Trade Empires has a full tutorial "game" to introduce players to the mechanics and most of the strategy of the game. You reach it from the "LEARN TO PLAY" link on the opening screen. Click to highlight the desired Part then click "Load".

Each part can be accessed separately and starts the game at a predetermined point irrespective of what you may have done in the previous part.


Opening screen

At the top (right or middle) is a window with explanatory text superimposed on the game map. Other on-screen help for the tutorial may include a ring around a button a player should click. When you have clicked that, a "Next" button leading to the next page or section of the help should appear if it was not there before. You can click buttons you have not been told to, usually without spoiling your learning. There is also a "Back" button for revision, but it may not take you back to a previous section.

Part I - Basic mechanicsEdit

  1. "I. Welcome to Trade Empires" - 4 pages: Your first goal is stated to be making money (though in some episodes this may not be the first goal initially), second is attracting customers to pay your merchants for delivering products and resources, but you attract customers to build dwellings and live in market towns by offering low prices, so you need to find the best balance. The fourth page in this section lists your four basic actions (apart from building markets): build routes such as trails and roads to speed merchants; create routes between markets, specifying what is carried on each leg and what transporter (barge, donkey, etc); hire merchants; tell merchants what to do.
  2. "II. Quick tour of the user interface" - 4 pages:
    1. Page 1 points out the "hint text" that appears in the middle section of the bottom of the screen when your pointer hovers over an item;
    2. Page 2 outlines the top bar, which has the current year (and "hint text" showing the total timespan of the episode - for example, the tutorial starts in 1,700 BC and may last until 99999 AD), the game speed drop-down menu (noting the shortcut use of the space bar to pause or resume the game), the regional drop-down menu (useful only for episodes that involve two or more regions), and the family finances
    3. Page 3 outlines the four bottom-left buttons: Merchants, Routes, Construction, and Advances
    4. Page 4 covers the bottom-right buttons: terrain map, region map, episode map, and control menu (which has the same effect as "ESC", taking you to the opening screen for actions such as Save, Quit, or change Options). In the episode map you see all regions of the current episode (without the bottom bar) and can return to one of them by clicking its name or "ENTER".
  3. "III. Giving orders to a merchant" - 4 pages:
    1. Page 1 puts a ring around the "Merchants" button and tells you to click it. Above the button, you then see the merchant roster with one merchant's details in the top quarter. (In a real episode you would first have to hire a merchant for yourself.) At the bottom is a button for ordering a new merchant. Just above it are three buttons: "Fold", "Center", and "Orders". "Fold" toggles the collapsed display where each merchant has less detail so that more of them can show on one pane; "Center" switches your map view to where the currently highlighted merchant is (on the terrain map even if you were on the region map); "Orders" opens a new panel with details for whichever merchant was highlighted. Highlighting is in green; with only one merchant you can't yet see how an unhighlighted merchant looks.
    2. Page 2 briefly describes the merchant roster and invites you to click the "Orders" button to bring up the highlighted merchant's orders panel. Click it - noting that the resulting panel has a button at the bottom that can take you back to the merchant roster - then click "Next".
    3. Page 3 mentions the "Route Repertoire", which lists the names of all routes you have created. At present there is only one, called "Rice", pre-created by the tutorial. As the only one, it is highlighted in green. You are invited to click "Embark on Route". "Next" takes you to a brief description of the result, which has returned you to the merchant roster.
    4. Page 4 briefly describes how his entry in the roster now looks, with the addition of his route name and position or destination. Below those lines are small rectangles indicating cargos: in this case blue-edged rectangles show that he will try to buy three loads of rice at his first stop. You are now invited to click "Center" and reclick the Merchants button to hide the merchant roster.
  4. "IV. Introduction to Markets" - 3 pages
    1. Page 1 introduces the concept that all dealing is done at markets, by merchants, manufacturers, farmers, temple managers, the residents of dwellings, or anyone else.
    2. Page 2 mentions the market radius or zone of control and shows you how to see the radius of any market on the terrain map. Not mentioned is the fact that (as in Railroad Tycoon but not in Civilization games) no two market radii can overlap - an important consideration in planning the siting of markets. Planning should also bear in mind the possibility of later expansion beyond the type(s) of small market that may be all that you can build at the start of an episode. Some of those points could be covered later.
