THE TRADE SYSTEM
When designing Magna Mundi trade system, we wanted to implement something simple while providing an interesting minigame that, through a complex set of event pools, diplomatic options and espionage, would lend itself to be the centrepiece of the strategy for a country that decides to specialize in trade. At the same time we made sure that any nation that dabbled in trade could make a profit and that trade had uses other than to directly bring gold the each country’s coffers.
Center of Trade – A province that acts as a major trading hub for a group of provinces that share something in common, from ownership, passing by religion and ending in the distance between them.
Center of Trade Value – The total value of the Trade Goods of all the provinces that negotiate through the same Center of Trade. This is the sum that gets to be split by the number of merchant houses established in a Center of Trade.
Merchant House – A trade unit that once established on a Center of Trade, will syphoon part of the Center of Trade Value to his country. When unmodified this value is in direct proportion to the number of merchant houses established there. In fact, seldom the actual money sent back to the country equals this value.
Trade Efficiency – This is the multiplier applied over the direct share of the value on a Center of Trade. We take the normal starting level of a Modern country in 1453 as the reference value.
Trade Goods – With almost 50 different trade goods, variety is assured in terms of what each province might produce. We introduced a complex system of supply and demand that is dynamic and sets pricing in context to what is happening in the game.
Trade Goods Leakage – Each province produces a main Trade Good, but neighbour provinces leak their own trade goods to this province, thus affecting the general richness of it. Quantities leaked depend on the production of said Trade Good.
Subsidiary Leakage - A special form of leakage happens on a Center of Trade or the capital of any country with Merchant Houses established anywhere:
The owner of the Center of Trade has access to all the trade goods traded there, even if only the province’s main trade good and the trade goods of its neighbour provinces count for the trade worth of that province. The Capital of a country with Merchant Houses established abroad will also enjoy a share of the trade goods traded in the Centers of Trade where the Merchant Houses are established. This subsidiary leakage serves to give access for countries to several trade goods that will have a host of effects on their overall strategy.
Foreign Buildings – Another form of subsidiary leakage is given by foreign buildings. Any Trade Post or Hansa Kontor in a province is going to leak a certain amount of the main trade good produced there to the owner’s capital.
Establishing Merchant Houses – The process of establishing a Merchant House is simple enough: Pick a Center of Trade and set up a trade route there. Or define a priority and allow the game to manage it alone. Don’t worry; you’ll not get bankrupt in the process as there is a minimum threshold below which no more trade routes are set. This threshold is calculated comparing the price to set up a trade route versus the gold in the treasury. So, the computer will stop establishing new expensive trade sooner than cheap ones. Of course, you can anytime overrule this process and decide to bankrupt yourself by manually establishing a very expensive trade route you don’t have gold to support! There is no maximum number of established merchants per Center of Trade. A Center of Trade with a higher number of merchant houses means less gold per merchant house operating there.
Competition Between Houses – As time passes, Merchant Houses compete with each other and some may get out of business. This process is totally automated. The probabilities of a Merchant House of a certain country to be targeted depend solely on the number of Merchant houses that country has established in the Center of Trade
Monopolizing Centers of Trade – If a country has at least one Trade Country Tradition and he controls a good portion of the trade going through the Center of Trade, he may attempt to monopolize the Center of Trade. When such attempt is made, a trade war in that Center of Trade begins, which means Merchant Houses will be competing each other out much more frequently. If at the end of a certain period the country attempting to monopolize controls a certain percentage of trade in that Center of Trade, he will have a monopoly. This means that depending on the number of Trade Country Traditions, he is going to keep for itself a certain percentage of the value of the Center of Trade, independently of the number of Merchant Houses operating there. A Limited Monopoly will send 10% of the value of the Center of Trade directly into the country coffers, a Standard Monopoly will send 20% and an Hegemonic Monopoly will net the country monopolizing the Center of Trade 30% of its value. The remaining percent will continue to be disputed by all Merchant Houses, which include also the ones of the monopoly owner.
Breaking Monopolies – There are four ways of breaking monopolies in Magna Mundi. One is to cause the demise of the monopoly owner. Another is to set as a war aim that a country holding a monopoly should lose it. Still another is to force the expulsion of Merchant Houses of the monopolist through a Diplomatic action and finally, a country may elect to challenge the monopolist to a trade war in the Center of Trade, which means again a high number of trade fights between Merchant Houses. If at the end of the challenge, the monopolist is reduced in the control of the Center of Trade to a certain percentage, he will surrender the monopoly, which will now be up for grabs again, for anyone who can claim it.