Trading in Emperor
Trading in Emperor as in Zeus is done through separate dedicated Trading Stations or Quays for each trading partner city. The trader or ship enters the map, heads directly to its own Trading Station/Quay, buys and/or sells and then leaves. Land traders sell up to 8 units and buy up to 8 units and ships sell/buy up to 12 units per trip with a maximum limit for each good per year. If you are selling or buying more than one type of good then unless they reach the maximum of one type of good for the year they will buy/sell equal amounts of each good.
One major difference between trade in Emperor and that in the previous city builder games is that you can set your own prices that you wish to sell and buy goods at. To set the price that you wish to sell goods to a specific city at, click on the up or down arrow next to the price in the Trading Station/Quay pop-up. You can also change the price you are selling goods for in the Commerce Ministry Commodities window by adjusting the “Avg” under Export Price, this will change the price in all Trading Stations/Quays . You may charge up to double the Imperial Standard Price.
Having a working Mint or Money Printer in your city also increases the price you receive for goods. The listed price doesn’t change but you actually receive slightly more cash (just under 4% increase) from traders. The hero Mencius can also bless Trading Stations/Quays but you only receive an increased price (approx 33% more) for 1 unit of goods, hardly worth the effort. His presence in the city does though increase the number of traders from each city that can be present on your map at one time so can, in some situations, have benefits.
To set the maximum price you will pay for items change the “Maximum Price Pay” under the Commerce Ministry Commodities window, but you cannot change the price you are paying for imports in a Trading Station as the seller always determines the asking price. Nobody but you knows what you have set as your maximum nor do you have that information about other cities though the default for player cities in MP games is 10% above the Imperial Standard Price. When prices are set higher than the maximum price the buying city is prepared to pay or when the price asked is above the maximum you have set for buying then they show as red in the Trading Station pop-up and no trading for these goods occurs.
In many cases it is possible for you to buy goods from one city then sell the same goods to another city at a profit. Watch carefully that they keep buying though as they may buy a small amount then change the maximum price they will pay and suddenly stop buying. Be aware also that charging above the Imperial Standard Price affects your favor with the city concerned. Particularly at higher difficulty levels you may find their mood dropping quickly if you don’t give them gifts or meet requests to make up for charging the extra amount.
In Multiplayer you can do the same, if you are selling to a rival player city then you may decide to charge them exorbitant prices for something you know they really need. Of course you may just make them angry enough that they may refuse in turn to sell you something you really need or may even invade you! In cooperative play or when playing with Factions you may decide to sell some goods at very low prices, down to 1 cash is possible. Multiplayer trading between two player controlled cities does not occur until the traders on both players maps reach the Trading Station/Quay , therefore you may sometimes see other players traders waiting outside the trading post for a while without buying/selling.
Also in the Commerce Ministry – Commodities window there is a Trade Status listing that tells you if you are importing or exporting any good. Clicking on the Yes or No brings up another window that tells you who you are, or could be, importing from or exporting to. At the bottom of the Commodities window you will see View Traders. Clicking on this brings up another window which lists all Traders in your city, what they are doing, what they trade, and if they have already traded the number of goods they bought/sold.
Trade is very important in most cities and often it will be important that you sell the maximum exports or buy the maximum imports for the year. Careful placement of your Trading Stations/Quays can make this much easier to achieve. You want the Trader to enter the map, buy/sell his goods and leave as quickly as possible as only a limited number of traders from each city can be on the map at one time. Getting them to buy/sell and then leave quickly means more buyers from each city through your map each year therefore more opportunities to buy/sell the maximum of each good. This is particularly important when cities are buying/selling high numbers of a number of goods.
Often this means the best position for Trading Stations is near the entrance or exit points of the map or somewhere in a direct line between them. The other thing to consider is where the goods that they wish to buy are produced or where the goods they are selling will be used. Often you can ensure you place these industries in a convenient spot but with raw materials such as steel or stone etc you usually can only place them in one position. You then could consider using getting storeyards to move goods nearer to trading posts but this requires micromanagement, ie turning Getting to Accepting regularly as Trading Stations/Quays will not collect goods from storeyards set to Get.
You should of course try to maximise sales of those exports that make the most profit as a priority before you try to export cheaper goods. Early on in missions when you may be short of workers you should also consider how many workers it will take to produce goods. Early in the game it may make more sense to import raw materials and export finished goods rather than have a lot of workers tied up producing the raw materials.