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District Discounts
How much discount do I get?

  • A discounted district is 40% cheaper apart from the Government Plaza which is 25% cheaper.
Simple ways to check
  • Method 1 - Look in the production screen, if the number of turns to complete a district is less than another district (apart from Unique districts and the government plaza), you are getting a discount.
  • Method 2 - Count up the number of districts you have completed, divide it by the districts you have researched. If the answer is below 1 then you get no discount otherwise round up the answer. If you are building for example a commercial hub, take off the answer the commercial hubs you currently have built or are building and the remainder is the number of extra commercial hubs you can get a discount on.
Note: If you go to place a district which you expect a discount on but are not getting that discount, you either need to finish a tech/civic to update the discount mechanism or you have calculated something wrong​
The Rules
District discounts are primarily based on

A. The number of districts you have finished researching
B. The number of districts you have completed building
C. The number of placed or completed districts of the type you want to next build (possibly get a discount on)

You must match both rules 1 and 2 to get a discount on your next district as well as observing all other rules.
  • Rule 1: B>=A
  • You can only get a discount if you have built as many districts as you have researched.
  • Rule 2: B/A>C
  • If your average number of districts is higher than the amount of placed/built districts of the type you next want to place you will get a discount
  • Rule 3: The non specialised districts City Centre, Aqueduct, Canal, Dam, Spaceport and Neighbourhood districts are not included in any way with district discounts.
  • Rule 4: value B (a newly finished district) is only changed once you have finished a district and you complete a tech or civic at the same time or after completion. value C is changed the moment you place a district on the map.
  • Rule 5: When you place a district, the production cost of that district becomes locked and is not changed based on any updates to district discounts.
  • Rule 6: If you capture a city with districts you have not yet researched, they do not count toward A, B or C. If you have researched them, they do count to A, B and C.
  • Rule 7: Reyna and Moksha do use the discounts when purchasing a district but only if the district is not placed first.
  • Rule 8: other district discounts like Liang's 20% and the pantheon City Patron Goddess 25% are applied after any district discount
  • Rule 9: Unique districts are counted like any other district they replace. The 40% district discount is applied to their already discounted price.
Examples to help your head
  1. You will not get any discount having researched just one district type. (because of Rule 1)
  2. If you have discovered 2 district types. You will get a discount on the smaller of the two as long as all already placed districts are finished. For example you have built 3 holy sites and 2 campuses then you will get a discount on your third campus. If you have built 3 holy sites and no campuses and place 3 campuses down at once you will only get 1 of the three discounted because none of the other campuses are finished to help the average.
  3. It is therefore possible to discover astrology and build 3 full price Holy sites, discover Writing and build 3 discounted Campuses, discover currency and build 3 discounted Commercial hubs. As long as each campus, Holy site and commercial hub is finished before the next is placed.
  4. One issue is you do have to discover the Government Plaza quite early and this changes things a bit as you can only build 1 of them lowering your average.
  5. If you have discovered 4 district types and have finished building 3 Holy Sites, 3 Campuses, 1 Government Plaza and 1 Commercial Hub. This means my average is 3+3+1+1=8. You have discovered 4 districts so your average is 8/4=2. This means you get a discount on your first 2 of any district that you place. so if you place 2 Commercial Hubs, you will get a discount on 1 as you had already built one. However if you build your second Commercial Hub before placing the third, your average becomes 9/4=2.25 which means my third is discounted.
  6. So we can conclude that the average number of completed districts rounded up is the number of any type of district you can get discounted as long as the average is at least 1.
Problems, tips and tricks
  1. When you concentrate on getting district discounts you have to avoid researching additional districts. Certainly initially you can get very powerful discounts using this method. Try to discover the districts you will be building more of first if they are early in the tree. You need to build up your overall district count to keep pace with the districts discovered.
  2. Bronze Working (BW) is a good example. Often you do not build many encampments but if you want to find iron on the board you need BW. If you can attack early enough with archers you can avoid this but you will need BW for Crossbows. The Mining-Masonry-Construction path is a way of delaying this while getting to lumber mills early as well as the Mining-Wheel-Engineering path but both avoid iron and swords as well as the great general points from Encampments and the inspirational benefits of such. In fact generally if wanting to go down a military route avoiding the knowledge of what iron you have at your disposal is a hindrance. You may consider district discounts are more suited to the peaceful player but an archer rush player can also benefit from this route.
