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When EXACTLY do you setup trade routes?

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  • When EXACTLY do you setup trade routes?

    Calling all players...
    This seems to be the most difficult concept to grasp in Civilization and has still managed to avert me. When do y'all have TIME to setup these routes? Do you set them up within your own empire or take the time to ship the caravans over seas? And if so, when the heck are you building the ships and camels necessary to do so?? Is it really worth the hassle? How do you know where an optimal city is located? Is eariler better than later? I'm usually way too wrapped up in trying to time my improvement, WoW, and unit builds. I guess if you're going to spend the time to setup a route with another civilization that you best not be intending to destroy them any time soon, right?

    Lay it on me. What exactly are the determining factors for route founding?

    [This message has been edited by Hawkx9 (edited June 16, 2000).]
    ~work like you don't need the money~
    ~love like you've never been hurt~
    ~dance like nobody's watchin'~
    ~live like there's no tomorrow~

  • #2
    Never. More cities, no trade.


    • #3
      My humble opinion,

      i) Some players establish trade routes between their own cities as both the sending and receiving city get more arrows. I prefer foreign cities.

      ii) Establish routes as soon as possible.

      iii) Yes, it's worth the hassle. Before entering a city with a caravan press F6 and check the science box. Close the window, send the caravan in and go back to the science advisor. Nice little leap, eh? Don't forget to max trade in your city (cities) first. Use the money to incrementally buy new caravans.

      iv) I try to find large AI cities demanding the goods I'm shipping, preferably overseas. One way of locating them is to simply send out triremes with caravans. Open the city window in the cities supporting the triremes and check which city they are near.


      [This message has been edited by Carolus Rex (edited June 16, 2000).]


      • #4
        First I play on large multicontinent worlds. This may have some bearing on the timing. I start to build caravans for trade about the time Copernicus is built.

        When my ships are lousy I send them to AI cities on nearby but what I think are different continents than my own. As the ships get better, especially after building Magellan, I ship them farther.

        You have to defend against barbarians and AI attacks. It is good to explore territory. Other than that I try to only build the improvements that are necessary to stave off rebellion or get my cities population over the size bottlenecks (i.e. aquaducts and sewers). If a city needs an entertainer, think about building a settler. If I think an improvement will put the city into WLT*D, then I will build that improvement. A good time to build other improvements or units is when the city can only build food caravans. An exception to this is the super science city. Use your money to rush build everything that will increase science and happiness in that city.

        If you build happiness wonders you can postpone the building of temples until the city is rather large. The size will vary depending upon your wonders and luxury rate.

        If you decide to go to war, then you will need units for that. Otherwise build caravans, boats to ship them, and diplomats to use the money.

        Sometime after Industrialization the AI civilizations will sneak attack ships with caravans. It is not a good idea to put too many caravans on a transport. You might also wish to have a few warships to destroy the navy of any AI civiilization that attacks your caravan laden ships. Magnetism is a great advance because galleons do not cause unhappiness under the Republic.

        Once you get radio build lots of airports and fly your freight units to your cities that are on a different continent.

        In the early part of the game do not worry about optimal destinations. By the time you get the caravan to the location the things that city needs can easily change. Also do not hesitate to take over a city with which you have lots of trade routes. If it makes sense to take over a city the drop in trade route values is a cost of doing business.

        It is important to remember that you can do midocean transfers of caravans, or any unit, from one ship to another. This will greatly speed the delivery time for caravans.

        The idea is to get most of your money and most of your science from the delivery of caravans.

        What a rambling message!
        If you can not think of a good reason to build something other than a caravan, build a caravan!


        • #5
          I start building caravans as soon as I discover trade. If i have no AI contact at this point, I'll send them to my own cities, otherwise I'll pick out he larger cities of that AI unless specific ones are demanding what that caravan is carrying. Once a city has 3 routes, I'll try and mix and match the available commodities to maximize the bonus. Nearly any time a larger city has a new commodity to trade, I'll start building another caravan in that city. Also, if you have a a city with 3 routes and at least 1 is domestic, when you build a new caravan in that city and send it to an AI, remove all trade from the other of your cities as well as maximizing trade in the first city, and you will get maximum bonus as well as a foreign route to replace the domestic one (don't forget to change them back nothing like accedentally disbanding several units because you forgot to put stuff back on resource squares )
          Insert witty phrase here


          • #6
            I also will start building caravans when I discover trade, but often have trouble not using htem up in rush building wonders (except in OCC, where the first 3 caravans go stake out that route no matter what).

