Beginner help - the basics


Mycro Junkie
Mar 17, 2013
In this thread i will collect everything (i can think of) that helps new (or newer) players with founding their empire, and learning the basics of this wonderful game :)
I will not get into advanced mechanics like keeping barbarians out, preparing war or annoying AIs, etc. which can be for another thread.

Part 1
Founding your first city (capital)

Every game starts here and while turns are moving fast cos there are only few units available, an early turn counts as much as later ones (we already have our first important lesson).
Many decisions made now will define your game later.

So let's jump right in, here is an example of what we see first.
I use "Blue Marble graphics", hopefully it's not too different to regular ones.
Spoiler :
We always have a warrior (or scout if our Civ starts with hunting) + settler combo.
Our first task for the warrior / scout will be scouting out nearby lands, so we know better where new cities can go.
Maybe he can also reveal more tiles that we eventually want for our capital?
Moving west or southwest makes good sense, could be something in the fog.

Next we look at visible resources and tile yields.
Every (good) city should have some food, and Rice on a river (also called wet Rice) provides +5:food:.
We would not want to move away from this tile unless we see something better :)

Now there are some options with this start, settling on Ivory i.e. will gain an extra hammer for our city square. While i will not go into detail here, 2 screenies of how SIP (settling in place) and settling on Ivory compare as food for thought:
Spoiler :

So either scouting or settling on Ivory by default also shows an extra cow.
Please notice how the improved city square reduces worker build time from 15 to 12 turns.

Conclusion: While the map generator usually picks okay spots for our settler, improving by moving is very possible.

Part 2: What shall we build first?

For this i will run a "simulation".
In pic 1 i thought okay i want size 2 before holding all my growth and building a worker.
In pic 2 i started on my worker right away.
Spoiler :

What can we see? With worker first i am 1 improved cows + 3 turns ahead, despite holding city growth on T0.

Conclusion: On a regular inland start, build your first worker right after settling.
With improved tiles being so much more powerful, show patience while waiting 15 (or 12) turns.

Part 3: What should i research first?

There are a couple choices, also depending on Civ specific starting techs.
Always possible are Mysticism, Agri, Fishing, Hunting, Wheel and Mining.
AH (Animal Husbandry) is available if you start with Hunting or Agri, and BW (Bronze Working) with Mining.
Others are not important for now.

We can categorize them.
Food techs are Agri, AH, Fishing, Hunting (with Deer)
Religion: Mysticism, we could try founding one with the next tech.
Road network & Pottery access: Wheel
Production: Mining, Hunting (with Ivory)

We found out in part 2 that we want a worker as first build.
So what if we tech mysticism first, eying a religion? Let's see..
Spoiler :
We are about to found Buddhism (luckily another AI took Hindu), but our worker stands at the Rice and looks sad cos he can only build a road (our starting tech: wheel) :)
This will slow down city improvement and settler building, by at least 12 turns.
What will Buddhism do for us, besides sticking a nice symbol on our city? Honestly? Nothing for now.
Would hunting first have made sense maybe? Not really, with Ivory being 1 food tiles we wouldn't improve growth while also slowing down progress.

Conclusion: Ignore religious techs at start and improve your food.
(in this case Agri and AH)

Part 4: When do i start my first settler?

Let's go back to our best start: Worker first and improving Rice + 1 Cow, by turn 21.
Spoiler :
If we start a settler now we'd need 10 turns. Cows advance as best tile before Rice, with both food & hammers counting as production for settlers and workers. But wait..why not 15 :hammers: (4+5+6)?
Each population costs 2 :food:, so at size 2 we have to deduct 4.
Cows are in fact 4 :hammers: here, Rice 3 :hammers: etc.

Why am i highlighting this? :)
To show how weak unimproved tiles are (and how important worker first).
One of those other tiles would only add +1 production for our settler.

So do we want to start now already?
Nope seeing how strong cows are we want size 3 in this case, so we can add cow#2 when completed.

Conclusion: Usually start your settler production at a size where all "super tiles" can be included.

Part 5: What should my warriors and / or scouts do meanwhile?

They can walk into fogged areas close to our capital and look for nice city spots.
We want to know more about "our" lands :)
Should they wander off and look for AIs?
Nope that can be for later and isn't important at all early.

Would it be helpful if one warrior sits inside the capital?
Usually not. Un regular starts our Cap can grow until size 4 before eventually needing a military police unit (MP) against unhappiness. Barbarians won't enter culture borders until much later, and animals never do.
So an early warrior might waste it's potential.

Here i already spotted something very nice in the west:
Spoiler :
While Tundra deer counts as rather weak food (but still better than nothing), gold tiles are powerful.
They provide 7 :commerce: once improved & worked, and having one connected with roads will also give +1 happiness to all cities.

