GP farms and cottage heavy economies

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by §L¥ Gµ¥, May 5, 2009.

  1. §L¥ Gµ¥

    §L¥ Gµ¥ Prince

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    Currently, I'm trying to wean myself off of phi-cre-spi leaders, as I'd developed a taste for specialist driven science, but I want to take a step back and perfect my cottage driven economic skills to the same level. But I've got a few questions on how to properly leverage a couple aspects of slider based science economies on the higher levels.

    First, as you've guessed from the title is how to manage a good GP farm. I'm finding that instead of running scientists, I'm running merchants, and that my financial cities are essentially merchant ones. After whipping/chopping infrastructure, I slip into caste system and have a couple food-heavy cities running merchants. I just don't feel that I'm getting enough out of it though, merchants are only getting me +3 gold per specialist and not much else. Just as bad, is that when I do manage to gain a GM, they're only offering a +7 gold if settled, bulbing down a different and often less desirable tech path, or a trade mission which becomes less of a factor when you manage to get 3-4 of them in a hurry. I guess, is it better to have a stockpile of 6000 gold and run a debt, or break even at 90-100% science?

    Another question about the GP farm is whether or not I should make my specialist city a priest factory instead. It's harder to mine priests [caste not applying], but using them to build shrines and turn those into economic powerhouse cities. I usually manage to have 2-3 religions by mid-game, but spreading religion and mining those priests seems to cost a lot of hammers, diverting precious resources away from military. But +2 gold for the Priest and +6 gold for the GP are not that far off the merchants.

    I'm hesitant to be running a science GP farm since I'm trying to avoid the SE, and without the pyramids/representation, it's a far less attractive option, although arguably the bulbing potential is much greater.

    As an aside, now that I'm off representation, I'm also trying to leverage HR. It's not something I ever took advantage of on lower levels, but I'm a little gun-shy on trying to exploit it. I don't like the idea of spreading my forces evenly across each of my cities to gain happiness in core cities never likely to see battle. Secondly, with US coming up in the later game, I fear that having an HR pumped city will leave me with massive unhappiness if I decide to switch. Another deciding factor is unit maintenance. Unit costs will be much higher if I decide to pump my core cities with more units, plus the extra units I have on the border cities and invasion forces. Does the additional happiness, population and extra worked tiles actually offset the maintenance? Especially since most if not all of the commerce off those worked tiles is going to science? Or should I just pump more units in those merchant cities to allow for more specialists?

    Please, any advice on how to properly leverage the CE is much appreciated.
     
  2. Learningciv

    Learningciv Warlord

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    First thing is ignore the term CE. In any economy where I am running cottages I also run specialists. I don't generally have a proper GP farm until after Education (a decent % of the time my Glib + 2 scientists powers me through Philo/Edu). My early GPs are normally scientists and I get 1 settled GS, 1 acadamy, 1 Philo, 1 Edu from them (I might not get one of those 4). Now you do have a few options after early GPs:

    *Without access to a strong religious city you can run a GP farm as your super commerce city. Build market + grocer + bank + walllstreet and run merchants (plus any priests you can if merchant spots are full if not in caste). A merchant specialist will be 9gpt, settled even more. Just spam them and settle them. The extra food from settling also allows MORE!!! National epic + wallstreet. Happy cap might be a problem if you don't have a lot of infrastructure/resources. This allows you to keep your slider higher while having a dedicated commerce city.

    *Spread it out a bit for various reasons. You run a semi-strong GP farm but also have other cities that can pump out GP for certain reasons. For example Mining Inc requiring an GE might make you run some in your Ironworks city so you can found the corp. Overall you don't want to produce as many great people (so you can more easily build the ones you want like GE's) but you want the ones you get to be more meaningfull.
     
  3. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Cottages do best with the multipliers.

    Run a crapton of scientists off caste with a library to fuel early research and bulb philosophy/education for trades. Pacifism is an option if you can swing it diplomatically.

