View Full Version : Civ 5 Strategy: The Search for Happiness….


remconius
Sep 20, 2010, 02:07 PM
DISCLAIMER: Without having played the game, this is my view on strategy. Based on facts from the manual and logical reasoning.

Civilization V is about several key concepts.
Science
Main source : Population (raw)
Secondary source : Tiles, agreements, buildings & policies
Production
Main source : Population (working tiles)
Secondary source : Buildings, Policies
Gold
Main source : Population (working tiles)
Secondary source : Trade routes, diplomacy, conquest, etc
Great People
Main source : Population (specialists)
Secondary source : Wonders, policies, techs.
Unhappiness
Main source : Population (raw)
Secondary source : Number of cities, Annexing cities
Happiness
Main source : Buildings
Secondary source : Resources
Culture
Main source : Buildings
Secondary source : Wonders, policies

BOTTOM LINE: you need high population, because high population gives science, gold (from tiles), production (from tiles) and great people (from specialists).
But, high population gives unhappiness…

So you need high happiness!

The more happiness, the more people and the more people the more science, gold, production, great people. With this you can produce and maintain buildings and units.

And thus begins the search for happiness…

Scalable happiness
Each city gives 2 unhappiness and each population 1. At the same time each city can build 3 happy buildings (colosseum, theatre and stadium) each giving 4 happiness and circus if horses or elephants are near for +3.
Without circus, the average size of cities would be 10 (2UH for city & 10UH for pop) if cities had all three buildings (12Happy).
On top there is Social Policy (Meritocracy +1 Happiness per city connected to the capital) and Humanism with (+1 per city with university) increasing the base to 12.

Fixed happiness
Apart from scalable happiness you can get a number of fixed happiness bonuses that can be shared across your cities. One is a basis from difficulty level, another +2 from adopting piety and up to 15 luxuries giving 5 happiness each (6 with protectionism). Total is 77+ (92+ with protectionism). Trade or war for luxuries will be as normal as over strategic resources.

Huge cities for the win!
An empire of very large-cities will probably not be the way to go in civ 5. But you do need huge cities to maximize the benefit of multiplier buildings without having to build them in every city.
In order to have a limited number of huge cities it looks like you’ll need support cities that are small in size and that provide happiness to the empire.

Your big cities will be near lots of grassland (15 grass tiles can eventually support a city of size 30). These cities will be made to grow, produce, have specialists and have all building that have multipliers for science, production, gold, etc.

And small cities should have limited population of 3. They should build (or buy) colosseum, theatre and stadium. And, circus with horses or elephants. After they can build a market and put 2 pop in specialist slots to pay for some of the maintenance of happy buildings which is quite steep (colosseum 3, Theater 5, Stadium 6). The last pop can work a 4 food tile to support the city. These cities provide 12-15 happiness eventually for unhappiness of 5 at the cost of 14 maintenance - Market 8? Lot's of these small cities can support the uber-cities.

It is my strong belief that if you can find happiness in Civilization 5, you will be very powerful!

UPDATE AFTER PLAYING THE DEMO:
From the first 100 turns it become apparant that finding happiness is indeed key in Civ5. You really need to get cities around luxuries and trade for others (city states). This together with circuses this should get you through the early game. Support cities for happiness are only really needed later on when you can keep them small and buy buildings.

grandad1982
Sep 20, 2010, 02:27 PM
Someone else mentioned happiness cities. Whilst I kind of dislike the idea a little bit I have to agree that this seems like the way forward ATM. This could also be a good use of "filler" cities.

Ahriman
Sep 20, 2010, 02:42 PM
For Science, Production, Gold, Culture you're missing specialists.
There are specialists that focus on all of these. Science specialists in particular might be a very significant source of beaker income.

For Gold, buildings are a critical secondary source.

For unhappiness, even puppets cause unhappiness.
And I'd distinguish between founded cities (some unhappy) and conquered cities (more unhappy).

Someone else mentioned happiness cities. Whilst I kind of dislike the idea a little bit I have to agree that this seems like the way forward ATM.
Happiness cities would heavily :):):):):):) your ability to make progress on social policies, and would basically remove your ability to produce several national wonders (that require a specific building in every city).

They'd be a bit easier with Rome though, and with Order SPs (communism).


*edit*
Seriously, I can't say r*e*t*a*r*d? Thats not a slur, it means to slow something down. Man....

