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[City Placement] Any advantage in placing cities closer to each other?

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Strategy & Tips' started by Reprisal, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Reprisal

    Reprisal Chieftain

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    I started and finished a small archipelago game with the Carthaginians, and I ended up sharing the largest island with the Arabs. I quickly annihilated them after I got swordsmen, but I ended up falling behind in technology and income. After scraping by with a Histography Victory, I ended up wondering if placing my cities closer together might have worked better.

    By close, I mean that I place cities with their full harvesting radius (12 squares) in mind... so a city ends up being five moves away from another city. Now, I'm thinking that I would have been better served if I parked cities a mere three moves away so that they still have their 9 initial squares, but I would have more cities, and therefore more gold and tech income.

    I'm not at all certain if that would work, however, so I thought I'd post an inquiry.

    Thanks in advance,

    - Rep.
     
  2. Tomoyo

    Tomoyo Fate

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    It does work, as you get more out of your land sooner, as well as if you have bad terrain, the city square produce more.
     
  3. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    @Reprisal: If somebody hasn't said it yet, welcome! You're thinking, which means you're well on your way to improving your game.

    There are 3 acronyms you will see discussed with respect to city placement:

    OCP - Optimal City Placement. Find an article in the War Academy on "Building an Emprire of Metropolises" for a description of OCP. It is a little bit tighter than what you describe, but is closest to what you are currently doing. (There is a tiny bit of overlap in OCP)

    RCP - Ring City Placement. This is a corruption fighting technique that works in Vanilla and PTW, but not C3C. It is not really related to your question.

    ICS - Infinite City Sprawl. A tight city placement (city-tile-city) that is generally used by strong players in upper level games when pursuing early conquest wins.

    Try this next time you play a game: Got with a city-tile-tile-city, or perhaps 3 tiles between cities. You may be surprised at how well it works.

    Advantages to tighter placement:

    1) You use more of the tiles you claim sooner. The argument against OCP is that the citizens in a city will only use about half of its 21 tiles until well into the Industrial Age. With a tighter city placement, you use more tiles sooner, which helps more in the earlier (many would say more important) stages of the game.

    2) It's easier to build the road network needed to connect the cities.

    3) You tend to get more cities (which means more units, etc.)

    Disadvantages to tighter placement:

    1) Corruption will become a problem sooner.

    2) As the game matures, the cities will seem "cramped".
     
  4. Guildenstern

    Guildenstern Tepegian

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    I myself prefer to have my cities about 3 tiles apart, but mostly out of aesthetic reasons; I don't play the game to win as quickly as possible, as many other people do.

    After some thought I think that having the cities close together, however, is actually ideal, in terms of raw numbers:

    The idea here is throughput. Individual cities will not have access to as many tiles to work; thus, individual cities will not have outrageous production capacities. But when taken as a whole, and empire of tightly-packed cities can produce more units per turn than an empire of sparser cities that have access to their individual full production potential.

    The same idea is used in computer engineering; specifically, pipelining. Rather than trying to complete individual instructions as quickly as possible, we lengthen the time it takes to complete a single instruction, in such a way that we can "stack" instructions, working on parts of several instructions simultaneously, assembly-line fashion. Thus, in the long run, more instructions complete per unit time than would if we had tried to make those instructions individually fast.

    Apply this to Civ, and what you get are hordes of close, low-production cities. Set 20 cities to building Spearmen, and it won't really matter that these cities are corrupt and get only 1 shield per turn; you will turn out a Spearman, on average, once every turn. If placed as tightly as the game allows, these 20 cities occupy 80 tiles of land. In those same 80 tiles of land, you can only fit about 5 cities if your cities are placed 3 tiles apart. To match the throughput of the 20 tight cities, this 5 sparse cities would have to be able to turn out one Spearman every turn. Thus, they must make a total of 20 non-corrupted shields per turn; i.e., 4 non-corrupted shields in each city.

    4 non-corrupt shields are not difficult to come by in the vicinity of your capital, but in the outlying lands you would be hard put to accomplish it. However, even if you can match production throughput, the 5 sparse cities would come nowhere near matching the unit support of the 20 tight cities.

    So, the Infinite City Sprawl really is the optimal way to arrange your cities. I don't use it myself, though, because I think it looks ugly. :p
     
  5. Mr Furious

    Mr Furious Chieftain

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    This thread is just what the doctor ordered. Seriously, I've been wondering about the whole city placement issue. At the moment I'm doing a Mayan ICS against the Americans; they're right when they say it works as a conquest pump. I've got about 13 cities that shoot out a Horseman in 5 turns; and the road network being as close as it is allows them to travel quickly straight to the battlefront to cream the American forces. (Which are comprised primarily of Archers and Warriors; Spearman defenders too...)

    I used to give them thier full radius and make it like a checkerboard pattern, although it slowed down my development a lot compared with ICS. (What's the point when I can't use all those squares?) Although from what I've read, it's got it's place.

