Since the game is fairly new and there are few resources around to min-max production ratios vs consumption, I found myself getting stuck with export of goods. For example, I’d import Copper, set up Villas and Copper Workshops and upgrade my Villas with Copper Jewelry, giving me more townsfolk to use in various industries. Eventually my Copper Jewelry warehouses would fill up and I’d open up a trade to sell off anything that I don’t need… all my warehouses would empty as everything was traded away, my Villas degraded, large portions of my townsfolk moved out and entire industries came crashing to a halt as I lacked the workforce to maintain them.
So how to fix the issue of exporting goods to have an income, while supplying and growing your city?
Identifying the problem
I was using 2 caravans to distribute the goods, one from the production warehouse to the market warehouse and one from the production warehouse to the export warehouse at the port.
The production warehouse was ‘first come, first served’ and a caravan will always take as much as it can carry… the caravan for export could empty out my warehouse before my caravan for my local market returned, leaving none for them.
While a downward spiral of houses degrading and industries shutting down isn’t that punishing in this game, it is time consuming and frustrating to deal with.
You could limit your export in the trade screen and the port warehouse, but you’d just end up with goods sitting in your export warehouse waiting for next year and a caravan with full inventory going back and forth unable to load or unload anything…
Separating production for export
Your caravans will be split between different warehouses and export will never take anything intended for local consumption. You can move production closer and cut back on caravan travel times.
Since trade volumes are limited, you’ll likely only ever need to scale up the production for local consumption and once your trade production matches your maximum trade, you’ll always be making the most money on the trade of this good.
This has some downsides:
-If your local consumption is slower than the production that supplies it, the warehouse will fill up and production will grind to a halt, leaving you with a stockpile of goods that could be making you money and workers from your workforce contributing nothing as they sit idle in their workshop.
-Supplying 2 production centers can be difficult with raw materials if you need to be imported those (for example copper, ivory, wood) as the supply of those materials is limited and always arrives in bulk, making it harder to split up between production centers.
-More workshops, warehouses and caravans means more space used and more workers needed, which in turn need houses, space for those houses, more goods needed to sustain them and again more space needed to set up production for those goods…
It can be done, but space is usually the most constraining factor and scaling up production can quickly lead into space issues.
Merging caravan routes
Production warehouse(s) => Market warehouse(s) => Export warehouse(s)
Pick up from one or more warehouses supplied by workshops.
Drop off at one or more warehouses supplying local markets.
Whatever is left afterwards gets dropped off at the warehouse for export.
This method ensures 2 things:
– Local consumption will always be prioritized over export, so should production be insufficient (either through lack of workforce from downgraded houses or increased consumption from added houses), then any products made will always find their way to your houses first.
– Caravans will always empty their inventory at the end of their route and picking up maximum goods at the production warehouse, ensuring your workshops have as much space to unload their goods.
It’s also easy to trouble shoot.
Are your caravans leaving the production warehouses with inventory space left over and/or your market warehouses never get filled, leaving nothing for export? Add more production.
Workshops be unable to unload goods because the production warehouse is full? Add more caravans to the route to increase the amount of goods in circulation.
Caravans are returning to the production warehouses with goods left in their inventory? Scale back production because you’re really overproducing and you could use those workers in a different industry.
Downside is that export will always be overflow, meaning local markets and their warehouses will have to be filled before anything makes it to export.
Caravan management is also more of a hassle as adding a production or market warehouse can mean redoing the entire route for all caravans involved and depending on the location of warehouses in your city, the caravan routes can be very long, meaning you need more caravans to keep goods flowing at a decent rate.
Conclusion: Use caravans to their full potential
Instead of just picking up at point A and dropping off at point B, you should set up trade routes within your city, create a flow throughout for each type of good and experiment with order of the stops to determine priority. Whether you do it in a single big route or multiple routes.
Though don’t forget if you have multiple routes picking up at the same warehouses, you could once again end up with one or more routes being starved of goods (which would put us back at the start of this problem).
If you separate your routes entirely you’ll have to make sure each of them has sufficient production to meet that route’s demand.
Some additional tips:
– You can return to the production warehouse to refill before heading off to other stops or hit up your different production sites at various points in your route, pick-up at site 1, drop off at market 1, pick-up at site 2, drop off at market 2, etc…
– You can add more caravans to the same route if they’re located in the same caravan building, click the + to start the route then click the flag under the caravan whose route you want to copy. Add to existing routes to increase throughput instead of creating new ones.