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A small reason not to move starting settler

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by KerThud, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. KerThud

    KerThud Chieftain

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    After reading a post on the subject of whether or not to move your starting settler to a hills/plain square (lose one or two turns of research for one extra hammer of production for the whole game), I thought I might try it. The setting seemed perfect since the two-move jump put me at a hill/plain on the coast.

    I'm working on my early warmongering and found that this move hurt me in an unexpected way: I was now 2 moves further from my nearest enemy. Later turns revealed that I had no nearby horses, though copper was easy to get at a second city--but located east of me, whereas the neighbors are south. This means that I'm at least 3 turns slower at getting an army to my enemy (lost first turn, two travel turns). Even building a road doesn't affect the calculation since there's no way I'd get the road all the way to my enemy before my first attack.

    Hmmm. This causes me to think of another thought--exactly opposite to the title of the post: maybe if I start near the coast, I could move my starting settler _away_ from the coast in the expectation that that would put me closer to my soon-to-be-found enemy. If I don't lose too many resources and especially if my starting scout/warrior can help with the exact choice of spots.

    Obviously, these points are very situation-dependent, but when trying to micro-optimize, they might be of use.
     
  2. DonQuijote

    DonQuijote Chieftain

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    I hate moving my starting settler, but do it when I have to. I usually will move if I'm one step away from the coast or if there are many of 1 resource I sometimes set my city right on them for an early advantage.
     
  3. gastro

    gastro Chieftain

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    Are you talking about responding to an opponent's attack or declaring war and then attacking? If you are going to declare war and then attack, why not just park your forces right on his border, then declare war the next turn so you are in his territory on the same turn you declared war?
     
  4. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    Generally I don't want my capitol to be on the coast. City maintenance encourages your capital to be in the middle of an encircling ring of cities. Over the entire span of the game, that added maintenance (by having your capitol on the -edge- of your empire) will be huge.

    Wodan
     
  5. Jantis

    Jantis Chieftain

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    In the case described above, I like to take advantage of the palace and just move the capital - once my empire becomes a bit more stable. The bit of time it takes to make the palace is worth it in the long run. Of course, it all depends on other variables, like what kind of map and where on the land mass your capital begins. Even on the coast, you might still be relatively in the "center" of your empire.

    So basically, I go with the BEST location I can for my starting city, even if it's on the coast, but then either move the capital or use the forbidden palace to help balance out costs in the mid-point of the game.
     
  6. KerThud

    KerThud Chieftain

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    I'm primarily talking about me declaring the war and attacking. The issue is not whether to collect troops at the border before attacking (I do that), but rather the fact that if I'm really trying to get new troops to the battle fastest, it can take an extra few turns depending on if my cities are further from or closer to the war front.
     
  7. KerThud

    KerThud Chieftain

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    I hadn't really considered that. I haven't done the math: do the increased maintenance costs offset the fact that my capital is usually a commerce-intensive city and that on the coast I can builder harbor, etc.?
     
  8. Jantis

    Jantis Chieftain

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    KerThud, I understand where you're going with your original theory, but it seems too much of a shot in the dark. On certain maps, your likelyhood of getting "closer" to your first victim increases... say on a Pangea map. But when you apply it to something like a Continent map - you might be the only one on that particular continent. So moving away from a pristine spot just to get closer to your enemy may backfire, as your closest enemy might be a continent away.

    In that case, you lost a turn to move the settler, you might be in a worse starting spot, and you're farther from the coast, thus farther from your enemy. The last point is fairly moot, as by the time you can likely reach your enemy, you will probably have an extra city or two, one of which might be on the coast.

    Anyway, it seems if you know enough about the map layout, moving inland could be of some benefit for an "attack early" approach. But that's a fairly limited benefit that relies on a certain degree of pre-game knowledge (or assumption).

    Just my thoughts on it.
     
  9. KerThud

    KerThud Chieftain

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    Thanks for your thoughts; I think you're right. I guess the real lesson in this case is that since it's a gamble to move inland and may hurt early aggression by moving toward the coast, maybe this is just another reason to simply accept whatever start position you're dealt with. This may be especially true since the little blue circle placement algorithm knows about not-yet-revealed resources.
     
  10. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    Any city on the coast is going to be a commerce-intensive city, unless it's only marginally on the coast, in which case it's a moot point for purposes of this issue.

    Thus, the only consideration is Harbor. (I discount your "etc"... there's nothing else that matters.)

    Thing is, it's not like you're "giving" up that spot. You're going to have a city there, whether it's your capitol or not. So, you get the harbor anyway.

    Look at it this way: if, as you suppose in your presumptive argument, your capitol is going to be commerce-intensive, would you rather have a handful of Towns or a handful of Coast? Clearly, towns are much better. You get twice (or more!) of the commerce, and after a while, you even get an extra Hammer.

