Trade Victory (and Diplomatic Victory as a bonus)


Jan 11, 2015
There's often been a lot of talk on the forum about somehow adding an economic victory to the game, but the problem is that such proposals often seem to come down "have X gold" or "have all luxury resources".

[This is a bit of a background ramble, you can skip this paragraph if you want]
I never liked those proposals because they seemed extremely gamey. But then I started up a game of Island Plates with the Netherlands this week, and I realized I wanted to roleplay an empire that simply expands over the entire world, settling a little bit everywhere. In doing so, I would become an extremely strong empire simply because I would have my hands in everything and on every continent. That would be similar to the current victory types: Conquer everyone; become a scientific powerhouse; have everyone follow your culture; have everyone follow your religion. This would be making everyone dependent on your trade, and it would make for a much better victory than simply getting that money or trading for luxury resources, or any convoluted variations of that.

So I started thinking, how to build a victory type that is centered around trading and expanding everywhere, not unlike the European colonial empires did? Before I get to the actual victory condition, I'll have to dive into some new or changed mechanics that would be required to make this work.

[ADDITIONAL NOTE: While working on this I got some good ideas for a Diplomatic Victory so I'm talking about that as well]

Trade and Governing
Trade will be the most important 'leg' of this victory condition, but some changes to governing will be required to make this victory realistically achievable with the loyalty system, so I'll dive into that as well.

Some of the most radical changes would be made to trading. First of all, a passive trade system similar to Civ IV's system would be introduced (though with all cities in the vicinity, rather than a maximum number), where cities naturally trade with other nearby cities, be it inside the country or over the border. This will grant minor gold gains (depending primarily on city size and the number of different luxury resources within a city's border). Additionally, you will gain access to a luxury resource if your cities have passive trade routes to at least 4 different cities that have access to this luxury resource.

Traders will retain their current role, and generate more resources than the passive trade routes; they're basically your way of saying "focus on trade from this city to that city". There will be one change, however, and that is that internal trade routes gain bonuses if each of the cities they connect has at least one trade route to another civilization (which may not be the same civilization for both trade routes); the immersion reason for this is to depict transit trade, the gameplay reason for this is to encourage long-distance internal trade routes to simulate global trade.

Currently, having only a single city on a continent is a recipe for trouble, as it will likely be lost to loyalty pressure. To address this, a new part of government can be added, which replaces Diplomacy policy cards (though this new system does not work with cards). This allows for different government administrations on a level below the actual type of government, which mostly focus on loyalty and interactions with city-states.

I've spoilered my proposal for the various administrations as it got quite long.
Spoiler :

Tribal: Capital grants high loyalty pressure to the surrounding area, other cities only grant low loyalty pressure. This is your administration at game start. [This heavily punishes early forward settling, but also makes it hard to expand beyond a single ring around your capital, as your other cities barely have any pressure]

Sovereign Cities: All cities have high self-pressure, but low pressure on the surrounding area. +2 Influence Points per turn. All gold income outside your capital reduced by 50%, all production outside your capital reduced by 20%. Unlocked with State Workforce. [This administration is meant to emulate the loose federations of city-states in Greece in particular; though cities will almost never flip to someone else (even in a Dark Age), you only have limited control over them, exemplified by the reduced gold and production]
Classical Empire: Both capital and other cities grant normal loyalty pressure. Unlocked with Early Empire. [This administration is meant to emulate empires like the Roman Empire. It's loyalty pressure is like how we know it]

Feudal Administration: Capital grants normal pressure, other cities grant less pressure on themselves and your other cities, but normal pressure on the cities of other civilizations. +3 Influence Points per turn. Unlocked with Feudalism. [This emulates the risk that comes with the power vassals typically had in a feudal system, but also making you more favored with city-states. Likely to increase splintering]
Royal Administration: Capital grants high pressure, other cities grant low pressure, governors grant more pressure to their own city and grant some pressure to your nearby cities. +10% production in all cities. Unlocked with Civil Service. [This is more centralized than Feudal Administration, allowing you to exert more power, but with a higher risk of losing cities to other civilizations if you're not exerting your power. The production bonus is to exemplify increased efficiency]

Secular Administration: Capital and other cities grant normal pressure. +10% science and +10% culture in all cities. +4 Influence Points per turn. Unlocked with Humanism. [This is the diplomatic and internal option; the goal is to gain power through diplomacy and knowledge]
Imperial Administration: Capital grants high pressure, other cities grant normal pressure. +20% production in all cities. Unlocked with Diplomatic Service. [This is the administration to secure yourself a powerful position]
Trade Administration: Capital and other cities grant normal pressure. Internal trade routes grant (significant) extra loyalty to both cities. +20% gold in all cities that have at least one trade route (passive or active) to another civilization. +2 Trade Routes. Unlocked with Exploration. [This is where we truly start to see the administration help out going for a trade victory; with this administration the goal is to expand to every corner of the map and stay]

