Game Speed and Map Size

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Chronis, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Chronis

    Chronis Chieftain

    Feb 3, 2011
    Game Speed
    At the start of every Civilization 4 game a speed and size must be chosen. In addition to their obvious effects, the choice profoundly affects almost every aspect of game play. This guide will explain the subtle and not so subtle effects of this choice.
    On the different game speeds you will see a different number of years pass per turn. This can be ignored as it varies as the game progresses and has no impact on game play. The important factor in game speed is that all speeds eventually reach the year 2050 which is when the game ends in time victory.

    In Beyond the Sword it takes the following number of turns to reach the year 2050 on Quick/Normal/Epic/Marathon speeds
    Q/N/E/M: 330/500/750/1500.
    Dividing the total number of turns by 5 gives as a ratio that is easier to work with let’s call it the time ratio.
    Time Ratio = Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300
    For every 100 turns on normal, we have 67 on quick and 300 on Marathon.

    City Growth
    Since the amount of food, hammers, and commerce produced per city each turn does not change based on game speed, the amount of food required for cities to grow increase as well to balance the increase in turns.
    Let’s look at the amount of food it would take for a city to grow from size 40 to size 41 at the various game speeds. Food required to grow to size 41 = Q/N/E/M: 67*/100/150/300
    Notice those numbers match the time ratio. This means that city growth scales with game speed. If you play 100 turns on normal, you will have about the same size cities as if you played 300 turns on Marathon.
    * The value for quick growth above is not exactly 67 due to rounding issues with the growth formula but this deviation is small and can be ignored

    Building Costs, Whipping, and Research
    These also scale to game speed and follow a ratio of Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300
    A building that costs 100 hammers on normal will cost 300 on marathon.
    A tech that cost 1000 beakers on normal will cost 3000 on marathon and so forth.

    Units Production
    What about military units and workers?
    These have a different ratio.

    Unit ratio = Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/240
    Notice the ratio is the same except for the marathon value.
    A unit that costs 100 hammers to produce on standard will cost only 240 hammers on marathon.
    This effectively means that military units and workers are 20% cheaper on marathon then they are on all other game speeds. Note that settlers are the exception they scale with buildings Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300 so marathon does not help you found new cities faster.

    Forest Chopping:
    At first glance chopping also seems to scale with game speed with a total number of hammers from chopping ratio of
    Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300

    Chopping 5 forests (before mathematics) will produce 100 hammers on normal and 300 on marathon
    However, to truly examine the effects of forest chopping we must look at the number of turns it takes to chop. It take a worker
    Q/N/E/M: 4/4/7/10 turns to chop a forest down on each game speed (one turn lost from moving onto the forest tile plus the chop time).

    To chop 25 forests it would take a worker
    Q/N/E/M: 100/100/175/250 turns on the different game settings. This is a significant deviation from the time ratio. Notice the chop time is significantly higher than the time ratio on quick and epic and lower on Marathon.

    What does this mean in practice? Let’s look at the number of hammers produced per turn by a worker when chopping at the start of a new game. Since this is a per turn value it should be the same for all speeds if chopping scaled to game speed. Chopping one forest before mathematics gives you Q/N/E/M: 13/20/30/60 hammers
    Time required to chop Q/N/E/M: 4/4/7/10

    Hammer produced per turn
    Q/N/E/M: 13/4, 20/4, 30/7, 60/10 = 3.25/5/4.3/6
    Thus chopping in the early game produces only 3.25 hammers per turn on quick and 6 hammers per turn on Marathon. Chopping is therefore much more powerful on marathon, and relatively weak on epic and quick speeds.

    The Draft:
    The Draft is a very complex process so understand it we must think of it as a process for converting food to hammers.

    How good is the conversion? Rifleman is the best draft deal as it is the most expensive unit that only takes one population point to draft.

    The drafting Food/Hammer Conversion Ratios for a size 6 (minimum needed to draft) is
    Rifleman Q/N/E/M 7.3/7.3/7.3/4.9

    Drafting a Rifleman on quick, normal and epic is essentially a process that converts 1 food to 7.3 hammers. However, due to the discounted production on marathon, drafting is not as powerful on that speed in effect only giving you 4.9 hammers per food.

    Let’s compare that to whipping a size 6 city. Whipping such a city is
    A flat food/hammer conversion ratio of 2 for all game speeds.

    So should we be building a global theater draft city in every game?
    That’s a difficult question to answer, but we can get a sense by looking at
    how much production would be needed to match the output of a global theater draft city?

