View Full Version : Need tips on starting cities


Wolfwindrunner
Mar 03, 2010, 08:20 AM
Hi

I just started playing CiV IV again and have a alot of fun. But I need to have some tips for claiming land in the early age. I currently playing Warlord difficulty because Noble kicked me out of the game before I reached modern age.

- So when I want to create a city the game gives some suggestions by marking it with a blue circle on the map. Is this always the best lpace to start a city? Or do you often ignore the suggestion?

- I also noticed that I get into trouble with money when I start spawning cities early on, any tips how I can keep up my finance? I noticed that NPC players can spawn cities more easily. I once read that I should not lower the tech research below 60 %.

Thanks.

drlake
Mar 03, 2010, 08:53 AM
I've started to ignore the recommended locations more often. I'm not sure what algorithm the AI uses to select city locations, but they put a lot of them in what I consider bad locations. That said, I don't have a "rule" so much as several rules, depending on what type of city I'm interested in founding and what kind of resources are in the area. A couple of basic principles that I follow (currently working on Prince level):

1) I don't worry about using every tile, even every resource tile. I'd rather make each city I do build in a solid location and pick up resources outside the BFC through border pops than pack the cities in. The reason for that comes down in part to maintenance costs. The two factors that influence city maintenance are distance from the capital and number of cities. I accept slightly higher costs related to distance since that allows each city to be more productive than if I were to put out more cities (so more maintenance from that source) and cover every tile, even the poor ones.

2) Every city location needs both food and hammers to grow. Food resources, flood plains, and grassland all work for the first part. Hills and mineral specials for the second part. The mix of the two determines what type of city I'm building. Lots of food makes a site good for cottaging (so, lots of research and gold potential) or specialists (lots of Great Person Points, plus customized city output depending on which specialists [but usually scientists]).

3) To get my hands on key early resources like copper, horses, iron, marble, and stone, I'll put cities in some pretty crappy locations. Those resources are worth the maintenance burden of a small city, IMO. Otherwise, unless I'm building a city to block AI expansion, I normally won't build it unless it has either a couple of food resources/flood plans and/or several grassland tiles so that whether I'm building a production, specialist, or cottage city it will get big enough to do me some good in the long run.

4) Settling in the middle of a forest area can be good for chopping out wonders or units, depending on what you need. Don't be afraid to cut down those forests.

As for maintenance, as the difficulty level goes up it becomes harder to pay for the cost of numerous cities. Some observations:

1) The 60% research rule is a decent one in the early game, unless you are involved in a war. Later in the game, you can maintain decent research rates through buildings, scientist specialists, and settled great scientists. Couple those with espionage and tech trading and lower research rates are fine.

2) I don't usually build more than 3 or so cities before I'm trying to take one or more from my neighbors. If I like the location of the city I take, I'll keep it. More often, though, unless it is a capital or a shrine city I'll raze it. Later in the game, I'm more inclined to keep the cities I conquer rather than raze and settle new ones. You can fund a lot of deficit spending while expanding during a war by conquering cities.

3) Don't neglect financial infrastructure and trading spare resources to AI civs for cash.

Wreck
Mar 03, 2010, 08:53 AM
when I want to create a city the game gives some suggestions by marking it with a blue circle on the map. Is this always the best lpace to start a city? Or do you often ignore the suggestion?

The blue circle is probably OK, I guess, if you've really no idea on where to go. But it is rarely ideal even in its small locale, and of course you should be thinking about how you are going to place all of your cities collectively, not just this one. So I always ignore the suggestion, because I almost always know exactly where my settler is going to settle before it leaves its build city. In fact, I pay so little attention to the blue-circle suggestions that I'm quite unsure how good or bad they are. I only notice them at the very start of the game, when I often find them rather odd.

I get into trouble with money when I start spawning cities early on, any tips how I can keep up my finance?

Yes. Cottage, cottage, cottage.

Beyond that, do keep an eye out for the super-early high-commerce resource tiles, particularly gems and gold, and try to grab those in the initial settlement wave if they are reachable and at all good sites. (Silver too, if the site is strong, but silver tends to appear in the tundra for some reason.)

The 60% "rule" is probably a decent idea on your level of play, but not at higher levels.

mrt309
Mar 03, 2010, 09:04 AM
Start a new game and post here. So people can give you some good advices with reasons. That helps a lot.

Blue dots are just advices of AI but the decision is yours. Generally about city placing:
- Don't settle 1 tile away from coast.
- Have at least 1 food resource in your cities' BFC.
- Settle towards your rivals then backfill.
- Don't settle more cities if your economy is bad.
- Riversides are good places to settle because they give health bonus, are natural trade routes and levees can be built later.

Tomice
Mar 03, 2010, 10:22 AM
My (second) rule of thumb is:

Do not expand if you don't have enough workers to immediately improve the most impotant tiles!
You should avoid having your citizens work unimproved tiles.

If expanding from 3 to 4 cities, build your 4th or 5th worker before you build your settler. and of course, build the defender first, so he can immediately accompany the settler.

My mistake was building settlers first, then send workers after them 30 turns later...

drlake
Mar 03, 2010, 10:26 AM
My (second) rule of thumb is:

Do not expand if you don't have enough workers to immediately improve the most impotant tiles!
You should avoid having your citizens work unimproved tiles.

If expanding from 3 to 4 cities, build your 4th or 5th worker before you build your settler. and of course, build the defender first, so he can immediately accompany the settler.

My mistake was building settlers first, then send workers after them 30 turns later...

Heh, good point. I'm guilty of this as well, or having the new city build its own workers.

A strategic point for the OP - you are better off if your early cities have very high food production. That allows you to use the Slavery civic effectively for whipping out settlers, workers, and units. I've found it takes some practice to learn the technique, but it is very powerful.

Wolfwindrunner
Mar 03, 2010, 11:46 AM
Ok guys, thanks for the input. I will take these tips along with my next game.

Im also wondering what you use as minimal space between cities? And also do you ever move the central palace?

drlake
Mar 03, 2010, 11:55 AM
Personally, I try to avoid BFC overlap, but I'll tolerate that if I want a city in that location for some other reason (or take it from an AI civ). Otherwise, I don't have a "minimum" spacing, though in practice it is not uncommon for me to leave an empty row between BFCs.

I haven't ever moved my capital, but I probably should in my current game. There are good strategic reasons to move the capital when it is on the edge of your empire.

dirtyparrot
Mar 03, 2010, 12:34 PM
- So when I want to create a city the game gives some suggestions by marking it with a blue circle on the map. Is this always the best lpace to start a city? Or do you often ignore the suggestion?

- I also noticed that I get into trouble with money when I start spawning cities early on, any tips how I can keep up my finance? I noticed that NPC players can spawn cities more easily. I once read that I should not lower the tech research below 60 %.

Thanks.

Lots of times the blue circle is a decent option. But there are many times where it's not a good option (e.g. recommending that you settle on the gold). At the very least, it's worth investigating to see if that potential site is useful.

As for keeping your slider over 60%, that sort of missing important thing which is what matters is your total commerce. Having the slider at 20% and having 50 beakers per turn is better than having it at 60% and producing 25 beakers per turn. The important thing grabbing enough good land. If you want to expand a lot, it's a good idea to have at least teched pottery and/or writing. They can help to keep your economy or research afloat while you expand. I would suggest that you check out the war academy.

Siran
Mar 03, 2010, 01:39 PM
In the time after rexing and before the discovery of currency, monarchy and code of laws it's not that uncommon to be far under 60%. But you do need some plan how to get out of there. Cottages that crow, libraries where you can run 2 scientist to keep your tech going etc.