Couple of quick beginner questions

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Swi1ch, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Swi1ch

    Swi1ch Chieftain

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    Hi, brand new to Civ games. I'm in the middle of a BTS Civ 4 game as Victoria on a huge fractal world with four players including me (Wanted to keep enemies to a minimum while I learn how the economy works).

    Just a few things i'm wondering about whilst i'm in game:

    All my coastlines produce at least 3 commerce (Side affect of England?), but how do I harvest them?

    My capital has 'refined' culture and extends four tiles from the city, but I can only improve two tiles from the city. Does this ever expand? (If not I messed up city placement badly).

    Is it ever a good idea to have undeveloped cities? I can only find one gold reserve but it's a really bad place, is it worth making a city there and not develop it just to capitalise on the gold?

    Is it possible to trade food between my own connected cities? By a stroke of luck I built my military focused city at the only choke point to the peninsula I started on, but it's really dry when it comes to food so not growing too fast and I can't get enough workers to really put all the mines to use.

    Do food resources stack? I read on here somewhere that mineral resources don't stack so you only need one access to iron, copper etc as long as you connect your cities. If I access two cows, will this give me +2 health or is it a waste of time?

    By about 500 BC, how many cities should I be looking at? I have five; My capital and one right next to it with lots of food, a commerce city, a military city and what I'm hoping will be a science city. Should I have more?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Winth

    Winth Warlord

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    You assign your citizens to work the coast tiles, just like you would any other tiles.

    No, you can only ever work the "fat cross" from the first border pop.
    Sure - this resource will give you +1 happiness, after all - although you must watch out for your economy not to collapse while doing so. Even if this city can't reach even size 2, it can still, like, pump workers at agonizingly slow rates or so. And after Biology, there's a good chance it will become productive, too. Or if it hugs the coast.
    No, it was possible back in Civ2 when Caravans were still in the game, but in Civ4 there's no way to trade food.

    No, but a surplus of resources is always welcome for trading or as a safety guard against pillaging.
    Depends on how much good land is there still unsettled and whether your economy allows more cities. It's always better to have more cities than less, but you have to be smart about it. 5 cities in 500 BC is not bad at all, but by all means settle more if there's any way it can benefit you. (Some cities are more than meets the eye.)

    Welcome to the forums. :)
     
  3. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    Its not specifically from England, its from Vicky's Financial trait which increases :commerce: of any tile alread producing 2:commerce: or more by 1:commerce:.
    I have a city screen pic from someone elses games a while back on photobucket that might help answer the harvesting question
    Spoiler :
    The white tiles are tiles you citizens are working, you can move them around by clicking on them. You can instead use your citizens as specialists, which are shown on the right hand side above the map.
    Also very important is to manage your :) levels. In the pictured city there is a huge unhappines problem, around 10 citizens are refusing to work! This is a situation to avoid at all costs, make sure you balance your :) against your :mad: (numbers are shown next to the food bar at the top).
    A given city can only ever work the cross you see after its first culture expansion. This are is often refered to as the Big Fat Cross (BFC) on these forums. You can improve tile anywhere in your culture, but it is almost always a waste to improve tiles outside your cities' BFCs.
    Depends exactly how bad it is, more often than not a gold resource is worth working however.
    No you can't trade food between cities. Ideally you want a food resource for each city, but failing that a few floodplains will do. For the record each pop takes 2:food: in upkeep so without food resources you will struggle to get decent production from a hill region.
    The :health: bonus doesn't stack, but that doesn't mean its a waste to have multiple. The Cow tile is still very strong when a city works it, and is worth grabbing solely for this, but you can also trade your resources awey for gold or other resources.
    I don't know how many I would typically have at 500BC, but its usually more than 5. Expansion rate is something you can pick up later, things like learning about the city screen is more important first and for now getting 5 cities at 500AD is fine.

    As your new, I would also advise pressing cntrl+y to show tile yields, and cntrl+r which makes resources much more visible.
    Reading Susiutil's Begginers Guide is a must of course ;)
     
  4. Swi1ch

    Swi1ch Chieftain

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    Thanks!

    When I mentioned harvesting the coast tiles, I meant to improve them, although I figured out to use work boats. Pity that almost all my stuggling cities are one tile away from the coast :( There's not a way to build a harbour or anything like that is there so I can access the coast without my cities being built upon them?

    A couple other things cropped up:

    How do I trade resources? I did happen to stack my health bonuses, but I can't find an option to trade these with the other civs. Am I missing research? >>>Edit. It's now an option. I think it was because the AI had no resources to trade.

    How do you balance your population? My captial has a pop of 13, with 4 refusing to work but it keeps growing quickly. Removing even one food tile puts it into starvation mode so I can't focus more on production. The same goes for a lot of my other cities.