Celevin
Sep 20, 2010, 02:48 PM
Each city gives 2 unhappiness and each population 1.
We don't know this at all.

If this were true, you would see infinite city sprawl.

Ahriman
Sep 20, 2010, 02:51 PM
If this were true, you would see infinite city sprawl.

I think the speculation was that there is probably some non-linearity in happiness penalty for number of cities (2 unhappy might be what you get for the first city) and there are several other mechanics designed to make ICS unprofitable.

remconius
Sep 20, 2010, 03:19 PM
We do know this... From screenshots in a preview:
http://forums.civfanatics.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=263424&d=1284105357

King Jason
Sep 20, 2010, 03:31 PM
Happiness cities would heavily :):):):):):) your ability to make progress on social policies, and would basically remove your ability to produce several national wonders (that require a specific building in every city)

National wonders is a fair gripe, but if you put culture buildings in all of the "happy cities" too, you wouldn't suffer from the increased SP costs.

King Jason
Sep 20, 2010, 03:33 PM
We don't know this at all.

If this were true, you would see infinite city sprawl.

We do know this, it comes from several different screenshots across various time-frames from as far as a few months ago (I made a post doing the caculations myself in relation to unhappy from cities to the amount of cities shown on the mini map)

Then both the guide and the manual tell us this information.

Edit: Ha. I forgot I had already posted in this thread just now... feel free to merge, I would've added this to the above post anyway.

Celevin
Sep 20, 2010, 05:08 PM
I think the speculation was that there is probably some non-linearity in happiness penalty for number of cities (2 unhappy might be what you get for the first city) and there are several other mechanics designed to make ICS unprofitable.

I find I agree with you a fair bit, and I do on the first point.

Can you think of any non-happiness reasons not to build a lot of cities?

We do know this, it comes from several different screenshots across various time-frames from as far as a few months ago (I made a post doing the caculations myself in relation to unhappy from cities to the amount of cities shown on the mini map)

Then both the guide and the manual tell us this information..

Can you get me a direct quote? Because I don't think we have enough information by screenshots to confirm it. We'd need 4-5 different instances at different city numbers to make it believable.

Honestly, if it's 2 per city, it's really really stupid. Obscenely stupid. For example, say that you can make enough happiness buildings for +5 happiness per city, and the maintenance is easily covered by trading posts. This is very plausible. Is there any reason NOT to build a new city if you had a chance? Under what's being said, you just build a new city, then get the cheapest happiness building you can.

Phrased another way, assume Civ5 doesn't exist and we're playing Civ4. The developers release a patch to change city maintenance to a flat value. Make the value low enough such that players won't feel like they're killing themselves when they build their second city, say, 2 gold. Do you know how broken the game would become?

There's a reason I'm so pressing with this... ICS will happen under any circumstances where relative maintenance costs don't grow over time.

King Jason
Sep 20, 2010, 05:20 PM
There's a reason I'm so pressing with this... ICS will happen under any circumstances where relative maintenance costs don't grow over time.

The main difference and ultimate reason why your civ4 comparison is invalid is because the "incubation period" of cities to reach full potentials is pretty big in civ5. For example, outside sources of happiness excluded, meaning every city is paying for itself in happiness... Anytime you build a new city, for the duration of time that it takes to get your happiness buildings online, your civ enters a period of slower growth.

so there is a drawback. Now, if you prepared for this buy accruing the gold to insta-buy the buildings you need, then I say good for you because that still translate into a larger gap in time where cities are being constructed. You can either build the city and spend X turns in a happiness deficit building the buildings... Or you can wait X turns gaining the gold to instantly solve the deficit when a new city is build. Even still, it's not like expansion will be happening rapidly.

Most other systems work like this too. For example take SP costs ~ culture costs for social policies increase by 30% when a new city is constructed ~ however, from buildings alone (wonders not included), adding all the possible cultural producing buildings will increase it's cultural output by exponentially (100% if you were going from 1 city to 2, 50% if you were going from 2 cities to 3, etc). However, once again, the buildings we need to achieve this optimal performance take time to build. So we can either build and suffer a cultural deficit while we construct the buildings that'll bring us back to optimal performance... Or we wait until we have the gold to build them.

Honestly, it's this concept of Incubation that I think will limit expansion so significantly that ICS isn't really optimal simply due to the time constraints. There will reach a point where the resources invested in constructing new cities will not be recouped to the point of benefitting your empire before the timeframe that the game is won.

