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A Guide to City Specialization and Land Improvements

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Excl, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. Excl

    Excl Chieftain

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    It would count as +4F, since it takes 2F to feed the population needed to work that square.
     
  2. Starkow

    Starkow Baby Thor

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    Ok so my capital is +8F and -9F so I only need to build one farm right? So that means that I can cottage/mine etc. everything else? And what would I do if I had more then 0? Just leave it and don't farm at all?

    I know newb questions but please stick with it, i appreciate the help so far.
     
  3. Excl

    Excl Chieftain

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    Correct ... and whether or not you want the capital to be a production city or commerce city decides which of those improvements to build.
     
  4. MrFrodo

    MrFrodo Chieftain

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    Thanks for this guide. This is exactly what I have been looking for, a simple system to identify and start building out cities with specialization. I have wanted to make more specialized cities, but I never knew where to start. Counting food and going from there makes a lot of sense.

    Here is a question:

    In my current game, my capital is an all around powerhouse. On the coast, but with 3 clams and the 3 other water tiles coastal, also a Rice, a production resource, plus some forested hills and plains. I used it with the whip to make an early Immortals army to take over my continent. Now, I am getting amazing production and commerce from this city with Beauracracy. So it is basically a Science city and Production city in one. However, because I can make Wonders at an amazing rate and I have some free/forced specialists there. It is also by far my fastest producer of GPP. Which is what I intended to make this city in the first place. So I actually put National Epic here as well (I also put Maui Stones which was probably a mistake in hindsight, but meh :)). Is this OK? I don't think there is any way I can use specialists to get nearly the GPP in another city, but maybe I'm hurting my production/science this way?
     
  5. MrFrodo

    MrFrodo Chieftain

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    Thanks for this guide. This is exactly what I have been looking for, a simple system to identify and start building out cities with specialization. I have wanted to make the leap toward micro-management and conquer higher difficulties, by building more specialized cities, but I never knew where to start. Counting food and going from there makes a lot of sense.

    Here is a question:

    In my current game, my capital is an all around powerhouse. On the coast, but with 3 clams and the 3 other water tiles coastal, also a Rice, a production resource, plus some forested hills and plains. I used it with the whip to make an early Immortals army to take over my continent. Now, I am getting amazing production and commerce from this city with Beauracracy. So it is basically a Science city and Production city in one. However, because I can make Wonders at an amazing rate and I have some free/forced specialists there. It is also by far my fastest producer of GPP. Which is what I intended to make this city in the first place. So I actually put National Epic here as well (I also put Maui Stones which was probably a mistake in hindsight, but meh :)).

    Is this OK? I don't think there is any way I can use specialists to get nearly the GPP in another city, but maybe I'm hurting my production/science this way?
     
  6. Excl

    Excl Chieftain

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    You sort of answered your own question. It's okay, but you're just going to be hurting your production science. Remember, hybrid cities are okay, but you have to pick the specialization you want to go with, and then base all your improvments off of that decision first. Any extra effects you might get are just a bonus.

    If you really wanted this city to be a GP farm, then you should be farming everything, and running as many specialists as you can. If you are generating GP points just with the wonder specialists, then you are really hurting your full potential as a GP city. If you wanted another city to be the GP farm, then building the national epic in the capitol is hurting your other city's potential. If you want this city to be a commerce or production city, then you need to go all out in that direction. The extra GP points from wonders in your capitol shouldn't be too consequential if you have a true GP farm, with a ton of specialists.

    If you want commerce over production, then all your land improvements should reflect that. Just think of the extra production as an added bonus. Always build commerce improvements first, and if you run out of things to build (or you get into a war and need emergency troops) THEN use the production bonuses the city has. You will reach the maximum potential of that city's specialization, rather than a city which just splits it among the three.
     
