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ALC Game 28: Ethiopia/Zara

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Benginal, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    All Leaders Challenge Game 28: Ethiopia/Zara Yaqob
    Played with the Beyond the Sword expansion pack




    Round 0: Move the Scout
    Round 1: 4000 BC to 3160 BC (21 turns)
    Round 2: 3160 BC to 2640 BC (13 turns)
    Round 3: 2640 BC to 825 BC (48 Turns)
    Round 4: 825 BC to 525 BC (12 Turns)
    Round 5: 525 BC to 450 AD (39 Turns)
    Round 6: 450 AD to 1190 AD (46 Turns)
    Round 7: 1190 AD to 1530 AD (37 Turns)
    Round 8: 1530 AD to 1790 AD (52 turns)
    Round 9: 1790 AD to 1860 AD (32 turns)
    Post Mortem


    Personal Introduction

    I’ve been a long time reader here at these forums and have been helped greatly by many of the posters. Sisiutil’s All Leaders Challenge games were extremely helpful in my development and I’ve decided that I’d like to pick up the ALC series where it left off. I will no doubt be inferior to Sisiutil, but I hope that I’ve reached a point where I’ll be able to demonstrate how to play the game well. That being said, I certainly have room for improvement, so feel free to give advice, tips, and otherwise critique my gameplay. My hope is that this series can be picked back up as there’s nothing quite like watching the games “live”.

    Pre-Game Discussion

    In this ALC game I’ll be playing as Zara of the Ethiopians. I rarely play as Zara so this is certainly going to be an adventure for me. I’ve played against him enough, though, to be aware of his creative inclinations. I’m not sure I’ll be taking that route, but we can discuss that later.

    Traits:


    Creative: gives us +2:culture: per city and double production speed of Theater, Coliseum, and Library. I used to find this trait awesome, and it’s certainly one that I still like, but it’s not as cool as it used to be in my eyes. The useful things are the early border pops, which can be incredibly useful in the pursuit of strategic resources and land blocking, and the quick libraries which cannot be undervalued. The quick theatres can be cool if we find ourselves in a situation where we want a quick Globe for a head start on massive whipping. The quick Coliseums I could do without … this isn’t Civ V.

    Organized: civic upkeep reduced 50 percent and double production speed of Lighthouse, Factory, and Courthouse. Yeah, this trait is super. Civic upkeep I used to not even pay attention to, but at the higher levels it becomes a major issue and having to only pay half of it is huge in the pursuit of rapid expansion. And courthouses and factories are awesome. Lighthouses are pretty cool too and if we find ourselves coastal The Great Lighthouse is certainly a possibility.

    Starting Techs: Hunting and Mining.

    The more starting techs give my workers to do the more I like them, so these two are pretty average. Hunting will let us improve elephants, deer, and fur and gets us one step closer to archery. Mining lets us build mines on un-forested tiles and gets us one step closer to Bronze Working.

    Unique Unit: Oromo Warrior.

    This unit replaces the musketman. Its cost and movement restrictions are the same as the musketman, but it gets a free first strike, is immune to first strikes, and starts with drill I and II. I have little experience playing with Oromos and I usually bypass Muskets, but this could be a game where we beeline Gunpowder and build a force of Oromos.

    Unique Building: Stele

    This unique building is a monument that also gives +25% culture in the city. Given that we’re creative this building is super lame. I don’t plan on building monuments, but I suppose this building could be useful if we have a culture war over tiles with another civ. On the other hand, if the land and neighbors allow it, this building is incredibly useful if we decide to pursue a cultural victory.

    Starting Position

    The idea of the All Leaders Challenge is that games are going to be played with each of the Civ IV leaders. With the help of all the posters who participate, an attempt will be made to make the most of the leader's unique characteristics: traits, starting techs, unit, and building. Aside from the leader, the other game settings are (mostly) kept constant for the sake of comparison. I will post the saved game files, screenshots, and status reports here as the game progresses.

