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The Bonny Update in September 2023 made large changes to Humankind’s resource and trade system. Earning money and stability from international trade has become a more expensive but satisfying endeavour. This guide will demonstrate you how the new system works and how you can benefit in your game.
Humankind Understanding Bonny Trade Routes for Profit
The “Bonny” update to Humankind arrived in September 2023 and made major changes to strategic and luxury resources, international trade, and therefore to an empire’s economy. Generating and balancing stability and money are harder than before, but also part of a more rewarding and nuanced system. A quick summary of the relevant economic changes are:
- Strategic and Luxury Resource deposits now grant anywhere from 1-6 “accesses” of a resource per deposit. This means the number of accesses are way up; the boosts from each resource are smaller to compensate, but there’s still potential for higher boosts overall if you can trade for more resources, and especially if you can control more resources
- Luxury resources only get your stability on the first instance of the resource. For example, having access to any Coffee gives all the cities in your empire +5 stability. Getting more coffee beyond the first improves coffee’s effect (+1 Food per Farmer) but not the stability
- Trade routes between empires now cost ongoing money each turn. You no longer pay once for the trading rights to a resource and have it forever; the buyer pays for trade route maintenance
In this guide, we’ll look at how trade routes between empires are mapped, and how benefits are calculated so you can make smart decisions around trade.
If you learn best by example, jump straight to the final section to see the numbers in action.
What is a Trade Route?
In new Bonny terms, a “Trade Route” is a path that carries any number of a single resource from source to capital.
Internal Trade Routes carry resources from its deposit to its owner’s capital. They do not cost an empire money and also do not actually count as trade routes for infrastructure, Emblematic Quarters (EQs) or Legacy Traits (LTs) that grand a bonus on each of your trade routes. They have little function in trade or economy, but they can be blocked by hostile armies to deny an empire access to those resources.
External Trade Routes carry resources from one empire’s capital to another empire’s capital. They cost money from the buyer to maintain, but they also grant bonuses on territories they pass through. Once established, they can transport any number of that one resource across them: Importing 1 Horses from one empire costs the same maintenance as importing 6 Horses, and this only counts as “1 trade route” regardless of how many horses it transports.
For the rest of this guide, we will ignore Internal Trade Routes. Only External Trade Routes really matter for boosting your economy and benefiting from “per trade route” powers.
The benefits we get from trade routes are usually “On City or Outpost” meaning you’ll benefit on each of your territories that a route passes through. Does an external trade route pass through five of your territories? You’ll benefit from it five times!
Counting Trade Routes passing through a Territory
There’s one challenge, though: the number of Trade Routes passing through a territory doesn’t actually appear as value directly in the UI; hopefully it gets added in an upcoming update. In the meantime, here’s how you do it.
(Side Note: If you’re looking at a basic outpost with no bonuses, the outpost will generate 1 money per trade route passing through it, so that’s the simplest way to count them)
Zoom in on a territory on the trade screen and you’ll see three numbers. You can hover over these to see the Resources Bought(21), Resources Sold(21), and Internal Routes(43).
To actually count calculate the number of trade routes passing through this territory, open the Resources Bought (or Sold) windows and count the number of unique resources being traded:
- 5 copper
- 2 salt
- 2 dye
- 1 obsidian
- 3 silk
- 1 gemstone
- 3 papyrus
- 2 lead
- 1 ambergris
- 1 silver
There are 10 trade routes passing through the territory of Pincoya. Also note that even though the territory has an Outpost and a Harbour (or it may have an Admin Centre and a Harbour), and both of those tiles list the territory’s trade routes, we only count routes once per territory.
Mapping the Trade Network
The easiest way to view international trade routes is to open the trade screen and click on the leftmost toggle to disable “Internal Trade Routes”. We’ll be left with the primary routes connecting the capitals of empires trading with one another, and we can see where those external routes go.
In the screenshot above, we can see that that all our trade is flowing into our capital Kawuka in the on the far left side; trade with light green is flowing through Marru-Papu to the north. We can also see, importantly, that international trade is skipping our cities Cháng’Ān and Heiđabýr to the southeast.
(If you’re wondering where these city names came from, in our example we played as the Pama-Nyungan, the Han, the Norsemen, the Māori and finally the Siamese.)
Kawuka and Marru-Papu will benefit from trade routes (base 1 money per territory per route), as well as some key infrastructure; because trade routes are measured per territory, our city infrastructure benefits all territories with trade passing through them. The Customs Farm will grant each city a bonus another +1 money per territory per route, and the Great Fishmarket will benefit Kawuka greatly, with all of its coastal trading routes, giving it a very nice +5 money per territory per sea route within its boundaries.
These cities and outposts will also benefit from the Venetian and Siamese LTs, Ghanaian, French, and Persian EQs, the Mandate Patronage religious Tenet, and more.
