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Forest Chopping - A Practical Test

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Paul Saunders, Jan 11, 2006.

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Which strategy do you think is best?

  1. Clear cutting

    48 vote(s)
    19.1%
  2. Selective chopping

    150 vote(s)
    59.8%
  3. No chopping

    2 vote(s)
    0.8%
  4. Depends on situation

    51 vote(s)
    20.3%
  1. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    I've recently been reading with great interest about the forest chopping strategies that so many of you seem to swear by. Being an avid tree hugger, who only chops to improve resources or build mines on hills, I was surprised at how powerful this strategy seems to be. So I decided to try a practical test. Theories tend to sound great on paper, but don't always work exactly as expected when you try them for real, usually due to additional unforseen factors coming into play. I was glad to see that not everyone agrees that clear cutting is the best way to go, and that the situation can be more important.

    So I've decided to try a practical test. I'll start the same game twice, first using a chop strategy, then a tree hugging strategy, and I'll compare how long it takes to reach the same level of development. I'll use GOTM1 for this, since many of you will be familiar with it, although I haven't played it before. Before I get to that though, I'll start with a few general comments.

    BACKGROUND

    I've had no problems with tree hugging on noble, but all my recent games on prince have met with failure, with me always falling behind in the tech race, sometimes quickly, sometimes not so quickly, but there's always been that gradual decline that spells ultimate doom.

    Of course, I realise that other aspects of my strategy may partly be to blame for this, in particular my tendency to try to start my own religion early. I've done well out of this on noble, but on prince it tends to waste time that would be better spent researching other techs, and causes other civs with different religions to dislike you, leading to early wars, which I can really do without (I like to start by keeping the peace and building my empire before going to war).

    On noble this doesn't seem to be a problem since the other civs aren't very aggressive and even if they do attack me, I'm usually well enough defended by then. But on prince they seem to attack sooner, before I have a chance to build my military, so going for an early religion actually seems to be a bad thing.

    Anyway, looking for ideas I came back to these forums and discovered that most players like to make a beeline for alphabet and then trade for missed techs. I tend to research many earlier techs first, and thus haven't reached alphabet until much later, so that's probably a weak point in my strategy. But many early techs are pretty vital and doing without them can cause problems while you wait for alphabet.

    TREE CHOPPING vs. CAPITAL GROWTH

    Manic chopping and the alphabet beeline seem to be compatible strategies, but both are at odds with early capital growth. These strategies tend to keep your capital at pop 1 and deny you useful early techs whilst you churn out settlers to rapidly establish a number of core cities. Only when your core cities are established do you stop the chopping, start tech trading and finally start growing your cities. So you trade off early capital growth for early cities, and then catch up and overtake the AI later.

    This seems to be quite a good plan in the early stages when barbs and other empires aren't much of a threat, but I'm still not 100% convinced. My priority has always been to grow my capital as quickly as possible, to at least size 3 or 4, before building a worker to help growth even more, and only then to start churning out settlers. With a well developed food city, settlers can be produced pretty quickly, without need for chopping, and can also produce a reasonable amount of commerce for research whilst the settlers are being built.

    More to the point, during the vital first turns while I'm growing my capital, I'm using my production to spit out warriors and/or scouts for rapid exporation of the map. With scouts this usually nets me 4 or 5 goody huts at least, sometimes giving me a tech or an extra unit, but usually giving me cash. In one game I collected over 350 gold from goody huts, which came in useful for rapid warrior upgrades and for keeping my research percentage high whilst running at a deficit.

    If I don't have the creative trait, I usually go for Mysticism first to get obelisks in my first cities (this ties in with my desire to grab an early religion). If I can settle my second city next to stone I go for Stonehenge to ensure that all my cities get an immediate obelisk benefit (but that requires that I research Masonry quickly too).

    I use my workers to improve key food resources in new cities, and I try to place them all on rivers or on coast so that they are instantly connected to the trade network without having to build any roads. So although I don't start churning out settlers so early, once my "settler factory" is established, I can produce them quite quickly and the new cities grow faster due to the obelisks and the worker help. In all new cities I concentrate purely on food until they reach at least size 3.

