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Shadow Empire - Logistics 101

Written by zgrssd   /   Updated: December 6, 2020    

Saying that Logistics is a important part of the game would be a understatement. Saying it was a easy part of the game would be even more of a understatement.

Hard and Fast Rules

If you are jsut interested it getting the game going without going into the gritty details, here are my rules of thumb:

0. Turn on Map Layers -> "Show Op. Log." (Show Operational Logistics). Hotkey is 6. This will tell you exactly how far the last selected unit can go, without getting (too severe) supply issues from range. It is not perfect (as it does not account for other units wanting stuff too), but still prett dang good!

1. One Public owned, T1 Truck stop per city! They cost pittance of fuel, workers and IP. No city should ever have to rely on logistics comming in from another city or a outside hex. That is just asking for trouble. And private ones will not cut it once there are any troops around or any decent spread of Buildings.

2. You should upgrade the truck stations if they are either:

  • a) Under a SHQ. Those are after all the main consumers!
  • b) share their hex with a Train Station (wich makes them a local collection Hub or Strategic base)

Keep in mind that this will primarily upgrade the Capacity, not the range.

3. Do not add SHQ's. It is really only causing more issues.

4. Roads are a blessing and a curse. Use them sparringly and avoid crossings. On the one hand, roads expand the range of your Logistics networks from your cities. On the other hand, crossings fracture and thus drain your supply capacity like nothing else. The pull point system tries to cope with it, but do not try to make it's job any harder then it needs to be!

5. Consider easier logistics. It doubles the capacity and range of logistics assets

The Roman Way

If you want to know how a supply System works, just look at the roman one.

They pioneered the Systems we are still using to this day. The systems that are in use in Shadow Empire.

They knew 3 things: Operational base, Strategic bases, Supply Base/Army Depot.

The Operational base is where your supplies are produced. Or more precisely, where the SHQ collects them.

The Strategic Base is the truck station closest to the troops. The one that will actually get the resource to the Troops. This starts off at being the SHQ city (as you got only 1 Zone). But as you conquer stuff, the new Cities will propably become the new Strategic Bases.

The Supply Base/Army depot is not simulated or abstracted away. Do not be confused by a building of that name, it works very differently!

With this view, you only got a few possible Problems:

  • Problem X: Having enough production/collection or reserves to support the troops at the Operational Base
  • Problem Y: Getting enough supplies from the Operational to the Strategic Base. (for the Logistics System, you do not need to worry about storage along the way).
  • Problem Z: Getting enough supplies from the Strategic Base to the troops.

Note that there is no implied order between those Problems! At any time X, Y, Z or a combination of the 3 can be the cause of your supplies issues. Figuring out wich one (or ones) it is, is the first step to fixing it.

Hex Assets

Hex assets (buildings), only need supply points passing through their hex on a road. They do not actually consume any Logistics capacity, they just need the proof that they could be supplied and then asume they are supplied.

Hex Assets will do all Interaction with the Zone Inventory directly. Their consumption is directly drained from the zone inventory. Their production is diretly delivered to it. Again, no supply capacity is used for this step.

That makes it very beneficial to place Hex Assets along the roads, where logistics capacity passing through anyway can do double-duty

Hex Perks meanwhile just need to be in the zone. They do not need a road. However troops that may have to defend them propably still need a road.

The Zone Inventory Limits

Resources in a Zone help nobody but that zone. They can be used to directly "feed" the zones consumers: The workers, the running buildings and the constructions. And in many cases it is highly advantageous to have the production of goods distributed across all zones and as close to their consumption as possible. Food particulary should never need to be shipped.

But the Zone inventory will not help other zones, help you raise troops or even feed your soldiers stading right in the city center!

The Zone will try to keep 1 Turn of Consumption (2 for Food) in storage. This helps any temporary setbacks. Any excess storage capacity is transfered to the SHQ. For some things with realy low storage limits this can become an issue if the consumers take away the SHQ's storage.

SHQ - The Prime Logistics Consumer and It's Limits

"The planet is full of zones where there is too much of one good and to little of another good." - after the Great Material Continuum, Star Trek DS 9.

And none of the Zones would bother feeding the soldiers that are standing literally in the city center.

This is where the SHQ comes in. Every Shell, every Ration, every unit of Fuel and Energy for your Troops has to be collected and distributed via a SHQ

Every unit of Fuel, Energy, IP, Metal and Food that is not produced and stored locally for consumption, has to be collected and distributed by a SHQ*

Every start of turn, the SHQ will do these 4 things:

  • Deliver stuff to Zone Inventories, that those Zones requested*
  • Deliver stuff to Units that they have requested. Yes, that means you need to have the resource for your units in the SHQ Inventory before you hit end turn. (construction and consumption in the Zones happens here) (production happens here, after consumption).
  • Collecting stuff from zones. This will be the stuff it has avalible for next end turn and the rare instant projects (like raising formations or building roads)*
  • Sending out reinforcements troops. (For the full sequence, see

The SHQ is given maximums for each of those. Those Maxima do add up to above 100% - if you use anywhere close to the limits in any area that is a issue that needs fixing.

After the SHQ has done all of those stops once with the limits - and if it got any points left - it will go over each of those points again this time ignoring limits. If one point had used it's logistics maximum, there is now a second chance to get stuff done. This the reason the consumption can be higher then the maximum - it was not used anywhere else.

The SHQ Logistics maxima are never the fault of issues - they are trying to keep things running despite you messing up!