    How do you balance Civ with life? I have achieved nothing else today but farm virutal crops :D
     
  5. Framesticker

    Framesticker Prince

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    If you have a city within range of a costal tile, go into the city screen and click on the tile. It's also notable to say that coastlines having 3 commerce isn't a side effect of England - it comes from Victoria's Financial trait, which adds 1 :commerce: to every tile with 2 :commerce:

    Here I'll introduce you to a term - the Big Fat Cross (commonly abbreviated at BFC). The BFC is essentially the fat cross of tiles, whose center in on the city. A city can only work tiles within its fat cross. Having more culture than needed for the BFC serves two purposes - gaining more land or amassing culture for a Cultural win.

    It differs, really. If, say, you found a city with 2 Gold resources but no food early in the game, it will easily pay for itself and give you a big boost to science. However, founding a similar city later in the game is a mistake, as maitenance costs rise and it will not be productive.

    No, there's no way to do that. While it seems quite absurd (since food trade is VERY common in ancient society), it would totally imbalance the game.

    A city needs a road to the improved tile in order to gain benefit of the resource. If that road passes through a civ you have Open Borders with, that's okay, too. However, your Civ can only gain the benefit of a resource once - having more than 1 Cow won't give you any additional health.

    As a general rule for a begginner, try to have 6 cities before 1AD on standard sized maps (obviously, more on bigger maps and less on smaller maps). Getting to 6 cities is vital because it unlocks some very important buildings and Wonders - Oxford University (boosts science by 100%, requires 6 Universities in your empire), Wall Street (boosts commerce by 100%. requires 6 Banks in your empire), Cathedrals (specific to a religion, boosts culture by 50% and requires 3 Temples in your empire, very useful for Cultural wins).

    Hope I helped:)
     
  6. GreenShift84

    GreenShift84 Chieftain

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    First, if you want to get a good feel for the game you should change the map settings. Interaction with the AIs is an important part of most games (some games can be an exception where youre isolated). A few things that you miss out on with your settings (huge, fractal, 4 AI, difficulty?): No practice prioritizing city sites and beating the AI to them, more difficulty setting up trade routes with AI cities, less ability for tech trading (which is an integral part of the game you should definitely be working on, this lessens the load on your own research needs), and exaggerated barbarian issues are a few I can name off hand. A better solution is to go with standard settings and # of AIs, but just enable the "Always Peace" option if its only war you want to avoid.

    So to try and answer some of your questions:
    All my coastlines produce at least 3 commerce (Side affect of England?), but how do I harvest them?
    The coastline produces 3 commerce because Victoria has the financial trait, this is not a function of which nation you are but which traits the leader has (e.g. churchill doesnt get the bonus). Not sure exactly what you mean by harvest (just working the tile?), but whenever you want to work a coastal tile with a citizen just move it via the city screen. You get an extra food on each sea tile with a lighthouse and its almost never a good idea to work coast tiles without one built first.

    My capital has 'refined' culture and extends four tiles from the city, but I can only improve two tiles from the city. Does this ever expand? (If not I messed up city placement badly).
    No. The tiles available for your cities to work are limited to the 20 tiles that are within the first cultural border expansion, this area around the city is commonly referred to as the city's BFC around here. (big fat cross, because of the shape of the culture) So you will need to adjust your settling accordingly.

    Is it ever a good idea to have undeveloped cities? I can only find one gold reserve but it's a really bad place, is it worth making a city there and not develop it just to capitalise on the gold?
    There are too many variables in play to give an answer for every case, but it can be a good idea sometimes. Gold is nice but is usually not going to be game changing, the most common time to settle crappy cities is for grabbing a strategic military resource (copper/iron) if you are lacking.

    Is it possible to trade food between my own connected cities? By a stroke of luck I built my military focused city at the only choke point to the peninsula I started on, but it's really dry when it comes to food so not growing too fast and I can't get enough workers to really put all the mines to use.
    No. But you can overlap the BFC of your cities and switch tiles back and forth between them to share food. A corporation can add more food to a city but thats a bridge to cross later.

    Do food resources stack? I read on here somewhere that mineral resources don't stack so you only need one access to iron, copper etc as long as you connect your cities. If I access two cows, will this give me +2 health or is it a waste of time?
    No, but trading the extra cow for another resource or gold per turn is what you want to do.

    By about 500 BC, how many cities should I be looking at? I have five; My capital and one right next to it with lots of food, a commerce city, a military city and what I'm hoping will be a science city. Should I have more?
    With your settings you should definitely have more cities, probably at least around 8-9, but this is contingent on a few things: availability of useful cities and if you can use the cities to keep research/funds rolling along (you dont need 8-9 cities if three of them are nothing but ice/tundra, these will slow you down more than help).