    Now I thought that was a pretty reasonable strategy, but others claim that tree chopping will get you the same results faster. So can it? And can I live without the health and shield benefits later on?

    THE PRACTICAL TEST - GAME OF THE MONTH 1

    Theory and numbers are all very well, but I wanted to see how this actually plays out, so I chose GOTM1 for my test game. I haven't visited this site for a while so I missed the first GOTM, but I wanted to play it anyway so this seemed the ideal game to test the chopping strategy and the alphabet beeline, since many of you will already be familiar with it.

    In keeping with the rules of the game (even though it's passed it's sell-by date) I decided not to cheat. No reloading. So I'd be testing the chop strategy under "real-world" conditions, as it were.

    I've played the game up to a key point in my civ's development, where I decided it would be appropriate to stop. I'm now going to replay the game using my tree hugging strategy (no chopping except for resource and mine improvements) in order to see how long it takes to reach the same stage of development.

    The key goals that I must reach are as follows;

    1. To settle four cities (in the same locations).
    2. To research up to Alphabet and Iron Working.
    3. To explore the entire continent.

    In my chopping game, I acheived these goals by the year 850 BC.

    Next I'll play the tree hugging game. Unfortunately I now have an unfair advantage in knowing the map, and if I took advantage of that knowledge I'd do things differently, which would skew the results. Obviously I can't be certain of not skewing them, but for the purpose of the experiment, I shall try my best to play the game as if I didn't know what to expect. This means that I will try to explore the map in much the same way, settle my cities on the same tiles and research the same techs, although not in quite the same order. I will even try to duplicate my mistakes, where appropriate.

    However, since I'll be using my capital growth strategy rather than the tree chopping strategy, there are some things that I have to do differently. I'll no doubt build more warriors for faster map exploration, and research the techs in a different order for faster capital growth, but these are vital to the strategy and it wouldn't be a fair comparison if I didn't do them. So no doubt some aspects of the game will develop differently, but that's the whole point, to see how the different strategies compare, and to see if I can reach the same goals by the same date, but without chopping.

    Before I start my tree hugging game, I'll report on my tree chopping game.

    If anyone who's reading this hasn't played GOTM1 yet, but intends to, STOP READING NOW, SPOILERS TO COME!

    Paul
     
  2. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    GAME OF THE MONTH 1 - TREE CHOPPING STRATEGY

    To start, I agonised over whether to move my settler 1 tile to the east, in order to get an extra couple of hills, although I really liked the good defensive position of the start tile, on a hill next to a bend in the river. In my experience, the game usually seems to place you in the best position, even if it's not apparent why immediately (some good resources may appear later), so I decided to build on the hill (later I wished that I'd built 1 tile east).

    I immediately started to build a worker and began researching Bronze Working, after which I would make a beeline direct to Alphabet, via Agriculture, The Wheel, Pottery and Writing, ignoring all other techs in the process. I sent my warrior SW onto the hill to get a good view, and discovered wheat. Along with the river running through the area this looked like a good place for my second city, exactly where to be determined later.

    I then sent my warrior on an anti-clockwise search pattern around my capital. First he discovered the deserts and hills. Not good city terrain but possibly good for defence. As he moved to the east I was disappointed to discover that I was so close to the coast, since I like to found coastal cities. A decent spot would have been 2 tiles NE of my start position, which would include the gems and two sugar, but unfortunately not the corn - there was no way to settle on the coast and keep the corn. It wouldn't have been a good spot for my capital anyway, with only one hill, but if I'd moved my capital 1 tile SW I could have had the corn and the wheat (but not the gems), leaving enough room for the coastal city later, but that was not to be. As it was, the coastal sugar was a pretty marginal spot.

    Anyway, as my warrior circled north I was disappointed to find so much jungle. Clearly I was in the south of the map. As he headed east he discovered some more gems, which helped me to decide on the best spot for my second city, then he discovered the west coast. I guessed that the two coasts connected just north of the jungle, but decided to explore that later.

    By this time my worker was built but I had a few turns to kill before he could chop anything so I started on another warrior. After the first chop I sent my second warrior south and then east, discovering Alexander in the process. I made friends with Alexander. He seemed like a nice bloke.