            A good rule of thumb is to not start building improvements that require more than 1 gold maintenance until you have your 3 trade routes established.


            • #7
              Hi jpk - welcome back long time no see!

              To return to on-topic ...
              At OCC get the first three routes in asap if not more quickly than that - the cr*p city next door is faster than the Babylonian capital fifty moves away! After all, Babylon is still going to be there when you get your NEXT trade caravan.
              Playing anything else (except DaveV's extreme ICS variant [which SG2 loves]) bang in three trade routes for each and every city soonest, but take a bit of care with your SSC or any other half way decent cities.

              and then - follow the immortal advice of jpk, "Build caravans and once you have enough caravans, build some more!"

              The SGs in concert

              p.s. our e-mails are now available in the profile
              "Our words are backed by empty wine bottles! - SG(2)
              "One of our Scouse Gits is missing." - -Jrabbit


              • #8
                In trying to brush away the rust, I have been combing civ2 sites for basic info and have come across the nitty-gritties of trade routes which might bear reproducing here (as I have not seen this tabling in the threads I have come across here). Source is the Scrolls of Wisdom website which acknowledged the original post by Robert Lancaster to

                "The amount of trade and the bonus payment you get for establishing a trade route between two cities with a caravan or a freight depends on quite a few factors. The formulas below contain all the details.

                Trade = ( trade of home city + trade of destination city + 4 ) / 8

                Note that it does not directly depend on city size or distance. The following (cumulative) modifiers apply:

                Both cities are yours -50%
                Freight instead of caravan +50%
                Cities connected by road +50%
                Cities connected by rail +50%
                Cities on different continents +100%
                Airports in both cities +50%
                Superhighways in home city +50%

                The one time bonus payment is calculated as follows:

                Payment = ( ( distance + 10 ) x ( trade of both cities ) ) / 24

                It increases if the destination city demands one of these goods (double these figures if the city is not yours):

                Silver, Cloth, Wine +50%
                Silk, Spice, Gems, Gold +100%
                Oil +150%
                Uranium +200%

                The final bonus payment figure is then doubled during the first 200 game turns or until both Navigation and Invention are discovered. It is reduced by one third after the discovery of Railroad, and by another third after the discovery of Flight. "

                The trade equation does give credence to Huey's tactic of maximizing the trade in your caravan's home city just before the trade route is established.


                • #9
                  I think your problem right now is the fact that you don't think caravans are a priority. What you need to do is really tell yourself they are importiant. I too always wondered why build a caravan when I can build a marketplace. But now I know that they are a very importiant part of the game. If you are a warmonger then this isn't a very effecient thing to do becouse you have better things you do.

                  ALEX v5.7
                  Don't invade Russia in the winter time.


                  • #10
                    Scouse Gits, my original comment was: If you can't think of a really good reason to build something other than a caravan, then build a caravan.

                    If a half dozen barbarians are homing in on a city defended by a warrior or two, you might want to build a diplomat rather than a caravan. Caravans disappear when you lose a city. Why can't they turn into NON units? Life is so unfair.
                    If you can not think of a good reason to build something other than a caravan, build a caravan!


                    • #11
                      Hey jpk, I and a few others did take the liberty to modify your original quote. When I said that 'when you have built enough caravans, build some more', it is exaggerated to make a point. Seems there are still some folks here who just don't know the value of caravans/freights. Go figure.


                      • #12
                        Hey, Hawk, let me throw in my two cents worth on this subject.

                        As soon as Trade becomes available as a researchable advancement, I almost always go for it. By that time, I've already started building either Colossus or Great Library or both. Since beginning cities can only come up with a few shields at a time, I will start caravan building ASAP to help with the key WsOW.

                        Later on in the game, I might throw in a trade route with another AI civ. As for where the optimal city is located, I check supply and demand before choosing the commodity and then pick the largest city demanding one of the available commodities. After leaving the city window, go to "Kingdom" and choose "Find City" and sometimes you can locate the AI city even if it hasn't been uncovered on the world map.

