TOP 10 TIPS for Playing East India Company
1. Iron Wares are a more valuable export item than their profit margin might imply. Although you won’t get rich by trading them, they are an essential component for upgrading most port buildings, so keep a supply of them in the Warehouses of the ports you control. After all, if you wind up squeezed for cash or need to make room in that port’s Warehouse, you can always sell them instantly at the Trading Post.
2. As your fleet’s crews level up their navigation experience, the view range of their fleet increases as well. You can further improve a fleet’s view range by choosing the Eagle Eyes skill for a fleet commander who levels up.
3. When importing Main Trade Items (MTI) that you don’t plan to sell right away, balance your fleets’ cargo between MTIs and high-profit generic trade items. This helps ensure that you’ll still be able to cover the cost of the voyage by having something to sell when you return to your Home Port, since you won’t be turning an immediate profit by storing MTIs in your Warehouse.
4. Your fleet sails at the speed of its lowest ship, so don’t handicap faster ships by pairing them with slower ones in the same fleet. A Schooner’s greatest asset is its high speed, but if you put it in a fleet with the much slower Galleon, you’ll have taken away the Schooner’s biggest advantage.
5. After a battle is resolved, you sometimes have the option of seizing one or more ships from the defeated fleet. However, if you already have five ships in your fleet, you cannot add any captured ships to your fleet. You might want to limit your warship fleets to four ships if you want to be able to take command of the remaining ships in fleets that you defeat.
6. Take good care of your ships, especially the larger and more expensive ones. Not only does replacing them cost a small fortune, it also takes a long time. Losing a 90-Gun Ship-of-the-Line, for instance, means that you’ll be without its replacement for 15 months. Never skimp on repair costs, and never sail a damaged fleet unless you have no other option.
7. You will always take an up-front financial hit when you assemble a fleet from scratch. Constructing a fleet of three Brigs, for example, costs a total of 150,000£ and takes 15 months from start to finish. During that time, those ships are not earning you any money, so your other fleets need to make up that financial shortfall. You can set sail with only one or two ships from that fleet before they’re all ready, but you’ll still have to pay commander and crew salaries.
8. Want to improve your profit margins without building more fleets? Upgrade the Trading Posts of ports that you control and trade with frequently (being mindful of the increased upkeep costs that come with the improvements), and assign trading skills like Organizer, Haggler, and Salesman to your fleet commanders when they level up.
9. Automatic trading routes (ATR) can be a huge time-saver, but they can also wreck your finances if you don’t keep a generous cash cushion in your Treasury to cover the purchases of export items and Main Trade Items. A good rule of thumb is to have 200,000£ on hand at all times per ATR.
10. If you find your profits dropping after setting up a number of Automatic Trading Routes (ATR), it’s probably because their timing is off, and those fleets are short of cash when it’s time for them to sell their export items and purchase Main Trade Items, which causes them to purchase cheaper and less profitable generic trade items. If this happens, cancel the ATRs and manually micro-manage your trading until you’ve rebuilt your cash cushion.