View Full Version : Optimum Early Growth Strategy


ohioastronomy
Jan 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
This article is intended to determine the optimum strategy for maximizing production in the first 40 turns of the game. My intention is to quantify the advantages of chopping down forest and to compare different tactical paths in the early game. Tactics to be discussed include the relative advantages of growing your initial city, building workers, improvements, founding your second city, chop-rushing, and queue shuffling. I chose a 40 turn window because in this time it is possible to have two solid cities, with workers improving both, and to be in position to develop a third city if you desire. Over longer periods the mix of tiles, external threats, and other priorities (such as road building and military development) complicate the situation. I’ll contend that the following general conclusions apply for normal speed games:
1. Building worker/worker/settler is optimal for early growth.
2. If you can either build a mine or farm a special resource before chopping you end up equal to straight chopping at turn 40. This implies that you do not need to research Bronze Working first (but do need to have it completed by turn 20).
3. Limited chopping (3 trees) is a key to getting your initial cities set up.
4. Growing your city to size 2 before building a worker carries a significant production penalty.
5. Queue switching will be discussed in a followup post, as will the develop-one-big-city first approach.

Commerce is omitted here, but I contend that is actually reasonable, since significant commerce usually requires worker improvements and thus typically takes off later than this period. As you will see below, any commerce advantage from early growth would have to be balanced against the rather substantial production disadvantage.

I’ll begin with some basics. A size one city has 3 free production and each additional population point (PP) can generate 3 more production (if there are forests or flood plains) before improvements. Each PP uses 2F. Before improvements, this means that

A size 1 city has 4 production
Growing a city by one PP adds 1 production

Chopping trees yields 30P (at normal) and takes 4 turns including travel time.
Costs for a warrior, worker, and settler are 15, 60, and 100 respectively. I’ll discuss epic speed separately, but tree-chopping is even more favored there (45 yield for a forest, workers and settlers are 75 and 125 respectively).

Farms and mines improve basic production, and building them takes a minimum of 5 turns including travel time.
Wheat and corn (with agriculture) and copper (with BW) add 3 production.
Mines add 2 production, as do deer camps (but the base is low on tundra and build times are longer). However, mines clear forests, so the maximum production from a mined tile without a special resource is 4 (gain of +1 over a forest or flood plain).
Normal farms add 1 production - but only on base 2 production sites or flood plains. Creating a farm on a flood plain also takes longer. For this reason I’ll only include the +1P (floodplain+farm and grass/hills+mine) and +3P cases for improvements.

You can already see from the above that starting a second city adds much more production than growing the first city, and that the best improvements are almost as valuable in the short run as founding a second city. Normal improvements increase total production modestly, but only on certain tiles.

No growth cases: in this model the first city build is a worker, usually coupled with researching bronze working. On turn 15 the first worker appears. I then compared the following strategies, all ending with 2 workers, and one settler. I also compared the lucky +3 production improvements and the more typical +1 production improvements. Here are the cases:

A. Chop worker 2, both workers chop settler, improve
B. Chop settler, chop worker2, improve
C. Improve city(+3), chop worker 2, chop settler
D. Improve city (+1), chop worker 2, chop settler
E. Improve city (+3), settler with no chop, worker 2 with no chop.
F. Improve city (+1), settler with no chop, worker 2 with no chop.

Here are the results. Worker turns is the number of turns that you would have workers available to do things by turn 40 other than chop settlers/workers and build the first improvement:
EDIT: Overflow was incorrectly calculated, thanks to junior7 for catching this. Was 16, should be 8.
Case A: Worker2 T23, Settler T27, Imp T32, 21 worker turns, 8 overflow
(12 x 4P + 120 from 4 trees = 168)
Case B: Settler T25, Worker2 T31, Imp T36, 13 worker turns, 24 overflow
(16 x 4P + 120 from 4 trees = 184)
Case C: Imp T20, Worker2 T24, Settler T28, 24 worker turns, 6 overflow
(5 x 4P + 8 x 7P + 90 from 3 trees = 166)
Case D: Imp T20, Worker2 T24, Settler T30, 24 worker turns
(5 x 4P + 10 x 5P + 90 from 3 trees = 160)
Case E: Imp T20, Settler T32, Worker2 T40, 15 worker turns
(5 x 4P + 20 x 7P = 160)
Case F: Imp T20, Settler T36, Worker2 T48, 7 worker turns
(5 x 4P + 28 x 5P = 160)

Now, to put these all onto a common metric:
The earliest completion of all workers and settlers is T27. After this point the main city can grow. Later starts are penalized 10P per turn of delay (4P in direct cost and 2P in delayed production from population points 2,3,4 each). Beyond that point the happiness and health limits can be relevant.
The earliest settler is T25. Later starting cities are penalized 10P per turn of delay for the same reason.
Every worker turn that is available after the base tasks above are completed is worth 7.5P (chopping trees; could also be improving for future growth, but that is tile-dependent).
Production overflow is credited to each case as available.

EDIT: Corrected yield for Case A
Case A: +145.5 (4 trees)
Case B: +81.5 (4 trees)
Case C: +146 (3 trees)
Case D: +100 (3 trees)
Case E: -87.5 ( 0 trees)
Case F: -307.5 (0 trees)

EDIT: There is also a difference in the improved city production
after the workers and settlers are produced. This is significant
for cases A, B, C, E (where there is a good special available).
These cases get stronger production released after turns
32, 36, 28, 40. When this effect is accounted for, Case C
(improve a +3P special before chopping) saves a tree and
gets the highest yield. Cases A and C are thus very close).

Chopping is strongly favored, and building a second worker before a settler is favored. Improving a special resource is a wash with chopping first, and building a 4 production tile before chopping is disfavored. You don’t need to clearcut for a solid start.

What about growing first? If you have the right tiles available you can grow to size 2 and put out a warrior by turn 10. How does this compare with building a worker first? We’ll focus on Case A above (worker/worker/settler), as it doesn’t rely on a handy wheat or corn. In this case:

Size 2 turn 10, worker 1 T22, worker 2 T28, Settler T34, Imp T37, 10 worker turns, 20 overflow. In all the other cases we assumed the city would start growing on turn 27, while in this case 10 turns of early growth went to the city+unit and it is free to grow again after turn 34. As a result, I give this case 30 extra production for a growth head start (it gets 10 turns of growth by turn 34 while the other cities get 7), and add 24 for the extra production in turns 11 through 34. In effect, the worker-first cities catch up in size while the grow-first city is catching up in workers and settlers. This setup has a rating of +36, e.g. significantly worse than the build-worker first case. In terms of the land grab, it also postpones founding the second city by a potentially crucial 9 turns.

An early delay in building workers (without growing to size 2) costs 25 production/turn: a one turn delay in founding a city and two lost worker turns chopping trees. I hope this is useful; comments/questions most welcome.

ohioastronomy
Jan 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Queue swapping is an interesting tactic to combine early growth and tree-chopping. It starts the same as the worker-first strategy, producing a worker on turn 15. On turns 16, 17, 18 the city grows and builds a warrior. On turn 19 the city switches to a worker, with 34 production (4 basic plus 30 from chopping a forest). The second worker appears on turn 23, both chop on turn 27, and one chops on turn 31 while the other produces an improvement on turn 32 (6 overflow). Relative to case A, the founding of the second city is delayed 4 turns, and 4 turns of worker action are lost; this is a 70 production penalty. However, the main city has had 12 extra turns of growth (a 120 production edge.) As a result, queue swapping is a net +193.5 on the original scale, but does burn 5 forests. There is some opportunity cost in losing resources that could be used later (for wonders, barracks, granaries, etc.)

There is also a trick to use only the chopped timber for settlers and workers (extreme queue swapping). Essentially, you set production to settler on the turn the chop is due, manually make the worker chop, and then set production back to warrior. This is more competitive at epic speed, but is an expensive idea on normal speed: settlers cost 100 and forests yield 30, so you would have to chop 6 forests (with 20 overflow) by turn 31 to get out the settler. Relative to normal queue swapping, this method loses 4 worker turns (30 penalty) and gains 4 turns of growth (40 benefit) with 14 extra overflow. The overall net is +217.5, so it scores highest on an absolute scale. If you subtract the opportunity cost of the forests used, however, the relative rankings are different:

No queue swapping +63.5
Normal queue swapping +43.5
Aggressive queue swapping +37.5

Whether you use this technique or not therefore depends in part on how many forests you can use and what else you might do with them.

ohioastronomy
Jan 19, 2006, 04:47 PM
An alternate approach is to build a large city first and then use the enhanced production to churn out units later. An additional advantage is that such a city produces more early commerce. However, this strategy is significantly weaker in production (and, over the long term, not as strong in commerce as it might appear) because of the power of chopping and improvements. Assume the most favorable case for growth, namely 5 good food resources or flood plains on a river. In this case the capital will grow to size 2,3,4,5 after 8, 14, 19, and 24 turns respectively. By occasionally swapping in some grass/hills/forest it is possible to build 2 warriors and grow to the prince capital happiness limit (5) in 25 turns. The larger city will have 8 production, and if you follow up with worker/worker/settler then you can have worker1(33 turns), worker2(37 turns), and settler (42 turns). There is a commerce edge until the initially smaller capital catches up in size (108), and a production edge (95), assuming the growth pattern is the same. However, there is a 16 turn delay in founding city 2 and you need 9 worker turns past turn 40 to finish the initial builds. The net effect is -132.5 on the original scale, or almost 300 production behind emphasizing settlers and workers early. If anything, this understates the disadvantage of growing onto unimproved tiles. A size 1 city working an improved wheat has almost the same production (7) as a size 5 city working 5 unimproved tiles (8). By the time the big city has produced its first settler, you could have had two medium cities (size 2-3) working improved tiles and could have even founded a third city with supporting worker. Even the commerce edge (roughly one good tech) has to be kept in perspective; a single gold mine has a much bigger long-term yield.

You could get better results by building two workers and then using them to improve tiles while letting the city grow to the happiness limit, then building a settler. The exact results are more complicated to compute because they depend on what tiles are available. In my view, this actually confirms the idea that building a worker first is optimal for a variety of play styles.

ohioastronomy
Jan 19, 2006, 04:49 PM
Different game speeds can significantly change the benefits of different strategies. The key thing to understand is the different way that units and tech/forests/growth/production scale with speed. As you go from Quick-Normal-Epic-Marathon (Q-N-E-M) the costs for a unit scale as
Q 4/5 - N 1 - E 5/4 - M 2
(for example, the respective costs for a settler are 80, 100, 125, 200).

However, tech costs, city growth, improvement builds, and forests change more quickly with speed. They scale as
Q 2/3 - N 1 - E 3/2 - M 3
(for example, the respective yields for forests and the turns to clear including travel are
Q 20 (3) - N 30 (4) - E 45 (5) - M 90 (9)
This means that Stonehenge always can be gotten with 4 forest (2 with stone) at all speeds,
but the cost in forests for a settler is
Q=4 N=3.33 E=2.78 M=2.22
and the time to build a settler with the basic 4 production of a city is
Q=20 N=25 E=32 M=50

With an important exception for technology speed at high difficulty levels and marathon, you can therefore expect the following
relative trends. I'll post details for other speeds if people are interested.

1) In quick games cities grow rapidly and the yield from tree-cutting is smaller. The rapid pace of technology also means that workers are more flexible - it is very likely that you can improve special resources immediately upon founding a new city. This makes improvements more powerful, and dramatically reduces the differential impact of chopping on early production. If you start with good special resources you can do better by improving the first one (after you have a worker) than you can by focusing on tree-cutting (an improved wheat has a higher return than a forest cut after 7 turns). Worker-worker-settler is still the preferred sequence, but clearcutters will quickly run out of forests. Building a big city before a settler still fares worse than building a worker first, since once the tiles are improved the capital will grow to the happiness/health limit almost immediately. Note that because cities grow very fast (as quickly as three turns per population), having extra workers in the early game will have a large impact on production; you'll benefit from hooking up special resources to raise the health and happiness caps. Peaceful builders and tree-huggers will probably like this speed.

2) In epic games the technology speed is still fast enough that it doesn't play the huge role that it will at marathon. Worker-worker-settler is strongly preferred to other build sequences. Trees provide so many hammers that queue swapping is extremely effective, and can be used to put out early warriors, etc. without a large production penalty. You may even want to do a reverse queue swap, putting a warrior in the build queue when you want to get it out quickly and then crediting the overflow to the worker or settler. Remember that the costs are not exact multiples of timber yields, so that you want 200 production going to your second worker+settler, not the 180 you'd get just from cutting four trees (so you will want to have 5 turns of native production applied to units, not growth, to avoid using up too many of your valuable forests.)

3) In principle you might expect marathon games to be a simple extension of the above trends, and a theoretical analysis supports that. But the glacial pace of research has interesting consequences - especially at high difficulty levels. When you found your first city and choose your first tech on a normal start, you'll see something like the following for bronzeworking (BW) and a Worker(W) at Prince:
Quick BW=9,W=12 turns
Normal BW=13, W=15 turns
Epic BW=21, W=19 turns
Marathon BW=49, W=30 turns. At Marathon/Deity, it take 67 turns to get bronzeworking....
(If you have a special start tile the worker time will be less, and if you have commerce on your second tile the tech time will be less. You can usually shuffle the worked tile in that case so that the arrival of the first worker and getting BW happens at the same time on epic).

What this means is that unless you either prioritize commerce or are extremely careful you will have extended stretches where your workers, and cities, have absolutely nothing useful to do. It is entirely plausible that it will take you 150+ turns before you can actually use that pig next to your starting city, and even improvement build times are long (15 turns for farm, etc.) As a result, financial leaders have a significant production edge, and coastal production, specials with commerce, etc. will dramatically speed up city development.
Timber is useful for a lot of things, and you should think carefully about how you want to spend it. The AIs don't tend to use it for wonders, for instance, and it does save a lot of time for buildings as well. Unless you can speed up the tech, there is no gain in starting with a worker until you can time their arrival to coincide with a useful task - you might as well spend the first 20 turns getting a warrior out, unless there is a lovely gold mine next door.

Wreck
Jan 19, 2006, 05:11 PM
Good stuff.

When growing first, growing to size 2 requires 22 food, so, you'll either hit it on turn 12 (w/ 2F surplus), or turn 9 (w/ 3F).

Of course, I'll bet it's even more superior to queue-swap.

You might want to make a little clearer that the "production" you refer to in the earlier part of the post is food plus hammers.

thomascolthurst
Jan 19, 2006, 05:32 PM
On higher difficulty levels especially, not having a warrior escort for that first settler can be extremely dangerous. I guess you could use your inital unit (which is a scout for some civs) for that purpose, but then you are potentially giving up lots of gold or techs from goody huts. (And guaranteeing increased barbarian activity).

I'm not saying that growing to size 2 while building a warrior is a good idea, just that building a warrior should be considered as a pre-req to building the first settler, and the calculations adjusted accordingly. My initial build order is usually worker, worker, warrior, settler or worker, warrior, worker, settler depending on how many forests are protected from animals by my cultural boundary.

ohioastronomy
Jan 19, 2006, 06:27 PM
On higher difficulty levels especially, not having a warrior escort for that first settler can be extremely dangerous. I guess you could use your inital unit (which is a scout for some civs) for that purpose, but then you are potentially giving up lots of gold or techs from goody huts. (And guaranteeing increased barbarian activity).

I'm not saying that growing to size 2 while building a warrior is a good idea, just that building a warrior should be considered as a pre-req to building the first settler, and the calculations adjusted accordingly. My initial build order is usually worker, worker, warrior, settler or worker, warrior, worker, settler depending on how many forests are protected from animals by my cultural boundary.

That's a good point - I did implicitly assume that the first warrior would have to swing around to escort the first settler, and there are other costs to that (as well as the risk of death during exploration.) For worker/worker/settler you could modify it by a reverse queue swap, switching to warrior on turn 27 and completing the settler on turn 28 with the overflow from the warrior. This would delay the founding of a second city by 3 extra turns (the slow warrior has to escort the faster settler), but would free up the first warrior to go exploring. If you do this, it reduces the yield by about 30-40 production depending on how quickly the warrior and settler can get to the new site.

Zombie69
Jan 19, 2006, 11:06 PM
Would you say that for a civ starting with fishing and at least one sea food tile, it's better to make a work boat first? Intuitively, that's what i'd think. You'd need to calculate with a fish and alternately with a clam/crab.

Personally, i always like to start with a warrior/scout or two while growing to size two and sending them all out to explore, granting me more hut prizes.

HawkeyeGS
Jan 20, 2006, 01:27 AM
The problem with growing to size 2 city at the start is that it is slower to get a worker which could be chopping. Also on higher levels you get less good stuff from huts. You more often get barbs.

The whole stratagy really comes down to the amount of trees you have near your capital and the terrain they are on. The more you have the more workers you should build strait away. Once you start running out of trees (or decide to stop chopping soon) I then build a warrior and 2 settlers. A worker, the new warrior and the first new settler go off together to build city 2. The worker chops there for a warrior while the former escort returns to city 1 to pick up the settler which should be about ready and another warrior. The 3 units go off to city site 3.

I then build a few more workers and warriors followed by buildings (libary mainly). I spend a while (probrably too long) at this stage with 3 cities because I do not have the cash to fund a 4th while maintaining a high research percentage.

Good article I just thought I would add my lot. Hope it helps someone.

HawkeyeGS
Jan 20, 2006, 01:30 AM
I am now trying to build the 2nd and 3rd cities a bit closer to the capital to get lower upkeep fees. This is helping me get the 4th city earlier.

Once I hit the 4 city barrier I am good because I have heaps of cottages growing rapidly giving me tons of gold to fund expansion and then on to advanced military (around about when I get Civil Service so I can build macemen)

Moonsinger
Jan 20, 2006, 08:31 AM
Good article!:goodjob: Would you compare the the early growth for the Marathon game speed too? I usually do worker/worker/settler at normal game speed and warrior/warrior/worker/worker/settler at the marathon game speed with very little chopping and some queue swapping. The reason for this is because there are usually too many barbarians in my game and I need to save the forests for swordman rush.

As for building the early fishing boat, I do not build a fishing boat until after I have conquered around 30% of the world. The reason for this is simple: it takes too much time to research sailing and building ships. On top of this, seafood is the AI favorite target. Even when they are dying, they would still try to rush a ship to go after my seafoods. Therefore, I think acquiring seafoods is a waste of time and because I can't really protect my seafoods in time of war. With enough swords and axes, I could easily claim another food source on land. Plus I need a strong military early to deal with the barbarians too. Of course, I could be wrong about this; there is still much about Civ4 that I don't know (probably because I'm still playing Civ3 and very little of Civ4 so far).

Wreck
Jan 20, 2006, 09:08 AM
One more thing to consider is the possibility to choose a hills plain (or even a resource tile) for the initial city site. A normal city gets 4 net production of food+resources to start with. On a hills/plain, that will be 5. It will speed the initial worker build from 15 turns to 12. Thus, it should be worthwhile to spend at least three turns at game start searching for a hill to put your city on. And probably more - the extra shields keep coming after turn 15.

There is no downside here if we assume that the map is uniform in terms of city-site quality. However, if the initial location of the settler is being enhanced by the program to be a superior city site, then it may not be worthwhile to search for a better. Still... in my (limited) experience, it often is.

Kerrang
Jan 20, 2006, 09:52 AM
I generally play on Epic or Marathon, and am currently still at Noble diff.

One thing that should be factored in here is time it will take to research Bronze Working, as you cannot cut until you have BW. On Epic and Marathon settings, research time is increased, and I am sure that in some cases it may not be possible to have BW researched before 30 turns or more have gone by. Also, at Noble difficulty and higher it can be suicide to avoid building a military unit for any length of time. If your Civ starts with a warrior, you can place it in your first city to avoid losing it to barbs, but you will need to build another before you build your first settler. The problem with this though, is that you do not get to explore much, and this can reduce your options when trying to find a suitable spot for your 2nd city, and increase the number of barbs that harass you.

I quite often play civs that start with a scout though, so exploration is not a problem. The other good thing about starting with a scout at higher difficulty is that they always obtain positive results from huts, you won't have to worry about them turning into barbs. The bad thing is this means that I need to produce a warrior first to defend my capital, or if starting with a warrior, I need to research Hunting first to get scouts quickly enough to start exploring. In the latter case, this delays Bronze Working even more.

My normal progression at the start of the game is this:
Warrior, worker, warrior, settler, worker

Or you can play a custom game and turn off barbs, so that you don't have to worry about your military at the outset.

I tend to avoid cutting, except when improving a tile, this may be a result of the amount of time I spent playing the previous Civ games, and Alpha Centauri, in which clearcutting your natural surroundings seemed to be more detrimental in the long run. Of course, if you only cut early in the game, don't improve the tiles, and leave a few forests around, your forests can grow back over time. This can be effective, and I have used it in situations where I have alot of forest/tundra tiles on the extreme borders of my civ. I avoid planting any cities in the area, unless I need a certain resource there, and cut every other tile before leaving the area alone for a good long time. Once I return a few of the previously cut tiles have grown back, and I can cut them again.

ohioastronomy
Jan 20, 2006, 12:19 PM
Would you say that for a civ starting with fishing and at least one sea food tile, it's better to make a work boat first? Intuitively, that's what i'd think. You'd need to calculate with a fish and alternately with a clam/crab.

