I’m intrigued by the idea of introducing randomness into AI trading, but I’m concerned about making it easier to get tech from the AIs. Especially if Jay manages to get the AI to split into factions and not trade between them (which is the only thing that makes their tech production fast; individually they all tend to underbuild science). It’s already too easy to get AIs to make trades which are not to their advantage.
Maybe if you’re at Neutral there’s a chance you get a tech, say 50%, but it’s not guaranteed? And the more friendly they are to you, the more likely they are to make a trade that’s not to their advantage? (Right now I can give a Neutral AI Banking 4 and get back Weapons 6, but if we weight the probability of that trade according to the imbalance between techs and the friendliness factor, maybe you only have a 50% chance at Friendly (2), versus a 100% chance at Friendly (4) and a 0% chance at Neutral?)
Then we could also make it so a trade (especially an unfavorable one) doesn’t automatically increase friendliness. Maybe an 80% chance of increasing friendliness for an even trade, 100% for a trade that’s to their advantage, and dropping from their depending how unfavorable the trade is. (So when you’re mining an almost-dead AI of its tech at $20/trade just before someone else wipes it out, if it’s paying >$75 each to send you tech back, there’s a chance that it gets less friendly with you! )