1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Expert opinion: Farms and Specialised City

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by TNTTony, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. TNTTony

    TNTTony Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    25
    So I have been playing my Noble game for a while now and here is the strategy I use for "farming":

    1. If there is a tile with one foood icon (ie. that one bread icon) I usually add a farm (if possible and depends on tech). So in other words I try to make sure that all tiles have atleast two food. This isn't always possible due to certain techs not being avaliable till later.

    However, I have been lurking on the boards and it seems there is a different strategy the experts use. Firstly, how do you irrigate? I have heard many people say that they "irrigate"....but to my knowledge you can't actually irrigate in Civ4, only in Civ3...In Civ4 you can only build farms and later on there is a tech that allows irrigation to spread via farms.

    So is there a strategy to maixmise farms?

    My second question has to do with specialised cities. Since I started playing Civ3 I have never ever specialised my city. I wasn't too sure how to. With Civ4 I REALLY DON"T KNOW HOW TO. Let me explain:

    What is the best city for a production/commerce/research city?
    Does having a specilaised city in production/commerce/research means you only focus on one improvement?
    Is there a general "rule of thumb" when creating specialised cities, especially ones where you want to pump GPs?

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. GreyFox

    GreyFox Make it so ...

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Messages:
    5,553
    Location:
    Where No One Has Gone Before
    First, i am no expert :/

    Second, on the one bread thingy. IMHO, you should look at the 20 tiles Big Fat Cross (BFC) in your city as a whole, not based on a single tile. Eg. if you have sugar in your BFC, it will supply 3F prior to Biology, so it will compensate that 1F tile, and you can change that 1F tile to whatever you want, mine or cottage or watermill etc.

    Third, irrigation. In Civ4, farm needs to be irrigated (prior to Biology). Without water source near a tile, you can't build a farm on that tile (tile with farm resources is exception). After Civil Service, farms spread irrigation. So if you have a farm, all its 4 adjacent tiles can now be farmed, since they can get water from the existing farms. People refer to this as irrigation.

    Forth, specialization. I can't answer that, I am learning it myself. But there is an excellent guide on this by Excl: A Guide to City Specialization and Land Improvements.

    Fifth, ...er, there is no fifth ;)

    -
     
  3. Black Waltz

    Black Waltz Prince

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    569
    As far as food goes. Sometimes it can be best to leave some tiles producing 0 food if you are looking for decent production. For example, a coastal city has 3 resources around its borders. Let us say one wheat and two fish. That would be a bonus 15 food from 3 tiles. You need two food to work each tile. Therefore you would have (15-6) 9 surplus food from working the resources which can then be used to work tiles that don't produce much food such as hills or plains with workshops, etc. Food = Production.
     
  4. Leifmk

    Leifmk Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,049
    Location:
    Outskirts of Oslo, Norway
    Indeed. One looks at the available tiles within the fat cross as a whole, and makes sure there are enough tiles offering a food surplus so that the city can grow to a useful size and work a useful number of tiles that have a food deficit. One adds however many farms are required for this (which may be any number including zero).
     
  5. DementedAvenger

    DementedAvenger Prince

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Messages:
    435
    I almost never farm plains, as I prefer the added flexibility that more varied tiles provide. If I have food problems, I farm the grasslands, and put cottages on plains. This allows me to increase food to a higher level if I need to, and if I can accept a lower amount of food I am able to work the cottages. Farming plains and cottaging grasslands doesn't allow you the same flexibility.
     
  6. DarkFyre99

    DarkFyre99 Prince

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    419
    as the others have said, you farm according to the needs of your city, not the tile.

    Production Cities: Needs high food tiles to balance those low food hammer tiles.

    Great People Farm: Needs a lot of food to support all those specialists.

    Commerce cities: You want to be building cottages, not farms.

    Science city: Like a commerce city, but if your science slider is very low, you want enough farms to support as many scientists as you can.

    Wealth city: Like a commerce city, but if your wealth slider is very low (SOP in my opinion), you want enough farms to support as many merchants as you can.


    Cities are specialized by the tiles you work, the buildings you build, and the National Wonders you build. Because the typical tile generally produces a lot of only one basic resource (hammers, food, or commerce) and usually at best one of the other two, you'll find that the "jack of all trades" city no longer exists. Instead, you specialize. There are many ways to specialize a city, but these are the major ones:

    Commerce city: This is the generic city. It gets cottages, so you build them where there's a lot of grasslands and floodplains. It produces a lot of commerce due to those cottages, and as a result it also produces a lot of science and wealth. Because your slider almost always favors science over wealth, you'll be building science buildings here. You'll also want to build a bank, since you need a few for Wall Street. Don't bother with market or grocer, unless you need the health and happiness they bring.

