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Introduction

While it is possible to play an entire game without engaging in any trading with other parties, trading allows you to grow your cities much more quickly. For instance, although you can finance your empire entirely from tax revenue, you can earn very large sums of gold from selling surplus goods to NPCs. Likewise, you can also buy a limited amount of goods from NPCs in order to more quickly expand your settlements.

There are two trading methods: 1) passive trading, which allows you to choose what you'd like to buy or sell at your port and NPCs occasionally sail by and buy or sell based on what you set and their bias; 2) active trading, which allows you to manually sail a ship to a trading partner's warehouse and directly buy or sell goods.

Note: The "trade" discussed on this page does not cover your own personal trading routes you set up to move shipments of goods between your own islands. Although this is technically trading, this is referred to as transferring goods. For information on creating and maintaining trading routes, see the trading routes page.

Passive trading

Anno 1404 adds the ability to set up buy or sell requests at each of your island's warehouses. To set up these requests, just left-click on your warehouse and go to the bottom tab called 'Trading place'. The icon for this tab is a crate with gold in it. Then hit the + to buy goods and the - to sell goods.

Note: There is an achievement related to never placing a good for trade in your Warehouse.

Once buy/sell requests are set up, any NPC you have a trade agreement with - which needs to be agreed upon first - will occasionally sail a trading ship to your warehouse and buy or sell a small quantity of your goods, based on their preferences. Lord Richard Northburgh, Grand Vizier Al Zahir and Giacomo Garibaldi will always trade with and will also visit any warehouse that hasn't any buy/sell request. Note that Northburgh will only sell you Occidental goods and Al Zahir will only sell you Oriental goods, but both can buy any sort of goods you have for sale.

Note: An Occidental warehouse has four slots for buying and selling. A second level Occidental warehouse has six slots, and a third, fully upgraged, Occidental warehouse has eight slots. The Oriental warehouse has only one level and starts with eight slots.

Active trading

Active trading has two aspects: active buying and active selling.

Active buying is when you sail a ship to a trading partner’s port and buy some of the select goods they offer. Note that each trading partner only offers a limited set of goods to purchase.

Active selling occurs when you load up one of your ships with goods, sail it to a trading partners warehouse, and directly sell those goods to the partner.

Note: The nice thing about active selling is all players wil buy every type of good from you, however, they will pay less for these goods compared to passive selling.

Duty Levied / Toll taxation items

Dutylevied

Duty levied: Books

You will most probably be confused when you first see "duty levied" item. It is received by completing a quest, purchasing it from the Lord or the Vizier, or from Ibn al Hakim's Academy of Wisdom. Put it in the Strong Room of the Warehouse to activate the item. When such an item is in your Warehouse, it adds the stated tons of the specified goods once an NPC ship buys the specified "up to" tonnage of any combination of your goods from that Warehouse.

For example one item (pictured) adds 5t of Books to the warehouse each time an NPC ship trades 18t of goods with the warehouse, and the NPC ships trade very often. It's best put in a busy harbor with many ships coming and leaving to maximize its effect and if it's powerful enough, it can earn thousands of gold in rare goods in addition to normal trade.

Note: "Duty levied" is used for goods (Bread, Books, Carpets) and "Toll" is used for Military goods (Cannons, Weapons, War Machines).

Buying goods

It is always more cost-effective to produce your own goods than to buy them from NPCs. Consequently, buying goods from NPCs should only be used when absolutely necessary. For instance, at the beginning of the game you are unable to produce tools, so you are required to buy them from other players, chiefly Lord Northburgh. Apart from this situation, there are very few times buying goods is recommended. Those times are:

For quests

There are times when an NPC will give you a quest that involves delivering a certain amount of goods to a certain location (a ship or a warehouse). Sometimes you either cannot yet produce that good or can't easily produce enough surplus to fulfill the quest requirements. At these times it's very useful to buy the goods from NPCs, although the goods NPCs sell are limited, so this doesn't always work. Click on all the warehouses of NPCs you have trade agreements with to see what is available.

For convenience

In the early and mid game, you don't always have the luxury of spending money on goods you could more cheaply produce. However, once you start to make a moderate to large sum of money, it can be more convenient to simply buy some basic goods rather than produce them. For instance, if you want to settle a new island or just need 10 more wood to slightly expand a settlement, one of your ships nearby a trading partner might be able to purchase and deliver the goods faster than sailing back to an island where you have enough goods to transport.