    Meanwhile my first warrior followed the western coast to the south, first discovering stone (in a rather awkward position) and then the all-important copper. These weren't in an ideal position, too far away from the river and not surrounded by very good terrain, but when I finally noticed the crabs just off the coast, that settled it (if you'll excuse the pun). I decided I would build a coastal city there, grabbing the stone, the copper and the clams. It would become a small industrial city, with the workers being fed by the clams and a couple of irrigated farms from the nearby river, but it probably wouldn't grow very large. I also noticed some fish off the coast near the stone, but couldn't find a way of including them, unless I settled on the stone itself, but then I wouldn't have the copper, so I decided that I'd do without the fish.

    I also discovered the wine along the river and decided that would be the best spot for my fourth city. It wasn't an ideal location, but it filled the gap, and the wine would become useful in the not too distant future. Perhaps a good city for commerce?

    Anyway, onto to the chopping. I started by deciding on a chop strategy. Rather than chopping everything I decided to leave four forests in the capital's radius, partly for the health benefit, partly for the shield benefit (since the area was so shield poor) and partly to leave something to spawn possible regrowth. I decided to leave the two plains forests untouched because of their 2 shield bonus, plus one in the southeast and one in the southwest.

    The tooltip reported that each forest would give 30 shields to Rome. This baffled me. One article I'd read claimed that you could get 1 settler for just two chops, yet each settler cost 120 shields. Surely that would be four chops? To my surprise I got it in three. Not sure why, I didn't look that closely. Later in the game, when I started paying more attention to the numbers, the game reported that I'd get 30 shields, but I actually received 60 shields! This must have happened a few other times without me noticing, but it didn't happen every time. I'm baffled as to what caused this. Could it be a bug? Or was something else at work that I wasn't aware of? (Note that this is a noble game at normal speed on a standard size continents map.)

    When my first settler was complete I headed west to found Antium three tiles west of Rome. I took a risk and headed there without military protection. Antium gave a three tile overlap with Rome(another good reason for siting Rome 1 tile east) and would also include the wheat and the second gems tile once the borders expanded, which they wouldn't for some time since I wasn't going to research Mysticism until after Alphabet (or hopefully trade for it). I set Antium to build a warrior then a settler, whilst Rome built a second worker to go and chop for Antium, after which Rome built another settler.

    Rome's settler was ready first, since there was a delay in getting the Antium worker to start chopping. There were only two forests in Antium's radius and I wanted to keep those, so I chose to chop the forests further west instead. Wild animals were starting to become a bit of a problem by that time though, so I waited until I could get a warrior up there to protect the worker.

    I could have risked sending the worker there alone if I'd cheated, since there was nothing there, but I didn't know that and I was playing properly, so I had to protect the worker - this is one of those additional practical factors that can spoil the numbers theory, I wasted a few turns there. Arguably I should have made sure I had a warrior in the vicinity, but with only two available they were busy exploring (I did manage to find three goody huts and got gold twice and one tech - Hunting). Another factor with the forest clearances was that sometimes the forest I wanted to chop would have gone to the wrong city, so I had to do some shuffling with which cities were building what.

    By this time I was down to my four forest limit around Rome, so I used my worker to do something useful, improving the corn, mining the gems, then starting work on the road toward where my third city would be. The first two were very important, firstly to get my city growth going and secondly, to give my research a much needed boost to get to Alphabet quicker. As Rome started to grow I arranged the population to maximise commerce and soon acquired Alphabet. Great! Time to trade for all those techs I'd missed.

    Unfortunately I'd only met Alexander up to that point, so my trade options were rather limited. In fact, he only had two techs available that I didn't have, and he totally refused to trade them, even though I had much better ones to exchange with him! So much for Alphabet... :-(

    Meanwhile, my second settler warily made his way southwest to the coastal stone/copper city site, where he would found Cumae. There were lions in the vicinity and I had to use my two warrior explorers to screen the settler's approach. Finally Cumae was founded, and once the road was completed, I set the worker to mine the copper. I needed the stone though, but that was outside my initial city radius so I needed an Obelisk to get it. So Mysticism was next on the list.