    Production per turn needed to match the output of a global theater draft city
    Draft Unit
    Maceman Q/N/E = 46 hammers Marathon = 31 hammers
    Musketman Q/N/E = 53 hammers Marathon = 36 hammers
    Rifleman Q/N/E = 73 hammers Marathon = 49 hammers
    Infantry Q/N/E = 45 hammers Marathon = 30 hammers
    Mechanized Infantry Q/N/E = 42 hammers Marathon = 28 hammers

    In addition you have to consider the upfront cost in hammers to create a global theater draft city
    Which is Cost per Theater 50 X 6 + Cost Per Global Theater 300 = 600 hammers on a standard map at normal speed and the opportunity cost of using the nationalism civic which is typically inferior to both bureaucracy and free speech.

    The answer to this question will vary game to game. My personal opinion is that it is typically not worth the upfront investment on marathon games as 30 hammers per turn is not that hard to achieve. However, it’s probably worth it on non marathon games if you plan a major offensive push in the rifleman era.

    Victory Conditions:
    Finally we must look at the effect of game speed on victory conditions
    Slower game speeds effectively give more movement points to military units but except for marathon
    do not make those units military units cheaper. This allows military units to reach enemies before they become outdated making conquest and domination victories easier to achieve on slower speeds.

    Cultural victory requires 3 cities with legendary culture
    The amount of culture required to reach legendary status is Q/N/E/M 25K/50K/75K/150
    If this scaled to number of game turns it would be Q/N/E/M 33.3K/50K/75K/150K
    Cultural victory is therefore much easier on a quick speed game.

    It’s not often realized, but map size has a huge influence on almost every major game mechanic.
    Its most obvious effect is that it results in larger empires.

    Map Size / Number of Civs / Area per Civ Ratio
    Huge 128x80 / 11 / 1.5
    Standard 84X52 / 7 / 1
    Dual 40X24 / 2 / 0.75
    The number of civilizations increase on larger map sizes, but the available space increases more. The result is that the average civilization will be about 50% larger on a huge map and 25% smaller on a dual map compared to a standard map.

    However, research costs also increase based on map size.
    World Size and Research Costs:
    100% - Dual
    110% - Tiny
    120% - Small
    130% - Standard
    140% - Large
    150% - Huge

    Thus changing from a dual map to a huge one doubles average empire size while increasing research costs by 50%. The number of cities increases more than the research costs and as a result huge maps speed up overall game tech progression significantly.

    Sea level changes the amount of land in the game. Low sea level result in about 25% land then normal and low sea levels about 25% less. So changing from normal to low sea levels with increase average empire size by 25%. Which will speed up overall game tech progression.

    Great People and Game Speed
    Great people are produced with great people points from specialist and wonders.
    The cost for great people varies with game speed according to following ratio:
    Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300.

    The first great person costs Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300. With each subsequent great person costing an additional Q/N/E/M: 67/100/150/300. Until 10 great people have been formed at which point each subsequent great person costs Q/N/E/M: 134/200/300/600 until 20 have been formed and so on.

    Notice that this ratio is the same as the time ratio above which means that
    great people production scales to game speed.

    The power of great people scales to game speed as well with the exception of golden ages. Golden age durations are Q/N/E/M: 6/8/10/16 turns (This progression does not follow the time ratio) If Golden ages scaled to game speed they would last for Q/N/E/M 5.5/8/11.5/21 turns This means that Golden ages are less powerful on slower game speeds.

    Map size and Great people
    Great people production does not scale well to larger map sizes. There are two reasons for this.

    1) Great people production is most efficient if concentrated in a single city. Adding more GPP in secondary cities is low yield. Suppose we have a city producing 20 great people points a turn on a normal speed game. Assuming we start with no great people points, our first 10 Great people with come on turns.
    5, 15, 30, 50, 75, 105, 140, 180, 225, 275

    What happens when we increase our GPP production by 20% by having a secondary city producing 4 great people points a turn? Now our first 10 Great people will come on turns.
    5, 15, 30, 50, 75, 105, 140, 180, 225, 230

    Notice that the first 9 great people occur at the exact same time they would have normally.
    It takes 230 turns to get any benefit from that 20% increase. Great people production in secondary cities has a delayed benefit and often does not produce any great people at all before the game is over. This inefficiency means that the average empire on a huge map while 50% larger than that on a standard map with produce nowhere near 50% more great people.

    2 Bulbing is much weaker on large maps.
    Using a great scientist to bulb a tech on normal speed will give the following.
    Science Bonus = 1500 + (Total Empire Population)*3
    The majority of the bonus comes from the base 1500 which does not scale to map size. Since research cost are higher on larger map sizes, this effectively means that bulbing is relatively weak on large maps.

    Great Generals:
    Great generals are built with empire wide combat experience points and at a cost of
    Q/N/E/M 30/30/30/45 for the first general with each subsequent general costing 30/30/30/45 more than that last. To understand great general production and the effect of game speed and map size, think of great generals as a hammer to experience conversion. Hammers produce units which in turn hopefully get some experience before they die.