We would like to know more about this area, our warrior could jump on both gold hills next (improved sight at height) and then look around Deer.
After some turns we found out there are no other interesting tiles around.
Where to go now with the warrior?
Spoiler :
If you find such an important spot (early :commerce: center) i recommend it's guarded by an unit.
So i would sit on the circled gold tile, barbs and animals can only spawn in the fog.
By having our warrior close a visible area will stay free of them.

Helps settlers with moving later (no fear of being eaten ;)), and maybe a worker will also be grateful that he can build roads in peace.
On higher levels barbarian cities can also spawn quickly, but not in areas secured by units.

With our first unit staying put now, we also have an important question answered:
what are we building after the worker?
Answer: another warrior and maybe more, they can look for more nice spots.
As you can see we have no time or units yet to walk around without much aim :)


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Part 6: What should i research after my food techs (Agri and AH)?

So we have figured out what we want to build between worker (finished) and starting a settler.
Now we think about what techs would be most helpful.
Screenie with the situation and options:
Spoiler :
There should be 2 thoughts on our mind now:
a) which techs can help with improving the capital further?
b) which techs would be benefical for setting up a gold city?

From left to right:
1. Mysticism: allows building monuments for culture, which gives new cities their second ring of tiles after 10 turns. Can be useful for getting either deer or gold #2, cos it's impossible to have all tiles in first ring.

2. Pottery: we have this available already, Japan starts with the wheel.
Allows building granaries (they will get their extra part later) and cottages for commerce.
A good line of thinking here would be: cottages are not needed here early, Kyoto has many better tiles that boost production. We will be busy with more workers and settlers soon, so granaries could also wait a bit.

3. Sailing: completely useless here without water :)

4. Writing: allows open borders with AIs (will also get it's extra part later), and libraries.
Almost 3x the cost of smaller techs like hunting or mining, and can certainly wait until we really want to build any libraries.

5. Hunting: while not always needed, Kyoto has Ivory and gold city deer.
Both tiles will require it, making hunting a good option. It's also cheap.

6. Mining: Rather cheap as well, needed for gold.
Unlocks Bronze Working, an immensely important early tech for chopping forests & Slavery Civic.
We would not want to delay mining for long here.

7. Horseback Riding (HBR): A very expensive early war tech for powerful mounted units (HAs).
Becomes an option after we are set up..but not for now.

So hmm, how can we make a decision on which tech path would work well here?
Lots of potentially useful techs but which should come first?

I recommend looking at our most important unit first: the worker.
What will he do after improving cows?
He could build roads towards gold city. Or improve Ivory for 1:food: 3 :hammers: 2 :commerce:
Nice tile.

Which of those is more urgent would already fall under "more advanced tips",
but you could start thinking about this: Will i want my capital to grow on Ivory, or would i prefer connecting my 2nd city first?

In any case, tech choices should always go hand in hand with immediate needs for your empire.
Pottery, Writing or even worse Sailing would be wrong.
Hunting, Mining and then either Mysticism for new cities or BW for chops are all good.
Advanced line of thinking: Maybe i want to chop monuments so i can get culture quicker,
and Bronze Working before Myst looks better. Not too interested in monument slow-building.

Part 7: Improving worker management

While we could argue it's not basic anymore, i feel it often gets mentioned in shadow game threads and can be fit in without much effort :)

On the example game i teched hunting after AH, and now we could do this:
Spoiler :
I did move from cows onto the close Ivory & started a camp, selected my worker again + (mouse) pressed a button called "cancel action" which appears while they improve something.
Next turn i will move on the forest, with cows eyed afterwards.

"Blocking forest" plays no role here, but it could while moving west in other examples.
2 movement points (mp) units can lose one of their moves in rough terrain.
Wether we put 1 turn into the camp or not, our worker would always arrive there after 2 turns of moving :) So we can sneak in 1 worker action turn, useful later on a wanted Ivory improvement.
Please note: this wouldn't work on hill cities.
A free path between Ivory and west forests is required.

Next i plan worker vs settler timing, our new city will be in need of immediate improvements:
Spoiler :
What does this pic tell us..confusing? ;)
I looked at when the city will be founded, 5 turns (3t build time + 2 turns of moving).
Now i check what my worker can do meanwhile: first improvement will be Deer :)food: first..!).
Ideally in 5t we can start on it as well, so i decide 2+3 worker turns can be spent on a road for cows & plains hill.

Questions..will this complete a connection between both cities?
Nopes. One road part (forest) will be missing, but it's helping other workers later.
Would improving Ivory (as suggested by the game engine with blue circles be better than roads?
Doubtful with Kyoto at size 3, as we already have better tiles for this size.
But more important: our worker would be too far away from deer.

Soo after much talking:
Spoiler :
Good timing :) City founded and starting to improve deer happens simultaneous.
Every turn saved will help with having more food availabe, resulting in sooner workable gold tiles.

