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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:25 AM   #1
MilesBeyond
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Non-Standard Improvements

So one part of my game that I've noticed I've completely neglected is the non-basic tile improvements. My empire will be covered with farms, mines, and cottages, and hardly anything else. I will put the occasional workshop on plains, but that's about it. Am I missing out on much by not using windmills, watermills, etc? I never even have any forest left by the time lumbermills and especially forest preserves roll around, so as attractive as the National Park looks in theory, I've never built it.

Is this crippling my gameplay? And because I know someone will say it, obviously I build resource improvements like Pastures, Plantations, Quarries, etc.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:41 AM   #2
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It depends on the civics you're running. Certain civics make some of those non-standard improvements better than the standard ones. Some of the combinations are quite strong.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 11:59 AM   #3
goldys_lackey
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Riverside windmills with financial leader is a three coin tile. Riverside windmills + green nonriverside workshops while running caste after you get guilds is better than mining those riverside hills and farming non-riverside grass. Gets even stronger after chemistry and Replaceable parts, and stronger yet with state property. However if/when you get biology it may be better to farm those grass tiles again, if you need the growth.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 12:56 PM   #4
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I usually get to a point in my games where I've converted almost all my mines (with the exception of those on resources) to windmills. Almost always this is so I can keep the city growing. Mines don't do much good if you don't have the population to work them.

Some of my games I build a lot of workshops, some hardly any. Usually I will only do so if I have two or more of the workshop bonuses: Caste System, State Property, Guilds, and/or Chemistry.

I find that I often build lumbermills in the late game instead of chopping forests. Particularly if they're sitting on tundra or I plan to eventually preserve them for a National Park city.

Watermills? Rarely, but sometimes I just want a little extra production in a mainly-commerce city and I don't want to pay the food penalty for a workshop.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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I end up converting a good deal of my mines to windmills too.Later in the game things cost more hammers but you also have more ways to boost the hammers you got, so losing a few hammers to get more food isn't bad at all.

Workshops rock, their pretty much mines on flatlands.So if you end up converting your hills to windmills, workshop is a nice addition to give you back those hammers, you lose from converting.
Not to mention workshops are just nice to have, great if you are low on hills.

I don't build many watermills, I built them mostly on those plains riverside tiles but, I don't make great use of them, I only really build them because their better then farms on those tiles, the best bonus for it imo (+2 ) comes way to late to really make it useful.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 03:35 PM   #6
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One thing worth noting is that later-game improvements can help further specialize a city. Your commerce cities will often be better off with windmills on their hill tiles; your production cities may be better with watermills and workshops on their flat tiles.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 03:41 PM   #7
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Your commerce city probably doesn't need to build anything at this point anymore aside from wealth and could find an excuse to get some more commerce and maybe even work another town right? That's where the windmill can help. Food is always welcome so any time you see a hill not being worked then changing it to a windmill could help.

Workshops are awesome under SP and the while when you can still use caste.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 05:13 PM   #8
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If you want to optimize your gameplay, switching improvements is crucial. For example when running SP you can switch alot of farms and mines to workshops, windmills and watermills - same overall output and some commerce on top.

On Grassland:

Farm: +4 food
Mine (+railroad): +4H/1F

Watermill: 3F/2H/2C
Windmill: 2F/2H/2C

Ofc that's only true for when you can convert a riverside farm and a hill at the same time, otherwise you might mess up your stable configuration for that city. Also only works when you have rivers, and there's only a real advantage when you have state property and electricity - but then, this configuration actually is superior, even more when you're financial.

Before that, watermills are simply the best improvement for riverside plains, even before you have rep. parts. Windmills suck before rep. parts, though, but might be an option if you're financial and are desperate for food.

And Workshops ... well, think about it: in a 18 grassland tile city without ANY hills and ANY food you could theoreticaly have a stable configuration with 54H / turn. Yes, it'd need forever to grow into those tiles without farms, but in the lategame you can have workerstacks of 4 workers and switch farms into workshops in 1 turn -> grow into the optimal size and switch to mass workshops afterwards. It's a common strategy especially for warmongering empires that didn't have the time to grow cottages, and ofc for every space race VC where you'll need ~8 strong hammer cities.

Lumbermills are somewhat a special case, normally all forests should be gone long before you can even build them, at least in your part of the world. If you conquer AI cities you might find some forests unchopped, but it's questionable if you really want to keep the forests for lumbermills - they need railroad to be competitive with workshops. Better chop them for infrastructure in your newly conquered cities if you ask me. The only exception here might be:

a) you're really, really desperate for health and can't afford the time to build or research any health buildings. But you have to be really, i mean REALLY desperate. Haven't seen something like that in any game.
b) tundra forests on non-river tiles. Sometimes your city hasn't got any hammer tiles otherwise, so it might be clever to leave those forests.
c) you want to build National Park in that city and bring those forests to some use in the meantime, so build lumbermills first and switch to preserves later. But honestly, i never build that building, it seems kinda useless to me. Maybe if i get a lone island very late in the game or something, but even then it's just for fun and won't contribute for winning the game too much, rather delay it most likely.

