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< 12 Geographica Battle Minia | Index | 14 Espionage >

13 Trade

Because of the five primary resources in Battle Mines you directly control only one, trade is the vital lifeblood of any enterprise you undertake. Some players may specialize in base materials, refined materials, items, or food, and make them available to others at lower prices. Others may opt for a more balanced approach, enabling them to better weather adversity and market fluctuations. Bauxite is enough to get your economy off the ground, but what about defending yourself? What of gathering information? Trade can be used tactically against an enemy even while building up your own might.

On the trade screen, you can sort by object categories to quickly find the kind of trade you're looking for. To access a player's trades, build an outpost for their land. If you can see a trade, it is available to you, and the exchange is only a click away, caveat emptor.

Trades are offered by declaring quantities of a single object, for both sides of the trade, with an option to made the trade repeat. Repeating trades will remain available as long as your inventory can cover them, and even after they will remain visible to players with access to your trades. All posted trades may also be accessed globally, see Global Trade for more details.

The number of trades you are able to make is important. With a greater variety of posted trades you have better chances of getting something you want for something you don't need. The following table outlines how your available number of trades is decided.

Factor Number of trades
Basic number of trades 2
First customs house +1
First office tower +1
Anarchy -1
Capitalism / Syndicalism +1
Monarchy with an outpost for every neighbour +2
Bureaucracy x 2 (After all preceding modifiers)

If you try to add more trades than you are allowed to make without first deleting some, old trades will be bumped off the bottom of the list. If your number of available trades goes down, your current trades won't be affected until you try to change them.

A special trade called a vassal trade is available only to masters of vassals, and cannot be disabled by the vassal. See Vassalage for more details. Idle players have their trades posted for them, see Idle Players for details.

13.1 Global Trade

Global trade allows you to extend your economic grasp beyond your immediate neighbourhood to the wider world in general. Even if you can't find a local buyer for steel, someone on the other side of Battle Minia is desperate for it and will pay top dollar.

Global trades appear in green, alongside local trades on the trade screen. If not taken, they will rotate out every six hours or so. Global trading is anonymous and untargeted; every normal trade that is posted has a random chance to be accessed as a global trade by other players.

The number of global trades you can access is important, because not all of them will be exactly what you need. How many are available to you is determined by two types of buildings:

This total is only the minimum number of trades you will be able to access; as long as you have at least one global trade, you may find more appearing on the trade screen. Unfortunately, because of sketchy communication lines across such large distances, global trades may be misreported as valid more often than the local variety. Any global trade found to be invalid is immediately removed from your trades list and replaced.

13.2 IWI Trade

As omnipotent multinational entities go, one could do worse than the IWI. Always looking out for the little guy, rewarding the bold, and reigning in the avaricious. To achieve so much, they too must dabble in the markets, and to that end you will find them accepting your trades right along with your neighbors.

The IWI will consider all your trades, so posting more gives more exposure and increases the odds of acceptance. Like other players, they appreciate a good deal, and are more likely to go for generous trades than greedy ones. They will completely ignore trades where the price is too steep, or where a vast quantity of goods is requested. Bureaucracy government trades are taken 25% more often by the IWI.

In addition to accepting your trades directly, the IWI augment your neighboring and global trade roster with a couple of trades of their own. In yellow, you will notice a Trade of the Hour and Trade of the Day, one for base materials and one for refined respectively. Although these trades do not update exactly on the hour, and may expire unexpectedly, you should find them a reliable and untracable source of goods. If a neighbour or global trade is exactly the same as an IWI trade (not counting repetition), the IWI trade will be unavailable until the other runs out.

A closed border blocks IWI trade, just as with any other kind.

13.3 The Black Market

Ahh, the mangy dogs, the scurrying street urchins, the wafting odour of decayed babymelon. Welcome to the black market, home of that infamous shyster three-fingered Ramul. People often visit to get what they need when the usual avenues of commerce fail them. Here you can procure anything, well almost anything, and it's going to cost you.

The black market does not use the normal trading procedure. Although you specify your desires in a similar manner, with quantity and type of object, Ramul prefers to throw open your coffers so he can rifle though your whole inventory. You get to select only which objects are up for grabs, and which are off limits.

