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Merchant Ships
Gamejunkie125  posted on May 03, 2010 10:30:35 AM - Report post

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Does the merchant ship on trade route circles work as in the more in your fleet(merchant ships) the more gold you get in trade or do you only need one merchant ship per circle? Thanks in advance....
I also noticed that the AI sometimes have merchant ships in their own port for their region. Do you get extra gold for having them in your own ports as well, or does it only apply to the trade rouite circles? I read the manual and nothing is noted about it....
ninjafroggie  posted on May 07, 2010 7:53:56 AM - Report post

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Merchant shipping in the trade theaters works by generating trade goods in certain quantity. South america produces sugar, the far east produces spices, and the 2 africa zones produce ivory. More ships will generate more goods, but not as many as putting that ship on another circle. How much money a merchant ship generates depends on the selling price of the goods it's trading in (check trade scroll to see price per unit). The first ship on a trade circle produces 20 goods/turn, adding a second generates 19 (for a total of 39), a 3rd adds 18 more (57 total), so its better to have 5 ships on 5 circles rather than 5 ships on one circle. Beware of overproduction though...demand for trade goods (and thus their price) increases slowly throughout the game...produce too much of a good too fast and you will tank the price per unit of the goods, which will put a huge dent into your profit margins.

Having merchant shipping in your home port or any other port for that matter provides no bonuses or other benefits beyond having merchant ships already built and ready to deploy if a trade fleet goes down, leaving 2 turns less oprotunity for someone else to grab the trade spot. Also, the spanish galleon and dutch fluyt can hang one on one with a 5th rate, so in early game they often get built as early warships before the dock upgrades are available to build ships of the line.

Gamejunkie125  posted on May 07, 2010 1:28:08 PM - Report post

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Thanks for the well worded reply. I had some ports (trade circles) maxed out with trade ships and was wondering if the upkeep/trade ratio was worth having....But if 5 is the magic number, then I will scale back in hopes of more profits.
ninjafroggie  posted on May 07, 2010 4:05:27 PM - Report post

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it's not that 5 is the magic number.

the first ship on each trade spot makes 20 goods. each additional ship produces 1 less goods than the ship before it, so the second ship makes 19 goods, the 3rd makes 18 goods, and so on. If you have 20 trade ships on the same dot the 20th ship will only make 1 goods, so there is a point where adding more merchant men will not increase profits further. Splitting up your trade fleets evenly over as many dots as possible will generate the maximum in trade goods, and thus profits. For example 20 ships on 1 dot = 210 goods, but 20 ships divided into groups of 4 on each of 5 dots = 370 goods...but like i said, overproduction will tank the price. Try to grab as many dots as you can early in the game with one trade ship on each. Keep an eye on the goods prices in your trade scroll, when the price starts going up its time to add another ship. Also try to establish as many trade agreements with as many large nations as fast as possible...over time a bonus accumulates to trade just because youve been trading partners for so long, so the sooner you establish the route the faster it will become super profitable. Note however that you will need to stay on top of patrolling worldwide traderoutes, when you trade 40k per turn a simple group of sloops and brigs can not only cut your income out from under you, but give the enemy a huge income boost in the process, so stay on top of your enemy's navy!

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