  7. MrFrodo

    MrFrodo Chieftain

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    Sounds good. I just haven't been able to identify which cities I want to do what and stick with that yet. I thought my capital would be a GP farm, but it turned into a Commerce-hybrid, so I'm going to have to go with that and work on getting the hang of this with other cities.
     
  8. doug141

    doug141 Chieftain

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    Despite the fact this is an old thread, I wanted to say thanks to all the contributors, especially the person who started the thread. This thread has changed me from worker automator to worker micro manager, and I love the game even more.

    Note that the math requirements can be truncated by simply pulling up the city screen and counting only the city squares not yet being worked against the current food surplus.

    Now my workers never cut off an irrigation chain, and I can get by with fewer workers because they don't work useless tiles just to keep busy.
     
  9. Gomer_Pyle

    Gomer_Pyle Chieftain

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    What i dont understand with all this specialization is this. Do you not build like banks/forges/religion buildings in all cities at all? I normally tend to build all available in all cities? That a bad move then??? Your guides are rather lacking at that part of the game.

    I play with A New Dawn modmod so lots of things is added over vanilla. If you are not building most buildings in all ur cities. Could someone make some suggestion to what kind of buildings you wouldnt build say in like a commerce city and a gp farm.???

    Thanks!

    PS: I am a noobie still playing at prince and very new to specializing.
     
  10. Wodan

    Wodan Chieftain

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    Well, in a production city you could obviously skip ALL :gold: and ALL :science: buildings.

    Commerce city is an overly-generic categorization when talking about city specialization. Instead, specialize in :gold: cities and :science: cities. See where this is going? In a :gold: city you can skip :science: buildings, and vice-versa.

    Now, an important point is that many of these distinctions only apply if the vast majority of income for the city in question is not coming in as :commerce:. If it's :commerce:, then it flows through the sliders, which means it's tied to empire-wide slider settings. That doesn't mean you can't specialize :commerce: cities, only that they need to take this into account.

    And, clearly, cities which have the majority of income not tied to the slider can ignore this distinction. (As can all your cities if you optimize your empire to run with the sliders at 0% :science: or 100% :science:, which can be tricky but is a very fun and powerful strategy when done well.)

    clear as mud?
     
  11. Gomer_Pyle

    Gomer_Pyle Chieftain

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    Not everything, but some of it.... hehe

    what do you produce in lets say a science city if you are not building any :science: buildings? it seems to be doing nothing then??? And in :gold: cities? Are we talking just drop the very special buildings like drop the bank, drop the temple ect? just producing wealth, science and happiness buildings.

    also another thing i am struggling with is the GP farms. When do I start putting in spesialists? when my city is just size 6 and starting to go well. or do I wait until it is a bit bigger before i start killing the growth by adding spesialists? Because thats basically what we are doing isnt it? To sacrifice growth (slower) for spesialists? also do i concentrate on one type of spesialists or have a few of each?

    And last. What do you accomplish by not producing science buildings in every city and moneymaking buildings??? I would think more was good here? Is there a bigger cost by having all the buildings in all the cities than the profit of not having them?

    Sorry if I sound really noobish, but i am trying to learn the ways of the "civ players".

    Gomer,

    Edit: I have had a game again. And I simply do not get it. I am playing on standard size map with 14 opponents. Landmass is fairly distributed and most of us got 4-5 cities. I got 4 and they are growing. However this time i got my capital as a production city as it had most hills and fair amount of food. My second city is my commerce city with most science. Then i got 2 island cities doing very well as commerce too. But science and money is slow. I know if I had started building science and money buildings in all my cities it would be better. What is it I dont get right and understand with this specializing of cities? :-(

    Edit2: My 4 cities only produced 100 science per turn at 250BC. And all my cities are above 10 pop. Capital is 15 and production city. But now I am falling really hard behind. I was doing much better before that is when I mostly did automated workers and govenors. I am willing to bet its something to do with the specialists right?
     
  12. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Chieftain

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    If you aren't building science buildings, you are building units, or wealth, or perhaps some of the buildings that help your city get bigger.

