My Economic Reform Plan Proposal

This post is a compilation of ideas I have to revamp two of the game’s economic mechanics to make them more varied, dynamic and historically authentic.


Herdable management might be one of the dullest tasks in the game. It’s rarely practical or worthwhile, requiring much more micro than simply farming or hunting. But some of the new DLCs have introduced unique ways to make them more interesting, the Mexican Haciendas automate much of the process and the African Kingdoms have an unique buying and selling mechanic with them. This proves that herding cattle doesn’t need to be boring and superfluous for most other civs. It just needs a rework…

My proposal for Cattle starts with completely reworking the Livestock Pen building. The new Livestock Pen should be a large fenced area(about the size of a Hacienda) where cattle can roam and graze, with a covered barn near the edge of the fence. The new Pen can train, by default, three types of animals: Sheep, Cows and Pigs. Each new animals spawns inside the fenced area, moving around automatically(sort of like native american villagers do in their plazas). Each Livestock Pen can stock up to 30 animals and each player can only have up to 2 Pens at the time. Animals will serve two functions:

1)As a food bank. Each animal starts with a certain amount of food and gradually fattens up to a maximum amount. This means that any food investment you make early on by buying cattle will have much greater returns later in the game. At any point, the player can click on an animal in the Pen and press a button to slaughter it. The food amount that animal had will be instantly converted into food crates outside of the pen, where villagers can quickly gather later.
Be aware that this food bank can be lost in an instant if you’re careless. Once a Pen is destroyed, all animals within will panic and scatter around, making it easy for your opponent to snatch your meaty investments.

2)As continuous food and coin generators. All Livestock Animals also generate smalls trickles of food and/or gold automatically. The trickle size is proportional to how fat the animal is. This creates a micro light source of income and is supposed to represent secondary animal products like milk, cheese and wool.

Different animals have different costs and yields, allowing for some variety in strategies. For example:

  • Pigs: Cost 100 food, can fatten up to 350 food. Fatten very quickly, but generate only a tiny 0,10 food per second trickle once fully fattened. Ideal for when you are short on food and need large short term returns.

  • Sheep: Costs 75 food, can fatten up to 200 food. Fatten slowly, but generates a solid 0,15 food/s and 0,15 coin/s trickles once fully fattened. Sheep are better for longer term investments, providing a steadier flow of income.

  • Cows: Cost 200 food, can fatten up to 500 food. Fattens at an average pace and generates larger 0,20 food/s and 0,20 coin/s trickles, however they occupy two slots instead of one inside the Livestock Pen. Cows are more expensive and occupy more space, but are good as both short and longer term investments.

Other animals like Llama, Goats and Yaks will also have their own values, the should also have new technologies to improve fattening rates and trickles. As well as some new unique cards to give each civ some flair.
Mexicans, Japanese, Indians, Incas, Hausa and Ethiopians already have unique mechanics concerning herdables, so they don’t need to be changed much, perhaps just adjusted for balancing. For the following civs, some changes will be made:

  • Americans: They get a new unique building, replacing the Livestock Pen, the Ranch. Ranches function very similarly to Pens, but have two unique abilities. They can train Cowboys, in addition to all the usual animals, and can use Cowboys to improve all animals fattening and trickle rates. Cowboys tasked to work in the Ranch only occupy one population slot and improve the animals rates by 5%. Each Ranch can have up to 8 Cowboys working on it.
    Also, Cowboys now have a new passive ability: They can steal enemy cattle more efficiently. Herdable animals caught in the open can be stolen as normal, but animals stolen by cowboys gain a 5 second immunity aura, making then impossible to steal back while the aura is active. This aura ignores all enemy buildings and units, except for enemy Cowboys.

  • Chinese: For China, it’s pretty simple. Each village acts like a mini Pen, being able to stock 8 animals each and train animals.

  • Native Americans: Farms also function like Pens, being able to train animals and gather trickles from them. Up to 10 animals per farm.


