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Trading in tGoK

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Nexus06
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Trading in tGoK

Post by Nexus06 on Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:59 am

Hello Everybody

Here i'm again with the third edition of "A bunch of silly questions - Economics Edition. I know most of you are natural born wargamers, seeking glory in the field of honour and view Trade & Economy as a mere funding solution to sustain your armies upkeep, but for the few of you that seeks a second level of challenge in the game i would like to post some questions and reflections concerning trade.
As you may know, i'm a fan of Europa Universalis, and i will sometime refer to game mechanics of that game to explain a point of view. This do not mean that i think tGoK uses that mechanic, but rather that organization elements might be conceptually approached at the same level.

As far as i know, from my in-game investigation, the economy of tGoK is at least as elaborate as battle systems, if not more. We have a monetary system that reflects inflation/deflation. We have different markets (and in my personal vision they are fractionated in smaller geographical elements, but i have no proof of it). Different goods inflow and outflow from those markets, and transformations insist here (raw material are extracted or sold and used to craft finished elements). I believe some kind of balance exists on this procedure, and for sure a cooperative-competitive environment exists (i believe every trade location has a base value. investments might increase such value, that is divided between investing player in respect of the level of investments, ships & merchants, the value of traded goods, trade missions, possessions and their development and so on). I also believe some kind of merchantilism/free trade rathio exists.
And beyond that, people living in the country take advantage of this situation, with the artisans and traders taking part (along with agriculture) in the process of defining the Economic Health of a country.
Given that (but i might be wrong) here some reflections concerning the argument (and sorry for the long introduction).

1. At which level do you specify your investments? Do you just put money and recruits on "trade" in a specific region? Do you state the products too? Do you fix prices? Or do you form trading companies to handle trade in a specific area? (maybe with NPC, stock investments and so on?

2. Do you use trade fair and trade missions? have you noticed differences between them? Do you go historically or not?

3. A spy can be very effective in war, but do you use them in trade too? Have you trade agents active in some markets?

4. Have you implemented internal navigation with roads and channels? But what about historical trade routes? have you ever create a trade route supported as possible as rules allow? have you had some benefits on that?

5. Have you ever analyzed raw materials inflows in your markets, to produce finished goods from that? (or if you are an underdeveloped nation, secured a lucrous market in some crafting nation for you raw materials?)

6. Merchantilism or Free Trade?

7. In the case you have created a trading company, is it allowed to recruit armies or ships, control colonies, and so on?

8. Do you reckon that owning some territories, beyond providing you extra land, raw materials and recruits, grant you a boost in a trade by controlling a trade location?

I was hoping to reach 10 question, but i can't think of any more at the moment, and i would consider a success if a kind soul would like to offer his opinion on that point.

thanks for reading and for the time you'll devote to answers.

Luca
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Jason
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by Jason on Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:09 am

On 1) I tend to do a mix, establish a general trade in an area and also then create specific industries that then become part of those areas. For example, with Scotland I have my general "Maritime" trade plus a specific whisky industry (and have just established a paper-manufacturing industry). For China, again I created a "Far East" trade and then established a tea trade and porcelain industry. I don't fix prices (am convinced if I try, it will backfire).

on 2) I do use trade missions. I am sure they do have a positive effect but I couldn't quantify it.

on 4) I always buildup roads and canals as soon as I can afford them. Canals always seem to have an immediate effect, with roads the effect isn't always so obvious I've found (except in China where economic growth seems to tie in with road improvements).

on 7) I've only created trading companies as partnerships with other nations, none of those have built ships, recruited armies, etc. I wonder if that would only work if it was a player playing the company (think you can do that?). I do build ships to support trade though.
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Rozwi_Game10
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:51 am

Really interesting post you've written, Luca.

I can't say I've ever given such thought to trade, to be honest. I've gone into specifics in other areas of the game, but never trade - mainly as I'm useless at Trade and generally never make any money from it. I just invest money and recruits in a named product, in a specific trade area that the game asks for, and hope for the best.

In fact, one of the reasons why I made my Swashbuckler character a merchant was because it is the area of the game that I least understand, and hoped to learn and be able to improve my game-play through him.

I'm going to save what you've written, really consider what you've said and look to use some of those ideas in my TGOK games.

Only thing, else, that I could add is, like what Jason says about roads in China, Rozwi's trade looks to be positively effected by road upgrades too.

Thanks for starting this topic, definitely thought provoking - big thumbs up! (like on Facebook)

jamesbond007
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by jamesbond007 on Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:11 pm

Been playing a good few years. Here is my view on the ideas mentioned from Luca.

1.) I usually just specify a trade area and give an amount of cash to it. Sometimes I invest in recruits as well, sometimes not. All I would say is, be very careful on fixing prices. Others can undercut you and it can hurt your trade. Simply leave the price to the markets. Maybe a very small advantage by being very specific in your trade and useing companies, but nothing major. I tend to keep it simple.

2.) Trade fairs and missions will have advantage. Very useful.

3.) spies in trade. I dont use them. If caught the world may gang up on you and hit your trade. Never been convinced they are overly needed. Most nations already trade in each mostly the same goods everywhere anyway.

4.) Roads and canals are important for many reasons worth getting to A. But only when finances allow. Creating Historical trade routes are a good idea. It will raise your trade.

5.). Raw materials and creating goods from them is a good positive idea. It will produce better returns.

6.) free trade.

7.) Have created a trading company. Done well. Never felt the need to create an army or navy for it. Why.?