    Cottages really take off with US/emancipation, they're just placeholders to pay for expansion and some of the research until then. You do want to work them though, to grow them and so that you can actually pay for enough cities.

    Don't neglect GPP no matter what else you do, unless you're screwing around or trying some odd variant.

    Pottery comes before currency, alphabet, CoL, or any other means of generating more $$$. This means that cottages can allow you to fund extra cities at the game's earliest stages...take advantage.
     
  4. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    My game right now probably exemplifies this. Capital with like 6 FP. A few food resources. A few hills. Lots of grasslands. Financial leader. I crashed my economy in rexing (was down to -1 GPT at 0% slider for a turn, before having Writing!). But through cottages, production, having nobody being a wonderspammer and thus being able to get TGL, I crawled my way back up from the grave.

    Now, I'm just starting to get my GP farm set up. My other cities, it doesn't make sense to run a scientist when I have riverside cottages to grow, but I have a site with corn, pigs, and a fish. Once I get it happy, I'll start farming GP from it. It's even nice that it has 2 plains hills to get production from when I need it. I think it might make sense to farm merchants - that means that I'll be able to avoid building markets and grocers in my other cities unless if I need them for health or happiness.

    Now, if you get a few merchants in a row, then you're better to run high slider, and maybe use that money to help your military. If you're at the great points in the game where you can build a cheaper unit and upgrade, do that. So, build a ton of axes and swords, and then when you get macemen, upgrade them en masse. You only need minimal siege to have macemen walk over archers if you can get there before other people get longbows. Or, mass Trebs, and upgrade them all to cannons. Or you can even upgrade a group of CR maces to Rifles.

    For HR, it just means that you build tons of units specifically for happiness. It can be tough switching to US later, but basically, once you get to that point, you just have to make sure you know the cost. Often at that time, I'll swap to FR at about the same point - then if you have 2 religions per city, there's 2 extra happiness. Unless if you really abused HR to get a city to size like 20, it's a shock, but usually manageable. Maybe lose 1 pop per city, or have to tweak the slider a bit, but it's manageable.
     
  5. Jet

    Jet No, no, please. Please.

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    * Merchants are great, but your objection to scientists doesn't make any sense. Try running an equal number of scientist and mechant cities.
    * If money is burning a hole in your pocket, try upgrading units, if they're units you're going to use.
    * Try building one shrine and skipping the rest.
    * Try using HR stacks only in cities with national wonders or Bureaucracy. Later you might need a lot of resources to make US worth it, but rememeber US lets you build and buy more happy buildings and more units.
     
  6. Learningciv

    Learningciv Warlord

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    IIRC some number crunchers posted that running merchants with a high science slider is more beneficial. I may be confusing this with building wealth however (which definantly is better to build then science due to easier % increases for science).
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    It's not the same as wealth vs research because the same % multipliers applied to the slider are applied to the specialists (only at the city level rather than empire level). Merchants still offer lower output if the city has a library but not a market.

    However, they might help more than scientists because the city is not generating commerce, so it's better to apply the gold output to a stronger city...it's possible.

    I'd still recommend scientists though, because the scientist as a GP bulbs the liberalism path (easily the best trading path), and unlocks more science multipliers.
     
  8. Dirk1302

    Dirk1302 Deity

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    @learningciv, strictly speaking this is true, running merchants allow a higher slider percentage benefiting the academy cities (or the cities with lib/uni/obs). If we forget about bulbing for a while, you need scientists to have academies in the first place. So i'd say scientists first to build the multipliers, then merchants to keep the slider as high as possible. The idea of wealth vs science is the same.
     
  9. Learningciv

    Learningciv Warlord

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    I agree there, I don't have many situations pre-lib where I am running merchants. Library powered scientists tend to be my main GPs pre-lib (some situations, like my current Byzantium trait comparison game where I have the option of building a shrine from a TOA + priest specialist powered GP are the exception). However I was talking about talking about Jet's comment of running a bit of both and the theory of whats optimal. I think it would come down to a city by city basis while looking at the empire as a whole.
     
