[NOTE: Yes, I broke my own OP guideline. This topic was dead and I blame my "no changes" edict! Suggest away!]
Alright, seeing no traction discussing the supply node system as-is (which I assumed would be most helpful to the developers), I'll go ahead and move onto my specific grievances with the system in place:
-It makes no sense to me that mines and farms take up supply nodes.
- 1. Some of the more distant cities (Amantini, Skythia etc.) find it literally impossible to take advantage of their local natural resources. Exploiting of all the mines available in the Balkan mountains, Mt. Pangeus, or the Pindus range means that food cannot move through the cities around them, since all supply nodes are taken up getting mines to cities. It makes sense that pastoral peoples such as the Skythians wouldn't be as accustomed to sedentary agriculture, but trade routes should be a more-than-familiar concept.
- 2. The rich farmland on the Black Sea coast can't be fully exploited because the Athenian colonies thereon don't have enough supply nodes to both ship to the city AND ship out to the next colony along the coast.
- 3. Some farms (specifically my farms at Amantini) have been storing grain for years, even decades, and have no future hope of ever exporting it because Amantini only has 2 supply nodes and a 15t/wk capacity outward without massive gold spending or worker trains. At tens of thousands of tons of food, that's going to be a LOT of workers.
- 4. Fortresses only have 2 supply nodes, meaning they either act as a conduit between cities, or between a city and a farm. Specifically, it seems silly that TWO farms can't connect to a nearby fortress, such as the fortress at Laurium, on the southeast tip of Attica. Right now I have a road from one mine to Athens running RIGHT parallel to another road from the fortress. Fortresses seem like natural logistical hubs, just like cities, and should be allowed more supply nodes at the least.
-The way naval routes are designed is likewise restrictive.
- 1. The Cyclades, which would appear to be an entrepot to Attica and Euboea, only get a single snaking line of shipping to each island, and down to Thera and Crete. I haven't attempted to connect Doris to the Cyclades, but I suspect I'll have to make a tough choice between it and Crete.
- 2. Despite controlling both sides of the Hellespont, I find it difficult to ship through Elaeus, which should be an incredibly strategically important site, being on the tip of the Hellespont.
- 3. Lemnos is restricted to 2 nodes beyond its terrestrial resources, despite being positioned midway between the Troad and Chalkidike and being strategically important.
Is all this intended to force the player to choose between gold, food and supply network depth? I'd like to at least have some console commands handy to change the number of supply nodes in a given city so I can make my own experience.
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
With the advent of modifiable supply routes:
1. Just lay down all the natural roads and naval routes from the outset. They are indestructible. Additional or better routes cost the player gold. Heck, make them cost a LOT. All neighboring cities should have roadways connecting them to one another - people trade with their neighbors regardless of politics, and roads don't disappear in wartime.
2. All farms and mines ought to connect to a single hub (city or fortress) WITHOUT COST, and no possibility of additional routes to or from them, just like now.
3. Naval routes should be pre-established based on proximity, and further naval routes should cost money based on distance, just like roads. Restricting the number of naval routes based on ports seems unnatural - why not take a total of tonnage/week based on population and divide it evenly among the number of routes currently used? You could mainline food with one route, or disperse evenly among several - perhaps capacity of a route is the sum of the capacity of each of the two cities connected instead of just the flat 100t/wk.
4. Cities that are at war STILL have roads connecting them, they just won't be active. This might make roads more strategically valuable in some future feature (e.g. roadway marching). Liberating a city would cause new trade routes to "build back up" as they do now to simulate merchants and caravans organizing so they aren't immediately available again.