17 February 2022

The Settler Economics 101 – Economic success and how to achieve it

A machine normally runs better once it is well oiled and maintained. The same principle applies to the economy in The Settlers. The correct placement of and distance between your buildings can be the first step towards economic success. However, there are some other details that are important, and we want to tackle those today.

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Roads: Roads are essential to connect buildings to each other and to make sure carriers know where they need to go. Without a road, a building will not be able to function. In The Settlers we differentiate between two different types of roads.

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  • Dirt Roads: This type doesn’t cost any material and acts as a basic connection between buildings. Carriers and donkey carts can use this road type.

  • Gravel Roads: These roads are an improvement over the normal dirt roads but require stone to be constructed. Once constructed, carriers will automatically use a pull cart to transport the goods.

“When we started with roads, we had many options and directions to go. We took our inspirations from earlier The Settlers titles, where the castle and the roads were a must as well and shaped our settlements and our gameplay!” – Creative Director


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  • Carriers: This is your basic settlers transporting goods from A to B. This is done automatically depending on the need of a building and the available resources. The best you can do for your buildings is to make sure you have a big enough population to supply the workers and carriers and connect them with a road to a warehouse.

If the output pile is full, make sure to place a warehouse in the vicinity to keep producing more goods and be prepared for any eventuality that may come your way.

You can also trade overproduced goods at the harbor.

  • Pull Cart: As the name suggests a pull cart gets pulled by the carrier to allow them to transport more goods at the same time. Once you have gravel roads, carriers will automatically use a pull cart to be able to transport more goods.

  • Donkey Carts: Donkeys need to be fostered at the ranch to then be further used at a coachmaker. Once you have donkey carts, both the carrier and donkey will be able to transport 8 goods at the same time, but only between the different warehouses or harbors.

“Every time we played a match in any The Settlers, we noticed that bulk transport was never a topic. Your only way to improve logistics was to just have more carriers. We wanted to make sure the player would have interesting options to upgrade their system!” – Creative Director

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Warehouses: Warehouses are buildings that fulfil several roles central to your settlements’ logistics. These buildings can store goods and manage transport between each other. They also group other buildings into “clusters” that benefit from simplified logistics.

Each building is “connected” to the nearest warehouse on the same patch of territory. All buildings connected to the same warehouse are collectively called a “cluster”. These connections do not have a maximum range, however buildings on territory with no warehouses will form no clusters.

Connected buildings receive three benefits:

  • Goods can be transported directly between buildings in the same cluster, regardless of the distance.
  • The warehouse acts as a storage for goods that aren’t immediately needed.
  • The warehouse recognizes needs for goods in its cluster and will request goods from other warehouses.

Most of this doesn’t need any input from the players as the systems behind this are automated. The player’s most crucial role will be to place buildings and form clusters as efficiently as possible. The connection between different warehouses and their clusters around them is also very important. If goods in one warehouse cluster are not needed, make sure transportation flows easily between other warehouse clusters. Traffics jams or blocked roads by nearby construction can delay economic success.

“Warehouses became central to the base planning. At first it was storages, but we wanted to give those storages a stronger meaning and a face lift!” – Creative Director

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Residences / Carriers: Keeping an eye on your population limit is very important. You need settlers for everything in your economy. They are the core, as they transport goods from A to B automatically. Without them, everything slows down, which in return makes you vulnerable. Residences placed alone might be beneficial if you do not have enough space, but you get an automatic increase in settlers’ living space (aka maximum settlers population) if you place them together. Once the construction of the building has been finished, settlers will spawn periodically – in all residences placed - until the global limit has been reached.

That means, if your military units get defeated in a battle, the global limit stays the same and settlers will slowly spawn in the residences until the maximum is reached again. No need to deconstruct your residences.

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Building Boosts:

A new feature in The Settlers is that you can boost various buildings to increase the output. If a building is actively boosted you will receive 2 output materials rather than one, while the input stays the same. We have four different types of goods, which affect various buildings differently.

  • Bread – Has an effect on your residences and increases their output – more settlers at the same time.
  • Berries – Will affect gold & gem mine and mint by increasing their output.
  • Meat – From hunters or the ranch will be used in iron & coal mines, furnace, weapon- and tool maker.
  • Fish – Is used for “construction buildings” that deliver goods such as logs, stone and planks.

Each building boost has its advantage in different situations. You might find yourself struggling to fulfil all the needs for your growing settlement in the beginning. Make sure to boost your production buildings with fish and double the output. If this is not needed anymore, simply disable the boost and use the fish at the harbor to trade for other goods.

“Boosts made the most sensible use out of food. They are easy to understand, and can fulfill different roles, wherever the player is lacking. It also gives more life to the Settlement, with more goods to move around!” – Creative Director

As you can see, all these elements work independently but their benefits can be shared and expanded if they are combined as effectively and efficiently as possible. Changing the boosts on various buildings can already have a great impact on your economy. The extra goods you will receive can help you expand further and find different resources which will be beneficial in different areas of your settlement. However, you will need additional carriers to transport the extra goods from the output pile which will put more strain on your roads. Optimizing your economic systems will therefore be a challenging but very important task on your way to victory.

What will your economic strategy look like? Will you create a strong foundation by optimizing building placement and creating efficient clusters? Or will you quickly grow your economy by maximizing your economic output with the new building boosts? Let us know in the comments!