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Going wide in Civ VI is always better

Discussion in 'Civ6 - Strategy & Tips' started by Dojichan, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Zenstrive

    Zenstrive Ocean King

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    I admire your patience with the giant world map.
    My laptop would be dead before I can start a game like that.
    It barely survives normal world map.
     
  2. ButSam

    ButSam King

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    So founding cities helps you...I would hope so! The question is whether it helps you more than other options.
     
  3. LDiCesare

    LDiCesare Deity

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    Well, since it actually hurt in Civ V due to global happiness, it's a change.
     
  4. fay902

    fay902 Chieftain

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    I agree that going wide in ciVI will be the optimal strategy but that doesn't mean you should always build a city no matter what.
     
  5. Lord Yanaek

    Lord Yanaek Emperor

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    What is "wide" and what is "tall" exactly?

    The dichotomy of wide and tall comes from what i consider a misunderstanding on how Tradition in CiV(5) should work. Tradition gave you the tools to grow your cities faster and thus stay competitive with fewer cities. Players understood this as if Tradition was meant to be played with few cities. By contrast, Liberty helps you get more cities faster so players understood that to play Liberty you have to plant many cities. In the first versions of CiV you could only choose one and this separation caused the dichotomy : Tradition = Few big cities vs. Liberty = Many small cities. Even after you could get both, the dichotomy stayed partially because delaying Tradition was arguably a questionable strategy but also because the CiV paradigm was that you couldn't take both. But when did an empire stop being tall and became wide? If you grow more than 4 cities (because the traditional tradition game is 4 cities)? Well, 5-6 cities tradition was very powerful if you could get it. Was it a "wide" game?

    OK, enough CiV rants. This is Civ VI but i think it's good to remember that even in CiV, the tall vs wide dichotomy was quite arbitrary and artificial.

    Tall vs Wide vs ICS

    Civ VI doesn't have many penalties for more cities, so obviously having more good cities is always desirable but then again even in CiV more good cities was better (a good city would produce more :c5science: and :c5culture: then the increase in cost it would cause). The difference is : in CiV poor cities hurted your economy in Civ VI a poor city simply don't help you much.
    For me, there will be several consideration though before spamming settlers and going ICS :
    • Space being limited, if i put all my cities tightly packed together, i won't have space to put districts and farms to grow my population for more districts. Does plenty of small cities with hardly any district beat fewer cities with districts and a good population? Not sure, i don't have the game yet.
    • The cost of districts will go up fast with many cities. This means if i try to make many good cities it will take longer and longer.
    • Similarly the cost of settlers will increase and they will become more a drain, especially if you consider the opportunity cost of building them instead of something that directly helps your city.
    • Amenities, while local are limited globally when considering luxuries. More cities means you need to acquire more luxuries. Obviously settling another city near some luxuries will be good, but you won't find new luxuries everywhere.
    With the above in mind, and considering the opposition is up to the task (no Prince AI silliness) let's theorycraft (we still don't have the game) the 3 main expansion styles for Civ VI.
    • Tall. I would consider tall in Civ VI as prioritizing city growth and infrastructure over rapid expansion. Of course you don't want to stop expanding early but you want quality first quantity later (if possible). You try to space your cities (probably 4-5 tiles apart) to let them grow, add districts and wonders. Once a city have grown and building a settler won't take forever it's time to get a new city if there are good spots left (because yes, an additional good city is better) expansion comes naturally. Your cities can and must have a lot of districts to cover all your needs with a limited number of cities.
      • Pros :
        • Powerful cities early in the different economic aspects
        • Good production to crank military units in order to defend/invade. Strong cities to defend.
        • You might be able to get some early wonders (depending on how crazy the AI is about wonders on higher levels)
        • Early districts will allow you to acquire great people points for many different GP that don't conflict with each other
        • Powerful economy will allow your new cities to become powerful early with trade routes to big hubs and/or tiles and buildings purchases.
      • Cons :
        • With limited lands, you might see good spots taken by another civ and you might be forced to go to war to conquer some lands
        • You'll have a limited window of opportunity to benefit from your early strength and if you fail, a "wider" empire will probably become more powerful
        • Might be difficult to really benefit from the +50% to settler production card if you don't have a dedicated expansion phase
    • Wide. Priority to expansion early. You want to grab all the good land around you before anyone can do it. Growth will come later (because bigger cities are better no matter how many you have). You probably enter a lengthy expansion phase as soon as you reach Early Empires for the +50% to settler production card. You probably want your cities somewhat close together (3-4 tiles) meaning they probably can't grow very big nor have all districts. Since you want settlers fast, your best cities will probably build them and new cities will try to get some basic infrastructure.
      • Pros :
        • You will get many cities early, hopefully before an opponent can steal "your" lands
        • If you specialize your cities with a particular district in every city, you'll be very strong at that
        • Late game, you'll be a powerhouse once all your cities have grown
      • Cons :
        • You need to survive the early game with a weak military and angry neighbors
        • Your cities will be small in the early game
        • You'll miss early great people and wonders
    • Pure ICS. You never stop expanding, always adding cities. You want as many as possible so they are all 3 tiles apart. You last city will build the next settler so your previous ones can build other stuff.
      • Pros :
        • You might get more cities and total population than any other strategy (it's still unclear to me how beneficial they will be)
        • Your fist cities don't have to spend time building settlers, the smaller ones will
        • Regional effects of districts will be very good
      • Cons :
        • With cities so tightly packed together, it will be hard to build districts and improvements
        • Small cities will require a long time to build settlers with increasing cost, so by the time you get them the place where you wanted to settle might be gone
        • You risk draining your amenities a lot with that many cities (at least until you have regional entertainment)
        • Tons of cities to defend, possibly some without walls (at least early)
    But i think it doesn't stop there. There are probably be more strategies by mixing those basics
    • REx into Tall : Start as if going wide but space your cities slightly more then pause and grow. You take all the best spots and can grow big with an early game risk.
    • Tall with border ICS : You grow your core for a tall game but border cities go into ICS mode to catch as many lands as possible.