Part 8: Expanding to more cities

Dropping the Toku game now while using quickly set up pics to help with examples.
Usually my first thought when starting a new game (i mean new franchises here, not Civ4 games): will there be hints like an advisor who can put me on a good path?
Those do exist in IV (not as pretty as in previous versions with funny dressed & arguing people sadly ;)), and they should in general be ignored.
Just like city governors using silly tiles, or automated workers doing totally random stuff there's not much logic or timing in recommended builds.
Same goes for blue circles (engine suggested city spots), they can make sense or they can be 100% illogical.
You can use them as inspiration, but never trust them :)

Which cities do i want?
Imo there are 4 categories:
* Those i want to reach before an AI does (and steals them)
* Those that can be made productive fast (or at least not slow), and please remember :food: = :hammers:
* Those helping my economy (now or soon), supporting more expansion.
* Those that claim important resources (for example copper against barbs or for overall defense)

I think #1 (preventing AI steal) explains itself, but let's see pics for others.
First we have this one
Spoiler :
If we settle on the yellow circle we grab nothing new..just lots of water. Not good..righto?
Wrong :) This city can share 3 :food: tiles with our capital (which will always keep 5:food: wheat), and makes for a very nice & quick setup support city. While there can never be too much food for 1 city, we are usually limited with available resources and food sharing plays an important role.

Now we look here
Spoiler :
Assuming we find no resources in the area would i still recommend settling there (after better spots are done)?
Yup, very much so. A :commerce: city example , with 3 floodplains adding up to +5:food: .
Enough growth for plenty river cottages. Those are worth settling no matter how the economy might look like now, and end up improving it very soon.
What if there was only 1 floodplain? Still okay..could be farmed + green tiles cottaged, but ofc there will be better spots first.

Now an otherwise empty resource area
Spoiler :
edited to look particularly depressing :)
I want to highlight: even if there would be only peaks, Copper & Ivory can still make a valuable city spot.
They both provide important boosts, especially early and if nothing else this city can produce another worker and / or settler by using a real power tile (copper) with Ivory added at size2.
I highly recommend not judging cities by "how would they look like at size 10+" (and this one might never go further than size 2), nice if building up large cities creates some fun but there are many more ways in which cities can help.

So we have 3 cities by now, how fast should i get settlers and support out for them?
A general rule for Civ4 would be: make an order of importance, pretty similar to all round-based games.
If you would like security in form of Axemen first, and a happy boost from Ivory you might even settle a no :food: spot first :) (can be true for very high level games i.e.).
If your start is very commerce poor and you decide on quick pottery, looking at floodplains instead makes sense. Estabilishing some :commerce: income.

Also let's look at an example for a bad early city:
Spoiler :
All covered in jungle, pigs too. Now this would be okay if Pigs could be improved under jungle, but unlike Ivory they cannot. So this one will be stuck with nothing to work until IW (Iron Working), a rather expensive tech and should be avoided until jungle can be cleared out.
However it's a great example for an area which you may want to settle before an AI does (if they are close) cos it's top without jungle.

Should you be "scared" of costs per turn, resulting in a lower research slider?
Generally speaking: never on lower diff. levels.
We usually advise newer players to ignore slider positions so they are not slowing down their expansion.
If you can reach pottery for cottages, and writing for libraries (+ foreign trade routes) everything should be fine.
I would rather have higher maintenance but start building up commerce tiles (cottages), or use scientists in several places than worry about my research slider too soon.

How we can actually produce 100 :hammers: settlers (and more workers) in reasonable time, especially on what looks like low production starts, will be for another part.


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Part 9: Economy?

This term stands for overall state of finances, gpt expenses (gold per turn), research created and growth potential.
Being unable to research fast (or at an acceptable rate) doesn't always mean being in bad shape. Sometimes and especially early you also want to setup potential instead (for example growing cottages).

Some basics for this pretty big topic:
- Each founded city increases costs, depending on difficulty level also maintenance in previously founded cities (global increase).
- Rivers are great and often preferred city locations.
- Commerce specials (gold..gems..silver..furs) are very helpful especially early and should usually be settled fast. For weaker tiles like furs it depends thou.
- Growing cottages should usually happen early, other improvements like Watermills or Windmills or Workshops are not available/good until much later.
- Specialists can be very powerful, and one major reason why :food: is so important (cos they always consume 2:food:)
- There are 2 world wonders standing out for economy super-boosts: Pyramids and GLH (Great Lighthouse). More on those later.
- Trading with AIs can improve finances significantly. My first stance towards AIs is always "what can they do for me".
- Managing sliders takes a lot of practise, and EP (Espionage points) should usually not be created here.

Oki now let's explain some of those points further :)
(Rivers i.e. should be pretty clear)

City costs
In the beginning you might notice research can stay at 100%, capital costs nothing for now (and almost nothing later as well).
Your palace greatly reduces maintenance, also for close cities.
Especially when moving up in difficulty levels this becomes very noticeable..the most logical reaction? Close cities are better than far away ones.
Let's have an example pic:
Spoiler :
I ignore border pops here, usually resources in the first ring are much better early.
Let's assume we are creative here.