Personally, i always like to start with a warrior/scout or two while growing to size two and sending them all out to explore, granting me more hut prizes.

The calculations for fish are decent, and would benefit from queue swapping (since population growth would be rapid). Boats cost 30, and if you maximized hammers (hills/plain/forest) you could get a boat in 8 turns. Assuming no lighthouse, worker 1 shows up on turn 19 and worker 2 on turn 23, with a settler on turn 30, 25 worker turns, 4 overflow, 3 trees. The net figure of merit is +122.5. Since you could chop an extra tree, queue swapping would help here: you'd gain five turns of rapid growth and trade it for 4 lost worker turns, for a net of +142.5. If you choose to use the first worker to chop the boat, the net is better (worker 2 on turn 23, settler on turn 28; 26 worker turns). The net without queue swapping is +155. The extra production power of the first workers is so large that even a substantial benefit, such as fish, turns out to be only roughly equal to just making a worker.

Orca
Jan 20, 2006, 12:21 PM
Nice work, however optimal start has to do a lot with game settings.
Some examples :
Marathon game : Chop is less valuable, Fishing is a an alternative.
Easy AI level : Sacking the closest AI capital is an alternative.
3 prod square, e.g plains stone hill : Settler first is an alternative.

ohioastronomy
Jan 20, 2006, 12:47 PM
I generally play on Epic or Marathon, and am currently still at Noble diff.

One thing that should be factored in here is time it will take to research Bronze Working, as you cannot cut until you have BW. On Epic and Marathon settings, research time is increased, and I am sure that in some cases it may not be possible to have BW researched before 30 turns or more have gone by. Also, at Noble difficulty and higher it can be suicide to avoid building a military unit for any length of time. If your Civ starts with a warrior, you can place it in your first city to avoid losing it to barbs, but you will need to build another before you build your first settler. The problem with this though, is that you do not get to explore much, and this can reduce your options when trying to find a suitable spot for your 2nd city, and increase the number of barbs that harass you.

I quite often play civs that start with a scout though, so exploration is not a problem. The other good thing about starting with a scout at higher difficulty is that they always obtain positive results from huts, you won't have to worry about them turning into barbs. The bad thing is this means that I need to produce a warrior first to defend my capital, or if starting with a warrior, I need to research Hunting first to get scouts quickly enough to start exploring. In the latter case, this delays Bronze Working even more.

My normal progression at the start of the game is this:
Warrior, worker, warrior, settler, worker

Or you can play a custom game and turn off barbs, so that you don't have to worry about your military at the outset.

I tend to avoid cutting, except when improving a tile, this may be a result of the amount of time I spent playing the previous Civ games, and Alpha Centauri, in which clearcutting your natural surroundings seemed to be more detrimental in the long run. Of course, if you only cut early in the game, don't improve the tiles, and leave a few forests around, your forests can grow back over time. This can be effective, and I have used it in situations where I have alot of forest/tundra tiles on the extreme borders of my civ. I avoid planting any cities in the area, unless I need a certain resource there, and cut every other tile before leaving the area alone for a good long time. Once I return a few of the previously cut tiles have grown back, and I can cut them again.

At least on epic speed, the first worker and bronze working appear at about the same time. If you have a good special resource (wheat or corn) you could just improve it for the extra +3 production while you're waiting for bronzeworking, and you do about as well as you would with chopping. I don't ever recall having barbarian problems much before 2000 BC (my usual game is prince/epic, which is getting too easy). But I sometimes do wish I had a guard for my worker when animals attack in the early game.

A good question to ask about early military units is to determine what you're gaining. Every turn you delay the worker you're delaying permanent improvements, a second city with 4 free production (and the extra production when it grows), and you're losing the option of +7.5 burst production/turn from chopping trees. All of these are long-term losses that are significant when you only start with 4 production. Would you rather have an extra early warrior (4 turns of pure production minimum, no growth) or one of 1) stonehenge, even without stone; 2) two barracks chopped by the workers; 3) two developed special resources and 4 warriors later? The tradeoff really is that dramatic when you compare a position with an early worker with a position where the worker is delayed (although the delayed position could eventually build these things, the other position will in turn have had a chance to add 2 granaries, etc.).

The cost from making warriors after the first worker is much smaller, since you're already getting the production boost, e.g. you could get 2 warriors by turn 19 with a modest production penalty with queue swapping.

Dr Elmer Jiggle
Jan 20, 2006, 01:08 PM
You might be overrating the value of extra worker turns. You give 7.5P, which I supposed is based on 30P divided by 4 turns per chop. That's fine as long as the trees are available, but in cases like C with 24 worker turns, you're implicitly assuming that you have 6 forests available in addition to the 3 you already chopped down.

Nine forests is a lot. Not every start has that. Nine forests that don't cost you a single extra turn of movement to get there is even more rare.

Smirk
Jan 20, 2006, 01:24 PM
How can you ignore commerce when commerce is the only thing thats going to allow you to settle more cities? This becomes more apparent in the higher difficulties but ultimately its determines your expansion rate in all of them.

ohioastronomy
Jan 20, 2006, 02:26 PM
You might be overrating the value of extra worker turns. You give 7.5P, which I supposed is based on 30P divided by 4 turns per chop. That's fine as long as the trees are available, but in cases like C with 24 worker turns, you're implicitly assuming that you have 6 forests available in addition to the 3 you already chopped down.

Nine forests is a lot. Not every start has that. Nine forests that don't cost you a single extra turn of movement to get there is even more rare.

Thanks; this is an interesting point. I'm considering the difference between build orders rather than the absolute production, so travel time doesn't matter. If it takes me 3 turns to get to the next tree, and I get a four turn head start in one case, then I'll still have 30 extra hammers (even though there won't be any yield for a seven turn gap in both cases). However, given that there are a limited number of forests, I will eventually chop all of the ones that I want to and therefore the choice is whether I get them sooner or later.

There are two other ways of looking at it. One is that every worker turn is translated into earlier improvements. Assume that a worker can build the first improvement on turn 20, second on 25, third on 30, fourth on 35 (and that the city can use these tiles!) This isn't actually a bad approximation after a city is freed from worker/settler building and is growing to the happiness limit. The second case has a worker making the same builds one turn later. If one is a special tile (+3), another is a slightly worse special tile (+2), and the last two are mines or floodplain/farms (+1) then I will have gotten +7 extra production because I gained the added production one turn earlier in each case. This doesn't go on indefinitely because cities don't grow indefinitely, and because the speed at which I can improve tiles exceeds the speed of city growth.

The second case is that even though I will eventually chop a given forest, I get compound return because I used it to get anther settler or worker earlier.
Again, take a single worker who is chopping a settler at a new city. I start on turn 30, chop 34, chop 38, settler turn 40. If I arrive one turn later, then everything is the same but delayed one turn. I'll therefore found my third city one turn later and will get a permanent production loss as a result (4P at the start, 1-4P every time the population grows depending on improvements up to the happiness limit). In this case worker turns could be worth even more than 7.5/turn. Similar considerations would apply to chopping a granary (or other building), although the yields would vary.

You could also use workers for roads, which have advantages that are tougher to quantify (military defence and health/happy bonuses from resources). You're correct that the yield depends on how you use the worker, but it is substantial for a lot of different strategies.

suspendinlight
Jan 20, 2006, 03:05 PM
Just wanted to note that this really doesn't hold if you are playing raging barbs because your early improvements will all be destroyed and your workers will often be forced off of a task by a wandering barb.

Grimz101
Jan 21, 2006, 04:16 PM
if your playing raging barbs try ganhdi for fast workers, on fast games not much difference, but normal+ you will really notice the difference, gotta love gandhi for chopping cities really fast, on small maps, on standard+ though id rather have financel, since costs will start killing after a while, only recommend gandhi on standard+ if your playing a team game.

ohioastronomy
Jan 21, 2006, 11:10 PM
Good article!:goodjob: Would you compare the the early growth for the Marathon game speed too? I usually do worker/worker/settler at normal game speed and warrior/warrior/worker/worker/settler at the marathon game speed with very little chopping and some queue swapping. The reason for this is because there are usually too many barbarians in my game and I need to save the forests for swordman rush.

As for building the early fishing boat, I do not build a fishing boat until after I have conquered around 30% of the world. The reason for this is simple: it takes too much time to research sailing and building ships. On top of this, seafood is the AI favorite target. Even when they are dying, they would still try to rush a ship to go after my seafoods. Therefore, I think acquiring seafoods is a waste of time and because I can't really protect my seafoods in time of war. With enough swords and axes, I could easily claim another food source on land. Plus I need a strong military early to deal with the barbarians too. Of course, I could be wrong about this; there is still much about Civ4 that I don't know (probably because I'm still playing Civ3 and very little of Civ4 so far).

The build orders that you describe are optimal at high difficulty levels because of the slow pace of technology research at marathon, with a couple of possible exceptions. If you start next to a commerce resource (gold or grassland/gems are ideal) then your worker can build a mine and the early tech game will go much faster. This translates directly into increased production. Because of the long build times, you can also benefit from making it a priority to build on top of a plains/hill (4 base production), since this shaves a lot of turns off the early units. It is less important to have animals/quarries in the fat cross because they will not be developed for many turns. Financial civs can also swap worked tiles (alternating a forest and lake, for instance) to accelerate tech development. In general, you'll come out ahead if you can move forward the first usable worker turn.

ohioastronomy
Jan 21, 2006, 11:22 PM
How can you ignore commerce when commerce is the only thing thats going to allow you to settle more cities? This becomes more apparent in the higher difficulties but ultimately its determines your expansion rate in all of them.

I should have worded that a bit more carefully. My real point was that the choices you make at the very start of the game have limited impact on commerce. You have to have workers and cities before you can build cottages, the important buildings, gold mines, etc. Yes, it does matter tremendously outside the time frame that I'm describing here. You'll have more of everything, including commerce, if you focus on workers early and take advantage of the stored hammers in your trees.

civsim
Jan 22, 2006, 01:37 PM
You are obviously a great player: but as for communication and clarity :confused: . Am a good player of civ3 and starting on civ4. Was looking for a good sound strategy to follow for my early days, on civ 4. Obviously lots of thoughts and research on yours , but for the ordinary player who enjoys the game , your essay is heavy to say the least. would it be possible for you to make your strategy less technical , and just simply say what is required at the start without the techno bable. As i understand , Chop wood (forest), and build up workers ( for resources; pig, cattles, horsesetc) for them to develop before expanding (with settler) would be a simpler advice and the numbers are less important when you just want to enjoy the game. And what about when you face constant harrasement from barbarians, who destroy your improvements??? That should be included as well...
If your advices where met for advanced players who wouldn't need these starting pointers, ok but if its for the beginners at civ4, you should be more to the point. :(

ohioastronomy
Jan 22, 2006, 02:10 PM
You are obviously a great player: but as for communication and clarity :confused: . Am a good player of civ3 and starting on civ4. Was looking for a good sound strategy to follow for my early days, on civ 4. Obviously lots of thoughts and research on yours , but for the ordinary player who enjoys the game , your essay is heavy to say the least. would it be possible for you to make your strategy less technical , and just simply say what is required at the start without the techno bable. As i understand , Chop wood (forest), and build up workers ( for resources; pig, cattles, horsesetc) for them to develop before expanding (with settler) would be a simpler advice and the numbers are less important when you just want to enjoy the game. And what about when you face constant harrasement from barbarians, who destroy your improvements??? That should be included as well...
If your advices where met for advanced players who wouldn't need these starting pointers, ok but if its for the beginners at civ4, you should be more to the point. :(

The main point is that workers are extremely valuable for the start of your game, followed by settlers, and that city growth is a distant third. For a newer player I'd recommend starting with the following:

1) make your first city build a worker and your first tech bronze-working. Choose a civilization that starts with mining. Qin is a good choice (mining and agriculture, plus financial=faster technology and productive=faster wonders and forges).

2) After your first worker comes out, have them improve something while you build a warrior. Pick other technologies according to the type of game that you want; agriculture and the wheel are pretty important first off; writing is also important for a lot of other reasons.

3) Send the warrior out to your second city site. This should be close, ideally along a river that your first city shares, and a spot with 2 or more resources within two tiles.

4) Have your first worker chop a tree to build a second worker. Have both of them chop a tree to build a settler. You can cut trees up to three tiles away from your capital without penalty; just be careful of animals if you go outside the cultural boundaries.

5) Send the settler to the new city and send one of the workers with them. Have the other worker stick around the main city and develop it. At the second city, have the worker chop a tree for another worker. You'll want to found later cities with the same pattern - send a military unit, settler, and worker together and have the first thing that the worker does be to make another worker as long as there is a usable tree there.

6) Leave one worker around each city. Extra workers can be put to work connecting cities with roads. Once the core cities are fully developed switch their workers to roadbuilding and assisting the new cities.

7) Don't expand indefinitely. When your empire gets too large the maintenance costs get high - the point where this happens depends on the difficulty level. At Prince, it starts to kick in around 4 cities. Make getting Code of Laws and courthouses a priority. If your tech is dropping below 60-70% it is time to stop building new cities and make your existing ones better.

Hope that helps!

A+ombomb
Jan 22, 2006, 06:55 PM
I think the optimal build depends on if you are playing on what the game speed is. On quick, I would go right into worker/settler with a warrior building inbetween chops on the settler so the warrior could defend a second city from barbs. On slower speeds, the worker seems to pop out way before bronze working is done, so its probably better to do something else.

Zombie69
Jan 23, 2006, 09:51 AM
The extra production power of the first workers is so large that even a substantial benefit, such as fish, turns out to be only roughly equal to just making a worker.

If it's roughly equivalent in terms of food and production, then i'd say it's certainly worth doing, if only for the extra commerce from the tile with the fish.

ohioastronomy
Jan 23, 2006, 11:01 AM
I think the optimal build depends on if you are playing on what the game speed is. On quick, I would go right into worker/settler with a warrior building inbetween chops on the settler so the warrior could defend a second city from barbs. On slower speeds, the worker seems to pop out way before bronze working is done, so its probably better to do something else.

Your starting position also matters. At longer speeds and high difficulties it may be most efficient to focus on commerce improvements, so that when you make the workers they have something to do. I've been messing around with archepelago (preparing for a run up to deity). There aren't nearly as many forests as a normal start, and hammers are precious. Improving a gold, grassland/gem, or ivory first speeds tech up so much that you end up with faster early production. A similar comment applies to fish; clams/crabs are less critical. If you're financial you can juggle the worked tiles to get bronze-working and the first worker timed to appear at the same time (switch off working a 2P/3C tile and a 3P tile). Similarly, although you lose theoretical production, at higher difficulties you can do well with a modified build sequence:

Worker/BW
Worker does an improvement, city puts out a warrior
chop worker 2
double chop settler

Briquette
Jan 23, 2006, 11:32 AM
Many of us play with random leaders (prefer the challenge of adapting to a situation rather than playing game with known and rehearsed strategy). Thus won't be able to pick and choose leader traits to match this tactic.

Many play with roaming barbarians (already discussed the damages they can do with unprotected improvements and workers).

On mid-range difficulty levels (where many people still playing), the goodie huts can be very valauable and are generally missed out on if you don't get a couple units looking around right away.

Not actively exploring may also prevent locating the best location for cities to stake your claim to an important resource (copper, iron, etc.)

And of course finances are a concern if you continue this strategy to expand and build too many cities early on.

Then there's the thought of saving trees for "critical" production of a key wonder when their value chopped may be 60 or more due to civics, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I think the idea has great merit and is obviously well researched and documented. I just think there are sometimes more elements to consider that may or may not outweigh the 2 worker chop rush strategy.

ohioastronomy
Jan 23, 2006, 08:02 PM
Many of us play with random leaders (prefer the challenge of adapting to a situation rather than playing game with known and rehearsed strategy). Thus won't be able to pick and choose leader traits to match this tactic.

Many play with roaming barbarians (already discussed the damages they can do with unprotected improvements and workers).

On mid-range difficulty levels (where many people still playing), the goodie huts can be very valauable and are generally missed out on if you don't get a couple units looking around right away.

Not actively exploring may also prevent locating the best location for cities to stake your claim to an important resource (copper, iron, etc.)

And of course finances are a concern if you continue this strategy to expand and build too many cities early on.

Then there's the thought of saving trees for "critical" production of a key wonder when their value chopped may be 60 or more due to civics, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I think the idea has great merit and is obviously well researched and documented. I just think there are sometimes more elements to consider that may or may not outweigh the 2 worker chop rush strategy.

There isn't really a contradiction - of course, you're correct. What an exercise like this does is to quantify the tradeoff. If you can get away with it, the sequence of productive things to do is well-defined (workers, settler, then grow). If you have a nifty special resource, improving it first also yields good production. There has been a lot of discussion about tree-chopping; this exercise confirms that the benefits are real. Ditto for queue-swapping, although I think this is really a short vs long term payoff question.

More generally, it suggests that on average you are better off if you can send a worker/settler pair to found a new city. Chopping trees to accelerate the process is economically very efficient - enough so that you might gain enough production later to more than make up for not having the trees later. I stopped after 2 cities because, again, you're correct - you want to expand to the appropriate number of cities for the difficulty level. Beyond that point, you need Code of Laws and courthouses - or enough gold mines, etc. that you simply don't care much.

If you are running with raging barbarians, or you're running at Emperor+, you can't as easily follow the strategy that gives you the most production. In effect, this represents the handicap that you're taking with those choices.
I hope this helps!

NobodyImportant
Jan 24, 2006, 07:39 AM
I think I understand this, but I wonder whether your conclusions still hold when we complicate the analysis to include commerce.

Consider my current game as a case study. I'm playing as the Americans on Noble level at Normal speed, with Washington as the leader. Washington (the city) is in a lovely spot, on a plains hill by a river bend. Playable resources include Wheat, Gold, Ivory and three flood plains squares. It's 3480BC, and I've just completed my first worker.

As I understand it, your strategy would have me start a Settler next, while my worker irrigates the Wheat and then chops forest to speed production. That seems like it would be effective. But my intuition tells me that I should push out a Warrior and wait until my city grows to size 2, in order to get a bloke working the gold mine before I start Settlers. It'll take 7 turns to grow the city, but the gold square will be worth a whopping 9 commerce and 3 production once the mine is built.

Once again, I think I understand your point about the importance of making Settlers early, but I wonder if it's worth the opportunity cost of missing that gold square in this case. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

ohioastronomy
Jan 24, 2006, 12:17 PM
I think I understand this, but I wonder whether your conclusions still hold when we complicate the analysis to include commerce.

Consider my current game as a case study. I'm playing as the Americans on Noble level at Normal speed, with Washington as the leader. Washington (the city) is in a lovely spot, on a plains hill by a river bend. Playable resources include Wheat, Gold, Ivory and three flood plains squares. It's 3480BC, and I've just completed my first worker.

As I understand it, your strategy would have me start a Settler next, while my worker irrigates the Wheat and then chops forest to speed production. That seems like it would be effective. But my intuition tells me that I should push out a Warrior and wait until my city grows to size 2, in order to get a bloke working the gold mine before I start Settlers. It'll take 7 turns to grow the city, but the gold square will be worth a whopping 9 commerce and 3 production once the mine is built.

Once again, I think I understand your point about the importance of making Settlers early, but I wonder if it's worth the opportunity cost of missing that gold square in this case. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

In this case, chop-rushing actually has the nice benefit of accelerating early commerce as well as production, with a modest change to the cycle. Here is how it would work:

If you wait until the city grows to size 2, you usually have to work some tile other than the gold mine for the population to have excess food. Before the worker improves a tile, this growth will be slow - 3 food/turn on an unimproved wheat. You therefore have to wait 8 turns on normal before you have a spare person to work the gold mine, plus the lag time to build a worker who can build the mine.

In the worker-worker-settler setup, your first action is to build a worker and improve the gold mine. Once it is improved, have the city work the gold mine and pump out early commerce. You don't get growth anyway when you're building workers and settlers, so you might as well pick a tile with nice commerce. Then you chop a second worker. Have the second worker chop for a settler and then improve the wheat. (Improving the wheat first doesn't help, because your city can only use one tile at size 1, and you want that tile to be the gold mine). Now you have an improved gold and wheat and you set the city to grow, working the wheat tile. Since you're now at +6 food, growth will be quick (4 turns). More details:

Work the wheat turns 1-15 (make worker) and turns 16-20 (building gold mine). Worker1 chops on turns 24, 28. Worker2 appears on turn 24 and chops turn 28. Settler appears turn 31, wheat is improved on turn 33.
Work the gold turns 21-33, then work the wheat turns 34-37, followed by wheat+gold. You get 13 turns of high commerce out of the first 37. The mathematic maximum if you never grew and only worked a developed gold mine is 17. Everything is a bit faster with extra production from a starting hills/plain, but the principle is the same.

