I have noticed a few problems with the market system. In my turn report,
I found a profitable buy-sell combination (clay pots, no less) that would
net me a small amount of gold. So, I issued 'buy 95 7 4' (buy 7 at 4)
and 'sell 95 7 7' (sell 7 at 7) (excuse syntax, if wrong, you get the idea).
By my reading of the rules, these orders would be compared to other offers
and bids and immediately resolved. They were not, and as a result, I have
7 pots for sale at 7 (theoretically, they will be sold this month).
Now, to get on to my commentary about floating markets:
I'm for them. I don't like the 10%/month for a 1 gold change. Maybe
10%/week for 1 gold, which makes the market change a little faster. Of
course, this still implies some measure of arbitrariness. But that may
be what's required.
I think the 'demand' idea is more arbitrary and unworkable. I don't have
any valid economic theory to back this up, but it seems to me that Oleg's
atlas would contain the information of the various demands, and thus all
a player has to do is buy everything in the demand list for one city, then
wait. Whether this is profitable, I am unsure. A reason I don't like this
is it reminds me of the 'priority shipments' in MicroProse's Railroad Tycoon.
While there was a chance for significant profit, the effort required was
often not worth the profit.
I just thought of a possible problem with the 1 gold change per month idea:
who's prices will change? I don't know how Rich coded the markets, but if
I were a coder, I'd attempt to make everything as generic as possible, to
maximize code efficiency. Thusly, he'd have to special-case for 'player'
vs. 'city'. While this is not a large change, adding only one decision
for each buy and sell order, it seems contrary to the game design, such
that nobles (i.e. player controlled units) are the only ones that really
seem to know what they are doing. The cities just make stuff and sell it.
Also, if he does NOT special case, then as I am unable to sell these clay
pots I have bought at 4 each, my sale price goes down, to the point that I
do not make money. Another part of SELL?
SELL <item> <quant> <initial price> <minimum price>
BUY <item> <quant> <intial price> <maximum price>
perhaps? I like this not.