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I am trying to figure out ship trading in Shogun 2. I went to the location of an anchor on the minimap with my trading ship, and there was already a fleet of trading ships on it from a trading partner of mine. The game displayed a message saying I could right click on the anchor and destroy the fleet that was already on the anchor, going to war with my trading partner.

This does not make sense to me; surely I am misunderstanding or doing something wrong. I had expected to find these anchors in territories of those nations I have trade alliances with, but I only see them with some odd, long distance nations, not related to me. Surely both of us can trade at the same time? It does not make sense to me that I would be unable to trade from an anchor because my trading ally is already there. I certainly don't want to go to war with my trading ally.

What do I do to trade when there is somebody already on the anchor? How does this work?

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That was painful to read. –  Hackworth Nov 2 '12 at 12:54

2 Answers 2

When you open a trade agreement with a clan trade will automatically commence. There are two ways to trade with a clan, by roads if there are roads connecting two of your cities and by ship. If you and your trade partner have open port space then trade will commence. You can see your trade routes by dotted lines on your map that will leade from your port to theirs. By upgrading your docks you can allow for more open port space which in turn allows you to do more trade.

Now for your question:

In short, you kill them.

Those "anchors" you see on the map are not trade routes with other clans, but trading routes with areas outside of Japan. These routes are to simulate imports from other regions of the world. There are a set number of anchors the map and each anchor coresponds to an important trade resource. These nodes are on a first come first serve basis.

Now the long answer:

From a very well done Shogun 2 guide that can be found here:

There are EIGHT total trade resources in the game:

"Crafts, Silk, Horses, Incense, Cotton, Stone, Iron and Wood.

Crafts, Horses, Stone, Iron and Wood can be obtained by controlling a region that has these resources and then developing the structures that produces them.

Silk, Incense and Cotton can be obtained by controlling Trade Nodes(The anchors).

You need access to these resources to build some high-tier buildings (for example you need stone to build the highest level castle) and you need them to increase your trade-based income.

Additionally, you need horses to access Samurai Calvary (Bow, Katana, Yari and Guards). Wood would decrease the cost of building ships in the region that has that resource. Stone would decrease the cost of building structures in the region that has that resource. Iron will allow building advanced smith/armory buildings."

As I said before, the trade nodes are on a first come first serve basis, so unless you want to wage war on your ally you have to wait until they decide to leave the port. The best way to ensure you capture as many nodes as you can (which is very vital) is to send out trade ships very early and to know where the nodes are located. Once you have a ship in port the only way someone can oust you is by attacking and destroying your fleet. Trade ships have very weak defneses so they should be accompanied by some military ships to protect from attacks.

Also from the guide listed above:

"The more trade ships you put on a trade node, the higher the quantity of the commodity you will obtain. But adding ships have a diminishing rate. The first trade ship will give 8 units, the second ship will less, the third even less, etc. In the picture I have 3 ships that gives me 21 boxes of Incense that I can trade with other nations. You can see the amount you are obtaining by hovering the mouse pointer over your ships."

I do appologize if this is a lot of information, but the question you asked does warrant a good explaination. Please do read Dark Side's Economy guide (listed above). It is the most comprehensive Shogun 2 guide on the internet!

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Trade nodes are on a first-come first-serve basis. As trade is a very potent source of income in Shogun 2, taking the nodes is something every player should do no matter what. In fact, a simple measure of player ability could be how fast they finish their trade port, make their first trade ship, and cap their first trade post, in comparison to the best possible speed for their clan. Koku is sparse at the start of the game, and trading ports and ships, while expensive, should be the main priority. If your port isn't yet capable of producing trade ships, and you end the turn without an upgrade to it queued, you're committing one of the two biggest strategic mistakes in the early game.

If you find yourself unable to take all trade posts first - quite common unless you're playing Shimazu/Mori/Chosokabe - start preparing for a takeover immediately.

Take note of the clans that have occupied your rightful place as chief importer of goods. You will soon declare war on them, but not yet. Continue producing trade ships as fast as you're able. Fill up the trading posts you do own, and place full ship stacks next to the ones you don't own. Always have a ship near nodes that aren't yours - the AI sometimes leaves the node, is chased off by pirates, or even has their stack disappear because the owning clan is wiped out in a war. Don't miss a chance to steal a recently freed up node because you failed to keep a ship around.

In a few turns, you will probably have a good amount of ships near one of the nodes you don't own. If, in those few turns, the AI is still around - more likely than not - declare war. Attack their ship stack - they tend to be small and can be defeated without any combat ships, most of the time (surely you checked before declaring war?) - occupy the node as they flee from you - and seek peace again. A tribute is in order - most often, 5000 will suffice, but if it doesn't, feel free to increase it to 20000+. Paying a small sum each turn is the way to go here - this way, if the AI is a neighbor on the strategy map, or if they are really mad, should they declare war again, you will only have paid for the number of turns the peace lasted (the remaining payments are canceled). The tribute is worth it - a trade node will easily make you more than what the AI will want from you. Try to also include a trade agreement in the peace deal - it will improve relations, and you should always be trading with everyone, even if you have to pay for the agreements, once you have a few trade nodes.

You are basically buying a trade node, and the price is usually between 1000 and 20000 koku and a slight relationship hit with the previous owner. What if the owner is an ally? Tough luck - attacking an ally will affect diplomacy with everyone, making maintaining those trade agreements with everyone that much harder. Consider it carefully - personally, I would ask you why you allied with them in the first place, but some clans start with allies, hence even the best player may land in this situation. Attacking is rarely wise in this case - what we fear here is not the payment for peace, but rather the relationship hit with everyone else.

With allies, I advice waiting and preparing for active sabotage. Hope that Wako pirates or clans that are at war with your ally remove them from the node. While waiting, train monks and cause rebellions in their provinces. In no more than twenty turns, you should have been able to give most of their provinces to the rebel faction, then retaken or bribed them yourself. Destroy their clan from the inside if you have to - usually their enemies will finish them off, but no matter whether it is rebels or a rival clan, their ship stack will disappear once the province counter hits 0. Congratulations, you have obtained the last trade node from your ally without having to officially break your alliance with them.

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