Trading with the Natives: coastal versus landlocked

  • Misiulo

    Misiulo - 2014-01-03

    Does Free Col engine differentiate between those types of native settlements? I''ve done some testing and shared the results before, but I never took the settlement's access to water into consideration.

    I've just discovered, while laying on Explorer (medium) on the American map, that trading with Natives trough Wagon Trains can be much more profitable than through ships. The most obvious sign of that is the fact, that if You trade from a ship, they'll sell You only up to 25 units of the goods (25% of the amount You sold them, rounded down) at a time. But when You came by land, They'll offer up to 100 units for the same or a lower price. So, If You though buying Silver from Aztecs or Incas was a good deal... how would You like a promotion + 300%, no extra charge ?! Prices the Natives will offer for Your goods, can also be better in the landlocked settlements.

    Last edit: Misiulo 2014-01-03
  • Mike Pope

    Mike Pope - 2014-01-03

    Does Free Col engine differentiate between those types of native settlements?

    Not between settlement type, but FreeCol does apply a penalty to trading with naval units, which is in accord with the Col1 manual (the "Ship Trade Penalty" difficulty option). FreeCol natives will also not sell more than 25 units to a ship, but 100 units to a wagon.

  • Greenknight32

    Greenknight32 - 2014-01-03

    Makes sense - wagons can reach far fewer settlements, where the market soon becomes glutted. Price advantage compensates for this, makes building trade roads more worthwhile.

  • Misiulo

    Misiulo - 2014-01-03

    Perhaps I should look into the prices.

  • Misiulo

    Misiulo - 2014-01-14

    Prices in selling to Natives on land on land can be better sometimes. I think can get a better price then the one Id get if I traded from the sea, although I have to admit I don't understand their pricing very well. Most prices on sea and on land seem pretty similar though.

    Buying is what makes the difference. Prices seem similar again, but the quantity is 4 Times greater so its 75% more for the same price (perhaps they deduct fee for loading the goods on the ship) and I found an Inca City which consistently offers me 100 silver for 50 Gold! (medium difficulty).

  • Greenknight32

    Greenknight32 - 2014-01-14

    Just the volume increase might be enough of a bonus, if they're offering deals like that. Of course, sometimes tribes only offer stuff you don't really need, in which case getting more is not much help.

  • Misiulo

    Misiulo - 2014-01-15

    I forgot to mention, this cities skill was Silver miner. Perhaps they were mining so much of it they were running out of storage space. Price must depend on the quantities they have.

    BTW do Natives in FreeCol offer Silver already?

  • David P James

    David P James - 2014-01-16

    I understand why there is this naval penalty, but given the structure of the rest of the game, it doesn't make much sense because there's no decent way to get around it short of founding full-fledged colonies, which just serve to raise native alarm.

    There are two changes needed for this penalty to make sense.

    The first is that wagons should be carryable in ships. That can be done by modding the "spaceTaken" parameter for wagon trains down to 1 or 2, allowing it to be carried in ship with a capacity of 3 or 4 (since the cargo space of the wagon train gets counted as well).

    The second is the ability to create trading posts that ships can enter. This is one of the more sorely lacking features in FreeCol, and I have yet to figure out a way to mod it. Trading posts were established the world over by European powers. In many cases they preceded actual colonization by decades, sometimes centuries.

  • Lone_Wolf

    Lone_Wolf - 2014-01-16

    but given the structure of the rest of the game, it doesn't make much sense because there's no decent way to get around it short of founding full-fledged colonies, which just serve to raise native alarm.

    That may not be correct anymore,
    playing with current trunk i've built some roads to connect cities.
    after building them, the squares were marked as owned by dutch, but those i didn't use in a colony were reclaimed by the natives soon.
    I did not notice a big increase of alarm after building those roads.

    I do like the idea of trading posts, but feel they shouldn't take up map space.

    With freecol rules enhanced missionaries do improve trade, maybe that function could also remove the sea trade penalty for coastal settlements ?
    An alternative would be to split the improve trade away from enhanced missionaries.
    A possibilty would be giving wagons a new ability : establish trading posts.
    The wagon would stay in the settlement then, like the missionary now.
    such a trading post would improve trade and remove the ship trade penalty.

  • Mike Pope

    Mike Pope - 2014-01-16

    A while back a skilled player demonstrated that trading with the natives was so lucrative that you could win in/around 1600 without founding any colonies until the last moment. This encouraged us to get on with implementing the Col1-compliant ship trading limits. There was a strong suspicion was that the Col1 designers knew what they were doing.

