Is anyone else put to by the one-sided fact that Traveling Merchants always offer to buy Wood Planks, but always for less than spit-in-your-face prices, and never offer to sell so much as a toothpick, at any price?
I can think of few quicker paths to stunted growth or utter ruin on a normal map, than to sell off early supplies of Wood Planks.
Fewer still are the scenarios in which Wood Planks would be the first, or last, resort to save a town from financial ruin, to have the ability appear in such ubiquitous fashion ‘just in case’.
Especially now, that decorative trees are no longer a viable option for forestry management in maintaining your wood supply.
On the other side of that argument, of all the Must Have resources: Stone, Sand. Clay, Iron, Coal - Wood is the most renewable of all of them. Once you have depleted deposits of Clay or Iron, you have no choice but to rely on Traders which - as you have commented on already - is a very dangerous game, since Traders are about as reliable as an ice crutch in the Sahara.
It takes careful management, and on some maps Forests are definitely rare (Aird, Plains) but I find that Wood and its products - planks, firewood - are much easier to manage than when (all too often!) the map gives me one lousy Hunk of Stone and a bunch of individual rocks worth 10 stone each scattered all over. Good example is the map I’m playing now: forests in several places, not a rock worth more than 40 stone anywhere in the center of the map, two huge Rocks (1200 each) on the very top of a steep mountain 'way off in the corner - which it has taken me 23 years to hack a path up to! I’ve never had similar problems with trees and regrowing them fast enough with a little planning, but no amount of planning will regrow Iron or Stone on a map.
Now, reworking the Traders to be more conscious of what they can sell for a Fat Profit - like the Stone or Planks or Iron/Iron ingots you are missing - is another thing, and one that does need to be addressed, I think, before final Release.
I’ve given up on relying on what Crate thinks ‘Abundant’ is.
I go in looking at topography, flora and fauna now.
Mostly topography, because you can’t beat water to protect your flanks, or elevation to increase the effectiveness of your defenses.
Once a suitable location is acquired, I go in an add the resources required to make a map worthwhile playing.
Stone, Flora and Fauna can’t be added, yet.
Managing wood has become much easier since production quotas can now be set, but I have yet to run into a map that has such an abundance of trees that Wood Planks could ever be considered a worthwhile commodity.
Especially at the insult-level prices offered, and prior to upgrading the Trading Post when Planks are at a premium for your own needs.
I still rely on what the game gives me, but I’ve been known t sit in front of the computer for an hour or so just generating maps until I find one that looks good, and then record the seed and save it for later.
When you’re talking about ‘water to protect your flanks’ (and a pretty good collection of Resources), try this one:
I find that early on a little over half the Traders have nothing offered that I want, and want nothing that I have. Later, it gets a little better, but I’d estimate that throughout the game at least 30 - 40% of the Traders are 0 in/0 out and a waste of time.
The problem is that there seems to be no positive or negative feedback - the Traders keep offering things that I never buy, and there is no way to ‘put in an order’ - let them know what I want and am willing to pay for. Nor is there any apparent feedback when I sell something: if I am offering pottery or clothes or basketry for sale every year, I would hope that would attract Traders who want to buy those things - that have a market for them, and that therefore the overall percentage of Traders arriving who actually want to buy what I am consistently offering would go up. Right now it doesn’t, and there is no consistent way to attract the traders with the trade goods I want and need.
I agree, and it’s madly frustrating. Actually, my finding is that early on, I get better response, but once the trading post upgrades, when we’re supposed to get “more and better” merchants, they actually turn out to be worse, much less useful.