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City Settlement and Tile Improvement Considerations

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Syntax Error, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

    Oct 14, 2010
    Hi All,

    I'm normally an Emperor-level Civ 5 player, looking for a "new" fix, so now I have Civ 4. Playing on Noble and I'm not sure I'm doing it properly. I can reach the Renaissance in the 1000 AD mark, but I;m not sure if that's fast or normal. I'm just not yet used to the general timings and some of the mechanics (like culture flips).

    There are a lot of different considerations on where to settle, when, and what tiles around it to improve and which wonders to go for, etc. I love the whip though, that's one thing that needs to come back for VI.

    Anyway, I wanna know some basics (I've read up A LOT on Sullla's misadventures on his site). I know that you can make a GP farm when there's at least two food resources and a lot of grassland/coast in the BFC, but I'm still out of my element. Like do I improve Farms on riverside Grassland/Floodplains or do I Cottage them? Do I chop down all the trees or are there any benefits for keeping them? Etc.
  2. jordiflor

    jordiflor Chieftain

    Nov 19, 2010
    City specialization!
    You should try to specialize cities:
    - commerce cities: cottage heaven
    - army production cities: mines and workshops
    - GP farm / science city: farms
    and just build in each city those buildings rellevant to city specialty (markets and banks in commerce cities, forges and factories in production cities, universities and observatories in science cities).
    However, all cities need to provide food to work all profitable tiles, and all cities need some hammers to get up those specialized buildings.
    So, for a commerce city with flood plains, normally you will cottage flood plains, but maybe you need to farm one of them to provide needed food to work out some mines.
    Regarding woods, the benefit of keeping some of them is to chop them later, specially after you tech Mathematics, which increases the chopping hammer yield. Of course they provide health to your city, but you can/should replace those health points by other means (resources and buildings).
  3. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

    Dec 5, 2005
    Horses for courses -- part of the intent behind the design was that there shouldn't be "one right answer" to this kind of question.

    The Empire Management section of the War Academy has some relevant articles.

    At Noble handicap, the AI bonuses are easily overcome -- good play will allow you to dominate the AI in all aspects of the game.

    As a consequence, a common approach is to specialize your best cities, and then distribute the rest of the work evenly among your other cities. (Note: the design of IV is more friendly to large empires than the design of V).

    So when you have 7 cities (which is not a lot), you might decide that THIS city is going to produce lots of research for you, and THAT city is going to produce lots of military units for you, and everywhere else is about paying for it all.

    A good exercise is to look at the National Wonders, and think about what improvements make each wonder alone as strong as possible.

    On the specific topic of farms vs cottages - it's a question that's sensitive to how much research you are going to do before you win. In a space race, where you have a ton of technologies to discover, cottages become very strong. But they take a long time to develop - if you are expecting to win by early conquest, then cottages really don't have time to develop fully.
  4. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

    Oct 14, 2010
    I see, thanks for the tips! In my current game, I have a city that had an Iron, 3 hills, a Sugar and unirrigated grasslands. Man, that city went boom with commerce.

    I have 3 GP farms (lots of food in my area), all of which go to scientists (built an academy on the first two cities I settled) all scientists after that go pop for tech. Come to think of it, I think I should have popped one Artist and bombed the aformentioned Commerce City, so it can focus on Banks and hopefully build the Wallstreet there.

    What's considered a "fast" victory? In Civ 5, Domination was still the fastest turn-wise, but because of the happiness mechanic, you can't really grab a wide empire early on in there (even in the later stages of the game it's a bit hard to break even in the happiness front since luxes are limited). My fastest victory ever was 256 Space Race. So with that, what is the best tech progression for Space Race here?
  5. guspasho

    guspasho Prince

    Apr 5, 2005
    2 GP farms is all you need, a 3rd or more is wasted GP points, at any empire size. There's a strategy article that shows how a 3rd GP farm is only negligibly better than 2 GP farms, so not ever worth the effort. The third one should be working cottages instead of running specialists.

    EDIT: Here's the article, but I can't figure out where I got that conclusion from, now that I look for it. So maybe you should just ignore me.

  6. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

    Sep 17, 2010
    GP farms isn't just about the GP they provide, but about the extra :science: they provide as well, especially under Representation. That alone can be important if your economy has crashed and you can't run a high research rate.

    I have a question as well about this, about markets and libraries, basically research or gold. I tend to build both types in my more cottage-centred cities, but focus mostly on research buildings such as libraries and later observatories. What is best seems to depend on the state of the economy. If you can run a high research rate, markets, banks etc is basically a waste. But if your economy has crashed and you're running close to 0% research for long periods of time, research multiplier buildings are almost a waste. So what to do?

    Then you have the guys with constant binary research. In these cases you kind of get the most out of both research and gold buildings.

    If I managed to get a holy city or two, then it makes sense to build markets and banks and such there, because you get a straight gold income from religion spread no matter the research rate, but for most (normal) cities, what do people tend to do?
  7. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Prince

    Oct 14, 2010
    Hmmm... I think I'll stick to just conquering the closest neighbor, settle all spots and just keep teching up, then crush the stragglers from my advanced units. I seem to get the Sword/Axe Rush just fine though.

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