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    Your Elvenar Team

Fair Trades?

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Buddy Fan Club member
Warning: Wall of Text:
I have tried to adopt alternate terminology to explain my preferences in how I approach trading in Elvenar. I have completely dropped the use of *fair/unfair* (and hopefully any negative connotations associated with those words). I have kept the star designations the game provides as a descriptor of the types of trades I place/take across the three tiers of standard goods. I have adopted the continuums of *simple to complicated* and *balanced to unbalanced* to explain my position:
My goal is to maintain a ratio close to 1:1:1 within each tier of my goods inventory on hand and consider my inventory *balanced* when I'm successful at this. I want to do this in the simplest way (for me) that I can. I'm not fixated on them being exactly equal; a couple million off in either direction isn't a concern within the same tier. As long as the lowest amount of any good within a tier meets my minimum expectations for 'goods on hand' all goods within that tier, I'm happy. I've been measuring my standard goods inventory in the millions and tens of millions for years now. For the early chapters, the idea was the same, but the actual numbers were smaller. I don't compare the inventory on hand across tiers, preferring to maintain levels within each tier relative to the demand on my city for them from my game. In general, I'm happiest when I have very high levels of T1, high levels of T2 and above average levels of T3 in storage.
When I place and accept trades only same-tier 2* or better, I can maintain a balanced goods inventory within each tier using simple math.
When I place and accept trades cross-tier 2* or better, I can maintain a balanced goods inventory within each tier using more complicated math.
If I were to try to determine the relative value to the market of various goods, then place and accept trades that allowed me to bring benefit to my city by utilizing trading without regard to star value or tier assigned to the goods, I could maintain a balanced goods inventory within each tier by using much more complicated math***.
Note the emphasis on *if*; I have not played this game this way. I'm not playing this game for the economic components. For one, it's not set up as an open market and rewards cooperation over competition making other econ market games more appealing if that's the part of my brain I want to tickle.
Here, I'm looking for the simplest way to maintain a balanced inventory of goods on hand within each tier. Hands down, that's placing and accepting only same tier 2* or better trades. No, I don't like wading through useless (to me) trades, but I stopped expecting the game to do anything about that years ago. While there had been overwhelming consensus among players that the 1:4:16 ratio was outrageous and that the game's decision to change that to what it is today was a good one, there were unexpected (at least by the vocal players) consequences. The most visible one now is: there's more cross trades posted. I don't like having to wade through those useless (to me) trades. That caused me to choose be in an FS that does not allow cross trades****, preserving one area where I could click with abandon and be of service to my FS with little effort on my part. Another side consequence is also very real: I don't visit the non-FS part of the trader nearly as often. When I do, it's usually 12-16 pages of standard goods trades and when I'm finished it's usually 5-8 pages of standard goods cross trades.
***I don't dislike math. I'm fairly proficient at it through Algebra. Advanced math beyond that makes my eyes glaze over. The only branch of math that never made sense to me was Accounting. Note that I tried to learn it in the days of ledger books and carbon paper, so there's that. Still, it's the only place I know of in math where the standard calculation and the reverse of the standard calculation totals (in other areas of math, that is a standard way to 'check' your answer for accuracy) can be in agreement and you can still be *out of balance* :confused: .
****Note that this is my 2nd city FS. The one where I built the city without the newbie *mistakes* made in the first one, including finding an FS made up of like-minded players. In the first city, I'm still in my first FS and am AM now, but it's a casual FS with fewer rules/requirements and allows cross trades.


Chef - Head Philologist
I would think that it's even less important to you than a fighter.
If you are catering/convincing/negotiating then you must go through millions of coins and supplies doing those and the cost to run your factories can't be more than a drop in the bucket. Or am I missing something?
I think I misunderstood your point in that last post, whoops! No, you're right, the cost in supplies and gold to run my manufactories is definitely a miniscule portion of what I use every week. My thought process was something like: a fighter has fairly fixed costs in a week (or at least foreseeable costs, if you decide to upgrade a building or research a technology), so it's easier for your budget to flex, while my costs are completely variable and unpredictable, so ignoring the one part of it that I actually could calculate, no matter how small, seemed more short-sighted in my case than that of a fighter. It was a rather roundabout train of thought that I'm not sure actually leads anywhere. Feel free to put in a complaint to the station master. ;)
Wonders do not favour T1 ofver T3 if they reduce the footprint of T1 they also remove the footprint of T3.
There is no wonder that returns population or culture to T3 but not T1.
Not in the same way. The needed space for workers is higher for t3 and therefore the wonders have a higher impact on that factor. The space needed for the factories however cannot be changed. Wonders affect the ratio like mentioned. I would do an example but I am to lazy and think that fact should be clear through logic alone, but maybe we are lucky and @MaidenFair does an example with wonders in the EA. :)
So, of the two scenarios I've tried so far, doing them both with and without wonders, one of them came out heavily in favor of the T3 producers when the wonders were added, as you expected @Killy- , but the other came out with a clear advantage for the T1 producers even after adding the wonders, as you said @CrazyWizard , so I don't really know what to do with that. I suspect it's highly dependent on which chapter you're in, i.e. which factory type has been upgraded most recently. I'll try to run a few more scenarios tomorrow afternoon and get some screenshots this time. (Trying to do EA and watch football at the same time yesterday was not conducive to comprehensive data collection. XD )