Yellow gold + fish has the highest priority, seafood & gold take a bit of development time (workboat, gathering food) thou. But as highest :commerce: tile in the game we want this set up quickly.
Next we have pigs + river, very close and great cottage potential with power food.
Orange double corn + Ivory qualifies as high quality city, but so far away early? Nopes.
Not just costs but also worker logistics matter.

I settled both pigs city and double corn to look at maintenance, and we have -2.32 for one and -5.50 for cornx2.
Huge difference (deity costs) :)
Those are pop 1 figures, imagine them being bigger!

Basics about Commerce
First i should mention commerce :commerce: and gold :gold: are 2 different things in IV.
:commerce: is converted into :science: (research and also called beakers), :gold: (usually called gold, sometimes wealth) and :espionage: (Espionage or Espionage Points) or :culture: culture.
All can be adjusted via 3 sliders, of which only 2 are available at start. :culture: requires Drama first.

If you play around with the first slider ( :science: in front) you can see the :gold: figure above changing as well. This part of the UI solely reflects how well you are doing economy wise.
% are not important here early, only gold & research numbers are.
Never be worried about your slider % position while learning the game, it's one of the major newbie mistakes. You can do very well at 0% research and low :gold: income, for example while setting up cities much faster than AIs do.
As mentioned above, do not invest anything into :espionage: unless you specifically learned about (and actively use) tech stealing. AIs often use 20% here early, a nice advantage for us!
In fact you can safely ignore everything about :espionage: for now, put your points on 1 AI if you like and see if you can get insight on what they are doing. Think about if this was important.

Creating :commerce:
Not every city must have very good :food: or offer resources.
Sometimes you can work with just a granary for cottage cities, esp. on rivers and with some forests (for :hammers: think about chopping them early for granaries).
Now let's look at an example city:
Spoiler :
It's our "good despite low food" example city from above.
We farmed the sugar tile for some :food: in lack of better available (can be replaced with calendar).
We have worked a cottage for 30 turns (10+20) on floodplains and created a village for 4:commerce:
And a Hamlet (takes 10t, 3:commerce:) + newly built cottage.
Adding up all coin symbols we get 11:commerce: total from worked tiles, and one from a traderoute.
Very nice compared to ~3:gold: maintenance, good having cities close to the Palace :)

So this one already shows it's worth at size 4, and there are no shiny Corn, Pigs or gems tiles.
Every tile on a river adds +1:commerce: instantly (normally villages for example are just 3:commerce: not 4).
Ofc having those specials makes every city better, but also look out for close areas that can develop into valuable commerce spots.

Coastal tiles
They instantly give 2:commerce: per tile.
Can be helpful early, but growing cottages are much better.
The UI often highlights coastal spots via settling suggestions (blue circle), it's not necessarily wrong but keep in mind that not all cities need sea access. It's often even unimportant.

Internal traderoutes (between your own cities)
Above we have one in river cottage city, and without doing anything for it :)
Cities can be :commerce: auto-connected via rivers if they are very close (oh another advantage of settling tight).
City centers matter here only, any other tile could be off the river. In above example we settled on a river plains hill and all good. Both connected cities must be placed on such a tile.

Further away cities can also be connected via rivers, but it requires sailing first.
If there's culture missing on some tiles between them, there will usually be no auto-traderoute.
Cities with a dry center must be connected via road(s) instead.
But rivers can still be used, roads leading to them can be enuf and spare you building plenty more roads :)
Coast can also be used in very similar ways, if coastal cities are close they might be connected instantly. Further away = sailing.

So are those traderoutes important? Yup!
1:commerce: might not look like much at first, but having all or at least some cities connected can be the difference between reaching important techs 1-2 turns quicker, or being able to afford another city.
However it's usually not worth building long roads for them, workers are so busy early with improving key resis or chopping forests. But sure fit in a road or 2 here and there for connections.

Basic AI trading
Now that we talked about internal traderoutes, there's an even better version: connections with AI cities.
On land they usually give 2:commerce: (so double), if on another landmass even 3:commerce: :)
Those require open borders (either you or an AI must have reached writing & make a deal).
But otherwise the rules are very similar, yours and their city can be both on rivers or coastal or have roads.
Important: with open borders you can build roads inside AI territory, they are not programmed to look out for traderoutes into other Civs.
You will both benefit, but remember our gains are more important than theirs. They are just AIs and should be used.

Selling resources & techs
With currency you can make trades like "here have our pigs, how much gpt will you give me for them?"
Those are very very important, and should be checked regularly.
Especially later and as they grow bigger, you might see up to 20:gold: per turn for resources that can be spared!
Ofc you can also give them away for resis that you want, and we have the same rule again:
Our gains matter, what they do with your stuff..who cares?

Techs can be sold if either you or that AI have Alpha & Currency.
Let's say you have Meditation and an AI does not, but they have 30:gold: available.
This trade should almost always be made, at a point where Alpha & Currency are already around Meditation counts as very old tech. In theory it's worth more than 30:gold: in :science: but we should be happy that we still get anything. Same rule again, i will repeat that a lot..;) We don't mind giving AIs something.

