CIV Illustrated #3: City specialization explained Hi again You have discovered the next issue of CIV Illustrated. This issue is quite long, as city specialization is a very complex topic, lets hope that it doesn't get longish. In the following you'll again find a lot of screenshots which will help explaining the theoretical part in the beginning. This actually belongs to the main concept of the CIV Illustrated guides, that we (in this case again I) want that our guides are easy to read and useful for beginners as well as we hope that even the pros can learn from them or have fun reading them. Again, if you appreciate our (my) effort, please don't forget to rate the thread. Feedback also appreciated. The concept of city specialization has developed very much in the time CIV was / is being played. While people tried to press cities in certain roles, depending mostly on the type of economy, players nowadays all understood that a hybrid economy, which uses all concepts together depending on which is currently the strongest / most helpful option, is optimal. City specialization nowadays is also much more dependent on the land that is given to you and on the situation your empire is in. One last note, before we start: It's very important for you, to learn to read the abbreviations that get frequently used on this site. To make it easier for you, I've fully written out everything I abbreviate in the following at least once! Let's take a look how normal, so non-National-Wonder cities are specialized: The standard, non-National-Wonder-city doesn't get only Cottages, only Farms or only Hammers. The easiest way to describe how normal cities get specialized is by giving an example. It's 1560 BC and we have just founded our 4th city, which looks like this: Spoiler : The first thing you'll do in 99% of the cases is to improve the food and build a Granary. Should the food not be in your culture, you'll start with a Monument (standard) or a Library (case when city has good Commerce and enough Forrests to build it fast) . As it's still very early, improving the resources and the riverside land is next. Spoiler : Don't think, that only because this city has Furs and a nice river, that it must become a pure Commerce city. If going for HA-rush or for Elepult, this city will need some Farms and some Mines to whip. However, after the rush, one will be in need for Commerce to support the conquered cities and to tech to the next military tech. Here is an update from 500 BC: Spoiler : A lot of new things, compared the the screenshot of before. The city got two Mines, because production was needed the most, as we 1. went for a HA-rush and 2. chose this city as one of six cities that should get a University. The Happiness limit was still quite low, that's why we prefered Mines over Farms. Libraries but especially Universities are large builds, so we calculated that a Forge in this city would pay back very fast (in this case we were even IND, so it was really a no-brainer. If you aren't IND and need a University very fast, it can be possible that you'll delay the Forge until after the University. This of course is less efficient, but when it comes to Oxford, speed is what matters, because every turn you get Oxford earlier, is a huge gain in ) . The city already got a Library, and you're probably wondering that the city is working an unimproved Grassland Forest. We did this, because in this special case, the Grassland Forest gave 2 and 2 , because of running Organized Religion and because having a Forge, so it's a really good tile. The city will also soon get whipped down from six to size three, so we could save some Workerturns and delay its further improvements. As already written, the construction of Oxford is mainly about speed, which explains why this city got chosen for a University. It only got very low until now, but it has a good production, so can build the University in only little time. 25 BC: The fastest way to win a round of CIV, is usually to conquer as many cities as early as possible, so after having built all that you could see, we now decided that we need more and stronger troops for the next target. We decided for the city to get a Barracks, because we calculated, that this city in special, with having good food, good production and a decent amount of Forests, would produce quite a lot troops: Spoiler : Still no Cottages you ask yourself? No, Cottages would have been too weak for the current war-situation the empire's in, so +one Farm and +one Mine. Why not a Windmill? Because those three Mines + the Furs + the city-centre give exactly 12 , which is one of those magic numbers for the bonuses of OR or Forges, because it can be devided by four. 250 AD: Spoiler : So finally some Cottages, but were those Cottages even the right decision? I think not, because we (as you can see) ran a Golden Age chain from this moment 'til the end of the game, and while the Cottages give +2 and +3 , a Farm would have given +3 and +2 , so +1 and -1 . Having in mind, that this city has still very many good tiles it could grow on, the food would have been vastly better. No idea, why we ended up with Cottages on these tiles, maybe because we couldn't believe in a University-city with zero Cottages ourselves. Well, at least, those Cottages would be Hamlets in a few turns, so they look a little better against Farms, though riverside Farms in Golden Ages are really nice tiles. Spoiler : You see, that we realized our mistake and built a Farm next, while transforming the Mine into a Windmill, 500 AD. Interesting btw.: Look at the Happiness of this city. Size 6 and it reached the Happiness-limit of 18? Yes, this city got drafted three times, so has +9 :> . Spoiler : Somewhere between 500 AD and 1050 AD, we had conquered the complete map but as these pictures are taken out of SGOTM 18, we still needed to tech towards Paratroopers to invade Dr. Evil. So while domination would have been possible a lot earlier already, we now could grow the city to produce max-research. It got mainly Watermills, because Watermills are extremely strong tiles, as they instantly give good (especially in this case, because of the Levee and the GA) , are food-neutral and produce mentionable from Electricity onwards. Don't let yourself get disturbed that this city has a Jail and a (free) Spy-specialist, this is only because of another extra goal that SGOTM had. Without the Jail and with a Scientist or Merchant, this could have been an almost perfect Space Race city. Conclusion: When it comes to the specilization of a normal, no-national-Wonder-city, you should always ask yourself "what is the best improvement now or at the time when it will be ready" and "do I get any game-changing techologies, like Chemistry, Communism, Replaceable Parts or Electricity in the near future" . Evaluate improvements on a single-improvement-basis, and develop the city to its needs, or to the needs of your empire. Same for builds, evaluate "which building will help the city the most now" , but also "which cities are powerful enough, to construct building x to get me National Wonder y at the fastest possible time" . As you've seen, it's no problem for a University city to have zero Cottages, to build tons of troops and stay small for very long, to finally become a Hammer-city, just because Hammer-improvements and Farms have become stronger than all others.