If you improve the wheat first, followed by the gold, grow to 2:
Work wheat turns 1-25 (1-15 for worker, 16-20 to farm wheat, 21-25 to mine gold). Growth to size 2 will occur on Turn 24. Turns 25+ you work gold and wheat. Worker1 chops turns 29, 33. Worker2 appears turn 29, chops turn 33. Settler appears turn 34. By turn 37 you've had 12 turns of high commerce, one fewer than the other approach. You've also delayed your new city by three turns (but gained one turn of growth on your home city), for another small net negative.

In either case you have the ingredients for a very, very solid start.

KerThud
Jan 24, 2006, 02:29 PM
Very good analysis and discussion. I can't wait to see the followup article: what the tradeoffs are for various courses of action at turns 40-100. Also, what do you think of the idea of looking around for a plains/hill to settle on? I thought that was an interesting point. Again, it neglects commerce because you can't research until you found that city, but you'll certainly get some production, and will have some extra scouting (from the hilltop) for a future city location.

hollebeek
Jan 24, 2006, 02:51 PM
The reason you can ignore commerce is because the commerce from your
palace (8) will overwhelm any additional commerce due to city size (e.g. +1).

And remember that building a second city, especially along a river, is a
bigger commerce boost, since you get +2 for the two squares it works
and +2 for the two trade routes.

The one case where I think it DOES make a difference, is with gold. With
a gold start, I will often mine the gold and switch the city to "max commerce"
while I am chopping. This can provide a quite significant commerce boost,
allowing for fast early research.

junior7
Jan 24, 2006, 04:14 PM
Great article! On prince now, on standard, and this is useful knowledge - might enable me to progress to monarch!

I could follow most of the numbers/scores in first post but cannot reconcile Case A (Worker,Worker,Settler,Improve). You quote:
Case A: Worker2 T23, Settler T27, Imp T32, 21 worker turns, 16 overflow, Score=+153.5, chopped=3 trees
The numbers I have trouble with are overflow (and that element of score) plus number of chopped trees. If Worker1 chops T19+T23+T27 and Worker2 chops T27 then this is 4 trees and production is 27x4 + 30x4 = 228 less 220 (settler+worker+worker) which leaves overflow=8.
Sorry if I missed something but I cannot see it.

Also does your score take into account that early improvements in Case C & D provide additional production (after workers and settler) over Case A which does not have improvement available until T32?

ohioastronomy
Jan 24, 2006, 07:14 PM
Great article! On prince now, on standard, and this is useful knowledge - might enable me to progress to monarch!

I could follow most of the numbers/scores in first post but cannot reconcile Case A (Worker,Worker,Settler,Improve). You quote:
Case A: Worker2 T23, Settler T27, Imp T32, 21 worker turns, 16 overflow, Score=+153.5, chopped=3 trees
The numbers I have trouble with are overflow (and that element of score) plus number of chopped trees. If Worker1 chops T19+T23+T27 and Worker2 chops T27 then this is 4 trees and production is 27x4 + 30x4 = 228 less 220 (settler+worker+worker) which leaves overflow=8.
Sorry if I missed something but I cannot see it.

Also does your score take into account that early improvements in Case C & D provide additional production (after workers and settler) over Case A which does not have improvement available until T32?

Good catch; you're correct that the overflow is only 8 for the base case and it uses 4 trees. Blame a complex Excel spreadsheet :0 I also did not count production differences after the workers and settler are made. For the best case (wheat/corn, or the lucky copper mine) you'd get
24 excess production (case A, worker/worker/settler/good special)
8 excess production (case A, worker/worker/settler/mine)
12 excess production (case B, worker/settler/worker/good special)
4 excess production (case B, worker/settler/worker/mine)
36 excess production (case C, worker, improve special, worker. settler)
10 excess production (case D, worker, mine, worker, settler)

These changes make improving a special resource the best choice, also saving a tree. Note that this can only really be done with one nation (China), which starts with agriculture and mining. However, it does open up some interesting production choices for nations that start with agriculture but no mining (US, France, Persia, Inca, Egypt). If they have the right starting position they can research mining and bronze-working and get essentially the same production as the nations that start with mining.
Interesting side note...

ohioastronomy
Jan 24, 2006, 07:27 PM
Very good analysis and discussion. I can't wait to see the followup article: what the tradeoffs are for various courses of action at turns 40-100. Also, what do you think of the idea of looking around for a plains/hill to settle on? I thought that was an interesting point. Again, it neglects commerce because you can't research until you found that city, but you'll certainly get some production, and will have some extra scouting (from the hilltop) for a future city location.

This depends a lot on game speed. At normal, you're trading off one turn of technology research for enhanced early production. For a worker/worker/settler starting approach, the stats for base +5 production are improved quite a bit. Here is what they look like:

Worker after 13 turns (one turn delay in start)
Worker2 on turn 19 (chop on turn 17)
Chop on 21, 23, 25, settler on turn 25, improve on turn 28, 20 overflow
for four trees. This accelerates everything relative
to the usual timetable. The advantage is even bigger at marathon.
You also have a game-long production advantage in the home city. The cost
is more subtle: there may be a sweet set of resources that you could
reach at the first city site that are out of reach if you move. Commerce development will also be better longer term (the odds that you'll be able to use a commerce resource at one of your first two cities are pretty good).

MyOtherName
Jan 24, 2006, 09:09 PM
Forgive me if you've mentioned this, but I didn't see it addressed when skimming the thread.


Your analysis seems to completely ignore anything but the shortest-term considerations.

Forests are (roughly) a fixed resource -- when you chop them, they are gone forever. Each chop should have a penalty attached to reflect this fact.

However, you do exactly the opposite of what you should: your score significantly rewards burning through your forests in lieu of building sustainable improvements.


I'm aware that you said you only wanted to analyze the first 40 turns, but because of its short-sightedness, I think it's only relevance is for the person who has already decided they are going to clear cut, and is only interested in how fast he can do it.

It seems so easy to account for your "long"-term potential: simply eliminate the 7.5 hammer per turn bonus for worker-turns, and introduce a -30 hammer penalty for each chop. The only question is how to properly account for a city-turn. (I guess it's not that hard on emporer -- I imagine each city-turn is worth exactly what the city could produce at its happiness limit... say, 8 hammers per city-turn for a good second city?)

ohioastronomy
Jan 25, 2006, 12:11 AM
Forgive me if you've mentioned this, but I didn't see it addressed when skimming the thread.


Your analysis seems to completely ignore anything but the shortest-term considerations.

Forests are (roughly) a fixed resource -- when you chop them, they are gone forever. Each chop should have a penalty attached to reflect this fact.

However, you do exactly the opposite of what you should: your score significantly rewards burning through your forests in lieu of building sustainable improvements.


I'm aware that you said you only wanted to analyze the first 40 turns, but because of its short-sightedness, I think it's only relevance is for the person who has already decided they are going to clear cut, and is only interested in how fast he can do it.

It seems so easy to account for your "long"-term potential: simply eliminate the 7.5 hammer per turn bonus for worker-turns, and introduce a -30 hammer penalty for each chop. The only question is how to properly account for a city-turn. (I guess it's not that hard on emporer -- I imagine each city-turn is worth exactly what the city could produce at its happiness limit... say, 8 hammers per city-turn for a good second city?)

That is a good point, especially applicable to queue-switching (trading extra trees for units and growth while building workers and settlers).
It has been a very good discussion on this thread, and I did touch on this in posts 2 and 19. Even after docking the tree-cutting strategies for the opportunity cost of the trees, they still come out well ahead of cutting no trees because you get an earlier head start on the improvements in your capital and the start of your second city.

Worker turns are still very valuable because you can use them to develop improvements earlier or to start a city earlier, so that aspect of the calculation isn't affected by the early (as opposed to late) usage of trees. The trick is to compare two scenarios where you do everything the same, differing only in what the worker can do. Here is an example that might be useful. Imagine that we both found our second city on the same turn, but I have a worker there the turn it is founded and yours comes five turns later.
There is an irrigated corn there. I improve it five turns later when your worker arrives. If you look at my city when you've improved the corn,
I've gained 15 + 30 = 45 food directly from the corn. I grew to size 2 after seven turns and with one extra food I could be size 3, for a total of 49. I just improved a second resource. You gained 32 production (growing to size 2 on turn 8, but only getting one extra production because it is unimproved.) But now my city is working the second tile for the next five turns until you catch up, and this pattern will repeat for every population point that I add. It's therefore fair to count the benefit of one turn of 4-5 improved tile for a worker turn, and similar comments apply to getting the third city out.

This also has intereting implications for what you do with your workers - the yield from being efficient is pretty high. Not overimproving a city that won't work extra tiles for many turns and not obsessing about roads will have a surprisingly large yield, as will having improvements in place when a city grows into them...

Orca
Jan 25, 2006, 04:34 AM
Your analysis seems to completely ignore anything but the shortest-term considerations.

Long-term considerations are not very important ! I see this fault in thinking so often here on the boards, what you gain in short terms will multiply over the years and overgrow the longterm penalties by far.

Brighteye
Jan 25, 2006, 07:18 AM
People often talk about saving their forests for later chops, but this is pointless. The forest gives you the same amount of hammers each time. If you have a production bonus that is applied to the forest it's also applied to your city's production, so you're cutting the amount of time that your city gets the bonus and not getting anything extra from the forest.
The only reason to save forests if you know you're going to cut them is if you're going to be behind or level in tech. and you need some extra speed on a wonder once the tech. has been discovered: in any other situation you could be building whatever it is however many turns earlier by chopping early.
So, imagine you chop a settler, and then a library, and 50 turns later you build some units because you see a barbarian threat. If you saved the library forests the library would take longer, so saving those forests doesn't get you the units more quickly; it just enables you to respond to the threat quickly if you hadn't anticipated it.
In fact, saving your forests loses you turns because as your city's production increases the number of turns that the forest stops you having to use decreases, so that a forest's effect is greatest early on. This is the whole point of forest chopping.
So saving forests for later chopping is only useful for wonder races, and even then you're sacrificing some of their benefit by saving them.

carn
Jan 25, 2006, 08:08 AM
People often talk about saving their forests for later chops, but this is pointless. The forest gives you the same amount of hammers each time. If you have a production bonus that is applied to the forest it's also applied to your city's production, so you're cutting the amount of time that your city gets the bonus and not getting anything extra from the forest.
The only reason to save forests if you know you're going to cut them is if you're going to be behind or level in tech. and you need some extra speed on a wonder once the tech. has been discovered: in any other situation you could be building whatever it is however many turns earlier by chopping early.
So, imagine you chop a settler, and then a library, and 50 turns later you build some units because you see a barbarian threat. If you saved the library forests the library would take longer, so saving those forests doesn't get you the units more quickly; it just enables you to respond to the threat quickly if you hadn't anticipated it.
In fact, saving your forests loses you turns because as your city's production increases the number of turns that the forest stops you having to use decreases, so that a forest's effect is greatest early on. This is the whole point of forest chopping.
So saving forests for later chopping is only useful for wonder races, and even then you're sacrificing some of their benefit by saving them.

I agree with most of what you say, but you forget, that not chopping forest is a choice if there is a very good alternativ for the worker to improve instead.

ohioastronomy's analysis for example shows, that after 40 turns improving a +3 resource prior chopping ends up with ~+145 and 3 forest chopped while chopping first gives ~+157 and 4 forest chopped. Assuming that the safed forest is chopped soon afterwards, the first +3 improvement strategy is better than chopping immiediately.

Stone/marble/copper/iron/happy/health can be better to improve than chopping, if not many roads have to be built and the resource is needed. Then the added production of special resource + effect from resource + safed forest can outweigh earlier chopping.

But if workers got nothing useful to do chopping is always recomended.

Carn

Edit to add: A further benefit of having the worker building some productive or usefull resource enabling improvement is, that non chopped forest have a chance to grow new forests. But i think this only adds a little in the long run, but could make a difference for a close contest, like sheep vs chop.

carn
Jan 25, 2006, 08:13 AM
ohioastronomy is it much work to check whether for civs, that start without mining, but with agriculture and/or hunting and with pig/cow and hunting/agri resource and without mining reource in city radius, its better to go animal husbandry first and improve/grow to the special resources while mining+copper is researched?
Could this be advantagous to research mining+copper, as then the worker is without useful things to do?

Carn

MyOtherName
Jan 25, 2006, 03:39 PM
First off, the long term is the only term of importance, because that's when the end of the game happens. :p It doesn't matter if your first 40 turns are better if you fall behind at the 100 turn mark!

Surely y'all are referring to the principle that 30 hammers now is better than 30 hammers later. But that's not what we're really comparing! As Carn said, the choice is between 30 hammers now, improvements later vs improvements now, 30 hammers later.

As a concrete example, let's suppose that you quickly chop three more forests than I do, with the net effect that you get your second city 8 turns before I do. However, we're playing emporer, and we have no happiness resources. So, it plateaus at 3 happiness, making, say, 8 hammers per turn. Overall, your city will have produced 64 hammers more than my city.

Overall, the net effect of your early chopping is to convert three forests into 64 hammers. I still have the opportunity to convert my three forests into 90 hammers! As long as I do so in a reasonable timeframe, I come out ahead.

Wreck
Jan 25, 2006, 04:19 PM
3 chops is 90 shields. Unless your city has 11 surplus shields + food, chopping a settler will speed the second city more than 8 turns. Most early game cities have four net production: the center center gives 2F+1P, and the one pop works a tile with net production 3, eating 2 food. This city will take 25 turns to make a settler; chopping, you do it in 12. So the time saved is 13 turns.

If the second city grows to developing 8P/turn, then chopping nets you 104 hammers, for a cost of 90. So it's positive even viewed with no time-cost for resources.

In reality, there is time-value for resources, and what you get from speed doesn't arbitrarity stop after 13 turns of advantage. Instead, you buy a city earlier, which gets new resources earlier and builds stuff earlier, which increases your happiness limit and commerce output earlier, which keeps feeding back into the economy.

What rate of growth do people actually achieve in CivIV? If we take the starting position in terms of its unit values, you start with 115P in "capital", and invest it as best you are allowed, producing a stream of just 2P/turn, initially. 4P/turn if we allow food==hammer. 600 turns later, you've "compounded" that initial stream into say 20 cities, each producing 50P/turn or more. Net of 1000P/turn. So, we've achieved a multiplier of 250 times our initial outlay. Per turn, the growth rate achieved here is thus .92% - less than 1%/turn! Still, 13 turns here means achieving a 12.7% increase in your economy, on average.

MyOtherName
Jan 25, 2006, 06:16 PM
3 chops is 90 shields. Unless your city has 11 surplus shields + food, chopping a settler will speed the second city more than 8 turns. Most early game cities have four net production: the center center gives 2F+1P, and the one pop works a tile with net production 3, eating 2 food. This city will take 25 turns to make a settler; chopping, you do it in 12. So the time saved is 13 turns.
You're comparing an unimproved city with chopping to an unimproved city without chopping. The point is that's the wrong comparison!

If I'm not chopping right from the start, that usually means I have a 5 or 6 production tile, and maybe a second 4 production tile. A pop 1 city with an improved cow produces a settler in 15 turns, and only 10 turns if I opt to make a single chop! You can't shave 13 turns off of that via chopping. :p


In reality, there is time-value for resources, and what you get from speed doesn't arbitrarity stop after 13 turns of advantage. Instead, you buy a city earlier, which gets new resources earlier and builds stuff earlier, which increases your happiness limit and commerce output earlier, which keeps feeding back into the economy.
You're right -- it doesn't arbitrarily stop; it stops because you hit a plateau. :p

In reality, if you build a city 13 turns before me, it will always have at most a 13 turn advantage over mine. The compounding effect you describe is explained by the fact that as the city grows, each city-turn becomes more valuable. If our cities could grow indefinitely, then your advantage keeps growing and growing.

Actually, that turn advantage shrinks over time, because you generally will not have new options 13 turns before I get those options. E.G. we both might start building markets right when we get currency -- I'm not going to wait 13 more turns just because my city was built later!

Or even better, I might use my leftover trees to chop rush a growth-improving building! So, even though you might have gotten your city up and running 13 turns earlier, I could potentially catch up or even surpass your city because I built my granary and marketplace before you did!


However, our cities don't grow indefinitely. They might hit a harsh 3 happiness cap, which puts growth to a halt. We might build all the buildings faster than we can research techs to make new buildings available. In this case, your 13 turn advantage is entirely reduced to however many extra units you can make in your extra 13 turns at the plateau and whatever extra commerce it produced. Then, our cities become exactly equal.


As a practical example of a reason this matters...

I've recently been playing a lot of Emporer opening games to refine my strategy, and I've had several opportunities to grab 6-8 cities without AI interference... but in such circumstances, I simply run out of trees to fuel my expansion somewhere around 3-4 cities, since there simply aren't enough trees to build all the workers I need, all the warrior escorts necessary, and stonehenge (more tree-efficient than obelisks)... not to mention that I might need barracks and real military units before I'm done expanding!

Clearcutting might get me to 4 cities the fastest, but during most of these turns, I would have a hollow shell of an empire that desperately needs improvement.

However, if I improve tiles, then start cutting, much of those first 4 cities will be built on the merits of the tiles themselves. Those tiles will continue to fuel further expansion, as well as all the trees I've not yet cut down. I'm tentatively convinced that improving tiles before chopping will surely get me to 6-8 cities quicker.

(And this ignores how essential it is during such a long growth phase to build commerce-generating improvements, and to hook up happiness and strategic resources)

ohioastronomy
Jan 25, 2006, 08:27 PM
You're comparing an unimproved city with chopping to an unimproved city without chopping. The point is that's the wrong comparison!

If I'm not chopping right from the start, that usually means I have a 5 or 6 production tile, and maybe a second 4 production tile. A pop 1 city with an improved cow produces a settler in 15 turns, and only 10 turns if I opt to make a single chop! You can't shave 13 turns off of that via chopping. :p



You're right -- it doesn't arbitrarily stop; it stops because you hit a plateau. :p

In reality, if you build a city 13 turns before me, it will always have at most a 13 turn advantage over mine. The compounding effect you describe is explained by the fact that as the city grows, each city-turn becomes more valuable. If our cities could grow indefinitely, then your advantage keeps growing and growing.

Actually, that turn advantage shrinks over time, because you generally will not have new options 13 turns before I get those options. E.G. we both might start building markets right when we get currency -- I'm not going to wait 13 more turns just because my city was built later!

Or even better, I might use my leftover trees to chop rush a growth-improving building! So, even though you might have gotten your city up and running 13 turns earlier, I could potentially catch up or even surpass your city because I built my granary and marketplace before you did!


However, our cities don't grow indefinitely. They might hit a harsh 3 happiness cap, which puts growth to a halt. We might build all the buildings faster than we can research techs to make new buildings available. In this case, your 13 turn advantage is entirely reduced to however many extra units you can make in your extra 13 turns at the plateau and whatever extra commerce it produced. Then, our cities become exactly equal.


As a practical example of a reason this matters...

I've recently been playing a lot of Emporer opening games to refine my strategy, and I've had several opportunities to grab 6-8 cities without AI interference... but in such circumstances, I simply run out of trees to fuel my expansion somewhere around 3-4 cities, since there simply aren't enough trees to build all the workers I need, all the warrior escorts necessary, and stonehenge (more tree-efficient than obelisks)... not to mention that I might need barracks and real military units before I'm done expanding!

Clearcutting might get me to 4 cities the fastest, but during most of these turns, I would have a hollow shell of an empire that desperately needs improvement.

However, if I improve tiles, then start cutting, much of those first 4 cities will be built on the merits of the tiles themselves. Those tiles will continue to fuel further expansion, as well as all the trees I've not yet cut down. I'm tentatively convinced that improving tiles before chopping will surely get me to 6-8 cities quicker.

(And this ignores how essential it is during such a long growth phase to build commerce-generating improvements, and to hook up happiness and strategic resources)

I have to confess to being puzzled, since I did exactly the comparisons that you're talking about. Remember that I was only talking about making the first settler, not something that you have to do for every single subsequent city.
This is important - once you have workers, there are other ways to get settlers and workers out besides chopping trees. But you don't at the start, which is why they are so handy. The start also definitely lends itself to quantitative analysis. I do agree that there are alternatives to chopping once you have some workers and a second city.

I compared growing to size 2 and then going for workers, going to size 5, and building a worker at size 1 and then improving without cutting trees. In every case, you are unconditionally better off investing your trees in the first two workers and settler. The reason why the first builds are special is that you need workers to make growth useful, and your city is stalled until you're done with workers and settlers.

In this comparison (worker, build best improvement, then use normal production for another worker and a settler) you have a 5 turn delay in the settler and an 18 turn delay in the second worker. (Yes, you save turns spent chopping trees - but after the first improvement nothing you can do affects your production in the near term). Your primary city gets to start growing on turn 28 if you chop 4 trees, while your initial city growth is delayed until turn 41 if you don't. If you do everything else the same, this means delayed improvements, delayed growth, and a delayed start. Of course, you could have the second city stall out while it builds a worker - but that is just moving the production loss to another city where it will take longer. You can quantify these things, and they do matter for the very first city.

More to the point,building more than one improvement doesn't help you until your city grows to use the new improvements...you'd get a much better yield from having workers building improvements just before the cities can use them e.g. one improvement each around two size 1 cities is more productive than 2 improvements around one size 1 city.
Connecting health/happy improvements only helps you when your cities are big enough for them to matter; connecting cities and general resources is more useful but time-intensive.