    3. Page 3 explains that some markets may concentrate on "supply" (e.g. farms and mines) whereas others may be more oriented to "demand" (such as that from dwellings and temples). Any market can do both, and a manufacturer will be an example of both in the one building, demanding raw or partly-processed materials and selling a finished product.
  5. "V. Food is your first concern" - 5 pages
    1. Page 1 introduces the idea of building up a demand center.
    2. Page 2 shows how a merchant should offer a food item that dwellings want, so that outsiders see the market as a good place and build new dwellings there. Prices may be low to attract dwellings, as an investment in the future.
    3. Page 3 recommends that food be offered by more than one merchant. You are invited to add a second merchant to the "Rice" route, starting by reopening the merchant roster and clicking "New Merchant".
    4. Page 4 recommends one of the three offered merchants, who all have their own specialities. One you should choose, since you have no roads, is one who is good at covering trackless terrain. Click to highlight him then click "Hire Merchant". The roster reappears, with him on it, highlighted.
    5. Page 5 orders the new merchant to follow the same route, just as you did for his predecessor: "Orders" and "Embark on Route".
  6. "VI. What comes after food?" - 7 pages
    1. Page 1 lists an item consumers might appreciate in addition to food. In this case, it's silk cloth. There are various ways of finding what consumers want. One is the "Victory Conditions", which you are invited to examine by closing the merchant panel and clicking to find the episode map.
    2. Page 2: Mouseover then displays a panel in the left half of the screen, which in most episodes tells you exactly how to win, along with guidance. In this tutorial, it merely gives you tips about what you need for maximizing returns in different parts of the tutorial as new products become available and demanded.
    3. Page 3 gives the process by which your dwellings can have silk cloth: you need to get raw silk from a silkworm farm to a weaver, who will produce the cloth. Your demand center has a weaver. You are invited to hit ENTER or click on the region name to return to your terrain map.
    4. Page 4: To find a silkworm farm, or anything else, your best option is usually to use the region map. You are invited to click for it.
    5. Page 5 tells you how to get all of one type of tile prominent on the map with all others greyed out: click on the type you want, in this case "Silk Worm Farm" (in the "Resource" panel at bottom left).
    6. Page 6: You see two such farms standing out as the closest to your demand center. For no immediately obvious reason, you are then invited to click "Trading Post" in the "Depot" panel at bottom right.
    7. Page 7 discusses the fact that a trading post (a small market, just like your demand center and your rice supply center) is close to the silk worm farms, and you are invited to click on its tile to return to the terrain map centered on that locality.
  7. "VIII. Bring silk to your demand market" - 5 pages
    1. Page 1 advises you to create a trade route bringing silk to your demand market for the weaver to work on so that he can sell silk cloth to the local people. Click the Routes button. The routes panel opens above it.
    2. Page 2 guides you to select the silk worm farm market as the first market on a route, and add three "raw silk" rectangles (from the abbreviated detail of what that market buys and sells) to indicate what should be picked up.
    3. Page 3 tells you to click the "Add Market #2" button.
    4. Page 4 explains what you want the merchant to do at your demand center: just sell the raw silk and depart with nothing, going back to repeat the cycle. So the second stop on the route will show three empty containers.
    5. Page 5 gets you to name the "Silk" route and "Save" it.
  8. "IX. Put a merchant on the Silk route" - 3 pages
    1. Page 1 says you need a merchant on the new route. So click the Merchants button.
    2. Page 2 reminds you of how to hire a new merchant in three clicks. Do it.
    3. Page 3 gets you to put him on the Silk route (taking care to highlight it, because only the top item is highlighted by default).
  9. "X. Conclusion of Part I" - 3 pages
    1. Page 1 reminds you that you have learned the basics, including how to manage routes, with the game's most complicated panel, and merchants, with its only multi-page panel.
    2. Page 2 reminds you that you have started three merchants working to deliver everything your demand center wants, at prices low enough to encourage population growth, which will leave plenty of demand for more profitable cargos that you can supply later in the game.
    3. Page 3 tells you that the next Part will cover some concepts and strategies, and how to reach it: "ESC" then "LEARN TO PLAY" then choose Part II.

No need to go on to Part II straight away. You now know enough to see how big you can make your demand market, using all ten rice paddies and maybe 12 or more millet fields with the maximum number of merchants. Maybe (ESC then) "Save game" first, so that you can continue that attempt when you're ready but can proceed with the tutorial sooner. Can you get more than 26 dwellings there? Watch where you build trails, because dwellings cannot be built on them!TE-Tutorial-26dwgs

Part II - Concepts and strategiesEdit

Described modestly as an optional interlude, this should not be missed.

Part III - AdvancesEdit

Part IV - Better transportersEdit

Part V - LuxuriesEdit

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