In Outer Colony, trade is a way to acquire goods and raw materials that you might not be able to get yourself from other colonies or off-world organizations.



  • For advanced colony progression, trade is an almost essential undertaking.
    • No starting location will have access to all the raw materials that can be used in manufacturing.
    • Furthermore, no climate is suitable for growing all species of plants or herding all species of animals.
    • Many successful colonies specialize in certain types of manufacturing by developing personnel with specialized skills. These expeditions can address local deficiencies by exporting some of their goods in exchange for ones they need via trade.
  • Certain classes of items come from specific places in other parts of the galaxy. These item types can’t be manufactured locally and must be acquired via trade.
  • Trade can be conducted via your colony and others on the same planet, or with offworld organizations.
  • Trade can be thought of as a tool for implementing your colony’s diplomatic policy. Successful trade can improve relations with other organizations. Trade is also affected by diplomatic relationships, and your colony won’t be able to trade with organizations that are overtly hostile.

Trade Mechanics

Conducting trade is a straightforward process. Before you can trade, there are a few simple prerequisites that your colony must satisfy. Once those prerequisites are satisfied, you can initiate a trade request with a trade partner of your choosing, wait for the trade party’s arrival, and conduct trade negotiations. Once a trade has been successfully negotiated, goods and currency will be exchanged, the trade party will depart, and you can begin a new trade process once they’ve gone.

Trade Prerequisites

Before conducting trade, your colony must have a landing zone that’s large enough to accommodate the incoming trade ship. The landing zone needs to be completely level and free of obstructions. If you just level out ground without constructing a platform of some kind, be aware that shrubs, trees, and other plants can start growing on your landing site, and that these can prevent incoming ships from landing. Landing zones are specified as area designations, just like any other kind. A good size for a landing zone is 9 tiles by 9 tiles, as this will accommodate all medium and small ships.


An example landing zone, shown in green.

You’ll also need to create at least one stockpile near your landing zone that’s specifically designated for trade purposes, and you’ll need to move items that you want to trade to that stockpile. The process for designating a stockpile as one for trade and moving specific items to it are described in the stockpile article. Before initiating trade, make sure that you’ve:

  1. Set up your landing zone.
  2. Set up a trade designated stockpile nearby.
  3. Moved the items you want to trade to those trade-designated stockpiles. These are the items that you’ll be available to offer via trade negotiations.

Initiating Trade

To invite a trade party to your colony, select Trade & Migration -> Initiate Trade Request from the trade menu at the top of the interface, as shown below:


This will launch the trade initiation dialog. From this interface, you can select the organization you want to trade with. Other colonies on your world that are eligible for trade (those that aren’t overtly hostile) can be chosen here. Off-world organizations can also be selected as trade partners. These are often the most valuable, as they usually have access to the greatest variety of goods and materials. Your culture’s parent organization makes an ideal trade partner, especially in the early stages of your colony.

For example, if I’m running a Dagoroth colony, trading with the Clans of Dagoroth Off World Authority is a good choice. They’re friendly, well supplied, and will want to support my colony, making trade negotiations easier.


An example of initiating trade, showing early game options for a Dagoroth expedition.

Negotiating Trade Specifics

Once you’ve initiated trade, you’ll have to wait for the trade party to arrive. Within a few world hours of the initiation, a trade party should travel to your landing site. Once they’ve landed, you can open trade negotiations by selecting the “Trade Negotiations” option from the “Trade & Migration” menu at the top of the interface.

This will launch the trade negotiation dialog, shown below:


Trade negotiation interface.

Most of this interface should be self explanatory. The items you can trade are shown at the left of the window. You can select any of these items and specify a quantity that you want to make available to trade. Once you’ve done so, clicking on the “Designate Item & Quantity” button below the trade list will add the selection to your offering. You do the same thing for the items that you want to receive on the right side of the interface.

Approximate values of the items you’re offering and hoping to receive are shown. These aren’t necessarily the perceived values from your trade partner’s perspective, but they can serve as a guideline for how fair the trade is. At the bottom of the interface, you can also specify currency amounts to exchange as part of the trade. Once you feel like a good offer is ready, click the “Submit Trade Offer” button. Your offer will either be accepted or rejected.


If your offer has been declined, no goods or currency will be exchanged. Your trade partner may become annoyed if you submit too many bogus offers, so be careful not to submit unappealing deals over and over again. If the offer was accepted, a dialog will indicate the success of the negotiations, and NPCs from the trade part or your expedition will get to work exchanging the goods. The goods you’ve offered will be carried from your trade stockpile back to the ship, and the goods you’re receiving will be carried from the trade ship to your trade stockpile.

Once the exchange is finished, the trade party will leave. Finally, to make the items you’ve received available to your expedition, remove them from the trade stockpile, and your NPCs be able to use them normally.

Posted in Game Design