For subsequent settlers and workers, a size 2 city with two good specials (e.g. corn and pigs) can put out workers and settlers faster than the best lumberjacks. Note also that forest depreciate as the game progresses because cities have more production. A unimproved starting capital has, at most, 4 hammers (5 on a plains/hills). A fully improved size 5 city, before forges, can have 16 hammers (plains/hill city, 4 grass/hill/mines, cow). A forest is 7.5 turns of maximal production at the start and less than 2 later.
They do have real uses (especially wonders), and they are very valuable around hammer-poor cities to get out essential commerce/science buildings in a sane time. But your capital usually isn't hammer-poor, and other cities can fill that role.

MyOtherName
Jan 25, 2006, 09:51 PM
I have to confess to being puzzled, since I did exactly the comparisons that you're talking about.
Sorry, that was my response to Wreck, not to you. :(

Vatec
Jan 28, 2006, 09:30 AM
More to the point,building more than one improvement doesn't help you until your city grows to use the new improvements...you'd get a much better yield from having workers building improvements just before the cities can use them e.g. one improvement each around two size 1 cities is more productive than 2 improvements around one size 1 city.
Connecting health/happy improvements only helps you when your cities are big enough for them to matter; connecting cities and general resources is more useful but time-intensive.

This is true, but only to a point. There -is- some strategic value to having more improvements than citizens to work them: flexibility. A size 3 city with 3 fish and 3 mines has a lot more options than a comparable city that only improved 3 of those 6 plots. You can maximize growth, maximize production while starving, or mix the two to taste.

Does this flexibility outweigh the efficiency achieved by "just in time" improvement? That's hard to say.

On a related note, I frequently keep my first two workers together in order to chop or improve at double speed. I generally play on the Marathon setting, though. At faster speeds, a solo worker might be fast enough.

DaviddesJ
Jan 31, 2006, 02:08 AM
Most early game cities have four net production: the center center gives 2F+1P, and the one pop works a tile with net production 3, eating 2 food. This city will take 25 turns to make a settler; chopping, you do it in 12. So the time saved is 13 turns.

Most early-game cities of mine have a lot more production than that. The citizen isn't working an unimproved tile; it's working a pig/pasture, or a corn/farm, or a deer/camp/forest, etc. Your logic is circular, because it's based on the assumption that you rush to bronze working first, rather than researching technologies that give useful improvements first (or even starting with them!).

I do, nevertheless, agree that rushing to bronze working and chop rushing is very effective. That's too bad. I avoid playing that way, even though it does work.

ohioastronomy
Jan 31, 2006, 08:00 AM
Most early-game cities of mine have a lot more production than that. The citizen isn't working an unimproved tile; it's working a pig/pasture, or a corn/farm, or a deer/camp/forest, etc. Your logic is circular, because it's based on the assumption that you rush to bronze working first, rather than researching technologies that give useful improvements first (or even starting with them!).

I do, nevertheless, agree that rushing to bronze working and chop rushing is very effective. That's too bad. I avoid playing that way, even though it does work.

I think it's useful to distinguish between what you do at the very start and what you do later. When you start with no worker, your city is very limited in production; that's why building a worker first is so useful. Your city is also stuck in neutral (for growth) until the first settler is produced; that is a big reason why chopping trees to accelerate the process works so well. You can only get the benefit of a single improved tile until your city grows, and you can't found new cities without stopping that process.

For later cities you can start with a worker, and that changes the calculus in interesting ways. A size 2 city working 2 food resources can have as much as 11P, which gets a worker/settler pair out the door only slightly slower than chopping 4 trees (16 turns vs 12). This doesn't require 4 trees per city, which isn't even always possible, and it's handy if you want to build wonders, barracks, libraries, granaries, etc. Since you're not burning 12 worker turns to get out the worker/settler, the production loss from delaying subsequent cities isn't that bad (although your settler farm city isn't growing, that isn't actually such a bad factor - you can prebuild the improvements that it will grow into, and with a big food surplus it'll grow quickly once you let it).

So worker/bronzeworking/chop,chop,chop is very advantageous at the very start, and it can be useful for later cities as well. But once you have workers, there are reasonable alternatives.

DaviddesJ
Jan 31, 2006, 11:02 AM
I think it's useful to distinguish between what you do at the very start and what you do later. When you start with no worker, your city is very limited in production; that's why building a worker first is so useful.

Well, of course. But this seems to ignore the question, which is comparing worker/bronze working/chop/chop/chop to worker/agriculture/farm/animal husbandry/pasture/bronze working.

As I said, I'm not questioning that the former does work quite well. I'm just saying that leaving the alternative out of your comparison and discussion entirely (as when you implicitly assume that a size-1 city only has net food+hammers of 4/turn) makes the discussion very incomplete.

Wreck
Jan 31, 2006, 12:02 PM
Unless you build your city on a plains/hill (which is quite worth spending time to do), or possibly a resource tile, you are very likely to have net F+P=4 for your city in the time before you build a worker. There are almost no tiles that the terrain generator creates that have F+P=4. The only exceptions would be tiles combining a forest with a resource, and there are only two of those I think I've seen: forest/deer, and forest/elephant. (In theory many resource tiles could be forested and thus get to F+P=4 unimproved, but I don't think the terrain generator will put forests on most resource tiles.)

So, your initial city is going to have net food+hammers of 4/turn usually, unless you find a plains/hill for it (or a resource), in which case, 5/turn. If you are really lucky, you can find a plains/hill next to a deer/forest and get 6/turn.

DaviddesJ
Jan 31, 2006, 12:12 PM
Unless you build your city on a plains/hill (which is quite worth spending time to do), or possibly a resource tile, you are very likely to have net F+P=4 for your city in the time before you build a worker.

Of course. But so what? Before you build a worker, you don't have any choice as to whether to chop or to improve tiles. The question is what happens after you build the worker, and that's when the comparison of improving tiles (thus making the city more productive) to chopping (generating production directly) becomes relevant. And that's why counting a 30-hammer chop as 7.5 turns of city production at 4/turn (post #45) is wrong and misleading---if you weren't chopping, you would be improving the tiles you are working, and your city would be generating more than 4/turn.

ohioastronomy
Jan 31, 2006, 01:20 PM
Well, of course. But this seems to ignore the question, which is comparing worker/bronze working/chop/chop/chop to worker/agriculture/farm/animal husbandry/pasture/bronze working.

As I said, I'm not questioning that the former does work quite well. I'm just saying that leaving the alternative out of your comparison and discussion entirely (as when you implicitly assume that a size-1 city only has net food+hammers of 4/turn) makes the discussion very incomplete.

I did look at that; it is the last two cases (best = +3P from improvement, worst = +1P from a mine or floodplain/farm). You lose a lot of early production potential. Ditto if you improve and grow to the limit first; you're postponing the founding of your second city. There are certainly a lot of ways to make up for a slower start, but not beelining for bronzeworking and chopping trees does mean that you're choosing a slower start. The other things you get can make that worth the tradeoff, and all that I'm doing here is quantifying what that tradeoff is.

Wreck
Jan 31, 2006, 02:51 PM
Yes I see what you are saying; certainly should be doing something productive with the worker. You are correct to criticize my assumptions in #45. However, the more general point I was hoping to make there - that time value is real - still applies.

If you do have specific resources in your starting city, then going for the tech to improve them instead of bronze might make more sense. Indeed, in a sense bronze-working itself might be seen as a particular strategy, only appropriate when you have trees around. It's just that it's a lot more common to have trees in your city than it is to have wheat/corn (and next to water), or fish, or cows/pigs; and that the correct technological means to exploit these (or other combos with two resource tiles).

But let us assume your 6 unit tile - cows, say. Assume that a settler is desired for the second build, and assume you can have either bronze-working that early, or animal husbandry. Thus you can either chop the settler, or you can improve the cows (then do other things, perhaps, but not chop, because of lack of tech). We can see already a problem here - if you've improved the one tile you can work, and you can't chop yet, the worker is more or less idle. It may be making improvements that you'll use soon, but it is producing nothing immediately profitable.

Is it possible to get Animal Husbandry (cost: 100) and Bronze Working (cost: 120) with a size-1 city in the first ~30 turns? I don't know. I 'd guess so, for a civ which starts with Mining (cost: 50) and one of the prereqs for Animal Husbandry (Hunting (cost: 40) or Agriculture (cost: 50)). I'd think not otherwise, although obviously having a floodplain tile will be helpful.

Anyway, back to the question. With chopping, the settler is created using two chops (60P), plus the city's production during those 8 turns, which is 32P, plus two more turns (8P). Total time 10 turns, and the last two are not wasted for the worker. (If you get Animal Husbandry during the time building the settler, it can start on the pasture and almost be done. Or it can just keep chopping.)

With cows, the settler spends the first 3 turns making the pasture, then does other stuff (perhaps irrigation of other tiles). So the city gets 3 turns at 4 each, for 12. Then its net production rises to 7/turn, so it takes 13 more turns to finish the settler. Total time 16 turns.

Since it took 15 turns to build the worker, its idle time starts at turn ~19. If you can get Bronze Working after Animal Husbandry in that time, then you can do one chop during the settler build, reducing the time by 4 turns to 12 turns. This would be ideal, I'd think. China can probably do it, given a floodplain and a cows. I don't think it's generally doable.

In the more general case, you're looking at a tradeoff. The 6 turns you gain by chopping cost the two forests, plus a bit during the delay until you get the cows online.

What do 6 turns gain you? To start with, it gets the 2nd city 6 turns earlier. Then it gets what that city produces for six turns... and then everything gained early by that extra production, and so on. Basically your growth should be exponential early on, so the advantage remains until at least you stop growing horizontally. How much is this likely to be? Hard for me to calculate.

But do let me correct one misunderstanding of the game, posted previously by MyOtherName in #46: "In reality, if you build a city 13 turns before me, it will always have at most a 13 turn advantage over mine."

This statement is only true if there are no events which are symmetry breaking - that is, events which are possible 13 turns earlier (but not later), or events that are only possible later, but not earlier. Events which are possible earlier (but not later) tend to bias for an early lead, expanding it. Events which are possible later (but not earlier) will naturally shrink a lead.

Now, what sort of events do we have in Civ4 of either type? There is only one event of the second type; all events in the game are keyed to earlier prerequisites, not to absolute time. The fixed game-end is the one exception.

On the other hand, there are many sorts of symmetry-breakers of the other variety, that is, events that happen once and not again. The clearest example of these are world wonders: one civ gets them; the other civs do not. If you are six turns behind me, you may not get a wonder which I do get. (And the effect of that can compound.)

It is a general property of games, that having opponents and "property" (single-owned things) breaks time-symmetry of what is possible developmentally. This is one of the things that makes Civ addictive.

But there are many other examples besides wonders; the game is in fact interesting in large part because it is a race to so many things, and you must balance them. At the outset, it's a race to goody huts. Second place gets no hut. Early, it's a race for uncontested settlement. If you are six turns delayed, you may miss out on a great city site, or even be unable to block off a region of turf by settling a choke-point. Techwise, the game has a race to religions. You don't get shrines and the benefits of them without winning one or more of these races. And it's a race to certain other techs, too, later in the game, such as Liberalism. Getting it second is not as good as getting it first. Also midgame, with continents, is the race to caravels and then galleons, to explore the world (with possible new huts), and then grab all the good islands. At the end of the game, it's a race to spaceships. Getting yours six turns early may not make a difference. But it might. If an AI opponent launched three turns in, it does. It makes the difference between winning and losing.

Of course, building a second settler six turns early does not translate into a six turn net advantage - the settler represents only a fraction of your net capital, not the totality. The advantage is much smaller (and possibly offset by the still-standing forests). However, assuming it is an advantage... it will last the entire game, so long as you play well. And it may even compound, completely depending on the nitty-gritty details of the who/what/where of the AIs.

DaviddesJ
Jan 31, 2006, 07:01 PM
I did look at that; it is the last two cases (best = +3P from improvement, worst = +1P from a mine or floodplain/farm).

Where? Not in post #47. You only compare chop-first to chop-never. That's rather a strawman. The real comparison is chop-first to improve-then-chop.

DaviddesJ
Jan 31, 2006, 07:09 PM
What do 6 turns gain you? To start with, it gets the 2nd city 6 turns earlier. Then it gets what that city produces for six turns... and then everything gained early by that extra production, and so on. Basically your growth should be exponential early on, so the advantage remains until at least you stop growing horizontally.

I think this is very, very wrong. Growth is not at all exponential. Much of your progress is driven by your research rate, and most of your research in the very early game comes from your palace, which you only ever get one of. So additional cities don't speed that at all. Furthermore, each additional city costs more in maintenance than the one before (plus you choose the most desirable locations first, so each subsequent city is also likely to be less favorably placed), so additional growth becomes less and less valuable. Building additional cities also increases your need for defenses. And so on.

In fact, I think early expansion is mostly counterproductive in terms of the effect on your overall production. OFten you would be better off expanding later. The main advantage of early expansion is that you can seize territory; if you don't expand at all, the AIs will grab the available space and then it's hard for you to expand later.

Wreck
Feb 01, 2006, 01:32 AM
Of course it is exponential.

Yes there is certainly a large initial effect of the palace, and the "drag" of maintenance cost of new cities. These are relatively large effects compared to the initial productivity of land. But they are constant (palace) or linear in the number of cities. (There's a thread around somewhere on the maintenance costs - they are bounded.)

On the other hand, so long as there is land, a sufficiently large city can fork off a new settler and double itself; and (ceteris paribus) the new city will be able to become just as large and productive as the parent. To pay for it you need to put down cottages (hence a worker), but you can do that. How long do you suppose the doubling time is? Perhaps 50 turns? (Much less if there are trees around to chop.)

Keep in mind that I am not only talking about horizontal expansion. I am talking about any and all ways you can invest and grow your economy, including tech, building units, etc. We have been talking about chopping out a settler, so, in that context clearly it is horizontal expansion that is assumed. However, you may be right, that it is better to invest in tech early and not expand. If so, then you are getting superior returns from tech. Therefore it must also be exponential, since it is superior to a known exponential (city spamming with cottages to pay for it).

carn
Feb 01, 2006, 04:51 AM
Is it possible to get Animal Husbandry (cost: 100) and Bronze Working (cost: 120) with a size-1 city in the first ~30 turns? I don't know. I 'd guess so, for a civ which starts with Mining (cost: 50) and one of the prereqs for Animal Husbandry (Hunting (cost: 40) or Agriculture (cost: 50)). I'd think not otherwise, although obviously having a floodplain tile will be helpful.

Anyway, back to the question. With chopping, the settler is created using two chops (60P), plus the city's production during those 8 turns, which is 32P, plus two more turns (8P). Total time 10 turns, and the last two are not wasted for the worker. (If you get Animal Husbandry during the time building the settler, it can start on the pasture and almost be done. Or it can just keep chopping.)

With cows, the settler spends the first 3 turns making the pasture, then does other stuff (perhaps irrigation of other tiles). So the city gets 3 turns at 4 each, for 12. Then its net production rises to 7/turn, so it takes 13 more turns to finish the settler. Total time 16 turns.

Since it took 15 turns to build the worker, its idle time starts at turn ~19. If you can get Bronze Working after Animal Husbandry in that time, then you can do one chop during the settler build, reducing the time by 4 turns to 12 turns. This would be ideal, I'd think. China can probably do it, given a floodplain and a cows. I don't think it's generally doable.

In the more general case, you're looking at a tradeoff. The 6 turns you gain by chopping cost the two forests, plus a bit during the delay until you get the cows online.


8(palace) + 1 city tile + 1 (cow on river) = 10 research(below emporer)
10 turns till husbandry, then 12 turns till BW.
worker produced turn 15, improves animals on 19, starts chopping on 25(after building farm/camp), chop on 28.
Production settler gets till improvement of cows: 12.
After first chopping: 12+9*7+30=105.
Settler built in turn 28, 3 turns after pure chopping, but with only 1 forest used and 1 additional tile improved(camp or farm). The saved forest ensures, that further settlers or wonders can be produced faster compared to pure chopping(though ).
In my eyes superior, i hope i'll find the time to test.
On emporer, non-organized, the -2 on research will improve the situation for chopping first, as cow first takes 28 turns till BW, so settler will be produced normally in turn 32.
Of course assumes either mining/agri or mining/hunting as start.

The case agri or hunting and not mining and cow:

chopping immiediately means researching mining + BW = 17 turns.
1st chop 20, second chop 24. settler build still on turn 25.
researching husbandry first, means BW researched on turn 27, settler therefore turn 30 with a good surplus for next unit. 5 turns behind, chopping first looks better, if only slightly.

same on emporer:

chopping immidiately means BW on turn 22, first chop on 25, second on 29, setller built in 29.
Husbandry first, means husbandry researched in turn 13, BW in turn 35, after settler is built in 32 without chopping. Here husbandry first is far better, because the first chopper will after founding his second city wait very long till husbandry is reasearched due to city upkeep and thereby is relying just on forest, while the other strat is nearly as fast for settler 1 and will be faster for settler 2 and 3, since chop first cannot in near time improve cow.







What do 6 turns gain you? To start with, it gets the 2nd city 6 turns earlier. Then it gets what that city produces for six turns... and then everything gained early by that extra production, and so on. Basically your growth should be exponential early on, so the advantage remains until at least you stop growing horizontally. How much is this likely to be? Hard for me to calculate.

But do let me correct one misunderstanding of the game, posted previously by MyOtherName in #46: "In reality, if you build a city 13 turns before me, it will always have at most a 13 turn advantage over mine."

This statement is only true if there are no events which are symmetry breaking - that is, events which are possible 13 turns earlier (but not later), or events that are only possible later, but not earlier. Events which are possible earlier (but not later) tend to bias for an early lead, expanding it. Events which are possible later (but not earlier) will naturally shrink a lead.

Now, what sort of events do we have in Civ4 of either type? There is only one event of the second type; all events in the game are keyed to earlier prerequisites, not to absolute time. The fixed game-end is the one exception.

On the other hand, there are many sorts of symmetry-breakers of the other variety, that is, events that happen once and not again. The clearest example of these are world wonders: one civ gets them; the other civs do not. If you are six turns behind me, you may not get a wonder which I do get. (And the effect of that can compound.)

But the wonder argument works in favor for the first husbandry, as number of workers and number of avaible forests determine, which wonders are built early and the husbandry first uses 1-2 less forest for 2-6 turns later first settler.
The extreme case is emporer above, agri/hunt, not mining and not organized, chop first is just 3 turns faster, but uses 2 forests more and will have to use further forests to get same expansion as husbandry first, so husbandry first is far more likely to get pyramids and that is far more important than setler 3 turns earlier.

Carn

fung3
Feb 01, 2006, 07:10 AM
Long-term considerations are not very important ! I see this fault in thinking so often here on the boards, what you gain in short terms will multiply over the years and overgrow the longterm penalties by far.

I agree that short term gain mulyiply over the years and out do the penalties suffered.

I am an advocate of the early rush and in general will chop aggressively to establish a core or 3 or 4 cities early on. I pulled this off very successfully in my current Monarch, standard map, epic game.

However i failed to capitalise fully on this. I implemented my Praetorian rush to late and failed to overun my nearest neighbour. I still feel that victory can be achieved but I have made it harder than it should be.

The plan was to capture my neighbours 4 cities. The additional maintainence costs are horrific when doing this and one has to suffer the short term penalties of low (40%) research until the newly assimilated cities start to pull their weight. However previous games have shown that taking a substantial economic hit early on pays dividends in the long run. Having double the land and population means that by the mid game my civ is usually unstoppable.

junior7
Feb 07, 2006, 10:13 AM
Good advice from ohioastronomy is Bronze Working and chop (if no better alternative).
Following on from previous posts, if you have a special should you improve or chop first?

