Submitted by: David K.
Useful Tips to Start:
Written by Matten
Almost 20 years after its original release, the third installment of the Patrician
games is in my opinion still the best (Pat4 broke the series back), and since then
I havent come across any game coming close to the quality of this trading simulator.
Each town has its pros and cons.
Personally, I always start in Luebeck as it feels like a natural starting place, being
one of the founders of the League, and it is in the center of the map. It produces your
early money maker – Iron goods – and is close to 6 towns that need those Iron goods.
Also, you can build ships here easily as it produces Pitch.
As to the starting conditions, choose what you like. As to the ship, I keep it on
low which gives you a single trading ship (snaikka or crayer). It feels more realistic
to start with a single ship and some cash, and grow your trading empire from that humble
You can play this game any way you want. You could pursue the traditional goal of
becoming Lord Mayor of your home town and then Alderman of the Hanseatic League. Or
you could try to be a monopolist in 1 good, or eliminate all competition and become
the sole trader in the League. Or do all that at the same time.
But as you are starting out, your focus should be on 2 things:
* Earn money while keeping your costs low.
* Keep your home town well supplied.
-=Easy Money Maker for Starters=-
There is one sure way to earn money fast, and that is to sell Iron goods (IG). It is
by far the most profitable good in the game. Not only does it have a high profit per
unit sold (I buy IG up to 300g and sell for at least 400g), but demand for IG is also
very high. Towns need IG to build anything (houses, businesses, defenses, ships) and
their pops consume it. If the town produces Skins, then it needs even more IG.
If I fill my snaikka to the brim with IG (150 units) in Luebeck, that will cost me
45,000g (150 * 300g) but will bring in at least 60,000 (150 * 400g) for a profit of
15,000g – in a single run! Whats more, I would probably only have to visit 3 to 4
towns (lets say Rostock, Stettin, Gdansk and Torun) to sell all 150 units.
So not only high but also fast profits!
No other good comes close to IG: some goods have high demand, but low unit profit
(e.g. Beer), while other goods have high unit profit, but low demand (e.g. Spices).
The other good thing about IG is that it requires Pig iron to produce. Some towns,
like Stockholm and Bremen, produce both Pig iron and Iron goods, but a town like
Luebeck not. By supplying Luebeck with Pig iron (notably, from neighboring Aalborg)
you not only make sure you have a steady supply of cheap Iron goods, but you also
make a profit on the sale of Pig iron. One more reason for me to start in Luebeck
rather than Stockholm or Bremen.
The same is partly true for Skins, which require IG to produce and are in high demand
as well (although lower than IG). However, Skins are only available in large quantities
in the Northern Baltic, and I usually only start trading those after I set up shop in
Okay, back to the opening scene – with my first ship (snaikka or crayer) in the harbor
There are a couple of things I will do at this point:
Bring up the towns trade screen and buy IG. Usually, supply is rather low at this
point so I will pay a slightly higher price (up to 330g) to buy 20-30 units.
I also add 5-10 Wine for max 260g. Send the ship to Stettin.
Wine is plentiful in only 2 towns: Cologne and Groningen (and some in Luebeck). It
can be profitable, but since it does not require any inputs to produce it is widely
traded by your competitors as well. So you will find that Wine is often not in high
demand, especially in the North Sea and the Southern Baltic. Bringing Wine to the
Northern Baltic, where it is in short supply, takes a long time (slow profits).
Hire an administrator/manager in the Luebeck office. He will make sure I have a steady
supply of IG. Order him to buy 60 IG for max 300g.
Build one Pitchmaker. This is a very cheap business to build and run, and will provide
the Pitch to build ships. I build it outside the walls, to keep space inside the walls
for more valuable businesses (in particular, my – future –
Workshops producing IG). Pitch requires Timber to make, so I order my manager to buy
10 Timber at max 65g.
Go to the Weapon Smith and buy all Cutlasses (usually, just a couple of units). I find
that buying regularly at his shop will stimulate weapons production. Keep in mind he
needs Leather to produce weapons.