Slider position ( :gold: vs. :science:)
As mentioned somewhere above, dun bother yourself with thoughts like "darn 5t ago i had 70% research but now i dropped to 50%".
Instead have fun with developing your empire, knowing that you make progress.
Running the same slider posi for longer periods simply means you are not playing as well as you prolly could (unless it's 100% of course, which would be optimal and means you are managing your :gold: income very well).

Often you will see peoples mentioning "binary research" aka switching between 0% and 100%.
Especially in shadow game threads.
That's mostly due to rounding errors which can be avoided, 100% research always gives flawless mathematical calculations while other % can lose you 1:science: or 1:gold: here and there.
(without that being your fault)

It's not an easy topic to learn.
You will be told that collecting :gold: until a tech can be finished at 100% :science: works best, and yup usually true.
My best advice here would be stopping for a while on turns, playing around with the slider and comparing numbers.

Example: If 40% results in -1:gold: for this turn and +10:science: made, while 50% costs -4:gold: and +12:science: are made then 50% makes for a bad slider %. 3:gold: spent only add 2:science:.
After some time you will get annoyed at such rounding losses and try to avoid them, at which point you are ready for wanting binary research yourself.

Part 10: Production & Slavery & Forest chops

Intro: Those are very connected in IV.
:hammers: are most often created via Slavery Civic and chopping, tiles like mines play a smaller role than you might think.
Slavery is commonly known as the most powerful Civic, and forest chops as crucial worker action.
Sounds strange and maybe even anti-social? Yup..but no way around it for efficient play.

2 of them provide 1:health: for a city if they are in it's BFC (big fat cross aka workable tiles).
Leaving them has some value (i.e. for late-game mechanics like National Park).
But experienced players mostly look at them as free :hammers:.
Before mathematics tech they give 20:hammers: each when chopped (goes to closest city or the one using the forest currently), and afterwards 30:hammers:. Those are pretty significant numbers while cities struggle with getting more than a few :hammers: per turn early.

So what does this mean :)
For one that cities surrounded by many forests have great production potential.
Looking at an expensive wonder? 10 forests will surely help..
And that having more workers never hurts. They spend 3t on average for each chop, so they will be very busy. Adding :hammers: via chops should be part of every good worker management plan.

So forests are great for early development. Settlers (especially them) and Workers are pretty expensive, and worse they hold city growth. Converting forests into :hammers: for those builds can very much speed up empire settling & development. Which can be much more important than keeping them for :health: or something else later.

This also leads to chopping > weak tile improvements, in many cases.
An example: our worker could build a mine for an 1:hammers: better tile (instead of working a regular forest) while building settlers. Or he could chop for an instant 20:hammers:. Not a very difficult call which of those 2 often works better :)

Conclusion: chop Forests often and early, they shine while things move slowly.

Oh joy, we can hurt our peoples for production.
But let's stay calm..1 population point is worth 30:hammers: in Slavery (also called whipping).
Have you heared ":food: = life = only cities with :food: are worthwhile = food is king, and wet corn or pigs are best" somewhere before? Yup that's usually why.

How can we use Slavery?
First we need BW (Bronze Working), then revolt Civics for 1t Anarchy (or free with Spiritual).
Then we also need 2 points of population for every point we want to abuse..oops whip.
Examples: At size 1 cities cannot whip.
Size 2 = 1 pop whip possible.
Size 3 = also only 1 pop possible
Size 4 = 2 pop whip
Size 5 = 2 pop as well
Size 6 = 3 pop..and so on.

If all conditions are met, we click "hurry build x" on the bottom right corner in city screens and build time will instantly be reduced to 1t left (arrives next one).
This action also adds +1 angry citizen in that city, who will refuse to do anything for 10 turns.
After those 10 turns have passed he will be content again.

At which point can i whip?
When :hammers: add up. If we use 1 pop whips as example, we need total production cost (i.e. 100 for settlers) - 30:hammers: added with Slavery = 70:hammers: must already be invested for settlers.
In a size 4 city we need 40:hammers: prepared, 2x30 can be deducted for the whip which will reduce population by 2 this time.
Size 6 city needs only 10:hammers: invested, 3 population can be slaved away for 3x30=90:hammers:.

Are there other restrictions?
Yup one..if there are zero :hammers: for a build and you instantly want to whip something, costs increase big time.
It's called "cold whip" and should be avoided (besides being impossible often), a single :hammers: in removes that penalty.

How often should i whip?
Depends on :food:, urgency and "happy" situation.
Good :food: allows faster regrowth after population was whipped away (and also leads to granaries being known as best overall building).
Ofc if you want something very much (like a settler for awesome city spots), whipping becomes tempting.
While settling bad city spots (nothing else around) could maybe wait.
With the whipping penalty creating 1 unhappy guy for 10t, it can add up with no limit (3 whips = 3 unhappy for 30t)..using slavery careless can "ruin" cities for a longer period.

