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Are Caravans Worth It?

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AngryPanCake

Regular
Hello,

I have recently set up a couple of caravans, which started providing excellent returns. They produced much more daily income than my breweries (set up in grain rich provinces). But then, they were attacked and lost everything.

I had read some posts saying caravans get attacked non stop in late game, but I think am at an early game (Spring 17, 1086), not sure how many game days that is.

So going back to whether caravans are worth it. Mine averaged about $250/day. So, it would take about 60 game days to just recoup your initial investment ($15,000 initial investment for extra guards divided by $250/day, that's 60 game days). I should've paid more attention to when I started the caravan and the date I lost it to see how many days it ran. So is it really worth the investment if the caravan does not last long out there?

By the way, my faction was at war against another faction and my caravans crossed the enemy territory several times with no attacks. My faction seeks peace, and both caravans are attacked by some special brigand (not the usual looters/bandits), unfortunately I could not figure out how to go back and search the news that said my caravans were attacked by "so and so" to track the son***** who did it. I would appreciate if you guys know how to track the attackers.

Thank you,
APC
 
Caravans are great in peace time in early game. If you are not a vassal or a mercenary, and if you paid extra for the stronger caravans, you only have to worry about looters and bandits, which in early game, these aren't that strong. You get decent money, and as important, your caravan leader gains skill points.

But if you are a vassal or a mercenary or a faction leader, in wartime your caravans become targets. When war breaks out, I bring my caravan leaders back into my party as they get caught and I eventually make them party leaders or governors or just part of my personal guard.
 

Antaeus

Sergeant at Arms
I tend to keep a record of how long they're in the field before they're killed. I give them 70 days (that was my estimate for return)... once they start dying off within 70 days I ditch them. Otherwise you can quickly drop 100k on them for nothing. But in my last couple of playthroughs, they've survived better and I haven't had to ditch them. I don't know if that's just luck, or if something has changed in recent patches to make them more survivable.

I guess mid-late game they tend to have more enemies to dodge - enemy mercenaries hunt them no matter the relations. But early game they only have to worry about bandits.

They're very handy for training up companions and especially family members before giving them their own war party later on. Your brother makes an exceptional caravan leader. It probably helps that he is the best warrior in Calradia... and all that from an orphaned merchant boy.
 

Ananda_The_Destroyer

Master Knight
By the way, my faction was at war against another faction and my caravans crossed the enemy territory several times with no attacks. My faction seeks peace, and both caravans are attacked by some special brigand (not the usual looters/bandits), unfortunately I could not figure out how to go back and search the news that said my caravans were attacked by "so and so" to track the son***** who did it. I would appreciate if you guys know how to track the attackers.
press enter to see recent messages.

As for are caravans worth it, not really but money is so easy to get that you also aren't loosing anything by making them, even if they get destroyed. The real question is do you want to spend clan members on it. I don't.
 

AngryPanCake

Regular
Thank you for your answers.
My thing is if we know they last longer than the time it takes to break even, then yes they may be worth it, but if most people think they last less than 50-60 days (time it takes to recoup your investment), then the only usefulness is the leveling up of your companions!

By the way, my second caravan I know lasted less than a week. I had just joined a faction, established my new caravan and about a game week and it was done for.
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
Thank you for your answers.
My thing is if we know they last longer than the time it takes to break even, then yes they may be worth it, but if most people think they last less than 50-60 days (time it takes to recoup your investment), then the only usefulness is the leveling up of your companions!