For honor points

In Anno 1404, you get honor points once you exchange enough gold through trading (buying or selling) with Al Zahir and Lord Northburgh (and with Giacomo Garibaldi if playing Venice) at their ports (not from buying and selling at your ports, see passive trading for this). You can make this quicker by buying goods at their ports and then immediately selling the goods back. This isn't cost effective, but if you need some quick honor and have the gold to spare, this can be quite effective in the early to mid game.

Note that the Venice add-on made it so that even passive trading counts towards earning honor.

Active selling

Load the goods you want to sell onto a ship, sail it to one of your trading partners' harbours, and trade the goods to them. Unlike passive selling, you can actively sell all goods to anyone.

This type of selling provides greater control of how much and when to sell, but the prices you get are only 40% compared to passive trading. (Passive trading gives 2.5 times the gold of active trading, at default passive prices.) It does provide additional benefits such as honour or reputation, depending on who you sell to.

Passive Selling

Passive selling is when NPC traders come to your warehouses and buy from you. This is the preferred method if possible, because you get 2.5 times the money for goods as you do compared to active selling. In the Venice expansion passive trading will also earn you honour from trade relationships with the major traders while in the orignal you will only get the honour from actively trading (at a worse rate).

Goods bias

Each of the major traders has a bias towards certain goods. This follows a logical pattern. For instance, Northburgh won't ever sell goods from the Orient, and Al Zahir won't sell goods from the Occident. Likewise, Northburgh will generally prefer to buy goods from the Orient since he can't produce them, and Al Zahir will generally prefer to buy goods from the Occident since he can't produce them.

There are three levels of bias: -100 (never bought or sold), 20 or 50 (slightly to moderately bought or sold), and 100 or 120 (bought and sold as much as possible).

The following table shows the bias for each of the traders towards certain goods. Remember the positive numbers of 20, 50, 100, and 120 represent attraction to dealing with those goods while the -100 represents a refusal to deal with those goods.

Good Lord Richard Northburgh Grand Vizier Al Zahir Hassan ben Sahid Giacomo Garibaldi
Buy Sell Buy Sell Buy Sell Buy Sell
Wood Wood 50 100 100 50 -100 -100 100 120
Tools Tools 50 100 100 100 50 50 100 120
Stone Stone 50 100 100 50 50 100 100 100
Glass Glass 50 100 100 50 -100 50 20 120
Mosaic Mosaic 100 -100 50 100 -100 50 120 100
Spices Spices 100 -100 -100 100 100 50 120 120
Fish Fish -100 100 100 -100 50 50 20 100
Bread Bread -100 100 100 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Meat Meat -100 100 100 -100 50 50 120 120
Dates Dates 100 -100 -100 100 50 50 20 0
Marzipan Marzipan 100 -100 -100 100 50 -100 120 120
Cider Cider -100 100 -100 -100 -100 50 20 100
Milk Milk 100 -100 -100 100 -100 -100 20 100
Beer Beer -100 100 -100 -100 100 100 100 100
Wine Wine -100 100 -100 -100 100 50 120 120
Coffee Coffee 100 -100 -100 100 -100 -100 120 120
Linen garments Linen garments -100 100 100 -100 -100 -100 20 100
Leather jerkins Leather jerkins -100 100 100 -100 50 -100 120 120
Fur coats Fur coats -100 100 100 -100 50 -100 120 120
Brocade robes Brocade robes -100 100 100 -100 100 -100 100 120
Books Books -100 100 100 -100 -100 -100 120 120
Glasses Glasses -100 100 100 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Perfume Perfume 100 -100 -100 100 -100 -100 120 120
Candlestick Candlestick -100 100 100 -100 100 -100 120 120
Pearl necklaces Pearl Necklaces 100 -100 -100 100 100 -100 120 120
Carpets Carpets 100 -100 -100 100 50 -100 120 100
Salt Salt 50 50 50 50 50 50 120 100
Hemp Hemp -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 20 100
Brine Brine -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Iron ore Iron ore 50 50 50 50 50 50 100 100
Iron Iron 50 50 50 50 50 50 100 100
Flour Flour -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 120 100
Coal Coal 50 50 50 50 -100 -100 100 100
Animal hides Animal hides -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Wheat Wheat -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 120 100
Herbs Herbs -100 50 -100 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Potash Potash 50 50 50 50 -100 -100 100 100
Paper Paper -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Furs Furs -100 50 50 -100 -100 50 100 100
Barrels Barrels -100 50 50 -100 50 50 100 100
Copper ore Copper ore -100 50 50 -100 -100 50 100 100
Brass Brass -100 50 50 -100 -100 50 100 100
Grapes Grapes -100 50 -100 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Cattle Cattle -100 50 50 -100 -100 50 100 100
Rose oil Rose oil 50 -100 -100 50 -100 -100 120 120
Beeswax Beeswax -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Candles Candles -100 50 50 -100 -100 -100 100 100
Coffee beans Coffee beans 50 -100 -100 50 -100 -100 100 100
Gold ore Gold ore -100 50 50 -100 100 50 100 100
Indigo Indigo 50 -100 -100 50 -100 -100 100 100
Gold Gold -100 50 50 -100 100 50 120 120
Sugar Sugar 50 -100 -100 50 50 -100 120 100
Sugar cane Sugar cane 50 -100 -100 50 -100 -100 100 100
Almonds Almonds 50 -100 -100 50 -100 -100 100 100
Clay Clay 50 -100 -100 50 -100 -100 100 100
Silk Silk 50 -100 -100 50 50 -100 120 100
Pearls Pearls 50 -100 -100 50 100 50 100 120
Quartz Quartz 50 -100 50 50 -100 -100 100 100
Ropes Ropes 50 100 100 50 100 100 120 100
Weapons Weapons 50 -100 50 -100 100 100 20 100
War machines War machines 50 -100 50 -100 100 100 20 100
Cannons Cannons 50 -100 50 -100 100 100 120 100
Provisions Provisions 50 50 50 50 50 100 100 100

