Age of Empires 4 trade is key to establishing a thriving civilization and gaining a competitive edge over your opponents. Trading routes and trading posts play a crucial role in resource management and economic growth.


By strategically leveraging trade, players can bolster their resource reserves, acquire valuable goods, and establish lucrative partnerships with other civilizations. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best trade routes, delve into the mechanics of trading posts, and provide expert tips to maximize your trading potential. Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to refine your trading strategies or a novice seeking to harness the power of commerce, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tactics to become a formidable trader in Age of Empires 4.

How Trading Posts Work in Age of Empires 4

Trading posts are scattered throughout the map in Age of Empires 4, and locating them is the first step towards engaging in trade. As the French civilization, you have the advantage of marking trading post locations from the start, thanks to their specialization in trading.

How to Set Up Trading Posts

Trading posts serve as hubs for traders to settle in and initiate trade routes. Once you have located a trading post, the next task is to produce traders. To do this, advance to Age 2 and construct a Market. The Market not only enables resource trading but also serves as a production facility for traders. Create a group of traders through the market and send them to the trading post to establish a presence.

Exploring Trade Routes

Upon reaching the market, traders will automatically determine the best trade routes based on the availability of gold resources and the intended destination. If you are playing as the French civilization, you have the option to select the materials to be transported via the trade route. Expanding your trade network with multiple traders and trading posts is an effective strategy for accumulating gold and other valuable resources in AoE4.

A Complete Break Down of Trading in Age of Empires 4

Trade routes require a designated “Home” building (such as a Market, Dock, or specific landmarks) and a “Target” building owned by either allies, enemies, or neutrals. Utilizing a neutral market provides a 20% increase in resource collection. Traders automatically seek new homes and are indifferent to the type of building used. If your market is destroyed or relocated (as in the case of the Mongols), traders will seamlessly transition to a dock.

AoE4 Trade Route Map

Income from trade routes is quadratic, meaning longer routes yield higher returns, albeit with increased risk. Even very short routes, which initially display as +0G on the market, eventually generate income. The precise quadratic formula is subject to variation, as it should yield positive returns at zero tiles edge-to-edge.

Income from trade routes varies based on the map size. A 90-tile length route provides 173 gold per trip on a smaller map, whereas on a larger map, it provides 112 gold. Conversely, a 170-tile length route on a large map yields 373 gold per trip, highlighting the potential for more profitable routes on larger maps.

Managing Traders and Routes

When commanding traders, two essential commands come into play: “Trade” and “Set Home Market.” These commands allow you to modify the trade route. Right-clicking a Home Market functions similarly to “Set Home Market,” updating the trader’s cargo for the return leg. On the other hand, right-clicking a Target building is equivalent to the “Trade” command, causing return leg traders to drop their cargo and head directly to the new Target. Shift-right-clicking can be unreliable and may result in no changes or idle traders, so caution is advised when using this command.

To clarify further, if a trader is on the return leg with resources and the Target is changed, the carried goods are lost, and the trader embarks on the new route. However, if the Home building is changed, the carried goods automatically update to the new value, allowing the trader to continue dropping off resources without revisiting the Target. Unlike in AoE2, AoE4 trade has no “dud trips” where a trader uses the old amount for a longer route. This knowledge can be advantageous when mass-producing trade routes: establish an ideal Home building far from Target and constructing additional markets near Target. These additional markets can be rallied at your Home and then shift-queued to the Target. Newly produced traders will immediately embark on the route at Target, skipping the initial trip.

Best Trading Routes

Sea trade routes offer superior population space efficiency. Compared to land trade routes in AoE4, a sea route of the same length provides twice the gold and additional wood. Trade boats travel at a faster speed of 1.5 Tiles/second (upgraded to 1.725), whereas land traders move at 1 Tile/second without upgrades. However, constructing and fortifying sea routes present their own challenges, particularly in coastal areas, and consideration must be given to the French civilization’s presence.

Mongols and Trading

For the Mongols, the Silk route combines the total output of both land and sea traders, irrespective of whether they share the same route or Home/Target buildings.

Traders update the amount of gold they carry while a packed market is in motion, although they cannot drop off their cargo until the market unpacks. This detail may hold significance in certain scenarios.

The Yam speed bonus from outposts applies to both land and sea traders, even before the Castle Age/Deer Stones upgrade. Units retain this buff for 20 seconds after leaving the area, eliminating the need for an excessive number of outposts along the route. However, additional vision and garrison space provided by outposts remain valuable assets. The Khan’s Maneuver Arrow also affects traders, making a Yam/Sail/Arrow sea trader the fastest economic unit in the game for the next 5 seconds.

Credit: DrAllurian

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