City spacing


Oct 10, 2008
Seeing the new patch notes increase the min distance between cities to 3, I figured it was a good time to re-put this idea out there. I've mentioned this idea in other threads, but can't find them now.

So, in civ5, the limiter to settling is happiness (sort of). And I know everyone hates arbitrary limits (they just feel weird). So here's my solution to city spacing: No minimum distance.

It's stupid. If I want to literally chain cities right next to each other, I should be able to. But now here's the caveat: you get a penalty for cities which are too close. It's simple to calculate: take each city's radius, and see how many tiles overlap other of your city's radii. For each tile that overlaps, you get a +0.25 :c5angry: penalty.

So what does this mean?
Thinking straight in a line, if you leave 6 tiles between cities, you get 0 penalty.
If you leave 5 tiles between cities, you only have 1 overlap tile, and so only 0.25 penalty.
4 tiles: you have 4 tiles overlap, and so you get 1 :c5angry: penalty
3 tiles (the new proposed min): you get 9 overlapped tiles, so that's 2.25 :c5angry: penalty
2 tiles (the old limit): 16 overlapped tiles, so 4 :c5angry: penalty
1 tile: 23 overlapped tiles, so 5.75 :c5angry:
0 tiles (adjacent cities): 29 overlap, so 7.25 :c5angry:

So, if you want to ICS with the old limits, then you're paying an extra 4 unhappiness per city, on top of the per city and per-pop limits. Or in other words, if you space out cities with no overlap, and pop a new city that has 100% overlap with others, there's 9 unhappiness extra. I don't know if this would solve ICS, but it would certainly be a drain, especially if you increase the penalties for unhappy empires (I was thinking -5% science penalty for each :c5angry: your empire is. So -10 :c5angry: gives you a 50% science penalty, -20 :c5angry: results in no science. And this would be an empire adjustment, so even scientists wouldn't produce anything). If this isn't enough of a penalty, make it increase more (using 0.1*overlap^1.6 gives it 0.1/1/3/8/15/22 penalties)

This solves the problem of artificial limits. Now, if you keep the AI with their crazy bonuses, then this would be back to the horrible AI sprawl. So that would need some balancing (ie. make this a constant for everyone, regardless of player/AI/difficulty). Do this, and sure, a happy empire can squeeze in extra cities. But there will be penalties to that, and it gets rid of an artificial limit in the game.


Dec 27, 2008
I base my objection on the fact that it wouldn't look pretty.

Also, how well would the AI deal with it? Presumably the only reason they have limits is because the AI doesn't deal well with it (and this would seem to be the reason why the limit is being raised in the patch).


It belongs in a museum.
Jun 16, 2010
Maybe you could have a different type of settler which can be built when a city reaches a certain size, which founds a suburb. So if your original city was New York you could have the new settler found Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens etc. but it can only be built adjacent to the city it was built in.
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