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Old Nov 29, 2005, 05:02 AM   #1
TheDifficult3rd
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Which Forest tiles do you chop? - Some Terrain Improvement Guidelines

I have been a long-time CIV player and have been enjoying reading everyone’s tips on this excellent new version. I think Civ IV may well be the best edition so far and learning the intricacies of it is a pleasure.

Anyway, enough of the meaningless preamble!

I have never really been a big chop-rush devotee but I have well and truly caught the bug this time around. I literally salivate when I see large areas of terrain populated by Forests, thinking about all those Hammers waiting to be harvested.

Chop-rushing is all about gaining a quick production advantage in the early game - chiefly for rushing Workers, Settlers, Axe/Sword rush units and early Wonders such as Stonehenge and Pyramids). You therefore need to work out quickly which Forest tiles to tuck into immediately, and which are best left alone so you can benefit from their production value if production is scarce, Lumbermills later on as well as the nice defence, health and happiness (when running Environmentalism) bonuses.

So, the question for you to ponder when presented with a juicy city radius that is rich in Forest:-
Which Forest tiles do you chop, and which do you leave?

I have been working along the following guidelines and would be interested in your comments:-

- Chop all Grassland/Forest tiles. I want the 2F from the Grassland for Cottages and unless I'm desperately short of Production tiles, I'll happily trade that 1P for the potential 4C of Towns (or 5C with financial or on river).
- Chop all Hill/Grassland/Forest tiles to get the 3P from Mining whilst also still having 1F from the Grassland - a powerful tile.
- Chop all Hill/Plains/Forest tiles and maybe build Mines for the 4P (which is excellent if you have an abundance of food but unbalanced if not! - in which case wait for Windmills for a more balanced 1F 3P 1C tile).
- Chop all Riverside Grassland/Forest or Plain/Forest tiles and build Farms (if there's a need for food) or Cottages (for 5C normally or 6C if Financial!), both of which release the 1C from the River that's negated by the Forest. Then change any riverside Farms to Watermills when appropriate to get the extra 2P and 2C in the later game (making sure you can afford the 1F loss).
- Leave all Plain/Forest tiles to retain the immediate 2P from the Forest and then build Lumbermills when they come available.
- Leave all Tundra/Forest or Snow/Forest tiles and build Lumbermills. You could cash in the Hammers now, but then you're left with a poor tile for the rest of the game.

The above guidelines are subject to the aim of leaving at least 2 Forest tiles remaining in the city radius (or multiples thereof) for the +1 health bonus for each 2 forests. And of course these rules are rules of thumb, not absolutes.

I also have workers Chop THEN improve the tile to get at the Hammers quicker.

Also remember that you can chop outside of your city radius too and still yield Hammers, although the amount diminishes with distance - but these chopping principles should still apply as those tiles are still potential future city sites. Furthermore, once you have settled your most northerly or southerly City, remember to send off a worker into the Tundra and Snow to search for Forest tiles beyond your City radius and tuck into them for their Hammers.

Chopping has been looked at as part of one or two already excellent general guides to Terrain and Improvements (most notably the "Chopping Forests" section of this one by Stuporstar) and building on that here I wanted to tease out the specific issue of which Forest tiles to chop and then sketch out some guidelines. I'll leave the discussions on whether to chop-rush, when to chop or indeed what to build with the spoils to more learned types!

Last edited by TheDifficult3rd; Feb 06, 2008 at 07:30 AM. Reason: A few tweaks
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 04:31 AM   #2
lauer
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Nice

You basically describe what I do. However, I am usually to busy (or lazy) to change tile improvements later in my games. So farms remain farms.

I know, it is not really optimal, however, I just can't be bothered to micromange my cities. As I said: lazy
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 05:50 AM   #3
DrJambo
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Someone mentioned that post-1.09 chopping forests outside of city boundaries no longer gives the nearest city any hammers...

Can anyone confirm?
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 07:40 AM   #4
AU_Armageddon
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That rumour is not true. You only get no hammers if you are too far away from the city. Dunno how far that is, but it is pretty far, like 8+ tiles or something.