Summary of goods biases

It’s most effective to put goods for sale that at least 3 of the 4 AI will buy. This allows nearly continuous sales. If you put an item on sale that only 1 or 2 AI will buy, you won’t make many sales, although this can still be worth it if the item in question has a high sales price.

Items that all 4 AI will buy are tools, stone, salt, iron ore, iron, ropes, weapons, war machines, cannons, and provisions. War machines and cannons are the big profit items but weapons, ropes, and tools are decent values too, in that order.

The items in highest demand that 3 out of 4 AI will buy are spices, brocade robes, perfume, candlesticks, pearl necklaces, and ropes (4 of 4 will buy). Referring to the Profitability page, candlesticks, brocade robes, perfume, and pearl necklaces are the most profitable of these goods, in that order.

Other items just slightly less in demand that 3 out of 4 AI will buy are meat, marzipan, leather jerkins, fur coats, and carpets. Marzipan is the big profit item but fur coats, leather jerkins, and carpets are great too, in that order.

Some of the most profitable items that 2 of the 4 AI will buy are bread, beer, wine, coffee, books, and glasses. Wine is the big profit item but glasses, coffee, and books are great too, in that order.

Tip: Giacomo will buy and sell everything, except he won’t sell dates, which appears to be a game bug.

Passive selling screen

Passive-selling

Passive selling screen

When you click crate+coin icon, you will see something like the thing here on the right. You click "+" sign to pick a good to be passively bought (almost never worth it, unless you follow tip at bottom, which will help you speed growth on undeveloped islands**). You click "-" sign to pick a good for sales (up to 8 goods when you upgrade your Warehouse to last level).

After you click the "-" you will be asked to pick particular good and later a slider will show up allowing you to set how many of each good you want to keep in your Warehouse. On the image I set the amount to 20 which means my Warehouse will only sell goods if there are more than 20 (I only sell those that are surplus).

In short if I have 34 Rope and have 20 set to be kept, my Warehouse will only sell the extra 14. It's very handy to prevent NPC ships from emptying your stockpiles of food and building materials. The number in red under the pictured good shows how many of are to be sold, for example there are 90 surplus Tools to be traded.

If you click on a good you are selling, the pile of gold icon above the slider opens another slider that allows you to manipulate selling (or buying) price of that particular good. I find average prices to be very well balanced so I usually don't tamper with them. You may want to consider setting prices of goods you really have tons of (Wood, Stone?) to lower values so NPCs buy more of them, and increase prices of goods you don't have many of to get better bargains on them.

