Let's review how trade routes work in GC3
1: you build a rather costly vessel. 7 times.
2: you haul past mobs of pirates, wormholes, and space plague until reaching some filthy, backward planet to bestow your wonders upon (direct each ship to another race's world)
3: you enjoy a pittance of a weekly cashflow bonus, that increases gradually until you can see that invincible trade empire you envisioned finally drawing near on the horizon
4: 2-4 of your trade partners decide they don't like how you treat your own citizenry (execute summarily or pet on the tummy, it don't matter) and declare war - you lose your trade revenue and get to remake those routes @ 5 bars latinum each, all over again
It seems a better alternative would be to make trade routes location-based, after initial establishment. That would fully redeem the monumental cost of creating them (including destruction risk); as well as give lots of potential for giving pirates new roles as local players (eg, trade with pirates: no diplomacy bonus, but possibly higher gains); but most critically it would scrap the obscene downside of having more trade licenses, namely losing EVERYTHING (or seemingly) the moment you or your partners decide to have a lil ol war.
The alternatives, in order of preference:
A: have the route remain in list with some means of restoring it at near to the prior value
B: have a smuggler mode when at war; also allow re-establishment if a route is dismissed. For example, the original trade route with Fenix III can't disappear, but you can use it at 1/2 value if you're at war with the partner civ, or abandon it while at war, establish a fallback route with a 3rd civ, then swap the lower value fallback route out again for the original route if you make up with your previous partner--at the built up value, not the originating 3 creds or whatever!
C: this is sophisticated but intersting. Have trade ships designate a tile in space as endpoints, then let those endpoints be modified by the game's progress. this isn't too far away from the way the system works currently - just increased weekly returns as weeks pass, BUT the economic impact would remain in place even if the civs involved stop trading for a while or forever: example, you've taken over the target planet, that's ok! You can maintain the trade route internally, but rather than growing over time, the value decays. Doesn't that sound interesting? ...Or let some friendly civs bid on taking over the route with the planet you now own, with their planet becoming the new endpoint tile, as far as that trade route concerns you. Or have some other mechanic, anything really would be better than "whoops, that trade is gone now!"
PS I brained this up after getting my free trade ship from pragmatic:traders eaten by a fleet of 5 hungry pirate ships the other day
Thx for sticking around! :>