Some forest cutting tips to add to this:

You get more value for forests that go towards buildings facilitated by your traits and also for wonders enhanced by resources.

i.e. 45 hammers will be 90 hammers if the current building is barracks and you are aggressive. Where it becomes really important is if say you have started building Parthenon and are working on linking marble. Waiting an extra few turns can be the equivelent of doubling your forests and the delay will actually see the wonder produced quicker than it would have been otherwise.
i.e. a more distant forest outside city radius is going to give you the doubled amount of say 55 hammers because you have industrious - which is nice, but if you have marble as well this becomes a massive 110 hammers for a forest that isnt even in radius.

It only counts from the turn the chop is completed, so I frequently find myself timing workers projects to maximise this kind of thing so when link will be made in 4 turns time, everyone starts chopping to catch it exactly.

If you have a decently forested area at start or within settling distance, it is generally possible to build almost every wonder on both Monarchy and Emporer difficulties, certainly every wonder you need for whatever specific strategy you wanna pursue.

That is especially true if you are Industrious. An early Pyramid an some luck with Engineer as first GP or more likely alternative, a well timed Oracle and you can get Metal Casting tech very very early in the game. With this, 2 chopped forests will build a Forge for an Industrious civ regardless of city location which with Organised Religion for a further +25% hammers is an unbelievable kickstart to a budding empire and about the only way I can imagine you are going to beat Immortal without a military kickstart.
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 09:02 AM   #5
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No, that's incorrect. I was playing around with Gandhi and attempting a Cultural Victory last night, toodling with chop rush techniques.

I noticed that the closer my worker is, the more shields I get. Even when the worker was outside of my territory, I got shields, but not as many as I would have if i was closer.

Now if I wasn't next to Monty and Toko, I might *NOT* have gotten swarmed...
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Old Dec 01, 2005, 03:17 PM   #6
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Some day someone is going to work out the exact ratio of distance to hammers, but in the meantime I've noticed that any forest in the plot 2 diagonally from the city will give 30 hammers, despite not being in the 'fat H'.
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Old Dec 01, 2005, 03:54 PM   #7
PeterM
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Which City The Hammer Applied to?

If we have several cities in our territory. Which city will the chopped hammer applied to?

Do all the forests in the city radius when chopped yield the same amount of hammers (and how much per forest)?

Thanks.

I wish that I can test it. I am still not able to play civ 4 yet!!!!
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Old Dec 01, 2005, 05:43 PM   #8
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All forests (i.e. not dependent on tile type) give the same amount. I haven't researched this myself, so I can't and won't take credit for it, but I think it's 30 hammers for all tiles in the fat cross + 1 "range" outside that. Then minus 5 hammers for each additional "range". (Or, if you like, distance <= 3 equals 30 hammers, then minus 5 for each extra distance. Distance is 1 for each straight tile traversal and 1.5 for each diagonal)

As for which city I assume it's the same as for working tiles: it's the closest city that gets it (again see distance definition above), if there's a tie the earliest founded city gets it.

Please point out any errors, since I'm not 100% on this.
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Old Dec 01, 2005, 09:13 PM   #9
meowsqueak
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Totally and completely offtopic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeH
despite not being in the 'fat H'.
Funny, I'd always thought of it as a trapped square ("cornered" - get it?) but I guess it could also be described as a fat cross. I'm not sure I see the correlation with a 'fat H' however
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Old Dec 02, 2005, 02:46 AM   #10
TheDifficult3rd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormreaver
All forests (i.e. not dependent on tile type) give the same amount. I haven't researched this myself, so I can't and won't take credit for it, but I think it's 30 hammers for all tiles in the fat cross + 1 "range" outside that. Then minus 5 hammers for each additional "range". (Or, if you like, distance <= 3 equals 30 hammers, then minus 5 for each extra distance. Distance is 1 for each straight tile traversal and 1.5 for each diagonal)
I think this sounds about right from my observations, Stormy - I'll try to work this into the text above, if that's okay.

Interestingly, from my memory, I think the decrease "Bottoms Out" so once you've gone a certain distance, no matter how far you are away, it never yeilds you LESS than 10 Hammers. It would be interesting to test this in more detail, which I'll do in my next game.
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 06:49 AM   #11
ChrTh
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Something else you might want to consider is the effect of watermills (and to a lesser extent, windmills) later in the game. The Plain/Forest tiles may actually get better production from a watermill instead of a lumbermill.
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 08:03 AM   #12
TheDifficult3rd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrTh
Something else you might want to consider is the effect of watermills (and to a lesser extent, windmills) later in the game. The Plain/Forest tiles may actually get better production from a watermill instead of a lumbermill.
Indeed, as I say in the post, I reckon if you've got a Riverside Plain/Forest square, (in fact be it Grassland or Plain), you want to be chopping that and getting the extra 1C asap as well as giving you the future watermill option. I think Watermill and Windmill are great late game options.