    Everyone is invited to offer opinions and advice, and to make your own attempt at playing the same game. But if you do play a "shadow game", I kindly request that you refrain from posting spoilers--i.e. any facts or even hints about the map, opponents, and so on--before I'm there myself. I'm trying to play the game as authentically as possible.

    In this ALC game, I'll be playing as Zara, leader of the Ethiopians. I'm playing the game using the Beyond the Sword expansion pack and its latest patch. The difficulty level is Emperor, the map is Fractal, and the speed is Normal. I’m leaving all the boxes unchecked except for huts and events, both of which are off. All victory conditions are enabled. If you have any questions about why I picked what I did, feel free to ask.

    Here is a more detailed look at the initial game settings:



    Here's a reminder as to Zara's unique characteristics:



    And, finally, here is the starting position:



    My initial thoughts are that this start is pretty lame. Let’s look at what we’ve got. Bad: Plains wheat, lots of other plains, and no fish. Good: Grassland cows which we are only one tech from improving, gold nearby, and lots of forests which we are only one tech from chopping. I’m not inclined to settle in place with so much water without any fish/crabs/clams. I’m thinking of moving the scout 1NE and then 1SE to see if there’s some northern land that might be better. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. hexem3117

    hexem3117 Warlord

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    I may be in the minority here, but I say SIP.

    Fur's not the BEST starting commerce tile, but it's not bad; plus it's riverside. The combination of cows, wheat, and furs are, like you said, average, but they are also versatile. They provide a good amount of food, production, and commerce. There's lot of forests for chopping; you could easily get a few early wonders out of this site.

    If this is a heavy coastal start, there is great potential for building GLH.

    There is great potential for this capital to be a heavy production site early/mid game; farming is necessary. I would switch my capital later; early this site would be good for commerce and research, but would quickly be under-performing. Good luck! I love these RPC/ALC games.
     
  3. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    Round 0, part 2: Move the Scout

    I went ahead and moved the scout as I said I was going to. 1NE and then 1SE. 1SE for the second half of the scout's move might not have been optimal, but I like to finish on hills when I have a scout. This gives me more information next turn when I'm deciding where to move him. Here is what we have explored to date:



    As hexem suggested, I will likely SIP and use my capital as a production powerhouse. With the 8 sea tiles I will also likely build the Moai Statues in my capital. I usually try to build Moai in a city with more than 8 sea tiles, but I think an early Moai might be the best thing in this situation.

    The tiles workable in the mid game will be the cows, the wheat, the fur, and the three grassland hills. These 6 tiles leave me with 2+2+2-1-1-1-1 = 2 food to spare. Therefore, future tiles would have to be very close to food neutral which means making farms (which I can't do on grassland until Civil Service). On the other hand with a lighthouse and Moai the 6 coast tiles will be 2:food:, 2:commerce:, and 1:hammers:. So for the mid game, we can either work Moai powered sea tiles or the riverside plain farms which are 2:food:, 1:commerce:, and 1:hammers:. Therefore I think the turns put into building Moai will pay off.

    EDIT: I see now that there is one riverside grassland 2 east and 1 north of the capital, but given the lack of other good tiles, I still think Moai is the best move.

    Wonders are pretty cool little gadgets. TGL is one of my favorites and we definitely have the forests to chop it out quickly. We'll explore some more and decide in a couple turns if we want to head in that direction. The lack of seafood makes it very expensive to tech fishing and sailing as the fishing tech has no other benefits at this point.

    Hexem has convinced me and I will settle in place now and very likely move my capital to the gold/flood plains city site later in the game. I will start with a worker build. My tech order will be Agriculture --> Animal Husbandry. We start with hunting which allows us to improve the fur right away. I pick Agriculture next as it allows us to improve the wheat and it lessens the cost of Animal Husbandry. Animal Husbandry comes next since it allows us to improve the cows.

    If you have any other ideas speak up soon as I'm itching to play into this game a little bit.
     
  4. joanne

    joanne Barbarian

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    What a pleasant surprise, thanks for doing this game, Benginal! :goodjob: I've learned a lot from Sisiutil's games too, good luck.