    The third settler was finally ready at Antium (this was where I noticed the 60 shields boost) and made his way south along the river to the wine to found Neapolis. At this point I had 4 cities and just 5 warriors. Now that the main chopping phase was over I started to build up my cities, starting with granaries in Antium and Neapolis, an Obelisk in Cumae (to get the stone) and Stonehenge in Rome. I also put a barracks in Cumae since that will become my unit generation city.

    I really needed stone to help build Stonehenge faster, but decided I couldn't wait for Cumae to grow, so I started it anyway. Just after the Obelisk was built in Cumae I remembered that I needed to research Masonry before I could quarry the stone, so I quickly did that, and just after the border expanded I set a worker to build the quarry, which would take another 6 turns!

    Meanwhile, my strategy of leaving a few forests around Rome had paid off, with two more forests sprouting up. I promptly chopped these down in order to rush Stonehenge. In fact, I managed to build Stonehenge before the quarry was finished, so the rush for the stone turned out to have been unnecessary (although it will come in useful for other things). So building the obelisk in Cumae was a waste.

    Next on the list was iron working, the key tech for the Romans, but before that I quickly researched Archery because of the increasing barb threat.

    Clearly I needed to find more trading partners, so I built a couple of scouts to search for more empires to trade with. In fact, I did an Open Borders deal with Alex to get through his area quicker. What a nice bloke! Maybe this deal will make him like me more and make him more ameniable to tech trading. Or maybe not.

    Unfortunately one of my scouts was quickly bumped off by a barbarian warrior, while the other traversed Alexander's terrain and discovered... the coast! We were on an island, or a small continent, just the two of us. Damn! Now what?

    Well apparently I'm going to have to research Sailing, Compass, Metal Casting, Machinery and Optics before I can make contact with anyone else in the world. That's going to take a long time. Seems that going for Alphabet was a complete waste of time. Perhaps if I'd explored the continent fully first I would have realised that and researched different techs.

    So what do I do next? Attack Alexander or stay at peace? To be honest, there seems to be plenty of room for us both. I'm only planning to found 9 cities, then develop them to the max. In fact, given the current score and demographics, I'm already doing pretty well, so it may be possible to simply stay put, build up my empire and go for a peaceful victory. If Alex is stupid enough to attack me I'll show him who's boss, and end up in an even more powerful position.

    Is there any point even continuing? Given my current situation it looks like an easy win ahead. Either way, after getting Iron Working I decided it was the ideal point to stop the game and make a note of the date and my score so far.

    Date: 850 BC
    Score: Caesar 373, Alexander 303

    More details later when I compare the results. Now it's time to play it again...

    Paul
     
  3. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Wales, UK
    GAME OF THE MONTH 1 - TREE HUGGING STRATEGY

    This time I played it much quicker, because I was already familiar with the layout and where I was going to found my cities, but as I pointed out earlier, I tried to play it as if I didn't have this knowledge, and repeated my early moves as closely as possible.

    I set my capital to build a warrior. I chose to research Hunting first to get scouts. Knowing the continent was so small I shouldn't have bothered, but I wouldn't have known that so I did it anyway, to remain true to the strategy I would normally use. One I got Hunting I changed my build queue to start building a scout, even though that wasted a few extra turns. After which I went back to building the warrior.

    This gave me three units to explore with, rather than the two of the first game. The first two units explored in the same pattern as in the first game (with the scout exploring faster), but I used the third to explore to the southeast, which I didn't in the first game. As a result I discovered more goody huts, 6 in all (I think I only found 3 in the first game), which netted me 215 gold and the Maths tech (a lucky late goody hut). I think I found approximately half the gold in the first game, so early exploration can make a difference. I also finished exploring the whole continent much faster with the aid of the early scout.

    Tech wise, after Hunting I went straight for Agriculture, then onto Pottery and writing. After building the scout and warrior Rome had reached size 3, so I then built a worker and immediately improved the corn tile, to quickly boost its growth to size 4, followed by mining the gems to boost my research. After building the worker I had a bit of time to kill before Rome reached size 4, so I churned out another warrior, which I sent west to fortify on the site of my second city, then set my worker to build a road there to get my settler there quicker.