tl;dr: workshops, windmills, watermills -> yes, lumbermills -> no.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 07:53 PM   #9
Fibonacci1123
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In the mid-game if I am running OR, I like to build enough workshops/watermills in low production cities to bring their production up to 8 or 12 to take full advantage of the production bonus. In practice, this usually means a handful of them empire wide.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 10:06 AM   #10
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[shameless self-advertising]I actually hosted a SG with no cottages, farms or mines allowed not long ago [shameless self-advertising] P.S Ok, farms and mines were allowed to link resouces, but nothing more

Ok, the game above is probably not the best example , since we actually were able to win by dom with the more advanced built unit being a knight , but even that was a consequence of going to machinery/guilds early to get/boost workshops/watermills/windmills . And, as one of the players said in the game epilogue , in the early game up to maybe the high middle ages most of the non-resource tiles are quite weak compared with improved resources, no matter how/if you improve them ( villages and caste+ guilds workshops are most likely the first improvements you can normally have that can compete in somewhat equal footing with a improved resource tile )...

Anyway, as some above said, it is basically a matter of traits ( aka being Fin or not ... fin favours coin boosting improvements and the first you can get are cottages ), techs and civics you pick on the way. CFC taught humans tend to go via lib path + rifle beeline, a path that somewhat favours mass cottaging in the middle game ... but if you get machinery early , things are different
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 11:52 AM   #11
goldys_lackey
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Does Buffy have an option where you can have workers prompt you when they reach 1-turn-left on improving a tile? I know they will prompt you about cutting forests.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by goldys_lackey View Post
Does Buffy have an option where you can have workers prompt you when they reach 1-turn-left on improving a tile? I know they will prompt you about cutting forests.
Yes. I think it is the default setting on Buffy.
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 12:18 AM   #13
Heathcliff
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I use to automate my workers after I have chopped down all my foresttiles. (that is something automated workers do way too late)
Then the workers gradually get the newer improvements in my empire.
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 01:31 AM   #14
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r_rolo1: just a reminder to close your [/shameless self-advertising] tags
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 03:30 AM   #15
Seraiel
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Originally Posted by Heathcliff View Post
I use to automate my workers after I have chopped down all my foresttiles. (that is something automated workers do way too late)
Then the workers gradually get the newer improvements in my empire.
You know that automating your workers is probably the worst you can do to your game and that it will never allow you to reach the highest difficulties, don't you? Automated Workers build Farms over full grown Towns and Cottages again over the farms. Sometimes they leave a city completely without Food with all Mines / Workshops and they do everything to get killed asap in a war.

"Workers are the most important unit of the game", I think it was Lymond who said this just yesterday.
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 08:27 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Seraiel View Post
You know that automating your workers is probably the worst you can do to your game and that it will never allow you to reach the highest difficulties, don't you? Automated Workers build Farms over full grown Towns and Cottages again over the farms. Sometimes they leave a city completely without Food with all Mines / Workshops and they do everything to get killed asap in a war.

"Workers are the most important unit of the game", I think it was Lymond who said this just yesterday.
You can limit their bad behaviour by game options, instructing them to leave forests and previous improvements untouched. This can save a LOT of game time, especially if you are already in dominant position. It will never be as efficient as manually micro them, but won't spoil your chanche of winning the map even on higher levels.
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 12:34 PM   #17
Heathcliff
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Originally Posted by Seraiel View Post
You know that automating your workers is probably the worst you can do to your game and that it will never allow you to reach the highest difficulties, don't you? Automated Workers build Farms over full grown Towns and Cottages again over the farms. Sometimes they leave a city completely without Food with all Mines / Workshops and they do everything to get killed asap in a war.

"Workers are the most important unit of the game", I think it was Lymond who said this just yesterday.
You are right.
However I value being able to complete one game in one evening and starting a new game next day :-)
Automated workers favors farms over cottages if possible and actually I think most people here value cottages abit too high, farms arent bad either.
I've won on immortal with workers automated after 1AD.
But it's not a strategy to win on diety like you do Seraiel :-)
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 03:07 AM   #18
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Automated workers are all over the place. A haphazard mix of improvements with Representation+Free Speech is quite workable, but something tighter may be preferable:

Rushbuy everything, cottages and windmills everywhere. Efficient and flexible, doesn't need industrialisation. Bad returns on excess food means we need to get the little things right, the AI never does.

State property favours workshops, watermills and windmills (the latter because we have better things to do with flatland than farming. Workshops and windmills give the same production as farms and mines, with some commerce thrown in).
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 04:28 AM   #19
Seraiel
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Originally Posted by Heathcliff View Post
You are right.
However I value being able to complete one game in one evening and starting a new game next day :-)
Automated workers favors farms over cottages if possible and actually I think most people here value cottages abit too high, farms arent bad either.
I've won on immortal with workers automated after 1AD.
But it's not a strategy to win on diety like you do Seraiel :-)
Winning on IMM with automated Workers is impressive, I think I only read of one who did that before and that was TMIT.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 04:34 AM   #20
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Eh, I'd bet almost everyone automates the workers at some point in the mid-late game when all the important stuff is built already. I always do it eventually (immortal), no point in wasting time on irrelevant stuff at that point of the game. Even AZ does it in at least some of his deity videos.

With leave forests and leave old improvements on, they at least won't be actively harmful anyway.
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