    Game Speed and Great Generals:
    Recall that the cost of military units scales with game speed except for marathon where unit cost are discounted by 20%. Correcting great general costs for the marathon discount gives us a corrected great general cost of
    Q/N/E/M: 30/30/30/36 great generals are 20% more expensive on marathon then other game speeds

    Map Size and Great Generals
    Production scales with number of cities. An empire twice as large will produce about twice as many hammers. The cost of great generals, however, does not increase with map size. Therefore larger map sizes will produce more hammers and thus more great generals than smaller maps. Similarly low sea levels will result in more hammers and thus increased great general production. All else being equal an empire twice as large will create great generals at twice the rate of a smaller empire.

    The Big Picture
    Military Production: Discounted on marathon.
    Forest Chopping: Strong on marathon and normal speeds, weaker on epic and quick speeds.
    Drafting: Probably not worth it on marathon speed.
    Cultural Victory: Easier on quick game speed.
    Tech Progression: Faster on larger maps and low sea levels.
    Great People: Stronger on smaller maps and high sea levels, slightly stronger on faster speeds.
    Great General Production: Favored with bigger maps and low sea levels, penalized on marathon speed.

    Optimizing Global Theater Draft City (city growth formulas)
    Drafting For Fun and Profit
    Great People Points
    Cultural Victory (turn round info)
    Unit Costs
    Games Speed
    Map Generation
    MAvL likes this.
  2. stalio

    stalio Chieftain

    Feb 8, 2011
    This is really useful. I would have thought cultural victories would be easier on slower speeds.
  3. Agramon

    Agramon Warlord

    Nov 23, 2006
    Cultural victories are still easier on quick speed. Because of the inherent danger of the concept. In slow speed you run an overall higher risk of DoW against you. Because that question is assessed every turn. So more turns higher probability of DoW.
  4. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

    Jun 27, 2007
    Orem, UT
    There's part of game speed you overlooked: unit movements in a turn. No matter what the game speed or world size, a unit's moves remain constant.

    People who play Marathon have a HUGE advantage in scouting the terrain before their first settler is built. On quick, you may be exploring with the Settler and escort. :)

    It may be worth discussing relative movement ratios and their impact on war, scouting, etc.
  5. Chronis

    Chronis Chieftain

    Feb 3, 2011
    Units movement per turn definitly changes the game at the different speeds. I touched on it in the victory section above for military units, but I did not mention scouting. It's definitly easier to scout the surrounding area and thus pick the best possible city location on slower speeds.

    AI declaring war is not something I talked about in the guide mainly because I don't know the mechanics behind it. To get a sense better sense of how game speed affects the chance of war with the AI you need to not only know how game speed affects chance of AI declaring war, but also, how it effects their willingness to stop fighting and declare peace.
  6. OKScientist

    OKScientist Chieftain

    Jun 21, 2007
    Excellent guide, Chroni! I am currently trying to migrate from Marathon/Huge to Epic/Standard, and this is exactly the guide I needed!

    You never mentioned cottages (unless I somehow missed them), so I guess you must be a hardcore SE player ;)
  7. Chronis

    Chronis Chieftain

    Feb 3, 2011
    Your welcome, I made the same transition myself not that long ago. Tried a quick game after playing a while on marathon and got curious as to why chopping seemed so much weaker.

    I am actually not a fan of SE other then when shooting for mid game military victories. All of your costs (civic maintence, distance manitence, ect) all have population multipliers on them so running large cities (required for SE) costs much more then is immediatly obvious.

    Your right, I forgot to mention cottages =)
    Cottege build times are Q/N/E/M: 3/4/6/12
    Time required to grow from cottage to town: Q/N/E/M: 45/70/105/210

    This follows the time ratio exactly for normal, epic, and marathon speeds. Quick s a little quirky due to rounding issues. If quick scaled exactly build time would be 2.6 turns and growth time would be 46.6 turns.
  8. MrPopov

    MrPopov King

    Jul 25, 2006
    Anarchy is another aspect tied to game speed. I don't know the exact numbers, but on marathon, you get 2 turns of anarchy for just 1 policy change, where on normal and quick you only get 1 turn. Thus anarchy is not as bad on marathon vs normal and quick (quick being the most penalized).
  9. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

    Jul 29, 2009
    There's another small difference between speeds. On Epic and Marathon you will change civics faster. On Normal you will often wait to do 2 civic changes at the same time to save yourself 1 turn of Anarchy. On Epc and Marathon you often don't wait.

