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Districts vs settlers aka when to go tall vs wide

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Iblis, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Iblis

    Iblis Chieftain

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    I've played quite a lot of games so far, racked up about 200 hours and a lot of it is me getting to turn 150 or so before restarting and trying to learn what I've done wrong. I'm playing at king level at the moment for reference, not ready to go up yet.

    Something that I still feel like I don't appreciate very well is at what point am I supposed to be trying to expand vs build districts, and when is it a good idea to have those districts. I totally get that the game is designed so you play the map without following the One True Strategy, and depending on what your start and surrounding area looks like is going to dictate some of this. But ultimately I still feel like I'm waiting too long to get out my first district, I just feel like it's taking me a long time and that I probably don't always get the right ones.

    First, in all the games I've played I've built a holy district about three times in total I think. I just doesn't seem worth it, particularly at the beginning of the game when that 10 or 12 build time is a real cost.

    Second, I'm probably not properly balancing the need for the district against what I have. My first one is almost always a campus as I don't want to fall behind in science, but then if I've already got a few city states pushing science to me maybe that's not the first one I need to focus on. As Sparta you could get a nice cheap Acropolis and encampment,crank out a lot of early units and use the culture lead to help make up for a potential science shortfall, for example.

    Third, I'm not sure I understand the art of placing districts to maximise from their zoning benefits - I'm talking more about buildings that boost outputs and that extend to other cities. Right now the main ones I focus on are the industrial zone but should I be putting more energy into entertainment districts?

    Then there's settling. I try and avoid settling until I've hit my housing slow down point or (ideally) 6 for the early empire Eureka, but if there are some really juicy spots nearby I want to start exploiting then I just go for it, particularly if the settler boost civic isn't so essential. But the AI seems to expand a lot sooner than me and I wonder if I'm missing a trick here. Trying to have one or two really developed cities doesn't seem to be enough, if I don't have four cities on a standard map by turn 100 I feel like I'm being left behind.

    Would really appreciate some thoughts,
     
  2. whyidie

    whyidie Emperor

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    If you're playing with the intent to move up levels, sharpen your sticks. You should have at least 1 civ maybe even two out of the picture before you focus on developing your own cities. Depending on production (chop, chop, chop) you could probably have 3 cities mixed in with your conquests.

    Rough guidance for the early game :

    If you have to make a choice between monument/district/granary/worker/settler or military choose military
    Once your military is on the way (4 archers couple melee city until walls) you can get workers/settlers
    Once you have some cities from AI have them produce things like workers/trade routes/military
    Mix a district (commerce or harbors first, trade routes are key) into some of your core cities
    In core cities that aren't building districts, you should still be pumping out the military (may need siege/support units or crossbows) to take walled cities
    That makes two early expansions via military and you should now be able to mix in the districts. Science, production, commerce.

    If you're not crazy about moving up to Deity as quick as possible, pick a victory condition and focus in it to the determent of the others. If you like science and don't like going to war, go for it, get your science districts out first. Only caveat is you need to get trade routes out next (via harbors or commerce) and follow up with a couple of well placed industrial zones.
     
    TehJumpingJawa and TraderInvader like this.
  3. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    I play about 80% of my games non agressive. I have been studying just your question.

    On emporer I can just settle 2 cities and develop these a lot before making more and this rapidly speeds up the growth of future cities, it seems to counteract the lockdown trick to some degree.

    I used to when I first started develop 4-5 cities then expand but was naieve then. But it seemed to work ok then

    Still looking into it and currently looking at settler spamming then simultaneous growth which seems Ok with good food tiles. What I am discovering is intriguing me. The layout of the land seems to dictate the best approach.

    There is no doubt that agression played well is the best approach but I just like being passive agressive, seems more fun and challenging than archers attack! Knights attack!. Steamroller kill kill killl zzzzz
     
  4. WileyWilson

    WileyWilson Chieftain

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    Playing on modded (AI+, Smoother difficulty) Immortal level.

    I always try to get 3 or 4 tight/defensible cities (including Capital) asap. Build order is something like:
    • Scout
    • Warrior * 2
    • Slinger * 1
    • Alternate Settler, then Warrior until I have 3 or 4 cities. I try to build my cities in a triangle or a square formation.
    Start-up cities build Monument (or Builder if playing Rome). I buy builders for chop/improvements as soon as I can.

    Once I have the lay of the land / met City States / got Goody Huts, I bring all military back to my triangle/square for defence.

    By the time I've got 3/4 cities, I've about 6 warriors and 1 slinger for defence / barb camps

    I don't bother with these, I let AI build them for me. Time it well and you can use +2 prophet points policy to get your religion.

    I don't bother building districts until I have all the cities I want. However, I DO research Commericial & Industrial districts after basic military and resource improvement techs and "lock in" the district production cost.

    I generally place entertainment districts after I've placed Commercial, Aqueducts and harbours, so sometimes I cannot use the tile I want.
    I generally just place my districts to give me the best short to medium term benefit. By the time you get to mid to late game, you pretty much know whether you've won or lost anyway. IMO +2 production at the start of the game is worth more than +1 amenity from a zoned Zoo.

