From SotS

The contents of this page were introduced in Born of Blood.

Trade Sector Summary

Technology Requirement

In order to use any trade features an empire must research FTL Economics. The Zuul do not trade, but can raid opponent's trade routes. The Hiver can trade, but with a lack of true FTL capable ships they cannot raid.

Trade Sectors

The strategic map is divided into cubic trade sectors. These sectors can be highlighted by selecting the trade view from the Task Bar. Trade can only happen in sectors that are secure. A sector is only secure when:

  • All planets within the sector are explored
  • There is at least one friendly colony within the sector
  • There are no enemy colonies within the sector

All planets belong to a sector. Near the edge of star formations planets that belong to the sector may lie outside it's boundary. Once a sector is selected all planets belonging to that sector are highlighted.

Trade Routes

Each empire's colonies can sustain one or more trade routes. The length of trade routes is determined by the empire's Power Technology and Star Drives. The number of trade routes per colony is determined by population. A colony is capable of sustaining a trade route based on population:

Colony Population Trade Routes
0 to < 300M One
300M to < 600M One
600M to < 900M Two
900M to < 1.2B Three
1.2B to < 1.5B Four
1.5B to < 1.8B Five
>= 1.8B Six

The total number of trade routes available to a colony is equal to the number of colonies within the same empire or allied colonies within the maximum route length up to the total routes sustained by population.

The system for calculating max trade routes was changed somewhat in AMoC. A colony can now support 1 trade route per 500 million imperial citizens, and 1 trade route per 200 million civilians. All results are rounded up. Thus, a size one colony is capable of supporting 2 trade routes (100million/500million = 0.2 rounds to 1 from imperials, and 200million/200million = 1 from civilians) while a player's homeworld is now capable of supporting up to 14 trade routes (2billion/500million = 4 from imperials, and 2billion/200million = 10 from civilians).

Trade Stations

With the addition of AMoC, Trade Stations can be built that will add two extra trade routes to Allied, NAP'ed and Independent worlds, as long as they are in range of the station, when they are constructed. They increase the value of all normal trade routes at the planet they orbit by 25% as well as decrease the cost of researching Xenotech Technology. Extra routes to Allied, NAP'ed and Independent worlds do not get the 25% bonus. Trade Stations can also be built around uninhabited worlds, where they act like a planet and give two trade routes to Allied, NAP'ed and Independent worlds. Trade with aliens gives you 80% of the profits of a route and 20% of the profits to them. Trade Stations are unarmed.


Freighters are special single section Destroyer or Cruiser class ships that can be built at colonies just like any other ship in the game. Freighters are assigned to Trade Sectors to ply the trade routes between your colonies. Up to five freighters can be assigned to each active trade route within a secure Trade Sector. When freighters are constructed at a colony they automatically join the Trade Sector that colony belongs to if the Trade Sector is secure. Trade routes can also be established with Allied Empire colonies where such exist in the Trade Sector.

To manually add freighters to a Trade Sector, put the starmap into the "show trade routes" mode and give the freighters a move order to the "lock" in center of the Trade Sector. This is quite useful for moving freighters between Trade Sectors.

Freighters are relatively expensive and fragile, thus if a Trade Sector becomes insecure:

  • Freighters working in that Trade Sector will retreat to one of the colonies in that Trade Sector as a single fleet labelled "Freighters".
  • newly built Freighters will appear as a fleet at the building colony rather than being automatically assigned to the Trade Sector

To re–assign idle freighters to a Trade Sector that has returned to being secure may require manual intervention.

To check on ships assigned to a Trade Sector, place the starmap into the "show trade routes" mode and select the "lock" in the center of the Trade Sector.

This will show you not only freighters, but also any ships you have assigned to Escort Duty.

Income per Freighter

For all non-Morrigi races that trade, Freighters provide only 1,000 in savings per turn for the first three turns they are active. After that, Destroyer Freighters, Cruiser Freighters and the Q-ship Freighter introduced in AMoC, all have different maximum per Freighter income.

Freighter Type Max per Freighter
DE Freighter 5,000
CR Q-Freighter 10000
CR Freighter 15000

Different types of Freighters can be mixed and matched in a Trade Sector, with the maximum amount of trade income for that trade sector depending the exact number of each type of Freighter. So a trade sector with 5 DE Freighters will have a maximum per turn income of 25,000, while a trade sector with 5 CR Freighters will have a maximum per turn income of 75,000 and a trade sector with 3 DE Freighters and 2 CR Freighters will have a maximum per turn income of 45,000.