Encouraging More Trade
Cháng’Ān and Heiđabýr, which are far from the main trade routes, however, do not yet benefit from trade routes, but if we open trade treaties with the Purple and Teal Empires to the east and buy trade through them (and let them buy trade from us), then it will establish trade routes through those cities, and they’ll be lucrative sea trade routes (naval routes) as well.
By establishing trade with more empires, we can encourage trade to pass through more of our cities; longer routes to distant capitals can pass through more of our cities, and with the right infrastructure the routes can pay for themselves and others.
You’ll also see trade passing through neutral territories between our empire and Purple, or through neutral islands to the south between our empire and Orange. Neutral Trade Posts will appear on their own to facilitate trade, but that’s money left on the table to it: If we built outposts in those territories, those gains would be ours.
Benefiting from Trade
When we see an ability in Humankind that benefits us on a number of trade routes, like the bonus science on trade routes from the “Foreign Innovations” Civic, we need to understand that we gain that benefit on each of our appropriate territories per trade route (any number of one unique resource being traded from one empire to another) being traded through it.
Basic Example: If you establish trade with another empire on the same continent as you and you buy a single unit of horses from them, it will establish a horses trade route from your empire to theirs passing through all the territories in between.
- As the purchaser, you pay the ongoing costs for the trade route
- Every territory along the route gets a trading post/port if it is neutral; if it is not neutral, it passes through an empire’s harbour or admin centre.
- Each trade route generates 1 money on each territory it passes though. If an empire owns that territory, it gains that money per turn.
It’s in your best interests to own those territories between other empire’s capitals and your own. If you own those territories, you get those trade benefits. Trade Posts and Trading Ports are going to pop up on their own in neutral territories, but if you own that territory, you get “per trade route” benefits on the territory.
Example: An Outpost, Unattached and Attached
Let’s look to an unattached outpost near our capital to see how these bonuses are calculated, and how they change when the outpost is attached to a city.
(Summary: The same amount of trade passes through the outpost before and after being attached, but our city may have infrastructure, quarters, and more that take better advantage of the trade once it’s attached)
This unattached territory, Pincoya, has ten trade routes passing through it. Normally that would yield 10 money per turn and no science, but thanks to our Tier III Civic “Mandate Patronage” (+2 money per number of Trade Routes on City or Outpost), we’re getting 30 money instead of 10. Also because of “Foreign Innovations”, we get 10 science because of trade passing through here. (“Foreign Innovation” is going to be a strong choice with all these trade routes!)
This outpost is great on its own, but it’s even better if we attach it to our capital! Because outposts are not attached to cities, you can’t improve their trade with City Infrastructure, but you can boost your Outposts to benefit more from trade with Civics, Legacy Traits, and Religious Tenets.
Let’s take a look at our city before attaching Pincoya…
The above screenshot shows our Money generated before we attach the territory, the below screenshot shows us after we attach the territory. Pay attention to the benefits coming from Great Fishmarket (+170) and Number of Trade Routes (+340)
Now, let’s attach Pincoya…
The benefits from Great Fishmarket grow from 170 to 220, a gain of 50. This is because this infrastructure, which gives us +5 per naval trade route, grants that bonus on the ten routes passing through Pincoya’s harbours.
The benefits from Number of Trade Routes from 340 to 390, also a gain of 50. We might have expected this to increase by 30, but they were increased by 50! This is because the routes are now benefiting from the city’s Customs Farm infrastructure (+1 per route), and in this case the now-attached routes are benefiting from the the Siamese Legacy Trait, “Gilded Orchids”, which provides +1 per route on cities (and somewhat strangely, not on outposts). Think of the Siamese LT as a bonus Customs Farm in all your cities, as well as a healthy boost to industry too.
(It’s important to remember that Pincoya no longer generates 30money/10science as an independent outpost; those yields have become the city’s yields; but those yields have also gone up as part of the city.)
Finally, because attaching an outpost to a means the outpost’s trade routes are now the city’s trade routes, this benefits certain cultures’ EQs as well. EQs can have a larger effect than infrastructure because we can build many EQs in one city:
- If we were Ghanaian or Persian, adding Pincoya’s 10 trade routes to our capital would add +10 money to each of their EQs
- If we were the French, those 10 routes to the capital would add +20 science to each of the capital’s Exhibition Halls instead. Exhibition Halls don’t show their science on the map, by the way, but they do work and their yield appears in the science breakdown of the city. Expect Exhibition Halls in your capital to generate 200 science per turn or more!
For cultures that have benefits EQs or LTs keyed to trade — Ghanaians, French, Persians, Venetians, etc. — you’re in a prime position to take advantage of the world’s trade routes, so position your cities and outposts to take advantage of them!
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