Some worthwhile specials (assuming reasonable land)
(+3p) Corn(irrigated), Wheat(irrigated), Cow, Pig, Fish & Copper
Improving first better than chopping (and saves 1 tree), if have (or can get) tech quick enough
With this advantage (+3p) I think you can afford a 1-2 turn delay and still be comparable to chop first
(+2p) Deer, Rice(irrigated), Corn, Wheat, Horse, Sheep, Stone, Clam, Crab
Chopping first better slightly but uses 1 more tree so improving reasonable alternative if tech available
(+1p) Mine hill or farm floodplains
Chopping first better noticeably but uses 1 more tree - improving inferior alternative

Research
9 commerce minimum, 10c if floodplain or eg. Spice forest, 12c if oasis + financial
Use research formula from 'Technology Research Explained….' by Requies
Will consider 10c normal, 12c rare, single player, Standard size, Normal speed, Monarch or Emperor
Improving first needs Bronze Working by turn 21/22 or very soon after, chopping needs BW by turn 17, allowing for move into forest
EDIT Updated for effect of Organized trait (or lack of) at Emperor level pointed out by Zombie69
On Emperor upkeep cost for non-Organized civs will cost 2g at start reducing research (unless/until a hut pops gold) meaning minimum is 7c and maximum 12c is very rare (oasis + Washington)

Specials considered
A) Farm resource (eg. Wheat) requiring Agriculture
B) Pasture resource (eg. Cow) requiring Animal Husbandry
Copper requiring mining is ideal but cannot see yet
Stone - Masonry then Bronze Working takes 23 turns at 10c Monarch (24t Emperor) so go BW
and chop unless 11-12c and/or India (Mysticism/Mining reduces Masonry research time)
Fish covered by ohioastronomy but if you need to research fishing, BW can take 18 turns (10c Monarch)

Analysis by starting technologies
1) Mining/Agriculture - China - 1 leader financial, 1 organized
a) Farm - Agriculture start so improve resource first (+3p or even +2p)
b) Pasture - Animal Husbandry then Bronze Working takes:
9c 10c 11c 12c
28t 26t 24t 22t - Monarch <=10c BW/chop, 11c BW/chop probably, 12c AH
29t 27t 25t 23t - Emperor <=11c BW/chop, 12c AH (but 12c almost impossible for China on Emperor)
2) Mining/Hunting - Germany, Russia - 1 leader financial, none organized
a) Farm - Agriculture then BW takes:
9c 10c 11c 12c
24t 22t 21t 19t - Monarch 9c BW/chop probably, >=10c Agriculture/Farm
25t 23t 22t 20t - Emperor <=9c BW/chop, >=10c Agriculture/Farm
b) Pasture - same as 1b
3) Mining/other - England, India, Mali, Rome - 3 leaders financial, 1 organized
a) Farm - same as 2a
b) Pasture - Hunting, Animal Husbandry then BW - takes too long (6+ turns delay) so go BW and chop
4) Agriculture/Hunting - Persia - no leaders financial, 1 organized
a) Farm - same as 1a but see below regarding Mining plus Bronze Working research time
b) Pasture - AH, Mining then BW - 5+ turns delay, Mining then BW - 2+ turns delay (see below)
5) Agriculture/other - America, Egypt, France, Inca - 2 leaders financial, 3 organized (1 both)
a) Farm - same as 4a
b) Pasture - AH, Mining then BW - 7+ turns delay, Mining then BW - 2+ turns delay (see below)
6) Hunting/other - Aztec, Greece, Mongolia - no leaders financial, none organized
a) Farm - Agriculture, Mining then BW - 6+ turns delay, Mining then BW - 2+ turns delay (see below)
b) Pasture - same as 5b
7) other/other - Arab, Japan, Spain - no leaders financial, 1 organized
a) Farm - same as 6a
b) Pasture - same as 5b

Notes
For 4/5/6/7 without Mining, researching Mining then Bronze Working will take following number of turns:
-7c -8c 9c 10c 11c 12c
xxx xxx 23t 21t 20t 18t - Monarch
31t 28t 24t 22t 20t 19t - Emperor
So without Mining you will not be ready to chop unless you start with Agriculture + Farm resource
Without this you can improve a +1p resource, speed up research or insert another build
Tile flipping (eg lake + financial) may be possible to improve research (reducing production)
Meeting civs with tech will reduce research time but probably not significant this early
Building on a commerce resource will give an extra commerce to city helping research
Gold/Gems will help early research but will not be improved inside first 20 turns when BW is needed

This analysis spurred by a recent game of mine - Elizabeth Monarch Standard Normal
London has Cow plus Oasis but without Animal Husbandry prereq I went for Bronze Working.
3 turns later a hut popped Agriculture! I switched to Animal Husbandry and was happy.
Later found Copper in city also!

I have attached a zipped Excel spreadsheet I used in calculating the tech research turn values.
EDIT Oops! Calculator got wrong turn value if beakers exactly divided into cost - new version V1.1 corrects this - sorry.
115596

A+ombomb
Feb 16, 2006, 10:01 PM
You might want to also consider the idea of using early slavery at size 2 to enhance speed of production. The idea is you build a warrior until you have grown to size 2, then switch over to a worker until you can slave it. Or, if that isn't effective, perhaps starting with a worker normally and improving a heavy food tile, growing anywhere from size 2 to 4 and slaving 1-3 pops away for the settler. Each population unit should give 30 hammers, so 60 for 2 population and 90 for 3. This method seems like it would be extremely effective on ren era since you start with a free grainary and growth is halved (but is it better than serfdom?!).

Zombie69
Feb 17, 2006, 08:58 AM
Very nice post junior7. Here are a few points to consider though :

You mention the impact of financial leaders but don't mention organized anywhere. Just a short sentence stating that organized leaders on emperor have the same research speed as non-organized leaders on monarch would be nice.

Since 9 total commerce for me is much more common than anything else, it would be nice to include this in the analysis.

junior7
Feb 17, 2006, 08:26 PM
Thanks for your comments and observations Zombie69. You are right, of course, the Organized trait (or lack of it) has a major effect on commerce and therefore research at Emperor level, even at the start. I will update my post to reflect this and add some examples of other research levels such as 9c.

theorykid
Feb 18, 2006, 10:05 AM
Great thread, and i'm thankful for the fantastic analysis by the OP and others.

I've usually grown to size 2 before producing my first worker. On the basis of this thread, i'm believe i am going to try the worker first on my next game.
:goodjob:

ohioastronomy
Feb 18, 2006, 01:44 PM
Great thread, and i'm thankful for the fantastic analysis by the OP and others.

I've usually grown to size 2 before producing my first worker. On the basis of this thread, i'm believe i am going to try the worker first on my next game.
:goodjob:

Thanks much. I think junior7's last piece is very nice, and fills in a lot of the other information. I'm working now on the question of how many cities you are best off founding in the early going, now that the maintenance costs are known. Or, to be more accurate, how much commerce you have to add to make founding a new city worthwhile..

A+ombomb
Feb 21, 2006, 03:52 PM
Are you taking into account the production and new trees to chop that a new city provides? I don't see this analyzed in your article at all, but maybe I am missing it. In the case that you go the worker -> settler route, once the new city is built you are instantly accessing 2 extra tiles for your overall civ. Although not quite as efficient, 2 cities at size 1 is approximately the same as 1 size 3 city or slightly better (if you built the new city on a hills/plains you will have slightly better production). This seems slightly faster than improving a tile near your first city to accelerate that city to size 3, especially since you can immediately start chopping at city 2 once city 1's resources are exhausted. The exception would be if city 1 had an inordinate amount of forests - then you might as well go 2 workers and clearcut asap - but I find my capital usually has very limited timber count (3-4) unless It is placed poorly (or is it poorly? maybe the optimal first city site IS near as many forests as possible, even if the longterm production would be compromised!). Anyway, I am not trying to claim that any information you have is false, but perhaps incomplete and in need of some further variable introduction.

vonsch
Mar 04, 2006, 04:11 PM
This is definitely good analysis (given that the game is dynamic and exceptions pop up to every firm "best" strategy) and I'm already profiting. :)

I'm late to Civ 4 (comparatively, just got it this week) but am an old hand at the series starting way back with the original. A couple of comments in this thread raised some questions:

1) a couple of times people remarked on city placement making a difference to the starting production of the city square itself (or they implied such). I haven't observed this in Civ 4. Am I missing something? I always seem to get 2f1p1c no matter where I build. Current game is grassland hill on the coast beside a river. The only bonus I can see is the 25% defense bonus (nice, but rarely important since the culture bonus quickly overwhelms it). Assuming I am correct that there is no longer any difference in city square production, it's better to build on the worst terrain type, all things being equal, not the best. That way you can improve the best.

I do routinely chop trees before putting a city in a tree square now. That way the nearest city does get some wood benefits. This doesn't work on the starting city, but it's rarely worth not placing the city where it appears. The lost turns are too crucial.

2) I am definitely in the "compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe" camp. BUT, treed squares being worked (and to be worked they have to exist in the city limits) do provide longer term benefits in that they lower disease. I'm playing at prince now, and I have late-early game health limits to cities more than happiness. I am getting more and more careful about chopping trees. They may grow back more often in the longer games, but in quick where I am mostly playing they aren't much of a factor. I may see 2-3 forests repop in a game total.

So, while I think ohioastronomy's analysis works out pretty well for the capital, I am more conservative in tree-chopping since I can't count on getting them back. I look for trees I know I will have to get rid of and remove those, but only as many as absolutely necessary. More ARE necessary for that first start at the capital. After that, I look for gaps between cities that I can tap where they will not affect anything but potential regrowth in the future (and possibly defensive barriers, but there are always forts later).

3) The slavery idea is interesting. With a size 2 city and 2 good food tiles it might be a real tree saver after the capital is up. The real interest in it is that it depends on pure food making it useful on small islands and such without many production tiles. If the city is health bound too, it could make a reall difference in overall production there. Time to play with that and find out what the downsides are :P.

ohioastronomy
Mar 04, 2006, 05:00 PM
This is definitely good analysis (given that the game is dynamic and exceptions pop up to every firm "best" strategy) and I'm already profiting. :)

I'm late to Civ 4 (comparatively, just got it this week) but am an old hand at the series starting way back with the original. A couple of comments in this thread raised some questions:

1) a couple of times people remarked on city placement making a difference to the starting production of the city square itself (or they implied such). I haven't observed this in Civ 4. Am I missing something? I always seem to get 2f1p1c no matter where I build. Current game is grassland hill on the coast beside a river. The only bonus I can see is the 25% defense bonus (nice, but rarely important since the culture bonus quickly overwhelms it). Assuming I am correct that there is no longer any difference in city square production, it's better to build on the worst terrain type, all things being equal, not the best. That way you can improve the best.

I do routinely chop trees before putting a city in a tree square now. That way the nearest city does get some wood benefits. This doesn't work on the starting city, but it's rarely worth not placing the city where it appears. The lost turns are too crucial.

2) I am definitely in the "compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe" camp. BUT, treed squares being worked (and to be worked they have to exist in the city limits) do provide longer term benefits in that they lower disease. I'm playing at prince now, and I have late-early game health limits to cities more than happiness. I am getting more and more careful about chopping trees. They may grow back more often in the longer games, but in quick where I am mostly playing they aren't much of a factor. I may see 2-3 forests repop in a game total.

So, while I think ohioastronomy's analysis works out pretty well for the capital, I am more conservative in tree-chopping since I can't count on getting them back. I look for trees I know I will have to get rid of and remove those, but only as many as absolutely necessary. More ARE necessary for that first start at the capital. After that, I look for gaps between cities that I can tap where they will not affect anything but potential regrowth in the future (and possibly defensive barriers, but there are always forts later).

3) The slavery idea is interesting. With a size 2 city and 2 good food tiles it might be a real tree saver after the capital is up. The real interest in it is that it depends on pure food making it useful on small islands and such without many production tiles. If the city is health bound too, it could make a reall difference in overall production there. Time to play with that and find out what the downsides are :P.

A plains hill gives you an extra hammer, and some resource tiles (e.g. marble or stone) give you extra production in your starting city. It isn't as much as you'd get from developing the resource, however.

The need for chopping in the starting city is pretty strong. For subsequent cities it can work - but you have alternatives. A single colony with 2 good food resources can be a "settler farm", three is even better. Just grow the city to the target size, develop food resources, and it will churn out worker/settler pairs at a fast clip. It is important for developing cities to have a worker there when the city is founded; otherwise it will develop much more slowly.

vonsch
Mar 04, 2006, 05:21 PM
A plains hill gives you an extra hammer, and some resource tiles (e.g. marble or stone) give you extra production in your starting city. It isn't as much as you'd get from developing the resource, however.

The need for chopping in the starting city is pretty strong. For subsequent cities it can work - but you have alternatives. A single colony with 2 good food resources can be a "settler farm", three is even better. Just grow the city to the target size, develop food resources, and it will churn out worker/settler pairs at a fast clip. It is important for developing cities to have a worker there when the city is founded; otherwise it will develop much more slowly.

That was a fast reply. You're right, just tested plains/hill. Somehow I must not have yet built on one and hadn't noticed. Guess I should check other tile types for small differences too.

I'd been using the settler farm idea already, as much for workers as settlers. The big improvement in my game is the chopping on the capital startup. 4 forests get me the 2w/1s in 25 turns in this testbed. It's a pretty rich start though, have 3fps, wheat, and 2 clams :) It may pay to improve the wheat, then chop in this case. Might save me a forest.

But the slavery thing may have potential for a settler/worker farm too. Just started testing that.

For pure raw speed to getting that second city up looks like putting the workers to roadbuilding to the site (after the the chops and one tile improvement) may be the way to go. In my case there's a forest where the 2nd city goes too, so can chop that one for a bit less (but better than wasting it when the city drops!) and build road back towards the first city with one worker. The big time savings is in getting the escort to the site, but it can save 1-2 turns for the settler in rough terrain too.

I found the other thread after I posted the last reply, and that is a good one too. Thanks for sharing your research.

Heeringas
Mar 05, 2006, 08:06 AM
In most of the games I have been gifted with about 6-10 squares of forests near the capital. I always start building worker and go for bronze working. If Iīm playing with elizabeth I go srtaitght for BW but If I have civ starting mystism I might go first for polytheism and then Mining-BW. I chop another worker, warrior comes with overflow and then chop settler and warrior.
I usually build three cities and then if lucky with bronze I chop barracks and some axemens to take down nearest civ and I do take his capital and most of the cities...After this I usually have 6-8 cities. Then I maybe build two more cities with settlers If I have some space between, If not I start to make those 6-8 to be as productive and specialized as possible...I wonīt war until knight catapult macemen (cavarly if I have military tradition)...

Great thing about axemen rush is that I usually get level 4 units quite easy to buld Heroic epic and carefully using that level4 axe to lift it to level 5.Then I save him for westpoint. that means I have militaryproduction city early on and west point is really good NW to have in the same city to make super units later...

After three cites have been established I also like to build some or one wonder...Not always, but most of the times itīs pyramids, because I donīt like discovering democracy for Uni.suff but rather communism for kremlin and cause of pyramids can then change to Uni-suff to rush gigantic military for third (or second ) wave of war. Good thing about pyramids is also Great engineer to rush GL and maybe another engineer just before the communism (if lucky)

Heeringas
Mar 05, 2006, 08:14 AM
By the way are there culturally linked starting positions?
I have seen that Russia more often start in thick green forests (once 20 forest squares near the Moscow :) while montezuma is almost every time in the jungle?

Gumbolt
Mar 06, 2006, 06:44 PM
I tried using the English using a work boat on the fish resource playing prince on a standard map. Only issue was it took 15 or so turns to finish the work boat although. I was up to size 3 city by end of it with a huge food surplus to reduce worker cost. The land was pretty poor production wise and i lost 3 turns looking for the fish. Might have been better to rush the boat after first worker would have saved 15 turns production. :lol: Might try that tomorrow for fun. :)

Got second city by 2400bc third by 2160bc but i only had 2 workers. London was size 3 with 5 excess food a turn. :D

My previous game on prince i reach second city on 2800bc and third by 2400bc. I like to try and set target dates when you should have your city network set up.

Perhaps if the land had been kinder with a land tile with more than 1 production it might have worked better. Still London at 8 turns for a worker without a chop was useful and turned out to be a good commerce city.

Gumbolt
Mar 07, 2006, 01:26 PM
Hmm retried game building a worker then work boat. 2nd city 2520bc third city 2040bc. I did run out of forest to chop around london. On flip side i probably could of rushed a settler in 2nd city as it had three workers working the land. Rushed stone henge instead. Perhaps could of saved a few turns if i didnt switch production to warrior while chopping second settler. Science could of been better planned to resource outside cities.

Hmmm those 15 turns on workboat from turn 3 were perhaps not too wasted although i probably got stone henge 10 turns sooner than i might of at the cost of unworked land around london.

In my opinion working resources quickly can help build a good production base. Cant rely on forest all the time. Perhaps 20 forest a chop would be more interesting for the game? :mischief:

TCGTRF
Mar 07, 2006, 03:40 PM
What would happen if a new patch reduced the amount that chopping contributes to workers and settlers? What would be the effect on your strategies of, say, a 25% reduction in contribution? What would be the greatest amount that the hammers from chopping could be reduced without altering your strategies at the various difficulty levels?

NOTE: This does not imply any knowledge of any upcoming change. This is a totally theoretical question.

Tom

vonsch
Mar 07, 2006, 05:19 PM
I tried using the English using a work boat on the fish resource playing prince on a standard map. Only issue was it took 15 or so turns to finish the work boat although. I was up to size 3 city by end of it with a huge food surplus to reduce worker cost. The land was pretty poor production wise and i lost 3 turns looking for the fish. Might have been better to rush the boat after first worker would have saved 15 turns production. :lol: Might try that tomorrow for fun. :)

I am playing Isabella at prince at the moment (normal/small world/archipelago). I "wasted" a turn to move one tile to pick up wheat to add to my cows and fish. I built a boat first too, while researching Meditation. I scarfed that up, then went to Mining and BW. the fish were online (and more importantly the commerce from the fish were) and my pop was up nicely to 3 when BW came. So I whipped the slaves for the first worker and switch to Ag and AH to pick up the cows. I chopped 2 local trees and the trees sitting on me 2nd city site for the other worker and settler, then whipped again for a warrior garrision. By the time the settler plopped city 2 I had Wheel researched too, and was starting on Pottery.

I got lucky with one goodie hut and picked up one of the techs I'd just started researching (forget which) so "lost" about 1 turn of research only and moved my schedule up. Still had some trees, and was closing on the happiness limit again in Madrid, so I researched Masonry and chopped and whipped the Pyramids. Been at Representation ever since. Managed to spare 2 forests in Madrid too.

Best start ever on Prince. I'm sure I'll screw it up when Ghengis comes for me (any decade now!). It's 1565AD and I own the tech lead and am 1635 to 1284 in score. Usually I am struggling for a culture win from 4th place at this point :P. Managing success is gonna kill me, I just know it!

But the point is worker/worker/settler chop/chop/chop/chop is only OFTEN the best route. I ran comparisons with this one to verify. Can't come close by going straight to worker production. The research is crippled in comparison. But that's this general set of nice starting resources, combined with the perfect leader (fishing and mysticism!). :crazyeye:

I could have done things better after the 2000BC I can see now too. Should have used work boats for exploring. In archipelago boats can do most of the exploring work easily, and can island hop pretty well too. In fact, I got the circumnavigation award with a galley around 1000AD. Could have gotten it earlier with a work boat. Would have gotten me trading sooner too.

Gumbolt
Mar 08, 2006, 12:25 PM
If i had had a fifth forest I would of been few turns earlier for the 2nd city when i replayed game. I do have a huge cultural lead on prince at present. Might try worker worker settler without the boat. Afterall you need to keep all things constant. Only issue is you look at watch and see 1am ackkkk.

I'll be back.

Gumbolt
Mar 08, 2006, 02:10 PM
Hmm just tried worker woker settler settler. without my fishing boat. Taking time out to produce a warrior between chops and mine the copper and the pastures. (dont wanna waste shields :lol: )

London took an age for the second settler as there was no forest and it lacked the fishing boat. By 1960 as i had no spare forest around london or its borders i required 6 turns to make the fishing boat. Although due to better targeted technology the pastures were in use much earlier than previous game. Although this wasnt due to the city build order.

Second city 2600bc third by 2040bc. I was delayed 3 turns in getting stone henge to previous game. On both games i had 3 warriors and 3 workers by around 2040. Perhaps slavery might of helped but im still learning the basics before i dive in deep. Slavery would certainly of speeded up second settler.

It is nice to save some forest for wonders linked to resources giving double production speed offering 60 forest a chop.

My civ score on fishing boat was 145 on other straight chop 130. Im guessing the fourth city would of come sooner on first game.

Its easy to say in a perfect world what turn the first settler is built but i think you have to work the theory to the time the third or fourth city. (opinion)

Only flaw to this is, would i have built the city by the coast and started city elsewhere on first/ second turn on the plains hill for the extra production near my second city location.


Of course all this time building settlers could of been used building a few cottages but i guess it would give a good starting base.

Enough rabbling from me. ttfn

Darkhrse
Mar 09, 2006, 08:36 PM
I'd like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Ohioastronomy for such a great, well thought out and researched article. I just got my Civ IV last week and immediately won using Settler and Chieftain levels and decided to go direct to Noble.

I must have played five straight games and all were total wash outs. I've read several strategy articles in this forum but the one outlined here is the clear winner. Using the worker/worker/settler technique has done it for me. I used a random leader, got Mansa Munsa on a Terran standard map using Epic. It worked beautifully.

My first worker came out two turns ahead of BW so I had it doing roads but immediately switched to chopping when it got done. Used the same strategy on the 2nd city and did a bit of a variation on the third. But I was no longer last on the tech race. My civ had the highest score by 1000 AD.

This is great. I came from an RTS background and this is my first time playing a turned-based strat game. I'm loving the game (even when I was losing) and I'm loving the game even more now that I'm winning. And it's thanks to you, Ohioastronomy, and the others who have also contributed to this article.

