It's possible to make a mod to add pretty basic forts, i.e. give a defensive bonus. I've done it, it's pretty straight forward and I could even post it if there's interest (I'd have to extricate it from a bigger mod, but not too difficult).
But what's missing from the game engine - as far as I can tell - is the ability to create something more like a trading post where goods can be stockpiled. I also can't figure out how to create a tile improvement that ships can enter.
What I'd be looking for in the "ideal" would be a "settlement" that opens up into something of a cross between the colony display and the Europe display. It would be rather like the Europe display, minus the purchase/recruit/train buttons, but it would function more like the colony display in the way loading and unloading works.
In terms of tools and turns, while I can see the need for that for forts, it makes little sense for outposts, both historically and vis-à-vis colonies. Indeed, a case can be made that it is the colonies that should take a couple of turns to build... whereas outposts could be set up pretty much instantly.
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