                        Frodo lives!

                        Better dead than "Red"... or green... or blue... or yellow... or orange... or purple... or white.

                        [This message has been edited by kcbob (edited June 20, 2000).]
                        Frodo lives!


                        • #13
                          IMHO some, if not all, of the comments so far have demonstrated the wisdom of your own starting position - this ain't easy.

                          Study Tonic's post. You may as well make informed decisions.

                          While inexperienced tho' probably best to give trading in gold the go by. (The guys in the gold exchanges are SHARKS I tell you SHARKS! This is a VOLATILE commodity)

                          One or two rules of thumb. When you have a straight choice build caravans before marketplaces. OK the marketplace gives an immediate return, maybe keeping your citizens a little happier and swelling the coffers. But the caravan builds a little quicker, needs a bit of time to travel and the marketplace, when you get to build it,pays off more when the city it serves has a better supply of trade arrows. Adding the beaker bonus when your trade route comes in the balance favours the caravan. And the marketplace needs maintaining, the caravan don't. Rule of thumb remember - the merchants in cities with trade specials and/or the Collosus really deserve a marketplace to trade in. But rush that marketplace if you can and rush the caravans after to swell that arrow count.

                          So disappoint the trade adviser - he's nowt but a parasite on the back of the honest trader really, more interested in filthy lucre than the true pleasures of trade. Get one or two routes in, THEN let the finest goods be traded in your cities.

                          Don't agonise about local/foreign routes. Your city will get further chances to establish more lucrative routes. If there are some foreign cities in easy early range that look good for trade (trade special squares, possess the Collosus, demand your high value goods) take the time and run the risks to get a route in. If not, local routes where one of your cities demands what another supplies (happily a common event) are not to be sneezed at. I like some early routes to keep my income up in Monarchy. In fact, if that is my main need I may not even wait for my goods to be demanded (don't be too depressed when the route begins by yielding nil at each end, that will soon change). Favour your capital. Apart from the simple fact that it will probably have more arrows and yield more profit, it will also probably get to produce new commodities earlier.

                          Know WHY you are tradng. Is it for a short term reason (need a big beaker bonus to get to a critical tech) or for a longer term reason (underpinning an extended period in Monarchy). That may help to decide whether travelling half a dozen squares before you establish the route is right or to set off on a longer treck.

                          If you are lucky enough to have some cities established on rivers don't neglect bridgebuilding. The value of routes depends on the total number of arrows the cities at each end of the route produce. A few roads built on river squares can soon add an arrow or two at both end of the route.

                          Keep an eye on the yield from your route. I guess you already micromanage things like shield production and building improvements in your cities. I know from another thread that you keep a close eye on happiness. Well sometimes the effect of switching a citizen to work in a sea square is to lift the combined arrow count to the point where the route yields an extra arrow. That may tip the balance as to best use of the citizen - particularly if it's a local route and your cities at both ends of the route each get an extra arrow.

                          In the middle game, give some value to seagoing advances. Ship borne trade is profitable trade, and early in the middle game at least, often less dangerous.

                          Well, I guess I could bore you some more but I better not. I hope you'll forgive an honest trader if his tongue has run away with him on such a subject.

                          And to return to your question, sensible defence comes first, expansion and exploration are sine qua nones, an early Wonder is usual, agriculture must not be neglected, happiness next (as you need no reminding) and trade comes after that. As far as research goes, most assuredly a Wonder and Monarchy come first. For me, trade is likely to be the next priority.

                          If you had the patience to read that I hope it helps.
                          [This message has been edited by East Street Trader (edited June 19, 2000).]


                          • #14
                            Early on, I build caravans to get the wonders I want. I can always get the routes later, but the wonders won't wait. I try to build a science city, and the first routes go there. I try to get three routes to a good AI city. Until a city has grown enough, there may be NO continuing return from a trade route unless it is to an AI city, or to your collossus city. I therefore delay trade routes and build another settler and another city instead.


                            • #15
                              Don't forget the Invention penalty.
                              Sometimes it's better to rush trade routes with you own cities. Once you get invention your bonuses drop dramatically.

                              It's almost as if all his overconfident, absolutist assertions were spoonfed to him by a trusted website or subreddit. Sheeple
                              RIP Tony Bogey & Baron O