The top of the screen here shows last deals, it's worth checking out time to time to see what sells best and what doesn't sell at all. Should give hint how to set prices.

Tips

  • Click the Attainments icon (little shield on the bottom-right of your screen) and use your Honor points to expand trading fleets. Each stage of this attainment will improve the rate at which ships visit (exception of the venetian trade fleet), the quantity of goods they handle and the money they have available. This greatly improves the rate at which your goods will passively shift (thus profit) as well as improves the quantity of goods the AI are willing to sell to you.
  • Sign a pact with the Corsairs. This not only stops your trade ships and harbors from being raided by them but also grants you access to their trading fleets. Although they are the worst of all the passive traders, they can still do deals worth thousands of coins. With a few trade fleet upgrade attainments for the Corsairs, you can easily find yourself making a profit. Eventually you can become permanently allied to the Corsairs so they will never attack you again or ask for tribute.
  • Sign trade treaties with AI players. They will come buy and sell things at your Warehouses which will improve your standing with them as well as reduce your unwanted stock or replenish needed goods.
  • NPC ships visit all Warehouses on the map before idling for a period of time so to maximize the number of purchases they make you should always have something for sale in all your Warehouses. Build an excess factory or two on each of your islands and offer goods for sale even if it has to be Wood or Stone.
  • Excess capacity for luxury goods like Pearl Necklaces shift very easily and can earn you serious money. Military-related goods like Weapons, Cannons, or War Machines are a major universal seller. Keep producing and selling them to make a net profit.
  • It can be helpful to have distant production islands passively buy production goods (Wood, Stone, or Tools) so you never are in a situation where you need to expand production but must ship production goods across the entire ocean before you can build.
  • If you notice a certain good is decreasing over time (a down arrow on the Warehouse icon), you can supplement this good by passively buying the good. This is useful when you know you're short on a certain food or luxury good but don't want to build the production yourself (although it's always cheaper in the end to produce goods yourself).

Profitability of goods

This list shows how much gold per minute you can make with each production building.[1]

Keep in mind that since these values are per final production building, long production chains get high numbers. It is possible that two smaller chains can together achieve the same profit yet take up the same space.

There are two ways of selling goods:

  • Active sales - when you go to AI islands to sell goods.
  • Passive sales - when AI traders come to your warehouses and buy from you.

You can will get 2.5 times as much from Passive sales than Active sales (you can set the price on an active sale but 2.5 in the default value).

Further information and instructions on Passive sales can be read about here.

Example

One Redsmith's Workshop produces 2 tons of candlesticks per minute. Northburgh offers 194 gold per ton of candlesticks on an Active sale, so that's a revenue of 388 gold per minute. If Northburgh sails to you he will pay 485 per ton, which works out at 970 per minute.

A redsmith costs 60 gold in maintenance, and requires 0.75 copper smelters and 1.5 candlemakers for raw materials. A copper smelter costs 40 gold and requires 1 copper mine (40 gold) and 2/3 of a charcoal burner (10). A candlemaker (40) requires 2 apiaries (15) and 1 hemp farm (20). The total maintenance cost for 1 redsmith-chain is 60 + 0.75 * (40+40+2/3*10) + 1.5 * (40+2*15+20) = 60 + 0.75 * (86.67) + 1.5 * (90) = 260.

The net profit from an Active Sale is 388-260=128 gold per minute.

The net profit from an Passive Sale is 970-260=710 gold per minute.

Profitabilities

The values are the profit in gold per minute you make from selling the goods created by one production building to the computer. Maintenance costs for buildings producing raw materials are accounted for; market buildings/ship maintenance is not, and neither are noria/mine refill costs.

All values are rounded to the nearest integer.

Note, goods requiring ore, salt, bear caves, coral reefs or rivers in its Production chain are not sustainable and/or production size is limited by the low amount of natural resource locations. For mass producing, it is optimal to choose sustainable goods grown on a farm that require less land space. For example, an island usually averages 15 or less resources, compared to large islands that have room for 100-300 sustainable farms unrestricted by natural resources. An asterisk (*) indicates an optimal good for mass production because it is both sustainable and unlimited.  