Diplomatic Administration: Capital and other cities have high self-pressure and high pressure on your cities, and normal pressure on other cities. +25% science in all cities. +6 Influence Points per turn. Unlocked with Mass Media. [The ultimate administration when aiming for a peaceful endgame with diplomatic or scientific victory]
Environmental Administration: Capital and other cities have normal pressure. +25% culture and tourism in all cities. Unlocked with Conservation. [The ultimate administration for a culture victory]
Militaristic Administration: Capital and other cities have low pressure. Garrisoned units grant a significant boost to loyalty. +35% production. Unlocked with Mobilization. [The ultimate administration if you wish to go to war, but you'll have to stabilize your empire through use of your army]
Economic Administration: Capital and other cities have normal pressure. Internal trade routes grant (significant) extra loyalty to both cities. +35% gold in all cities that have at least one trade route (passive or active) to another civilization. +4 Trade Routes. Unlocked with Capitalism. [The ultimate administration for trade]

Trade Victory
And finally, we get to the main dish. How does one win a trade victory?

Well, a Trade Victory has several requirements:

1. Have at least one Trading Post in every other civilization.
2. Own at least one copy of each Luxury and Strategic Resource. Copies acquired through diplomacy do not count, copies acquired through passive trade routes do.
3. Every city on the map must have a trade route (passive or active) with either a city you own or a city you have a Trading Post in.

Diplomatic Victory
Yeah, diplomatic victory kind of happened while writing this post. Let's dive into some possible mechanics.

The first new mechanic for Diplomatic Victory is Vassalization: If you have at least 6 Envoys with a City-State and at least twice as much as the second place civilization, you will be able to Vassalize the City-State at the cost of 1 Envoy. This will lock you as their Suzerain and block other civilizations from sending Envoys to them, and a DoW on the City-State is a DoW on you. They will, however, lose their shield against loyalty pressure (they will be considered your city for the purpose of loyalty) and if their loyalty reaches 0 you lose an envoy every turn until you only have one envoy more than the second civilization (minimum 3), at which point the City-State is no longer your Vassal (though you'll still be their Suzerain). To be able to counter this, you can move any of your governors to the City-State. Still, I wouldn't advice Vassalizing that City-State in the middle of another civilization unless you're playing with a Trade Administration and have a Trade Route running.

Diplomatic Leagues
The second is the addition of Diplomatic Leagues, which replace the World Congress (which, let's be honest, never really worked). A Diplomatic League can be founded by a major Civilization and will automatically include all Vassals of that Civilization. Other Civilizations and City States can be invited to the Diplomatic League. For Civilizations (who also come with their Vassals, for the record), accepting or declining depends on opinion of you and proximity (and for you it of course depends on what you think is best). For City-States, accepting or declining depends on their Suzerain (they will not join a Diplomatic League if their Suzerain is in another League), what percentage of their received envoys belongs to members in the League, and proximity to the closest member of the League. Diplomatic Leagues would be unlocked somewhere around Diplomatic Service.

Diplomatic Leagues can vote on various things, and there are two voting systems possible. The first system (default) gives 3 votes to major civilizations and 1 vote to vassals and city-states (where vassals will always vote in favor of their liege), the second system gives 1 vote for every 10 population to every civilization, city state and vassal, rounded up (so if your vassal has 11 pop they get 2 votes). They can vote on various topics. Voting can be initiated by any major civilization, but one civilization cannot initiate the same vote more than once every 20 turns.

1. Form a Defensive Pact. This Pact by definition extends to all entities in the League. If an entity leaves, they leave the Pact, if they join, they join the Pact.
2. Embargo a civilization. This will end all trade routes, passive and active, between the League and a target civilization outside the League. A more realistic version of the World Congress embargo.
3. Free Trade. Extends the range of passive trade routes from the League to civilizations outside the League. Mutually exclusive with Trade Tariffs; one of these two is always active.
4. Trade Tariffs. +20% gold from passive trade routes with civilizations outside the League. Mutually exclusive with Trade Barriers; active by default.
5. Form Alliance. If passed, civilizations will no longer declare war by themselves. Instead, a major civilization can, at any time, initiate voting for a war (with any casus belli available to them). If this vote passes, all entities in the League will declare war together. If this vote fails, the civilization that initiated the vote has the choice to declare war by themselves, but doing so will kick them from the League (together with their vassals).
6. Change voting type. Can be initiated no more than once every 30 turns, independent of civilization.
7. Appoint Leader. Formally appoint one of the faction's major civilizations as leader of the League. By default assigned to the civilization that founded the League.
8. Merge Leagues. Is voted on by two different Leagues to merge them into one League (both need to pass the vote). The leader of the League that has a higher total vote count in the new League becomes the League Leader. If two Leagues have different voting types, the population voting type will be selected.

Emergencies are integrated into Diplomatic Leagues, and when the requirements are triggered a civilization can fire an Emergency for their Diplomatic League; otherwise Emergencies are unchanged. The exception is a Religious Emergency, which is fired by the head of religion.