    As long as you have a reasonable military to discourage AI attacking you and to deal with barbarians, once you have your core cities set-up, you can pretty much play however you want. You don't have to min/max to win, as long as your general strategy is sound.
     
  5. teks

    teks Prince

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    Early campus is bad. You will fall behind in research either way and by increasing your research output, you are decreasing your production. Districts scale up in production cost partially based on your research.

    I think the general consensus is that everyone should be building commercial districts first along with traders. Following this you have your production centers like encampments, industrial centers and entertainment zones. Finally we have the districts that help your win condition.

    Following on the last point. If your trying to win by religion, every city will have a holy site generally speaking. If your not then no city would have a holy site. The same goes for theatre districts. If your not winning by culture do not bother building any. Its ok to have 1-2 reaserch centers, but no more, and they aren't priority, unless your trying to win by research.

    IZ and entertainment adjacencies are pretry straight forward. Buildings that say they provide an effect to nearby cities will convey their bonus to every city within a 6 tile radius of that district, but each city can only receive this benefit once. A factory can be used by multiple cities for instance, but having multiple factories provides no further benefit.
     
    whyidie likes this.
  6. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    I would not discard campus's offhand. Great mountain adjacency combo with early cheap campus and double adjacency will get you going fast. Everything is situational and I am glad of it. One formula fits all is dull. The limiting factor is how many cards you can have active
     
    Eagle Pursuit likes this.
  7. darkace77450

    darkace77450 Emperor

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    I play on King, so my approach is undoubtedly a bad tact to take when playing on higher difficulty levels.

    I take a balanced approach to my core cities, building a Holy Site in my capital so I can get a religion (though it's admittedly a poor return on investment for anyone looking to min-max), a Campus in one of my first expansions, a Theater Square in another, and a Harbor in the last. I've been waffling on whether or not to build this balanced spread of early districts before Commercial Hubs and Industrial Zones go up or after. I've also wondered if I'd be better served abandoning the balanced approach and just building the districts directly related to my chosen victory path (Campus for Science Victories, Theater Squares for Cultural Victories, etc), but I'd be cutting myself off from some of the late game techs and civics I enjoy playing with.

    As to when the expansion happens, I've always started with a basic defense to protect my capital from aggressive neighbors, a Builder so I can trigger early Eurekas, and a Holy Site so I can found a religion. After that I start building Settlers for my expansion cities. Then my capital fills out the rest of my military ranks while my expansion cities get a Builder out and a Monument up. I'm thinking of switching this up and trying to get at a second city going as early as possibly, though, as I wind up forward-settled by the AI as often as not. Beating them to those prime locations is more important than getting that early Holy Site, especially since you're not going to beat whomever builds Stonehenge to the first religion anyway.

    Side Note: Whomever builds Stonehenge always chooses Divine Inspiration as their founding belief. It's the Goddess of Protection of this game, and I need to come to terms with the fact that I'll never, ever be able to choose it for my own religion.



    Change "passive aggressive" to just "passive" and I'm with you. I hate that the best answer to any dilemma is "attack". Want to win a Science Victory? Build a bunch of units and attack. Want to win a Cultural Victory? Build a bunch of units and attack. Want to win a Religious Victory? You get the point. And that the AI is so poorly equipped to handle warfare, the "aggressive" path to non-Domination Victories just feels like an exploit in addition to homogenizing the game. That's why I play peacefully when not specifically playing for a Domination Victory. This has the added benefit that I can "enjoy" declared friendships and alliances with AI Civs on a regular basis since I don't get saddled with the spiraling warmonger penalties a lot of other players seem to have thrown at them.
     
    Victoria likes this.
  8. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    On reading the title my first reaction was "always go wide until you run out of space". Settlers come at little cost in Civ VI as they don't slow growth and so a classic Civ pattern of 'expand to all the good spots, then build up and fill in the gaps' seems to work well. The only reason early districts are desirable is for Great Person points, principally prophets if you want to go for a religion or science otherwise (though the early GS options aren't that good). On my current Emperor game I think I had 6 cities settled by turn 125 - that's somewhat exceptional as I had ideal territory to expand into and neighbours mainly expanding away from me (plus one or two of those cities was a conquest), but planning on having at least four by that point - or 3 by turn 100 at the latest if space allows - is probably good.

    Unless you have a site with very good adjacency bonuses (+3 and up) you don't gain as much value immediately from early boosts to science, faith or culture - science yield is population-based as in Civ V so grows faster with more cities than with a district that then needs a building which produces a nominal science boost. Except for the GP points (or unless you're going for the Great Library) you may not need a library until you're approaching Education or until you can buy it, since the +1 science just doesn't warrant the production cost.

    I've tended to avoid entertainment districts until late - they're not really useful at all until you get zoos and don't produce GP points, which as above is the main reason to prioritise districts in the early game. Even then unless you've expanded a lot you shouldn't have too many problems with amenities. Civ VI encourages packing settlements as close to each other as possible, so by the time you want entertainment districts (or industrial ones) you'll likely have 3 cities within range of the bonus.

