Hansa/Suguba Guide

Hansa/Suguba Guide 2019-06-23

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With the release of the June 2019 patch, the rules of adjacency for the Industrial Zone (IZ) were dramatically modified:
  • Mines and Lumbermills, and Districts provide a minor bonus (+0.5)
  • Quarries and Strategic Resources provide a standard bonus (+1)
  • Aqueducts, Canals, and Dams provide a major bonus (+2)
The last set of these changes, the major bonus from these three "green districts," was also carried over to the Hansa.
Thus, the Hansa now has the following rules:
  • Districts provide a minor bonus (+0.5)
  • All resources provide a standard bonus (+1)
  • Aqueducts, Canals, and Dams and Commercial Hubs provide a major bonus (+2)

This means the Hansa now has four districts which can grant it +2.
The original version of the layout guide focused on handling district placement with just one possible contender for major adjacency, and this applied symmetrically to the Hansa and the Suguba. This update focuses on just the Hansa.
There is a key difference between the Commercial Hub and the new districts, though: while the commercial hub can be placed anywhere, the other three are heavily restricted.
This has made approaching the problem of good layouts much more complex.

Upon thinking about this new complexity for a moment, many have asked:
Is this effort worthwhile? Is spamming Aqueducts in cities which already have fresh water even logical? Or building unused canals?
I recognize that these new rules can give some a headache trying to plan out their Hansas with all the new districts. Fear not! Sostratus, the prophet of production, would never lead you astray.
What does a major adjacency result in after all is said and done? When you first unlock the Hansa at apprenticeship, it just means +2:c5production:. That's not too shabby in the middle ages though. (It's equal to a mine you don't have to work.) In the next era, the renaissance, you unlock the most important card, craftsmen. The +100% adjacency turns that number into +4 :c5production: per major bonus district. That's nice. But once you add the Coal Plant in the industrial era, just one of these districts is granting +8 :c5production:! That's better than a powered factory for goodness' sakes!
Would you build a district if its only effect was literally +8 production? Of course you would. That's more than what a 3 building encampment gives. +8 is what canals do the era you unlock them (they come at Steam Power, the tech after Industrialization.)
An aqueduct is mandatory for any city that's built out in the boonies without freshwater. Housing is just too important. But what about cities that already have freshwater? +8 production, +2 housing is an amazing tile.
Dams don't even need justification. Even if they didn't interact with IZs, the +3 housing, +1 amenity, the flood control, and the all important hydro plant make it a must have on any floodplain. The +8 production is just icing on the cake.
The patch also expanded what military engineers could do, so now, late game cities can get any of these three districts rushed in 5 turns - or 3 if you have enough engineers on hand. If an engineer uses his last charge, a new engineer can move in and boost the same tile. (This same trick works with Chinese and Aztec builder rushing.) And because you only need to have the district selected in the production queue to boost it, you can switch between placed districts and get them all done in parallel while still putting your regular production towards something useful.

Drawing upon the concepts of the original Gathering Storm Hansa guide, we go further to understand the precepts of optimizing our adjacency under the new rules.
First, we recognize that we have a two way rule for placement:
  • We want to maximize the overall number of Major Bonuses each Hansa gets
  • We want to maximize the number of Hansas each Major Bonus district affects
The best way to achieve this is to try to get 2-4 cities placed within 3 tiles of each other. In the original guide, for most configurations of 2 or 3 cities, there was more flexibility in city distance. But because Aqueducts, empirically by far the most common of the 3 new major bonuses, require adjacency to city centers (as do canals) it becomes much more important to have cities close.
Similarly, because these three districts are so particular about placement, generally speaking the best thing to do is place cities based on where the aqueducts & canals should go, then plan in the rest. This also means that while we appreciated rivers before for the +2 gold to commercial hubs, we really love rivers now because they let us place Aqueducts everywhere and with floodplains, can enable dams.

