Rise of Nations Wiki
Unit Information Game Strategies History

Ancient Age to Medieval Age
Gunpowder Age to Enlightenment Age
Industrial Age onwards

The Caravan is a civilian unit that generates Wealth.png Wealth by traveling a fixed trade route between two particular cities. The gather rate of a Caravan depends on multiple factors including the distance between the cities and the number of buildings built inside each of the cities' economic radius. This gather rate is shown (along with the route) in the unit information box when the Caravan is selected. Only one Caravan may trade between a particular pair of cities.

The number of Caravans a nation may operate is limited. Initially, a nation is allowed only one Caravan. For each level of Commerce.png Commerce research, one additional Caravan may be built.

If a Caravan's route crosses ocean, the unit automatically becomes a Merchant Fleet.

If a nation has built a Dock, Caravans will also be able to cross oceans, thereby becoming Merchant Fleets (or Modern Merchant Fleets from the Industrial Age.png Industrial Age on).

Regular Caravans are unarmed, have 90 hit points and no armor. Destroying a Caravan gives a plunder value of 50 Wealth.png Wealth.

Setting up a trade route[]

After a Caravan is created, it first needs to establish its trade route between two cities. This can be done manually by the player by either right-clicking on a city and having the Caravan pick the most favorable second city automatically, or by right-clicking and dragging a line between two cities. However, Caravans will also attempt to set up a trade route automatically, if left idle for some time. This idle time is the same that citizens will wait before looking for something productive to do and it can be set in the game options under Auto-Citizen Delay. While establishing the route, the caravan unit also creates roads.

To complete setting up a trade route, a Caravan must complete an entire loop between two cities involving the following steps:

  1. Arriving at the first city.
  2. Arriving at the second city.
  3. Returning to the first city.

Upon completion of each of steps two and three, the Caravan will provide a one-time Wealth.png Wealth bonus (for a total of two bonuses). Each of these bonuses is equal to 10 + (10 * Commerce.png Commerce level) Wealth.

Once a Caravan has completed setting up its trade route by completing an entire loop, the Caravan begins to gather Wealth at a constant rate, continuously traveling between the two cities while doing so. The Caravan's actual movement - including any delays from blocking units etc. - has no effect on the Caravan's income.

With Commerce.png Commerce 3 (Trade) researched, Caravans may also establish trade routes to friendly and allied cities. When this is done, each nation each simultaneously receives the full income from the Caravan - effectively doubling the value of the route. One-time Wealth bonuses for setting up the trade route are given first to the owner of the Caravan (when first arriving at the second city), and then to the other player (when returning to the first city). Each of these bonuses are double what is usually given, and are calculated based on each player's own Commerce level. This means that the single bonus each player receives is equal to what they would normally have received from both bonuses.

To calculate the amount of Caravans you need, simply add all numbers up to the number of cites you have together. For example, if you have 5 cities, you need (4 + 3 + 2 + 1) Caravans. This can be calculated by the following:

Calculating Caravan income[]

Caravan income is based on several factors:

  • The base income for a trade route is 2 Wealth.
  • The size of each of the two cities which the Caravan is trading between.
    • Large Cities add an additional 2 Wealth each.
    • Major Cities add an additional 4 Wealth each.
    • For example, trading between one Large City and one Major City would provide a baseline of 2 (base) + 2 (Large City) + 4 Major City) = 8 Wealth.
  • Each building within the economic radius of either city adds 1 additional Wealth.
    • This includes military structures such as Stables, Towers, and Lookouts.
    • Multiple buildings of the same type (e.g. multiple Farms) will still count; each building does not have to be unique.
  • All of the above are added together and multiplied by between 100% (no increase) and 200% (double) depending on the distance between the two cities.
    • This multiplier appears to be based on a theoretical straight line drawn between the two cities, ignoring terrian and any other obstructions.
    • The multiplier scales smoothly from 100% to 200% as distance increases. For example, one route could receive a 137% multiplier while another, slightly longer route might receive a 182% multiplier.
    • Two cities that are as close to, or very close to, the minimum possible distance apart receive the minimum 100% multiplier (no increase).
    • Two cities that are fairly far apart from each other receive the maximum 200% multiplier, doubling the income of that trade route. It is not possible to exceed this multiplier by utilising two cities unusually far apart (such as on opposite sides the map) - the multiplier will still only be 200%.

These factors ultimately result in the following equation:

Caravan Income = (2 + (2 * each Large City + 4 * each Major City) + (1 * each building in either city’s economic radius)) * Distance multiplier

Nation bonuses[]

  • The Chinese Power of Culture: Caravans are created instantly.
  • The Indians Power of Majesty: Caravans produce 15% more Wealth.png Wealth.
  • The Nubians Power of Trade: Caravan limit is increased by 1. Their Caravans are also 10% cheaper and have +50% hit points.
  • The Persians Power of Ceremony: Always have the maximum number of Caravans.

Unique units[]

  • The Dutch train Armed Caravans instead of Caravan, which is equipped with a light weapon to provide basic defense against raiding attacks. Unlike the Armed Merchant, the Armed Caravan continues to provide its bonus while attacking.