Edit:

Also other factors to consider is National wonders require their requisite building to be built in every city. As well as to gain greater value from a city, you need to build buildings in the city, which increase a cities incubation further since you have to build happiness buildings, cultural buildings (if the sp costs is important to you) and THEN the buildings that will be surving the purpose of your city. Furthermore, they're all going to cost maintenance which will require a lot of money.

Unless you're suggesting ICS with undeveloped cities will be more profitable than well planned and developed empires. Something I don't believe to be the case.

DalekDavros
Sep 20, 2010, 05:21 PM
Celevin: Social policy cost scales exponentially, so ICS won't be a default strategy even if unhappiness is linear in the number of cities.

Earthling
Sep 20, 2010, 07:31 PM
There's a reason I'm so pressing with this... ICS will happen under any circumstances where relative maintenance costs don't grow over time.

I've said I'm worried about similar things in another thread but this wasn't really addressed.

I don't really like the idea of "happiness" cities nor do I want a return of ICS, but if happiness isn't scaled well it will happen. I would mostly worry about ICS in war-heavy games and towards the lategame.

Schalke 04
Sep 20, 2010, 07:41 PM
Happiness is the most important concept for me, similar to Civ3's corruption and Civ4' city maintenance. Therefore it is the concept I have been dealing with most of the time.

When I saw the idea of a happiness city for the first time in this forum, I thought it wouldn't work, as every city of your empire has to build this buildings, not just some specialized cities. However, I really like the idea of having small (ICS?) cities which just produce excess of happiness!

This is the way where you can make most out of poor tiles. Just build a happiness city on it! Tundra or desert? You are welcome - I can make happiness out of it! Grassland will be your core. Tundra/desert/hills will be your happiness!

You can let your designated happiness cities grow to a reasonable size. The tiles you are working will be production tiles (and improvements) all along, as you don't need growth. Once you built all the necessary happiness buildinges (or at least the first two ones, three with circus) you can starve them down to one pop! The happiness benefit will be significant. The same counts for the landmass under your control, resulting in more resources!

On the downside: SP will be much more expensive.

But I think it will pay off (EDIT: it's just a possibility according to this strategy/a guess; exact formulas are not known yet!):

1. The benfits of having a lot of huge core cities due to excess happiness will be immense and could outweigh the lack of one or two SP. As a part of this strategy you could farm your core cities first to let them grow to a huge size. While your enemies have a small number of decent sized core cities, you can have more core cities which are even bigger! Playing this strategy consequently, you can even ignore happiness buildings in your core cities, and allow them to produce anything else...
2. After having built the happiness buildings in the designated cities, you could build one or two culture buildings in these cities, which will counter the increased SP-costs. It doesn't matter if it takes some time to construct them. In the end you will get them. There are no other things to construct for these cites...

ShaqFu
Sep 20, 2010, 07:51 PM
I'm not sold on the concept of happiness cities working, since there are only two pre-modern universal :) buildings: Coliseum and Theatre, both providing +4 :). Once those cities hit 6 population, they'll cease paying for themselves. Unless you're settling them in some truly marginal land, they're going to hit 6 population, and in that case they're probably not getting the hammers needed to build them in a realistic timeframe. You can rush, sure, but dropping ~1000 gold per otherwise-worthless city won't help your treasury much. I'll buy two Riflemen instead of a city that may end up hurting me (will, actually, due to SP hikes), thank you.

Ahriman
Sep 20, 2010, 07:54 PM
After having built the happiness buildings you could build one ore two culture buildings in these cities, which will counter the increased SP-costs
How do you manage to conclude that one or two culture buildings is sufficient to outweigh the impact on social policy cost?

It doesn't matter if it takes some time to construct them. In the end you will get them
How can you possible conclude that it doesn't matter how long it takes to overcome the short-term penalty? In the end, the year is 2050 and the game is over.
How quickly do you think you can possibly build happiness or culture structures in a very small city? [And if the city is not very small... then its eating up a lot of happiness.]

Schalke 04
Sep 20, 2010, 08:08 PM
I'm not sold on the concept of happiness cities working, since there are only two pre-modern universal :) buildings: Coliseum and Theatre, both providing +4 :). Once those cities hit 6 population, they'll cease paying for themselves. Unless you're settling them in some truly marginal land, they're going to hit 6 population, and in that case they're probably not getting the hammers needed to build them in a realistic timeframe.

