Monday, May 30, 2011

iPad - Trade Nations: Review & Guide Part 2

After Part 1 of the iPad Trade Nations Guide, here is the Part 2:

Build Menu
Under the Build menu, i.e. the hammer icon, a player can choose to build buildings, decorations, castle or to expand his land. Various description and information of the buildings / deco are available by clicking the small little 'i' circle. There are decorations which add to the gold and experience gained. Often these additions are in small amount, i.e. <1% to a few %. Some decorations, especially those purchased with magic beans, can have much more pronounced effect.

Shops come in different varieties. Some shops, e.g. the stalls selling fruits, meat etc need a villager to man it and no resources are required (wonder how they get their fruits and fishes). Other shops, e.g. Pubs, Carpenter, Baker do not need villagers as staff, but they will consume resources instead.

Personally I don't think the percentage boost is not as critical as managing the different goods production, i.e. a player in Trade Nations can level up and gain gold more easily by managing the goods production in his shops.

The keep / castle buildings are often the most expensive to build. For example, the current most expensive Citadel will need 500,000 gold, 50,000 lumber, 30,000 cloth, and 75,000 cut stones! These expensive advancements are needed in order to build other buildings.

The other expensive item to 'build' is the land expansion option. At some point players in Trade Nations will run out of space to put new buildings and decorations. There are current 9 land expansion stages. Resources are not needed for land expansion but he gold required is significantly more than the Keep / Castle selections. For example, 'Increase Land 8' option will cost the players 1.5 million gold!

Among the newer buildings and decorations available, those in the Carnival category are interesting. Trade Nations introduced them as a mean to liven up those little towns and villages that players are building. So players can have Theatre, clown, Big Top and many little carnival tents. These buildings seem to add more gold and experience faster than the traditional shops.

Market & Trade
Last but not least, Trade Nations has an innovative world wide 'market' function. When players produced too many resources to keep in the storage, it is profitable to sell them at the market. Click on the picture below to get a sense of the buying and selling prices of the different resources.

Here's a personal tip: buying and selling of resources from the market can yield great golds for the smart players in Trade Nations. For example, cut stones can be bought from as low as 220 gold for 100 cut stones, but it can be sold subsequently for near to 300 gold! So if a player has more space for storage, buying and selling of these resources will be worth the effort. 

The trade cycle in the market is not refreshed in real time, i.e. prices do not change instantly. Thus this means that when prices are high or low, the player could sell or buy respectively in infinite amount, barring the capacity of the storage.

Trade Nations is a fun game on the iPad platform. It is somewhat therapeutic to see the little villagers moving about in the town you created. Decorations and the buildings help to keep a flavour that reminded me of the story of Jack and Beanstalk somehow. The amount of time spent for Trade Nations is not all consuming, unlike other games with conquest elements. Thus overall Trade Nations is one of those games that keep the players coming back, and is worth your time to give it a try (if you have not).

See also:
- iPad - Trade Nations: Review & Guide Part 1
- Trade Nations - Building a Citadel without using Magic Beans
- Trade Nations 3.3 - Far East Additions 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

iPad - Trade Nations: Review & Guide Part 1

Trade Nations is one of those city building games that sucked up small amount of time each day. It is addictive, in part due to the cute graphics, but mostly because it is fun and easy to play. As a social game on iPhone and iPad, Trade Nations has earned quite a number of good reviews. The Trade Nations is developed by Z2Live.

When the player first starts the game, Trade Nations will prompt the player to build cottages and basic resource gathering. Creating buildings in the game is done via pressing the 'hammer' icon located at the bottom right of the screen. There are 4 options when the 'hammer' icon is activated:

1) Functional Buildings -e.g. farms, cottages, shops etc
2) Decorative items - e.g. tiles, flowers, trees, statues etc (some of the items grant bonus for gold and experience gathering)
3) Castle - upgrading of the Tower to more impressive buildings, including the Citadel. 
4) Land expansion - the little plot of land is insufficient for your Trade Nations to grow and thus expansion will be needed

After the buildings are built, they can still be shifted around or be given a different orientation (or even sold for gold). Pressing the icon to the left of the 'hammer' icon will activate this re-decoration mode.

In Trade Nations, the basic block of resources comprises of four basic types:

a) Wood - Gathered from Logging camp (need 2 villagers) and available early part of the game
b) Rock - Gathered from Quarry (need 2 villagers) and available early part of the game
c) Wheat - Produced from Farms (need 2 villagers) and available early part of the game.
d) Wool - Produced from Pen (need 2 villagers)

Picture of farms (4 farms in lower right corner), some shops and 3 quarries (upper right corner)

These basic resources are later processed into three other secondary resources. Wheat is just wheat, and is used directly by the shops for goods production.

a) Wood is made into lumber in Lumber Yard (2 cutter and 2 haulers)
b) Rock is made into Cut Stones in Stone Cutter (2 cutter and 1 haulers)
c) Wool is made into Cloth in the Loom (2 weavers and 2 haulers)

Cottages, Villagers, Jobs, Gold & Beans
Villagers are available if you build cottages for them. Higher level cottages will allow for more rooms, i.e. more villagers are available. The player needs to level up in Trade Nations in order to build more cottages as well as upgrading the cottages to higher level ones.

Picture of cottages - different designs are available in Trade Nations
Cottages will also provide gold  and experience in small amount. Gold is the basic currency in the game.It can be earned via processing the resources into goods in the shop. Not all the shops need resources to produce but the earlier one do.There are also magic beans that can be used to purchase special buildings, speed up resources gathering / processing etc. Magic beans are given when the player level up in Trade Nations (1 bean per level) or be purchased via real life cash.

The villagers will need to be assigned to different jobs, in both the shops as well as resources processing buildings. Of course, some shops do not need villagers. To assign jobs, it is easier to first select the idling villagers (they will be standing next to their cottages), then select the shops. The vacancy will be shown. Select the vacancy to assign that job to the idling villager. There is no difference (or I did not see any so far) between assigning jobs to male or female villagers.

I guess this is long enough for 1 part of the Trade Nations guide, and the others (market, castle, etc) will be covered in Part 2 of the Trade Nations: Review & Guide.
See also:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger is currently unavailable - for quite a while actually...

"Blogger is currently unavailable" was the message you get if you tried to access Blogger for the past many hours.

Apparently Google's Blogger had been down for between 19 hours to 36 hours, depending on which news source. Guess that means millions of blogs will not have new content for the past day. Someone should investigate if there is a significant drop in new web content as a result, as a measure of Blogger's influence on web content creation.

There were also news that some latest blog posts went missing. According to info from Blogger, there was a data corruption during the scheduled maintenance (see pic below). Hopefully it is just a technical glitch, something that is unavoidable when Blogger is testing new features.

Well at least Blogger is no long 'unavailable'.