    There are two further types of specialized Commerce cities:

    Wealth: This city gets Wall-Street, plus you do want to build a market and grocer here as well. Ideally, you want to build this city where there's a shrine to your national religion. An early religion that's spread far and wine pay for all your civics, maintenance, and military costs, allowing you to bury the needle on research. :) Unless its late in the game, settle your Great Merchants and Great Prophets in this city to maximize their output.

    Science: This city gets Oxford University, plus a lot of monestaries (early-game) and Acadamies (from Great Scientists). Generally, it's a good idea to build other Acadamies rather than settle that Great Person.

    Production cities: Here's where you build your units, and late-game wonders. They need a lot hills to mine for hammers, and food to support the mines. You build forges, factories, and powerplants in these cities. They'll be churning out your units as well, so build barracks and on the coast, drydocks. There are three types of production cities:

    Military: Build Epic Wonder and West Point in this city. It'll be your main source of highly skilled units to invade. Ideally, you want to have access to the ocean for this city, so that it can produce naval units... but not too much since ocean tiles are food "neutral."

    Production: Build Ironworks. This'll be the city where you build your late-game wonders when you're not building more units. I usually build garrison units here as well, so I build Red-Cross here.

    Great People Farms: Lots of farms for lots of specialists. Build National Epic here to maximize your Great People Points, plus the buildings of the specialist types you want to emphasize.

    There are other types as well, but these are the major ones.
     
  7. JoeBlade

    JoeBlade Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    219
    Mid-to-late game I'm with Darkfyre: specialisation is definitely the way to go.

    However, I've found that farms can be really useful earlier-game for one reason: slavery. Once past the initial chopping stage (after all, there's only so much one can chop) cities that do not have either a solid amount of hammers or excess food - typically commerce cities - will have a very hard time building anything at all. A mere 2-3 farmed grasslands can substantially increase building speed through whipping.
    Sure, in the long run all cottages may be more interesting than farms for, say, a commerce-based city but what good is only building a bank (for a VERY substantial +50% gold) when the game is nearly over anyhow? There's nothing to prevent you from replacing those farms with cottages either once you find there's nothing left to build, or when you're close to Universal Suffrage; with Free Speech they'll grow quickly enough. Not having those excellent bonus buildings at all due to lack of production cannot be rectified as easily.

    Also, cities without excess food can take a loooong time to grow. Same logic applies here: little point in having several cities with many unworked tiles when the game's nearly over. Those tiles could have meant the difference between finishing in the 19th instead of the 20th century.

    All in all I think there's a lot to be said for a few farms in non-production cities (without food resources), at least during the first half of the game.
     
  8. TNTTony

    TNTTony Chieftain

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Messages:
    25
    Far out! I can't believe I have been generalising all my cities! Darn.

    This is just a quick post before I can get home and read your post in detail but just one question.

    From the posts above it seems that you build specific buildings for specific cities. Fair enough...I mean what is the point of building say a university in a production city. However, from what I understand, unlike Civ3 the buildings don't contribute to "maintenance". So...can't you just build every building for every town. Let me explain. You guys mention that, for example, you should build barracks and drydocks for your production cities (since this is where you build your units)...but wouldn't you build these buildings in all your cities since they take up no maintenance.

    Don't get me wrong...I know that the buildings take some time to build...but when you specialise in a city...do you really and purposefully negate building specific buildings?

    That is my biggest problem with my current strategy..I just get into a habit of building everything in every city (except for specific wonders and national wonders). So all my cities have banks, grocers, barracks, airport etc etc. This is probably why Noble is a bit hard for me ;)
     
  9. JoeBlade

    JoeBlade Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    219
    Actually, yes, for two reasons:
    1. National Wonders. You can only have one of each in your entire civ, so you want to place them as to maximise their yield.
    This applies to World Wonders as well, though to a lesser extent.
    2. Priorities. Even if you CAN build everything (you're absolutely right about that maintenance cost, by the way) you should always consider which building to produce first to best suit your current strategy. Or in other words: try to get the biggest bang for your buck, and get it NOW instead of two decennia/centuries.
    Remember that you'll need to produce troops, workers, missionaries and whatnot as well so in a typical game you won't have the time to produce everything everywhere.
     
  10. shivute

    shivute Prince

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Messages:
    310
    Location:
    Scotland
    The best financial cities tend to be on the coast with lots of coastal tiles. Fantastic with lighthouse, the colussus, the great lighthouse and the superb harbour.

    Any city needs at least one or two food tiles eg farms on grassland or food resource to balance the one or two production tiles required for building essential buildings.
    If production city - grass land or flood plains with farms to balance the hills with mines.
    If great people city - lots of grass land or flood plains with farms is good, though there is a specialist which gives a unit of food, which is fantastic with the correct civic to allow unlimited specialists.
     
