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Cities: Specialized vs. Well rounded

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by BrutalusMaximus, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. robinm

    robinm Chieftain

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    A production city is one tuned to work all the high production tiles it can, with enough farms to support the food demands of its population (2F per pop). You don't build cottages or windmills in a production city.
    So its _is_ a balance between food and hammers, but it is _not_ a "balanced city", as every tile will either be a mine, a workshop or a farm (or a resource) - so the commerce of the city will be quite low - thus libraries and banks don't make much sense in such a city.

    A commerce city spams as many coattages a possible, works coast, resources and a very few number of famrs if required to feed cottage+plains tiles. Windmills on the hills if you're stuck with hills. Many grassland is good for this type of city.

    A GP factory city makes farms + Winmills to make huge excess population and run specialists to make Great People. The more grassland and floddplains the better.

    City location is very important for Production Cities. They must have a lots of hills, and some grassland, food resources or floodplains. Plains are not so good - as they require 1 extra food (same as a grassland hill) or you farm them and get only 1 hammer from them. The best tiles to see are : heavy hammer resources, floodplains, grassland, food resources and mines. Coast is not too useful - make it a commerce city instead.

    If a production city has spare food, use engineer specialist to make Great Engineers - then if you don't have a wonder you really need ready to build then make a Super engineer - (3 hammers + 3 beakers) in the city.

    Buildings - build a forge, and enough health + happiness boosting buildings to keep growing. Build a barracks - this city will make many units in the game. Build a factory and a power plant. if you need the culture to spread the city boundaries build an obelisk - or later use a Theatre - library is too expensive to justify just for the culture. Build a drydock if you have sea access and want a lot of elite ships.

    Small wonders - Heroic Epic + West Point is traditional for large numbers of elite units. Herioc Epic + Ironworks for just huge amounts of units. Iron works + forbidden palace if you need the palace in that area of your empire.

    Wonders - if your plan indicates a particular wonder then you'll stand a better chance of winning the race.

    Spaceship victory - you can loose this race by not getting the right tech's soon enough or not building the part soon enough - so your empire will need a balance of production and commerce city to win.

    GP factories are optional, but I think evey empire needs some production cities and some commerce cities in its core.
     
  2. Artanis

    Artanis King

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    Well, "Production cities" aren't all Mines :lol:

    A "Production city" will be overwhelmingly Mines/Watermills/etc., but will have enough Farms to feed the people working the Mines. Likewise, a "Commerce city" will be overwhelmingly Cottages, but will still have enough Farms to feed the people working the Cottages and enough Mines/Watermills/Lumbermills to actually get the Libraries and stuff built.


    Edit: dang, robinm beat me to it ;)
     
  3. BrutalusMaximus

    BrutalusMaximus Warlord

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    Nice. So many really helpful replies and so much good advice given makes me think I asked a "good" question. :) Much to digest.
     
  4. FratBoy

    FratBoy Chieftain

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    One thing to consider about production cities is that with the right tech and state property the following two rules apply:

    1) you shouldn't build farms if you can avoid it
    2) a city without hills can have equal production to a city with hills

    With all the appropriate tech and state property the different improvements give you the following:

    Farm: 2F
    Mine: 3P
    Workshop: 3P
    Watermill: 1F 2P 2C
    Windmill: 1F 1P 2C

    Mine + farm = 2F 3P
    Workshop + farm = 2F 3P
    Watermill + windmill = 2F 3P 4C (with a financial civ it's 6C)

    Obviously if you have farms on some tiles and other tiles where you potentially could have a watermill you should replace a farm/mine or farm/workshop combo for a watermill/windmill combo. It won't give you any more production, but the extra commerce is handy.

    From a strictly mathematical point of view the important thing is not how much production you get form a tile, but the total of production and food. The only thing special with hills is that they give you the production early, while flatlands will be equal first about halfway through the tech tree (state property amongst others).

    With state property you have the following values for various terrain (railroad where needed, commerce not included):

    Plains-hills + mine = 5P
    Plains-hill + windmill = 1F 3P
    Grassland-hills + mine = 1F 4P
    Grassland-hills + windmill = 2F 2P
    Grassland + workshop = 2F 3P
    Grassland + watermill = 3F 2P
    Grassland + farm = 4F

    So all of the above combos give a total of 5, excet those with windmill and farm. To maximize production you want to avoid having any farms or windmills (windmills are still better than farms, since they give commerce as well).

    In other words you can get a kick-ass production city with only flatlands, provided you are running state property. Some resources give you more than 5 total prod and food, such as copper and iron. Also having 1 or 2 good food resources will improve a bit on the total production, but not more than 10% extra.
     
  5. Maestro_Innit

    Maestro_Innit Warlord

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    Excellent Responses - thanks guys!! :D
     
  6. BrutalusMaximus

    BrutalusMaximus Warlord

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    So is it worth while to change improvements as the game progresses? Changing things like farms and mines over to windmills and watermills as y6ou get the techs? If so at what tech levels is this appropriate?
     