Active Sale

Good Gold / minute +25% +50% +75%
Candlestick Candlestick 128 Gold coins 230 Gold coins 362 Gold coins 479 Gold coins
Brocade robes Brocade robes 107 Gold coins 189 Gold coins 270 Gold coins 352 Gold coins
Leather jerkins Leather jerkins 87 Gold coins 128 Gold coins 170 Gold coins 211 Gold coins
Coffee Coffee* 77 Gold coins 118 Gold coins 158 Gold coins 199 Gold coins
Perfume Perfume* 75 Gold coins 131 Gold coins 188 Gold coins 244 Gold coins
Marzipan Marzipan 72 Gold coins 150 Gold coins 228 Gold coins 306 Gold coins
Provisions Provisions Package, Large[2] 69 Gold coins N/A N/A N/A
Provisions Provisions Package, Medium[2] 68 Gold coins N/A N/A N/A
Glasses Glasses 60 Gold coins 113 Gold coins 165 Gold coins 218 Gold coins
Wine Wine 57 Gold coins 118 Gold coins 178 Gold coins 239 Gold coins
Carpets Carpets* 56 Gold coins 96 Gold coins 137 Gold coins 177 Gold coins
Pearl necklaces Pearl necklaces 55 Gold coins 96 Gold coins 138 Gold coins 179 Gold coins
Fur coats Fur coats 54 Gold coins 105 Gold coins 155 Gold coins 206 Gold coins
Bread Bread* 34 Gold coins 60 Gold coins 86 Gold coins 112 Gold coins
Animal hides Animal hides* 33 Gold coins 45 Gold coins 53 Gold coins 69 Gold coins
Mosaic Mosaic 32 Gold coins 60 Gold coins 88 Gold coins 115 Gold coins
Books Books 30 Gold coins 68 Gold coins 105 Gold coins 143 Gold coins
Coffee beans Coffee beans* 30 Gold coins 43 Gold coins 55 Gold coins 68 Gold coins
Linen garments Linen garments* 27 Gold coins 50 Gold coins 73 Gold coins 96 Gold coins
Candles Candles* 26 Gold coins
Brass Brass 25 Gold coins
Flour Flour* 24 Gold coins
Weapons Weapons 24 Gold coins 50 Gold coins 76 Gold coins 102 Gold coins
Cannons Cannons 22 Gold coins
Ropes Ropes* 18 Gold coins 38 Gold coins 57 Gold coins 77 Gold coins
Barrels Barrels 18 Gold coins
Furs Furs 18 Gold coins
Provisions Provisions Package, Small[2] 18 Gold coins N/A N/A N/A
Tools Tools 17 Gold coins 49 Gold coins 81 Gold coins 112 Gold coins
Iron Iron 16 Gold coins
War machines War machines* 16 Gold coins 68 Gold coins 120 Gold coins 171 Gold coins
Glass Glass 16 Gold coins 34 Gold coins 52 Gold coins 69 Gold coins
Beer Beer* 14 Gold coins
Paper Paper 12 Gold coins
Potash Potash* 10 Gold coins
Indigo Indigo* 9 Gold coins
Copper ore Copper ore 8 Gold coins
Coal Coal (via Charcoal burner's hut)* 8 Gold coins
Pearls Pearls 8 Gold coins
Rose oil Rose oil* 8 Gold coins
Clay Clay* 7 Gold coins
Silk Silk* 7 Gold coins
Spices Spices* 6 Gold coins
Coal Coal (via Coal mine) 6 Gold coins
Grapes Grapes* 5 Gold coins
Milk Milk* 4 Gold coins
Quartz Quartz 4 Gold coins
Hemp Hemp* 4 Gold coins
Iron ore Iron ore 4 Gold coins
Brine Brine 4 Gold coins
Gold ore Gold ore 3 Gold coins
Cider Cider* 3 Gold coins
Beeswax Beeswax* 3 Gold coins
Almonds Almonds* 3 Gold coins
Fish Fish* 3 Gold coins
Herbs Herbs* 2 Gold coins
Wood Wood* 1 Gold coins
Wheat Wheat* 1 Gold coins
Meat Meat -3 Gold coins
Stone Stone -4 Gold coins
Sugar Sugar -6 Gold coins
Sugar cane Sugar cane* -9 Gold coins
Cattle Cattle* -14 Gold coins
Salt Salt -19 Gold coins
Gold Gold -28 Gold coins
Dates Dates* -33 Gold coins

Mass production requires setting up trade route to sell the goods at a neutral city and for this...perfume is the highest ranked, because perfume is efficient, sustainable and only limited by map land space. Also, Giacomo Garibaldi has a hidden bonus to buy perfume for a higher price than any other good at 256 gold each. (keeping in mind that selling directly to neutral city ports does reduce the price, however is required to sell mass produced quantities.)

