It would be nice to see an alternative to currency especially in the early game stages. The logistics of tracking hundreds of transactions among dozens of people is a technology in itself, so it's a bit odd to see it appear very early in the game. Especially as an educational game, treating those systems of exchange as a given seems like a missed opportunity. A few different thoughts on how this could be accomplished:
- Something along the lines of honesty boxes. Distribution stands currently do something similar, so the main difference would be the ability for the box to collect items. It can be left to the honor system or the game could treat it like a lower-level store to avoid cheating.
The main difference from current stores would be that you could only make whole-item trades (perhaps facilitated by a hidden currency behind the scenes). Aside from the new mechanic, this would make it much easier for players to set prices without worrying someone is going to trade a bunch of logs and take a bunch of mis-priced iron when really they just wanted to trade logs for boards.
- Labor-backed trades: You can already sort of do this with contracts, but a bit more support for giving items on completion of contract instead of currency would be nice. Currently, you can give access to a stockpile (which could change contents during the work) or give currency and then put items in a store, which could be bought by other players.
- Labor-backed currency: Not 100% sure how this would work technically, but the idea would be to facilitate things like cooperatives where people can do work in exchange for access to resources. This might be able to be hacked together with laws, but the difficulty of that compared to in-game support for stores makes it prohibitive.
Obviously currency will always be a part of the game, and it's an important part, but it would be great to see some alternatives available for experimentation (and those unfortunate times capitalism lets the meteor win)