But Slavery should be used often and early. :hammers: gained are just too many to ignore.
Whip -- recover/regrow -- whip -- recover can be best for cities in terms of supporting development.
There are additional topics here like overflow but i feel this would go too far for a basic guide :)
As usual my best advice remains: play around with mechanics, in test games or those where you don't care.
Correct use of slavery can improve skill by a lot.

Regular :hammers: tiles
So slavery reduces their value, why work :food: negative tiles if we can whip for such instant boosts?
Well mines can still be useful, thankfully. Even while using whips they can be helpful for collecting needed :hammers: first. It's mostly just a matter of doing something else with your workers or building that mine.
No way around gaining experience here.
Copper, Iron, horsies and similar are still top tiles. Just not as good as big :food: tiles.

How about workshops, watermills or lumbermills..?
Workshops require Guilds and/or Chemistry before they become useful.
State Property (SP) Civic gives one additonal :food: on them, at which point they become better than Slavery.
But just looking at the time window here (Communism needed) tells us that some games might be over before other :hammers: creating methods are needed.

Watermills are okay, mix of all things you could say.
They cannot be built on all river tiles as they block each other, so they are often mixed in between workshops.
An overall good late(r) game improvement.
Windmills often pass mines in usefulness after Replaceable Parts (RP). Same old rule :food: is better.
Lumbermills are one possible newbie trap. Never keep your forests for them, there must be better reasons :)
They are pretty irrelevant.

Guide continues here:


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I understand that this thread is for new/newer players but I hope it is fine to ask a question related to deity. I struggle with the question you address in Part 4: When do i start my first settler?

The problem is that very often, if I apply your advice and start the settler soon then I have only two military units (and one of them may be a scout) as there is not enough time to build more and/or the initial unit may be killed at that point.

Now let's say that I see an ideal spot for my second city which is very close to my capital and I have a warrior nearby. Good but... there is a barbarian archer circling around my warrior. I have already started the production of my settler but sending the settler to the spot is very risky because the archer has good attack chances against my warrior (even if the warrior is fortified on a forest tile).

It seems to me that the only safe (at least a little bit) solution is to immediately produce another warrior and hope for the best. But I would like to hear what you think about this. In my games this is a very frequent situation so I think this deserves some discussion.
Sure..everyone can answer, ask or suggest topics now.

Deity is ofc very different, and defending (or more specific fog busting) with warriors can sometimes work well but not always.
If you need another unit for safety then by all means fit it in before continuing with your settler.
Good chance that more barbs arrive rather sooner than later, they rush towards cities from turn ~38 on.

On deity getting a strategic resi for Axes or chariots, or if no other option teching Archery often has high priority.
Order goes like this: secure yourself against barbs - expand.
Other way around can hurt.. a lot :)

We all highly recommend watching Lain's videos for deity gameplay, if you are not aware of them yet:
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I concur with Dankok. Have found this so useful.

@Fippy are you still planning any more? Appreciate it's a lot of work.

How about picking a strategy once core cities are setup e.g. axe/HA/construction rush versus hunker down for curraisiers. Also, when to stop expanding - 6 cities up but one more fish and clams spot just on Shaka's border...
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(Work in progress)

Part 10: World Wonders & National Wonders

Above we heared about 2 Wonders that qualify as top level, and they surely deserve being explained in detail :)


Desired for Rep(resentation), otherwise available at Constitution only (expensive midgame tech).
Adds 3 happy citizens in your 5 biggest cities, which is great in times with possible problems from not enuf resources (like Calendar ones, not researched yet) or whipping penalties.
Less important with CHA (Charismatic), but can still be very good.

And gives 3 :science: for each worked specialist.
You will often hear about Rep Scientists who give 6 :science: each turn. Almost as much as a Palace or gold mine, and they are easily available with Libraries or Caste System.
Basically you will never stop teching well with those guys available :)

Pyras (or many call them 'Mids) qualify as outstanding economy wonder.
They fix the 2 most problematic areas (happy & research) early, and even add valuable GE (Great Engineer) points.

However they are also expensive, but not so much with stone. Doable with Ind(ustrious).
They make stone a highly valuable early resource.
Get them if you can & have one of those 2 bonuses, unless you have completely different plans like early wars.

They are not part of the general advice: "Avoid wonders while learning, expand instead."
I will go out on a limb with that, but ideally you learn doing both :)
(still good overall newbie advice thou)

The Great Lighthouse
Or GLH, sometimes mixed up with TGL (The Great Library). Everybody uses GLH.

+2 free traderoutes in every coastal city.
Free :commerce: cannot be bad if there are several good coastal spots, righto? :)
More than that, GLH qualifies as game winning wonder as well. On map types with enuf water (not so good on Pangaea i.e.).
Each coastal city instantly becomes profitable, even at size 1. Unless too far away.

