I'm relying heavily on Ramul ONLY for teching up, and placing the priority buildings from tech (IE: Refinery).
The problem really does stem from the fact that you can't see trades from your immediate neighbours, which is a massive change from old BM where you could see your immediately adjacent neighbours in 8 directions, and needed outposts to open up the outer ring of connections before being able to trade with them.
Two suggestions to balance it out: 1) free outposts for a number of neighbours (perhaps 1 of each resource type that isn't yours?) 2) Cheaper outposts. 3 sand instead of 1 glass (easier to acquire in the early game with a couple of trades or Ramul.)
Yepp, very dependant. The game is pretty awkward as a noob as of now, I think. The gameplay is sloppy, and I think it's also got to do with the costs to build stuff and develop new technologies. Maybe a little too high?
Currently, the black market isn't only a *staple* of the economy, it's actually advantageous: You can reliably get resources out of the black market at the same rate than trades, thereby getting what you need BUT denying other players an advantage.
With the value of food on the BM, and how frequently you can grow it (I sit at a +10 GM with 3 mines and a refinery), xade is right, you do get a pretty high advantage towards the ROI from buying items from Ramul. I bought 2 glass for 2 food, 3 iron and 3 sand, which feels like a ridiculous steal given the fact that food doesn't seem to do much. As I mentioned in a chat message earlier, it seems like my PM goes down (further into the negatives) when I feed my people.