By the way, my second caravan I know lasted less than a week. I had just joined a faction, established my new caravan and about a game week and it was done for.
Right now they are in a terrible spot and I think making less profit than any other part of early access. Here is my proof they are a disaster
 

9yearsago

Sergeant
WB
It was Mexico who tried to balance the caravans as far as I remember. He said that caravans are "OP", based on some test runs he had done. I doubt he checked late game. People suggested to give direct order to caravans to avoid enemy territory or enlarge them a bit more, however this suggestion had fallen on deaf ears. Now that he left the company, I do not think we can make our voices be heard.
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
It was Mexico who tried to balance the caravans as far as I remember. He said that caravans are "OP", based on some test runs he had done. I doubt he checked late game. People suggested to give direct order to caravans to avoid enemy territory or enlarge them a bit more, however this suggestion had fallen on deaf ears. Now that he left the company, I do not think we can make our voices be heard.
I worked with mexxico a lot on caravans and he did make a massive change to help when they were falling of, but since his departure for some reason the profits just continue to drop and survivability hasn't been addressed at all and it is a joke as I have given multiple suggestions to fix it
I will say after my last video I posted Sadshogun did respond and say they were looing into it so I will at least give them that
 

Duhk_Tails

Recruit
I worked with mexxico a lot on caravans and he did make a massive change to help when they were falling of, but since his departure for some reason the profits just continue to drop and survivability hasn't been addressed at all and it is a joke as I have given multiple suggestions to fix it
I will say after my last video I posted Sadshogun did respond and say they were looing into it so I will at least give them that
Wait... What? Mexxxxxxxico departure? What? Can you repeat that? wtf?
You're trolling. You should be banned for trolling.
Mexxico is still here.
 

AngryPanCake

Regular
So the caravan aspect of the game is not as great as it is described on Youtube?

Maybe there is room for smart people to fix this issue through Mods. I hope many things should be allowed to be modded, so it takes some workload off of the Devs who can focus on the big picture and allow the gaming/modding community to produce awesome mods.
 

redmark

Squire
Hello,

I have recently set up a couple of caravans, which started providing excellent returns. They produced much more daily income than my breweries (set up in grain rich provinces). But then, they were attacked and lost everything.

I had read some posts saying caravans get attacked non stop in late game, but I think am at an early game (Spring 17, 1086), not sure how many game days that is.

So going back to whether caravans are worth it. Mine averaged about $250/day. So, it would take about 60 game days to just recoup your initial investment ($15,000 initial investment for extra guards divided by $250/day, that's 60 game days). I should've paid more attention to when I started the caravan and the date I lost it to see how many days it ran. So is it really worth the investment if the caravan does not last long out there?

By the way, my faction was at war against another faction and my caravans crossed the enemy territory several times with no attacks. My faction seeks peace, and both caravans are attacked by some special brigand (not the usual looters/bandits), unfortunately I could not figure out how to go back and search the news that said my caravans were attacked by "so and so" to track the son***** who did it. I would appreciate if you guys know how to track the attackers.

Thank you,
APC

My thing is if we know they last longer than the time it takes to break even, then yes they may be worth it, but if most people think they last less than 50-60 days (time it takes to recoup your investment), then the only usefulness is the leveling up of your companions!

By the way, my second caravan I know lasted less than a week. I had just joined a faction, established my new caravan and about a game week and it was done for.

Without an extended study over time and multiple games (by multiple people), it is very difficult to say how long caravans last on average, because people will always highlight the caravan that was captured in a few days, rather than the one they set early game which trundles on forever making them a fortune.

There are a couple of other factors to think about in terms of profitability:

- Insurance plans (level 175 trade bonus) return 5,000 gold if/when a caravan is captured. Note 5,000, not '% of your investment'. So (if you have Insurance Plans), the true cost of a caravan is 10,000 gold - or 17,500 gold if you get better troops.