Some Remarks on Aqueducts, Canals, & Dams
While placing these guys next to lake or mountains is surefire, rivers can create a few issues. Normally, on something like a straight river, you have a lot of freedom in what tiles to use. However, when rivers curve or meet the sea, you can end up with sharp bends or other things that make it impossible to use a tile. Consider 1 turn autosaves if you are not feeling confident in getting this perfect - you can settle, check the placement, and if it ruins your grand designs, work out a new plan and reload if needed.
Canals are fairly straightforward. they have to go on flat terrain and connect a city center or water to water. You can build up to 2 canals touching one city- a three way junction isn't allowed. If the terrain is right, though, there's no limit to how many canals a city can build. Little 1 tile lakes are very convenient for making canals inland! Note: as of this writing, the center tile of the Panama canal (the one you place) is only counted as a wonder, not a canal. So there's no double up if you can pull that off.
Similar to aqueducts, dams are easiest to place when the river is straight. When things curve and bend, it can become tricky. This is much more restrictive than aqueducts are, likely because the dam's graphic creates a resevoir lake that's fed by the river and then it empties back out into the river. Generally, if that resevoir lake would have another river edge around it, you probably won't be allowed to build a dam. Note that sometimes, a stretch of floodplains might actually be broken up into 2 separate rivers, which means you can place a dam on each of them. You can however over the tile and check what river the floodplain is attached to. Don't forget that dams can house Hydroelectric Plants, which give +6 electricity to help power those factories!

Because of the real constraints imposed by terrain, I will go over some "idealized" templates first for building a cluster with various numbers of cities contributing. Then I will show some real examples from in game screenshots and the layout patterns behind them.

See the image below. In the zip file it is "Hansa Layouts - Templates."
Spoiler :

Hansa Layouts - Templates.png

1 City Templates
The simplest of designs. Making a huge megalopolis isn't for everyone. Fortunately, the aqueduct allows a simple and compact design to get a Hansa to at least +5, as shown in the "Minimal" layout. Add one district and the Hansa will achieve +6. Already as good as the old IZs could ever be, and that's our lowest achiever!

If your solo city is on a floodplain, you may be able to add in a dam. While dams are very useful in multi city combinations, sometimes you have a rump floodplain that can't fit much. So add a dam to the mix to get a +8 Hansa! Be careful about placement. I suggest placing the AQ first, then the dam, then the Hansa to be covered by both of them; then drop in the CH.

If you also happen to be near the coast, you might be able to get a canal in the city too, boosting it to +10! (Fill in the last spot with a district to get +11.) A word of caution: since both AQs and canals generally will touch the city center, place them first and make sure they are aligned so that a Hansa can fit between them. As before, then the dam, then the CH. Sometimes you can have lakes or other water that lets you place a canal (or two!) away from the city, which can also help. In that case, you won't need to keep things as clustered up next to the city center.
2 City Templates
Moving up to two cities, we can note the minimal design from the first one city layout, and just stick two of them together. This creates the two city basic layout, both Hansas giving +8. I show two types of basic layouts for this because naturally, you can move things around a bit to work with AQ placement, resources, etc. You could bring in dams and/or canals too if applicable; the second of the basic templates is more amenable to that since the Hansas are near the city centers in case of canals to the coast.
3 City Templates
Now this is where things start to get interesting. I show a "naive" 3 city template that simply takes 3 of the minimal 1 city designs and sticks them together to obey city distance rules. Why is putting Hansas in a triangle like that something to be avoided?
Recall the two way placement rule: any time we place a +2 district, we want to have it touch as many Hansas as possible. A triangle like the Naive example only has 3 tiles where a single district can boost 2 hansas. If you refer to my original guide, you'll note the Crescent template can have 3 hansas in a sort of arc. This has 2 tiles touching 2 Hansas, and 1 tile touching 3. Hence, one Hansa can now achieve +10. However, the Hansa layout of the Ring is even better. That organization of Hansas has 3 tiles touching 2, and 1 tile touching 3. This is why the Optimal 3 city template examples have two Hansas at +10. Note that in both of the optimal examples, if you were to place districts to fill in around the weak Hansa, it would end up at +9 in both cases.