Morrigi get significantly more money for each trade route then the rest of the races that trade (about 33% for internal routes).

Time for Return on Investment

Using the above values and the cost for a freighter, the time for a freighter to pay for itself can be found. "Minimum IO techs" refers to construction-cost reducing technologies; none are required to produce DE Freighters, while Waldos and Orbital Foundries are required to produce CR Freighters. Additionally, Morrigi will always have Cybernetic Interface and Advanced Robotics.

Race With minimum IO techs With Waldos, Orbital Foundries,

Cybernetic Interface, Expert Systems

DE Freighter CR Freighter DE Freighter CR Freighter
Hiver 18.5 turns 19.8 turns 15.6 turns 19.0 turns
Human 20.7 turns 18.7 turns 17.7 turns 17.9 turns
Liir 19.6 turns 21.4 turns 16.7 turns 20.6 turns
Morrigi 17.0 turns 12.2 turns 14.3 turns 11.8 turns
Tarka 21.3 turns 18.0 turns 18.2 turns 17.3 turns

Trade Management

Once trade sectors are secure and have freighters assigned trade routes can be activated. A colony's trade routes are activated by moving the Construction<->Trade slider to the right. Each white tick represents a trade route. Once activated trade routes are in a new status for three turns and will only provide 1,000 in savings per turn. After the three turn startup a trade route is established and will provide a set amount per turn for each freighter assigned up to the maximum of five freighters and a maximum per turn depending on the type of freighters on the route (see Income per Freighter above). Trade income is added to the total empire income at the beginning of each turn. Trade income is also modified by difficulty settings and by the Economic slider. Trade with aliens (by using Trade Stations) gives you 80% of the profits of a route and 20% of the profits to them.

If a trade route is shut down due to extra construction capacity needed at the colony, a loss of all freighters assigned to the route, or the sector becoming insecure then the trade route will have to be reestablished for another three turns before it is back to providing full income.

Commerce Raiding

Once you have researched the Commerce Raiding technology, you will be able to move ships into Trade Sectors containing a colony owned by other Empires in the game.

Overall the idea with Commerce Raiding is mostly to force other Empires to spend more money protecting their freighters and trade routes, than you spent on raiding. But raiding can also generate income. If a freighter is destroyed, the player who destroys that freighter gets a bounty depending on the size of the Freighter: 25,000 for a DE Freighter and 50,000 for a CR Freighter. But if a freighter has all of it's turrets blown off instead, the attacking player gets a larger bounty, again depending on the size of the Freighter: 50,000 for a DE Freighter and 75,000 for a CR Freighter.

Commerce Raiders

Commerce Raiders are any warship you move into a Trade Sector, they are not a particular class of warship like freighters are. You move them to the Trade Sector you want to raid manually.

If Commerce Raiders succeed and at least one lives to talk about it, the owning Empire will get a monetary reward for each freighter destroyed or disarmed. A point of consideration is that Commerce Raiders need to find their quarry (Deep Scan is a good idea) and evade detection by Escort fleet elements. Other points:

  • Stealth Armor reduces the chances of Raiders being spotted by Escorts
  • Larger hull sizes increase the chances of Raiders being spotted by Escorts
  • The larger the fleet, the higher the chance of Raiders being spotted by Escorts
  • Multiple small fleets are more stealthy than one large one.


An Empire can keep warships stationed at their worlds and use them to intercept inbound Commerce Raiders if they are fast enough, but usually this will result in avenging your freighters rather than protecting them.

Alternatively, you can attempt to reduce piracy by assigning Escorts to your Trade Sectors.

Escorts will spread themselves over all the trade routes in a given Trade Sector, whereas Commerce Raiders will stick together in whatever fleet arrangement they were sent into the sector in.


It is possible to raid allied fleets in a secured sector by using the "Raider" flag. The raider flag is only required for ships in a secure sector. Otherwise the ships are assumed to be escorts. Any ships in unsecure sectors are already treated as raiders. As mentioned before, if a raider fleet is detected, it will be apparent to the enemy, and they can avoid it. Larger fleets/ships are more likely to be detected. You can split ships up into separate fleets to make them harder to detect, but you will be raiding with the smaller fleets.

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