  • James Kuyper

    James Kuyper - 2014-01-16

    How do the Col1-compliant ship trading limits differ from the ones that were in effect when the skilled player demonstrated that native trade was so lucrative?

  • David P James

    David P James - 2014-01-16

    Perhaps the problem is that native trade is so lucrative to begin with... in history, did anyone actually get super rich by selling stuff to natives? Some decent fortunes were made buying furs from them and selling the furs at a high markup in Europe, but the natives actually seemed to do a half decent job of arbitraging prices for "trade goods" and muskets down by shopping around between different European powers (the English, Dutch and French). And did anyone actually build anything resembling wagon trains to trade with natives in the colonial era? Not really: in general, the natives came to the trading posts, which is an aspect almost completely missing in the game. In later years there were voyageurs with their massive canoes, so perhaps instead of wagon trains we should have an icon of voyageurs portaging canoes and we make swampy and marshy tiles easier to move over than forest and flatland tiles...

    Other than the obvious one of dialing back the amount of gold that the natives are willing to buy things for, one way to cut down on the lucrativeness of native trade a bit would be to remove cigar, rum, cloth and fur coat houses as default buildings. Right now it's way too easy to set up a colony on a grasslands or savannah tile with the colonist in the cigar or rum house and practically start churning out cash from the first instance. The same goes to a lesser degree for cloth and coats, but those seem to be less demanded by natives and more in Europe. Either which way it departs from history. I live in Canada and I don't think the French ever really got a fur coat industry going pre-Conquest - it was all shipped to Europe (i.e I'm quite familiar with the tales of the coureurs de bois, yet - and despite having taken my Canadian history in French - I never learned anything about French Canadian furriers). Similarly the English colonies generally shipped tobacco and cotton to England directly. Only with rum was there much of a colonial industry, and even it was limited compared to the quantities of sugar cane shipped out.

    The game should basically require you to do it the way it was done historically: extract it in the New World, ship it to Europe and bring the finished products back for sale. Oddly enough, the game doesn't model the two commodities that were processed in the New World from the earliest years for shipment back to Europe: fish, i.e. salted or smoked fish, and whales, i.e. whale oil for lanterns. Another product that made it to Europe in large quantities was lumber, yet the game's price for that in Europe is essentially nothing and lumber is often difficult to get in the game that you tend to keep it for yourself anyway.

  • Mike Pope

    Mike Pope - 2014-01-16

    How do the Col1-compliant ship trading limits differ from the ones that were in effect when the skilled player demonstrated that native trade was so lucrative?

    Ships used to be offered a full hold of 100 goods, there was no price penalty for ships as distinct to wagons, and prices were higher overall. AFAICT we are now much closer to Col1, and no further change here is planned until either FreeCol 2 or someone does a lot of work with Col1 and produces a comprehensive list of actual prices across the tribes, trading unit type, alarm level, difficulty level, and whatever other variable I am forgetting:-).

  • Greenknight32

    Greenknight32 - 2014-01-18

    Yes, it was ridiculously easy to win with little more than a fleet of Privateers. I always built one colony early, but no more were needed, and the colony's production wasn't a significant source of income compared to trade. I can see how you could delay building any until near the end.

    As for historical accuracy - it's a game, not a teaching tool

  • Seriously Unserious

    I agree. If I wanted an accurate historical reenactment, I'd watch a history documentary about the colonial period or read a history book about it.

    That said, default prices could be redesigned for over in Europe Currently finished goods like cloth and cigars cost way too much for it to be profitable to buy them, yet that's how it was done, sell the raw resources to Europe, buy the finished product at a sizable markup. For the purposes of this game, the next step would be to sell the finished products to the natives for an additional markup.

    So by making it harder to manufacture them locally, thus forcing you to mostly buy from Europe instead, the European markup could cut into profits without having to readjust native prices much.

    Forcing colonies to export raw resources back to the mother country and import their manufactured goods back was one of the main tools used by the European countries of the era. In fact, some of the most punishing taxes were designed do enforce just that. Yet in freecol, the taxes instead punish for actually trading in Europe as the monarch supposedly wants. When taxes get above a certain point I begin to train experts to process the resources into finished products myself and sell them to the native to avoid the high taxes, and only go to Europe to pick up more colonists.

    Perhaps the prices of the raw resources and the finished products each makes could be linked, so, for example, the more sugar you sell in Europe, the lower rum would cost to buy from Europe as brewers there would be able to make it more cheaply and in greater quantities with more sugar supplied. As sugar stocks dwindle the price of selling sugar, and of buying rum goes up. That's probably a more suitable idea for freecol 2 though.


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