By now, your ship should be in Stettin (or fast forward until it is). Sell as much IG
for min 400g, and buy 30-50 Beer for max 40. Next, send your ship to Malmo.
Note that I told earlier that Beer is not a money maker. However, Beer is essential to
raising your reputation in any town, in particular your home town. So I tend to buy
Beer regularly, but only in small quantities, to keep Luebeck well supplied. Also,
unhappy pops will disrupt production of the goods you need to earn money.
In Malmo, sell the remainder of the IG (if any) and buy some Cloth for max 220g and
Pig iron for max 900g. If you have at least 5 loads of Pig iron, then send you ship
back to Luebeck. Else, go to Aalborg and buy more Pig iron. In Aalborg, you will also
find a good supply of Leather (max 270g), Meat (max 950g) and Whale oil (max 90g).
Buy a limited amount of all three (10b Leather, 2-3l Meat and 5-10b Whale oil). Return
to Luebeck and dump everything in your warehouse.
Tell your administrator to sell the Pig iron for min 1,100g, Beer for min 46g, Leather
for min 350g, Meat for min 1,200g and Whale oil for min 120g. You are not going to
earn much on these, but they will ensure a steady flow of IG and increase your
reputation in the town. Keep the Cloth in your warehouse to build ships (you need 3
Cloth for a snaikka — sell excess Cloth for min 280g).
At this point, you might be running low on cash. Check your warehouse in Luebeck – your
administrator probably bought a stock of IG that you can move to your ship and start
selling in Rostock, Stettin, Malmo, Aalborg, …
Check the taverns in each town you visit: if theres a Captain available, hire him for
your ship. You will need Captains to set up automatic trade routes. Captains most
often show up in river locations: Torun, Novgorod, and Cologne.
-=A Second Ship=-
Your money will go up quickly if you keep selling the Iron goods your manager buys
in Luebeck, and keep providing Luebeck with the goods it requires (Pig iron from
Malmo and Aalborg, Beer from Stettin, small quantities of Honey from Rostock,
Leather, Meat, Whale oil from Aalborg).
When I hit 50-60k in cash, I join the local guild in Luebeck (the entrance fee goes
up with your wealth to a max of 75k, so best to join as early as possible). This is
necessary if you want to reach the higher social levels. By now, you should also
have enough Pitch to order a new snaikka from the Luebeck shipyard. You will also
need some IG, Cloth, Timber and Hemp. Somehow, Hemp is plentiful at the start of
the game and you can easily buy it for less than 300g. It will become scarcer later,
so if I have enough cash I keep a stock of 20-30 loads of Hemp in my Luebeck office.
As soon as the second snaikka is finished, send it to Stockholm and set up a circular
trade route in the northern Baltic. At first, I will do this manually: Stockholm
(buy IG) >> Visby (sell IG) >> Riga (sell IG) >> Reval (buy IG) >> Ladoga (sell IG)
>> Novgorod (sell IG). As soon as I have a trade office in Stockholm and a Captain
on the ship, I will set up an automatic trade route. You will need a better reputation
to be able to build a trading office in Stockholm, so think about either supplying
the town with Beer (from Novgorod) and Wine (from Luebeck), or start hunting pirates
Stockholm produces Pig iron, so no need to supply it. However, Reval does not, so
you might want to bring some Stockholm Pig iron along to sell in Reval.
Once the second snaikka is finished, order a third one. If you do not have a Crayer
yet, order a Crayer. We will need it to hunt pirates. Else, keep ordering snaikkas.
Snaikkas are fast and cheap to build and run, and a fleet of snaikkas is more than
sufficient to set up your early trade empire.
-=Going on a Pirate Hunt=-
Hunting pirates is by far the best way to improve your reputation across the entire
Hanseatic League, and at this point in the game you will need a good reputation
everywhere you want to build a trading office (see next section).
I use a single Crayer to hunt pirates, as it packs a decent punch and it is fast.
A single Level-3 Crayer is sufficient to even take on Habakuk Benekes fleet of 2
Cogs and a Crayer.
If your first ship is not a Crayer, then order one in the Luebeck shipyard as soon
as you have the cash and have it upgraded to Level 3.
