The caravan trading is a route any type of caravan follows to profit gold.
The minimum distance between a town center and market is (roughly) four market sized buildings away, with a starting drop off of 2-3 gold
Trade routes for Caravans increase in proportion with the distance a caravan must travel. This is not to be confused with the distance between the selected Town Center and the Market. The path finding mechanic for this is incredibly finickly!
If the Caravan has to go through a snaking path of 3 walls to reach a market that is 8 (market building size) distance from it, it may generate anywhere between 2 and 10 gold with a straight path generating 6 gold. 2 gold will be generated if the Caravan snags anywhere along the path, while 10 gold can be generated from only two walls in some instances but 6 gold in others.
- Note! Trading with an ally town center will yield 50% more gold.
The Caravan will automatically travel to the farthest market from the town center you select. If you build one 4 market sized buildings away, and another 20 market sized buildings away, the Caravan will automatically travel to the market 20 away when you right click the desired town center.
A Caravan will also travel the same route everytime unless that route becomes blocked (does not apply to artificially created paths via walls). If you wall off the shortest path between two massive forests, the caravan will go around and continue to do so even if the walled off short path becomes open. However, a caravan bumping into another caravan will cause the AI to path again and send it on the new shortest route (provided the collision occurs near the market)
- The first few trips a caravan takes it is possible for it to bring in as little as 2 gold (or even none in rare instances), but with each trip there's a high chance it will correct this bug and bring in the normal total value.
- When establishing a trade route for the first time, ensure the caravan is standing next to the desired market before selecting the town hall it will travel to. This will cause the maximum route to be established from the beginning.
If a Caravan is traveling in a straight line, it will generate the following gold for each drop-off:
Gold per Caravan
A market is 4 squares long by 4 squares wide. The relationship between distance traveled and gold produced seems to be approximately: gold = 0.0075 * ( (squares traveled)^2 ), at least up to 72 squares. Gold actually gained may occasionally be less than the above due to bugs and AI-pathing issues mentioned above. The important point is that the further the caravan travels the better, even though a caravan traveling a short distance might drop off the gold more often, it will still produce less gold than a caravan traveling a longer distance for any extended period of time.
It would also seem that the caravan keeps a tally of the total distance traveled, and gold created since it began its route, as it will not always give the same amount of gold, often fluctuating by 1. It seems to be the case that if a route grants 1.33 gold, the carvan will produce 1 gold, 1 gold, 2 gold.