    That's a strange start for standard fractal, I think I would just SIP as well. At least the immediate surroundings esp. to the NE look nice, with all that early commerce and Zara's traits I would try to expand fast to get more, better land.
     
  5. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    Round 1: 4000 BC to 3160 BC (21 turns)

    As planned, I settle in place. This capital should indeed be a nice production city.



    I sent my scout the rest of the way around the southeast of my landmass. While the map is having fun giving me the worst food specials it can find, the land is not at all terrible. As planned I began by researching agriculture and building a worker.



    Again as planned, I began to research Animal Husbandry after finishing Agriculture. You can see in this image that my scout got hit by a barb lion. It's okay, don't worry. It will take a few turns to heal, but after that I'll send it west to explore.



    After finishing the worker (building it with the cows) I start on a warrior and for the time being leave my citizen working on the cows. The worker goes right to the wheat and begins a farm.



    After letting the scout get back to full health I send him west. Turns out I'm at the bottom of some sort of landmass and it's definitely looking like many of my cities will be coastal.



    Now for a little micro action. Sometimes I do silly things that might not even be that productive, but are cool nonetheless. What I did was move my citizen to the forested hill and then to the farm in such a way that the warrior will finish at the same time as we get to size 2. This will give us more options at size 2 and get us there at a reasonable time. If we worked just the forested hill we'd get the warrior a few turns sooner, but it would have been 16 turns before getting to size 2. And if we had kept working the cow, it would have been faster to size 2, but the warrior would have been out ~12 turns later giving barbs a chance to become more prevalent. As I did it, we get the barb defense and some growth all in 6 total turns.





    I finish Animal Husbandry.



    And here's the view of our explored territory.



    The Good:

    • Our worker has much to do and our capital should be pretty productive for the next 5000 years.
    • We have two different sources of marble. This is going to be excellent for building The Great Library, and the Heroic and National Epics. It also gives us the possibility of an Oracle slingshot, and building the Parthenon.
    • We have some pretty good city sites in our future. I like the look of settling on the plains hill below the mountain to the southeast for a GP farm. Gold, marble site to the west. Gold, flood plains site to the north. Marble, clams to the northeast. Double fish, cow to the north. I'll do a tentative dot-map in a little bit, but I'd love to see what you guys come up with.
    • No close neighbors. This will give us a chance to use our organized trait and expand quite quickly picking city sites we want.
    • We have two happiness resources namely gold and fur. This will allow our cities to grow to a respectable size 7 early.


    The Bad:
    • Not a lot of forests outside the capital. If we want to quickly build any early wonders we're going to have to do it in the capital.
    • Not a lot of massive food. Building workers and settlers will likely be done mostly with hammers as we're not going to get a nice double wet corn city any time soon.
    • No close neighbors. I hope we find somebody soon, because if we don't we're looking at slow teching and no trade routes.
    • No horses. This isn't that bad, but it's not something to be pleased about.


    Some Questions:

    1. What should I do with my scout. I currently have him fogbusting the west, but this is sacrificing more exploration to the north. Should I leave him in the west or is it better for the Ethiopians if I were to send him north.
    2. What should I research next. I have writing as a placeholder, but I'm up for suggestions. My leaders are Bronze Working for chops, fishing for the fish and for the Great Lighthouse. I'm thinking Bronze Working since fishing isn't necessary right away whereas I can start chopping ASAP.
    3. What should I build next. I don't think that a second worker would have enough to do. Therefore I plan to build another warrior, but again I'm open for suggestions.
    4. City Sites. If we research BW next we'll maybe see some copper which will obviously give us more information. But without that information, where do you guys think we should settle our next city.

    If you guys have any answers to these questions, any more questions either for me or for other readers, anything you'd like to add to the good or bad lists, or any comments please do post. Thanks for reading!
     
  6. hexem3117

    hexem3117 Warlord

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    You need to scout north, to see if you have any neighbors.

    In terms of city sites, I like 2S of the gold above your capital. This city can go in 2 directions, IMO. You could turn it into a GP farm (which would be better than the other you proposed) by farming all the floodplains. That'd net you 2 food per farm, which adds up very quickly. This would also allow you to chop that forest so you can build GL there. It'd be a pretty good GP farm in addition to the gold which is good by itself.