By now, you should also have enough ship weapons (2 small catapults, 4 large catapults
and 28 cutlasses) to arm your ship to the teeth. Check your existing Captains and
transfer the one with the best Sailing + Fighting talent to your pirate hunter,
and hire the max number of sailors (28 for early game Crayers). Make sure the Hunter
has no damage and carries only weapons on board – no other cargo – to maximize its
There are 2 ways to hunt for pirates:
* You can hunt them on the sea – especially the infamous and extremely annoying Habakuk
Beneke. This requires a bit of patience and luck – Beneke travels across the whole map
at rather high speed… You can pay informers in the taverns to discover his most recent
location and plan for an ambush – the busy passages above Aalborg or below Malmo are
good locations to intercept pirates.
* You can accept missions in the taverns to escort people to another town. You will be
attacked by a generic pirate on the way. If you can sink or capture this pirate, your
reputation will increase. Avoid the Escort missions in Gdansk – somehow, my game always
crashes when I take on these missions in Gdansk.
-=How to Win Every Sea Battle=-
Ive been able to win every single ship battle with a single Crayer at level 3, fully
armed (2 small catapults and 4 large catapults, and a full complement of sailors and
cutlasses). Make sure your Crayer is at or close to 100% health and does not carry any
cargo other than its weaponry.
The trick is to have the wind in your back and stay ahead of the enemys ships. Your
Crayer is faster than Cogs and Hulks, so you can gain some distance, turn and shoot,
and then turn back with the wind before the enemy can take a shot at you, gain some
distance, turn, shoot, turn back, … Keep an eye on the winds direction as it tends
to change in longer battles. If the enemy has a Crayer among its ships, then focus on
damaging the Crayer first as it is the only one that can keep up with your ship unless
it is damaged.
If the enemy has only 1 ship (for example, during Escort missions) then I board and
take the ship as soon as it has less sailors than me (usually I wait until there are
20 vs my 28 sailors).
If the enemy has multiple ships, I concentrate on sinking them until I can capture the
last one. Otherwise, the other ships will keep shooting at you while you board one of
the enemy ships.
-=Beginnings of a Trade Empire=-
With your third ship being built and your reputation growing, it is time to think about
how you will set up your early trade empire.
I like to divide the map into 3 distinct trade regions:
* Southern Baltic: Luebeck, Rostock, Stettin, Gdansk, Torun, Malmo, Oslo, and Aalborg.
* Northern Baltic: Stockholm, Visby, Riga, Reval, Ladoga, and Novgorod.
* North Sea: Ripen, Hamburg, Bremen, Groningen, Cologne, Bruges, London, Scarborough,
and Edinburgh (Bergen is so isolated that I usually do not bother serving it).
Each trade region will have a central hub (Luebeck, Stockholm, and Scarborough) and its
own fleet of ships. This early in the game I only use snaikkas for trading, and Crayers
for pirate hunting or valuable cargoes (e.g. Skins or Spices).
The focus this early in the game will be on trading IG to generate cash, so no surprise
that the 3 hubs Ive chosen are the major producers of IG in the game.
The Northern Baltic has a great IG trade route from Stockholm to Visby, Riga, Reval,
Ladoga and Novgorod. These last 4 towns are the major producers of Skins, so they need
a lot of Iron goods. Reval produces IG itself, but needs Pig iron, which you can get in
I usually set up one ship to trade Iron goods, and another to buy Skins. The Skins are
kept in Stockholm, where they can be sold to the city itself or Visby. Any surplus stock
can be sent regularly to Luebeck, to be further distributed to either the Southern
Baltic towns of Rostock, Stettin, Gdansk and Aalborg or the North Sea (where virtually
no Skins are produced).
In the North Sea, I have a ship running IG from Scarborough to Ripen, Hamburg, Bremen
(buy more IG), Groningen, Cologne and Bruges. A separate ship runs between London and
Scarborough, supplying London Pig Iron to Scarborough and IG back to London. Another
ship collects IG from Edinburgh and Bergen and brings it to my hub in Scarborough.
