Key parts of this section are based on information from the german tips collection.
Expeditions are a means to increase reputation, to buy large quantities of goods cheaply, and to get rid of overstocked goods at a decent price.
To trade outside of Hanse area, Mediterranean Towns and America have to be discovered by exploring various areas of the expedition map.
Only convoys can be sent on expeditions. Captains skills have no effect on expeditions.
Ships get damaged on expeditions by simply wearing out. In addition to that, there is a possibility of being caught in a storm or being attacked by pirates, which cause additional damage. Ships that are not strong enough can get sunk during an expedition, though their discoveries will still be available along with the loss notice. Crayers and heavier ships are preferable for Mediterranean expeditions, while Cogs and Hulks are recommended for long journeys to America (though lighter ships also have a chance of returning in a poor condition).
Once a convoy has been created, the expedition window can be opened by selecting the convoy and right-clicking on the big arrow in the lower left corner of the sea map.
To visit an area (for exploration or trading purposes), click on the expedition map to select that area, then press the "1st" button. That will order the ship to visit that destination first. Up to four destination points can be set. The light circles are the areas that were already explored.
You can send some gold along with the expedition, in which case the captain will purchase some goods if there is a town at the destination.
The "Offer of Goods" buttons (available if the destination is a known town) allows you to choose which goods should be bought by the captain. You can deselect one or even both of them, in which case the captain will simply sell the goods he has with him.
Once the convoy has left the map, it will not be heard from for several days or months (see the map below for details).
These orders will increase the area that the convoy will reveal, making it easier to discover a town.
If the expedition was given some gold, the captain will attempt to buy some goods from the towns he might discover, but the price will be higher than usual.
This option will result in better prices. Note that visiting a town too often will result in worse prices, and less bought/sold goods (those towns have supply and demand rules as well).
It can be used for exploration as well, though it reveals much smaller areas.
Contracts guarantee that an amount of goods will be bought or sold by the town at a set price, within a time period, giving you more control of the transactions. The list of currently active contracts can be seen in any Guild building (you don't have to be a member there).
Only one contract can be made during each expedition, and there can only be one active contract per town. No contracts can be made in America. While looking for a contract partner, captain will still sell the goods he has on board.
The amount of goods offered depends on the population of the Hanse. Later in the game, higher amounts will be offered.
You don't have to fulfill such a contract. However, any expeditions in that city will always try to fulfill the contract, and only after that trade with the town. Don't send a convoy into that city if you don't want it to purchase negotiated goods instead of something you need.
Mediterranean Harbor Towns and Trading Posts
In Mediterranean area, there are 12 towns or trading posts randomly chosen out of 30 possible.
Trading Posts purchase and sell larger quantities of goods, as opposed to Harbor Towns. Each city will demand two out of three possible goods, while offering two goods in return (see a full list).
Discovering America and Indian Tribes
To discover America, simply send a ship in the west area of the map. The travel time is around 2-4 months, depending on the destination.
When the ship returns, the expedition map will expand to include the new continent.
There are 3 Indian Tribes in America, randomly chosen out of a multitude of possible locations.
Indian Tribes don't offer any goods, but they always buy unlimited amounts of Wine and Iron Goods. To minimize travel time, always send convoys to the closest village.
Wine is sold at 385-440.
Iron Goods are sold at 441-511.
The amount of sold goods is limited to 300per ship per stop. To sell more than 300, multiple stops can be made in the same village, it does not increase the travel time. The price depends on the amount of goods sold during that stop (300will result in the lowest price).