    You could also turn it into a commerce center with lots of cottages; this would take much longer and would not be as beneficial I would think. Bureaucracy would help if you made this capital, however. If you somehow got Pyramids (a longshot), I would put scientists in most cities; it's gonna be hard to get any research out of this landmass. Representation could be immensely helpful.

    I would try to get both GLH AND the pyramids in your capital. This is probably not doable, and may not be worth the risk in terms of expansion.

    In terms of cities, I would settle them like this:
    1.) 2S of central gold
    2.) 2N, 1W of the SW fish
    After these, I'm not sure; the area to the SE needs to be explored more, since we don't know what is there. We know a lot, but another fish/clams/crabs would alter where we'd settle immensely. You have room for two OK cities to the SE.

    This land is pretty bad, IMO. You're probably going to need to go north, where it looks more green.

    Hope this helps! I would see if other people have ideas, mine might not be too great. Also, thinking about it more, I think Pyramids might be more helpful in this situation for research than GLH. Representation would be pretty crucial in my opinion for the extra beakers.
     
  7. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    Round 2: 3160 BC to 2640 BC (13 turns)

    I decided that the last round was a little bit too short for us to have a meaningful discussion about what to do next. I hoped that playing a few more turns might introduce some points of interest about which we can talk. My hopes were certainly fulfilled, but not necessarily in a good way. At least we now have something to talk about.

    Given hexem's silence on the issue, I went ahead and researched Bronze Working. I did so because all of the forests in our capital are just begging to be chopped and because without horses, it would be nice to have copper nearby. Also, chopping is something we could begin to do right away. Had we researched the wheel or fishing, we would have had to wait a few turns to utilize their benefits.

    Here is what my capital is working at the end of this turnset.



    The worker is currently building a mine on the grassland hill and I will switch my citizen as soon as the mine is complete. After that I plan to chop out a worker. Following the worker I will revolt into slavery and 2-pop whip an axeman who will head up north to intercept barbs and hopefully get up to 10 experience opening the Heroic Epic. My two workers will then chop out a settler and a third worker. Following these units I will chop out the Great Lighthouse which I think is a mandatory build at this point.

    Here are some screenshots of the island. The first one is showing that there is land to our north which hopefully has civs on it. And if not, we can put a city up there soon to give the Ethiopians some intercontinental trade routes. The second screenshot shows the entire continent with my dotmap.





    Points of Discussion:
    1. Build order in capital. I like the idea of worker, axe, settler, worker, lighthouse, GLH, Pyramids.
    2. The Wonders. This game is looking pretty similar to the current immortal cookbook game. I think they're both going to be pretty important given the mediocre cottage land. Hopefully wonder-powered trade routes and wonder-powered specialists will be enough to keep us in the tech race (also, we're playing at emperor, which should help).
    3. I'm also liking the idea of building the Parthenon to help with Great Scientist production which we can use to bulb up the Astronomy line.
    4. And the oracle. What do you guys think? We're isolated by the looks of things and have marble. Why not build as many wonders as we can.
    5. What city should we settle next. I have copper city to our east for 1st. But copper is already in our borders, so it's not a big deal to settle there. I think I might like to settle the western gold city first. What are your comments?
    6. Dotmap. Given all the new information, what do you guys think?
    7. Tech order. I have fishing and sailing up as the next two techs. But the wheel could easily fit in there somewhere, although I'm not sure it's necessary. Masonry is also going to have to come soon. We will also have to research the Aesthetics line soon to give us the techs for the Parthenon and the Great Library.
     
  8. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    It will be neccesary in my opinion to get a workboat or galley to scout to make sure your not isolated. Because if your not isolated it would be good to do the following.

    ---

    As to wonders i would try and go for The temple of artemis and the GLH since your an island continent if your not isolated that will net you a truckload of commerce via the intercontinental trade routes.

    The great library if possible would be good in the central city with the production/gold/floodplains since you can get a fair few scientists going there and you have the commerce to enhance science output as well.