Well-Known Member
Let me try some numbers again. Let's say we have t1 and t3 factories with 50 space each and additional 50 (t1) and 175 (t3) tiles for workers etc. Now we can start with nice 100 tiles for t1 and 225 tiles for t3 with the magical ratio 1:2.25. Now let's improve the worker buildings etc. to be double as effective with magic building, wonder levels and what have you - getting the additional space down to 25 (t1) and 87.5 (t3). Total space needed now 75 for t1 and 137.5 for t3. The new ratio is now 1:1.83 and clearly not the same as before. Maybe that one helps?

In both fellowships I am in, we don't have any rules against crosstier and it is never a problem. I myself downtrade my t6 all the time with 3 stars and never had any problems with it.


Oh Wise One
Cross trades are sometimes a blessing let me give you some examples from when I love to take them (even if they are technically bad)

When I need for example T4 and T5 for a research.
When I was doing the revenge chapter there was a point where I traded a lot of T7 for T8, I needed T8 for the reseach and I did not want to bother with the decay on both when waiting to get enough T8. the other time I trades T8 for T7 because the other way made it quicker and avoiding decay.

New chapter I started too late at building a T9 factory. I can just wait and do nothing when I need T9 or I can trade T7-8 for T9 so I can keep advancing.

Similar situations happened when I started this game. I needed some T3 for an house upgrade or a reseach and had plenty T1 bit no T3. so I traded 1 for the other so I wasn't stuck.

Cross tier trades absolutely have there place.


Mathematician par Excellence
I myself downtrade my t6 all the time with 3 stars and never had any problems with it.

let me give you some examples from when I love to take them (even if they are technically bad)

When I need for example T4 and T5 for a research.
Let's not mix decaying temporary goods with regular ones.
Even I, (arguably the poster child for hating cross-trades) am totally fine with sentient cross-trading.

The difference lies mainly in that there is often a huge demand for T4-6 that is temporary:
E.G. a tech will ask for 200K T4, then the next one 200k T5.
It would be ridiculous to have multiple factories making T4,5, and 6 only to use one of them while the others rot away. Constantly using teleports isn't great either.
Non-fighters might be reasonably expected to have some sort of balance since they have constant(?) spire costs, but for fighters, the spikes in demand make it unrealistic so I don't expect anyone to maintain one.

That said, when going through chapters I just made extra T6 factories and traded 1:1, and when not going through chapters I either ditch all of my T4-6 on to FS members at monstrous 3-star rates or take any 2-star(regular or cross) that I can find in the trader (when I'm there) simply to help out.
when I started this game. I needed some T3 for an house upgrade or a reseach and had plenty T1 bit no T3. so I traded 1 for the other so I wasn't stuck.
Sure, we all hit that spot where the game first asks for T3 and we were just starting out with our pathetic T3 production. There's nothing wrong with getting unstuck like that. Especially since trading up has never been the issue.

Cross tier trades absolutely have there place
Indeed. That place just isn't in my FS :p


Mathematician par Excellence
I am sure neither side has budged a cm from their original positions on the issue.
Not true! My position is now even further in the direction it was leaning before this thread :)Progress!


Chef - Head Philologist
I do. Ban cross trades. :p
LOL. Not quite where I was going, but fair enough. :p
Woohoo…another 4 pages later and I am sure neither side has budged a cm from their original positions on the issue. Can’t wait to do this all over again in a month. :)
Yeah, sorry, largely my fault. *grimace*

Okay, so probably my last post on this, because, as @crackie astutely pointed out, nobody is likely to actually change their opinion on this topic. But I promised screenshots, so here's what I've found so far:
Elves, Planks and Magic Dust boosts, Halflings chapter -
Because I don't feel like fiddling with setups to get exactly the ratio of production, you'll notice this actually has a 252% production of planks and even with wonders, that still only takes 97% of the space. T1 wins!
Without wonders, it looks like this:
T1 wins again, although by a slimmer margin this time, needing 98% of the space to produce 252%.

Elves, Marble and Elixir boosts, Team Spirit chapter-
So in this case, the T3 comes out better with T1 needing 104% of the space to produce 239% of the materials (although I think if you allow for the fact that the T1 production is still higher than the recommended "even" trade ratio, they might actually be equal to produce, but I digress).
Interestingly enough, in this scenario, the T1 actually saved the most space on adding the wonders, because without the wonders the T3 is waaay better, with the T1 initially needing 113% of the space. So in this case, the wonders got the T1 much closer to being equal in production with the T3 but the T3 still has a definite edge. T3 ftw!

I was going to do a third comparison but I've run out of steam, so I'll leave it there.

