Flash of Steel header image 2

Three Moves Ahead Episode 24 – Making A Buck

August 5th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 14 Comments · Business Sim, Paradox, Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


East India Company and other trading themed games take center stage this week. Listen as a full panel talks about where Nitro’s sailing business sim stands and falls. Is it possible to make cargo interesting? Are trading games pointless with a computer opponent?

Listen here.
RSS here.
Subscribe on iTunes.

Tom’s final Fidgit diary on East India Company
My Crispy Gamer review


14 Comments so far ↓

  • George (Stuttgart) Brof

    from your conversation I have the impression that there is not much of a historic background in the game except the looks and graphics… I just read a book about the East India Company and was looking forward to the game… but now I am not sure about it. Is there enough meat to the game besides the game mechanics?

  • George (Stuttgart) Brof

    btw: is that coffee offer also going to us listeners…? Because then I would like to have one, too!

  • Cubit

    Aww, I’m disappointed that no one mentioned the trading in Anno 1404 or other games in the series. You definitely have to trade resources you often need to use.

  • Howard

    I’d like to express 2 shocks, one to echo a poster above about the Anno series.
    Also why did no one think to talk about EVE: Online? It is one of the richest games that is all(okay mostly) about trade. Granted a good porition of EVE is actually collecting the goods but then moving the goods back and forth, finding the right buyer.
    Maybe it was your place in the world that caused it to lack mention? All the other trading games that were spoken of were more of a birds eye view and EVE is most definately in the trenches.


  • Quinten

    I was saddened not to hear a Dominions update; especially with everyone onboard. Maybe we will get a long one next week hopefully.

  • Ginger Yellow

    Would you consider Capitalism a trading game? If so, that’s surely one of the archetypal examples of a trading game where you need the trade goods. Or Industry Giant? Also, as mentioned above, the Anno games are pretty heavy on trade, though mostly internal trade.

  • spelk

    Another interesting podcast folks. I’ve not dabbled with East India Company myself, and it’s probably because I’m not totally envigorated by trade unless its well integrated into a bigger strategic goal.

    My biggest beef with trading games and trading mechanics is that the majority of them rely heavily on you making mental notes and some even physical paper based notes on commoditites and their prices, and you’re more or less battling against your own ability to remember and exploit trading routes. If they gave the player a notable mechanic to record these “mental notes” somehow, and mark them up and allow you to play the game of strategic buying and selling decisions, rather than play the memory game, then I’m sure I’d warm to them much more.

    Indie strategy games with trading focus, tend to boil the trading mechanics down to a more manageable and palatable form (for me). Games such as Niels Bauer’s “Smugglers 4”, StarWraith 3d Games Evochron Legends or the Sandlot Games “Tradewinds” series, have the right amount of trading play in the mix – enough to make it interesting, but not overwhelming and underfunded in terms of information and supporting UI.

    It was a shame theres no Dominions 3 update, but I guess that might be down to turn submission tardiness, rather than the game has been abandoned.

  • Troy

    I promise there will be 1404 talk in an upcoming show. Already planning on it.

  • JonathanStrange

    Wow, took a long time to not really talk about much. Little or nothing about Annos 1503, 1602, 1710, Port Royale 1 and 2, Patrician III, Railroad Tycoon (maybe a little), or games like X3. I stopped listening after 1/2 an hour, zzzzzzzz. Isn’t there any preparation? These podcasts are planned, they just get a title slapped on ’em.

  • Troy

    While I appreciate your thoughts, Jonathan, we aren’t intending to cover a topic in detail by discussing every game. We would rather talk about these issues with a few games in mind and talk about design instead of making it a list of games.

    And keep it to an hour.

  • Scott R. Krol

    There probably wasn’t a Dominions update because Troy has crushed all who stood before him and he didn’t want to bring more shame to Tom, Bruce, and Julian. I’m sure he will mock them mercilessly in the next podcast. Yes?

  • Bruce

    Yeah, like Troy said, this is not meant to be a comprehensive recapitulation of every title in a genre. There is no way to keep something like that to an hour and have it be anything more than a list of games. We’re more interested in game design issues than the specifics of every single game, just like the reviews we enjoy are impressions of a game rather than those that go through everything like “installation,” “documentation,” “graphics,” “sound,” etc.

  • John Hawkins

    When you guys were talking about commodities having some value to the players beyond just buying and selling, I was thinking about RR Tycoon’s “value chain” model where supplying raw materials to the right industries drove the production of higher value products (some of which could then be turned into even higher value products somewhere else). Colonization had that mechanic too, and it was one of my favorite parts of the game. I’m not sure if that would work well with East India Company and still be historically faithful, since the bulk of the trading was about luxury consumer goods. But from Troy’s preview of the Dawn of Discovery review, maybe we disagree about being Admiral Schlepper.

  • Nicholas

    I was listening to the part where you were talking about whether cargo/ products were used in the game, I have to say Port Royale (1) definitely got that straight.
    Excluding the poor storyline and riddles, you start as a ship and start at a port. Keep a port satisfied with the products it needs makes it grow. I’ve played that game long enough to watch tiny ports with nothing but the viceroy to a full-fledged colonial city.
    It made me, the player proud that I took a hand in its growth.