8.) yes owning more territories would create more trade and wealth. It would provide more raw materials and workers ect.
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Deacon
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by Deacon on Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:21 am


My take, for what it's worth

I specify investments at very high levels, typically things like gold, coffee, wine, textiles, cotton production etc. That is for a larger position where I try to keep my investments diversified and global so that no single product or market dominates. For some of that, I have just done as the rules suggest and invested trade directly into a region, so "Africa trade" for instance. I almost never use recruits. They're always to valuable to spend on trade investments. For smaller positions, I'm generally of a mind that you want to find your most profitable investment, and go all-in. Small positions are so susceptible to various things that damage them, that I think you're better off making an early push/gamble to grow large. Once you do, then diversify to protect yourself.

I use both trade mission and fairs. I haven't worried too much about the wheres except to make sure that they cover the big markets I trade/manufacture in. The only thing I noticed was back in game three where I misunderstood some of the game language and closed some. My trade in the region imploded. So I think they're very valuable for building and maintaining trade.

My experience with agents and trade is minimal, but what I've had suggest that it doesn't work that well in most cases. Maybe with a particular objective in mind, but I think generally not a useful investment since you can get another trade mission for about the same price.

I haven't every really dug into and tried to exploit the raw goods/finished goods issue. My view is that you're far better off just trying to find holes in the market that aren't filled.

I have done roads and canals and can attest they help EH. I am far less convinced that they effect trade significantly.

Few nations have the power to try to enforce merchantalism. I generally think the political gains of being a free trader and being friendly with others outweighs by far any economic value of closed markets.

The rules do say, somewhere, that colonies in an area improve your trade there. So having a presence matters.

No experience with making trading companies, but played one briefly in game 7. My view is that they're mostly valuable for getting another player involved in your position and growing your trade.

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The Real Louis
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by The Real Louis on Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:36 am

All of the above responses make sense to me, and it is (another!) one of those areas where it's very hard to quantify the precise impact of any one particular action taken. I work on investing in a particular trade in a particular region, and also investing in trades in general at home in the Beautiful France (e.g. musical instrument making, tapestry factories etc. - to support our "luxury goods" or "textile" regional trades). Investments in technical developments (e.g. improving textile machinery) should logically also have an impact.

One thing I have done in a previous French incarnation was to ask my trade minister each month for a specific breakdown of the trades in a particular region - so that I could see whether it was for instance lumber or furs or sugar that was leading the way, and then ask for their advice on improving things (was it better to concentrate on an already naturally successful trade, or was one item lagging just from under-investment?). In negotiations with the Spain of that game we also tried to avoid duplicating trades in regions ("you do cotton in America, and I'll do tobacco" sort of thing.)

Nexus06
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by Nexus06 on Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:36 pm

Thanks everibody for the ocntribution, i can see many interesting elements are emerging. I would try to list some of them and ask for further reflection.

1. Recruits in trade: Manuals suggest to put recruits on the line for trade. You can also train viagrants at a specific academy (no one pointed out that before in this thread i think), while most of you mentionet that recruits are better used elsewere ( were? So you can field larger armies and navy you warlords?). Anyway, Should be a boost but i can see they seems to have an effect lower than expected in my experience. Surely at position n1 on how to win trade is wich nation are you? Seriously, Russia and Austria will never be global trade powers, but Spain for example, seems to be aple to revert its decadence and run into a HH splendor age if managed correctly. For us others maybe it would sound more profitable to send trained traders on the market rather then devoute traders overseas. I wonder if investin recruits in local trade rather then overseas would help aso HH.

2. Internal comunication matters. Streets and canals help moving goods in your nation. Costky but mandatory!

3. Tecnology help: if you find a suitable trade activity or manufactured goods (ask your ministers to look into) you can suport it by investing in research. Since in thios game things come together in years, you have plenty of time to devote to micromanagement.

4. Trade fairs helps! This come with roads and chanals and make economic sense to me. In this age economy was essecially tied to two elemenst. Towns and farms. Early industrailization was experiencing manufactures as a mass production experiment. Goods were produced outside and sold in towns. Take into account were your nobles go. When Russia moved its capital from iMoscow to St. Petersburg, the old market of Tver (somewere halfway between the two town) enjoyed a period of massive prosperity because boyards ad to stop there few days during the travel. You still live into an economy were you have local customs, and walk goods (literaly) for kilometers causes its costs to raise and profits to sink. But what about push harder the idea? Trade fairs could connect locations, caravarserraries cold be used to connect large walks in the east and central asia.

5. Agree: ive been impressed by what the Real Louis wrote above. Support trade with agreements with nations can be extremely usefull!

My train has arrived. Eager. To read your thoughts on the way back home in the next days!

Regards
Luca

jamesbond007
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Re: Trading in tGoK

Post by jamesbond007 on Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:12 pm

1.). Recruits will obviously help trade returns more. But recruits are a lifeblood of the game itself. I prefer to use them in the military. But a lot depends on which type of game you play and what your goals are. I get the feeling that most players nowadays are more into Nation building and Political power rather than wargaming. Not the amount of wars and friction of games many years ago. A lot will depend on the Nation you choose to play. How many recruits you get annually.

2.) Roads and Canals help. But are costly. Build them up when finances allow.

3.) Research in any field can only help. Technology is always kept in check by Richard though. He will not let a player gain a huge in game advantage that is unrealistic or not available to others.

4.) Caravansaries have helped me in my Indian position. They have helped support my trade. Any cash spent on trade and attempting to raise it cannot be anything other than helpful.

5.) Sounds good but how good in principle.? Every player in the game can invest in every area of trade in the game. So unless you have agreements in place with every nation in every trade area how can you be sure to gain a large advantage. Having agreements with a nation or two discounts deals with many others. Also if the nations you have agreements with, see you are gaining more in trade than them. Then why would they continue the agreement.?

Best wishes on the train journey.

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