Note, that Productivity Items can increase profits past a simple, e.g., +25% of a product's gold/minute profitability, because the sell price of the final product is not a fixed proportion of the cost of producing it (some products are better deals, relative to the cost of making them).

Passive Sale

Good

Gold / minute

Candlesticks

710

Brocade robes

592

Marzipan

540

Wine

417

Perfume

413

Fur coats

343

Leather jerkins

332

Glasses

330

Coffee

320

Pearl necklaces

303

Carpets

296

War machines

279

Cannons

275

Books

255

Candles

200

Mosaic

198

Brass

193

Bread

190

Meat

185

Weapons

180

Linen garments

165

Sugar

150

Ropes

135

Barrels

132

Tools

125

Paper

120

Flour

120

Glass

117

Iron

115

Animal hides

105

Coffee beans

105

Beer

101

Furs

89

Gold ore

83

Pearls

80

Copper ore

80

Potash

70

Rose oil

64

Gold

63

Spices

60

Coal (II)

60

Silk

54

Indigo

51

Grapes

50

Hemp

40

Iron ore

40

Brine

40

Milk

40

Quartz

40

Clay

39

Coal

35

Salt

35

Beeswax

30

Almonds

30

Fish

30

Sugar cane

30

Cider

30

Herbs

20

Stone

20

Wheat

10

Wood

10

Cattle

3

Dates

-15

Profitable goods overview

The following is a walk-through of the profitability of goods at various stages.

Peasant
Peasant level At the beginning of the game you will be desperate to sell anything to improve your account balance so you should place additional lumberjacks's huts, fishermans and cider farms and offer their products for sale. If you're very short on money, you may wish to actively sell these goods since the delay between passive trading can be quite long in the beginning of the game. Also note: No one passively buys Cider in Anno 1404, but Garibaldi passively buys it in the Venice expansion.
Citizen
Citizen level As the game progresses switch from selling basic goods to more advanced citizen goods since those produce much more income. So instead of selling fish, wood and cider you can begin selling goods such stone, tools, linen garments and ropes. These goods are very popular with computer player ships. If you have enough excess to sell, the computer ships will pay you a few thousands coins per visit to your island. Rope, specifcally, is a massive early-game money maker despite the Ropemaker's relatively high cost. Also note: You may still offer basic goods for sale in your more remote warehouses but your main island should quickly move to offering more advanced products.
Patricians
Patrician level Next sell the overproduction of patrician goods that your population isn't consuming. This includes producing extra beer, bread, weapons, leather jerkins and books. Ship them to your main island and passively sell the surplus to computer player ships. These goods are your main earners for majority of the game. Along with progressing sales on your main island to patrician goods, you should also move your auxiliary islands a level up and make them offer tools, linen garments and ropes instead of the wood and stone these islands sold before.
Nobleman
Nobleman level The principle stays the same, you want to overproduce goods for your population and offer surplus in your warehouse. Noblemen goods are very profitable and will quickly lift your treasury to hundreds of thousands of coins so it's really worth to push for these products fast.
Nomads
Nomad goods are not big earners early on since they are based on single plantations and don't sell for good prices. Spices, dates or milk don't sell for much better than the price of wood so don't rely on income from this goods. But this changes when higher levels of buildings are unlocked. Carpets, glass (produced from quartz so the chain should be placed somewhere south despite being an occidental need) and mosaic are as good of earners as patrician goods so you should strive to produce surpluses of these goods and offer them for sale on multiple islands.
Envoys
Envoy level Envoy chains of production are incredibly profitable. A very solid earner is coffee. Have numerous coffee chains and sell every single ton your envoys do not drink. Perfume is very profitable since the buildings don't take up much space (three rose plantations and one perfumery per supply chain). Pearl necklaces are also profitable, and remember you can put multiple huts of pearl fisher's on one reef. Also very profitable is marzipan. Just find an island with both sugar and almond fertilities (you can purchase seeds from the Grand Vizir to plant on an island) and watch your treasury increase phenomenally.

