someone's access to Uranium (and even if you did they'd probably just get it through a trade for a Cow anyway). You can nuke someone into the stone age before they can do the same to you, but I don't think nukes can get destroyed by other nukes, only if the city/transport they're in get taken/sunk?

    That said, from my (admittedly limited) experience nukes are something you really shouldn't be facing on Noble. I've played an Always War game on Noble out to mid-1991 AD (very slow and harrowing Space Race victory) and I don't think any AI managed to get anywhere close to being able to build nukes - Fission and Rocketry.
     
  14. elmurcis

    elmurcis Emperor

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    Not exactly btw. There is some clear math under it - all trade routes that player gets from AI (not sure about vassals - sorry) minus all trade routes that AI gets from human. During late game, AI gets many trade routes (Corporation trade route) and there are many AI, so that number will get pretty negative.
    But in early game if player (human) can have one side access (units from AI side can't get to human land - including SoD) to other AI (or many) over ocean tile (water "bridge" with culture) and owns GLH wonder (many extra trade routes), can get all trade routes from certain AI but AI won't get trade routes back (=no commerce income for AI). Same goes for Astronomy as it can make export/import balance massive towards 1st who get that on multi-landmass map since only civ that has Astro, will get trade routes (=commerce) from other civs.
     
  15. RNMorton

    RNMorton Chieftain

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    I do get this feeling that if I'm -110 or so on trade routes I'm getting a boost but I'm giving somebody else a bigger boost. But who knows, at least I have real trade routes now, thanks to you!
    The only solution I can see to a nuclear age ocean invasion is send out one transport per group and hope some get through.
     

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