Note that in a later stage, you should think about having a ship per town, moving goods
between the town and your hub instead of having circular routes.
From time to time, towns offer contracts to supply them with a certain quantity of a
specific good. You can find these contracts in the town hall. Contracts only apply to a
limited set of goods: Wine, Wool, Cloth, Beer, Grain, and Timber.
Contracts offer high profit margins, but I tend to accept only contracts for Wine, Wool
and Cloth. The other goods are simply not very profitable. To fulfill these contracts,
I keep a dedicated snaikka both in Bruges and Torun (later with the addition of a trading
office). Both Bruges and Torun produce Wool, the main contract good. From Bruges, you
can easily get Wine (Cologne) and Cloth (London). In the Baltic you can get Wine from
Luebeck and Cloth from Malmo or Visby.
-=Turning to the Dark Side: How to Be a Pirate=-
Being a pirate in this game is extremely tricky and dangerous. It is clearly a mechanic
the creators of the game have tried to discourage, but it is not impossible to do.
If you want the (very fun) challenge to take out all the white ships (the ships of both
your direct competitors and resident merchants), then you should do it at the start of
the game. The fines for piracy increase with your wealth, so they will be lower (but
still high) if your wealth is low. Also, it will take a long time to rebuild your reputation.
Personally, I only use piracy to take out my direct competitors once Ive become Lord
Mayor of my town and I have trading offices in all towns (after that, your reputation
matters less unless you want to become Alderman and finish the game). There are 12
direct competitors, along with 24 resident merchants.
Resident merchants are mainly busy supplying their towns with the low-profit essentials
(Timber, Salt, Grain, …), so be prepared to take over this trade if you want to take
them out as well. If not, the Leagues economy will collapse spectacularly.
-=So how to take out your direct competitors?=-
First of all, make sure you are covered politically. Go to your home town and check out
the baths. You will need to bribe at least one, preferably two or three different
councillors (35-40k per councillor). Once bribed, they will help you avoid being condemned
and fined when you are charged with piracy. Note that this only covers 1 charge – if you
are charged multiple times at once, you can still be condemned and fined even if you
Next, set up a Crayer and/or Snaikka with a captain and a full complement of sailors in
a good ambush spot, like the route between Aalborg and Luebeck or between Ladoga and
Novgorod. I also set up 2 spotter ships at the two ends of these choke points to spot
any ships coming my way. You can use the snaikka to take out any snaikkas, and the crayer
to take on larger ships.
Spices can be bought cheaply in Scarborough, London, Bruges and Cologne. Large quantities
(70-80 barrels) regularly appear there for a bottom price of 168g. If you have trading
offices with managers buying Spices at this bottom price, you will quickly amass a huge
quantity of Spices which you could theoretically sell for double the price in any other
However, Spices are in very low demand, usually just a couple of barrels per week per
town. So it would take a very long time (and a lot of money in operating costs) to sell
I only start trading in Spices when I have become a Councillor and can sell them all
to the Princes representative at the gates of Luebeck. The prince buys any quantity
of the goods he needs, so you could amass 100s barrels of Spices at 168g and sell them
to him at prices upwards of 300g. Very profitable, although it feels like cheating
since this is kind of a broken mechanism.
-=Producing Your Own Goods=-
A common mistake is to start producing your own goods early in the game. Businesses
cost a lot of money to build and to run, and if you do not sell your goods fast enough
you will run out of cash fast.
At the start of the game, you will need all of your cash simply to buy stock, order
ships and build trading offices. I avoid building any businesses except for the
Pitchmaker in Luebeck (so I can build ships fast) and one or two Iron smelters in
Aalborg, Stockholm and London if the supply of Pig iron in those towns is insufficient
to supply Luebeck, Reval and Scarborough.
Next, I tend to build one or two workshops in Luebeck to keep up the supply of IG in
the Southern Baltic (since Luebeck is the only town producing it in that trade region).
The Northern Baltic and North Sea should have enough producers to supply enough IG for
your early trade empire.
So, early in the game I only build businesses for high-margin goods that are in high
demand and that I can sell quickly (Pig iron, Iron goods, maybe Skins).