Excerpt from Chief Makacs' TN Principia: Theoretical Musings
Many have called life in a clan's early stages "Nasty, brutish, and short on everything". Simply put, young chieftains must slog onward before achieving a stable equilibrium of security, food, and acceptable productivity. Yet blessed relief comes in the form of trade, either with other chieftains or NPC towns and the Fair. ,, Yet the needs are many and the wealth limited. What is a chieftain to do?
Immediate needs can often provide simple answers regarding what must be bought ASAP but let us assume you have access to procuring all the basic resources and can make simple tools such as traps and picks. What items should one prioritize buying and selling? What makes something a good trade? I propose that chiefs should instead look at two things: Potential Productivity per Person (not AM) and the Silver per Person Saved.
Depending on the terrain, skill level, research, weather and implements available, there is a theoretical productivity every person has in terms of items produced. Some things can vary greatly (Hunting, Mining, Fishing, Farming) while others are stagnant (gathering fodder). This can help identify useful trades. Below is an example of two clans with extremely different mining capabilities. Clan A (if it has access to a silver mine) should do everything it can to outsource fodder production to Clan B.
|Consideration||Clan A||Clan B|
|Access to Mining Gear?||Everything||Picks|
|Access to Scythes||Yes||Yes|
|Mining Silver per Person||>150||28|
|Gathering Fodder Per Person||100||100|
|Profitable Silver per Fodder||1.5||0.28|
Based on the above example, Clan A could spend 150 silver per Fodder to break even (or better) on people saved. This same exercise can be used on the Fair and NPC Trade towns to identify the best items to sell and which to buy.
When running the numbers for all the fair items, I assumed skill level 5, access to basic implements, and hunting at Deciduous Forest for 9 months. These were the basic inputs for my P"4 calculations for newer players. The same methodology would hold for any more advanced clans. These results were then matched with common fair pricing for all items. Below were my top basic "no-brainer" buys:
|Item||Silver Per Person Saved||Total People Saved(Max Fair buy)|
*Items such as Leather, Sling, and Wagonsinclude the Persons needed to procure basic resources
With limited fair slots, it is not likely you would purchase all the above items. But given the unlimited purchasing available at NPC towns (or deals with fellow clans), such deals should not be overlooked. Even if older clans can procure 40 provs per person (not AM), buying provs is still likely to be advantageous. Or maybe an enterprising younger clan might become the source of such items for hefty sums of silver.
This methodology can be used to compare the value of anything beyond silver. How many "other" things could have been produced besides provs or leather: coke, iron, traps, sculptures, swords etc? By moving away from the idea of silver or AMs, these two metrics (P"4 and SPPS) can better define exactly what production or items or gained and lost through trades and purchases. Or the value gained from making picks vs traps, sending a courier on a mission vs internal supply routes...but those are musing for another day.