Early granaries and barracks?


Mar 31, 2002
Norfolk, England
I'd like to hear other players opinions on early granaries and barracks. I used to build granaries in every city first, now I'm wondering if it's worth it. Granaries take a long time to build and then if the city grows too quickly you end up with happiness problems.

I guess building granaries depends on:
1) Rate of growth of the city.
2) Whether building the Pyramids or not.
3) How productive the city is.
4) Number of luxuries city is connected to.

However if I don't build granaries I'm worried growth will be too slow. I have a similar dilema with barracks early on.

Ever since I played Civ 2 I have always built a barracks before building units, this way all of them are veteran. Barracks take a while to build and troop movement is slow so is it better to just build regular Warriors/Spearman until the initial land grab is over?

I end up with too slow a start to be competitive in the GOTM, any comments would be appreciated. :love:
Granaries are not worth it, real early in the game. In fact I never build them at all. If you can build one in between the production of your settlers, fine, do so. But I usually would rather be pumping out some units instead. I guess granaries would be nice if you plan on using one of your cities as a worker/settler factory. I certainly don't want to build one in every city, though.

Barracks are certainly much more valuable than granaries, and I like to get barracks before granaries. Don't build barracks before your very first unit. You need the first few units out exploring. It is more important to get the land mapped out, so they don't really need to be veteran. If I'm non-militaristic, I'll build barracks after the land grab phase. So all of my defenders are just regulars, but all my offensive units will be veteran. If I am militaristic, I build them much sooner.

That's my style, but I get clobbered in the GOTM, too. Too many real good players out there, to hope to get real high on the list, just have fun.
The difficulty level is the critical factor, and that isn't on your list. I would never build early granaries at deity, because of the happiness problems you mentioned. In civ3 the food box doesn't change size until you hit size 6, and you aren't going to grow above 6 without some infrastrucuture. I might build them after 6, to get to size 12, but I usually try and boost pop through worker factories, especially after size 12 when the food box is very large.

Barracks at deity are essential before you launch your early attack to grab territory and level the tech race. No need to build them before explorers though. Early on get cities asap and build explorers/military police when you can't build settlers due to pop levels.

At Monarch say there are more circumstances where granaries might come in useful. If you have lots of room to expand then granaries in some cities might speed up your expansion. I still wouldn't build them before the first 4 or 5 cities are founded. If you don't have lots of room then leave them, build barracks and go and grab some territory. :D
In general, I like to build a granary in the second city, and a barracks in the capital (barracks after I get three cities). The rest is play by ear, depending on how much open land and how hostile the early neighbors. One early granary helps a lot with more settlers and workers, especially if there are no food bonus tiles. More than one granary city does not help much on many standard size maps. On large maps, granaries are more useful. Granary cities can also produce workers to shift population to new cities to speed up development.

In my opinion, Pyramids are easier to capture than build, especially on Monarch and above. If you are talking about the low difficulty levels (Regent and below), there are a lot more options that are viable.

As for the May GOTM, it is a special case because it is Deity level, so few players are going to keep up. Try and search for tips from the top players such as Sir Pleb, Aeson, and a handful of others. If you are talking about April's Warlord level game, and earlier games, you may need to experiment and practice the early game more.
I never build granaries early on and it is only when I am starting to "grow" my cities after size 12, that I go for granaries
I always build granaries in my first 3-4 cities. From then I build temples, barracks and swords or horsemen.
With two mined bonus grassland squares, the granary should finish at about the time the city reaches size three.

I like to start building a granary in my first 2-3 cities after the city completes its first settler. At size three, i can quick produce a worker from two cities and get going with settler production again. It speeds early expansion up a bit, and i need those cities at size 6 ASAP after i've decided to stop settler production and begin churning out swordsmen. Those two early workers are connecting my iron and building a road to the enemy capital respectively. It works out quite well for early swordsman conquests.

Barracks are usually built shortly before i go to war, or if i've planned an early war, in time to upgrade warriors to swordsmen and begin production of more swordsman. It depends on the game circumstances.
The question is not so much building granaries - but keeping a rapidly growing population Happy. Maybe it relates to the terrain around the town and how you use it.
I had ignored granaries until recently reading about the advantages. The chief advantage is the speed of city growth. THis doesn't help if you are going to be slowly building a Collosus but it does work if you are going to push out settlers and workers. The solution to a fast growing city is always a quick worker, who can put in a mine to make it easier to build the temple or library or whatever. In Civ 2 I used to always get pyramids but I stopped trying in Civ 3. Now I make sure I start with Masonry and get going on the Pyramids early. Otherwise, build granaries in the cities that have less food and more shields and avoid them in cities that have more food (faster growth) and less shields (long time building the granary while folks sit around getting angry).

