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[BTS] City specialization questions

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by scheines, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    So as a new player I am learning how to best specialize cities. I am a little unclear on the how to avoid wasteful builds when it comes to national wonders that require some number of another building. Had a few questions on the topic:

    1) Should I try to build all national (obviously not world) wonders each game, or only when circumstances point me there?

    For example, Wall Street requires 6 banks in standard size maps. Most people seem to suggest nowadays you will have 1 gold generating city. Does that mean I should just accept I need to “waste” the time to make 5 banks in low gold cities to get Wall Street? Should I just knock these out in generally high commerce cities even if I’m, say, 70% science slider? Alternatively, should I only build Wall Street when I get a profitable holy city, corporation, etc?

    Same is somewhat true of Oxford, but it is more feasible to me to have 6 cities with decent commerce or specialists to make 6 universities worth building.

    2) When I make a cottage city, do I want to build beaker% buildings, gold%, or both? My intuition is that I’d want to do whichever I’ll have more commerce into (hopefully beakers), but this fluctuates over the course of the game.

    3) Is there any math or otherwise suggesting if building wealth or research in cities is better?

    4) Is it common to build something like a grocer or market just for the health or happy bonus, even if the gold% bonus is totally wasted?
     
  2. AcaMetis

    AcaMetis King

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    1. Only when circumstances point you there, and even than only if it's actually going to pay off before the game is over. Obviously a map that is going to end with a Cuirs rush doesn't have a big need for Oxford, even if you're PHI and have Stone to make it as cheap as it's ever going to be. If you're going Space instead, well, an obvious choice.

    2. Ideally you're going to get enough gold from trading and/or failbuilding wonders/wealth to run 100% slider, so beaker buildings will actually give you a benefit whereas gold buildings will not. Realistically, of course, it depends.

    3. Build Wealth until you're stable at 100% slider, and from then on build Research. The reason this is because the slider benefits from science boosts like Libraries and the like, which building Research directly does not.

    4. I wouldn't say so, honestly. They're expensive buildings, and only provide an appreciable bonus if you've got resources that provide :)/:health: in the first place.
     
  3. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    My take (I'll take it sideways) :
    Most good players have an idea of "how much tech they need" in order to win a game.
    And they tend not to overdo it, because gearing up for more tech than necessary means they'd produce less military.

    This simple fact already rules out most national wonders, except for both Epics.
    We can look at it another way : hammers. A particular map requires XXXX hammers to be won ; the more time passes, the more hammers are required. To offset that inflation, research acts as a discount on your hammers.
    So you research in order to save on your hammers (e.g. build 20 trebuchets instead of 50 catapults) but the time spent also benefits your rivals.
    Which means that research isn't good in itself ; it is good relatively to an investment in hammers.

    Of course, research is important. But it is good within a certain canvass : a timeframe governed by a set of objectives.
    And these objectives are often military. (e.g. Liberalism slingshot)
    During this sort of window, any way to maximize research is acceptable : so, the more practical question is whether you should build infrastructure or units. And you should find answers ingame to that question. Workers/Settlers are the best builds for a good portion of the game.
    Other practical question : should you grow or whip ? The ingame answer to that question is often : what tiles do you wanna work ? If whipping a market means whipping 12->8 and you're working all cottages, then maybe you should wait and keep growing.

    Now, let's admit you're set up and :
    If a commerce city is close to or past its happy cap, you envision a switch to the gold slider, are running Organized Religion and a market would give it +3 happies, by all means, build one. This is where the stars align. Just don't whip 5 happy pop into it.
    A common occurrence to justify building a market is that the war has already started, you're not researching, unhappiness kicking in and you're losing tiles to war anger : you're then preserving your ability to work the tiles.
    There's a typical spot in the game where Currency alleviates all necessity for gold. At this point, it wouldn't make sense to build markets. Building workers, settlers, wealth or even courthouses would likely be a better choice (bleeding less gold > producing more of 0g).
    The need for markets (some amount ; market spam is a bad sign) would come in much later, after a couple of wars, when your maintenance has skyrocketed (in the -500g/turn or more)... and you'd still want to tech up.

    Wall Street/Oxford are essentially reserved to space races or Continents/Hemispheres templates, where you know you're gonna go deep.
    Wall Street is indeed best associated with a Shrine and, subsequently, a Corps headquarter (optional). Note that it doesn't require cottages, running farms and Merchant specialists might just be better.

    2) Start with libraries, add what you can afford. Working more tiles is likely better than having the odd extra building ;
    3) If you have more research multipliers for your commerce, then building wealth with your hammers is better ;
    4) Not really, no. A Grocer for +4 health would likely require a Levee and a Factory already.
     
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  4. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    So in terms of #4, does that mean once I hit the happy cap I am going to be whipping / balancing tiles to not grow further? Is it not bad that I am willfully not pushing that happiness cap higher for better research / production?
     
  5. vorlon_mi

    vorlon_mi Just One More Turn

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    I have the same question. Is the recommendation to grow most cities only to size 8 or so, 2-pop-whip down to 6, and then regrow? With the objective being to keep producing military units (like siege) in those cities?

    Rather than growing "tall", a city of size 12 with nearly everyone happy or specialists?
     
  6. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    The thing is, most cities don't have enough "good tiles" to justify growing. For me, every green tile is good and worth growing onto, while every brown tile with the exception of riverside cottages is not worth growing onto. Every green tile gets cottaged or farmed, pre-biology/state property of course. Sometimes you don't need :hammers:, so you don't want to whip. Then I'll just grow (on coastal tiles perhaps?) until :health:/:)-cap and run specialists later, during a golden age.
     
