The one who rules the trade routes rules the world. It's not enough to just rule them, however. one must make good use of them as well, which is only possible with Convoys.
Convoys are an essential part of maintaining shipping lanes. They are produced from Ports, a government building that requires Clippers, or their equivalents available in the Victorian era, and other goods.
Each country has a set number of required convoys and not having enough will incur penalties on all shipping lanes. This may occur due to an overstretched colonial empire or hostile convoy raiders, to name some examples.
Shipping Lanes represents port-to-port connections and are established for three different reasons:
- Trade Routes to an overseas market,
- Supply Routes for an overseas General,
- Port Connections to link states in a market.
Each shipping lane must have its own origin and destination port. Once established it will span across a number of sea nodes and have its own individual cost in convoys which adds up to the country’s total convoy requirement.
As such, Trade Routes between two markets that do not share a common land border must be done overseas and will necessitate a shipping lane. Land adjacency is determined from where the two market capitals are located. The convoy cost is influenced by the number of sea nodes, quantity of goods and any goods-specific modifier.
The effectiveness affects the trade route competitiveness and by extension the number of goods shipped. If either country lacks ports no overseas trade routes can be established, it will use the two closest ports in the respective market capitals region.