When you have multiple cities, you can send resources from one city to another. Unfortunately, this always takes time, and time is also a valuable resource. Not all players can wait two hours for all resources to be moved from one city to another, especially if those cities are far away from each other.
In general, I prefer to have one merchant shop on each island that also has farms. All other cities on the same island will build other buildings instead, most often towers for protection. But I prefer to have one merchant city on any island that’s capable of generating a lot of resources. This city could then send a maximum of 22.500 resources instead of the regular 15.000 resources and is able to get even better exchange rates from the conquered farms, resulting in a bit more profit.
But a city that’s built to its maximum could contain up to 76.500 resources and it could also generate a lot more every hour, so when a city starts to fill up with resources and the city itself can’t exchange it with the farms or other players, or use it to create buildings, units or to discover new things, then those resources would be wasted, unless you sent them to other cities.
Now, let’s look at the following map, where city A is my merchant city and city B is a city that could use a lot of resources. The distance would be about 20 to 30 minutes but since I want to send 75.000 resources, it would take three or more trips to get it there. Thus, I need 90 minutes to move those resources. How to speed it up?
Fortunately, I have more cities on this island. A has 75.000 resources, B has none. C, D and E each have 15.000 resources but those will be needed for those cities themselves. The distance between A and C or D is about 10 minutes, between A and E 15 minutes and between A and B 30 minutes. C and D take 20 minutes to reach B and E takes 15 minutes to reach B. All cities have their marketplace at the highest level but A is also a merchant town.
I start by sending 11.250 resources from A to C and the same amount from A to D. At the same time, C, D and E will each send 15.000 resources to B.
After 10 minutes, C, D and E will still be waiting for their resources to reach B so I send 15.000 resources from A to E and an extra 3.750 to C and D for another total of 22.500 resources.
And 10 minutes later, the resources from C, D and E will have reached B for a total of 45.000 resources. C and D will each send another 7.500 resources but E is empty at this moment so it can’t send any. A will send 7.500 resources to C at this moment.
Then, 5 minutes later, E will receive 15.000 resources which it will send to B. A will send another 15.000 resources to E.
After another 5 minutes, A will be able to send 7.500 resources to D so it will.
I then have to wait another 10 minutes before the last 30.000 resources sent from C, D and E will reach B, and for D and E to get their resources back from A.
A transaction that would normally take two hours to complete has now been reduced to only 40 minutes. Not a bad improvement, right?
Using cities between your source and target to send resources could speed up trade considerably, especially if the cities in-between already have the resources that you want to send. Many players will send directly from A to B just because it’s simpler. It’s just four trade actions, while it took me 13 trades to move those resources. But what’s more important? Time? Or keeping the amounts of trades low?
It helps a lot if you trade often between cities, trying to send resources over the most optimal path. It takes some calculations but even if you don’t find the best path, using cities in-between will still save a considerable amount of time. And even if C, D and E had no resources to begin with, it would still have saved me a lot of time.
Players tend to forget how important trading can be. But to build armies and strengthen your cities you will need a lot of resources. Getting them in the right place as fast as you can is extremely important since it will speed up your development, especially if your time is limited. Trading can make you very strong, if you want to.
This example also shows how important it is to have multiple cities on a single island. Not only could those cities support each other with units but it also allows you to send a lot of resources from one place to another. And also notice that although A was capable to send more resources to B than the other cities, I’ve never sent resources directly from A to B. It’s not the ideal route. It would have even be more helpful if those cities were very close together so trade would just be a couple of minutes.
With even more cities between A and B I could have decided to use those other cities to speed up trade, sending from A to C, from C to D, from E to B instead. But finding the best path can be a bit of a challenge, requiring even more trade actions while saving a few more minutes.