    So, from all perspectives, you do NOT want your capitol on the coast.

    Wodan

    ps Jantis points out that you can move your capitol. Sure, if you want to waste the time and production hammers to do so. Also, he points out that, depending on the map, that coastal spot might well end up being in the "center" of your empire. Something to keep in mind on an archipelago map, perhaps. Anyway, YMMV of course! :)
     
  11. dawn

    dawn Redophile

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    Is that really the case? Maybe I should pay more attention to it's recommendations!:wallbash:
     
  12. KerThud

    KerThud Chieftain

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    Very good point about towns versus coast. By "etc.", I meant lighthouse and the temptation to build Great Lighthouse and Collosus. The wonders are probably lower-level thinking on my part, but the lighthouse could (as in so many things, it's situation dependent in CIV) make coast commerce-preferable to towns on plains if you've got no grasslands or flood plains.

    And those coastal squares that I don't get by not moving my starting settler are never going to be worked because no other city is going to be able to reach them. The land squares will probably be worked, and the fact that it was a starting location means that I'll be even more likely to place a city there soon.

    Still overall I think you're right. I need to seriously re-evaluate my tendency to want capitals on the coast. Thanks.
     
  13. KerThud

    KerThud Chieftain

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    I read that in a thread or two when the game first came out, pre patches. I've noticed some happy surprises with copper, iron and horses popping up within my city radius when I follow the blue circle recommendations. Could be coincidence, but I do tend to weight the blue circles a little higher if I haven't researched the revealing techs yet.
     
  14. petey

    petey Prince

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    It seems to be. In the game I'm playing now, my starting position had two resources within reach. I moved my warrior onto a hill to get a better view of the area and decided to sacrfice one turn to move my settler to take advantage of a third resource that was nearby. It turns out that if I had kept the original starting position, I would have had both horses and copper in range of the original position.

    I got my ass kicked in that game and restarted from the 4000BC save to give it another go. For the placement of my second city, it recommended that I ignore some grassland and put some desert tiles in the range, one of which I knew happened to have the only iron resource in the area. I'm not sure if it recommended this spot the first time around or not.

    So, it does appear to take into account things that you can't see yet.
     
  15. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    Being on the coast is a big advantage if you have freshwater lakes. On the coast, you can build Lighthouse, which gives you 3 food from the lakes. Off the coast, you can't.

    Speculation about the magical ability of the computer to suggest starting locations based on hidden resources is very unlikely to be true. People are good at noticing coincidences when they happen, and not noticing all of the potential coincidences that didn't happen.

    By the time you have so many cities so far away that the centrality of your empire makes a big difference, you can build the forbidden palace at the other end of your empire, which puts you in a better position than having hte palace in the middle and the forbidden palace on one side.
     
  16. petey

    petey Prince

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    There's nothing magical about it. We're saying that it's a simple algorithm based on tile characteristics that doesn't have a line in it to alter the value of those characteristics if the hidden value = 1 instead of 0.
     
  17. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    OK, I will call it "theoretical", "hypothetical", or "suppositious".
     
  18. petey

    petey Prince

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    Or perhaps "known issue which Firaxis has acknowledged and beta testers have posted about which was not changed as of the latest patch".
     
  19. Beamup

    Beamup Higgs boson

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    Well, it's none of these. See this thread where the question was thoroughly tested. This post in particular is conclusive.

    Short version - the AI knew about the increased tile yield that undiscovered resources would eventually provide (though not the resource itself per se), and placed cities with that knowledge. Probably the blue-circle algorithm did the same.

    Soren said that this would be fixed, so maybe this is no longer the case in 1.52. Or it may have been too late for 1.52 and will be in the next patch. But it is an established fact that the AI did (approximately) know about unrevealed resources before that.
     
  20. Jantis

    Jantis Chieftain

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    By the time you actually need to build a palace, it isn't expensive - and it is well worth the minor investment. And really, I haven't had to build a palace very often. But I am more willing to risk needing to do so versus potentially wasting several starting turns looking for a central location and being wrong.

    Only on certain maps is it obvious that there is nothing beyond the coast. Most maps are a crapshoot, and the land masses can twist in odd directions. Unless you know the map ahead of time (or play on an obvious coast-is-evil map like Pangaea), you have no way of knowing where the center of your empire will be. Assuming that moving a couple of turns (or worse... several turns) will actually put you near the center of your eventual empire is just taking a risk.

    My latest game put me on the coast to start. It is a continent map, and I was sincerely considering moving inland, but the starting spot was just too appealing. So I took it. Based on the map layout and a few hundred years of expansion, I found that my starting spot could not have been more perfect, putting me smack dab in the center of my empire.

    YMM certainly V! I agree with ya there. :)
     

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