Cargo and Trade

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Cargo and Trade
« on: November 18, 2014, 10:02:11 PM »
Right now I'm revisiting the Commerce section of the rules, specifically Cargo.
- Firstly, all Cargo will be referred to as being Grade 0 to Grade 4. (I've been doing a pass, unifying the code-words in the rules, and 'Grade' will now be used to describe an object's relative value/power/upgrades; A Grade 1 weapon has 1 upgrade, etc. So Grade 2 cargo is much more valuable than Grade 1, while Grade 4 are the top-notch, best quality goods).
- Secondly, whenever a unit of foreign cargo is brought to a new market, it can be bartered away for higher Grade local cargo.
- Thirdly, Cargo can be used to give +Cargo Grade to an Aquisition roll, or once a Cargo hits Grade 4, it has the chance of catching the eye of a Faction, and can be gifted to gain a Favor with said Faction (or repay a Debt).

However, before I start expanding on that system, I'm looking for a general opinion about Interstellar Commerce in Space Opera games. How important is it, especially in a Powered By The Apocalypse system? How 'in depth' should it be, and how much rules overhead should be spent in fleshing it out? Should instead I simplify what I described up there even further?

On the one hand, it provides extra rewards for the players to seek, and a robust system of import/export (want/need) can flesh out the web of interplanetary relationships. A proper system of planetary surplus and demand, combined with a Type for each cargo (Industrial, Medical, Scientific, Luxury, etc) might encourage groups of players, giving them a solid short-term objective or a reason to go to X planet or make a stop at Y station or even land on Z hostile, uninhabited planet.

On the other hand, my experience with Traveller, while fun, was a bit closer to EVE Online than it was Mass Effect, if you get my meaning. It was hilarious to have the ship's Broker player pull up his honest-to-God spreadsheet with planetary surplus and demand when determining their next stop, but it certainly didn't make for action-packed sessions (except on one Rich, High-Tech planet, where the stock market was turned into an endurance-based virtual reality ESport.)

Thoughts/comments/opinions appreciated!