By choosing what objects from your inventory you are willing to trade with Ramul, you achieve some flexibility. Selecting objects available to him one at a time, the nefarious Arab adds value to his side of the trade until he feels it matches the value of the objects you have requested from him. Also, you can control the order in which Ramul selects objects using the Ramulgorithm settings.

Once Ramul sees what you put on the table, he will give you a quote of what he wants for a deal to work. It is up to you if you wish to accept an offer he makes, at which point the exchange is made. Otherwise you can go back and tweak some settings to try to squeeze a little more blood from the stone. Ramul will not trade back to you the same type of object you are asking for, HE DOES NOT PLAY GAMES!

13.3.1 Ramulgorithm

In dealing with Ramul, the practice is to offer him a variety of objects in exchange for so many of a single object. Although he ultimately decides the price of his goods, the player gets indirect control over which objects and how many are requested from their inventory. This special haggling is achieved through the ramulgorithm. The ramulgorithm is composed of two settings, each of which can be toggled.

Greedy vs. Selfish

Greedy or selfish determines a particular order for the objects available in the trade. Greedy Ramul will go for less valuable objects first, but of course he will need more of them to balance out the trade. Selfish Ramul will instead go for the more expensive objects, but will ask for less of them due to their higher value.

The order of objects for a greedy Ramul is determined using the following system:

  1. Lower tier objects, over higher tier objects.
  2. Objects that your land can produce (by mining or refining), over those it cannot.
  3. Objects more plentiful in your inventory, over those less plentiful.
  4. Object value order.

If an earlier heuristic cannot distinguish between two objects, then the next one is used to break the tie. The final measure, object value order, guarantees that a deterministic sequence will prevail, note however that unexpected changes in your inventory could alter the outcome.

A selfish Ramul orders objects using the exact same method, then reverses the list.

Picky vs. Choosy

Picky Ramul will use the order of objects determined by greedy vs. selfish, taking one of each object in the list. When he reaches the end, he will loop around and start taking objects again, continuing until his tastes are satisfied. Should you run out one type of object, it will simply be skipped over. A choosy Ramul, by contrast, will take as much as he can of the first object in the list, then move on the the second, and so on.

Since Ramul only takes what he feels is a fair trade, the picky setting can be used to spread damage evenly, whereas choosy allows you to trade lots of common objects with just a few pricey ones thrown in to make the deal work.

A warning, food overrides all ramulgorithm considerations! Ramul can smell it a mile away and will always demand it first, favouring those tasty morsels over any other objects available. Ramul's family members suddenly start appearing in nearby windows and garage doors, licking their chops hungrily. If you have the fridge powersink, you have the option of excluding food from the trading process, but once you open the fridge door Ramul will again demand it over other objects. If you should offer Ramul 10 or more food in a single trade, he will simply ask for all the food in your inventory!

There is one other factor which mitigates Ramul's selections. Enriched uranium, that most terrifying of weapons-grade materials, strikes fear into the devious old gypsy's heart. Having learned first-hand (no pun intended) the uncontrollable power of a chain reaction at critical mass, he refuses to deal with too much of the stuff. Ramul will accept at most one enriched uranium in any given trade.

By default, Ramul is a greedy, choosy son of a bitch.

13.3.2 Restocking

Unfortunately the bounty of the black market is temporarily exhaustible. After any transaction, Ramul requires four hours over which to restock his wares. That is, unless you have some of his very favourite item on hand? Then it's a different story.

By donating one food to Ramul's extensive family, the restocking timer is reduced by three quarters (75%). For example, an initial wait of four hours becomes one, then one hour becomes 15 minutes. The minimum reduction is fifteen minutes, so by the third food Ramul suddenly "discovers" what you were looking for and the wait is eliminated.

Alternatively, precious aid packages can be donated to Ramul. Doing so will eliminate the restocking time right away. The restocking timer is also reset by land exchange, as Ramul sets up shop in a fresh location.

< 12 Geographica Battle Minia | Index | 14 Espionage >

BATTLE MINES © Erik Walle 2005-2016
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