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Food for Thought

Discussion in 'Civ2 - Game of the Month' started by Old n Slow, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. Old n Slow

    Old n Slow Chieftain

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    I’ve discovered that better gamers are aware of the rules, and often where appropriate, will exploit legitimate corners of said rules to their advantage. What I want to do with a food discussion is to clarify the line where good play ends and exploitation begins.

    As suggested earlier, I think that it is time to discuss food. So let’s dig in:

    A food caravan costs 50 shields, and when delivered from city B to city A does three things -- creates a -1 food route in city B, adds +1 food (in the food bar) for city A and dumps a half a food box total (one time only) into city A. With the Pyramids, this guarantees growth for the next turn. If nothing else happens, the world rolls on, and the food transfer stays (some contend that the food routes can change, but that won’t be discussed here). So far so good.

    A second food caravan costs 50 shields, and when delivered from city B to city A does three things -- creates a -1 food route in city B, adds +1 food (in the food bar) for city A and dumps a half a food box total (one time only) into city A -- no wait -- it only drops the half a food box -- no additional cost (no ongoing benefit either), but this is deemed a trick in that for 50 shields (a cheap cost late in the game) a city grows. Similarly, if one does not have the Pyramids (or a granary in city A) then two food caravans delivered in the same turn from B to A yield the growth (100 shields, +1 pop.). Voila, the food caravan trick (FCT, part 1). I am under the impression that players feel that this trick (the second caravan which does not create an additional food route) can get out of hand & have agreed that this is a no-no (soon to be posted).

    Let’s extend the above to its logical conclusion -- after fifty turns of the above, city A grows beyond its natural limits, beyond its capability to feed the citizens on a regular basis. (corollary of FCT -- an unnaturally large city). I am under the impression that players feel that this also can get out of hand & have agreed that this is a definate no-no (soon to be posted).

    Grey area #1: Smallville is a size one city. Around it lie Big Town, Metropolis, Whopperburg, and Mega City, all of which have granaries and have built food caravans. The food caravans are rehomed to Smallville & sent back to their former home cities. But wait, the home city only shows three trade routes -- the fourth food route has no ongoing cost but the fourth city still gains a +1 food per turn -- for FREE. Smallville feeds the nation (picture 80 cities…) Is this FCT, part 2?

    Grey area #2: Smallville, same as before, a size one city, creates an engineer & will be disbanded at the start of the next turn. Around it lie Big Town, Metropolis, Whopperburg, and Mega City, all of which have granaries and have built food caravans. The food caravans are rehomed to Smallville & sent back to their former home cities. On the next turn four cities grow, and then suddenly their extra food route disappears but the (growth remains). Oh yes, the engineer (from Smallville) founds a new city, same ideal location, New Smallville. Next turn everything repeats (oh the joy of rush builds). The growth continues and from a technical standpoint, and the letter of the law (see FCT part 1 above) is maintained…but the spirit of the law indicates that this could be FCT, part 3.

    Personally, I think that abnormally large cities do not belong in a game desired to be completed within a month -- no reason to tempt weak souls -- so I agree with the sentiment & decision in that regard. On the other hand, I think that a food caravan with route penalty & bonus should continue as part of the game -- on occasion there is merit to shift resources & this is the third & most difficult resource to shift (shifting $$ is easiest, and shields is often done, again with caravans).

    As for the FCT per se (and I think that parts 2 & 3 should be included with part 1) I’m willing to go either way, but I’d like all of the ramifications to be understood.
     
  2. starlifter

    starlifter Chieftain

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    LOL, quite creative!

    No. The trick has nothing directly to do with getting a city to grow. The trick (e.g, the FCT) is delivering Food Caravans/Food Freight (FC/FF) after FC/FF from one city without the -1 penalty in the home city. Growth (if simply caused by filling the food box) is not the FCT.... a full box can be obtained by:

    1. Adding natural (including food routes) food until box is full.

    2. Adding Food Caravans until box is full (never takes more than 2 FC/FF to fill a box).

    3. Reducing city population (thus decreasing box size, rendering the smaller box full).

    All these 3 ways are fine.

    #2 is not the FCT. #2 is related to the FCT if the sources caravans are repeatedly from the same city, however.


    Likewise, this is not necessarily the FCT. It depends on where those FC/FFs consider home. You can use normal FC/FF delivery to fill a box, or even just get a food surplus going (e.g., add one FC/FF but not fill the box all the way to force growth).




