This episode starts at 2000 BC, like Trade_on_the_Nile_I, with very few types of resource (or anything else) on the map. If you don't pick Lower Egypt you will have a very hard time; that's a useful way to give yourself more of a challenge. There are two families competing, and you may have combat though you have an option, before starting the game, to turn off combat.
Remember, as with every other episode, to hit the space bar as soon as you load, so as to have a pause for examination and planning.
The game notes give you the hint:”Some advances may not be necessary for your situation”, so invest in road transporters upgrades if roads are your strategy. If canals look better, then focus your coins in upgrades there.
The resource difference between I and II at the start is that weavers are in place so that you have even more incentive to include flax farms in your population centres (but generally no more than one flax per two barley fields or you may be unable to sell the flax or resulting linen cloth profitably).
As you start with only 5,000 coins, you may be less inclined to build a stable early, though it can be an excellent choice in a market that has no barley fields but is close to several, because it buys the output of nearly half a barley field, justifying the attendance of a merchant and thereby encouraging population growth or retention without tying the merchant up for too long.
Supply of, and demand for, initial resourcesEdit
Average annual demand per dwelling: Barley 0.149 (and a stable buys more than twice that), Cloth 0.021 (i.e. flax 0.063), Fish 0.113; and each Barge Yard wants 0.78 Papyrus per year.
Papyrus is easy to work out: three papyrus fields will supply almost exactly what is demanded by two barge yards. (Don't have them in the same market, of course, or they will trade amongst themselves with no profit for you.) Unless your rivals are approaching, leave the papyrus growing until it stops because the price is too low, then carry it to a barge yard, where the demand price will be high, thus making a good profit for you. Initially, with few merchants, you may make a good profit with only one barge yard (which will pay good prices) and one papyrus camp - there again, though, leave the papyrus until its price falls a bit.
Feeding dwellings is a little more tricky:
- Market with one barley and one fish will support six dwellings comfortably, with a spare fish load every 2 years.
- Market with two barley and one fish (a more likely situation because there are 20 barley and only 12 fish) will support ten dwellings, with a spare barley now and again.
- With four barley and two fish, you can manage 21 dwellings, with just a little spare barley.
If you have more dwellings than that, you will want to bring food in sometimes. Keep an eye on each happiness scale and feed only when it's below halfway, i.e. threatening to lose population, because then the demand will be high and the prices and likely profits will be high too.
Markets with no barley and/or no fish are problematical, needing more than their share of merchants if you want population growth. To increase or even to maintain the number of dwellings, you should be offering the missing food(s) nearly all of the time. This can tie up a merchant for years. For every two markets of that sort, if you want dwelling growth, allow three merchants so that you can have one at each market and another getting supplies, to take over when one sells everything. (Curiously, in the Tutorial game you can have markets with only one of the required foods going on for centuries without losing population. Don't expect to be so lucky in a real game!)
Around 1969, the (free) Woodworking advance spawns a couple of dozen timber camps (maybe none in Lower Egypt) producing wood, which is demanded by barge yards, dwellings, and the new ship yards. Now you may wish you hadn't gone so far into debt! But if your rivals have less wealth than you, there may be no need to think about wood as long as your dwellings all get cloth when tney want it.
Maximum number of dwellingsEdit
If you are fully exploiting all of your 20 barley fields, they will support about 118 dwellings. Your 12 fishing boats can supply enough for those, with a spare fish now and again. Sell fish in your competitor's markets? The competitor may be selling in yours first, and may even build roads and depots that you can use, so give him a chance to fritter away his wealth while you get ready to take advantage.
That level of exploitation (118 dwellings) would require no more than 10 flax farms to fulfil the cloth demands.
You can build markets in other territories, but their population does not count towards your score, so build them only to get resources or make profits, and don't feed them unless it will earn you more coins than your merchants could earn elsewhere.
ADVANCES TO PREPARE FOR
Salt fish, a required dwelling staple will replace fish in 1600 BC. The player needs to be prepared for the change. Salt appears as a raw resource. Random Fish Salter production buildings will appear on the region maps. Ideally if you have the coins, creating a market that has both salt and fish and purchasing a fish salter will streamline production. The demand for salt fish at dwellings is high and the price for delivering it is well worthwhile and its essential for market growth which will tie to other demand products. Collecting salt, collecting fish, travelling to a fish salter to create a single salted fish , then having a barge wait for this to be repeated several times, the game will pass you by. Centralize salt and fish and the fish salter building and deliver in bulk to your market. Barges are very effective for bulk products.
Brewing and Beer, this later advance and market and dwelling staple, which occurs quickly after Salt fish is not mentioned in the games introductory notes. Beer only requires Barley and a Brewer but dwellings will still be demanding plain barley. Again the best strategy is delivering beer into the market with dwellings for a higher profit. However, if a random brewer appears in your market town, while the profit wont be as high, and the barley will be split between plain barley consumption and beer production, you will save a merchant to place on another route.
650000 coins are required by 1150 BC, the end of this scenario for a Merchant Prince episode ranking. The player starts with 5000 coins in 2000 BC.
Producing and marketing Copper Urns for Temples is an early strategy for building your treasury to pay for key game advances. Later trading in gold ingots to Palaces will do the same.
Canals are a wise investment for bulk cargo.
As there is a bonus for the population of your home region this is worth pursuing as it will assist reaching the accolade Merchant Prince.