    Also, Golden Ages are longer on slower speeds, but the 5-turn wait period doesn't scale. So you might do a little of the Serfdom/Slavery switching in a Golden Age that a Spiritual Civ does all game long.
  10. krikav

    krikav Theorycrafter

    Aug 25, 2011
    So this is why I have had troubles incorprating drafting in my games and why I don't like golden ages! :)
  11. OneLeggedRhino

    OneLeggedRhino King

    Aug 12, 2011
    In marathon, drafting is fabulous for switching from a SE to war. 10 turns = 30 muskets. It's not so much about getting more average output over 200 turns, it's about switching from research to war to avoid losing. Knowing that you can do that if you have to lets you keep a smaller standing army, meaning more specialists, meaning a better tech rate.
    jmas and MAvL like this.
  12. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

    Sep 11, 2009
    surrounded in the USA
    How does drafting infantry look on Marathon? Can you get them for one pop?
  13. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

    Dec 2, 2006
    The wilds of Montana
  14. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

    Sep 11, 2009
    surrounded in the USA
    Nope. Just started a new game in the modern era, Mara speed (very interesting game, btw).

    Infantry still requires 7 pop and removes 2 pop to draft. In contrast, slavery can 2 pop after a single :hammers: investment with 30 something OF even with just a forge (starting a game in the Modern Era gives you one for free, but you could replace it with Police State if you'd rather).

    Seems like slavery wins, hands down for Mara speed.
  15. s.bernbaum

    s.bernbaum Mostly lurking

    Dec 2, 2006
    The wilds of Montana
    ^^^ odd that we get different results. I don't usually draft but did so in a recent game on Marathon. I seem to recall the city had to have 6 pop but it may have been 7. However, each draft only dropped the city pop by one, not two.
  16. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

    Sep 11, 2009
    surrounded in the USA
    Did you have any more production bonuses? Afaik, that shouldn't make a difference, but it's the only thing I can think of. The most likely would be PS; iIrc, it's a cost reducer, not a production bonus.
  17. FiveRings

    FiveRings Prince

    Jul 14, 2010
    I don't find a lot in the threads on bigger maps, so thanks for the insights here!

    Any links to good ideas how to win on Emperor on huge@normal or games would be most appreciated!
  18. reljanovic

    reljanovic Chieftain

    Feb 17, 2007
    This was an awesome guide! I always felt different playing on Marathon, and now I have a better understanding to why.

    And yea it would be even more awesome if you could bring the movement points to a clearing, like; time ratio/map size/gamespeed.
    Also, is the diplomacy and space race affected by the speed? Thanks in advance!
  19. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

    Sep 11, 2009
    surrounded in the USA
    I'm not sure about space race, but I think that it's properly scaled. Diplomacy is not scaled right (based on experience).

    I don't think that they made any adjustments in diplomacy to account for map size (ie each additional player increases the complexity factorially: if n represents the number of players, the number of relationships between players is n*(n-1)*(n-2)*...*1). The problem is that if they did account for that by reducing demands by some factor, then you'd have really agreeable neighbors all of the time (there are solutions, I'm sure, but they'd probably be a lot of work to program).

    Keep in mind that there are indirect ramifications, too. Larger maps tend to have more room for players to expand into, which translates into stronger empires. Expect all of your opponents to be that much stronger than you, with more money and science.

    Diplomacy, IIRC, is not scaled to speed either. Don't know why, maybe it was simple oversight? Whatever the reason, a peace treaty, for example, lasts for 10 turns regardless of speed.
  20. Kesshi

    Kesshi Emperor

    Sep 29, 2007
    Chronis, thanks for the guide. It was very helpful!

    I would like to point out another point of difference in the time differences: Cultural revolts and culture flipping cities.

    When you have enough foreign culture pressuring a city, there is a chance of revolt. Since cultural revolts are a % chance per turn, marathon has a higher probability of the city revolting earlier, and a much higher chance of a city flipping earlier, too.

    If the % chance is 5%, and each turn is 1 year, then you have about a 65% chance of revolt in 20 years. However, if each turn is 5 years, then the same probability of 65% chance of revolt is in 100 years. To flip, the city needs to revolt twice in 10 turns. (Please correct me on this if I am wrong, it has been a while since I've looked up this mechanic.) If the city revolts on turn 1 an turn 5, then that is 5 years later in example 1, where as it it is 25 years later in example 2.

    Because the counter to this is to garrison more troops in the city (enough troops will cancel the possibility of revolt, thus making it impossible for the city to flip) one could argue that it is easier to defend against a cultural city flip on quick because it takes fewer turns to make units. In some Marathon games it may not be possible to create enough units before the city flips, where as in an equivalent situation in a quick game, it could very much be possible.

Share This Page