This is my point why I think this strategy could pay of. Because the benefit of these two buildings isn't that great. If you just build them in your core cities it isn't that much of a happiness surplus.
I edited my post, so possibly you didn't read it: you can starve your happiness cites down, once you have built the necessary buildings. Imagine a size 1 pop city which produces + 8 :) by it's buildings ;)

Plus: More landsize for your empire which leads to more resources.

Grunthex
Sep 20, 2010, 08:13 PM
I'm not sold on the concept of happiness cities working, since there are only two pre-modern universal :) buildings: Coliseum and Theatre, both providing +4 :). Once those cities hit 6 population, they'll cease paying for themselves. Unless you're settling them in some truly marginal land, they're going to hit 6 population, and in that case they're probably not getting the hammers needed to build them in a realistic timeframe. You can rush, sure, but dropping ~1000 gold per otherwise-worthless city won't help your treasury much. I'll buy two Riflemen instead of a city that may end up hurting me (will, actually, due to SP hikes), thank you.

No they're not (reply to the bolded text). You get them to size 3 (or whatever reasonably supports enough hammers to build the improvements, and turn on avoid growth.

ShaqFu
Sep 20, 2010, 08:13 PM
Imagine a size 1 pop sity which will produce + 8 :) by it's buildings ;)

In that case, you'd have to make the call if 5 happiness (remember, the city itself eats 3) is worth two or three less SPs over the course of the game. Quite frankly, I'd side with the SPs.

Schalke 04
Sep 20, 2010, 08:17 PM
How do you manage to conclude that one or two culture buildings is sufficient to outweigh the impact on social policy cost?

[...]

How can you possible conclude that it doesn't matter how long it takes to overcome the short-term penalty? In the end, the year is 2050 and the game is over.
How quickly do you think you can possibly build happiness or culture structures in a very small city? [And if the city is not very small... then its eating up a lot of happiness.]

You are perfectly right with your comment!

My post is formulated a little bit too optimistic. We don't know the exact formulars and gameplaying right now to evaluate if these points will outweigh all the disatvantages. I just wanted to show some counter strategies to the downsides. Of course it is not known yet how effective this will be. On the other side: it is not known that it won't work as well. I didn't want to be too persuasive. Sorry for poor wording!

I also might be completely wrong. However I love it to speculate on our favourite game even if we just know a little about it! :)

Schalke 04
Sep 20, 2010, 08:22 PM
In that case, you'd have to make the call if 5 happiness (remember, the city itself eats 3) is worth two or three less SPs over the course of the game. Quite frankly, I'd side with the SPs.

Yeah that's right. This happiness cities cost you some SP. It really depends on the exact formula (all I know is +30% per city, but how is it calculated?). The question is, if more and huge cities could possibly outweigh the lack of some SPs (exact number is not known).

All of these SP look very promising indeed! But maybe a straightforward strategy accompanied by some really needed and fitting SP's is worth more than just a lot of SP's? Yes, we don't know now, but it may very well be. I don't say this strategy is superior, but it could be a valid niche.

At least one thing is for sure: you won't win by culture/Utopia with this strategy! :lol:

Schalke 04
Sep 20, 2010, 08:35 PM
No they're not (reply to the bolded text). You get them to size 3 (or whatever reasonably supports enough hammers to build the improvements, and turn on avoid growth.

Moreover:

you have some decent usage for the poor tiles in your starting area. Down to the south/north there may be useless tundra; to the west/east some desert. You would never build a "core" city in it.
Now you can build a happiness city in it which will provide some :) for your whole empire at least. And maybe you can collect some precious resources which are just abundant in this unhospitable countryside.

Perhaps you would want to settle there anyway just for these resources. Now you know how to make use of this otherwise useless city! ;) :king:

I think it is not just about a "hardcore ICS happiness city spamming" only. Moreover it is about making the most of your given tiles.

remconius
Sep 20, 2010, 11:32 PM
Happiness can work in different ways...

Huge cities and tiny cities as I proposed in the first post.

Could also be medium cities of size 6 who pay for themselves (colo&theater) and the fixed happiness is then used to grow other cities bigger.

remconius
Sep 21, 2010, 02:12 AM
I decided that I will start the game with Egypt. +2 happiness from the burial tomb could be quite powerful. +20% wonder production and faster war chariot can also help.