As of now, Banks are just a coin trickle building. It’s pretty simple, but it makes sense. So I wanted to make it a little more interesting without changing too much. I also wanted something distinct from the Italian Lombard, which already works very well as a bank with an unique mechanic. I will list my proposals for the Banks in bullet points:

  • Banks are now available to ALL western civilization by default. Each civ can build only 1 Bank per game, Banks are unlocked at Age III. The Dutch will still be allowed to build multiple banks, starting from Age I and have unique improvements making their banks considerably better than the generic ones. Italians don’t get Banks because they already have the Lombards. Also, since everyone gets a bank now, Taverns will no longer generate coin, or at least, not as much coin.

  • Banks will still have their coin trickle, but it will be smaller. To make up for it, they will have a new “savings” mechanic. As the game progresses, you can make 500 coin deposits into your banks. This coin will be unavailable to you, but as long as it is in the Bank, it will generate you a 0,1 XP/s trickle. You can deposit more coin to increase your XP trickle, capping at 5000 coin for a 1 XP/s trickle.
    If you need the coin again, you can choose to withdraw your coin from the bank, all the deposited coin will return to you in the form of coin crates outside your economic drop-off site.

  • Banks can now also be looted. If a bank is destroyed, all deposited coin will be spilled outside as crates, allowing your opponent to steal some of your hard earned cash if you’re careless.

  • A new “Advanced Economics” Card will be available to all western civs(except for the Dutch, because they already start with it). This card makes Markets and Banks 20% cheaper, improve Market buy/sell rates by 15% and adds a 0,05 Coin/s trickle for every 500 coin deposited at your banks. Each civ can have their own unique bank related cards for flair and balance.


Awesome ideas. Love it.

Back in the ES days one of the proposals to the Livestock pen the devs had was the ability to train black sheep to harvest for gold. I can see this potentially being OP though. Livestock in general could see a rework to make it more viable. I think turning livestock cards into techs could help too. And hell yes to adding piggys.

Livestock pens are just kinda barebones and require too much of the player’s attention to use.


Your livestock program is really decent. I can already imagine what it looks like in the game.

Some feedback:

  • Define the term “value” here. When discussing livestock, it will mean their cost, train limit, food content and resource trickle.

  • Given that Llamas served the Incas on Farms in a general way in addition to their work in the Plaza, it was necessary to design them for the value they provided while on the Farm. I think their value should be somewhere between Sheep and Cows as they now contain up to 400 food.

  • Introduce Turkeys and Chickens. A Turkey or Chicken, which is smaller than a Pig and a Sheep, would occupy only 0.5 slots, while the value of every 2 Turkeys or Chickens should probably be somewhere between pigs and sheep. We should replace the Sheep on the Farm with Turkeys for the Aztecs, which should even be an integral part of rework.

  • Since livestock can be converted, there should be a standard for their value. Goats should be equivalent to Sheep, and cattle such as Water Buffalos, Yaks, Zebu Cattle, etc., should be equivalent to Cows. That is to say, there are 5 types in total, in order: Pigs, Chickens, Sheep, Llamas, and Cattle.

  • To be more accuracy, the Sacred Cow of Indians should be the Zebu.

  • The Spanish should have more cattle-related cards to represent the world-famous tradition of bullfighting, rather than only getting Cows through Hacienda.

  • Ever imagined Horses as livestock. But since already Stables there, I think the game most likely doesn’t need them. Even if the picture might be beautiful.

  • I’m not sure which animals each civ can train. Maybe their tech tree should be set by default that they can only train one or some certain types of animal, and then use cards (like Ranching) to enable other types of training. But we shouldn’t give most of the civs the chance to train all 5 types eventually.

  • I’m not sure if the fancy advice on the US is sound. At least, I feel like those shouldn’t be directly accessible. Just let the US have a common Livestock Pen, and then have a card from a certain state that allows the Livestock Pen to train Cowboys and enable those abilities of the Cowboys.

  • As in my thread below, introduce herdable Deer for the Japanese as their sacred animal. The value of Deer may be equivalent to Llama.


i think unique cattle stuff should be limitted to factions, and not universal.

I meant all of those.