My conclusion from all of this? I am not good at EA layouts. :p More importantly, (based on my limited dataset) there is no one right answer as to whether T3 is cheaper to produce than T1. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't, so it depends on chapter (and possibly boost) whether crosstrades are profitable or harmful to both the poster and taker. In general, it seems like they come close to balancing out, so I definitely think using language like "scam" and "exploitative" to describe crosstier trading, as the initial post did, is inaccurate. Depending on the chapter of those taking the crosstier trades, the poster may actually be giving out quite favorable trades. That doesn't mean anyone has to like them (looking at you, @SoggyShorts ;) ), but they are not inherently unfair across the board since the rebalancing of the trade ratios, and T3 is not always cheaper to produce than T1, even allowing for end-game wonder levels. (I'm going to pretend T2 doesn't exist, because I don't feel like adding another variable into this already brain-bending Architect session, lol.)

Enevhar Aldarion

Oh Wise One
Look, no matter how often this comes up, as long as cross-tier trades exist, it will never be settled, because you could take 100 different players and probably get 100 variations on the subject. So enough of the White Room and Strawman examples and arguments. Inno has to use a baseline for calculating the ratio and what is "fair" and that almost definitely means using normal residences and normal workshops and normal roads and factories of equal level and the max relic boost of 700%, so no AWs increasing that, and no active enchantments, and likely using chapter 9+ sizes for residences and workshops, since they don't become equal in size between elf and human until chapter 8 or 9 research. Anything else is optional and will give you different values for whether 1:1.5:2.25 is actually equal in cost to produce or not. I am in chapter 20, but I would never tell someone in chapter 5 or 10 that my production ratio is what it should be for everyone in the game. That would be misleading and unfair to earlier chapter players. So can people please stop it with all the blanket statements about stuff in this game.


Chef - loquacious Old Dog
While my position on the matter has not moved, I do have to admit that I've learned a lot. And that's a good thing. I've learned that some people focus on the structure of trading in gaming and not the human motivation. They take the "cooperative" part of the built in trader and assume that's the purpose/desire of the trader. They then call for others to do more cooperative things...like agree to use the star system as the actual measure of the trade, don't do cross tier and only offer one and no star trades under certain circumstances). They seem to do this because it makes the game easier for newer players and less a bother for them (a thing one might do if one were focused on being cooperative). And I've learned that, no matter what you do, the human tendencies to use what resources you can to improve your city play will impinge on all aspects of the game...and that means lessening the supposed "cooperative" nature of the trader... and engaging in trading that benefits you with less regard for how it makes some other players feel.

But most of what I've learned is to doubt the math. Not that the math might not be accurate when it takes in the data available, but that it cannot account for the human proclivities inherent in any trade on any trading board, in game or out. In the end then, there are three approached I get from this. The "math is king" approach, the "I'll go along to get along" approach, and the "I enjoy using the trader to benefit my city without too much regard to cooperation" approach. I'm in the latter group, of course. A good deal of people are in the second, and I believe, few are really in the first.

Few really sit and do the math of a trade. They, instead, rely on the star system to tell them what this or that is worth compared to that or this. If everybody did that Soggy, no doubt, would be very, very happy. Everything would be even and if all the resources were being produced evenly, we'd all be cooperatively happy. But of course, things have never been in that idealized state, have they?

The middle approach is used by many as the rules of a good deal of fellowships insist on it to some degree or other. Thus, they usually do a lot 3 star trades to accomplish the same thing as doing the verboten 1 and 0 star trades, but without offending anyone. "Go along to get along," works pretty well and doesn't rock the boat. To make this work, gain, you have to have pretty balanced production. It isn't the case and thus just using the star "quick and easy" method actually means either stockpiling a lot of surplus or using 3-star trades -- thus giving away goods to make the trade and not, therefore "balanced."

The last approach suffers in that it does not promote or hinder cooperation so much as it just lets everyone be whatever they are and do as they please. Thus, any market surplus production eventually devalues the goods in the eyes of those holding those goods and they trade them at a discount. The more things they can trade them for, the faster the surplus disappears. It's not cooperative in the way some would like it, but it is more effective and beats waiting for the devs to "fix" the problem. We saw in the scrolls problem that the scrolls surplus was going away before the devs made the changes they made to "fix" the problem of over-production. And we know that people did cut down their scrolls production to adjust their cities to the scrolls surplus. So leaving things alone and opening the markets, we know from experience, does work, even if it takes a while.

In the end, opening the scope of trades (allowing cross tier and even zero and one star trades) would make thing better because then people would/could dump surplus goods at discounts as well as bonuses (as they do 3 star trades). This would, then, "fix" things faster.



Chef, Scroll-Keeper, Buddy's #1 Fan
Yeah, sorry, largely my fault. *grimace*
I don't know why you guys are apologizing. It's an open forum. I'm just applauding everyone's tenacity and effort to argue passionately for their side while convincing nobody new in the process and knowing you'll have to do it all over again in a month when someone starts another thread or bumps an old one again. :)

Carry on, carry on...
(I have popcorn if anyone wants any.)


Well-Known Member
@MaidenFair Thx for the effort. :)
I would do 2 setups with the same factories but once with magic houses and wonders and once with normal stuff and no wonders and take a look how the ratio is changing. However clicking through the EA is to much work, you got my respect for all those setups.
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