Barracks are also important, but only neccessary early when you are planning to fight early. Certainly the best improved Wonder if not the best wonder in Civ 3 is Sun Tzu. You don't need to build barracks everywhere before Sun Tzu shows up, but you do need them in your early cities which will be able to crank out military units the fastest throughout the game. Barracks are a sheer delight in Civ 3 compared to the temporary upgrades from the earlier game.
I usually produce a Granary very early in the build sequence of my first city. This isn't necessarily the best approach. I doubt there is a single best approach. :) But this way works well for me.

The timing of the Granary build is worth micro-managing. The Granary's benefit begins the first time the city grows after it has been built. So it is ideal when you can finish the Granary one or two turns before the city will grow. If you finish the Granary say 6 turns before the next growth, you've wasted scouting time. You could have built another Scout before the Granary, still finished the Granary before growing, and had an additional 5 turns of exploring done.

If it is possible to build the Granary before a growth by delaying growth sometimes I even do that. The GOTM7 start position provides a theoretical example of this. (Theoretical because who knows? You might be able to do better than this after seeing more of the map.) Suppose that:
* We have the GOTM7 start position.
* We settle in the initial position.
* We will only have Salamanca's citizens work on those tiles which are visible at the start.

With those constraints, here's what I would do, doing a deliberate growth slowdown to get the Granary finished at a nice time and to grow faster in the end:

Turn 1: Settle, move the worker to one of the grassland+shield tiles. Start Salamanca producing a Scout. Have Salamanca's citizen work the grassland we're mining.
Turn 2: Start mining the grassland.
Turn 6: Start Salamanca on Granary.
Turn 8: Move Worker toward the other grassland+shield.
Turn 10: Start mining the second grassland.
Turn 11: Set Salamanca's two citizens to work the mined grassland tile and the new grassland tile our Worker is mining. Increase luxury spending to keep citizens happy.
Turn 16: Both grasslands are mined. The Worker doesn't matter anymore for this note. Salamanca will now grow in 5 turns and will finish Granary in 5 turns. This is a problem - the Granary will be one turn too late to help soon and will end up not helping until turn 31. So, switch a citizen in Salamanca from the newly mined grassland to the forest tile, to slow Salamanca's growth but keep production at max.
Turn 18: Switch the citizen working the forest tile back to the mined grassland. Now Salamanca will grow 4 turns from this point.
Turn 21: Salamanca produces Granary. Switch it to producing Settler.
Turn 22: Salamanca grows. It will finish Settler in 4 turns and will grow again in 5 turns. Increase luxury spending until the Settler has been produced.

The final result of the above sequence is that Salamanca will grow four times (enough for two settlers) by turn 32. If we had not built a Granary, it would be turn 41 before growing that far.

I think most people don't produce a Granary this early. It does have some drawbacks. The first Settler is delayed until turn 26 instead of turn 21. We don't get as many Scouts out early. And we start paying 1gold/turn for Granary maintenance. Nonetheless I personally like it because of its fast buildout.

In towns after the capital I rarely build Granaries. It depends on the map and how many Settlers/Workers seem necessary. Usually just a Granary in the capital and perhaps one or two other towns later on where it seems useful.

All this of course depends on the start position, what bonus tiles are available, whether you meet other Civs early on, and so forth. Given a nice start with a Cattle or Game bonus it is possible to get a Warrior or Scout and a Granary before turn 21 without a growth slowdown. In a very food-poor start position I may even poprush a Granary to get it earlier. That may seem counter-intuitive, wasting population to gain growth. I think it makes sense though - about 10 turns after using a citizen to rush Granary I have it back, due to having grown twice instead of just once. 10 turns after that I'm ahead of the game in terms of growth. If food is the major constraint in a start position, this can be a winner. I did this in GOTM5 I think. (Rushed Granary early on.)