  7. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    I do this quite often. For example, workshops IMO aren't worth it unless I have a city of all grasslands, literally, until you get the stuff that makes them better. But, when you do, just sit and honestly look at your city.

    The one thing I'm not wild about doing is building cottages after the early or mid game (basically by the time I'm done founding cities). When I found the city, I sit and decide what it's going to specialize in. After that, I don't like changing city specializations. I may tweak cities, but my tweaks don't consist of adding cottages. (Rarely, I may change a Town to something else, such as when a new resource pops in.)

    Wodan
     
  8. Draax

    Draax Chieftain

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    What about overspecialization, unless the term exists only in my little brain?

    I do specialize my cities, but for some reason I can't bring myself to make a city that can only do one thing. No matter what role my city is playing, it will always have at least one production tile, one cottage, and 2 food(3+) tiles.

    I guess my cities are specialized with the corners rounded off. I basically build a city and improve the tiles so that each tile will give me the most "things." Then, I use the governor to sort of aim the city to do what I need.

    When it comes to national wonders, I go by the domestic advisor and not by a plan that I've had for a long time. My highest prod city gets HE and west point, highest gp gets NE and whatever else makes the most sense, highest commerce gets wallstreet and oxford, etc. But this is something that I do reactively, not proactively.

    I guess I do specialize as the game progresses but early game my cities are multifunctional.

    I play small/pangea so I usually have no more than 4 cities before I go a'conquering. Am I being silly/lazy/ineffecient or does my style make sense for the type of map that I play?

    Advice is welcome.
     
  9. Artanis

    Artanis King

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    Overspecialization only happens when you go so far that you totally cripple a city, preventing it from doing what you want it to do. For example, a Commerce city that only brings in 1 Hammer per turn isn't going to be able to build the Libraries and/or Banks it needs to actually get the most out of all its Commerce. Likewise, a Production city with nothing but Mines and Workshops will be much weaker than one with enough Farms to make full use of its surrounding terrain.

    One thing to note, though: in a purebred "Hammer city", more Commerce is useless. Instead of a Cottage, you can directly boost the city's Hammer output with something like a Workshop or Watermill, or you can indirectly boost the city's Hammer output by putting down a Farm that will help feed the citizen working one of your Mines ;)




    As to National Wonders, I also go by the Domestic Advisor when it comes time to choose where to put them. However, when I do so, I usually have a pretty good idea of where they'll go before I even open it, and the Domestic Advisor simply lets me pick which of the dedicated appropriately-specialized cities to actually place them in.

    How do I know? Because I don't place my cities just anywhere and wait to see what pops up...I go looking for good nearby sites for a Commerce city and a Production city while I'm still exploring the terrain :scan:.

    For instance, in my current game, I went looking for somewhere to put a Commerce city, and found where my explorers had uncovered a nearby location with two hills (one of which had Gems) and literally every other tile flat Grassland that included a Bananas, a Dyes, and a river. Two Mines, a Watermill or two, and a Banana Plantation would provide all the Food and Hammers such a city would need, and some quick arithmetic told me that that left about fifteen self-feeding Cottages. It was a Commerce monster waiting to happen.

    Now, this city, as you observed tended to happen, is still somewhat generalized as it focuses on getting its infrastructure in place by working the Mines and a Watermill. The bigger it gets though, the more and more cash it's going to rake in while its production remains about the same...and in the end, I know for certain that it'll be one of the top contenders for Oxford or Wall Street, even if it doesn't end up getting them.




    ...I hope all this rambling on actually managed to help :crazyeye:
     
  10. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    ...unless your plan all along is to use Slavery/Univ Suffrage to buy the buildings you need.

    Agreed...before all else, you have to have enough food to feed the entire city. :)

    Excellent tips.

    Wodan
     
  11. dar

    dar Chieftain

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    When improving your production system - look at all the tiles that produce less than 2f. Count up how much surplus food you will need to support those tiles, and make sure you have just enough farms to produce that surplus. Eg: Say you have a city with 3 plains hills, 2 grassland hills and a fish. Each plains hill needs 2 food to support it, each grasslands hill needs 1. That means you need a total of 8 surplus food to support those 5 tiles. The fish will provide 4 surplus food, so you need another 4. Irrigate four tiles and there you go.
     
  12. Artanis

    Artanis King

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    That's exactly what I do :D.

    Don't forget though that the city tile itself gives 2 food as well, so your example would only need 2 Farms ;)
     
  13. Timol

    Timol Chieftain

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    Just making sure that I understadn what you are saying: So you are more likely to put the cottages on grassland then on plains? Because grasland provides 2F without a farm?

    Thanks,

    Timo
     
  14. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    In all honesty, Timo, it really doesn't matter. Especially for cities close to your borders, you're better served to put your cottages/towns on the interior side, regardless of whether they're plains or grasslands. Fill in the exterior side of the city with whatever Farms are needed to get your food base.

