As the primary means to maintain a campaigning army and move resources between settlements for manufacture and trade, wagons are a vital resource for every warlord. Curiously, they also have a role to play in deception, which we’ll get to in a moment, but what’s interesting about them is that unlike the units they help supply, wagons are not “owned” so much as leased.
All armies have a range that they can operate at without needing extra supplies, but for extended journeys, especially across hostile terrain (or for lengthy campaigns deep into enemy territory), the personal supplies that an army begins all journeys with will not be sufficient. Hence why the wise warlord with long-range ambitions will hire a wagon, include it in the roster and load it up with supplies before heading out from their camp or city gates. Obviously, the more supplies an army packs (and the smaller the army), the further it can operate at peak efficiency.
Available at Personal Camps and main cities, there are three sizes of wagons (small, medium and large), with the largest and most expensive able to burden the heaviest load, while also of course being the slowest. Given that an army always moves across the world map at a speed determined by its slowest unit, and that large wagons (along with siege weapons) are among the slowest units of all, choosing the wrong one can transform a fast-moving raiding party into a ripe and tempting target for opportune bandit warlords.
As well as carrying supplies, wagons can be used to transport resources between camps and settlements, either to be sold or moved for crafting. Obviously, the rarer the resource, the more protection it might need. However, potential raiders are unable to see what the contents of a wagon might be, although experienced local warlords will gain some idea of what resources are produced where, and work out from your route what you may be ferrying around.
Because wagons can be packed with siege equipment that otherwise other warlords will see as part of a caravan, it’s often a good idea to “hide” artillery in wagons so as to obscure any intentions you might have to lay siege to a nearby castle. Sadly, troops can’t be hidden aboard wagons Robin Hood-style, but with development on the game still ongoing, there might yet be a few changes to the caravan system before release. We shall see.