|This article is about the land trade unit. For the naval trade unit, see Trade Cog.|
|“||Used to trade with other players by land.||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
Trade Carts are used to trade and generate gold by traveling between two Markets. Trade Carts do not actually engage in the exchanging of resources between two civilizations. Empty Trade Carts travel to another player's Market empty-handed and return with gold. They receive their gold from the Markets of other players/allies, and deposit them at the Markets of their owners. The amount of gold gained depends on the distance from one Market to another. The farther away the Market is, the more gold the Trade Carts generate.
Trade Carts may engage in trade with allied, neutral, and enemy civilizations. However, trading with enemy civilizations is ill-advised unless the enemy has resigned, since the Trade Carts are likely to be slaughtered upon reaching the enemy Market.
In order to generate at least one gold, the two Markets used for trade need to be at least 5 tiles away. The maximum amount gained per trip is 517, if both Markets are placed in the very edges of a LudiKRIS map.
Trade is an extremely important element in late games due to the limited amount of gold available from mines on most maps. Therefore, trade routes are a primary target for attacks and should be guarded accordingly.
Comparison to the Trade Cog
The Trade Cog is faster (1.32 to 1) and benefits from Careening, Shipwright, and Dry Dock (which, prior to the Definitive Edition, did not improve the gold gathering rate, as Trade Cogs got less gold per trip to compensate for the speed increase. This is no longer true in the Definitive Edition and there is an increase in overall gold gathering rate with Dry Dock). However, Docks at the same distance do generate about 25% less gold than Markets, so that the gold gathering rate for a single Trade Cart is comparable to that of a single Trade Cog. However, as Trade Cogs are more prone to bump into each other and usually move along the shoreline, they quickly become less efficient than Trade Carts when more of them share a trade route. Because of this, Trade Carts are almost always preferable.
In The African Kingdoms, the amount of gold earned per trip has been increased to offset this, making Trade Cogs more viable. It depends on the map and available water and land trade lines whether they should be preferred to Trade Carts. They are more efficient if single units are considered, but are also more affected by a congested trade route. The fact that they will always return to a particular Dock (closest to 100 tiles distance) means that additional Docks placed for warship production can disrupt a trade route, while there is no such reason to place extra Markets. Also, the Trade Cart is usually safer, as its routes can be accordingly protected by defensive structures or even the player's bases, while the water is more open, making the routes vulnerable to enemy warships.
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Gold generation||Sultans (+10%, Indians only)|
|Conversion defense|| Faith|
|Training cost||Silk Road (-50%, Italians only)|
- Burgundians: Caravan can be researched in the Feudal Age and costs -50% food.
- Burmese: Researching Faith is 50% cheaper.
- Celts: Trade Carts can convert herdables even if enemy units are next to them.
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit Trade Carts are 15%/20% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Portuguese: Trade Carts cost less gold. Technologies that benefit Trade Carts are researched 30% faster.
- A team containing Bohemians: Trade Carts are created 80% faster.
- A team containing Lithuanians: Researching Heresy and Faith is 20% faster.
- A team containing Spanish: Trade Carts generate more gold.
- A team containing Teutons: Trade Carts are more resistant to conversion.
The African Kingdoms
- A team containing Spanish: With patch 4.8, Trade Carts now generate +25% gold.
- The Trade Cart is one of only two trainable units (the other being the Monk) that have an alternative design for the Native American civilizations and one of only four units to have two designs, the third being the Villager and the fourth being the Flemish Militia. Since they have no access to horses of any kind, their variant is not drawn by a horse. Prior to the Definitive Edition, unlike the Native American Monk, the Native American Trade Cart did not have a unique icon.
- However, Native American civilizations did not use the wheel for anything larger than small toys, so their version of the Trade Cart (a wheeled cart pulled by a human) is still historically incorrect.
- The The Age of Kings booklet seems to use the alpha Trade Cart icon.
|“||The trade cart represents the wagon, pack horses, and other means of land transport used for the overland trade of goods during the Middle Ages. One important land trade route was the movement of wool from England across the Channel into France. The wool was manufactured into cloth and this cloth was carried into Italy to exchange for spices and silk from the East. The most famous land trade route of the age was the Silk Road, from China to Constantinople and the Levant. Camel and horse trains carried silks across forbidding desert terrain in exchange for Western gold and silver.||”|