    All of this if you get it should work out to give you an exellent science rate
     
  9. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    with no stone and marble it's reasonable to avoid Mids (even if they are great for high food land) and concentrate on marble wonders.

    Your city 2 is without food, are you sure? what about the fish south there?
    actually that 2x fish+cow spot would be better GP farm then the south eastern one.
     
  10. plasmacannon

    plasmacannon Emperor

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    I am not found of City #2's placement.
    It has too many deserts and no good source of food to feed its mines.

    I have to go with hexen3117's suggestion of "2.) 2N, 1W of the SW fish".
    This will give you the food to grow, as well as the Gold, Marble and 2 other hills.
     
  11. Gwynnja

    Gwynnja Deity

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    Without stone, i'd skip the mids, and maoi. Assuming you get the great lighthouse, pumping out settlers, workers, and escorts should take precedence. Cheap libraries plus seafood plus marble plus great lighthouse plus flood plains plus gold plus organized equal a really solid early economy. Beeline literature then currency.
     
  12. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

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    City 2 is just screaming "PLEASE move me 2 spots south!!!!" :p At size 4 with the fish it can work marble/gold/grassland hill for a solid 11 hammer productions. That is just great. Good luck with the ALC.
     
  13. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    3 first, then 2S of 2.

    Not sure what the best way to split the flood plains would be. I'd say desert hill near copper,desert hillwest of gold.

    You'll have enough commerce with 2 gold and flood plains, so feel free to grab 4 and 5 as fast as you can, and you can still go for great library. Skip oracle, get monarchy after literature, astronomy bulb.
     
  14. Kid R

    Kid R Emperor

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    Agree work boat should be built immediately fishing is complete. Isolation or not is such a huge thing and drastically changes the required strategy almost from the start. Also in the event that there is more than 1 civ to the north in cases like this you can easily find yourself blocked from meeting all of them unless you get out there early.
     
  15. Killroyan

    Killroyan Deity

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    I would also put city 6 1W and put in another filler city using one of the NE fish. 1N2W of the upper right fish.
     
  16. vanatteveldt

    vanatteveldt Emperor

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    I don't think maoi is useful in your capital, even if you had stone.

    Maoi+lighthouse makes your 5 coast tiles 2f1h2c and the 3 ocean tiles 2f1h1c. These are just not very good yields, especially not worth the hammers for maoi. I doubt the first 10 tiles your cap will work include any water tiles.

    I think you should consider maoi for a city that has a number of water tiles that it will use anyway, ie lighthouse-lakes and food specials. If it has 3-5 of these, it is worth building.
     
  17. Sian

    Sian Emperor

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    i'd build Moai (if at all) in City#4 ... two fishes which will certainly be worked and not all that much other really good land (other than the Cows and 4 hills)
     
  18. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    Revised Dotmap



    So I revised the dotmap as per many of your suggestions. I moved the city to the west 2 south, for a couple of reasons. One, everybody told me to. Two, this way we can work the fish with some city in our empire since it’s too good a tile to leave un-worked. Three, we can use our creative trait to still get the Gold and Marble in our borders quickly (I’m worried that Sisiutil would disapprove of how much we’re not using Zara’s unique stuff, so hopefully this will keep the idea of the ALC alive). I’ve also added two more cities: one more in the north and one more along the west coast. What each city is used for can be determined later. We’re going to need a dedicated GP farm at some point, but for now we can just be running specialists everywhere. The order we settle the cities can be debated later, but for the next turnset, I like the idea of settling city 1 first and city 2 second and using them for the things discussed below.



    Wonders

    There has been some dispute about building the pyramids. They are a wonder I very rarely build given their massive expense. On the other hand, this map has some good food resources and not a lot of nice land for cottages. The deal breaker for the pyramids this time around is going to be the lack of stone. Without stone, the pyramids will take an age to build and while the Representation bonus is nice, we should be able to tech along alright. So the pyramids are out in this ALC.