    Well, after such a lengthy post you probably expect i'll tell you what i think will be THE optimal strategy. I won't cause i don't know. I think and hope it will depend on map, surrounding civs, ultimate goal... In the end going "tall" or "wide" you'll be better if you have more bigger cities then the opponents but that seems pretty obvious and isn't new.
     
  6. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    One thing to consider is that a settler built in a larger city costs more food. Filthy and Arumba worked out that the cost for growing from pop N to pop N+1 is (N+(N+1))/2*10. In other words, pop 1 to pop 2 costs 15 food, pop 2 to pop 3 costs 25 food, 3 to 4 costs 35 food, and so on. This supports my own observations I had made earlier by watching people swap around tiles in the videos, so it seems legit. This means building a settler in a pop 10 city costs 95 food in addition to the hammer cost. Building it in a pop 2 city only costs 15 food. The problem is how to build it in your pop 2 city. Perhaps the most efficient way to produce settlers would be to buy them in a pop 2 city? (In any case, if you buy a settler, you should buy it in the smallest city possible.)

    Growth cost also comes into play when considering how fast you can develop your empire. Growing one city to pop 15 requires a total food surplus of 1120 food. Growing 3 cities to pop 5 costs 3*120 = 360 food (plus whatever growth you lose by building the 2 extra settlers). Without districts both alternatives produce as much science and culture, while 3 cities are ahead in hammer yields (they work 2 additional city center tiles). One pop 15 city can support 5 specialty districts, 3 pop 5 cities can support 6 specialty districts. If you have a unique district that doesn't count toward the limit, the pop 15 city can support 6 districts while 3 pop 5 cities can support 9 districts.

    It is yet unconfirmed, but it appears district costs go up every turn, not only when you build more districts. You can lock the district cost by placing it on the map, even if you don't plan to put any hammers into it yet. Since a large number of smaller cities will grow quicker to the required population level for districts, you can build all of them cheaper by starting them earlier. Still need confirmation on how district costs are calculated before we can tell for sure if this is the best strategy.

    As for the original topic, yes, I also think wide is always better. I can't think of any way how any victory condition could benefit more from a smaller empire than a larger one. And by wide I don't mean building nothing but settlers to pack in a maximum amount of cities as tightly as possible. But I do mean wider than I've seen in any of the preview let's plays. I will be aiming for continuous expansion, whether it be by peaceful settling or use of force, while also building up a strong economy and setting up strong core cities. The exact details for how to go about doing this has to be worked out with the game, but I'm very confident it is possible. Going wide does not need to severely slow down development of your core cities. Actually, I think the absolute opposite will be true in the long term.

    Peaceful vs aggressive expansion depends on how tough the AI is. An army could very well be way more cost effective than settlers are. At least we know it is on Prince difficulty, except that the AI doesn't build enough cities for you to capture...
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  7. Martin Alvito

    Martin Alvito Real men play SMAC

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    The proof ignores opportunity cost, which is why it reaches an erroneous conclusion.

    It seems pretty clear that the optimal empire size will have far more cities than a comparable CiV empire because the game doesn't penalize you for founding additional cities. If we're talking optimal finish times, though, at some point infrastructure is going to dominate Settler spam on cost efficiency.

    Even in the ICS-friendly release build of CiV, there was a point where you wanted to flip over to infrastructure. For Babylon it was somewhere around 15 cities (to get one GS per city). For other civs the equilibrium was further out.
     
  8. Lord Yanaek

    Lord Yanaek Emperor

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    I don't think the math is as simple. Food by itself isn't a useful value except to tell how big you can grow. Time required to grow is the important value. You'd need to factor the time required to build your settler (which will affect how fast your new city will grow) vs the time required to re-grow your city to know what city should build a settler.
    Obviously.
     
