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"The Mysterious Trader" is a function of the game, like the puzzles, that appears randomly every 36 - 72 hours, offers something for a high price (roughly 2 acres current cost). The Trader will tell what was awarded only AFTER payment is received. The full process takes a few months with a few months warning of his impending arrival. All but one of his offerings are better than break even. Each kingdom is visited separately by the Trader at differing times. More details about the Trader and his bonuses are listed on the Mysterious Trader page.
Federation HUD users will note that the fourth tab that used to be marked Fellows, is now for Allies. Alliances may be formed only between Federation HUD players, therefore ranking Count/Countess or higher. Forming an Alliance is a process similar to taking a new liege in that the two prospective allies need only stand near each other until the option to form an alliance is presented on one of their HUDs. Allies may send citizens or gifts to each other, and the alliance may be broken (for a price).
Offers made to prospective Subjects in order to lure them to change/swap lieges. At higher ranks, bribes may be entered on the behalf of members of one's down-line. One should understand that bribes and such are a function of the game, and hopefully won't be taken as a personal assault, insult or other hurtful sentiment. Changing lieges can be done strategically, randomly or for frivolous reasons.
In January of each even-numbered year, a census is taken. Players that have subjects receive a certain amount of gold for each direct subject, tied to the size of their realm. Also, users of the Federation HUD receive extra gold based on their citizen score, one gold for every (Rank) citizens.
On the Federation HUD, beneath the lines for acres and gold is a third line for Population. This is a third score that tracks the number of citizens in the realm.
Citizens are not Subjects. They are simply a number score like gold and acres. As the realm grows (or shrinks), its theoretical capacity changes and so does the citizen score. The number of subjects and their ranks beneath is a factor, as well as one's own rank. Other factors affect the citizen score, including responses to disasters, gifts from allies, jousting victories, and one-off special events.
More details are found at the Citizens page.
Common term for all of the players beneath one in the liege line ... one's subjects, and their subjects, and so on.
These are folks that also report directly to the same Liege. They are identified mostly to aid good social interaction, as it might not be taken well to bribe away another Fellow's subjects. Tact and respect within the line is usually a good idea for happy game play. (Note: this is a tab in the original HUD. In the Federation HUD, it is replaced with 'Allies.')
Upgrades to living conditions for one's workers (as described in the Offers), generate greater productivity, efficiency, and at the higher levels, protection from sabotage (reducing the number of acres lost).
Kingdom of (xyz)
Some players, Kings and Queens, have earned the honour of rule over a formal Kingdom within the Empire. They choose the name for their Kingdom, and are able to bestow special titles, tax breaks and other goodies upon their loyal populace. Can result in reduced taxes, may earn honorific titles, and be prone to throw more parties (no empirical data on this last point).
The main goal in the game is to acquire more land. Buying land, having the funds to do so, or helping one's subject acquire more acreage is of the utmost importance. For this reason, strategy can be essential. Planning for taxes, leasehold improvements, visits from The Trader as well as bribing new subjects to the line all come into play as one increases their total acreage.
At times one may find that they can strengthen their ability to retain subjects by granting them acres, thus reducing their overhead. Certain Trader options call for the exchanging of parcels to reap benefits. Brand new, liege-less players pretty much need someone to hand them a few acres to get them going. Offers to give one acre of land will appear in the HUD on a random basis. Stand next to the player one wishes to grant an acre, and when the option to give an acre to the person noted in the Offers tab appears, check 'yes' and allow the month to turn over. Note that lower ranked players may not be allowed to give higher ranked players land- if the difference is too great, an message indicating the transfer has failed will appear in the next turn.
The option to sell an acre is always paired with the opportunity to buy an acre. The sale price is typically two thirds or three quarters of the buy price. If one were to both buy and sell an acre per turn this would result in a net loss of gold while retaining the same personal acreage count. However, there are instances presented every so often where the sale price per acre will be significantly greater than the purchase price. When this happens, one may buy and sell an acre in the same turn, retain the same number of personal acres and yet make a profit in gold.
In short, anything one can do to improve their "land" is a good idea.
The person one reports to directly above, often a source of information, Loyalty Rewards (for turning down bribe offers), and help in acquiring more subjects (through arranged bribes/liege swaps). A good liege will help those underneath them, in their "down-line" maintain their subjects by assisting with some gifted acres here and there, helping get newer players up and running, finding new subjects for folks as well as providing advice and information.
When a Subject declines a Bribe, their Liege will be presented with an opportunity to reward their Loyalty with a reward in Gold. This is not mandatory, but does seem to foster greater future Loyalty and fond feelings up and down one's line. Although expensive, consider the replacement cost of bribing a new subject, as well as the loss of income from reduced acreage and homage payments. Happy Subjects are Loyal productive members of the Empire.