    I know some of this might start sounding confusing, but it is possible to cause an unnaturally large city without the FCT. If the food caravans were coming from barious cities in your empire, the city they are feeding will get more and more food routes (+1, +2, +3, +4, etc.), and thus can support larger population. However, this is offset by the source cities losing -1

    Note: the food route from the source city will displace a Trade Arrow route.... a city can have only 3 routes (and they are listed at the bottom of the city's status screen).

    The FCT occurs when cities get food, but the source suffers no reciprical disadvantage.

    This IS classic FCT! This is one of several ways the FCT can make unnaturally large cities. It is not the only one (see Shadowdale's Deity HOF game for several ways how, including a city exchange system).


    The system you describe is simply a cumbersome way to accomplish boththe FCT and make unnaturally large cities.... if you continue this, you will find that the 4 cities continue to grow, and each new citizen eats 2 more food, thus increasing the food deficit. A city growing with a food deficit is quite unnatural.



    You already CAN use FC/FFs. You can use them to make cities grow. That is part of the game, and is permitted in GOTMs. Coming up with systems like you've described and like Shadowdale did in the HOF game (where the FCT is allowed, BTW) are all variants of the FCT, and the FCT is what is allowed. In essence, this means that you can use groups of cities to feed and make a very large city, but if that large city has at least a -1 food surplus after it's last growth (assuming zero supported engineers), then the city is a "natural" one.

    Example:

    You have all grassland, and 4 wheat. All farmlands, with granary, Supermarket and Sewer/Aqueduct.

    You grow it to 41 with WLTP celebrations (P=democracy). Your food surplus will be exactly 17*4+4*6=92. Your cost is exactly 41*2=82. You have a surplus of 10 food, and could thus grow more, but it will take a long time, since WLTP no longer works. You decided to commit 10 cities to assist this city to get larger. Each turn, you send a FF (food freight) to the city, thus filling it's food box (assume you have no attached engineers). Each turn, that city will grow by one due to full food box. After 10 turns, the city will be:

    - Size 51
    - Food Income=92+10=102
    - Food cost = 51*2=102
    - Natural

    So you have a natural size 51 city! :)

    Let us assume you add 10 more food deliveries. Now you have +20 food routes:

    - Size 61
    - Food Income=92+20=112
    - Food cost = 61*2=122
    - UnNatural (deficit of 10, yet growing).

    So this is an Unnaturally large city, but was grown without the FCT.


    Normally, people will use the FCT if they want to make a city grow unnaturally large. It is much faster and easier that way, esp. is you use a swap system like Shadowdale and others use, with Railroads.

    It should be noted that the FCT can occur accidently, particularly if you ahve a lot going on, and this is not an issue. But if a person buys (or makes, with a 50s+ city) a FC/FF every turn and sends it to the same city repeately, then this is one example of the FCT. If you notice you are not getting the -1 credit in the source city, then don't deliver more food from it. I don't deliver food too much, and have not fully tested all the possible combinations. But I now you will get the -1 credit for the first FC/FF. I think usually, you will get another -1 (for a total of -2) if you deliver to a 2nd city. I think it won't credit (or at least consistently credit) a 3rd -1 (for a total of -3). If it did, you'd see it in the place of your 2 trade arrow routes in the source city, and you would have no extra arrows from trade anymore. It is impossible for the game to credit a 4th route (from the source) properly, under any circumsances, since the game only tracks up to 3 routes. Thus, you should never attempt a 4th delivery of food.

    UPDATE: The behavior is now more fully understood. See testing in Post#5 of this thread :).

    If someone want to use lots of food to make a city grow, fine... just don't use the FCT, esp. to make unnaturally large cites. Properly done, the net result is a lot of effort for no (or very little) net score change, as long as the FCT is avoided, and you have no unnaturally large cities. If you deliver a handful of FC/FF (or none) in a game, you would likely not violate this. If you start gearing up a food network, then realize you're gong to have to take pains to avoid #1 and #2 (above). Thus, the reason you rarely see players using FC/FF to make cities grow in GOTMs. I don't believe anyone has ever done a food network in a GOTM.... It would be a lot of busy work to do on an extensive scale while avoiding the FCT, unless you just want to re-allocate where your population is (e.g., you can "move" some from one city to another with the +1/-1 food routes, as described earlier).

    Applications of food routes: You can also make a city in the Mountains grow and not be unnaturally large, due to the incoming food routes. If you really hate Democracy and Republic, you can get selected cities in the other 5 gov'ts to attain a larger size sooner. If a city is about to run out of food (like engineers when you switch from Monarchy [one food per Set/Eng] to a Republic, Democracy, Communism, or Fundy [2 food per Set/Eng]). During extended Anarchy (if you don't have SoL and don't use Oedo years), FC/FF can keep a city from starving. So there are indeed "practical" uses of non-FCT food deliveries/routes.