    Fundamental idea: you want to produce the NEXT great person as quickly as possible.

    That's an oversimplification -- you usually don't want to take citizens off of awesome tiles just to run a specialist; you occasionally need to show some judgment when there are multiple cities about to produce a great person at the same time.

    The important concept here is opportunity cost -- if the buildings were free, you would take them. You've essentially got a limited amount of food, and the problem of finding the best way to spend that food. A free Grocer is pure profit, but 150 hammers invested in a Grocer is 150 hammers not invested in three catapults, or 150 gold. It's 150 hammers work of pop/turns producing hammers, when they could instead be creating more value than that in research....
     
  13. Wodan

    Wodan Chieftain

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    Either:
    a) Plan ahead and make a :) or :health: building you'll need eventually
    b) Build :gold: or :science: (people tend to overlook these options, but they're very useful and should be used in every game)

    You generally want to make your highest food generation city to be your GP Farm. So it's generally not a problem to begin putting in specialists quite early. And, when that city reaches the :) cap you should go in and maximize the number of specialists.

    Generally you will want to generate a specific Great Person, maybe a Great Prophet (because you founded a religion and need to create the Shrine for it), or a Great Engineer (because a critical wonder is coming up and you want to rush produce it), etc. If so, you should maximize that type of specialist.

    But also you may be trying to have multiple Golden Ages (GAs are very powerful when you have hundreds of Towns across your empire) in which case having a mix of Great People is good. You don't have to use a Great Person right away, just fortify them in your capitol and use them for GAs later in the game.

    A better question is the opposite. What do you accomplish by producing them?

    If a city is a production city (working farms and mines) and bringing in very little commerce, does it make sense to spend a ton of hammers building a University etc.? +25% of zero is zero. (Yes, there are a couple of trade routes and maybe a river, so it's not literally zero but it's very little.) Wouldn't it be better to have that city cranking out more units, or building a wonder?

    It doesn't sound as though you're specializing at all, except for your capitol.

    Try this: set the science slider at either 0% or 100%.

    At 0%, you will not be making any :science:. Those cities are all :gold: specializing. You can run merchants or engineers in them too, if desired. You don't have to build Universities or other :science: buildings, but do build Markets and Banks. To change one of the landbound cities to a science specializing city, put farms in it (no cottages) and run scientist specialists. (In this situation you can't make a coastal city into a :science: specializing city.) Generally in this situation you will make at least one :science: specializing city and that's your GP Farm; put Oxford in there of course.

    At 100% science slider, you aren't making any :gold: and your economy will be in negative income (until you specialize at least one city for :gold:). Your cities don't have to build markets or banks but should build libraries and universities. To change one of the landbound cities to a gold/wealth specializing city, put farms and run merchants. Typically this is good to do in a city where you have founded a religion.

    The second option (at 100% science) is often the best. A single :gold: city can provide the wealth to run your entire empire, with Wall Street and a shrine etc.
     
  14. rfcfanatic

    rfcfanatic Mercantilist

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    I have played games where I had to build markets in production cities or forges in commerce cities in order to get rid of :mad:
     
  15. fed1943

    fed1943 Chieftain

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    Of course. So, count said markets or forges or whatever as their cost is
    zero hammers toward the specializition goal of the city account.
     
  16. osh24lager

    osh24lager Chieftain

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    Sorry, I know this is an old thread, but in the game, is there some way to automatically do this (counting and displaying the total +/- food yield within a city's big fat cross) without having to do the math manually? (either with some mod or by toggling some setting that I'm unaware of)? Yes, I know it's not hard to do the math, but I'm lazy. ;) Plus, in general, I like finding ways to save time while optimizing/micromanaging my empire.
     
  17. Izuul

    Izuul Level 86

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    I wouldn't worry to much about it as the key concept here is a bit flawed. This assumes that you actually want to work ALL of your BFC tiles which in fact is very rarely the case. In reality its more efficient to be selective about which tiles a city works and then whip away surplus with slavery.
     