Ciao!

autocon
Mar 10, 2006, 01:35 PM
great thread, but i wish DaviddesJ was still posting here, it seems that he is one of the only people to defend the strategy i usually take, which is improving the capital 1st.

and i tried to exagerate the use of this strategy, by have a 5-pop city (prince, continents, normal speed, catherine), all improved, before founding more cities. by that time, i could create several settlers and create 2nd, 3rd and 4th (this last one not in the nicest spot, it was taken by other civ :\), then managed to take a few cities from the enemy

Gumbolt
Mar 10, 2006, 08:43 PM
Wooo Hooo just completed my first win on civ 4. Prince English normal speed, normal size land and chopping at start. Cultural win by 1941ad. The chinese were fast on the way to a spaceship. Gotta love those Redcoats and cavalry. Mind you i was on an island with just the Americans :)

I am concerned instead of chopping settler from second city i chopped the stone henge instead and used london for second settler. Does this slow down things?

I think my biggest downfall on this game was my third cultural city was my GP farm but i didnt get great artists. Need to plan the wonders a bit more :(

Although I did have the highest score all game.

Right time to remind myself what a bed is :lol:

Where would I be without this forum for tips :)

ttfn

Th1ef
Mar 14, 2006, 08:24 PM
The main point is that workers are extremely valuable for the start of your game, followed by settlers, and that city growth is a distant third. For a newer player I'd recommend starting with the following:

1) make your first city build a worker and your first tech bronze-working. Choose a civilization that starts with mining. Qin is a good choice (mining and agriculture, plus financial=faster technology and productive=faster wonders and forges).

2) After your first worker comes out, have them improve something while you build a warrior. Pick other technologies according to the type of game that you want; agriculture and the wheel are pretty important first off; writing is also important for a lot of other reasons.

3) Send the warrior out to your second city site. This should be close, ideally along a river that your first city shares, and a spot with 2 or more resources within two tiles.

4) Have your first worker chop a tree to build a second worker. Have both of them chop a tree to build a settler. You can cut trees up to three tiles away from your capital without penalty; just be careful of animals if you go outside the cultural boundaries.

5) Send the settler to the new city and send one of the workers with them. Have the other worker stick around the main city and develop it. At the second city, have the worker chop a tree for another worker. You'll want to found later cities with the same pattern - send a military unit, settler, and worker together and have the first thing that the worker does be to make another worker as long as there is a usable tree there.

6) Leave one worker around each city. Extra workers can be put to work connecting cities with roads. Once the core cities are fully developed switch their workers to roadbuilding and assisting the new cities.

7) Don't expand indefinitely. When your empire gets too large the maintenance costs get high - the point where this happens depends on the difficulty level. At Prince, it starts to kick in around 4 cities. Make getting Code of Laws and courthouses a priority. If your tech is dropping below 60-70% it is time to stop building new cities and make your existing ones better.

Hope that helps!


Hi, I just registered here to thank you for posting that noob-friendly response to someone else's confusion. I recently got civ4 and was consistently getting rolled on WARLORD difficulty by the computers. Mind you I just kind of jumped in on custom game and didnt play any scenarios or tutorials.
After a few games of trying my absolute hardest to compete with the computers and STILL getting demolished I basically thought that the computers flat out cheated :eek: .
I knew that while I didnt know the in-depth mechanics of the game yet, I figured I had played my share of RTS games over the years and had a decent grasp of the overall system, but I still couldn't figure out what my problem was. After a quick google search for Civ 4 strategies I found this forum and became even MORE confused after reading some of the strategy threads posted here which look like a lab report on atomic fission to a noob like myself.

After coming across your above post I found the error in my ways... chopping trees! I had no idea beforehand of how tree chopping affects production and early game development, and soon found out that my mid-late game tactics were, in fact, pretty sound but by the time I got there I was soooo far behind because of my slow start without chopping.

So, in short, thanks for helping out people like me who were utterly confused until coming across your post



Is it a good idea to build Mines on top of hills that allow it, even if there is no shown mineral (copper, iron, etc.)? if the mine is "empty" and kind of just sitting there doing nothing I will stop building them!

fung3
Mar 15, 2006, 02:43 AM
Is it a good idea to build Mines on top of hills that allow it, even if there is no shown mineral (copper, iron, etc.)? if the mine is "empty" and kind of just sitting there doing nothing I will stop building them!

Yes, it will improve the number of hammers (production value) on that tile.

anglosaxon
Mar 16, 2006, 08:40 AM
I'm new to Civ series of games, but I find that the early strategy that works best for me in Civ 4 is as follows:

Research Masonry first, or Mining if you don't start with it, and then Masonry. Build a worker first. Don't send your warrior/scout too far from your base, once you have got the nearby village bonuses, send him back to guard you capital - you don't want him killed by bears/panthers. By the time your worker is built, you will have researched masonry, meaning your second build item should be the Pyramids wonder. Use your worker to improve tiles as much as possible to maximise pyramids' build time, including chopping down trees where possible.

After you have built the Pyramids, you will receive a Great Engineer between 500BC and 1AD. Use this great engineer to discover 90% of Machinery tech (order your research to make it available in time), then research the Machinery which now takes a max of 5 turns. This gives you ability to build crossbowmen around 1AD (just after the first wave of barb attacks), which annihilate any barbs in their path (+50% against melee units), and wipe out any archer units they come across. Build an army of crossbowmen which will be good for at least 1000 years before they start to become obsolete, and use them wipe out all barbs in your lands. This allows you to divert city build-time between 1AD and 1500AD to settlers, workers and buildings, plus the crossbowmen get lots of experience and practice from slaughtering barbs. You can then upgrade them to musketmen/grenadiers after you get Gunpowder tech. Viola - you have a large standing army.

The good thing about building pyramids early on is the happiness bonus you get from adopting the Representation civic (+3 happy for 6 largest cities), so you don't have to worry about unhappiness until later.

Another tip: try and reseach Compass by 500AD to build Explorers, which can kick barbarian ass when they explore - use these to uncover the rest of your land/village bonuses.

This strategy works like a treat up to Monarch difficulty, but not too sure after that as haven't got that far yet.

Summary below:

Research order
1. Masonry (if you have mining)
2. Agriculture/AnimalHusbandry/Hunting (allows you improve food bonuses)
3. Bronze Working
4. Wheel
5. Pottery
6. Writing
7. Maths
8. Iron Working
6. Metal Casting
10. Engineering (using great engineer)

Build
1. Worker
2. Pyramids (should finish by around 1500BC)
3. Barracks
4. Settlers/Workers/Some Defense
4. Library
5. Aquaduct
6. Hanging Gardens (another hance of great engineer)
7. Hoardes of Crossbowmen

Gumbolt
Mar 16, 2006, 12:03 PM
Perhaps stone and a few workers would help chop pyramids a bit faster esp with just 1 city. I cant imagine having 1 city by 1500bc on Prince/Monarch or above with one warrior defending the city. Barbarians alone might be a huge issue.

450 hammers is a lot of hammers without serious chopping and stone. I normally have 4-6 cities by 1500bc with 6-10 workers on Monarch with the other civs fast encroaching my cultural borders.

Best wish no one decides a axemen rush early on or that warrior is in trouble. Then again i dont know the map size or other variables you play at. Huge land with scouts could be hut tastic tech wise. Guessing huge maps have more barbarian issues too.

BFD8656
Mar 18, 2006, 06:54 PM
Call me retarted but it takes about 20+ turns to research BW? That would mean if you simply built a settler from the start you would have him ready to go on turn 25. If I build a worker then I have to wait like 4 turns until I can chop woods. By that time the settler is almost done. I am assuming that I am missing something here. Please help me out. I have not been able to effectivly run a Noble game.

Dusty Monkey
Mar 18, 2006, 09:35 PM
Call me retarted but it takes about 20+ turns to research BW? That would mean if you simply built a settler from the start you would have him ready to go on turn 25. If I build a worker then I have to wait like 4 turns until I can chop woods. By that time the settler is almost done. I am assuming that I am missing something here. Please help me out. I have not been able to effectivly run a Noble game.

I believe you are missing the fact that in one case you have a settler and a tree, while in the other you have a settler and a worker.

BFD8656
Mar 18, 2006, 10:41 PM
So you don't actually get the settler out quicker but you get a settler and a worker out in slightly more time!

Gumbolt
Mar 19, 2006, 01:26 PM
I normally produce bronze working. The worker normally arrives about 2 turns before BW arrives. second worker 5-6 turns and a settler 8-9 turns later with chopping.

Its all very well to go straight for the settler but your land must be completely unworked. Once the work settler system is up and running its very fast to make 4 cities. Need to think long term.

Atwork
Mar 19, 2006, 10:47 PM
The math behind the game is valuable and vital for reference sake. But civ isn't only a game of mathematic ideals. Challenges in the game necessitate a balance of taking risks and avoiding risks. The benefit of spending a few early turns to secure your immediate future is a positive that the math formulas do not demonstrate.

At higher levels of Marathon game play; building a warrior before a worker makes sense. Firstly, chopping forests won't be an option until BW. Secondly, a warrior explores land, secures land, and allows the future worker and settler to do what they do with less risk. Creating a secure land for your workers to work within, and your settlers to move away from, is vital. Therefore, I always build a warrior first. It must be a gut wrenching feeling to lose the single warrior that you started the game with when the only unit you've got coming is a worker....a frightening scenario that I try to avoid.

I cannot tell you how many games I have had to restart in the early going because my friend refuses to build the early warrior and ends up losing a worker or his first settler. Damn I wish he'd start building a warrior first!

Gumbolt
Mar 21, 2006, 02:53 PM
So what if you dont have mining at start? Im thinking of trying Alexander. With fishing and hunting this poses some headaches. For one the worers cant build road or build farms at the early stages. A boat is 30 hammers away.

Whats the best strategy here? Do you go for huts? 8 turn wait on monarch for the mining. Your not always likely to get a camp or fishing friendly start. Wheres the fish or elephants when you want them?

Any advice thanks.

atreas
Mar 21, 2006, 03:44 PM
So what if you dont have mining at start? Im thinking of trying Alexander. With fishing and hunting this poses some headaches. For one the worers cant build road or build farms at the early stages. A boat is 30 hammers away.

Whats the best strategy here? Do you go for huts? 8 turn wait on monarch for the mining. Your not always likely to get a camp or fishing friendly start. Wheres the fish or elephants when you want them?

Any advice thanks.
Not wanting to repeat myself, I recomment the following thread http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=163732 that deals with cases not covered in this article: slower speeds, higher difficulties, and also civs that don't start with mining.

The conclusion seems to be that the optimum is to head for BW and make your first worker coincide with the discovery of BW. In the meantime, build things that enable your city to grow.

PS. In some cases, especially in lower speeds/higher difficulties, it is better to start with a boat even if you start with Fishing AND Mining (or discover mining in the first hut).

RemoWilliams
Apr 25, 2006, 02:05 PM
Any plans to update this strat guide now? I'm still following the WWS order, but I'm no longer convinced it is optimum with 1.61. I can't get nearly as many cities out anymore, and having enough workers for them is also a problem.

madmenno
May 01, 2006, 10:28 AM
Hi i didn't read the whole thread but it sounds i am doing things wrong :D. I always build mass settlers at start and scout the area for some gold from villages to maintain them till i get currency. Then i build markets everywhere, from the point i have almost researched currency to the point that i have a couple of markets things starting to get realy slow but once i got those markets in place i go skyrocket. After i get currency i get confuscism and stick to that till "religion freedom".

The way i played... is it that bad? :D

I am gonna try this tactic now thnx for the tips this is a great knowledge base.

Greats

RemoWilliams
May 01, 2006, 11:44 PM
The way i played... is it that bad? :D

I am gonna try this tactic now thnx for the tips this is a great knowledge base.

Greats

Unfortunately the thread is out of date with the new patch, which is why I asked for OhioAstronomy to update it. Forest chopping is not nearly as good anymore, and I'm not sure the math still holds up. Nobody has chimed in yet.

I suspect that it's still a good idea to chop a settler or two, but it's not nearly the no-brainer it used to be.

drkodos
May 04, 2006, 12:28 PM
Getting addicted to this strategy is one reason why I have not yet installed the new patch. The chop math is completely different with the patch.

I'm going to install it today, I swear.

fxer
Jun 06, 2006, 12:04 PM
Anyone know of an updated article on good opening strategy, 1.61 friendly?

VirusMonster
Jun 06, 2006, 12:37 PM
Anyone know of an updated article on good opening strategy, 1.61 friendly?

1.61 friendly good opening strategy :) Well, we still got good oldschool quechua rush :) You can have around 6 cities by 2000-2500BC.

You can try a similar Immortal or Warchariot rush to capture sufficient cities.

But I guess overall, more people are going to be waiting for settler production. When I play peacefully at start, I rarely chop anymore, unless I am expansive.

RemoWilliams
Jun 06, 2006, 01:55 PM
Yeah, I find that I favor early war over chopping these days. Chopping was a big no brainer before the patch, but now it's pretty nerf-errific. If it's not bad enough you get less hammers, it takes longer to do as well.

I just can't seem to bring myself to limit my population growth by building worker first that early in the game anymore. The payoff doesn't seem to be as extreme.

fxer
Jun 08, 2006, 12:40 PM
I just can't seem to bring myself to limit my population growth by building worker first that early in the game anymore.

But I guess overall, more people are going to be waiting for settler production. When I play peacefully at start, I rarely chop anymore, unless I am expansive.

What do you pefer to be the first units you turn out now, then? A couple warriors/uniques for early war? When would you turn out your first worker, when you research agriculture or something? Is the first settler at population 3 a good strat still? Thanks for your tips!

WoundedKnight
Jun 08, 2006, 10:34 PM
I used to be a big chop-rush fan, but since the patch (only 20 hammers per chop -- until mathematics) I haven't found it to be particularly worthwhile. I now prefer to pick up agriculture to build farms on special food resources, and to research techs for any other specialty resources in range. I find that this often produces better short and long-term results than the slow, anemic chops.

Could you comment on how the chop-rush math has been altered by the patch...what is different or the same, and how do your methods stack up with other strategies.

Thanks,
WoundedKnight

Zombie69
Jun 09, 2006, 12:04 PM
What do you pefer to be the first units you turn out now, then? A couple warriors/uniques for early war?

Usually workboat, warrior, scout or barracks.

When would you turn out your first worker, when you research agriculture or something?

Sometimes i never make one, and get all my workers from conquest. Almost always now, i steal my first worker instead of making it (exception being alone on an island of course, because then it's not an option).

Is the first settler at population 3 a good strat still?

Well, you want the first settler as fast as possible. Typically, how fast that is depends on when your stolen worker gets home, what he can improve or chop, and what tiles you have available that could speed up settler production. I know that's vague, but that's how it is.

pigswill
Jun 12, 2006, 04:58 AM
At prince level worker-stealing is less of an option. Starting build obviously depends on starting resources as well as initial priorities. If I want early exploration then I'll go with warrior or scout first (depending on wether I start with hunting) and worker at pop 2. If I've got good early resources then I'll build a worker while researching relevant techs because improved squares churn out warriors/settlers faster than unimproved and early barbarians usually ain't a big issue. Its fair to say that early chopping for worker and settlers has been effectively nerfed unless you start with loads of forest.

kellehair
Jun 26, 2006, 08:46 PM
Great guide! In my current game I used some of these techniques to acheive my fastest start ever. I was lucky with a Gold start but still, I've acheived as much in this game by 1 AD as I normally do by 1000 AD. My standard setup is Monarch, Standard size Fractal, 9 civs and Normal or Epic pacing. Like in most of my other games I stole a worker, produced a couple settlers and then conquered my closest unfriendly neighbor with an axeman rush. Normally at this point my economy would stall, my research would be abandoned and I would just try to hang on until I reaserched Currency and COL to bail myself out. Thanks to this guide however things went quite diffrently. The first unit I produced was a worker and in addition to the worker I stole I was really able to get my economy growing in addition to chopping rushing a lot. Also, focusing on production and commerce over growth really helped.

pigswill: Worker stealing is a very much an option on Prince level. I do it on Monarch every game. There's a great thread on it here if you need tips. It's not as complicated as it seems either.

pixiejmcc
Jul 04, 2006, 08:49 AM
Erm, OK a lot of this went over my head. I think I actually already follow much of these principles. I play MP so it's a little different - we are close to one another and play always at quick speed. But from reading this and a post from Roland elsewhere I know that worker 1st is almost always best, as long as i can get away with it (which is actually rarely :P). I then tend to grow to 2 whilst 1st worker improves a food res, then i try go for 2nd worker, whilst existing worker with improves another food res or mine or chops. I then like to go settler, chopping with both workers. Then chopping another worker there. The 2 workers go to the new city whilst the new worker remains to improve 1st city. something like this.

Anyways as others have said I'm afraid I find this article far too technical.

RemoWilliams
Jul 04, 2006, 09:59 AM
But from reading this and a post from Roland elsewhere I know that worker 1st is almost always best, as long as i can get away with it (which is actually rarely :P).

Worker first was arguably best in 1.52, but the argument hasn't been convincingly made as far as I'm concerned with the latest 1.61 patch. I nearly always build warriors first until I get bronzeworking and then I pop-rush a worker.

ronnybiggs
Jul 08, 2006, 12:25 AM
What I don't get about this strategy, and maybe I just missed it somewhere in this thread, is how you manage to chop trees when you need Bronze Working to be able to do this. You need to research a few techs to get there, and I find that for the first few turns, I might as well just build up a city, research some growth techs like husbandry or agriculture, then build a worker to coincide with the discovery so I can exploit it. I usually play Indians because the fast workers are ****ING AWESOME. Way better than any other special units... it's like two workers for the price of one.

Any rebuttals are most welcome.

cleverhandle
Jul 12, 2006, 12:42 AM
OK, I'm probably kicking a dead horse here, but I've been away for 6 months and this is the first I've seen of this particular analysis. Seems interesting...

I spent the last few hours analyzing a fairly run-of-the-mill Peter start on Emperor (pic (http://www.sophrosune.org/civ/OptimumStart/start.jpg), game (http://www.sophrosune.org/civ/OptimumStart/Peter.Civ4SavedGame)). In general, I think ohioastronomy lays out a useful way to analyze a starting sequence, though I disagree with him on some points. Mostly, it's the stereotypical "every game is unique" thing. This is especially true in his valuation of worker turns - valuing them at (chop value)/(chop time) is naive, if not disingenious. There's really no way to quantify the value of a worker turn without seeing the start in front of you, hence my analysis. Starting techs and traits also play a big role.

That being said, I did notice some interesting things that should apply to many "typical" games (no religion race, fish, gold, or bizarre terrain). The Excel file for these numbers is available here (http://www.sophrosune.org/civ/OptimumStart/analysis.xls) - corrections warmly invited...

1) Pop growth is bad. Nah... just getting your attention. What is bad is waiting to grow to 2 before starting on a worker if there are decent (+2 or +3 power) improvements available. The naive Grow-Worker-Settler plan (I know I started out doing it) gave a pitiful normalized production of 162 using 2 trees and had terrible worker position for improvement of the second site. Unusual commerce situations aside, this path really screws everything up.

2) Pop growth is good, if done intelligently. Getting a worker out first and carefully timing a "growth intermission" so that the second pop could begin to work a mine immediately after it was born created what were arguably the best scenarios. Worker-Worker-Settler produced a normalized 246 using 2 trees and Worker-Settler-Worker produced a normalized 269 using 2 trees but with a worker disadvantage. Furthermore, the worker position in Worker-Worker-Settler was perfectly arranged for one more chop without wasting time - that would put it at an impressive 266 production at the cost of 3 trees.

3) Stay away from clear-cutting unless your resources really suck. The extreme clear-cutting case produced a normalized 232 with excellent worker position but at the cost of 4 trees. Mixing in a good special and intelligent growth gave better results with less chopping.

4) A settler before military is not suicide. A settler sent out at turn 34 was quite safe from barbs (checking World Builder) on a standard Emperor map. He will need animal coverage, though. How to handle that will obviously depend on the map and scout situation. Working a single warrior into the queue is only a 1-2 turn delay for any of the situations if they are planned correctly. Several of the Worker-Settler-Worker scenarios (including the 269 production one above) get a Settler out by turn 32 or earlier.

All in all, there's no substitute for getting in there and crunching the numbers for a particular scenario. Unfortunately, that's pretty time-consuming, and general rules only take you so far...

ohioastronomy
Jul 12, 2006, 01:44 PM
After a long break, I'm back at Civ4 again, and will update the overall guide soon. A couple of brief reactions:

1) The logic of building early workers and settlers, and their value, is not greatly altered by the patch. Workers let you grow into much more productive tiles, and the production bonus from founding new cities (until maintenance nails you) is large. A size 1 city working an irrigated wheat tile is better than a much larger city working unimproved tiles (or, if you prefer hammers, a size 1 city working a copper mine).

2) The utility of tree chopping is drastically degraded by the patch. It is much more difficult to jump to an early lead, especially at high difficulty levels. This puts more of a premium on the starting position.

triqui
Jul 12, 2006, 08:33 PM
cleverhandle u trying pulling that worker first **** in a multiplayer game and i bet i whoop ur ass.

DaviddesJ
Jul 12, 2006, 08:45 PM
cleverhandle u trying pulling that worker first **** in a multiplayer game and i bet i whoop ur ass.

How will you do that if you're on a different continent?