For Inca Llamas I would go: Costs 100 food, can fatten up to 300 food. Fattens at about the same rate as sheep and generate 0,10 food/s, 0,10 coin/s and 0,05 XP/s. Captured Llamas by other civilizations have the same stats, except for the XP trickle.

I’m not sure it’s viable… They will be hard to see from afar and 60 chickens inside a Pen might get pretty laggy. I think they can be mentioned indirectly in technologies and cards with unique effects for different civilizations.

I think we can have different stats for each type. I would have goats as cheaper and weaker versions of sheeps, Water Buffalos and Yaks as meatier cows that generate very little food and coin and Zebu Cattle as the same thing as cows, but generating a lot of influence.

I don’t know enough about Indian culture to comment on this…

Yeah, horses as livestock would feel quite redundant since we already got a stable. What can be done is having horse related technologies in the Livestock Pen, stuff like “Bloodlines” or “Better Horseshoes”…

As I mentioned, I think 3 animals per civ is enough. One thing that we can do to make this interesting is to have map exclusive animals. For instance, if you capture a wild Yak and bring it to your Livestock Pen, you can now train Yaks as well. This would work the same for Water Buffalos, Goats, Llamas, etc.
Ranching, as a card, either needs a complete overhaul or be turned into a technology.

I think that the US deserves some unique flair here… Mexico already has Haciendas, why not a unique Ranch for the americans? But this could be a card too, if you think it’s too op…

That’s a pretty good idea.

There will still be plenty of unique stuff for different civs. The idea here is just to elevate the base cattle gameplay, so it feels more interesting for everyone without taking away from each civ’s uniqueness.

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okay, i think the cattle idea is a bad idea, it will have to much impact on gameplay just to tick a box saying “its useful to everyone now at all points”.

not everything needs to be universally useful.

this change would be a nerf to british, but a buff to things like france, the 200 food cost for a cow is horrible for current cow boomers while it represent no real issue to factions they simply want the passive income, yes it might not be useful in 1 vs 1 rush but cowing was never intended to be useful in 1 vs 1s.

That is not what I meant. The idea here is to make gameplay more interesting and fun for everybody, not to equalize the playing field. Some civs will still be much better a using herdable than others.

We can adjust the numbers until we get something more balanced. Yes, the meta would be shaken up a bit, b-u-t (why is this censored?!) introducing new avenues to grow your economy is not a bad thing.

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boosting eco would have implication on treaty and team games balance, 20 cows with your ideas give 8 resources a second, and 30 sheep would give 9 resources a second. british for example rely on their cow boom because they need the eco to stand a chance.

that means from livestock alone you gain more than from 2 factories, its a very significant amount.

im also not certain why they need to have trickles? again i can understand if it is for specific factions, but it cant be universal. i also dont understand why pigs need to give passive food or why both sheep and cattle need to give both food and coin. sure i can get that wool=coin and milk=food but why more than that?

Alternatively, we can make the chickens quickly train 3 at a time (with like the mechanic of Russian units), and 3 chickens occupy 2 slots.

Otherwise, if we enlarge the size, we can make chicken take up 1 slot normally, technically sharing the same type as sheep. You know, eggs are delicious too.

In any case, I have a strong craving for Aztec turkeys rather than sheep.

I strongly recommend having common standards rather than each animal having its own stats. Animals of the same type differ almost only in appearance and name instead of stats. This is quite helpful to get the player up to speed quickly and is how the game currently works.

I guess you probably want to design different stats based on the economic value of various animals in the real world, but there is no need to be so complicated to make every kind of animal have own types in the game. In addition to meat, goat’s milk also has nutritional value and its market. Buffalo and yak, although less often used for milk supply, have important economic value from labor.

By the way, the same type will share the same slot limit. Whether there are cows, buffalo, yaks or zebu, the maximum number of cattle in total is 20. And, Africans can only train zebu/sanga, not cows, so it doesn’t make much sense to differentiate the rate of influence.

About the Bank:

I don’t like the idea that every western civilization has the Banks, it would definitely have a bigger balance shock than the livestock mechanic, and more importantly it would make the Dutch and Italians less special.

