The Lord of Ultima Trade Minister is a very powerful assistant which allows you to set up automation for moving goods between your cities with ease. The Trade Minister's design allows him to fill many different rolls and suit many different play styles, on the other hand the Trade Minister isn't Superman, and does have some limitations. There are some setups that he simply does not support.
The aim of this FAQ is to show you what a Trade Minister can, and cannot, do. This FAQ should help you troubleshoot Trade Minister problems and also covers the most flexible and most powerful setups currently in use.
== Common problems ==
Be patient. The Trade Minister has a lot of logistics to keep track off.. It can take some time for the Trade Minister to discover a resource need and trigger a trade. For best practice we recommend to give the Trade Minister up to 15 minutes before you really start to become worried.
If there are red warnings printed on screen, read them carefully. They can help you discover a problem with your setup. If a value field or a city is printed in red then the Trade Minister will not be able to fulfill your request.
Watch out for tooltips. The Trade Minister setup screen has a lot of tooltips. Some of them explain the rules of the Trade Minister while others point out specific problems. Others simply provide useful information.
Common problems with sending goods Edit
This section covers some common sticking points which people have been known to come across when setting their minister to send goods from one city to another.
Make sure you have selected a target city.
The current and the target city must be on the same continent or both have access to water. Otherwise you cannot send goods.
Verify you did not disable sending/purifying goods. The control switch at the bottom of the settings is great for disabling sending more goods in emergency situations but it is very easily left set afterwards and very easy to overlook.
Verify the receiving city does not have incoming goods disabled. Again, a nice switch for specific circumstances, but easy to accidently leave switched on.
Remember the Trade Minister can only purify resources when the city has a Moonglow Tower of level 10.
Note that the Trade Minister sends goods away (or purifies) only once the surplus has reached 100,000. Not less. The actual amount of goods sent around is then defined by your transport capacity, but it still only sends packages of at least 30,000. So if your surplus is only 2,000, do not worry. But also be assured, if the Trade Minister detects that your storage would overrun, it acts even when it has to go below the surplus. For example, imagine the storage capacity of your city is 300,000 wood and this is also the target amount. Now a raiding group comes home and brings home 1,000 wood. Storage does not have the capacity for this additional wood, so the Trade Minister kicks in and either sends it to the target city or purifies the resources.
Please check that the city has enough carts/ships available to send the goods. For the minimum package of 30,000 goods, the Trade Minister needs 30 carts or 3 ships. If the transport capacity is not there, he will simply sit idle (and purify resources if they would get lost otherwise).
Important notice: if you set the target resource amount to maximum, your storage amount will always be displayed as full and shown in red color. But rest assured, the Trade Minister will purify all incoming resources exceeding the storage capacity and nothing will be lost.
Common problems with receiving goods Edit
This section covers problems which you may come upon when one city requests resources from another city.
Make sure you have selected a source city.
The source and the current city must be on the same continent or both have access to water. Otherwise you cannot request goods.
Verify you did not disable incoming goods in the requesting city.
Verify the source city (where you request the goods from) does not have outgoing goods disabled.
It could very well be the case the current city has all of the resources it needs already in storage. Compare the target amount with the current available amount.
The Trade Minister checks all incoming resources before requesting missing goods. He checks for incoming trades of all kinds, but also for troops returning from raids or plunders (or other kinds of attacks). Remember, that returning troops only grant you the resources once they have returned. So it may look like the Trade Minister is sitting idle, but in reality your troops have already solved the problem for him.
Be aware that the Trade Minister requests resources with a minimum package size of 30,000. Nothing less. So if your target amount is 25,000 the Trade Minister will never request resources, even if your storage is empty. The same goes for storage amount. If your storage is smaller than 30,000, then the Trade Minister will not activate. For founding new cities, the best strategy is to first build storage capacity of above 30,000 (either by upgrading your Townhall or by building Warehouses), then enable the Trade Minister and only then care for the other buildings.
Next you have to take a look at the source city. It may be that the source city does not have enough surpluses (amount stored above its target amount), so it cannot afford to send the requesting city any goods.
Also the source city is responsible for providing the carts or ships. If the source city does not have at least 30 carts or 3 ships available it will not send any goods.
Basic setup Edit
The following setup has proven to be successful in almost any situation. It covers most requirements, reduces manual work to a minimum and provides few chances to shoot yourself in the foot.
Phase 1 Edit
Assume you have only a few cities on one continent (we will call it continent 22 for the sake of this scenario), and no other settlements. Now this is simple. Found a new city to become your central storage warehouse. Place the city in the center of your other cities, so the transport times are minimal. Now build a good storage city, with many warehouses and market places. Don't waste your building slots on resource production. The goal for this city is to have at least 10,000,000 storage capacity for each resource type and a few thousand carts for transport. If you don't know how to setup such a city, take a look at the forum, you will find many great examples there. By the way, don't forget to build a Moonglow Tower!
Now as a next step set the target amount of each resource in the storage city to 0. Nothing else has to be done here.
For all other cities you first need to set up appropriate target amounts. If the city is still being built, make sure you enter 200,000 for wood and stone. If the city is also recruiting troops, you need to take care of iron and food as well (for example 500,000 of each type). Set the storage city as target for all surplus resources. You will also need to set the storage city as source for all missing resources.
Repeat this for all cities excluding the storage city, regardless of the purpose of the cities. For this to work, every city should have at least one or two Marketplaces, otherwise they would not be able to send the resources to the storage city.
Well, that was easy. And this really provides all the setup needed to get a little empire growing and prospering. Sending all resources to the storage city makes sure it is always full and requesting all necessary resources from the storage city makes sure no city is ever missing resources. The only thing you need to watch out for is the amount of carts in the storage city. For normal Trade Minister operations, you should always aim to have a surplus of carts left available.
Phase 2 Edit
Assuming you want to expand your empire and start a settlement on another continent (let's call it continent 23), the first thing to do is to found a new storage city. With that done, you should manually send resources from the C22 storage to the C23. Do not try to use the Trade Minister for that. All new settlements on C23 then get the same setup as the cities on C22 except they use the C23 storage city as central hub.
Again, very easy and little room for error. The important lesson here is that you should not try to connect the trade networks of C22 and C23. Only use trades manually initiated for moving resources between continents. The reason is that the Trade Minister is not designed to handle nested storage cities; it would either starve one cluster or the other. The best is to manually move resources between storage cities and let the Trade Minister take care of the local clusters.
The Trade Minister is a powerful assistant. He handles a lot of cases well, but as this document has shown, there is room to make mistakes when setting up his orders.
The example setups provided should point you in the right direction and provide a good indication of how to work with the Trade Minister. Only once you have played for a while with such setups should you try to optimize the patterns for your specific needs. It is important to have understood and experienced the basic pattern, so you have a fallback that always works if you run into problems.