    Look at it this way; you can order pizza from another city if it's cheaper and have it delievered in less than 30 minutes due to railroad. ;)
     
  6. Reprisal

    Reprisal Chieftain

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    Many thanks for you input, everyone. At this point, I think I'll try another game with the "Three Tile Apart" idea. I just realized that it extends cultural borders past the first tile radius in the area between the cities. It will definately be a good thing for cordoning off territory for later colonization.

    Keep the information coming if you have anything to add, it will be much appreciated by newer players like myself. :)

    - Rep.
     
  7. Beam

    Beam Beat 'm up Scotty! Retired Moderator

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    If you're playing higher level and/or PBEM's city-tile-tile-city definitely is the way to go. Expansion goes faster, units can move city to city (magic 3 steps) and most cities generally will be capable of growing to size 12 in Republic.

    Only with Hospitals cities can grow beyond 12 and before that time any unused tile in the core is basically wasted and hindering you to build the base of a strong empire with whatever purpose.
     
  8. rcoutme

    rcoutme Chieftain

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    One more thought on the tighter city placement: if you are attacked and the AI takes one of your cities, it is not as devastating a blow as when cities are farther apart. The AI will get a smaller city and you will have troops fairly nearby. If you build up a 8 cities that are size 23 and lose one, you lose 1/8th of your production. If you build up 16 cities at size 12, you need not build hospitals, losing one only loses 1/16th of your production, and the loss of productivity due to corruption is often more than made up for by the fact that you can rush units in twice as many cities and have twice as many cities from which to draft conscripts.
     
  9. Mr Furious

    Mr Furious Chieftain

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    That's pretty much what I'm doing; seems to work really well too; and I'm earning enough cash on the side to build improvements. When I get railroad however, will the railroad on the 9 squares around a city-tile-tile-city placement (railroaded and improved) be enough after getting a Hospital to get it (the cities) to grow beyond size 12?
     
  10. Tomoyo

    Tomoyo Fate

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    It depends on the terrain, but I have no idea why you would want to, as your extra citizens will be specialists.
     
  11. Mr Furious

    Mr Furious Chieftain

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    Mainly for the Civil Engineers to get those extra few shields. Although in thinking hard about it, I guess it's about 15-10 shields + factory + nuclear power (when applicable) + manufacturing and railroad; you could probably produce something like Modern Armor in two to three turns anyway, even with that small city radius.
     
  12. Beam

    Beam Beat 'm up Scotty! Retired Moderator

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    Of course a lot depends on the terrain. On mixed plains / grassland / bonus grassland terrain cities typically can grow to about 14 iirc. That's in Republic and everything railroaded. Getting beyond 12 IS significant in Republic because it allows one extra unit free of support.
     
  13. Tomoyo

    Tomoyo Fate

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    ...which you lose in the maintainance of the Hospital...
     
  14. Guildenstern

    Guildenstern Tepegian

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    Another option is to go city-tile-tile-tile-city to cordon off territory as mentioned above, and then fill in the gaps later so that it becomes city-tile-city-tile-city. To get the most benefit, you would want to fill in the gaps as soon as possible, so make sure you've got multiple 4- or 5-turn settler factories (I'm guessing having three or four settler factories would be plenty, in order to maintain both expansion and filling-in).
     
  15. Mr Furious

    Mr Furious Chieftain

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    With Maya, it's open season on Settler making. ;) But that's an interesting way of doing it. I'll give that a shot. At the moment, I'm playing a second game at the same time with the French and ICS again. (Same map type as well.) The reason I also asked was because I had a lot of Grassland (an un-Godly amount as my brother put it) and all I wondered was if it'd help to actually have the city that size; I.E- 12 or larger.

    Oh, and just off topic very briefly- is it just me, or does the game's map generator seem really frickin' punitive when handing out strategic resources? The island (fairly decent size) I'm on has no Iron, no Horses and no Saltpeter. My nearest source of any of those is about three continents away in the middle of a Hittite military glut.
     
  16. Guildenstern

    Guildenstern Tepegian

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    That's quite unfortunate. Usually if I have no source of iron, and it doesn't look like I can get any, I quit the game. Iron is so important! But one game my nearest source of iron was on a neighboring island, so I captured it and felt proud of myself for not quitting...

    Anyway, one thing I should add: it is vital to have at least as many Spearman factories as you've got Settler factories, so that all those cities you're churning out can be defended. I've found it's not really too difficult to make Spearman factories; just put up a Barracks and mine the tiles around them and they should do fine.
     
  17. Mr Furious

    Mr Furious Chieftain

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    Funny you should mention that. I'm playing as a Monarchy in the game; (for shame :p) and each of my cities has about three spearmen each. I've just moved overseas and I've got an archipelago that I can expand out onto (going to beat the Yanks before they can get it...) so I'm going to see if I can trade by proxy or something like that. Maybe if I'm really nice I can fool them into building my army for me. :p
     

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