But I support a redesign of the Dutch Bank mechanic and setting of constructible buildings. 11 banks are taking up too much space. Maybe make the cap a little lower in exchange for a better trickle per bank in the late game. Also, I don’t like too many constructible buildings for the Dutch, which forces Settlers (or I should call Merchants) disable to build Native Embassies fairly like other civs and have to rely on Envoys only.

By the way, I think the saving, and the concept of savings spilled out as coin crates when the Bank is destroyed, is interesting.

I think it can be understood this way.

  • Food trickle: keep livestock to multiply and be partially slaughtered. So you get a stable food income while holding the total number the same.
  • Coin trickle: products of livestock like milk, wool, eggs, labor, etc.

I can understand your concern about the balance shock. But I think these are relatively easy to handle. The Factory’s resource trickle can be adjusted, the Livestock Pen’s build limit and number of slots can be adjusted, and the livestock’s value stats can be adjusted. We can also adjust the livestock-related bonuses or cards of each civilization to make a differentiated balance.

id rather keep passive income as a unique concept to either 1 or a few civs, rather than simply buffing cowing across the board.

i had a similar idea in my denmark proposal to give them “diaries” as a card that would allow passive income from cows on pens. but keep in mind that would be the factions defining economic feature and be based on historical trade in livestock and later diary products in northern Europe.

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Naa, keep it mostly as is just.modify it a bit so it makes sense and isn’t a huge chore.

Swap the cost of Sheep and Goats with those of cattle.
Make cattle (lamas for spain/port) available without sending the ranching card but must be age 3 or age 4.

Mill upgrades also affect berry gathering
hunting upgrades also affect livestock gathering.

Aztec get Tukeys as livestock insteadof sheep and cows.

Simple and not too confusing or a big change,

For livestock you could get away with a lot less radical changes than this. Banks are fine as they are.

First of all, Cows should be available by default in age 3 but should cost as much or more than a sheep. The Ranching card could then enable Cows in any age and also bring down the cost of all livestock to 80f.

Harvesting could be streamlined, but even the way Haciendas do it is kinda bad.

Instead of harvesting individually or having pens auto harvest. Villagers should just be tasked to the livestock pen. If there are fattened livestock at the pen, the villager would slaughter them. If there are unfattened livestock, the villager would work to fatten them more quickly. If there are no livestock, the villager would work to generate more for free like a Hacienda.

This would make it automatic if desired, but it wouldn’t produce at as fast a rate without extra attention and investment.

So that everything is more connected to the pen, fully fattened livestock could work there to trickle food and coin instead of just leaving when fat.

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I guess we will have to agree to disagree…

I don’t think the balance would be that shook. I also proposed to get rid of the Tavern’s coin trickle and I think Banks should generate less coin by default. As for the Dutch, they would receive new bonuses to make up for it.

I agree they could be made less awkward.

My proposal is meant to be independent from villagers, as an addition to farming, not a replacement. Yours is good too, but I prefer having the villagers farming, while the Pen sorts itself out in the background.

If you don’t have any involvement of villagers, then it’s not a choice or strategy. It’s basically just an additional “factory” that you have to build to have a competitive economy.


Incorporate your suggestion into his plan. Let’s assume there are 20 or 30 slots in the Livestock Pen, and let Settlers also able to be tasked on the Livestock Pen.

The maximum of the resource trickle provided by the Livestock Pen would be determined based on the type and number of livestock, and how much trickle actually provided by the Livestock Pen would be determined based on the number of Settlers. The more Settlers, the higher the resource trickle, but cannot exceed the maximum determined by livestock.

If the Livestock Pen had only Settlers or only livestock, it would not be able to generate any trickle, just fatten the livestock. Too few Settlers would waste the value of livestock, and too few livestock would just waste the Settler’s working time, so players need to pay attention to the ratio of Settlers and livestock.