    If you try some FCT system (like in Shadowdale' s HOF game, or the 3-city system described elsewhere by Ming & Xin Yu) in the GOTM, the Duke of Marlbrough would probably have to make your game ineligible, particularly if it caused a scoring advantage. If you are growing cities by delivering food without penalty somewhere, then it is likely you've figured some sort of FCT system. If you are re-homing your FC/FF & delivering them as food, you cannot avoid the FCT after the 3rd delivery (at the latest). UPDATE: The behavior is now more fully understood -- see testing in Post#5 :).

    Final note: The high scoring GOTMs either use a fast finish (minimum time), or WLTP days (high score). WLTP growth will allow most (or all) your cities to make new citizens simultaneously, and add up to 2 points per city per turn... it is much more efficient (and less time consuming) than FC/FF growth. The math is that for as few as two arrows, you can get a new citizen with WLTP, but a FC/FF costs 123g (with one starter shield) to create (e.g., the arrow cost is from 49 to 123 arrows, vs. 2 to 8 in WLTP growth).

    Hope that clears things up somewhat... it is doubtless a confusing subject, but here is the "bottom" line:

    1. No unnaturally large cities.
    2. No FCT (esp. to do #1).
    3. FC/FF are OK, if you not trying to do #1 and/or #2.







    PS #1, if someone would like to test & post about the exact way the game accounts for FC/FF delivery, that would be great. I have never fully tested it since I rarely use FC/FF as food. I think that sometime, but not at all times, a city can get the 2nd -1 "credit" as the source, but am not sure. I also think that when the 2nd source is credited, the destination gets the +1. I have also seen the game "erase" an existing food route sometime during the game (don't know just when, however), even when it was properly credited. I have never seen a trade route (arrows) disappear, unless the partner city dies. If you have 3 trade routes, and add a food route, the food route will displace the trade route, and you will lose the trade arrows. This can hurt income, science, and happiness (lux).

    PS #2, If anyone wants to have a go at the HOF (Thunderfall's Hall of Fame on main page), then you need to fully understand the FCT and set up some sort of food system (analogous to a trade system), if you want to score more than about 16,000 (approx., depending on map). Shadowdale's is a good game to study, and he has several saves. My game (the #3 spot) did not use the FCT. In fact, I don't think I used FC/FF growth at all in it, but it is only 15,500.

    EDIT: See testing in Post#5 of this thread :).
     
  3. starlifter

    starlifter Chieftain

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    Here is a summary of the FCT, FC/FF, and Unnaturally Large Cities (in the "GOTM Techniques, Cheats, Rules & Discussion" Thread).


    The best place to post general questions & discussion about the FCT, FC/FF, and Unnaturally Large Cities is here in Old n Slow's thread :).
     
  4. Old n Slow

    Old n Slow Chieftain

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    Thanks Starlifter :)

    The major benefit I can see for playing with one’s food is a rapid buildup of the SSC. A secondary reason is more of a latter game case if one has mined hills altogether & low production grasslands elsewhere. By shifting the food, one can exploit the shields. Most of the better players will probably trade their way for production, so this is more of an intermediate players domain.

    :cool:
     
  5. starlifter

    starlifter Chieftain

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    Testing of the FCT

    (Preliminary results)

    Conditions:
    Civ 2 MGE, 5.4.0f
    The attached test .SAV (using Cheat Mode).



    CASE 1: First source city food delivery to any destination city.

    Comments: Food Route (FR) is properly credited at both the source and destination city, regardless of existing Trade Routes in either city. FRs in destination do not affect accounting in the source. By definition, there can be no source food route on the first delivery of food from the source. The FCT could not be caused with the first delivery of source Food.

    Conclusion: Case 1 cannot result in the FCT.



    CASE 2: Each Food Delivery from the same source city to different destinations.
    Code:
              
         [b]#FRs[/b]:[u] 0 [/u]   [u] 1 [/u]   [u] 2 [/u]   [u] 3 [/u]                          
    [u][b]#TRs[/u][/b]         
     0        0/1   0/2   0/3   0/3*    
     1        1/1   1/2   1/2*  ---  
     2        2/1   2/1*  ---   ---  
     3        2/1   ---   ---   ---  
    
    Notes:
    1. #FRs = # of existing FOOD Routes in source city when food is delivered.
    2. #TRs = # of existing TRADE Routes in source city when food is delivered.
    3. Result is #TRs/#FRs (e.g., 1/2 means 1 Trade route and 2 Food Routes after the food delivery).
    4. * (asterisk) means this is a FCT delivery.