The alt example also has an interesting property. If you were to flip the Hansas for CHs, you could achieve a perfect +15 hansa. Previously this took 6 cities in a very precise layout. Now, with just aqueducts, you can do it with half that number. I will also add that in the Perfect single Hansa layout, it is a little worse overall compared to optimal Hansa templates. (total 25 vs 29 adjacency.) However, if you were able to have a dam, and thus could get a +2 district filling the gap between those two +5 Hansas, then the templates become very similar overall. If you then also filled in the spaces with extra districts, then they actually both would end up at +33.
4 City Templates
Once you get to four cities, things become even more complicated. The aqueduct situation can become very untenable, so i strongly recommend sticking to 3 city designs unless you come across something like parallel rivers or a big river bend that lets you place those AQs in convenient spots. The only remark I want to make here is to recall the previous discussion about how the Hansa districts themselves should be laid out when you have 3 of them. When you have 4, you want to take that optimal "ring pattern" and extend it to make a "cross." Just one more Hansa adds 2 new tiles touching 2, and upgrades another tile to touch 3. This pushes the average adjacency to +10. (If you add a single fill district next to the weak one it will jump up to +8.)

A really good use case of 4 city templates is when you have two sets of separate floodplains you can leverage. Being able to add dams in makes this combine extremely potent! Look at those numbers! I'll show a real world example of it next.

Real Examples
Also included in the zip file is a set of screen shots (Hansa Layouts -Example Screens) and the tile layouts of them. (Hansa Layouts - Example Tiles.)
The screenshots are from a game I played just after the patch dropped, and I thought it had some interesting cases of real world implementation of these template ideas as well as some examples where things weren't ideal. Here's the tile layouts:
Spoiler :

Hansa Layouts - Example Tiles.png

I used grey to indicate fill districts that are just there to boost adjacency. I also added the Resource icon to show where resources are located, since the +1 they offer is important in real layouts too (and lux/strategics can block districts!)
There are a couple cases where there's a resource under a district or city.
Quick Comments on the screenshots
I'll quickly wrap this up by going through anything notable about the in game examples.
Panama Canal Setup: I had a problem placing an aqueduct in Dusseldorf, so i decided to build the Panama canal in Dresden to accomodate the sudden change. There's a silk underneath Wurzburg. Sadly, the Panama canal central tile doesn't count for a canal. The City of Essen was something I tacked on later for aesthetics.

The next one, which shows the capital region, has some real world resource and aqueduct placement, and a dam. It's pretty standard fare.

The image with Ngulu mapu shows a case where I captured a city that already had its CH placed down, so I improvised. It turned out okay in the end, I think!

The 3 city combination with Regensburg shows how the terrain made placing its aqueduct into just one possible tile a bit of an issue, but it was worked around.

The example with Xi'an shows two things: one, I again inherited some districts from the former owner. Two, this is an example where i wasn't thinking so well and used the arc shape for the Hansas. While there is Oil under the upper CH, it would have been better to swap the center Hansa with the AQ above it to utilize the banana. Optimal is tough to beat, folks.

The beautiful desert example shows a sandwich condition of the coast, having to use a single oasis instead of rivers, and the natural wonder blocking things. It's very pretty, and functional enough I suppose. I've almost become completely turned off the anything below +10!

The next two are just standard examples of two cities.
The last two are just examples of single cities utilizing several districts at once to make their Hansas competitive with the bigger layouts.

The new patch has brought a lot of daunting changes, but also unparalleled potential for Teutonic production. I will note that if you choose to play a lesser civilization, but still focus on IZs (such as the Dutch or Japan or England) pay attention to the 1 and 2 city designs and examples' aqueducts. You can place a nice diamond of 2 AQs and 2 IZs. The aqueduct triangle layout in "Perfect single hansa" is also very useful. While this new districts revolve around water, the original guide still applies if for whatever reason you're in a dry, barren wasteland without even a mountain.

Best of luck out there. If you build it, they will come you will win.
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