  9. treadwin

    treadwin Warlord

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    Most of the people in the debate are arguing as if there is unlimited premium quality settlement space.

    As long as you can acknowledge that building an incremental city on tundra with no water and no resource tiles is not advantageous, then the discussion becomes quantitative, ie how much of what, do you have to have available for the incremental city to be valuable.
     
  10. stagnate

    stagnate Warlord

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    Also you need to factor in the size of the cities and housing. If your city is at a 50% or 75% food penalty and can grow back to that before any housing is added then the opportunity cost is reduced similarly (have to account for the benefits that the
     
  11. Myth and Legend

    Myth and Legend Prince

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    Came here to say this. The great spots disappear very fast on Standard sized maps and # of civs on Deity, just like they did in Civ 5. Fersh water is crucial. You can't settle backwater ****eholes and expect to get anywhere on Deity. So far it seems to me (although it IS very map dependant) that you self found 2 extra cities and then archer rush your neighbors for their land.
     
  12. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    You can actually cope without freshwater once you have Aqueducts unlocked (and the city is in a proper spot to support one). Ideally you get it early by chopping a forest.
    What I found far more punishing is a lack of proper farming / food spots. In my JAP game I ended up expanding into a hilly area full of sheep - will not do again... D:
     
  13. Qoce

    Qoce Chieftain

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    It may not be that wide is always better than tall, there are just too many situations to consider. However, I do think that the current design is a big improvement over Civ V. The problem with V was that founding too many cities caused many empire wide problems. The biggest one was happiness, but also the increased tech cost, national wonder cost, and social policy costs made it very hard to go wide.
    Now there is not hard limit to expand, and it will usually be a good idea to take available land if it is of good quality. That being said, founding too many cities in places where the land is bad is still a poor choice because of the opportunity cost and the possibility of rebellion.

    I have one quick question: How does the price of districts scale? I read that it was all about how many techs and civics the civ had, but some people seem to be saying its based on the number of districts you have already built. This could be a huge detriment to wide if it is the case. Especially if the growth rate is exponential.
     
  14. LDiCesare

    LDiCesare Deity

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    Playing the game a little bit, you really want to control every possible land. That means less barbarians to defend from, and if you don't settle there,the ai will eventually.
    There is a natural way of limiting cities to size 2 or 3, which is by placing them far from water, just in case you need to (or if you have zero river and only tundra on your starting continent...).
     
  15. TheXMassTeam

    TheXMassTeam Chieftain

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    Hi :)

    The good news is that Wide vs Tall is no more so obvious. You can go tall, then found a good colonial place to expand wide and not being cap because you choose the wrong civics's tree 2000 years ago. Imho :)
     
  16. MkLh

    MkLh King

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    ICS is probably the way to go if you pursue for the earliest possible domination or space. Settlers should not be built but rather captured from your neighbors as their price is going up. If I understood correctly, you can turn production to money by "selling" (disbanding) your super-cheap (like chariots whit that 100% boost) units, so money will never be a problem.
     
  17. lamaros

    lamaros Warlord

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    Seems to me the strategy in Civ 6 is "build good cities".

    The one city strategy is pretty much dead, though.
     
  18. CivScientist

    CivScientist Warlord

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    I don't know if the right strategy in Civ VI is to go wide in the classical sense. REXing aggressively probably won't work in this game. I think instead one needs to pace their expansion to a fairly consistent rate. That rate is probably closely tied to the speed at which settler costs go up. I don't know what that expansion rate is but I suspect it's constant from game to game and just something you have to figure out with experience. So, perhaps going wide at a moderate pace?

    I'm still learning the game but I'm hard pressed to find any game mechanic that makes it more worthwhile to invest in your existing city vs building a new one (within limits). The only thing I have found is the ever increasing cost of building settlers. But, otherwise, building a new city is just transferring one pop to another location. But now you gain access to redundant districts, buildings that give a flat bonus per city, lower food costs to increase in pop, etc. If that new city is on decent terrain and the cost of acquiring the new city isn't tremendous, why not build/conquer a new city? Going tall just seems dead in Civ VI (for now anyway).

    Also, I've heard arguments that you want to build tall to get more great people earlier. I'm not yet convinced that a single great person is enticing enough to forego building a new city. Also, I can't think of a way to create a monstrous great person generator from only a few massive cities early on in the game.
     
  19. MkLh

    MkLh King

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    On Deity where the AI gets 3 free settlers a settler is certainly not worth building at early game. You can capture 2 of those settlers right away and the rest when they have already turned to cities...
     
  20. Myth and Legend

    Myth and Legend Prince

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    Actually self founding 1 city before your first war is really good unless you're Scythia. Capturing settlers isn't 100% guaranteed. The AI can easily end up too far from you (not in absolute distance, but covered by rough terrain so it takes your warrior 12 turns to get there), and/or plant its settlers on sub par but closer spots, or lose them to barbarians.
     

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