    Comments: The first delivery of food is also called "Case 1", and it will displace (delete) a TR if 3 TRs already exist in the source city. In order for a food delivery to avoid the FCT on the 2nd and 3rd food delivery, there must be an "open" trade route in the city status screen of the source city. If there are already 2 or 3 routes of any kind in the source city, the 2nd & 3rd food delivery will result in the FCT.

    Conclusion: Case 2 can cause the FCT, depending on existing TRs and FRs in the source city.



    CASE 3: More than one food delivery from the same source city to the same destination city.

    Comments: The 2nd and subsequent Food Delivery from the same source to the same destination was not credited with the source -1 route, nor the +1 in the destination.

    Conclusion: Case 3 always results in the FCT!!




    Other results:

    1. The destination routes (food or trade) have no effect on the FCT.
    2. The destination's city status ("xx Routes" statement in the food line) always reflects the actual cumulative status of existing (functioning) Food Routes that can be seen in the source(s) city status screens.
    3. The 2nd and 3rd properly created Food Route (e.g., no FCT as shown in Case 2) can be replaced by future TRs from or to the Food Route source city -- the instant it is replaced (see source city status screen), the destination Food Route (it's +1 food) will disappear, too.
    4. Observation (not found in this testing) that eventually, even a lone remaining FR will eventually be replaced by a TR, thus cancelling the FR in both source and destination. This is most likely related to game turn, or city size, but not tested at this time.



    Preliminary Summary:

    Case 1 - Allowed
    Case 2 - Allowed (if no FCT).
    Case 3 - Disallowed (because of FCT).
     
  6. starlifter

    starlifter Chieftain

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    Here is a screenshot of 15 food routes added from 15 different source cities (attempts to add a 2nd route from teh same source city(s) were all unsuccessful). I grew tired of adding new cities, units, and routes after 15, so the upper limit of food routes to a destination is unknown:




    Here is the test file. It is zipped to 6 KB, and in MGE format. It consists of a small map, 4 cities, a bunch of caravans in segregated stacks next to their home cites. Just try various delivery combinations, and observe the results. RR connects the cities (created as small random map, 7 civs, deity, RH, then use Cheat Mode to improve terrain, change sizes, add units; it is still turn 1, BC4000).
     
  7. SlowThinker

    SlowThinker Chieftain

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    I see some contradiction, in other side i don't understand the definition of the FCT:

    Now it appears the definition is
    A) no FCT = if the destination city is credited by +1 food then the source city must be credited by -1 food.

    Now it appears the definition is
    B)no FCT = the source city is credited by -1 food.


    Which is correct?
     
  8. Duke of Marlbrough

    Duke of Marlbrough The Quiet Moderator Retired Moderator

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    They both follow the same definition, just that one is carried through to subsequent deliveries, and shows where that definition is not followed through with and thus becomes the FCT.
     
  9. SlowThinker

    SlowThinker Chieftain

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    But they are both different...
    With 2nd FC between two cities this rule stays not violated:
    no FCT = if the destination city is credited by +1 food then the source city must be credited by -1 food.
    but this rule is violated:
    no FCT = the source city is credited by -1 food.


    I think my basic english is unable to understand what is the definition of FCT. :) I have a suspicion it is hidden in your words 'one is carried through to subsequent deliveries'...
    Could you rephrase the definition pls?
     
  10. Duke of Marlbrough

    Duke of Marlbrough The Quiet Moderator Retired Moderator

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    When a second delivery is made and the source city does not suffer an additional -1 food route.

    Keep in mind this is not the same as the food that is produced, but the trade routes each city has. When the first delivery is made and the source city already has three trade routes established, one of the trade routes is replaced with a food route. A second freight to the same city will not result in the loss of a second trade route. That's an example of the FCT.
     
  11. SlowThinker

    SlowThinker Chieftain

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    Understood, thank you.
    But I would expect a lack of -1 route in the source city could be allowed if there is no +1 food in the destination city. The total food of all the civilization is unchanged, and so there is no additional 'production of food'.

    I thought the number +/-X food from routes (in the foodbox field) is always bound with existence of the appropriate trade routes: i.e. a city gets +1 food when a new incoming food route is established and gets -1 food when this route is canceled, similarly with outgoing routes.

    BTW allow rules to cancel routes? (By establishing new commodity routes with high-arrow cities)

    I noticed this opinion in the thread but IMHO it is not true. If you have already three commodity routes to a city with higher arrows than the destination city of the food caravan then the route won't be established.

    The condition so that a route is replaced: a destination city of one existing route has lesser arrows than the new destination city. Food and commodity routes are not distinguished in this situation.
     