As such, Livestock Pen would have similar but different conditions compared to Mill/Estate. Livestock Pen has a build limit (e.g. 1, 2 or 3) but is quite cheaper (e.g. 100 wood); as long as there are enough livestock, Settlers could easily get a good income roughly equal to late-game Mill/Estate since there is no or less upgrade techs required and only few or even no related improvement cards depending on the civilization.

These conditions make it easy to get started, and only need a small number of Settlers to get it, but because of the build limit and ratio issues, it can’t allow too many Settlers to work, so other Settlers still need Mill/Estate eventually. And since every Settler who working at Livestock Pen is about as productive as at Mill/Estate in the late game, too severe an economic shock might be avoided.

In any case, the Aztec turkey, the Japanese deer, the Spanish bullfight, and the Indian zebu are updates that can and should be applied with or without any changes in livestock mechanics.

Therefore, due to the loss of the trickle, no one would be willing to try to build Tavern in the early game or rush game, and Bank becomes very uneconomical too; and in the late game or treaty game, the saving mechanic will completely break the economy balance. Have you heard the saying “Money making money”?

Instead of a “trickle”, one approach could be to have a toggle for the Livestock Pen to switch between milking/shearing and slaughtering. Milking or shearing mode could let villagers more slowly harvest a fraction of the animal’s fatness as food or coin without killing the animals. And the slaughter mode would let you harvest them like what is done now. Fully fattened livestock could maybe contribute to auto-generating more livestock like in Haciendas. Villagers could also auto-produce livestock as a much less efficient use of villager seconds, but still preferable to letting them go idle because you don’t have time to manage them or don’t have resources to replenish the livestock. Basically, it should still keep functioning if you don’t pay attention, but it will work more efficiently if you do give it investment and attention.

Couldn’t agree more. India needs Zebus and Spain needs some fighting bulls.

[Suggestion--rework] 🐄 <Double Purpose Cattle of Europe> 🐑 - #84 by M00Z1LLA

I’d be in favour of getting rid of the Tavern trickle, as it doesn’t actually incentivize using the Tavern. Instead, Taverns should grant population space to synergize with building outlaws. It also makes sense as they often doubled as hotels.

Wrong. My reply doesn’t go to try to use your idea, it just incorporates your concept of “Settlers should have a role in the livestock mechanic” into the op’s plan.

Let’s be honest, your livestock ideas like the modes are unnecessarily complicated.

The op’s plan is pretty simple. Just allow the Livestock Pen to generate resource trickles as long as fattened livestock are tasked on it. (The concept of slaughtering livestock into food crates is actually not the focus of this plan.)

And my new version based on the op is to have the Livestock Pen still generate resource trickles but it just depends on Settlers tasked on it instead of livestock. In addition to the most basic fattening mechanic, the purpose of livestock is just changed into simply adjust upper limit of the Livestock Pen trickle instead of starting the Livestock Pen trickle. I believe this would help balance more, although I’m only considering European civs at the moment.

That does slightly solve the issue of it being just another trickle building but it’s way less intuitive and simple than OPs way. If that’s all that livestock were, they might as well just be decorations on a farm.

That’s a fair point. Though I wouldn’t mind nerfing factories a bit to make up for the new building… I think more civs should be limited to a single factory like Italy and Malta are.

I didn’t want to get settlers involved earlier as I feared that this would lead players to stop using mills in favor of pens or ignore pens in favor or mills. I think we can reach a compromise.
How about each player can have 1 or 2 pens(depending on civ history and balance), each pen can host 5 villagers and 20 animals. Animals fatten and generate trickles as mentioned earlier, but require a small group of villagers to do so. If there are only 4 out of 5 villagers in the Pen, then the animals fatten and generate resources at 80% of the usual rate, 3 villagers = 60% of the rate and so on.
This way we can keep some villagers busy, but without taking too many from farming and other activities.

That makes far more sense than a coin trickle. Even better would be to have outlaws to be a more viable option in the early game…

Yeah… I prefer to have a choice of which animal to raise than having a choice of toggle modes here. Choosing to train only cows or only sheep or only pigs or a little bit of each is the choice already, but one you need to do with a little bit of foresight, as animals will take some time to pay back their initial costs.