Overall, when considering the profitability of goods, Tools, Rope, and Carpet are great early-game money makers to rush to and get your economy going. Al Zahir frequently offers a Carpet productivity Item which can help, but unfortunately it is a patrician item, so you can't get it very early in a game.

Although the good(s) that you choose to push first should help decide which Merchant Fleet attainments you choose, realistically, the AI players can buy more than you can make initially, anyway. (Remember, Northburg and Al Zahir want goods from the other culture; Al Zahir will not buy carpets.)

As of the early mid-game, Leather Jerkins becomes another good choice. Together with Carpet, you can then push volumes of profitable goods to all three of the big passive buyers.

Most profitable items

By comparing the profitability guide to the goods bias table above, a list can be created showing which items will result in the highest profits for passive sales. This list can be used to greatly boost income as the player progresses in the game.

Most profitable in order of game progression

Tools (125), ropes (135), leather jerkins (332), carpets (296), weapons (180), books (255), fur coats (343), coffee (320), war machines (279), cannons (275), wine (417), pearl necklaces (303), perfume (413), marzipan (540), glasses (330), candlesticks (710), and brocade robes (592).

Most profitable overall

Candlesticks (710), brocade robes (592), marzipan (540), wine (417), perfume (413), fur coats (343), leather jerkins (332), glasses (330), coffee (320), pearl necklaces (303), carpets (296), war machines (279), cannons (275), books (255), weapons (180), ropes (135), and tools (125).

Comparison of lists

Note that the two lists above are generally inversions of each other because the profitability of items generally increases the more late-game the items are. However, several outliers can be found that allow great profits earlier than “intended”. The first is leather jerkins, an early-ish good that is quite profitable even at the late game! Next is fur coats, which you can get in the mid-game if you push to 950 nobles without much delay. At the late-game perfume, wine, marzipan, brocade robes, and candlesticks are the kings of profitability.

Final recommendations

It’s highly recommended to never build more production than necessary to meet your people’s needs. However, as shown on this page, there are several goods worth producing in great abundance to passively sell. In the early to mid game it’s best to only focus on one or two of these items. As you progress, you can add more items to passively sell since you can afford it.

In the very beginning, produce and sell extra tools if you have extra iron resources available. Then consider selling ropes since all 4 AI will buy this. Once you get leather jerkins production up, produce as much as possible to sell since this is your most profitable item for a while. Then switch to over-producing fur coats once you’ve got them unlocked.

Eventually you’ll have all goods being produced and now you can focus on whatever’s most doable given your land/resource limitations.

Many players will choose pearl necklaces production since, although it’s not nearly as profitable as some higher-end goods, it’s the quickest to mass produce. It only requires a pearl reef, which can support usually 4-8 chains of 1 pearl fisherman’s huts and one pearl workshops. Also, it can be unlocked very early at 1040 Envoys, is easy to set up and takes very little space. It can easily be a backbone of your economy for most of the game length.

Other chains that are easy to set up, use little space and give good profits are tools, weapons, mosaic, fur coats, glassess and brocade robes. Try not to pass opportunity to build them as soon as possible.

If you want to be the most profitable at the late end-game, focus solely on candlesticks, brocade robes, marzipan, and perfume. Be sure to grab every single 25% production boost items for these chains in order to make extreme money. Also be sure to get all the extended merchant fleet attainments ASAP.

Summary

As soon as you can afford it, place additional production chains on as many islands as possible and offer the goods they produce to passing by NPC merchants. Also prioritize spending your Honor Points on building up the trading fleets of Lord Northburgh and Grand Vizier Al Zahir so they both visit more often and make bigger purchases. This will create a steady inflow of cash and will allow for progress to higher levels of citizenship. Also start offering more sophisticated goods for sale and reduce production of basic ones to levels that satisfy your population.

Notes

  1. Spreadsheet with calculations. All production rates/quantities and maintenance costs were taken from the game using ToolOne, calculations and space usages created by author.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Provisions profitability is not in gold/minute, but in gold per provisions package. See Provision house for more information.

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