KrikkitTwo
Sep 21, 2010, 04:48 PM
The ideal "minicity" would have Happiness+Culture Buildings (and possibly the Market for Specialists)

longer incubation time, but it doesn't hurt the SPs (depending on the calculation.... asuming most of your culture is coming from buildings)

You would Definitely want Meritocracy, and probably Warrior Caste as well (effectively making the military unit a 'building'... not sure what its maintenance is)

Ahriman
Sep 21, 2010, 08:58 PM
I'll add something here from a playthough (playing as Rome, which probably suits the lots-of-small-cities strategy best): the happiness buildings get quite expensive. It will take many dozens of turns for small ~2 size cities to produce each one, even with the building constructed in Rome.

remconius
Sep 22, 2010, 01:06 AM
I played the demo yesterday. It is my early conclusion that you do need happy cities early on.

You should focus on getting a few luxuries and you can easily grow to several cities. Then build a few circuses where you have horses.

If you later on want to grow big, then you can build happy cities, but you should have the cash to buy them... Producing them in tiny cities will take forever.

remconius
Sep 22, 2010, 02:09 AM
UPDATE AFTER PLAYING THE DEMO:
From the first 100 turns it become apparant that finding happiness is indeed key in Civ5. You really need to get cities around luxuries and trade for others (city states). This together with circuses this should get you through the early game. Support cities for happiness are only really needed later on when you can keep them small and buy buildings.

Whenever you have enough happiness you can grow, expand, build, train units, etc. Science will come automatically.

Alexfrog
Sep 22, 2010, 02:36 AM
Am I the only one feeling the opposite way here? It has been very easy to generate sufficient happiness early on, just get calendar and build plantations (or whatever is needed for the luxuries you have access to).

What I am finding is the big struggle is that the buildings cost insane amounts of production and production is very hard to get in any reasonable quantity. Most buildings seem to not be powerful enough to justify their cost.

mcmpan
Sep 22, 2010, 03:46 AM
Am I the only one feeling the opposite way here? It has been very easy to generate sufficient happiness early on, just get calendar and build plantations (or whatever is needed for the luxuries you have access to).

What I am finding is the big struggle is that the buildings cost insane amounts of production and production is very hard to get in any reasonable quantity. Most buildings seem to not be powerful enough to justify their cost.

Totally agree. But I think we must keep difficulty level in mind.
I've played Egypt on Warlord (my first game, demo), have rushed War Chariots, conquered the Greek's and German's capital city and had a happiness level of -2 (about 1000BC). 1 turn later a happiness buidling finished, so happiness was no big problem. I've expected, that early warmongering would've been more difficult and the happiness pain of conquering cities very high, but in low difficulties it can be disregarded.
I will try my next game on a harder difficulty and will check, if happiness will be a bigger concern.

remconius
Sep 22, 2010, 03:57 AM
I did notice the same. It's not so easy to get some proper production in my cities. Mining is very important.

The challenge in happiness comes later on when the fixed happiness runs out and the you want to continue to grow. Early on each luxury of +5 is great. But once you have all of them it can be tricky to grow more.

mcmpan
Sep 22, 2010, 06:28 AM
Ok, so I've just played with Egypt again on King.
I did a War Chariot rush again, conquered Athens by 2040bc and happiness went down to -3. I think it will be really hard to conquer a second capital, although I haven't lost any unit.
But now every city state seeks for help against barbarians and War chariots are great for this mission. I think this can be a viable early strategy on higher difficulties:

Beeline to Animal Husbandry, build Chariot Archers / War Chariots, rush first civ, use units to help city states and build a good economy.

Drawback is, that you need horses (except for Egypt).

Gath
Sep 22, 2010, 02:44 PM
Ok, so I've just played with Egypt again on King.
I did a War Chariot rush again, conquered Athens by 2040bc and happiness went down to -3. I think it will be really hard to conquer a second capital, although I haven't lost any unit.
But now every city state seeks for help against barbarians and War chariots are great for this mission. I think this can be a viable early strategy on higher difficulties:

Beeline to Animal Husbandry, build Chariot Archers / War Chariots, rush first civ, use units to help city states and build a good economy.

Drawback is, that you need horses (except for Egypt).

Make them puppets, don't annex them. You can always annex them later.

Ahriman
Sep 22, 2010, 03:02 PM
Even with puppets, the extra pop hurts your happiness. But yes, always puppet, you almost never want to immediately annex.
[Main exception, you can't buy units in puppets, so sometimes you want to instant-annex so you can buy more units in the right place.]