Diplomatic Victory
A League Leader wins a Diplomatic Victory if his League consists of at least 80% of the World Population and he has been appointed for at least 40 turns. [note that this makes it possible to avoid a Diplomatic Victory occurring by regularly rotating through Leaders]

You Didn't Think I Was Done, Did You?
No, I wasn't. Throughout writing this there's been a few more things I had to think of.

England - you know, that mess that gets messier every patch - would get a total rework to be retooled into a Trade Victory civilization; they already have a focus towards settling everywhere, so they are a natural fit for it. They'll be a somewhat militaristic version, however, as they are strong in intercontinental conquering.

Pericles can be reworked to attempt to Vassalize as many City-States as possible, and use them to gain more votes and then create a Diplomatic League and win a Diplomatic Victory.

And... I guess that's it. Maybe I'll add some stuff later on though.
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I'm very interested in hearing other people's thoughts on this, by the way.
Diplo victory type was one of the firts I was disabling in past civ's, couse I've never been a good diplo, very hard to get one. But I like the concept to get back.

Trade victory is new, but for both, I would tell they lack one thing: the possibility to win the game by ancient era.

I know it sounds impossible, but think at marathon, and players actually get a chance top build the Pyramid Between 3.500/2.500 BC.
A very good ancient civ, should be able to get at least a victory type before classicism.
Any civ that could repeat what the ancient Greeks did, or Romans, or Mongols, in terms of military and diplomatic power did, should get victory by Domination, or Diplomacy.
Other great Navigators civs like the Phoenicean traded across the Atlantic and maybe further, same the Chinese, some centuries later, and even made maps...
Maps was trading power, I would say, if you'd get to keep all the known world maps by any era, together with the other stuff you mentioned, and resources discovered for that era, you should get a chance to get a trade victory.
Also having an X gold output threshold for each era seems a legit requirement.
But trade maps are essentials, to me, and the concept can't work with the current fog of war, we need to be able to assassinate the scouts, and other units, with shadow units, to protect our trade route; Scouts should gain the ELITE ability to draw maps...
Fog of war should DOMINATE the maps untill then.
like it has been for the silk road for thousands of years, heavily guarded by mercs of any type and race... also building something like the silk road, a trade wonder.... mmhhh....

definitely good idea, worth investigating.
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And one more thing about the trader itself, in medieval times, or the dark ages, trading was almost forbidden, and dangerous, and kings, who did not want to end up
filling the Holy empire chests, relied to the Crusaders... this is a dark part of history... very worthwile reading about... they were doing trade missions...

It goes back to early corporations, which we had in Civ IV, only to start in modern era. The spreading of them was like the one of prophets, but they had no real influence, like faith or culture.
Also they were too many to my view and dispersing the focus with so many economic buildings to build but maybe a shrinked version could add some toughness to the victory requirement without adding to much pain to the game itself.
But I could see the crusaders like armored trade units, able to whitstand shadow attacks as sort of added fun, maybe able to build also out of territory posts..
A sort of support shadow unit for the trade convoys??
Also big corps maybe unlocked by a great merchant could build special trade units that got the ability to defend itself.... without need of other units..
Venice merchants, probably they were hiring some sort of arabic/persian mercs to defend the cargos. These mercs could counter the Crusaders might.
But I guess they should be very limited in number and not repleaceable, nor upgreadable, and anyone, with gold, should be able to acquire them.

I really hate being locked out to research my Faith, being it limited! Same should not happen for researching any of these shadow/light warrior units, being linked to early guilds, guilds, mercs, ninjas, pirates, early corps, or big corps, at least every civ should be able to get one of its own, not sure about it, but at some point, civs should be able to get some Pantheistic faith traits, Animistic, whatever, being fertility, or commerce, philosophy...
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I'm trying to forge an Economic Victory too and in doing so have asked for feedback in my own thread to see what people want from it.

I think this attempt is valiant but some of the criticism I have received and have taken on board also applies here.

1) Some of the concepts are too complicated and can be abstracted away. For example Governing contains lots of different options. Consider, instead, the minimalist change to the existing game that will permit you scenario without a major overhaul. Indeed, you may find anyway that some of the change imposed are incompatible, i.e. without testing you cannot be certain they are not completely unbalanced.

2) Personally I don't like passive trade routes. I want a mechanic that has to be actively planned and has benefits from this strategy. I think it engages the game player more as well.

3) I think the criteria of Victory are too simplistic and somewhat contrary to 2). Actually I am beginning to consider an Economic Victory as something that might not be necessary. A more developed economy (or very powerful one) that assists in a Diplomatic Victory or even completely ensures it might be the way to go, so I very much like how you have linked this to Diplomacy. Your idea of leagues is not dissimiliar to my own of forging trade agreements via 'graph theory', so I have taken some of those ideas on board.

Hopefully when I form a more concrete idea you will be able to provide feedback of your own to me!
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