  10. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Are merchants really the truth for a high slider? You'd need to have the gold multipliers in place. Without any multipliers, working a grassland mine + wealth is superior to running a merchant. Obviously the presence of a forge vs gold multipliers affects that somewhat, however people rarely have the gold multipliers other than a market beyond forges.

    If one lacks the mines then it's caste workshops vs merchants which makes the latter more attractive, but still not especially far in front. I don't see the appeal of using merchants this way until the multipliers are in place.

    Edit:
    gotcha.
     
  11. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    Well, you have to generate coins from somewhere. Even if it's sub-optimal for the city itself, if you can notch your slider up because of it, your other cottage-heavy cities will put more beakers through their libraries. It's pretty easy to compare - just try out both using merchants and scientists, and see which gives you more BPT.

    One edge to using merchants over mines + wealth is if you want GPP. Now, some people would be more than happy if they always popped a GS. But sometimes playing a merchant farm game, and using the merchants to run trade missions to keep the slider high can be more useful. Sometimes, 900 gold from a merchant trade mission can be better than 1000 beakers from bulbing philosophy.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Hmmmm. You're right about the GPP. I guess trade missions = tech and that the gold > beakers if you have better science slider...although missing the academy can hurt.
     
  13. Learningciv

    Learningciv Warlord

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    Rep powered merchants verse grassland mine?
     
  14. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    If you ignore GPP, it ties or the mine comes out slightly ahead. Scary, huh?

    GPP can't really be ignored, however. That's the true appeal of specialists usually.
     
  15. Jet

    Jet No, no, please. Please.

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    My advice was tailored to SlyGuy.
     
  16. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    It's still worth running scientists early for at least one academy, I think. Especially since the early GP farm is often just running 2 scientists off of a library, and if you combine your GP farm with the Great Library, then you'll have a decent number of scientist GPP that you might still pop some scientists.
     
  17. Learningciv

    Learningciv Warlord

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    Really? I never knew that.

    3bpt,3gpt =1f3p

    I suppose 2 mines = 2f3p which can equal 2 more mines (or 1 specialist).

    Does that theory take into account happy caps?
     
  18. royal62184

    royal62184 Prince

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    There seems to be a lot of factors:
    Do you want to bulb liberalism path?
    Are you running representation?
    What multipliers are present in your cities?

    It seems situational dependent. Depending on how your civ is setup, it may be better merchants and then run a higher slider, but at the possibility of losing the liberalism path. Wonder if anyone has the ability to theorycraft it for some analysis. That would be cool. Decisions like this I just seem to "wing" it in the game and i just tend to running scientists, but this thread convinced me to question it. It would be benefical to everyone if there was a relatively easy way to deduce it in the game.
     
  19. Learningciv

    Learningciv Warlord

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    Theory is next to impossible for this. Everything is so situational. For example in the current IU game (Bismark) I took lib in the 500's, just beating Mansa. In the same game with the same settings others took lib past 1000AD. That is a huge difference with the same settings.... now imagine if settings were different
     
  20. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    No, the mines would need 1 more pop. so the rep merchant is slightly better I suppose.

    Still, don't forget the merchant costs food. You need 2 farms to feed it, same as 2 grass mines (but 1 more pop for the mines).

    More interesting is if the mines are riverside. While farms vs cottages are usually assumed to ignore riverside commerce since both improvements work it, in the case of mines it's not worked when the merchants are being run. It may indeed be -2f 6h 2c against -2f 3bpt 3gpt...not exactly a blowout in favor of the GP, which is surprising considering the opportunity cost of getting early pyramids.

    The comparison skews a bit later on, since we get biology, but also railroads.

    Don't forget that in order to max the output of the merchant under rep, you'd need both sets of commerce multipliers, while production only requires one. It's not so cut and dry if you're not going to create a GP.

    However, mids+rep lets you pack a crapton of smaller cities ultra-tight and run the specs for research while using fewer tiles, so it's not like hammers are necessarily better. You have to know what you're doing either way.
     

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