  18. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Chieftain

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    It does not make a lot of sense to assume a city would use all its tiles. But thinking about food is nevertheless extremely important for cities. The rule of thumb that, if possible, every city should at least have one good (5-6F) or maybe two decent (4F) sources of food so that it can grow/re-grow at a decent rate and work low food/high hammer tiles, it quite helpful.
    I still sometimes forget about this and there are sucky maps where one has to place some non-ideal cities. And on most maps some some resources tend to fall on desert/tundra/ice.
    Still, one should really be aware that the desert hill gold mine or tundra copper mine can only be worked if the city has a source of food. Otherwise one has to work two grass farms to work the tile at all. Often these tiles are not there in tundra or desert. There might be one seafood tile but this is also almost "used up" by the no food gold hill.

    That's also why gems are usually better than gold despite slightly less :commerce: yield: because most of the time they are on grass or grassy hills not on plains/desert
     
  19. Seraiel

    Seraiel Chieftain

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    This.

    The concept of growing a city to exactly size 20 is completely obsolete, it's way better to build Improvements on what a city currently needs or focusses on, and in Domination / Conquest games, it's often enough if a city has something like 6-8 tiles it can work, because that are the sizes where 3pop and 4pop whips are available. If early in the game, even size 4 can be optimal, because only 2 pop whips are needed.
    In Space Races ofc, cities want to become bigger, but even then, it doesn't matter if a city i. e. only has 15 tiles to work but grows to size 22, because then, it can simply hire some Specialists, which have an awesome efficiency once REP is available.

    The better concept is to learn, which tiles are worth working and which aren't. In general it can be said, that every Special Ressource is worth working. Grasslands are good to grow on and then whip them away. Sometimes, working more Grasslands is worth it, like when one needs maximum research. Plains are never worth being worked before one gets Biology and / or State Property (Communism) . With Biology and a Farm, they're actually quite ok, but most Domination / Conquest games end earlier than that. Floodplains otoh should almost always be worked, they're almost like Special Resources, because they give Food.

    As basic advice one also can say, that the capital should always be cottaged to the max because of Bureacracy, while all other cities can either be farmed (Domination / Conquest) or also be Cottaged (Space Race) .

    Sticking to those rules will get you a lot better in the game, as if you would try to grow every city to size 20. Those rules are actually very close to how I really play, after having over 50 Deity-wins under HoF standards and when evaluating every improvement in single.
     
  20. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Chieftain

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    There are two things I still wonder about:
    - people tend to say grassland farms suck. But aren't they needed for early growth unless one has mostly great food spots? If my 2nd or 3rd city has dry rice (pre-CS many foods are dry), grass horses and jungle elephants I need a few grass farms to get to a size where I can whip/regrow.
    (I also tend to have problem that I never know when do work the cottages to grow, there is alway something to build, whip etc. and the yield is so long so low unless Fin or FP.)

    - what about resource tiles pre/post their prime. I usually farm riverside plantation tiles and wine (alternatively mine wine on a hill); even if they are in jungle, I tend to have IW before calendar (often trade for both). But theoretically one could also put cottages on some and keep them because the yield will be higher in the end. (The other side is that one can sometimes get 7-10 gold from an AI for extra resources although plantation resources are often not as scarce as e.g. gold)
    Then there is the consideration to postpone eg AH and mine/farm pigs/sheep/cows. Mining a hill pig yields only one token less and is good IF the city has another good food source. (Farming a riverside pig seems hardly worth the trouble..?) Otherwise I'd probably research AH (also depends on starting techs, mining might be almost as far as AH, it's cheaper, though)

    Then there is a time when SP workshops and watermills give more hammers or food than e.g. elephants or horses. Usually these resources are almost obsolete at this time, too, but still tradeable...
     

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