Note tha the SHQ seems to need 0 Logistics capacity do do stuff with the Inventory of the Zone it is placed in. Also 0 Logistics to do stuff with the Hex it is placed in.

*These should be kept as small as possible. Logistics is primarily there for your soldiers. Moved goods between the Zones and the SHQ should be only those things that can not (yet) be prouced locally.

Free Shipping Included

According to the handbook, several things travel for free on the Logistics network. These include:

  • Water & Fuel used by assets. Supposedly those travel via Pipes. Note that Fuel still cost Logistics to move to troops.
  • Energy (via cables)
  • Industrial Points (as it is a abstract concept)
  • Emergency Food - This is the special food given to the Private economy if the local production is not enough. Note that this is different from the normal Food being given to your workers, wich does use Logistics capacity!

Leftover Logistics Points

After the SHQ does it's automatic stuff (both passes), there will be some points left. Hopefully that is a lot of points. And hopefully that is not just a lot because you could not bring enough stuff to your troops because of a bottleneck.

Those leftover points you can use for a bunch of special things:

  • Raising formations in places other then your SHQ
  • Move Troops in the field via Strategic Movement
  • Upgrade units in the field (replacement is already handeled by the SHQ)

Truck AP and Distance

Considering that each hex is ~200km on the short diagonal, it should not come as surprise that trucks can not move infinitely far!

A Public T1 Truck Station has 1000 Truck Points (Logistics Capacity) and 100 TruckAP. Those AP define how far you get to use the the full capacity - and how far the capacity will dwindle off.

Each Terrain has a AP cost for the "Truck Logistics". 25 is not uncommon for flat terrain. Hard terrain can go up to 75. With Roads it is 10 (Dirt Road) or 5 (Paved Road) AP per hex.

As long as the Trucks have not yet used more then 100 AP to get to a hex (and no road split the capacity), you still got fully supply capacity of 1000. Once they start using more then 100 AP, the supply capacity will drop of sharply. Think of them having to carry extra food and fuel for the journey on the back of the vehicle.

If a line hits another transport asset, the remaining points are "refocussed": A bit of the capacity is lost, but used AP are reset. Generally there will be nothing left aftr the 3rd refocus.

In the traffic Signs menu you can see how many of those AP are used already, how many there are in total (note that leaving the transport assets/city hex costs AP as well). It does not show this data for hexes without roads, but the same math happens there!


Picture a distance of 21 hexes bewtween two points (it will most lilkely be cities, but it could be any points really).

Picture both points having a Public Truck Station, that send all their stuff towards the other point.

Picture the 1000 truck Points reaching exactly 10 hexes, then drop off to 100 Truck points at the 11th Hex and 0 afterwards (it is not quite that extreme in the game).

So the hex in the middle will only have 200 Logitics. Guess what? You only get 200 Units across that road. That 1 Hex is the bottleneck.

Bottlenecks happen when two supply producers "meet" just after they started trailing off. There is a weak link in the chain of logistics assets.

Organic Supply - Let Us Make a Food Run!

Units are not entirely passive receivers of supply either. Their supply is a lot more forgiving then the one for Assets. It turns out that people are willing to go the extra 1000 miles towards a good supply line to get food!

Terrain also has a Cost for the Movetype "Organic Supply". Asume each unit has 100 "freeOrganicSupplyAP" and a "OrganicSupplyPoints" that just matches the maximum they can request per turn.

They work similar to truck points, in that they spread out, dwindling off after they run out of AP.

Usually movement cost for the Organic supply is a fraction of the one for trucks:

  • On flat terrain it is 12 organic/25 Truck.
  • In Mountain 20 Organic/75 Trucks.
  • So asume that Organic Supply makes up about half the total supply range of your troops!

(Not) Off the Rails

Rails are really good at moving a lot of supplies over very long distances. But entirely useless at distributing those supplies anywhere along the lines - or evne the endpoint.

Each Railline need a endpoint - a Railhead or other station - to drop any relevant quantities off. At least the lower 10% of the Rail capacity will always go through - this helps with getting the Rail assets the nessesary fuel - but for real bulk moving you need a station in the other city as well.

And asuming they did not just deliver to a Zone or SHQ inventory, then they also need a truck Station in the same hex or organic supply to actually distribute the stuff to troops!

They are good at getting stuff to the Strategic Base. And can even help at collecting the stuff at the Operational base in the first place. But it is still the local trucks that make it a Strategic base!

Note that no asset can be connected only by Rail to a city. They all must have a road connection to a city.

Airbridges and Airlift

A new Feature that I did not even have time to test yet, but here is what I understand - the Airbridge kinda works like a Add-hoc Train line:
You got a start point - that is where your Transports Air Units are stations and are doing their mission from.

You got a End Point - that is where the Air Bridge mission is targeted.

There is a limited amount of "Air Bridge Logistics" points between the two.

There is no dropping off along the way. Stuff still needs distribution afterwards.

Logistics prefers to go over the Land connections. This is because Air bridges are uniquely dangerous for the aerovehicles doing the job and fuel expensive.

A "Airlift" or "Paradop" simply seems to be moving units over a airbridge using strategic movement.

For using Strategic Movement with units across the Airbrdige, there is also a weight limit in the Beta. It is given as the Squareroot of (Cargo Size/1000), wich gives it a absolute limit of 250k for ~15.8 Logistics Weight.

No subunit can weigh more then that, or the unit can not be transported over the airbridge - no mater how much capacity is left over.

Written by zgrssd.

Game:   Shadow Empire