Same as with Pyras, forest chops play a big role for grabbing it before AIs do.
GLH can be stolen much sooner thou, so if you decide on building it i recommend you chop chop chop (and pick a good :hammers: city).
The required regular LH (Lighthouse) often gets whipped, so :hammers: can go into GLH sooner.

Obsoletes when reaching Corporation tech, however that's in a distant future (or might never happen in conquest-type games).
GLH can create 1000s of :commerce: easily.
Also not part of the avoid wonders advice, it's too good.

Other Wonders
Here you should be more careful, many of them eat up :hammers: that should go into expansion or units instead.
However they can still be useful for failgold, a concept that allows you creating gold via :hammers:.
When an AI completes a wonder, all stored wonder production gets converted into :gold: 1:1.
But with bonuses from resources (or IND) your ratio can be much better :)

Good Wonders
Here we have Oracle, TGL (Library), MoM (Mausoleum of Mausolus), Taj Mahal, TGW (The Great Wall)

I list only those that frequently give good bonuses while they still matter.
For example TGW let's you skip :hammers: for barb defense, and on some high difficult maps with lots of open areas it might even save your whole game.
However in some games that can easily be fixed by being in a secure area, or having copper for Axes.

Oracle deserves special mention. 1 free & pickable tech looks very tempting, but consider that you need otherwise often useless :religion: techs for it.
At times where you would rather have :food: techs, or BW..stuff that helps you developing cities.
Ofc on lower difficulties AIs can be so slow with building it, plans for grabbing it late become very viable.

What about anything else?
Either situational or outright bad.
Examples for really bad ones: TOA (Temple of Artemis), The Hagia Sophia, Statue of Zeus (single player only, different story in MP :) ), Space Elevator (infamous for actually slowing you down),
Pentagon (2xp for new units when Barracks give 3xp in the ancient era, for 1250:hammers:..really?).

Please note: really bad means for self-building, ofc the Pentagon can be a nice capture i.e.

I'm not listing Stonehenge (SH) as bad wonder, however it's also infamous as newbie trap.
Must be built early or AIs will be faster, requires Mysticism (very annoying cos early you want other techs), gives Great Priest Points which are among the worst.
And still SH could not be qualified as outright bad cos border pops are useful. It's just really bad timing and should often be avoided.

Also Sistine Chapel, terrific for culture victory games while for any other type i would never build it. There are some other wonders (and NW) that are really good for culture only.
Not rateable for a general type of guide.
Similar with some late game wonders like CR (Cristo Redentor). Can be good but nobody really plans for them.

National Wonders
Some can be really good, and you have infinite time.
NE (National Epic) stands out, :gp: points can always result in big boosts.

Moai Statues can be either really overrated, great for failgold with stone, or turn 1 city into a better one.
Difficult call sometimes, i'd suggest not thinking too much about them for now.

HE (Heroic Epic) is worth building in warlike games. Cheap with marble, which usually will be available at that time.
Other NW would need detailed intros, but they are not important enuf here.

Part 11: Regular Buildings

We now reached a pretty one-sided topic, with a short version like:
Granary yay..everything else mostly bad or situational.
Not exactly wrong but we should still look at some buildings, especially early ones :)

Yup it's essential for most cities, that one building we ideally want first in all places.
Or let's say in most..a city without :food: will need none.
No :food: means almost zero growth possibility, like our Copper + Ivory + empty plains example from way above.
Cities with 3:food: farms, or even just cottages while growing slowly on +2 surplus might still very much want a granary.

We can say "stores 50% of :food: after growth" (taken from the Civilopedia) essentially means that food surplus doubles, for reaching another population point.
Example: Grassland Pigs turn into a 8:food: tile while growing. 6:food: tile yield minus 2:food: for working them = 4 surplus. And 50% stored makes them worth 4x2=8:food:.

So granaries are already very nice for just making cities bigger, but it's the synergy with Slavery which turns them into epic buildings.
Remember how we can create 30:hammers: for each population via whipping.
With a granary, whipped cities can grow back at double speed and create more :hammers: quicker.
They easily beat a Forge this way, at only half cost and being available much sooner :)

By making it much easier to whip other buildings, granaries are like the backbone of every good city. Even if you'd like something else first (culture i.e.) consider getting a granay 1st, then use it's superior slavery boost.

And like all of that wasn't enough, they also double :health: for 3 common Agriculture resources.
Can we already see why Aqueducts are weak compared, for 100:hammers: and 2:health: ..?

Usually mentioned as second-best building.
We have a nice combo of 2:culture: and 2 scientist specialist slots here.
25% :science: is okay too, of course. But actually not it's early main purpose, later they will be mostly built for :science: thou.