    After the warrior was built I had one more turn to kill so I started work on a granary. I then forgot to switch to a settler when Rome reached size 4, so I wasted a turn there. These things happen. But like the first game I was playing properly, with no reloading, so there wasn't anything I could do about it (I didn't have a save to go back to anyway).

    The settler would take 12 turns to build. It was at this time that I could really see the benefit of chopping a few forests to rush the settler, but that was against my rules, so I had to wait the 12 turns.

    By this time I'd researched writing, but Alphabet was way too expensive, so I opted for Mysticism, which I'd soon need to expand my second city's borders. I signed an open borders deal with Alex. After this I started research on Bronze Working to reveal the location of copper, so as to help choose the location of my third city. (Of course, I already knew where it was, but I had to play as if I didn't, and I couldn't place my third city realistically without this knowledge.)

    By the time the first settler was built and Antium founded, I was able to start work immediately on an Obelisk, although it would take a long time to build. Given how quickly I completed Stonehenge in the previous game, I realised that building an obelisk would probably be a waste, but it was a mistake I chose to repeat. I used my worker to build a farm to help Antium's growth.

    After churning out the first settler I finished the granary (which only took a few turns because of the expansionist trait) and waited until Rome reached size 5, so as to build the next settlers faster. I still had a bit of time to kill so I started work on Stonehenge, which I didn't want to leave for too long. I also started work on Alphabet, which was a lot cheaper now that I had more commerce coming in.

    At size 5 I switched to settler and then had to wait 10 turns (I should have started the settler sooner - I lost valuable turns by waiting for Rome to reach 5). I then brought my worker back to Rome to mine the plains hill to speed the settler. I should have done this earlier, before the farm at Antium.

    By this time the Barb warriors had started to appear, and my scout was attacked, but luckily survived. I switched Antium to build a warrior instead of an obelisk because of the increased barb threat, and the likelihood that Rome would build Stonehenge soon. After the settler I started on Stonehenge, and with the aid of the quarry was likely to build it much faster.

    The second settler was quickly escorted to found Cumae, and the road from Rome completed. There was no point in researching Masonry and trying to build a quarry as in the first game, since Stonehenge was nearly finished. I started work on a granary in Cumae and switched Antium to building a worker instead of a warrior, since I was desperately short of workers. One wasn't enough.

    I got Stonehenge in 1080 BC and started work on the third settler. I got Iron Working in 1040 BC (much earlier than the previous game) and started on Masonry next (so as to complete the same techs as in the first game). Then Animal Husbandry and finally archery.

    At 850 BC (when I stopped the first game) I was still one turn away from producing my third settler, but the other goals had been reached. The same techs had been researched and the copper connected.

    Finally, at Cumae I chopped a forest to clear the ground to build a farm. This wasn't done to rush anything, but was necessary since Cumae was so food poor. With all the spare cash I had lying around, I chose to upgrade two warriors to axemen.

    Neapolis was founded in 800 BC, thus reaching the same goals as the first game.

    Date: 800 BC
    Score: Caesar 334, Alexander 302

    Paul
     
  4. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

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    RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS

    Here are the full results for the two games (tree hugging results in brackets)

    Goals reached: 850 BC (800 BC)
    Score: Caesar 373 (334), Alexander 303 (302)

    CITIES
    Rome: 6 (5)
    Antium: 3 (3)
    Cumae: 2 (2)
    Neapolis: 2 (1)

    UNITS
    Workers: 3 (2)
    Scouts: 1 (1)
    Warriors: 4 (2)
    Archers: 1 (0)
    Axemen: 1 (2)

    DEMOGRAPHICS
    Gold: 1st (2nd)
    Prod: 1st (6th)
    Food: 3rd (2nd)
    Soldiers: 3rd (4th)
    Land: 2nd (2nd)
    Population: 3rd (6th)

    CONCLUSIONS

    Well clearly I did better with the chopping strategy, but to be honest, there wasn't that much in it. I reached the same goals only two turns later with the tree hugging strategy, although my position was a bit weaker.

    I finished with roughly the same techs in roughly the same amount of time, but reached the key techs of Alphabet and Iron Working sooner with hugging (I shouldn't have bothered with Masonry first time around). I didn't need to juggle my population to maximise commerce either.