Regarding Barracks: I generally build them in most of my core cities, but the timing very much depends on the map. Expansion (Settlers) and exploration come first. Then a Temple or two. Usually Barracks come around that point. Sometimes I'll squeeze in a Barracks before a Settler during the initial expansion phase, if that seems a better use of the shields the town produces while waiting to grow than using those shields on more Warriors/Scouts. It can delay the first Settler from those towns by a few turns but sometimes seems a good compromise.
Maybe it's just that I'm a newbie, but I have trouble with my cities not growing fast enough to produce workers, settlers, and military even _with_ a granary. I'm always being warned that my military is too weak. OTOH, I do have a tendency to capture fifteen or more enemy cities with culture alone, and this has often been enough, at least at the time.
I remember an old thread that someone started on granaries, that said that rushing one was worth it. Not sure if it still applies, since it was from a while ago and it was just 1 test, but here it was:

First Mad Skillz Civ 3 strategy! (Rush Build Granaries)

I usually build one very early, maybe after the 1st settler, unless I have crazy food growth already via the food bonus. Then, I usually put a granary in every "settler" or "worker" city. It usually pays for itself on most maps, I find. I'd build it straight off, but on higher levels, I want the security of at least 1 city before the AI starts creeping in.

I haven't bought into the people's argument that fast population growth is not worth it. I guess I don't understand it yet. I always value more citizens. Maybe a new one becomes an entertainer. But the citizen after that will be productive. Or maybe I gain a tax collector & I get one more gold per turn. Maybe I can capture a new luxury & get instant city workers. Maybe I can afford to do an extra pop rush or draft. Maybe the citizen pushes my city over a limit so I get more free units or a defense bonus.

Early barracks often go in any town I plan on making offensive units for. Not too early though, unless I'm militaristic, cause just having units is important early, especially on higher levels. Then, I'll splurge for barracks in most cities.
wanna find out how those people did it....I'm reluctan to tell u baut hell it's only a game...
EARLY GAME just build warrior- no improvments-(tech set to 0) and stlers and do that with all of your city till u got like 5 or so and be sure not to aquire iron before u got at least 20 warriors(regular ones) .After that u;ll upgrade them to swordman and u'll finaly realise how much damage 20 swordmans can do...After that build improvments and wonder if u can cose u can no longer depend on army and u'll get through the feudal age with a decent number of lybray(u don't wanna realyy depend in feudal age of other players geting tech for u couse ain;t gonna happen).With 20 swordman I'll asure u that the coomputer players will be reluctant to atack u.
Did I tell U to mine the living **** of every thing u see (u don't need to bother obaout irigation couse a city less tha 7 will produce onlt 2 food regardless of terrain -exept the bonus tile)
have funn

It's while your government is despotism that irrigated tiles don't produce more than 2 food (at least in the case of a grassland). It has nothing to do with the city size. As soon as you change for a better government form, irrigated grasslands will produce 3 food instead of 2.

In despotism, every tile producing more than 2 of something will see that something reduced by 1 (thus, if it would produce 3 food, it only produce 2).
Originally posted by SiCK_Boy
In despotism, every tile producing more than 2 of something will see that something reduced by 1 (thus, if it would produce 3 food, it only produce 2).

Except for resource bonuses like cows, wheat, horses... you will actually get the +1 to shield or food even if it puts you at 3, when in despotism.

Also worth noting is that you can go over 3 shields on squares if you hit an early Golden Age.

Originally posted by allhailIndia
I never build granaries early on and it is only when I am starting to "grow" my cities after size 12, that I go for granaries

I don't, either, for a while. I'll usually have at least 15 cities at size 12 by the time I get Sanitation. I'll have them produce workers (or settlers, if there's room for more cities) every other unit, and have a good rail system very quickly. After they get hospitals, I'll build granaries, which will now take 8 turns instead of 25. However, in any new cities founded after I have Sanitation, I'll usually build granaries when the population is between 6 and 12.

Of course, if I'm on a large continent, I'll try for the Pyramids so I don't have to worry about granaries. If I don't get them, so be it.

I will usually build barracks for a few reasons. First, faster healing of hurt units. Second, Sun Tzu is always being built by most of the other civs, so there's no guarantee you'll get it. Third, that extra hit point does help, especially if you're not militaristic.
I am totally obsessed with building The Pyramids. If someone else gets it, I'll try my damndest to snag it from them.

For me, it is the most important wonder in the game :D

As for barracks, they are usually the first improvement that I build ( I currently play on Monarch level). At higher levels, I guess it would have to take a back seat to temples.
Until recently, when I was playing on Chieftain level, I nearly always grabbed the Pyramids. Now I can't seem to make time enough and still settle fast enough (on Warlord).

I did capture them this time, though!
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