[ The alternative bonus in that skill tree is a similar refund if a workshop is captured; but you have more control over where you put your workshops and selling them if you intend to war a certain faction, or your borders are getting close to a faction and they might war you - so Insurance Plans should definitely be superior, unless you specialise in the limited trade items the other bonus includes; Insurance Plans makes food cheaper, which is a more reliable benefit. ]

- Paying the extra, you get 'better' troops, not 'extra'. When a caravan runs into bandits and loses troops, they will replenish with whatever they can pickup at the next town. Ultimately, I think the 'better' troops give your caravan only a little more protection if running into a strong bandit troop, but most caravans seem to be captured as a result of 2-3 battles in quick succession (because bandit parties tend to be clustered close together). If running into an enemy faction party, they're going to lose anyway. After a few battles, there will be little to no difference between the make-up of the cheap caravan vs the expensive one, because half the party will be whatever was available in cities after they'd suffered some casualties.

Put those two factors together, and I don't think the 'better troops' upgrade is generally worthwhile, except perhaps for a rather brief period in mid-game when you start hitting stronger bandit parties, but before most losses will be the result of enemy faction parties.
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
I ran an extensive test for survivability in my video. I am very confident in my data. Also for Aserai culture and insurance plans I didn't want to include them as they are bonuses and without them caravans should be viable for profit and survivability. With my testing I can say for sure in 1.6.5 they are not. I tested early and late game with many runs. I know you will never get exact numbers, that's impossible but with how many runs I completed it is a somewhat accurate estimation. And wen survivability for 2 years is at 18% there is no way that could be above 50%. I could keep going but after 200 caravans runs I figured that was a decent test. They need work for both profit and survivability and if anyone watches my video they will see why
 

redmark

Squire
I ran an extensive test for survivability in my video. I am very confident in my data. Also for Aserai culture and insurance plans I didn't want to include them as they are bonuses and without them caravans should be viable for profit and survivability. With my testing I can say for sure in 1.6.5 they are not. I tested early and late game with many runs. I know you will never get exact numbers, that's impossible but with how many runs I completed it is a somewhat accurate estimation. And wen survivability for 2 years is at 18% there is no way that could be above 50%. I could keep going but after 200 caravans runs I figured that was a decent test. They need work for both profit and survivability and if anyone watches my video they will see why
I wasn't commenting specifically on your tests, and not on current profitability (I've not played since 1.6.3, just upgraded today). That was a general point about most people's views being informed by what's memorable (a caravan being captured).

More specifically, I wanted to address the idea of 'better troops', because I don't think they're cost-effective; I'd be very surprised if 'better troops' were 50% (let alone 75%, with insurance plans) more durable than the base caravan, which it needs to be to warrant the price difference. If caravan profitability/survivability has declined in 1.6.5, the upgrade is even less cost-effective.
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
that is a good point, if you spend for upgraded troops does the game take that into account or when they lose them do they just start taking tier and 2 from towns so they are really weak @SadShogun any idea?
 

redmark

Squire
Anecdotally of course, when I've checked caravan composition after some time, it's difficult/impossible to tell what level the starting caravan was at, because they'll be a mish-mash of troops (trader types, recruited bandits and rescued prisoners) if they've survived many encounters and reinforced over time. That's why I think the difference between the two caravan tiers only really affects the first few battles that caravan will have. If those battles are with enemy faction parties, then either tier will lose. If they're with weak bandits (which most are), they'll win but have some casualties (which erodes the superior quality of the 'better troops'). My gut feeling is that the only benefit of 'better troops' is if their first few battles are likely to be with tougher groups of bandits - hence mid game - and that advantage only lasts a handful of battles before casualties erode it, or the 'weaker' troops upgrade anyway.
 

Earth Dragon

Sergeant
They’ll be worth once they realize gear sales make NO SENSE in the system they’ve laid out. The only bodies you outfit are named characters. Everyone else is “auto-spawning” their stuff. In a system like that, it should then be an “assumption” that your men are scavenging and gaining gear after battles and doing their own deals behind the scenes. This should be where the gear goes.

Caravans aren’t worth it because everything from raiding bandit camps to fighting open field battles is so obnoxiously profitable, these “profit parties” can’t hold a candle to them. The biggest thing they do is assist one of your named characters to develop without risky sudden drops in cash
 
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