    There's not a way to build a harbour or anything like that is there so I can access the coast without my cities being built upon them?
    Nope, this is why building cities one tile away from the coast is usually a bad idea.

    How do you balance your population? My captial has a pop of 13, with 4 refusing to work but it keeps growing quickly.
    Try to not let your city get to the point of having unhappy citizens, they cost money and eat your food. You can use the BFC swapping trick I mentioned early to help prevent too much growth, but an easier solution is run some specialists (short aside->learn to generate and use great people effectively, they play an important role) instead of working more food tiles or use slavery to convert those lazy bastards into production. Also, running the HR civic unlocked by the monarchy tech will let you add 1:) per military unit you station in the city. I believe cabert has a good article on ways to keep your population happy.

    Another general tip: more workers->almost all new players dont build enough, a good indicator of worker shortage is whether or not your cities have population working unimproved tiles. It would be better to use slavery and whip away the population for a new worker than to just continue working unimproved tiles. Often around 3 workers for every 2 cities is sufficient, but will vary from map to map and on how well you can micromanage the workers.

    Best advice for improving your play is to start up a game and post the 4000BC save along with a description of the game. You will get more specific/applicable advice and often other players will play the same game for you to compare. This seems the best way to make the connection between all the ideas that will be thrown at you and how they actually manifest themselves within the game.
     
  7. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    Workboats can only improve resource tiles, indeed resource tiles are the only water tiles that can be improved in the normal way. The other way to improve them a little is through buildings like Lighthouses or wonders liek the Collosus.
    If you settle cities 1 tile away from the coast then any coast tiles in its BFC will forever be weak, and you don't even get the other benefits of a coastal city like Harbours or being able to build ships. Basically its best to avoid settling cities 1 tile from the coast.
    You need a valid trade connection. This means a road to the other civs city, a river/coast route (if you or they have Sailing) or an ocean route (with Astronomy).
    There are a lot of ways, all having its own advantages and disadvantages, heres a list of some
    • Get more resources. Through trade, settling, taking it or by researching a needed tech (Calender?).
    • Go for early Monarchy for the Hereditary Rule civic, this one is simple and very effective.
    • Use Slavery, it may give you 1:mad: each time you use the whip, but you still only get 1:mad: if you whip 20 pop away. Try to make sure you whip more than 1 pop away at any time to prevent the :mad: building up and leave 10 turns (normal speed) or so to let the :mad: die down.
    • Work food negative tiles (tiles with less than 2:food:), which slows growth down.
    • Run specialists, a different kind of food negative 'tile', they are also the best source of Great People Points (GPP).

    Heres a link to an article on handling :), and one to the war academy where that and lots of other useful stuff can be found.
    Unfortunately its impossible :p
     
  8. Swi1ch

    Swi1ch Chieftain

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    This has all been great, thanks very much.

    Maybe a strange request, but are there any videos of civ games? I'd love to watch how other people play, particularly the early game.
     
  9. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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  10. Swi1ch

    Swi1ch Chieftain

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    Great thanks!

    One more thing (Again), I have Civ 4, Warlords and Beyond the Sword. Should I just start with Beyond The Sword or is it worth starting with vanilla Civ 4?

    Also, so far when I create a new city I start by building workers unless I have some available, then the next thing I do is build a monument to gain culture. I havn't seen this mentioned anywhere on these boards so far; is this standard or is it advised against?
     
  11. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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    I'd suggest that you just play Beyond the Sword. The rules and mechanisms keep getting tweaked from version to version, and switching around might lead to a bit of confusion. Arguably BtS is the best version of the game.

    Usually beginning with a Worker isn't a bad first step if you don't have Workers spare, but it depends upon a variety of things such as the surrounding eight tiles in the inner 'circle' ... for instance, if you have a Clam resource adjacent to your coastal city, then you might consider a Work Boat and let the city grow ... however if you've got another more developed city just a bit up the same coastline, then maybe this larger city should be building the Work Boat for your new city while your new city works on a city improvement such as a Granary. Generally a Monument is a good idea, but again 'it depends'. Creative leaders generally don't have need for a Monument (Hatshepsut and Zara Yaqob have Monument-based unique buildings that might be of more appeal), you may want to use religious spread rather than a Monument to get culture (e.g. use a Missionary built in another city to spread your state religion or any available religion if you’re in Paganism or Free Religion), or build a Library/Theatre instead that will offer benefits over-and-above a Monument (again, Sitting Bull could be an exception), or if you’re in the Caste System run a specialist Artist for a few turns to get that pop. As such, there are a few different approaches to getting that border pop, and for that matter, that pop might not be an absolute priority if the best tiles are surrounding the city in the first ring.