Libraries can be used instead of Monuments if the city has some time until we really need a border pop. I can show an example:
Spoiler :
This city was correctly settled with it's big :food: tile (pigs) in first ring.
There are 2 smaller :food: resis in the outer ring, so a monument would not be wrong.
However we could also chop 1 forest into a granary - whip at pop 2 - chop another forest into a library and whip again at size 4. Supported by good :food: and doubled granary growth.
(assuming we have all those techs already :)).

Why should we maybe do so? Monuments provide only (small) :culture: while granary & library have long-lasting positive effects on our city.
If we are in no hurry to get Wheat and Deer, 30 monument :hammers: can be unnecessary.
(being charismatic would change everything thou, and +1 happy very welcome in high :food: cities)

2 scientist slots. Should we use them early?
More often than not i answer with yep. Besides giving 3:science: (village or river-hamlet quality), 2 scientists also create 6 GPP (great people points) per turn.
Great Scientists can hurry techs and build Academies, both of those options can take your gameplay to another level :)

So libraries can be awesome, giving us such early possibilities.
Should you build them everywhere? Certainly not.
90:hammers: are expensive early and should be a justified investment only.
Capitals very often want a library (8 free Palace :commerce: ), but why would Copper + Ivory City want one?

Examples for situational buildings
- Monument, sometimes we have no choice. Evaluate second ring tiles, if there's fish in a coastal city and we have no other :food: - we make great hurry for a monument (chop maybe?).
If we have an additional fur tile there, but already have one in 1st ring - probably no monument needed. Sometimes they can be slow-built in lack of better options.

- Forge, while among the better buildings we consider :hammers: cost vs. return first.
Their best use can be for a city which is doing lots of whips, i.e. for an army buildup.
We now get ~38:hammers: for each population, and more happy from gold, gems or silver also helps.
In later eras most cities want one, and they are easy to build then. But does a cottage city really need one sooner?

- Barracks, easy one..going for war and units? Sure thing, they are rather cheap and 3xp are very good. But why build one early if we are not doing that yet?

- Walls, AIs will stop to bombard defenses almost every time :)
Here they can help a lot with slowing them down. Ofc we never need walls otherwise.

- Market, Grocer or Bank..ideally we create :gold: in other ways (AI trades, failgold, Great Merchant..). They cost many :hammers: and should only be built if you are 100% sure it's needed.

- :health: buildings (Aqueduct, Harbor..)..they can be good. In case of a harbor at least, an additional traderoute and 3 potential :health: for 80:hammers: are much better than 2:health: from Aqueducts for 100:hammers:.
Aqueducts are always questionable, too expensive and :health: rarely cripples cities that much.

Part 12: Great People and Specialists
We already scratched this topic with libraries.
GPP (Great People Points) needed for each :gp: increase in steps of 100.
Until 1000, then in steps of 200 to make things more difficult.
So we can get our first one rather easily, i.e. by using 2 Scientists in a library city for 17 turns.

What can they do, and which are better than others?
All :gp: can bulb (instant :science: gain) techs. Can be awesome if you really want one quicker, or if you need new techs to keep trading with AIs (and pick up some more).
Think about war for example, advanced units hugely help but some techs can be very expensive on your way to them. :gp: bulbs can give us that advantage sooner.
Example: We want catapults, so we need Mathematics & Construction as bigger techs.
Great Scientists can bulb maths, much of their potential will be lost (they can bulb 1500+ :science:) but a succesful war surely can make up for that.

:gp: can also start Golden Ages (GA), very efficient for already larger empires.
Think about creating even more GPP during those, nice synergy (use a Great Person - get him back quickly :)).
GA are also very nice for Civic switches to avoid Anarchy.
Delaying some switches until then can certainly pay off, if they are not too important.

All :gp: can be settled as well, for a permanent boost in that city.
We use this rarely cos it's the slow but steady gain, but :gp: are great for snowballing and pushing ahead.

Special uses
Great Scientist: Build an Academy. At 50%:science: increase (only for base :science:, it's not further boosting libraries i.e.) they can be pretty good.
But with :gp: being so valuable, they should be considered only for really strong :science: cities.
Or those that will be (usually your Capital which can be magnified by Bureaucracy).

Great Merchant: Trade Mission for a large amount of :gold:.


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Plains Hill if needed?
Reads poetry ;) Your Anglais is so strong I very rarely notice that is not language numero uno

Much of my proofing, other that typos, is doing just that...tightening up sentences. Easier to write freeform with less thought to grammar, then go back and pretty things up.
Wonderful additions to the article! :)

Maybe you could mention the Lighthouse. Those ones are very useful to build in many coastal cities. In some of my games it might be the second most built building after the Granary.
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How did I not notice this thread until now? I learned so much from it! Great!

Until now, I always built a Warrior first, because, frankly, I was too scared to built a Worker first. That has changed now.

Just in case that anyone still reads any posts here, I've got one small question about one small part of one of Fippy's posts here:

Why exactly is the Space Elevator seen as a noob trap that might actually slow you down? I don't doubt that it's true, if people who know more about the game than me tell me so, but I wonder about the reasons.
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