The Developer unit is the only civilian unit you cannot build; instead he's a reward for trading with minor nations.
There are various rewards given by the games and these (as well as how to acquire this particular unit) will be written about in a separate article, but this article is about how to use this civilian.
Game play mechanicsEdit
Using this unit is relatively straightforwards.First identify an asset that you wish to acquire and then move your Developer onto the asset.An advisory note will pop up giving you a simple "yes/no" to the action you've initiated along with the cost of the transaction if you go ahead with it.
The cost of this action varies between Imp I and Imp II.
In Imperialism the cost is always 20 times the market price (for example, if coal was $120 in the last round of deals made, the cost will be 120 x 20 = $2,400).
In Imp II the cost of the transaction still follows the basic Imperialism formula but has an additional "discount" given, which varies according to how advanced your trading happens to be with the Minor Nation concerned (e.g. if you are half way to gaining the Minor Nation peacefully your discount is 50% of 2,400 = $1,200 cost. This discount increases every time you make a trade with the Minor Nation).
A delay of one turn then occurs before income in the form of "Overseas Profits" appears in the Deal Book (a minimum of four turns if you need to use a Miner).
In both versions of Imperialism theres no need to buy every asset that is available to you.
Concentrate instead on purchasing "single source" assets first and anything else later,ie if a Minor Nation has wool but only has one source but has doubles or more of other visible raw goods,purchase the wool first.
This will give you a permanent advantage over any competion from other players you may have (as you can use trade subsidies to devastating economic effect).
Note that there is a subtle difference between Imp I and Imp II here in that in Imp I as soon as your Embassy is estabilished your Developer can go to work straight away whilst in Imp II its best to wait for a Pact to be in place as this action reduces the cost of your transaction considerably.
Having purchased your strategic items (there may be more than one "single source" assets to purchase) next is the tactical use of your Developer to consider.
Purchase just one tile to open up for trade the whole Minor Nation output of a particular raw material,ie and extending the example already in use in this article,if there are 3 cotton buy just the one tile to have all 3 tiles offered for trade.
Special point on timberEdit
In all of the years and games I've played of both Imperialism games I've personally never seen the Computer players purchase a timber tile.However,the Human player can.
Why this is so I have no idea whatsoever,but clearly its an oversight in the programming for the Computer players gameplay.Do take advantage of this "glitch"!
The term used by both games is slightly misleading in that the word "profit" should be renamed as "income".
A "true profit" does eventually occur, but only after the cost of purchasing and if applicable the cost of developing the asset is fully recovered,even then its still not a profit but instead contributes towards the cost of Diplomacy (after all,you've made offers of Consulates and Embassies to reach this point and neither are cheap,especially so the Embassy!).There is an argument for taking this point further as well (cost of civilians etc) but this is a game,not "real life" and the point has otherwise been made so I'll not take this misdescription point further (this is a "bugbear point" of mine it must be said!).
To reach a point whereby the cost of the asset is covered by its total income to date varies between Imp I and II due to the difference in cost described in "gameplay mechanics" above,and is much faster to achieve in Imp II (can in fact be virtually instantly in Imp II if you purchase the tile for anything between $50 and $Zero).
In Imp I its roughly 20 turns to a breakeven point though can be a tad faster if the tile is developed (roughly 18 turns).In Imp II the Imp I values given in the prior sentence are a maximum and can be as little as 1 turn.
You'll notice another game glitch if you take a closer look at your income as this point applies to both games.
Returning to the article example of wool and cotton so far made,you'll notice that although you get income from both your cotton and wool sources,you'll notice that you'll get a lot more from cotton.This is because the Minor Nation is awarding you the income from the two tiles you haven't purchased but that the MN has sold the output of.This can be seen occuring via Battle Reports sometimes,as you'll see your two otherwise inexplicable cotton sales suddenly turning up as the cargo involved in a battle report.
High value cargoesEdit
This point covers Gold and Gems in Imp I and Spices,Silver,Gold and Gems in Imp II.
In Imp I,no merchant marine cargo space is required if trading and your overseas profits are adjusted for the full amount less an appropriate deduction for your diplomatic progress.Note that these transactions DO NOT count as a trade.
If conquering you'll need to use your transport system (railroad cars) instead though obviously the diplomatic progress deduction doesn't apply. Presumably underwater railroads are in occasional operation!
In Imp II if trading, you'll need merchant marine cargo space to carry your items to your home port though you'll still suffer the appropriate deduction for your diplomatic progress. Note that in this game these transactions DO count as a trade.
If conquering you'll still be using your merchant marine cargo space.