Elledge
Jul 12, 2006, 08:46 PM
I'd be much obliged if you included my most common multiplayer order on a small map: building 1 warrior while I grow to size 2 and research BW, switching to slavery, and slaving the second half of my first worker (then proceeding worker, settler as usual).

cleverhandle
Jul 12, 2006, 10:37 PM
cleverhandle u trying pulling that worker first **** in a multiplayer game and i bet i whoop ur ass.
It's generally understood that strategy articles (like most things on this site) are focused on single player game if they don't say otherwise.

Your post is also a really lovely way to get yourself started at the CFC forums. Welcome, I guess...

Turner
Jul 13, 2006, 01:06 AM
triqui - warned, language.

triqui
Jul 13, 2006, 01:11 AM
How will you do that if you're on a different continent?I don't normally play those types of maps (ffa is damn long game, what 5-7 hours?) but say im playing an ffa type deal on continents map: if I'm in 1 continent with 1 other guy I want to break his back as soon as possible before he does it to me so it's pretty much the same thing as a team game on all land map... If theres 3 to a continent u generally want to not attack anyone and just let tension build up. Hopefully they wont 2v1 on u and if some1 attack u then u deal with it but u cant just not make a military on a multiplayer game. It's better to boom while sitting on a big military and pay the price for that than to get ur you-know-what handed to u.It's generally understood that strategy articles (like most things on this site) are focused on single player game if they don't say otherwise.I know. Whats the matter with u ppl anyway?

Turner
Jul 13, 2006, 01:13 AM
triqui - you really need to change your posting style. This forum is not the place for trolling and flaming.

I suggest you take a moment and familiarize yourself with the forum rules (http://forums.civfanatics.com/forumrules.php).

triqui
Jul 13, 2006, 01:25 AM
uh what'd I say? Didn't curse or anything...

Turner
Jul 13, 2006, 01:28 AM
Ah, yes you did. There's masked profanity in your first post in this thread. That's the one with the **** in it. Then in the second post in this thread you said you'd get your ass handed to you, which you edited out.

The third post in this thread is technically Public Discusison of Moderator Actions, which is also against the rules. I'll let that slide, this time. But know that you're on thin ice here. Read the forum rules, and make sure you're following them.

Also keep in mind that this is a family oriented forum. There are a lot of minors reading this forum, and we strive to keep things at a 'G' rated level.

ohioastronomy
Jul 13, 2006, 01:29 AM
cleverhandle u trying pulling that worker first **** in a multiplayer game and i bet i whoop ur ass.

This is an article for single player games, focusing on the opening.
I don't do multiplayer games because I'm not interested in rushes.
Been there, done that in RTS games.

mattspoker
Jul 13, 2006, 03:42 PM
Im playing Immortal continets, everything checked except space race(ive won it but I dont like the win), 18 AIs, , ROman, huge map, Immortal. With the patch taking away chopping I find Im not even remotely competitive without being on a plains hill wihtin one turn, and if Im inland I need to have an 8/8 square for a warrior, or what works best is a coastal start with fish to work and going a work boat first. 10 for turns for the workboat and 11 you pop to 2, then getting out two workers and a settler. WHats usually determining my outcomes is how good the setups are for my 2nd and 3rd cities. The fast nature of city 2 means its not going to necessarily be on iron. So Im throwing it near a grassland river tile or food resource and a plains hill in the small cross. Building a mine and having a barracks or warrior building depending on how fast i can changeover the capital from making a 2nd settler to turning out warriors(or axemen if i stumble on copper by accident). Needless to say i throw away a lot of maps being generated that i could play with chopping at 30 hammers. Whats given me winning scenarios so far.......I need to have gold, silver, gems, fur or ivory close and convenient to production cities. My best scenario so far i had gold at the capital and ivory on city 2, and I discovered gems at random on a hills mine. Masonry seems to help as well because of the gold and production. If its workable early, I will go BW, wheel, masonry, IW. HUnting if i have the fur or ivory.

ohioastronomy
Jul 13, 2006, 09:41 PM
From some initial tests, the basic results with the patch seem to be...

The best strategy is still worker-worker-settler, but there is more flexibility in the opening tech sequence. Rather than immediate chopping, the most effective tactic is to improve a +3 or +2 tile before chopping the first tree. This means that you may be better off researching a production tech (fishing, agriculture, or AH if you can research it at the start) before beelining to bronzeworking depending on the setup.

Before, 4 trees + BW was enough to get you the fastest start regardless of any other feature of the starting city. Now, a +3/+2 improve followed by 3 chops looks to be the fastest route. You need 6 trees for straight chopping, which is not a typical situation - and you actually end up behind the improve-first strategy anyhow.

Compromise
Jul 14, 2006, 05:10 PM
Good to have you back posting again ohioastronomy! Just a few quick questions:

1) Regarding tech choice. Do you only want to research one tech before Bronzeworking? So, if you start with Mining, you can research the start-appropriate worker tech. But if you start without Mining, then you want to go straight to Bronzeworking (via Mining).

2) Have you compared your existing cases to using poprush one of the first workers or settler? I guess you'd either poprush your first worker (by at least starting a Barracks or Warrior from 4000BC until a 3F tile gets you to size 2, or you'd poprush the second worker or the settler by growing as quickly as you could after your first worker has improved a +3F source.

3) Is there a good rule of thumb for how beneficial it is to move your starting Settler to a plains hill for the extra hammer? I'm always sorely tempted to do this if I know I'll still have at least one food special in my fat cross. Is one turn or two turns lost an acceptable tradeoff for getting to a suitably placed (if such there be) plains hill?

4) You mention Fishing as a possible production tech you might want to start researching before going to Bronzeworking. But that would mean that one of your first builds would not be a Worker or Settler, right?

Thanks for your work on this!

ronnybiggs
Jul 14, 2006, 05:18 PM
I think it's important to note that workers aren't worth building until you have good exploitable techs built up - like husbandry if you have cows and sheep or BW to discover the copper tiles. Until you get that, might as well grow a bit. I usually pass the time getting a warrior out, maybe working on stonehenge if my leader isn't cultural.

It's great if you're around seafood, because then you can exploit fishing. Then, you're basically building a worker (i.e. work boat) without sacrificing city growth.

I find roads aren't worth that much in the early game, so the Wheel isn't an immediately necessary tech.

drkodos
Jul 14, 2006, 05:23 PM
@ohioastronomy: as a proponent of your systems, pre & post patch, I have found that in many cases (more than 50%), it is most efficient to limit to 1 (one) or 2 (two) chops to get that first settler out. Due to the decresed yield of hammers per chop pre mathematics, allowing growth to city size 3 allows a settler out in 10 turns (No chops-Normal speed) if you have made substantive improvements (One +3 tile and One +2 tile). If you then chop one time in this scenario, you get the settler out in 6 turns (sometimes 5). This is without extreme mico-management//que swapping. Que swapping can sometimes take a few turns longer and requires additional chops but does allow the build of several warriors/scouts. It almost becomes a wash because the que swap pushed back the settler two or three turns.

Limiting to one chop for the 1st settler saves the trees for important chops after Mathematics when the max hammers mean more for subsequent settler builds or Wonders.

The result is a slower start to the 2nd settler by about 6 turns, but the Capital improvements makes up for it based off of total civilization production of beakers/hammers/food per turn, up through turn 50 in a normal speed game.


ALSO: A settler first stategy is sometimes more viable now that chopping has been nerfed (in the right starting circumstances).

ronnybiggs
Jul 14, 2006, 05:27 PM
Of course, with Gandhi, it's two workers for the price of one! :)

DaviddesJ
Jul 14, 2006, 05:49 PM
Of course, with Gandhi, it's two workers for the price of one! :)

At the very most, it's 1.33 for 1 (if the fast worker can chop a forest every 3 turns, while the normal worker takes 4 turns). Usually it will be somewhat less.

malekithe
Jul 14, 2006, 05:53 PM
ALSO: A settler first stategy is sometimes more viable now that chopping has been nerfed (in the right starting circumstances).

I've yet to see those circumstances.

ronnybiggs
Jul 14, 2006, 06:31 PM
It's more than 1.33-1 - a regular worker moves 2 per turn, whereas a fast worker moves 3. But I say 2 for the price of 1 because one fast worker is more than enough to improve one city to match its development, whereas with a regular worker, you really need two.

So I do warrior-fast worker-settler-settler rather than worker-worker-settler

I then do another warrior with the next city I found to man the third city. The one fast worker can improve everything until the 2nd city can churn out a second worker while the first city completes stonehenge. At that point, I can have my capital improve itself while the next two focus on expansion.

malekithe
Jul 14, 2006, 06:56 PM
It's more than 1.33-1 - a regular worker moves 2 per turn, whereas a fast worker moves 3. But I say 2 for the price of 1 because one fast worker is more than enough to improve one city to match its development, whereas with a regular worker, you really need two.

The fast worker saves, at best, 1 turn per improvement. On quick game speed I could see this as being close to a 2 for 1 deal. However, on other speeds, it's not. If you feel you only need 1 fast worker where you needed 2 normal ones, I can't help but feel you're not making effective use of your workers. They should really spend a lot less time moving and a lot more time improving the terrain.

DaviddesJ
Jul 15, 2006, 08:18 PM
I don't think you ever need more than 1 worker/city, unless you're doing some massive chop/rush. I usually have fewer than 1 worker/city, I would never build a second worker before a first settler.

Moving 3 instead of 2 doesn't actually benefit you unless you use it. The main time you use it is when you're improving a hill or chopping a forest, in which case the fast worker can move and improve on the same turn, while the ordinary worker has to move one turn and start improving the next turn. That gives a 4:3 ratio, at most (unless you're playing on quick speed, I guess).

armstrong
Jul 16, 2006, 01:34 AM
I don't think you ever need more than 1 worker/city, unless you're doing some massive chop/rush. I usually have fewer than 1 worker/city, I would never build a second worker before a first settler.

Hmm, lately, I've been finding that having an early excess of workers helps my early development. Early in the game, workers have lots of things to do... improvements, chop forests, connect cities. In the midgame, a worker/city seems to be a good ratio, but early on it's nice to have a worker per city for improvements as well as a road builder & a chopper or two.

That being said, I'm probably not using my workers optimally :)

malekithe
Jul 16, 2006, 02:15 AM
Hmm, lately, I've been finding that having an early excess of workers helps my early development. Early in the game, workers have lots of things to do... improvements, chop forests, connect cities. In the midgame, a worker/city seems to be a good ratio, but early on it's nice to have a worker per city for improvements as well as a road builder & a chopper or two.

That being said, I'm probably not using my workers optimally :)

As a general rule, I usually have three workers for my first two cities and then try to add one additional worker per city. If I see an upcoming jungle expedition, I'll recruit a couple of additional workers for the job. By the end of the game, I usually end up with just over a 1:1 ratio of workers to cities.

ohioastronomy
Jul 16, 2006, 10:00 AM
@ohioastronomy: as a proponent of your systems, pre & post patch, I have found that in many cases (more than 50%), it is most efficient to limit to 1 (one) or 2 (two) chops to get that first settler out. Due to the decresed yield of hammers per chop pre mathematics, allowing growth to city size 3 allows a settler out in 10 turns (No chops-Normal speed) if you have made substantive improvements (One +3 tile and One +2 tile). If you then chop one time in this scenario, you get the settler out in 6 turns (sometimes 5). This is without extreme mico-management//que swapping. Que swapping can sometimes take a few turns longer and requires additional chops but does allow the build of several warriors/scouts. It almost becomes a wash because the que swap pushed back the settler two or three turns.

Limiting to one chop for the 1st settler saves the trees for important chops after Mathematics when the max hammers mean more for subsequent settler builds or Wonders.

The result is a slower start to the 2nd settler by about 6 turns, but the Capital improvements makes up for it based off of total civilization production of beakers/hammers/food per turn, up through turn 50 in a normal speed game.


ALSO: A settler first stategy is sometimes more viable now that chopping has been nerfed (in the right starting circumstances).

I think the reduction of the power of chopping was warranted, and you're correct - the space for strategic choices is certainly opened up. The best opening strategy is clearly more dependent on the opening city position. I do think that settler first is more of a strategic choice than a viable optimum production choice - e.g. you're playing at a high difficulty level and you have to grab a choice spot before the computer does.

I'm looking at various options for growth, improvements, chopping assuming reasonable specials to develop. How to value worker turns now is more subtle..I'm looking at different ways of doing it.

ohioastronomy
Jul 16, 2006, 10:07 AM
I don't think you ever need more than 1 worker/city, unless you're doing some massive chop/rush. I usually have fewer than 1 worker/city, I would never build a second worker before a first settler.

Moving 3 instead of 2 doesn't actually benefit you unless you use it. The main time you use it is when you're improving a hill or chopping a forest, in which case the fast worker can move and improve on the same turn, while the ordinary worker has to move one turn and start improving the next turn. That gives a 4:3 ratio, at most (unless you're playing on quick speed, I guess).

I tend to play setups where I have two good food specials in my first city, and try to have the same in the second one. For positions like these, the cities grow fast, and building improvements for a given city is a full-time job for a worker - thus, you gain substantially by having a worker in place to immediately improve each city. If a city is desirable primarily for strategic reasons, but growth is slow, then the need for an immediate worker is reduced.

johnpaulcain
Jul 20, 2006, 10:58 AM
I think it's important to note that workers aren't worth building until you have good exploitable techs built up..........I usually pass the time getting a warrior out, maybe working on stonehenge if my leader isn't cultural.

I love it when people contradict a factual analysis! Great work Ohio. Of course there will always be random variations but you cannot argue with the factual analysis Worker-Worker-Settler is optimum....subject to random variations.

Ayani
Jul 28, 2006, 02:29 PM
First off, thanks for the great guide! I've got a question for Ohio, or anyone who understands the worker-worker-settler strategy better than I.

I understand that it changed a bit with Warlords, and I've been playing around with starts the last few days to try to work this strategy into my game. I think I understand it well enough, and with a civ that starts with agriculture or mining I can get out to a pretty nice start, better than my previous typical start which was settler first.

But with Warlords, I was looking to try the new Civs out. I just cannot figure out how to get a good start with Ragnor. He starts with Hunting and Fishing. So I have to research mining and then bronze working before I can get to the chopping. In that time, with a worker first, I quickly run out of things to do with the worker. Unless there are deer, beavers, or elephants, there's nothing that worker can do to improve tiles "between" chops. And unless there is gold or silver to mine once mining tech is done, nothing really helps to push the 2nd worker and settler out faster.

So my question is, what would the generic recommended start be with the Vikings? I realize that the specifics of what resources are available would change some steps, but I'm just looking for some basic pointers. Thanks!

ronnybiggs
Jul 28, 2006, 04:37 PM
Well I tried various permutations of the W-W-S build, and I stand corrected. I guess I was just in civ 1/2/3 mode and had yet to learn that Worker/Settler units in IV don't consume food as maintenance.

Also, most civs I start with have mining as a start tech, so I can nab BW before I churn out a first worker.

Still I have to offer the caveat that two workers to start seems like overkill, especially if you don't have many forests. I just don't have much for two workers to do to start off. I think W-S-? seems better, with the ? depending on what resources and techs you have at your disposal.

The problem with a "factual" analysis is it's purely mathematical. It provides a good abstract way of looking at things, but you still need to ask what benefit each worker can give you that early in the game. Especially when you've got impending barb invasions to worry about. I had a similar conversation with a guy about a Granary/Slavery pop rush strategy.

ohioastronomy
Jul 31, 2006, 07:20 PM
Well I tried various permutations of the W-W-S build, and I stand corrected. I guess I was just in civ 1/2/3 mode and had yet to learn that Worker/Settler units in IV don't consume food as maintenance.

Also, most civs I start with have mining as a start tech, so I can nab BW before I churn out a first worker.

Still I have to offer the caveat that two workers to start seems like overkill, especially if you don't have many forests. I just don't have much for two workers to do to start off. I think W-S-? seems better, with the ? depending on what resources and techs you have at your disposal.

The problem with a "factual" analysis is it's purely mathematical. It provides a good abstract way of looking at things, but you still need to ask what benefit each worker can give you that early in the game. Especially when you've got impending barb invasions to worry about. I had a similar conversation with a guy about a Granary/Slavery pop rush strategy.

The key to W-W-S is that the second worker helps chop the settler and accompanies it to the new city; it gives you two rapidly developing cities. You do need something to do on the other end (perhaps chop an obelisk if you don't have a natural means of culture growth.) I've been able to use two early workers effectively on emperor/marathon - may not be feasible at immortal or deity.

ronnybiggs
Aug 02, 2006, 02:03 PM
The key to W-W-S is that the second worker helps chop the settler and accompanies it to the new city; it gives you two rapidly developing cities. You do need something to do on the other end (perhaps chop an obelisk if you don't have a natural means of culture growth.)

Yeah that's my point. I don't usually have enough forests around to keep two workers busy for two cities (I'm also thinking about the future - health concerns and the bonus forests provide, and the chop bonus offered by mathematics - so I don't want to chop too much). And since I usually plant my second city pretty close to the first one, one worker can easily go back and forth between cities to improve tiles as they grow to occupy them.

As far as obelisks, especially an industrious civ doesn't have to spend much more to build stonehenge than an obelisk. I just hate wasting production turns on obelisks for that reason.

Raider
Sep 17, 2006, 12:58 PM
I think this article makes way too many assumptions about the ease and predictability of the game and land layout that will simply not hold true, especially at higher difficulties. This analysis would have been fine for Sim City, for Civ4 it's just a math excersise not based in reality.

tempuraki
Sep 18, 2006, 10:55 AM
There's not one strategy that can be based on reality because reality is unpredictable, but a mathmatically based guide offers a good rule of thumb that will help getting a good start most of the time.

It's like when you are plotting the route to go to work every morning, you take into consideration of the distance, the most highway usage, etc. Or if you commute, you think about the number of connections, express train vs local train, etc. Sometime you run into traffic jams or stalling trains, that's when you deviate from your calculated plans and improvise, but for the most part, I think mathmatical analysis is important, as it helps me get to work on time.

Or I should say, helps me figure out when's the latest I can get up everyday, so I can then figure out how late I can stay up playing civ4 :P

PS: Actually I think we do have a guide based on reality, and it's called the civfanatics forums, where you can find strategies aimed at almost every scenarios you encountered in the game :)

owlshot
Oct 08, 2006, 09:47 AM
When constructing Stonehenge. the scale automaticlly becomes very small on my screen. What's the fix?

Xin Yu
Oct 09, 2006, 12:51 AM
The situation is quite diffenent when playing deity, small, quick. The following are the numbers:

food box width to grow: 14, 16, 17, 18, 20 (2/3 of the standard)

production: warrior 10, worker 40, settler 67 (2/3 of the standard)

Chop trees: 13 shield before mathematics.

Since this is a small world, getting your settler out fast is the key in land grabbing.

This makes the worker first strategy not so good (you'll be late in grabbing lands). The following is somewhat the fastest when you have at least a 3- food square (flood land, wheat, corn) and another 3-production squire (this can be either a forest or a floodland) to work on.

grow to size 2 : 5 turns, meanwhile building a warrior.
halt warrior, start a settler for 10 turns, revolution to slavory.
Whip the settler.

Total: 5+10+1=16 turns (if a spiritual leader, 15 turns) and you have a settler. This is even faster than building a settler from the beginning, which requires 17 turns.

Then cancel the warrior and start a worker for a turn. This will put the overflow to the worker (+7). Then switch back to the warrior. After 5 turns the warrior is almost done (loses one production due to 10 turns of delaying) and the city grows back to size 2. Now switch to the worker for 3 turns and you can whip again. So on turn 25 you have a worker (and a warrior as well since you have two hammers overflow).

Compare to the worker first strategy:

Worker turn 10, chop 2 trees and a settler turn 21 (on a small map, should not go with the 2nd worker to further delay it). The warrior will only be half way done by turn 25.

The grow to size two strategy gains 5 settler turns, which translates into 5 worker turns and 5 growth turns. It loses 7 worker turns from the first city (does not count the 8 turns chopping time since the production has already been included into the settler). Also it starts to grow at turn 25 instead of turn 21. So the net is: loses 2 worker turns, gains 1 growth turn.

Other benefits for the size 2 first strategy: a warrior is built (production gain: 6 hammers), stays in a larger size longer (+ some commerce). Revolution turn already passed so there is a turn gained for non-spiritual leaders.

MensSana
Nov 24, 2006, 05:21 AM
My first post here, but I think this discussion is very enlightning.
I have recently started a game, and have been thinking what is the best way to start this gambit.
With the patch 1.52, you got a lot of production for cutting trees and it was a worthwhile thing to do, but with 1.61 and only initially 20PP, you have to chop down a lot of trees for Worker-Worker-Settler. These trees are also of great importance later on in the game when you want lumbermills, or just as early production. A hill with trees on a plain does give you a lot of production without any improvements. So the amount of chopping to me, must be limited with patch 1.61.
My current game is.....

1) Worker
2) Worker improve gold/gem/silver etc...(if available)
Gives me production as well as some currency/tech
3) chop Settler, but no more than 3 forest for 60PPs + city PP

.....what do you think of this?? Is this a viable strategy for early growth?

Because there must be a balance with 1.61 between chopping forest and saving forest for early production.