    The earlier exploration in the second game netted more cash, which was useful for unit upgrades, but I ended up with fewer units overall. My cities were better developed in the first game too, with most containing granaries and libraries by the time I stopped.

    To be fair though, I played the second game a lot quicker and made more mistakes, in particular I wasted time juggling my build queues.

    So whilst the chopping strategy is obviously better, I don't think that non-stop chopping from the moment the game starts is necessarily the best way to go (although it may be on higher levels). What I didn't like about the chop strategy is that I ran out of trees too quickly. Even though I kept a few I still found myself short of hammer tiles when Rome grew bigger. Even aside from the health benefits (which aren't that big a deal on noble), it would be nice to save forests for more important chops later, like wonder rushing, rather than clear cutting the whole area at game start.

    In future I think I'll try a mixture of the two strategies, using selective chopping for key items like settlers and wonders. If I'd done that in the second game I think I'd have done a little better than the first game.

    Paul
     
  5. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

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    You might want to try this with a more significant number of workers. 3 workers for 6 cities is not enough for serious chopping.
     
  6. FratBoy

    FratBoy Chieftain

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    Well to be honest I haven't played the GOTM yet since it was set at a rather low difficulty level (I forgot which one). But I have never succeeded on Emperor without heavy chopping. Not once. Hey, I might be a sucky player and not be able to adapt or whatever, but tree-hugging gets me nowhere. Chopping often lets me win, my win rate with it on Emperor is a bit over 2 out of 3 games. The problem with NOT chopping on Emperor is that the AI will beat you in the land grab phase.

    To be honest your chop strategy seems rather bad, since you have too few workers. A decent chop strategy is to build a worker, chop worker 2, chop worker 3, chop settler 1, and if you have any trees left in capital chop settler 2. Then move 2 workers to new city (leaving one at capital to develop tiles), chop 1 worker and then chop settlers. Rinse, repeat.

    Try treehugging on emperor and let me know what happens. It's not that I realy enjoy chopping stuff, it's just that it's pretty much the only way I've tried that works.
     
  7. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    Have you tried the settler swap trick?

    Build a warrior for 3 turns and switch to settler on the 4th turn when the chop comes in. This gives you growth on 75% of your turns.

    You can even get growth on 100% if you swap to a settler and back on the same turn.
     
  8. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

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    It was only 4 cities, and I was only testing it to see how quickly I could get 4 up and running, not as an ongoing strategy. I only chopped in the first two cities, and there weren't many trees left after that.

    Paul
     
  9. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    I think you're just not used enough to the chop strategy to use it well. If you were, you'd find it much more powerful than you did. Here are a few examples :

    An experienced chopper would never allow this to happen.

    Not a real chopping strategy then, is it?

    You can't be an efficient chopper unless you know how much your stuff costs. A settler costs 100 hammers, not 120. You can get it in 3 chops and 10 extra hammers from normal production, or 4 chops with 20 hammers left over.

    I can't be sure, but it sounds like you didn't switch production to maximize growth. You want to be building the settler only when the chop comes in, and build something else in the meantime to allow your city to keep growing.

    The hammers obtained from chopping are affected by all production bonuses. For example, when producing Stonehenge with stone, you get a 100% bonus, so forests will produce 60 hammers.

    Don't waste time waiting. You should have spent that time chopping whatever you could find.

    You should have chopped all those things!

    You got very lucky. Even when i leave a few forests with adjacent tiles empty, i never get 2 (!) new forests this early in the game.

    Had you waited for the stone to connect, your two chops would have paid 120 hammers and practically made stonehenge all by themselves. You wasted a lot of hammers there.

    In summary, i'm sorry to be so blunt, but i don't think you're qualified to write a strategy article unless you know the basic mechanics of the game.
     
  10. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

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    When chopping is part of your strategy the place you make your next few cities is partly determined by where the most trees are. You shouldn't be running out of trees that soon ;).

    Other than that, I agree with every point made in Zombie's post. Harsh, yet true.
     
  11. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

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    Well I wasn't going for a full-on clear cut strategy, I just wanted to see how much faster I could establish an early city base. I guess more workers would be a good idea though.