However, with a Plain/Forest square that is not riverside (no watermill option), nor is in reach of freshwater (no farm option), Lumbermill is a good way to go as a Plain tile without these two things has limited options.
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 08:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDifficult3rd
Indeed, as I say in the post, I reckon if you've got a Riverside Plain/Forest square, (in fact be it Grassland or Plain), you want to be chopping that and getting the extra 1C asap as well as giving you the future watermill option. I think Watermill and Windmill are great late game options.

However, with a Plain/Forest square that is not riverside (no watermill option), nor is in reach of freshwater (no farm option), Lumbermill is a good way to go as a Plain tile without these two things has limited options.

Doh, totally missed the 'riverside' comment
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Old Dec 06, 2005, 01:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDifficult3rd
Indeed, as I say in the post, I reckon if you've got a Riverside Plain/Forest square, (in fact be it Grassland or Plain), you want to be chopping that and getting the extra 1C asap as well as giving you the future watermill option. I think Watermill and Windmill are great late game options.

However, with a Plain/Forest square that is not riverside (no watermill option), nor is in reach of freshwater (no farm option), Lumbermill is a good way to go as a Plain tile without these two things has limited options.
secondly, since you can only build a watermill on one side of a river, if you have plains forest on both sides, save one for the lumbermill
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Old Dec 15, 2005, 08:31 AM   #15
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Bless you, Difficult3rd.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 02:43 AM   #16
Lord Chambers
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I disagree with your mode of chopping. Thoughts should be this:

Priority 1: Chop everything adjacent to a river. This is to take advantage of the +1 commerce from river squares which you will not get with a forest on the square. You also may need the space for farms before Civil Service.

Priority 2: Chop everything on hills. The mining improvement is +2 resources. The forest improvement is +1. This is true whether its a grassland, plains, desert, or tundra.

Chop plains before grasslands. Grasslands with forest produce 2 food and 1 shield, which is a semi-worthwhile square in the early game. A plain with a forest produces 1 food and 2 shields, which is bad for the growth of an early city. Your city's situation will dicate the degree to which you need to follow this rule moreso than the others (which are always true except in specific strategies).

Never chop forests on flat, non-river tundra squares.

There you have it. The early game is all that matters, so I'm not really certain why so many people are concerned with lumber mills in their chop strategies. I win on Monarch and just started playing on Emperor.

Last edited by Lord Chambers; Dec 16, 2005 at 05:01 AM.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 03:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Chambers
Chop plains before grasslands. Grasslands with forest produce 2 food and 1 shield, which is a semi-worthwhile square in the early game. A plain with a forest produces 1 food and 2 shields, which is bad for the growth of an early city.
Bad for growth, yes of course. But how does chopping it to a bare plain improve your growth? You just lost production and gained nothing. The only reason to work (non-river) plains early on, is if you need production and don't have hills. So why cut that reason in half? Leave the plains forested.

Also, I can't for the life of me think of a case where I'd go with 1 hammer from forested grasslands, over a cottage on grasslands.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 03:21 PM   #18
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Most importantly, never chop a forest where you will build a Hunting Camp. Unlike all other improvements (except lumber mill of course), Hunting Camps do not remove the forest, letting you produce an extra hammer.

I disagree with the chop all grasslands and leave all plains forests. It really, really depends on the situation and I usually chop plains tiles first (Mines are strictly better than plains+forest, the same cannot be said about grass+forest). Stay flexible, there are few things that are always true.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 07:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oggums
Bad for growth, yes of course. But how does chopping it to a bare plain improve your growth? You just lost production and gained nothing. The only reason to work (non-river) plains early on, is if you need production and don't have hills. So why cut that reason in half? Leave the plains forested.
I assume he means if you're chopping for the quick production boost.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 09:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a4phantom
I assume he means if you're chopping for the quick production boost.
I also assumed that your worker actions are finite, therefore you don't necessarily have the ability to put the best improvement on every square.

Yeah, I would prefer a cottage on a grassland square. Eventually I'll probably have one. But in the meanwhile I'm going to leave the forest on the grassland, because it's actually a viable square, while plains, forested or not, aren't going to get worked early on.
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