    This still leaves quite a few very attractive wonders. The ones I’d like to build (pretty much all of them) in the order I want them is as follows.
    1. The Great Lighthouse. All of our cities except for one are going to be coastal. The trade routes provided by TGL are so superb that this wonder is definitely the most important wonder in our early game ... and middle game.
    2. The Parthenon. I almost never build the Parthenon. But since I’m going to be running a lot of specialists early and I have marble, I think this wonder is going to pay for itself.
    3. The Great Library. This wonder has great synergy with the Parthenon and is also made relatively inexpensive by marble.
    4. The Oracle. I’m not totally against ditching this wonder, but we can build it cheaply and quickly with some chops in the city to the west. Also, if we do it right, we should be able to get metal casting which will let us build
    5. The Colossus. This wonder is going to be awesome with all of our coastal cities and lack of great land. Let’s use some coastal hamlets to power our early research. Also, we have copper making this wonder half price.
    6. The Temple of Artemis. This is another wonder I don’t build very often. But it’s been recommended by Jehoshua so I thought I’d add it to the list. And again, it is also half price given our marble.

    I think getting all of these wonders is possible. And with our marble and copper access it’s kind of like a Black Friday Sale of Wonders on Ethiopia Island. I’m excited to try and get them all since I very rarely build many wonders and being isolated (probably) with marble lets me go crazy on the wonders. That being said, I can see that some of you want me to skip the Oracle and I’m sure some of you are against building some of the other wonders. I’d love to hear your comments for or against any of these wonders.

    Assuming we try to build all of these wonderful buildings, I’m thinking of using this

    Tech Path


    1. Sailing – This lets us build a lighthouse in our capital. It also makes it such that City 1 will have a trade route with the capital without us having to road. Not only that, but the copper and marble will both be accessible to both cities without us having to road. (I think this is correct, I get confused with those kind of on the river but not really tiles).
    2. Mysticism – This decreases the cost Masonry. It’s also an important prerequisite tech.
    3. Masonry – We can build a quarry on the marble and get started right away on TGL in the capital.
    4. Polytheism – We can now start to build the ToA in the Capital. Even if we don’t get it, we should still get some nice failure gold since those marble wonders always pay well.
    5. Priesthood – We hopefully have the marble hooked up in time and can build a quick Oracle in City 1. I’m a little worried that we won’t be able to get Metal Casting. So maybe we’ll just research writing and try to get a quick Code of Laws. Having a religion when isolated is super nice. And Code of Laws would also let us run more than two scientists in many of our cities.
    6. The Wheel & Pottery – Just to serve as prereq techs for Metal Casting.
    7. Metal Casting – I like the idea of getting this tech with the Oracle. We can build the Colossus in Capital giving us a third GM producing wonder there if everything goes well. It also lets us build some Triremes which are going to be vital to protect all our fish from the inevitably arriving barb galleys, damn them all to hell.
    8. Writing – We start a library, maybe in city 2. I like the idea of having this city being something useful, although I can’t decide if we should farm all the flood plains or cottage them instead.
    9. Aesthetics – We can build the Parthenon in City 1 or anywhere I suppose. This tech is also on the way to
    10. Literature – For the Great Library in city 2.

    I'd love to hear all of your questions, comments, and answers.
     
  19. Sian

    Sian Emperor

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    wouldn't add more cities than those you had from the start

    Spilting the two northenmost cities would earn you nothing but a protentially weaker GP-farm since it have to fight for it's fishs, and the extra city on the west coast is (IMO) barely meh
     
  20. Benginal

    Benginal Emperor

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    Well the one city on the west coast comes naturally as I'm moving my original city 2S leaving two un-worked flood plains on our island and we can't have that.


    The northernmost city in the original dotmap was always going to be only merh so I'm not too worried about putting it on the grassland hill. The last city that would steal the fish won't be built for a while and it would never be very big. But with the GLH and currency researched that city will pay for itself. And much later in the game we might do something with it. But the only cost of the city will be building the settler and I think that the hammers spent on the settler will be worth the trade route gold we collect from it. That being said, that city is the last one I plan to settle and it might never be settled, we'll see.
     

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