However, while your HUD may ask you to pay 150,000 gold as a loyalty bonus, the subject may get as little as 2,000 of that. The more times they refuse a bribe, the larger their share of what the Liege pays. So some of us feel it is far more cost-effective to the Liege and beneficial to the Subject to decline to pay, but then pass the subject one or more acres as soon as possible. In most cases this will be better for the Subject, for even if they sell the land they are likely to get more gold than if the Liege paid them through the HUD. After a few times of refusing to pay, the HUD will stop asking, it appears.
Oxen, Horses, etc.
Much like Housing, improvements here pay off in increase productivity, gold per acre, etc. At times they need to be replaced or may improbably convert (you'll know when you see it, I'll not spoil the laughable surprises) to other and yet profitable forms.
Every so often one is given the chance to "prune" one's subjects, cutting them off one's own line. Much discussion of the merits of this strategy have yielded inconclusive results. Some suggest that if one's line is nearly full (see Rule of 10) that an inactive Subject might need to be removed via "pruning". Otherwise there seems to lack a reason for this other than the personal.
Puzzles & Polls
Appearing in Offers randomly, they challenge us with math, logic and guessing how the populace at large will vote. New puzzles appear at the pleasure of the Emperor, be warned! As a general rule, the populace tends to vote NO without consideration of the actual correct response.
Ultralite Soleil - the creator of Tiny Empires, is in the top position of the ranking pyramid, is the writer of code, fixer of server crashes, puzzler of puzzles. He's the GOD of Tiny Empires, let's face it.
The highest ordinary player rank, just below the level of Emperor. At one time only the top 10 in terms of total acreage were considered direct subjects of the Emperor, with others termed "independent" or "rogue" kingdoms. Today all of the 120+ monarchs are treated as direct subjects of Emperor Soleil.
Rule of 10
No one, except the emperor, may have more than 10 folks reporting directly to them. The game will not allow someone with 10 subjects to gain another.
At one time the emperor was also limited to ten direct subjects. If the emperor already had 10 subjects and someone with enough total land accepted the offer to join the emperor, the subject with the lowest number of acres was pushed out to make room for the new subject. The pushed out subject became liege-less and had to find a new liege in order to begin receiving income and offers again.
Every so often, one is given the option to "attack" another player by hiring a rogue. This is a costly undertaking, and can create enmity, with a limited return of wresting a paltry few acres from an opponent. If, perchance, the opposing player is on the cusp of promotion, this will slow their advance, however depending upon the quality of their housing/castle/keep, the attack will yield a few acres ONLY (1 - 8 has been noted lost so far), and may prompt other players to band together to bribe away subjects or attack in turn. As upsetting as many players do find it to be the subject of a sabotage attack, one should keep in mind that this action is a part of planned for game play and note that rarely is the acreage lost anywhere equal to the cost paid for the services of saboteurs.
Those directly beneath the player, as well as the rest of one's "down-line", in a larger sense. These folks add to the total acreage count, pay homage (gold) and help the Empire grow. Taking care of those underneath is essential to moving forward in Tiny Empires, as the more folks underneath, the more they can all in turn get underneath them, the more acres one has to earn homage from in turn. Having a wider base, more direct subjects vs. one or two with huge down-lines might be more desirable, as it protects one from dropping in rank should someone underneath leave for another liege.
Are inevitable (most of the time) in Tiny Empires as in RL, appearing every December. Should one lack sufficient funds to cover their taxes, their land will be sold until the costs are covered. (The usual rate on this is roughly 2/3 of the buying price.) Plan accordingly or suffer the consequences and possible demotion in rank (if it takes one below the rank / acre count needed). Tax rebates appear in January of even-numbered years, tied to the census.
Monarchs can grant three-year tax amnesties to their kingdoms periodically.
Honorific titles may be bestowed upon loyal and favored subjects by their Queen or King, those carrying a title will see it appear before their name on their HUD ("Wiki Scribe" Princess Madame Maracas of the Celestial Queendom, for example) and will be announced to all active players as a notice on their HUDs. Title giving may only be done by one's Queen or King, and the process is a little bit involved, here is a distillation of the process.
When a Queen or King decides to bestow a title upon one of their down line, they wait for the option to begin the process to appear, then they will pay a rather large sum of money, how painful a price depends on size of their realm (total not personal acreage). After payment has been received, they "give favor" to their subject, thus selecting upon whom they will be bestowing the new title. The Queen or King will be able to create the special title, which will be "broadcast" game-wide on the successive turn, during the third month of the sequence. The Queen or King then also has the option to bestow upon their newly titled subject 5 acres at no extra cost, the favored subject will receive the acres during the fifth month. The "favored" one and their direct subjects will have a higher chance of finding treasure and gold windfalls for the next 7 months.
As of March 2, 2008, the Emperor has announced that Titles given in one Kingdom will "decay" if the Titled Person moves to a different Kingdom. The amount of time before a title disappears is not known at this time. If the Titled Person moves back to the Kingdom they were given the Title in, it will stay in force - provided they move before the Title has expired completely.