  12. Andu Indorin

    Andu Indorin Retired Druid

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    From the perspective of the GotM, I've never been able to fully distinguish between the legitimate use of a Food Caravan versus non-legitimate use of a Food Caravan in terms of the definitions proposed. The few times that I've participated in the GotM, I've limited Food Caravans to their traditional usage of building Wonders. And from the GotM's that have had the opportunity to review, this appears to be the standard practice. And, from the standpoint of the GotM scoring system, using food caravans over the long run doesn't add appreciably to one's final "turn-based" score.

    Given that this is the case, would it clarify matters if we redefine the "Unusually Large City" rule to exclude food routes? That is, a city can only grow to the limit that can be supported by the food resources in that city's 21 square radius. In theory, this would have the effect of removing the principal rationale for using the FCT.
     
  13. SlowThinker

    SlowThinker Chieftain

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    I think it is not clearly said, you have to read very carefully, or ask Duke as I did :)

    IMHO definition B) (see 6 posts higher), that is valid (if I didn't misunderstood something), is unnecessary and requires too much of attention from a player (to check if a route will originate or not). As I told before, A) should be sufficient.

    IMHO it is easier to simply check if a city has +1 surplus than to substract food from caravans.
     
  14. Ace

    Ace Chieftain

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    NO! Allowing food routes is in the rules and is a valid tactic. That said, I rarely use a food route, but, on occasion, they can be very useful. I am thinking of a city that has very poor food production, but has Gold, and/or peat, or iron. This city can be made to grow by creating 1 or more food routes to give it at least one extra food so it can grow by celebrating (or slowly the normal way). Or just giving it enough food so you can put a citizen on the Gold hex without creating a minus food supply. (before engineers arrive and can transform land)

    Also, if one "fumble fingers" a move and a food freight becomes a trade route instead of adding to the wonder you are building, would that make your Gotm game invalid? Yeah, I know this is a weak argument, since 1996, I can only remember doing that once. But it could happen again....
     
  15. SlowThinker

    SlowThinker Chieftain

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    Ace, I think Andu Indorin wanted to substract food routes from the food production only...(?)
     
  16. Andu Indorin

    Andu Indorin Retired Druid

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    Ace, when I referred to the "Unusually Large City" rule, I was referring to cities like "Big Town, Metropolis, Whopperburg, and Mega City" cited in Old n Slow's examples above, which I take to be cities larger than the highest possible size assuming full utilization of all squares in a city radius.

    Part of the problem, I think, is that the Food Caravan rules, to a degree, are rendered obsolete by the GotM scoring system. If you are taking the time to build Food Caravans in an effort to raise your overall score by increasing your population, then in most cases you're probably actually lowering your GotM score because of the extra turns you're "expending" in making the effort. That is, and in short, using the Food Caravan Trick will likely lower your GotM score. (Granted, I'd have to do a lot more testing to render this proposition 100% valid ...)

    But to the extent that that is true, I'm inclined to say, let people use the FCT; if they so opt, their probably only hurting their own cause.
     
  17. Ace

    Ace Chieftain

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    AI, I thought as much. Using Food Caravans to build a megacity is usually self defeating in a Gotm. Celebrating works much better. I thought you meant eliminating all food routes, period, and only using food caravans to build wonders. :blush:
     
  18. SlowThinker

    SlowThinker Chieftain

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    Also it is limited by the 'no unnatural size of cities' rule.
     
  19. Peaster

    Peaster Chieftain

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    I rarely use food vans, and don't understand this thread 100%. But I'm thinking of trying them out in a GOTM. AFAIK the only rule about them (after GOTM45) is "no rehoming". Is that right?
     
  20. Ace

    Ace Chieftain

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    No. The FCT is not allowed in GOTMs. Rehoming (not allowed in GOTMs)applys to ALL freight. One of the little tricks is to take a high value demanded van from a little city, rehome it to a large city with very high trade arrows, than deliver it. This is especially effective once you have a rail net in place and can "transport" units around the map instantly. This will produce a significant increase in the trade bonus you get from the delivery. Or you can use the rehoming trick as Starlifter described it above to build unnaturally large cities. Both are considered "cheats" in GOTM play.

    The main uses of food vans are primarily to build wonders and secondary to support a very poor food city. And, I sometimes use a food route to equalize food between cities. For example, city A has maxed out on population and has a food shortage of -1. While city B is still growing but will end up in the same negative food position. Tidy solution is to run a food route from City B to city A so that both cities end up with zero food shortages. This last item is not useful in GOTMs because the extra time involved does not add to your GOTM score
     

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