  11. luckynick

    luckynick Chieftain

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Messages:
    75
    you forgot to say that sometime your neibourgh decide your strategy and production style for you, if you are near aggrostupid civs, you will definitly need a powerfull military to be able to withstand to sure to happen war either you declare (best) or they (bad), NEVER be unprepared by building improvement/settler/worker too much (worst).
    This is especially true at higher levels (emperor/immo/deity)
     
  12. Dizzy75

    Dizzy75 Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Messages:
    245
    Not an "expert" here but I've recently moved up to Prince after consistently overpowering wins on Noble.

    At Prince, for some reason economy seems a lot harder to maintain. Meaning I can't get away with improving tiles haphazardly because I'm too lazy to control each worker...if I don't do my 2nd (mid-game) expansion with the right improvements, I'm screwed. I found I can handle this well if:

    1) Improve tiles based on what is available NOW, not "after I get biology."

    2) Focus on commerce unless I specifically get an ideal production or GP site. Even then, I might commerce a prod site if I already have 2-3 good prod cities working.

    3) Deliberately stifle growth in some cities according to certain situations.

    My current game has a LOT of plains and hills, which are tough to deal with but can work out fairly well if there's a food resource or two in them. Generally I try to maintain a surplus of two food, so I can easily predict when each city will grow and make sure maintenance/bad health/unhappiness doesn't spiral out of control.

    I look for combos of tiles:

    - Grassland: Cottage when alone (i.e. not comboing with any other tile). 1 farmed Grassland pays for 1 Grass Mine. 2 farms pay for 1 food-less mine. 1 farmed grassland also pays for 1 cottaged Plain.

    E.g., if I get two plains/hill/gold and no food resources, I want four farmed grasslands, or two if I want the city to be stagnant.

    - Flood Plain: Flood Plain alone can be cottaged and still pay for one grass/hill mine, grass/hill cottage, plains/forest, or plains cottage. 1 farmed Flood Plain pays for a food-less hill by itself (flood plain + gold hill = sweet).

    - Plains: For me, mostly-plains cities suck until Biology. Must farm in order to preserve +2 food, or can cottage two and stagnate. I always try to build near a food resource if a city is going to be mostly plains with no grassland or flood plain. If I have ONLY plains and rest hills, I can't work good mines unless I plan to stagnate...maybe there's a better strategy for this, but I haven't figured it out yet.

    Basically (as I think another thread posted a while back) I look at each tile in terms of food, then try to work out an improvement order that will yield combos that come out with +2 food (keeping in mind city tile produces two "free" food).

    I haven't done improvements with a eye toward pop-rushing yet...may be next step to gain an early advantage.
     
  13. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    4,599
    Location:
    The Dreaming Spires
    At Prince the AI has a 5% boost to research and production, so you are going to need a stronger economy to keep up than at Noble. Just a couple of points.

    What would these situations be? Unless the city is unhappy, or you need immediate production for something like a wonder, growth will always be preferable.

    Yo've got the right idea with balancing out low food and high food tiles, but unless you're pushing the unhappiness limit I'd try to have more than 2 surplus food a turn, nearer 4. 2 food per turrn is quite a slow growth rate, and the sooner you get more tiles in use the sooner you get a stronger city.
     
  14. Dizzy75

    Dizzy75 Warlord

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Messages:
    245
    Thanks MrCynical - responses:

    "What would these situations be? Unless the city is unhappy, or you need immediate production for something like a wonder, growth will always be preferable."

    When I first found a city in plains + hill, I sometimes farm the plain and mine the hill to produce a theater or other cultural improvement. Then switch citizen off mine to a better resource after city expands.

    Also, in my last game my 3rd city had 1 5-food tile, 1 grassland, gold x 3 (1 plain, 2 desert), and rest plains. In that early going I preferred to grow to size 5 and stay there for the massive commerce from the gold. I guess the idea was to work the gold as soon as possible. Irrigating the plains would have kept me at +2 but each plains tile only netted me 1 hammer (and some with 1 commerce) instead of a gold tile. With more commerce cities later on I switched it to growth for plains/coastal tiles (which means giving up a gold tile, but that's not so bad now).

    "Yo've got the right idea with balancing out low food and high food tiles, but unless you're pushing the unhappiness limit I'd try to have more than 2 surplus food a turn, nearer 4. 2 food per turrn is quite a slow growth rate, and the sooner you get more tiles in use the sooner you get a stronger city."

    Problem is, I don't think that's possible for some cities (with lots of plains/hills) unless you focus heavily on farming, which I really didn't want to do. Maybe there's a better way...I don't know yet. 2 food does seem slow, esp. without a granary.
     
  15. JoeBlade

    JoeBlade Warlord

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    219
    Don't forget you can swap your citizens off those farms and onto tiles with "real" resources at any point. Working more of the useful tiles earlier can make a substantial difference, even if it implies working those less useful farms for a bit first.
    Granted, this is rarely an issue for the cities that have been around since the start of a game but those that have been founded or, um, "acquired" later can often use that growth boost.
     

Share This Page