Tesuji
Jan 21, 2007, 11:10 AM
OK, I know I'm rather late to this thread but I simply didn't have time to play this game until recently. I did play a good amount of Civ 3.

I'm having trouble on Emperor and find it's mostly due to getting my second city out too late. (And later to protect them from barbs, but lets address one issue at the time.) So I turned to this article for answers. Unfortunately, I usually already get two workers out first if I can and use chopping to get there. Since the forest yield is 20 now (and I think 16 for squares one step further away) it has become a little more complicated.

I always play random Civ, so I don't always get to make two workers from go. I find that if I can get to Hinduism first I'll do so. If I have mining I go for BW while making a worker. If I don't have mining I usually make a warrior while researching mining. Only exception is when I have the technology and the nearby resources to use a worker from the start.

On Emperor I started to wait with the second worker and build a settler instead. I think this is faster. I also used to start out with making a worker first in my 2nd city, but then I soon have nothing to do for my workers that is immediately beneficial.

I'd like to see an extensive analysis like the original article, but based on the current yields.

Also, can someone point me to an article about optimal city/worker balance? For Civ 3 the ratio was 1 to 1.5 per city (I believe, it's been a long time). Now I find I have plenty with 0.5 per city.

Cheers,

Mark

DaviddesJ
Jan 21, 2007, 03:43 PM
Also, can someone point me to an article about optimal city/worker balance? For Civ 3 the ratio was 1 to 1.5 per city (I believe, it's been a long time). Now I find I have plenty with 0.5 per city.

I generally aim for 1 worker per city. But I think it's hard to generalize. You need more workers if you have a lot of jungle, or to a lesser extent forests. And also if you're expanding faster.

Skallagrimson
Feb 26, 2007, 11:02 AM
I generally play on Epic or Marathon, and am currently still at Noble diff.

One thing that should be factored in here is time it will take to research Bronze Working, as you cannot cut until you have BW. On Epic and Marathon settings, research time is increased, and I am sure that in some cases it may not be possible to have BW researched before 30 turns or more have gone by. Also, at Noble difficulty and higher it can be suicide to avoid building a military unit for any length of time. If your Civ starts with a warrior, you can place it in your first city to avoid losing it to barbs, but you will need to build another before you build your first settler. The problem with this though, is that you do not get to explore much, and this can reduce your options when trying to find a suitable spot for your 2nd city, and increase the number of barbs that harass you.

I quite often play civs that start with a scout though, so exploration is not a problem. The other good thing about starting with a scout at higher difficulty is that they always obtain positive results from huts, you won't have to worry about them turning into barbs. The bad thing is this means that I need to produce a warrior first to defend my capital, or if starting with a warrior, I need to research Hunting first to get scouts quickly enough to start exploring. In the latter case, this delays Bronze Working even more.

My normal progression at the start of the game is this:
Warrior, worker, warrior, settler, worker

Or you can play a custom game and turn off barbs, so that you don't have to worry about your military at the outset.

I tend to avoid cutting, except when improving a tile, this may be a result of the amount of time I spent playing the previous Civ games, and Alpha Centauri, in which clearcutting your natural surroundings seemed to be more detrimental in the long run. Of course, if you only cut early in the game, don't improve the tiles, and leave a few forests around, your forests can grow back over time. This can be effective, and I have used it in situations where I have alot of forest/tundra tiles on the extreme borders of my civ. I avoid planting any cities in the area, unless I need a certain resource there, and cut every other tile before leaving the area alone for a good long time. Once I return a few of the previously cut tiles have grown back, and I can cut them again.

If my civ starts with Mining and my first unit is Warrior, I know I can get to BW in time to build the Worker, so I do the Worker/Worker/Settler queue, and generally try to put City 2 near where it can work the Copper for Axemen to escort subsequent Settlers, protect cities and improvements, etc.; and then have the workers get that mined ASAP. After all that the workers split up to improving the tiles worked by cities 1 and 2. City 2 is usually a unit-generating city, and city 1 is usually a Settler-builder (due to the food resources the game usually gives to the initial build location). This means city 2 grows more so sometimes I have to send both workers there to improve more tiles, and if the Copper city has good food, so much the better for growth and mega-production early on.

It's a different challenge when I don't have Mining and/or if I start with a Scout. I compare the time to discover BW with the time to build a worker. IF the worker can be farming or otherwise useful while trying to get to BW, I'll continue on with Worker/Worker/Settler. If there aren't many choppable trees (and I normally try to leave 2 trees unchopped for each city, for the +1 health bonus which becomes deadly NOT to have late in the game when factories and growth are polluting the hell out of the empire), I'll go with just one worker and either chop or improve as opportunity allows, and if no chopping can rush the Settler, I'll spend some growth turns and get Warriors built for escort, defense, and exploration work in those turn. Or swap into a barracks or library queue if I don't need anymore Warriors.

Overall city spread policy, I try to REX it up old school, and just improve the commerce as much as I can to fund it so that it won't cripple the economy. I've found it's more successful to take the economic hit of growth and then let that investment return on growing cottages, gold mines, luxury and health resources, etc., later, than to stay small and try (usually without success) to keep up with the growth of the AIs who spammed cities all over the place and did so without penalty, and are now sitting on all the choice locations with Ivory, Stone, Marble, trade, luxury, and health resources, and are staring down at you with their multitude of armies to add your lands to theirs.

You have to build cities in SELF-DEFENSE, to deny resources to your enemies (which they all are, even if they claim to be a friend). That requires early growth, and not just blasting out the first city quickly, but blasting several out in succession, which means more chopping and improving, which means more workers.

BrantleyL1
May 15, 2007, 04:41 PM
As a noob, I'm still trying to figure out a lot of things... Sorry if some of this has been covered before in here, but it's kinda hard to go through a LOT of posts and find what I'm looking for....

This strategy (build Worker-worker-settler) kind of flies in the face of what I've read elsewhere. Which basically says that due to workers and settlers stopping growth, they should be delayed until the city grows to size 3.

Without knowing what I was doing, I had a little success basically doing this in the first games I played. So, I think I'll revisit this idea the next game.

But the article raises a couple of questions.

1) I'm assuming that you research Bronze Working first. (Is it available with all starting leaders?) (I'm away from my computer - how long does it take - less than the time to produce the first worker?)
2) So since you don't have Agriculture or Mining or Pottery (unless that leader happens to start with it) at this point, the chopping is just that - chopping. I assume that you come back in later and build tha farms/cottages.

3) Since you have not yet built a warrior, I assume that by the time you get through this process that Stonehenge is probably not within reach.

A+ombomb
Jul 26, 2007, 03:20 PM
There's not one strategy that can be based on reality because reality is unpredictable, but a mathmatically based guide offers a good rule of thumb that will help getting a good start most of the time.

It's like when you are plotting the route to go to work every morning, you take into consideration of the distance, the most highway usage, etc. Or if you commute, you think about the number of connections, express train vs local train, etc. Sometime you run into traffic jams or stalling trains, that's when you deviate from your calculated plans and improvise, but for the most part, I think mathmatical analysis is important, as it helps me get to work on time.

Or I should say, helps me figure out when's the latest I can get up everyday, so I can then figure out how late I can stay up playing civ4 :P

PS: Actually I think we do have a guide based on reality, and it's called the civfanatics forums, where you can find strategies aimed at almost every scenarios you encountered in the game :)

Reality is quite predictable. That's why science exists.

MrCynical
Jul 27, 2007, 06:43 AM
This strategy (build Worker-worker-settler) kind of flies in the face of what I've read elsewhere. Which basically says that due to workers and settlers stopping growth, they should be delayed until the city grows to size 3.

This strategy assumes there's enough forest for the first (and later second) worker to chop to rush the settler. If you have little or no forest at your start site this isn't going to work, as you city will be locked at size 1. The first worker is still the best idea on those maps (except very occasionally for a work boat), but after that you need to build something else (military or maybe stonehenge) to give your city a chance to grow before you build more workers or settlers.

1) I'm assuming that you research Bronze Working first. (Is it available with all starting leaders?) (I'm away from my computer - how long does it take - less than the time to produce the first worker?)

Bronze working is always the best choice for first tech, if available. For many leaders it is available, but a few will need to research mining first, which is a disadvantage. It a lot of cases it will be done at around the same time as the first worker, but it depends too much on starting terrain and difficulty level to be sure of that all the time. You could mine something with it if the worker is finished long before the tech.

2) So since you don't have Agriculture or Mining or Pottery (unless that leader happens to start with it) at this point, the chopping is just that - chopping. I assume that you come back in later and build tha farms/cottages.

It's too early for cottages even if you did have pottery. Farming over the top of ordinary forest would also be a low priority even if you could at this stage. Best to stick to resource improvements before worrying about ordinary terrain.

3) Since you have not yet built a warrior, I assume that by the time you get through this process that Stonehenge is probably not within reach.

Again, would depend on difficulty level. Stonehenge is far from essential anyway.

BrantleyL1
Jul 27, 2007, 09:38 AM
Thanks for your thoughts, Mr Cynical....

I've learned a bit in the two months since I posted that!! I'm still playing at a lower level until I can get really good at it. I get KILLED on the GOTM games - paying at Monarch or Prince! Normal Speed.

My general strategy now - out of the box is:

Warrior. To protect city & accompany first settler.
Worker.
Settler.
Warrior. To replace the Warrior that is now accompaning the settler.
Stonehenge. (This seems to help the early culture and expansion of cultural borders.)

Meanwhile, I research Mining (if necessary), Bronze working, and Mysticism (if necessary - to build Stonehenge). Some leaders, you have to throw Agriculture in here early - to give worker something to do other than chop.

The worker is usually done a turn or so after I get BW and revolted to slavery. So he can chop or chop/farm the settler. The city never grows enough at this time to use slavery to finish the settler. With any luck (i.e. Forrests nearby), my worker can chop and contribute to stonehenge finishing quickly. And when it is not too costly, use slavery (whipping) to finish Stonehenge.

Meanwhile, I've been exploring. When BW is done, copper is revealed. Again, with any luck, it's either in the Fat Cross of the first city or nearby. Even if it's a crappy location, I will settle near copper. Next up, build another worker, mine copper & connect the two cities. If no copper yet, pick a GOOD location and settle city 2.

If NO copper, research (Iron working??) to reveal Iron. And continue exploring. At this point, hopefuly close, you've found either copper or iron. This is actually fairly likely. (Only one recent fractal map where I was stuck on a LONG peninsula did I not have one or the other close by.)

Once I've got copper or iron, start building LOTS of Axemen (some will be chopped, some whipped). Then go after the Barbs who will likely have set up a city nearby. Early barb cities are no match for 4 or 5 axeman.

That's what I've been doing in my early game. Please poke holes in it!!

A+ombomb
Jul 27, 2007, 03:02 PM
Bronze working is *not* always the best tech to pick first if available by any stretch of the imagination. It depends on game speed, first off, because on "quick" or "standard" you can get in bronze working by the time you'd use it after going for agriculture and/or animal husbandry first. On epic it's a little better to choose a bronze or pottery first approach to ensure your workers always have something good to do, and since revolution of 1 turn means less on those speeds and if you wait you will likely be wasting worker turns doing nothing (techs are slower relatively speaking).

MrCynical
Jul 28, 2007, 11:34 AM
@A+ombomb: Maybe true on low difficulty levels, if you're suggesting that that you'd have time to research another tech in addition to bronze working before the work on low difficulty. I suppose at low level, and if you start with mysticism you might be able to hit a religion tech first. At high level though tech is simply too slow compared to unit construction unless you've got seriously bizarre terrain (founded on a commerce resource with a usuable oasis maybe? - even so unlikely), to make it worthwhile.

A+ombomb
Jul 28, 2007, 06:53 PM
Well if it's a 6 food tile, you are getting +3 extra resources a turn which approximates to the same as chopping without using the forests, and without any food improves slavery is pretty marginal and can stifle your growth if overdone, not to mention the turn lost revolting if you aren't spiritual. On deity I would probably get pottery way before bronze working, even on quick speed, just because the tech is so slow, but taking out food improving is a bad idea.

Freidenker
Aug 13, 2007, 01:38 PM
Great article, ohioastronomy. One day I would like to estimate the benifits on early of traits like Imperialistic and Expansive.

AccipiterQ
Aug 17, 2007, 03:34 PM
so after the patching, and with BtS, is Ohio's original post still valid, or has it been completely nerfed by patching??

L4zybugg3r
Jul 30, 2008, 09:49 PM
I realise I'm way late on this thread. Nice article though.

I was wondering if (early game - say with 3 workers) it is better to have workers do separate jobs or work on the same tile improvement/forest chop?

I usually play marathon speed so I figure that the additional movement cost might not be such a big deal when compared with the earlier (single) improvement/chop. Also 3 workers seems to be ok worker stack as most things (on marathon speed) take a multiple of 3 turns to complete.

Also if a worker stack is moved between cities to improve tiles is it worth building a road to speed up the travel time? Any thoughts?

vicawoo
Jul 30, 2008, 10:32 PM
I realise I'm way late on this thread. Nice article though.

I was wondering if (early game - say with 3 workers) it is better to have workers do separate jobs or work on the same tile improvement/forest chop?

I usually play marathon speed so I figure that the additional movement cost might not be such a big deal when compared with the earlier (single) improvement/chop. Also 3 workers seems to be ok worker stack as most things (on marathon speed) take a multiple of 3 turns to complete.

Also if a worker stack is moved between cities to improve tiles is it worth building a road to speed up the travel time? Any thoughts?

You don't need to improve tiles faster than you can work them, so you can easily time one worker to finish up that 3rd mine in your capital.

Sometimes multiple workers are good for speeding up an early improvement in a second city or a just available strategic/wonder based resource.

Roads are low priority in many cases. If I'm going to move to a hill and I'm 3 tiles away, I'll move one tile and spend one turn building a road in a useful location and then move next turn, and finish up the road later.

Sinatra
Apr 30, 2009, 11:59 PM
hi all,

been forever since i posted.

i'm a bit nooby to advanced strategies... are you all saying that for any game speed, the first three things that your first city should build are:

worker, worker, settler

even though that means no growth for the first city?

is the idea that getting that second city quicker pays off in th long run?

also, this idea of switching the Q... r u saying you should tell your city to build a warrior or something, and then switch to worker/settler on the turn prior to them being built?

does that result in the city growing and no other penalty? don't other units take shorter build times? so what do you do then?

what i need is a step by step guide for dummies as to how you actually employ the strategy.

Crusher1
May 05, 2009, 03:13 AM
I'd suggest one of the following:

1. Worker, warriors to 3 pop, settler, settler, worker or settler, worker, settler
2. Worker, warriors to happy cap, worker, settler/s - my preference with no close neighbors.
3. Worker, Chop Worker, Chop Settler

Reasoning behind my suggestions revolve around: when building a settler you want improved tiles to expedite the process. Starting a settler at 3 pop usually entails 2 improved tiles while working on a 3rd or chopping a forest. This gets you earlier sites but slows down the overall rate of expansion in most cases.

Growing to the happy cap first then adding a worker ensures 5 tiles will be improved + you now have 2 workers to chop out subsequent settlers very fast. So although your 1st and 2nd city are out slower your 3rd, 4th, and 5th, etc. city will be much faster. Works very well if you don't have close neighbors. This method also offers the greatest speed in tech and gives you more time to scout for ideal city sites.

Choice 3 is very powerful with expansive leaders that start with mining and the timing usually works 2 chops into the 2nd worker with overflow from the 2nd into the settler. Then both workers chop 1x and the settler is complete with 4X forest being used.

These guidelines drastically change with IMP leaders, and even more with IMP leaders with different traits :)

ston
May 07, 2009, 03:44 AM
I don't understand this strategy.

If you don't start with mining, then it's going to take you 21 turns before you can start chopping, i.e. 6 turns after the first worker appears. Let's say you have Ghengis...he doesn't have agriculture so you'd need to tech that to give your worker something to do, pushing back the ability to chop by another 6 turns...there'd then be 12 turns after the first worker appeared before you could start chopping. I guess you could knock a mine up waiting for BW if you don't tech agriculture, but what if the hills have trees on them?

So, what does the worker do for 6 turns...make roads towards the trees? Would it be better to put those 6 turns into a Warrior first?

Shurdus
May 07, 2009, 04:53 AM
I see the merits of growing then starting on workers and settlers, but worker worker settler seems like madness to me. On immortal or even emperor barbs get a little frisky meaning lots of spawning. You won't even be able to settle the settler because traveling is not safe and building a city isn't either.

Maybe this start is higly situation specific? I have yet to see anyone open like this.

MkLh
May 17, 2009, 03:53 PM
I see the merits of growing then starting on workers and settlers, but worker worker settler seems like madness to me. On immortal or even emperor barbs get a little frisky meaning lots of spawning. You won't even be able to settle the settler because traveling is not safe and building a city isn't either.

Maybe this start is higly situation specific? I have yet to see anyone open like this.

I've done that many times in Immortal and Emperor. Barbs are not a problem: you can fogbust with your initial scout or warrior or just trust your luck. I don't remember i've ever lost a settler to barbs.

This is a strong way to start if you have a rich city site (like goldmines & floodplains) near. In commerce poor maps research may suffer.

TheMeInTeam
May 18, 2009, 12:39 AM
I truly do have a hard time buying w w settler just because you often have multiple 5+ yield tiles that can be worked. Delaying a 5 or more yield tile for THAT long just to rely on chops to get a semi-faster 2nd city doesn't feel appealing to me normally. If IMP or possibly EXP I might consider it to get the hammer bonuses (and to try to circumvent bad starting techs possibly), but usually I want to work that cow, non-irrigated corn, pig, etc sooner rather than later. Chops can also be applied in strong fashion later, and its not all THAT frequent that you need a 2nd city with such speed.

Compare w w s to say, worker, improve 2 food tiles while growing to 2 or 3 (5+ yield tiles), immediately starting settler after growth, maybe improving another tile or two (or now chopping), etc. Then again, sometimes the techs to get those resources are harder than BW, or sometimes you only have 1 good early viable tile, so it can work on occasion.

zizzeus
May 19, 2009, 12:14 PM
On Immortal level, I agree with TMIT in improving two tiles first. No matter what you do, you will not beat that free settler to his preferred city location, so speeding yours up by two turns or so is irrelevant, provided you do still beat his THIRD settler. Better to improve land and then chop out your expansion.

On Emperor, it's been awhile but I don't recall beating enemy settlers comfortably to the second site. Perhaps it's possible with IMP and/or EXP, and then chop first would make sense assuming you have the techs. Otherwise, improve first.

On Monarch, you should be able to beat their settlers but things will be tight depending on how aggressive you want to be with your settling. Chop first would make sense, unless you don't find anyone nearby.

On Prince and below, weirdly, it makes sense again to improve first, since you can easily beat the enemy settlers out, and would be wasting your classical growth by beating them by 10 turns instead of 3.

This reasoning leads all the way down to Settler level, where some HoF players have shown that it's actually optimal not to settle the initial city AT ALL, and simply scout around popping huts for free settlers. With such a variation, I think everyone should keep in mind that advice is heavily level-dependent, as well as game speed and starting techs.

Crusher1
May 19, 2009, 02:20 PM
Grow to happy cap for better long term settling! If you happen to lose out on a good early site, don't worry because that city will become yours with your 1st war and will have population and improvements waiting for you. I'd rather give up a city site then slow down long term expansion.

oyzar
May 21, 2009, 08:01 AM
Grow to happy cap for better long term settling! If you happen to lose out on a good early site, don't worry because that city will become yours with your 1st war and will have population and improvements waiting for you. I'd rather give up a city site then slow down long term expansion.

This is not so much true in MP... That first city might very well contain the only copper nearby, which then means it is likely that your mentioned first war won't be very much in your favour ;).

Crusher1
May 22, 2009, 08:10 AM
Who plays MP?

MP = starting position > skill. Human vs AI can overcome but human vs. human with same skill is Game Over.

MP is idiotic for the above reason and = no thanks.

1 player gets 6 hills with 1 gold, 1 gem, 2 irrigated corn, and 1 pig.

2 player gets 1 wheat, not even irrigated with no hills. Yea, MP is fun - NOT.

Krill
May 22, 2009, 08:36 AM
You forget the power of the choke.

Indiansmoke
May 22, 2009, 08:43 AM
You forget the power of the choke.


He doesn't forget, he is just completely ignorant :D

Seanner
Jul 30, 2009, 01:13 PM
I skipped a couple pages, so forgive me if this was mentioned...

I've seen some points and counter-points about chopping like 30 hammers now is stronger than 30 later, and improvements more or less equaling chopping over x turns except you still have the forests for wonder-chopping... (inclined to agree with the latter, if you can almost not-chop a starting position as fast as clear-cutting and still have the forests, you have far more potential energy later on..)

But one thing I hadn't seen was a mention of mathematics. If indeed improving resources can be almost as good as chopping, then in fact it's superior, because 30 hammers now is worth 45 hammers later...

oyzar
Jul 31, 2009, 03:30 PM
Chopping trees right before you descover math isn't a good thing, it is better to wait a tiny bit and then chop afterwards. How long before you should wait and instead improve other tiles depends on what tiles you have to improve and what improvements you have already...