The Ikariam Guide to Establishing Player Trades
This guide teaches players how to cautiously go about establishing free trade between cities without using the marketplace. This can be done by players who are playing on free accounts. This guide does not require the use of any Ikariam scripts or Ikariam cheats.
How to Trade - Without Ikariam Scripts or Ikariam Cheats
Establishing strong trade partnerships is the key to rapid, solid growth in Ikariam, but finding trustworthy trade partners can involve risk and strategy. Trade becomes essential relatively early on in the game because players start with only one of four resources: wine, sulfur, marble, or glass. On a relatively new server with lots of lower leveled cities, marble is the most valuable commodity because enormous amounts of stone is required in order to build up smaller buildings. Some veteran players will repeatedly create and delete their accounts until they end up on a marble island. All the resources become extremely valuable over time, especially sulfur and wine.
Trading is accomplished by first having a Trading Port built in one of the two empty building grounds by the sea. Construction will take no more than fifteen minutes. Next, the player must purchase a trading ship from the newly constructed dock. Each ship holds 500 units of goods, and the loading time of these goods depends on the level of the Trading Port building. Some people prefer to keep their port at level 1 in order to minimize the amount of loss of resources after a successful raid by another player, but serious traders will upgrade their dock rapidly for decreased time in trading. After obtaining a few ships and some surplus resources, the next step is finding some trade partners.
Finding Trade Partners (no Ikariam Calculator needed)
The first step in finding good partners is to use the World Map and look around nearby islands. Proximity matters a great deal since the trade ships must get to your destination and back in good time in order to make trades quickly without having to purchase more boats. If you are not on a stone island, the first thing you would most likely trade for is stone. Be sure to know what your primary resource is used for in growth so that you can accurately portray its worth as you look for trade partners. The World Map will display several islands at once, each with a resource island on it. Once you find the resource you would like to trade for, click on the island and examine the levels of the cities on the island as well as their alliance affiliations. Establishing trade with someone who has a relatively low-leveled city as well as no alliance is usually easier than trying to trade with someone who is higher leveled and in an alliance. People who are in big alliances often trade with each other since a level of trust has already been established between the people in the alliance.
Beginning the Trade
When you find your first potential trade partner, click on the target city, and then click on the Diplomacy button. I often find that having a nice letter pre-written and pre-formatted often gets a better response than something I wrote directly into the diplomacy window. Adding a touch of roleplaying often gets players intrigued as well. Make sure that your letter clearly states what you are offering and what you would like in return. I always suggest that when initiating trade routes, request small trades first. Between 300 to 500 units is a decent small trade. This way, both sides feel as if they are unlikely to lose much should the trade go awry.
Once you and your partner have agreed to trading terms, access your trading partner’s city by either finding it on the map or by clicking the name of the city in your diplomacy (letters) menu. Then click on your trading partner’s city and pick the Transport Goods button. This will take you to your trading ships menu, and you will be able to load your ship(s) with the appropriate goods. Do this by either using the slide bar or by typing in the amount you wish to ship off to your new friend. (I usually type in the amount. The slide bar can be quite imprecise at times.)
Now you simply wait for your ship to reach your trade partner and for his/her ships to reach you. You can both track the status of ships coming into your docks by checking the Trading Docks. (Please note that incoming shipments will not show up until after the goods are done loading.) Once you both of you have received your shipments, your first trade is complete. You may now wish to attempt larger trades. Please trade judiciously and no more than you can afford to lose if you are trying to establish new trade partners.
Ikariam Brasil players should find the above works on their version of the game as well.
Notes and Tips not found on Wikipedia or the Ikariam Site
This type of trading requires trust and goodwill on both sides, and once several successful trades have been made, you may wish to attempt to expand and connect your group of trading partners. Please be aware that if you wish to perform trades that are completely safe and protected by Ikariam, you will want to use the Marketplace to buy and sell goods.
Once you get your trade empire established, you may want to formalize your trade partners into an alliance. You must first build an embassy to create an alliance and have one or two people who wish to join with you. Some of Ikariam’s biggest alliances, such as the Hermes League on Alpha server, were formed this way, and to this they, they continue to trade strongly with between twenty to thirty members at any given time.