  7. scheines

    scheines Chieftain

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    Why wouldn't you want to grow if you have no happiness / healthiness caps at the time? Surely they’re last to be used, but eventually the options are use them, or stay stagnant. Is the increased maintenance the reason?
     
  8. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    A small part of it. If a city is producing :hammers:, it's just more effective to stay smaller, because the :food:-bar is 2:food: longer every size. If a city really has no coast and no green, perhaps that city should just work specialists and remain small.
     
  9. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    While you're not going to capture any Universities, you can capture banks, so sometimes you'll just end up with 6 and then wall street might make sense, even in a conquest game.
     
  10. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    I don't think I've ever built Wall Street. Maybe it's useful on large maps or in space games.
     
  11. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    For my conq/dom games, also very rare, but every now and then it just falls in your lap.
     
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  12. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    Agreed on the first, say, 100 turns.
    But it really depends on your happy cap and tech level. A size 12+ city is a lot more productive than a city constantly whipping 4->2. Whipping 4->2 when you have the resources to grow is like a shot in the foot.

    re : the whip, in essence, you whip the tiles that are "not worth working" (e.g. unhappy citizen or forested tile). And this is why you need a food surplus.
    As the game goes on, you could hope that more and more tiles are worth working. Because you're gradually improving tiles and have more margin for growth (happy cap).

    re : the whip. Provided you have the happy cap, it's always worth it to work a food positive tile (grassland farm or better).
    Sure, the food to hammers conversion gets worse as a city grows but,
    This is made up by the faster regrowth between city sizes.

    re : growing : provided you have the happy cap (see a trend, here ? so : yes, pushing your happy cap is a huge boost to your economy, both in science and hammers - to help apprehend it : consider your global happy cap = how many tiles your cities would be able to work happily - the more cities you have, the higher the boost from a happy resource, if your cities are at their cap ~~ to raise your global happy cap and work more tiles, which is where it all comes from, you want both more cities and more resources/techs/buildings), some tiles you wanna develop.
    "BUG hint : cottages start small, work them early..." something like that. If you have enough food surplus (relative to happy cap), mostly you want to cottage, possibly you want to hire specialists.
    Growth is not just about production but also about the ability to tech up and sustain an army (all while teching up some more, to make it better).

    This is where food surplus comes in. The better your happy cap, the more food surplus you want.
    There's nothing wrong with having 10+ food surplus if your happy cap is past 15. You wanna fill up the space, so you wanna grow. And as you approach your happy cap, you can start to convert farms back to workshops/stuff.
    Even in the BCs, a city with 8+ food surplus is just that : a great spot. And if it grows into unhappies, well, that's some easy population to whip down on a settler, a library, another settler, then work specialists...


    Horizontal-Vertical :
    You can grow a single city or acquire another (possibly via military).
    The tenants of the "don't grow, whip military" are essentially saying that going horizontal is best. And there are plenty of cases where this is right, especially in the beginning.
    Because you need that margin (techs, civics, resources) before going vertical, and going vertical with 3 cities isn't that hot.
    Even : would you rather grow a size to work an extra cottage or whip a settler to claim a pig ?
    This is the sort of basic question that determines choices in city management (hint : the pig is better). And if your neighbour has 6 pigs, well then...
    What tiles do you wanna work ?
    Ideally, this is associated to your tech path, your worker management and your build orders and, eventually, your use of the whip.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  13. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    1. National Wonders are a mixed bag. Heroic and National Epic are almost always good to have. The others, as has been said, are situational. I wrote a NW Guide a while ago https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/national-wonders-synergies-and-strategies.465798/. I only build Wall Street if I have a good producing (50 :gold: or more) shrine. It can otherwise make sense (in fact, it’s almost required) if you have widespread corporations in your city.
    2. Beakers
    3. Wealth
    4. Happy bonus, yes – at least in my games. Unhappy people are dead weight. -1 food per turn isn’t such a big deal. That said, until the mid game you can just whip away unhappy people
     
  14. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Absolutely. Like I said earlier, I think all green tiles are worth growing onto. Also, growing before the golden age is important. If you pack your cities correctly tightly, some cities won't have as many tiles as they'd like and will whip when running out of tiles.
     
  15. Snowbird

    Snowbird Warlord

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    I think Wall Street is good in space game for corporation HQ. I typically just use state property as it is somewhat close in economic effect and significantly less pain to set up.

    Forbidden palace is sometimes useful (lots of cities on another landmass, planning to win before state property).

    Maoi can be very useful in extreme niche cases (trying to get production going on very watery maps). (On marathon with stone it can be source of failgold, I guess).

    Globe is something I like reading about, but that just does not happen in my games. I would guess I just don't self tech Drama, which typically means not having a chance to set it before major war. (If going war having HR counter whip anger and just gifting city to target and recapture it on T1 is probably more like a thing I would try doing).

    Hermitage is next to essential if going for culture win.

    National park is... also a thing I like reading about, but I have hard times remembering having a forest preserve. I think it is more marathon space race thing or something like that.
     
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  16. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Moai I often build, mainly for failgold.
     
  17. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    I usually have one city that just screams for Moai. So if I have stone, I'll indulge and also try to make a little fail gold out of it at the same time.
     

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