    So … short answer is generally Worker > Monument is often a good choice, but there are different options and circumstances that might be more effective.

    Hope this is of some help. :)
     
  12. Swi1ch

    Swi1ch Chieftain

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    I've just read the manual and it says hill tiles provide -1 food. How can you tell when something has negative food? Most of my hill tiles either have 1 food icon or no food icon.

    How do you effectively estimate the population cap of a city? I'm watching the let's play video and he mentions letting his captial grow to its' cap before switching it to commerce. I assume the pop cap can be estimated by counting the food tiles, but wouldn't switching these off to focus on commerce later starve the city?
     
  13. Deadlylamp

    Deadlylamp Chieftain

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    He's most likely talking about his capital's happy cap. If his happy cap is at 5, then any population after that is useless until he gets additional happiness resources. Instead, the people working the excess food income can be switched on to something more productive, in this case, commerce.
     
  14. Cam_H

    Cam_H Deity

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    Crosspost with Deadlylamp

    -1 Food

    I agree ... it's a bit confusing.

    By -1, it means it produces one less :food: as a Hill than as Flatland. Therefore, an undeveloped Flatlands Grassland produces 2:food: while as a Grassland Hill it's (2-1) 1:food: ... a Flatlands Plains tile produces 1:food: while a Plains Hill doesn't produce any food.

    When people talk about negative food tiles or food deficit tiles, it typically refers to tiles that produce less than 2:food:. Why 2:food:? Because that's how much food a (healthy) citizen or population point eats per turn. So 'say' you've got a production-oriented site, and it has a lot of Plains Hills, you'll probably run out of food pretty quickly unless you work some of the city's 'food positive' tiles (e.g. Farmed Grassland, Floodplains, food-oriented resource tiles such as Corn or Fish) that produce more than 2:food: per turn to offset the 'food negative' tiles such as Mines.

    Also note you get (usually) 2:food: as a bonus from the city centre (3:food: if you settle the city on top of some food-oriented resources).

    City caps

    This is often referred to as the largest a city's population can grow before its Unhappy citizens exceed its Happy citizens. It can also be used to identify the largest possible size the city can grow post-Biology (without taking into account food boosters such as; settled Great Merchants, some corporations such as Sid’s Sushi, Baray, Supermarket), and can also be referred to as 'Health cap" being the population size before Unhealthiness exceeds Healthiness.

    The population cap is 'dynamic', as changes in tile improvements, civics, technologies, city improvements incl. Wonders, resources incl. trades resources, can impact what that cap actually is, however ...

    When TheMeInTeam refers to the cap, I'm guessing it's with regard to the happiness cap of that city at that point in time and in the short term future. I'm also guessing that "switching to commerce" is the act of taking citizens off food-surplus tiles such (e.g. Farms), and instead placing them on 'food neutral' tiles (e.g. Grassland Cottages)?
     
  15. Aoxomoxoa

    Aoxomoxoa Prince

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    When your city is founded.. it will have what called around here, the 'happy cap'. You can see what it is when you look in the city window at the right end of the food bar that shows you when you will gain a new citizen to work... it wil look something like this..

    7:) > 5:mad:

    If you hover over them you will get a little more detail as to what makes them smile and what makes them angry.

    But this tells you that you can have 2 more citizens working squares in the city, that is your pop can increase twice more...

    Ways to control the unhappy citizens is NOT to let the population grow ABOVE the happy cap by changing what squares the citizens work.

    Move them off of the big food tiles and on to hammer tiles, or have them work as citizen specialists.. scientist/engineer/artist/merchant/spy/prophet...

    For example, when you build a library, you work work 2 citizens as scientist specialists as a benefit of that building.

    The Slavery civic (unlocked by the tech Bronze Working) is another main way to keep the population at or near the cap.. Whipping the next item in the build queue when it says it will cost you '2' population at you at or +1 over will bring you under.. this comes at a prices, and is expensive (people wise) when you have to do it too close together.

    Ways to grow the happy cap.. luxury resources (gold/silver/gems/elephants/furs), calendar (the tech) resources like sugar/silk/spices/incense etc. Certain buildings will increase the cap, either directly (theater/colosseum etc.) or indirectly based on whether you have existing resources (forge/market).

    The Hereditary Rule civic (unlocked by the tech monarchy) gives you the opportunity to increase the happy cap by the number of soldiers you have in your city guarding it.

    This is one of those parts of the game you want to 'grok'... the unhappy citizens don't just work, they cost you money while they don't work...
     

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