    Emperor? I can't get anywhere on prince with tree hugging! :lol:

    Paul
     
  12. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

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    What do you mean by growth exactly? City growth? Forest growth? An increase in shields?

    Paul
     
  13. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

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    City Growth --> Population Growth
     
  14. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    Also, i get the impression that he doesn't know about trees outside the city radius still producing a lot of hammers.
     
  15. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

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    Correct, it was my first attempt.

    You mean a clear cutting strategy? I was using chopping to churn out settlers quickly, not to build everything and lay waste to the entire area.

    They cost 120 in this particular game, check it out for yourself. Maybe the cost varies with different difficulty levels, map sizes, game speeds and map types. Or has it been changed in the patch?

    That makes sense.

    I know, but it wasn't Stonehenge. I thought it was a settler. Could it have been a granary with the expansion trait bonus?

    Wasn't really my goal. The starting area was very hill poor, so if I'd chopped all the trees I'd have had hardly any production capacity left.

    Perhaps, but I don't really think it was appropriate on that particular map.

    Fair point, but I was paranoid that someone else would build it before me if I'd waited any longer.

    I understand the game mechanics, it's the chopping strategy that I'm not experienced with. I was simply trying to test what I've been reading about here.

    Paul
     
  16. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    Fair point. Perhaps it wasn't the best map to use that strategy on. I agree that my second city wasn't well placed to make use of trees. I was placing my cities to exploit resources, not simply to chop. Apparently my chopping strategy was more selective than I realised.

    I agree, I'm inexperienced at using chopping, hence the test.

    Paul
     
  17. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    Are you saying that the population jumps up if you switch on the same turn, even though it's not due to? If so, that sounds like a bug to me. An exploit.

    Paul
     
  18. Paul Saunders

    Paul Saunders Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
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    Location:
    Wales, UK
    Yes, I do know about that. Have you looked at the map? Jungle to the north of the city, deserts and hills to the south.

    Paul
     
  19. GenericKen

    GenericKen Not at all suspicious

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    202
    It strikes me as poor form to reply to your own thread like 6 times in a row.

    Sorry, but I couldn't make it all the way through your write-up. Honestly, if you can't beat prince handily and can't speak about game mechanics objectively, I'm not sure how qualified you are to speak on the subject. 3 workers to 6 cities is not enough for *any* strategy.


    Like most things in the game, chopping is a situational strategy, but a very powerful and forgiving one. Like you, I prefer to get a city to size 3 before building worker/settler, but on occasion, it can be correct to build the worker at size 2, or even 1 (esp. with india). Whether you start with mining and india's fast worker are both big factors in the decision. So are the sheer number of forests and any floodplains problems you may have.

    Expansion is a high priority in the early game, and by spending worker turns to get resources out of tiles you're not working, you accelerate most efficiently, provided you can get the worker out. Remember that short term gains *are* long term gains if they improve your expansion.

    4 forests is way too many for a capital. Even if your capital doesn't have a single hill, 2 is more than enough. Just clearcut the area and cottage-spam; your capital can be a moneymaker rather than a production center. Send out your choped settlers to find hils, or better yet, other forests to chop.

    Chopping all 4 of your cities is at heart a gambit, and there generally is a smart time to stop agressive chopping/worker building, but that doesn't make the gambit a bad option.
     
  20. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    188
    It doesn't jumps up. However, the population keeps growing because you're building the settler, not the warrior.

    Basically you only switch to the settler when a chop is ready to be 'used'. Thereby the biggest part of the settler production is made up of chopped forest. This has the advantage that the city kan keep growing while the settler is being built (and it can build other things). The disadvantage is that the settler will take longer as the food & production of the city won't be going to the settler.

    Most seem to agree that the switching itself isn't an exploit. However, forest chops come in halfway through your turn (when all other units have been moved). If you change production at the start of your turn, you can get the chop and switch back to something else without loosing any turns at all. You end up building a settler in effectively 1 turn of growth-loss for the city. There's quite an amount of discussion about whether or not this subvariant of the chopswitch is an exploit. Personally I believe it is, however it's allowed in both GOTM / HOF at the time (partly because it's extra benefit seems marginal), so usable.

    I used way too many words to explain, hopefully it's clear ;).
     

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