    Wodan

    Edit: it matters slightly in regard to when the city is growing. It's probably easier to grow a city when your food is a constant +2. On the other hand, if you have flood plains, that heals all ills. :)
     
  15. Innawerkz

    Innawerkz I'm the other white meat.

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    Exactly what I am saying. :goodjob: Population = Power. If you were to put Cottages on the Plains, it would 'rob' from your bonus food resource or floodplain, limiting your potential for a high population.

    Trying to balance each tile to get your city capable of supporting a 16+ Pop town (minimum) in the long run is quite achievable in most cases and will lend more total Commerce/Production/Specialists to your empire.

    This is a general rule that will serve you well in 90% of your cities, IMO.

    Add: Wodan makes a case to the contrary, but he offers the 'other 10%'. If you are balancing an abundance of 'Food rich' resources/tiles. This was covered in my original post to a minor degree.

    :p
     
  16. Beamup

    Beamup Higgs boson

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    Actually it doesn't matter one bit. Farm a plain & Cottage a grassland or Farm a grassland & Cottage a plain, it comes out exactly the same. Yes, you want enough food to support working all the tiles, BUT where you place your farms and cottages has no impact on that at all.

    IOW, putting a cottage on a grassland "robs from your bonus food resource or floodplain" just as much as putting it on a plain.
     
  17. Innawerkz

    Innawerkz I'm the other white meat.

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    Without getting into 'over-arching strategies' I'll simply say: I agree with you. You can balance it out. At some point along the lines your growth rate wll be less then optimum, but if this isn't a major concern, then build it according to a more protect my assets approach like Wodan suggested.

    Next game when you have 1 Bonus Food source and plains surrounding your city, try buliding Cottages in all and see the result. In most case you'll only grow to about a 5-7 in size before you're stuck. With Farms on each, you will not have much commerce (except the 1 per tile from the river), but you will have an attractive production city that is limited only by your health/happiness requirements.

    It was a general rule of thumb that will NOT fail for a player who is learning the basics. The benefits I see are:

    • faster/consistent growth rate
    • improved flexibility of tile use
    • greater potential population - translating to higher commerce, specialists &/or potential production
    • higher score - if you care. Score is the lowest consideration for my game enjoyment

    While these will not impact the End Game tremendously, it is still far from 'having no impact on that at all'. ;)
     
  18. Beamup

    Beamup Higgs boson

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    It's a very bad rule of thumb for anyone to always put the same improvement on a particular terrain. "Put down as many farms as you need, then cottages everywhere else" is simpler and FAR more effective.

    I'll also note the following about your so-called 'benefits':
    - Faster growth rate: false. You get a faster growth rate by farming the grasslands and working them first - don't start getting the commerce as fast, though. THAT is the high-level tradeoff to consider in what you put where (growth curve vs. early production) that isn't necessary to worry about if you're still learning.
    - Improved flexibility of tile use: false. You get greater flexibility by concentrating your production (in this case by farming grasslands) since you can adjust the relative weight you give to growth vs. production.
    - Greater potential population: false. You get exactly the same potential population.
    - Higher score: false. Again, you get the same score.
     
  19. Innawerkz

    Innawerkz I'm the other white meat.

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    I guess that is where our approach differs slightly:

    After I improve the bonus resources, I tend to Cottage Grasslands everywhere first. Since they take the longest to develop, every extra turn that they are down they become more beneficial and the city can continue to grow.

    This, in most cases, leaves me with farming plains to keep growth going - for my Science/Commerce Specialization Cities. If it is somewhere necessary to offset working the mines in a Production/Troop City, I'll choose farms for grassland to balance it out, leading me in most cases to farm my Plains as well to preserve that surplus & accomodate the mines.

    Unless in the presence of an overabundance of food, in which case: Cottage/Mine away!

    I agree with you: It is flawed to place the identical improvement on the same terrain every time and in some/lot of the cases can easily be balanced using a combination of Cottages, Farms & Windmills. It probably is easier to say 'Farm to your needs and then develop the remaining to your cities needs'; not necessarily Cottages, either.

    My games just tend to involve a heavy majority of the encountered plains to be farmed - no doubt leading to my lazy 'Rule of Thumb' explanation. Thankfully, we have a pool of sharp minds to help flesh out the inconsistencies & vagaries that may develop.
     
  20. LaDeSiDia

    LaDeSiDia Chieftain

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    I can't agree with this. You are ignoring what happens with all the other tiles... and with the tiles where you are building the mines/cottages. The markets and the libraries still will add a bonus to the production city commerce (if it gets any commerce from its tiles), and the same for the Forge on the commerce city (of course, if it gets any hammer). Your example is right for cities on extreme places (almost no hammers, or almost no commerce), but it is not for "real" cities, that (usually) mix both kind of tiles...

    I usually play with an approach quite similar to the first post, although i try to make some kind of (minor) specialization: I build first what brings more profit, and always try to max each tile and each city.

    (First post on the forum, hi to all :))
     

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