I'm on Syracusae and I'm having trouble with my Markets getting stuck in an "endless food" loop. They'll go and get wheat from the granary, then they'll go and get vegetables from the granary, then they'll go and get meat from the granary, but by the time they've brought back the meat, the market has run out of wheat, so they'll go get some more, then they need more vegetables, and so on and so forth. The net effect is that my market ladies never have time to go and get pottery, furniture, or oil.
Is there any way to solve this? My Market is only around 10 squares or so from the nearest granary so the travel time isn't killer. It's just a standard 9x9 block so the Market shouldn't be overtaxed. Is it an issue of having too many food types? Demolishing my Vegetable farms for more Wheat farms seems like it could do the trick, but I also want to know how to deal with this for future missions where I can get up to Palaces and need 2-3 different food types for that.
I was always a little confused as to why Zeus broke down the markets into individual vendors but now it totally makes sense to me.
Pharaoh already I believe has the option to restrict what certain markets can buy. Major quality of life improvement. If I remember correctly that is.
But oh man, market ladies... If I ever get the time I want to do a bunch of experiments to try and figure out precisely how the market lady's decide what food type to fetch when and from which granary.
I quickly loaded my save of that level, and it seems that I made do without any vegetable farms at all. All wheat and a 4/5 olive farms. Might've had a single vegetable farm at some point just to stockpile the veggies for caesar requests - but not sure about that.
I'd imagine the problem at least in part is that the granary isn't stocked full enough with food when the market buyer arrives. So she only takes a little bit of food back to the market which then quickly runs out. I had 2 granaries in this level - one only for wheat, and one closer to the docks only for meat. The latter was usually empty, but the other was pretty much perpetually full.
If yours isn't, perhaps check to make sure your farms don't have to transport their food too far to the granaries. Visually this is easy to see : several farms have full crops, but they're not being harvested because they're waiting for the cart dude to return from the granary.
As for other maps where you're chasing palaces and such, Syracuse is a bit of an oddball among the majority of C3's levels in that you don't quite have enough room for farms. It's not really a problem with later levels iirc. There's also the 'get food' command that sends 800 units of food at a time from one granary to another in a single cart.
In the later bigger levels I relied on that a lot.
Thanks! After doing some more research it definitely seems like the problem is in the market lady's wonky AI. My granaries are quite full, but they're also split - each one has a combination of wheat, meat, and veggies. Next time I get to the computer I'll see if having one granary dedicated to wheat and one dedicated to meat (with veggies phased out entirely) helps the issue at all.
According to a GamerZakh video I saw, the main issue is that market ladies, for whatever reason, always prioritize wheat above all else. If there's wheat nearby and the market doesn't have any, the lady will go get it - even if the market has 800 Meat and all your houses are about to degrade because it's out of pottery and furniture. I also think (though I don't know for sure) that other types of food will get prioritized over non-food, even if you already have food.
So market ladies seem to have a buying priority that goes like this:
The other part of the issue is that I think I grew my houses too large, too fast relative to the amount of farm space Syracusae has. Because I'm trying to feed Grand Insulae, it seems like the distributor lady is passing out food at several hundred per household. So the market lady goes to the Granary, picks up 800 wheat (which seems to be the max per trip? It's the most the Market can store of one good, right?), brings it to the market, then goes out to get veggies or meat, while the distributor takes the 800 wheat and can only distribute it to 2-3 houses. Market lady comes back, says "Hey, we're out of wheat again" and goes out to get that.
So I guess in theory if I demolished my Veggie farms this problem would probably resolve itself if I just left the city on high speed for a while (houses don't receive pottery or furniture, as a result shrink down to a level where feeding them is more sustainable, they accumulate a supply of food and the market can stock up, then I can grow them back up again). Still, I'm hoping through better granary management I'll be able to fix it more quickly than that. It's also reassuring to know that Syracusae's lack of farmland is unique.