    Early Empire is actually easiest to hit off two cities, since each will grow at roughly the same rate and food costs for each new population point increase while your excess food production generally decreases as cities get larger - you get two 3-pop cities much faster than one 6-pop city. You also have the option of creating a trader as soon as you hit Foreign Trade, which unless you need the builder boost from Craftmanship should usually be your second civic - if you already have a second city you can send the trader between your cities for +1 food and +1 production.
     
  9. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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  10. Futumch

    Futumch Calm as a Coma

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    I tend to build settlers like a man possessed. Getting those cities down and staking your claim is paramount IMHO. *shrug*

    Populate or perish! : )
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  11. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    6 by turn 125, not 6 overall - no problem moving on from there if space permits. There are definitely diminishing returns to having too many cities, as they start to place a strain on amenities and mostly aren't doing anything useful except farming science and giving you extra trade routes from commercial hubs. You can't build GP farms a la earlier games or dedicated commerce cities - all you need are a couple of production hubs and a bunch whose job is just to grow population for putting out research.

    My current end-game empire has 9 cities, plus one newly-founded on uranium in case, having been rather unsuccessful in my espionage attempts, I need to start nuking spaceports. In my previous completed sessions I may not have had more than 8.
     
  12. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Are you also a peaceful player then, enjoying the challenges that brings?
    What would you think is a fairly safe number of cities to win science wt emporer?
     
  13. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    All my Civ VI victories have been Emperor science victories - it's my default victory in most Civ games, but the alternatives in Civ VI are uniquely unappealing. On the huge maps I play in the absence of a random map option, domination is as tedious as a hot knife through a butter mountain - in my current game I took Damascus and immediately afterwards Medina because the opportunity presented itself. I could have moved on Cairo but was happy enough to leave Saladin crippled. I was tempted to destroy Cordoba in retribution for endless attacks by Philip as I had no use for even a fairly good city, but my forces weren't in a good position to go on the offensive.

    I still strongly dislike the religious combat system and both the religious and cultural victory conditions require specific, linear bucket-filling gameplay that's only loosely-connected to the rest of the game - making both feel like busywork.

    I've won fairly safely on 5+ cities but AI progression is weird. Usually I play to close to the game's end, getting the ship up by around 2000 - and usually the AI is already part of the way towards completing their spacecraft but one or two techs away from getting the final pieces. The weird thing is, in my current game I'm hitting the same point by the end of the 19th Century ... and the leading AIs are at exactly the same stage they usually are a century later.

    Probably just an accident of spaceport placement being closer to the city centre or whatever district is being protected - as past experience suggests the AI doesn't place counterspies in spaceports themselves - but I've had multiple spies killed trying to sabotage spaceports, including my rocket scientist, and all my efforts have so far failed, hence the rush I mentioned to nuclear weapons. As a precaution, as my nearest rival England is still a key tech behind me, however as I missed both Carl Sagan and the Ruhr Valley spacecraft production is taking forever so it's possible Victoria could catch up.
     
  14. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    @PhilBowles I have been playing a lot of Emporer culture and am also finding the AI seems to match, especially the number of cities.. Maybe we create a thread on it. I mean I even played 2 cities till turn 100 amd they seemed to match
     
  15. remconius

    remconius Deity

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    Expansion is the most important. I just won an emperor game with a religious victory. I expanded fast and built a lavra (holy) district in every city. Took over several cities from my neighbour early on.

    I only built 2 science districts quite late in the game and 6-7 harbours/commercial zones. Also late game I built 4 theater districts. I lagged behind in science but caught up with most AI through trade routes and the right policies. At one point Poland attacked me with mech infantry, but I fended them off with 6 field cannons and some cossacks as he ran into a narrow stretch of land, luckily.

    I had 300 faith per turn and could buy missionaries, apostles, inquisitors as well as units, great people, etc. It was quite powerful. Won by turn 260 orso on standard. It was quite manageable being behind in tech and culture.
     
  16. juanpavo

    juanpavo Warlord

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    Nice metaphor! :lol:
     
  17. Forbiddentwo

    Forbiddentwo Warlord

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    At the moment (playing on immortal) I tend to go:

    Slinger, worker, slingers/archers until I have 6 -> invade someone while cranking out settlers non stop until turn 100 (standard speed).

    Why turn 100? Because I read it once on these forums and have no free will of my own, so turn 100 is where I stop. Turn 100 could be crazily suboptimal, but such is my ~~laziness~~ faith in the posters on these forums that I choose to blindly use it as my break point.

    P.S. how do you use strikethrough on these forums?
     
  18. Futumch

    Futumch Calm as a Coma

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  19. kamex

    kamex Emperor

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    I've had success on Emperor with 5-6 cities as long as they are well developed. Sometimes if you start on a peninsula, its all you can fit on it, but you have the advantage of the terrain acting as a natural fortress. Expanding out of this safety zone often exposes the new cities to a full AI attack so it feels like an unattractive option. I've found 5-6 cities of size 20 is easily enough to win Science / Culture / Religion on Emperor as long as the land quality is decent, and you have enough amenities. A long coast is nice for Seaside Resorts too.
     

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