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Sverige

Corporal
Apr 3, 2018
41
18
This mechanic is one of my favorite mechanics in the whole game, and I wanted to post a thread on my thoughts about it, which I think run contrary to conventional wisdom on the topic. While I'm at it, I'll suggest some tiny tweaks that could make the mechanic way more fun.

Misconceptions: Trade Cities aren't worth it on trade alone.

This is entirely wrong, the vast majority of provinces will give a trade republic more trade power as a trade republic than it would independent, unless you have 100 Mercantilism or some other such obscene modifiers. The reason being that the trade republic will have +5 from collecting in home node and 2 from its merchant, so its (trade value+ 7)/2= Net trade gained, so we can see that until the province gives 7 trade power, its better as the trade city purely from a trade perspective. So anything that isn't a CoT, essentially.


Its just more trade, there's nothing else to say about it.

Misconception: The purpose of a Trade City is to give the owner more trade power

This is entirely wrong. The Trade city mechanic would barely if at all be worth it if it only provided the trade. The province lost is probably not fair recompense for the buggy AI creature you get for it


The reason that Trade Cities are good is because of the way trade leagues work, which a lot of people misunderstand. When a nation joins a trade league, its light ships gets 20% additional trade value, it loses a dip slot, and it gains double bonus to goods produced that trade republics give.

So a quick explanation:

When Merchant republics take trade power in a node, they give a goods produced modifier scaling up to 50% based on the percentage of trade power the Merchant republic owns in the node. This is doubled for those in its trade league. This means if you control 80% of a node as Venice, your trade leagues are contributing a straight 80% trade value into a node. Not trade power. Trade value. This is affecting the conversion of trade power to ducat when you're taking it out in the node. Its the amount of the ducats in the node, essentially, which makes it bigger. The node where Global Trade spawns is the one with the highest value. So by doing this, you're pumping between 40% at the worst, 90% at best bonus to the trade value from those provinces in your league, which will usually be well devved Italian provinces, and higher production dev is a higher base for the multiped to fire off of. Does this explain why Genoa and Venice are so crazy profitable?

A larger trade league will buff the value of your nodes noticeably, which will get you a lot more gold. You want your league as large as possible as a rule. But, you don't want them out in the colonies where you don't control all the land around them, where they're vulnerable to being attacked, where you only control 20% of Trade power so you only giving them a tiny bonus of 20% or less to goods produced. You want to stuff them in the highly devved home region. I do it with Padua in Venice or Treviso. You can ensure nobody attacks them or is attacked by them, they sit there and just stuffing ducats into your nation.

This also means when looking at making a trade city, the thing you're looking at is NOT the trade value of the province, which you want to be any value below 7, but instead to look at goods produced modifiers (like Ibadi faith, which gives 10%) and the trade value of the good the provinces produced. 2.5 price on grain? I sleep. 3.5 ducats for Paper? Real shit. See what I mean? 80% glass produced in Siena putting another .5 ducats in your trade node every month not sound good to you?

I also think its significantly underrated to have a small coalition trailing behind you in any defensive war. You can get to about 9-10 members, then add a few trade cities and then you can release and add OPM tags that are grateful to be released.

My strategy to defeat the Ottomans solo as Genoa uses this.

Attack Greece, turn it into OPM's (Corinto is a trade city, Morea is a tag you can release, Athens is released and in the league, and Epirus is also in the league here. I own Cephalonia for my trade post. The only problem I ran into is that Byzantium reconquered Achea when I released it, I couldn't get it into the league fast enough because it rivaled Morea. A shame, but no great loss.

Unfortunately for me, Ottoman was too smart for this trap this game. But Venice was not.

When they declared on my league, I started the game by 100% Venice.


TL:DR Trade leagues are underrated, you can essentially create major coalition with 14 OPMS as early as 1450, you're never going to be attacked (This is so nice in higher difficulties game where the AI is both aggressive and better off, and allies are way harder to come by. I think this mechanic is very very good on high difficulties), and if you know how to pick the right cities, you're pumping value into your nodes.


As for what would make it way better and possibly not a niche strategy?

1. If someone declares on your trade league, make the trade league owner the war leader. This seems totally fair to me. The AI gets this with Austria, I should be able to lead my defense of my league and decide the peace. Especially when otherwise the league can gorge itself on land and you lose 3 members. I should decide when its too much cost for the League to bear. It also better embodies the Hanse league that I think this mechanic is modeled off of.

2. Make the trade republics missions count that for owning provinces if its in a trade city. Not in the league, but a trade city specifically. No idea why this wouldn't count as owning the province according to my missions. It can't choose to leave my league, that province is mine as a vassal's is.

3. Actually make Trade Cities not fabricate claims and aggressively expand which makes them leave the league. Again, not any city in the league, Trade cities only.

Even just 1 would be enough to make the strategy really good, and 1 and 3, would make it I think one of the strongest ways of playing Genoa/Lubeck/Venice which would be so cool if the best way to play a country in EU4 wasn't to blob immediately. I hope it wouldn't take a lot of dev time to implement any of these either.

Let me know if you agree/disagree, still think trade cities aren't worth it.
 

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Livigy

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One of the main benefits of trade cities is the trade steering, extra goods may be nice but trade steering impacts your entire trade network and that can elevate large trade networks into obscene amounts of profit.


 

MiniaAr

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I also like the non blobbing trade league games, usually as the Hansa but I might try an Hormuz trade leaague at some point.

There are valid points the OP is making:
- Trade League leader should take leadership of a war when a member is attacked.
- Trade cities shouldn't have any desire to expire and should not fabricate claims or declare wars (they should behave like free cities really)
- Hansa decision to "unite the league" should really make the league members as free vassals (not costing diplo relations slots). Getting 12-18 diplo slots more from the decision is quite non sensical.
 
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Retrac910

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I love trade leagues, they are tons of fun and the army of OPM's is great.
The issue I run into with them is that by the time you've consolidated the position so your OPM AI's can't ally people you want to eat or expand themselves, you're already strong enough so that the extra income doesn't really matter.
 
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manilein123

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What is really missing for a trade league, to send out diplomats to improve relations with your trade league members, very annoying to do it manually.
btw Hansa / Lubeck has a mission, to vassalize all trade league members. Love it.