  3. Holy sites themselves can be very useful for faith, in particular if being peaceful, military forces can often pillage the faith they need and can therefore avoid both holy sites and Harbours. So we may consider that a peaceful route is holy sites and war route is Encampments. What I would call the war and peace routes.
  4. Harbours can be avoided being discovered all together as they are at the bottom of a leaf tech. If you want to rush Harbours early the district discount method will not work well early as you are likely to have Holy Sites and Government Plaza before Harbours and building these can slow down your harbours. It still does work though, as long as you are protected enough so you do not need iron and you have enough early money that Commercial hubs can be replaced by harbours it works well, it just sort of is backward in that you want to build harbours first and in number but cannot.
  5. We have 3 civic districts, the Government Plaza, Entertainment and the Theatre Square. We cannot avoid the Plaza and may want to avoid the Theatre a bit but Theatres are also useful in the long term. We cannot also avoid entertainment and you can typically get some good discounts from districts early but unless you can build many of your main district fast district numbers will take you over for a while, which is fine.
  6. Finally we have the main district tree of Campus, Commercial Hub, Industrial Zone. If you are an Industrial Zone fan and want great production early as your primary motivation you will be considering a minimum of 4 districts to get there but more likely 5 or 6. It just means you have to complete a lot of other districts to get good discounts in Industrial Zones. Going for Commercial Hubs makes perfect sense and Campuses are also vital so you have 2 core districts plus the Government Plaza as a minimum you can then add Holy Sites, encampments and theatre squares to but timing their introduction can help.
  7. The real idea is to discover a district you are going to build a lot of first, for example Holy Sites or Campus and make sure you build 2-3 of these as soon as possible while trying to delay other techs. You can then if careful get many of your districts discounted and this can really speed up your game. Add to this chopping districts in to get them completed fast and you have a strategy but it does come at the cost of delaying some districts you may have a requirement for.
  8. Population can be a hindrance to district discounts, you need to build and complete districts but do not have the population to do so. This can certainly be the case early game depending on terrain.
  9. You capture a city with a harbour and think you need to research celestial navigation to be able to repair it for the extra trade route but be aware it comes at a cost to your districts.
District Discounts or District Placement?
Placing a district as soon as you research it and leaving it for completion later is another strategy, both can be used to some degree but can also get in each others way a bit. Both will benefit from chopping. District discounts likely gives better production benefit for the but district placement allows for greater flexibility. Note that both strategies delay discovering techs and civics you do not need to keep district costs down. Using neither strategy limits your ability to play faster games at the highest difficulty levels.

What is the value of district discounts?
Playing with district discounts as a key part of your strategy can give great benefits. but do not over think them. A 40% discount over half your districts is 20%. You can get the discount over more than half your districts if concentrating but you also lose some production by not pre-placing districts. Add to this that there will be some natural district discounts that come into play without using this strategy and this strategy in reality gives you roughly 20% production benefits which may not sound like a lot but districts are a significant part of your production costs.

Thanks to
In order of appearance
@CPL_Yoshi , @Lily_Lancer , @Boyan_Sun , @Leyrann , @c4c6 , @Locke_Daemonfire , @UWHabs , @Photi , @kaspergm , @RealHuhn , @WackenOpenAir

original discussions in these threads (no particular order)
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good tips.
I agree with Fluphen, this mechanic seems to some degree counterproductive and not well thought-through. I myself mostly use the early placement strategy, because delaying Iron feels incredibly bad. it hurts not only your military, your expansion, but also your sheer production and eurekahs/inspos. still, I am very thankful for the write up since I had no idea what was actually going on. regardless, I don't think I will be using the discount strategically very often.
Great Information Again but difficult to digest and feels odd for me when trying to execute inside of the game. Very interesting though and would like to learn it even if I won't use it often.
Very well explained
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