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Grassland

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by futurehermit, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    I was thinking today about refining my philosophy of civ4. Generally, I think that land is power.

    However, what do you think of this refinement: The prospect of winning increases as a function of the number of grassland (and floodplains, which are basically grasslands on steroids) tiles you control.

    Grassland tiles are of course food-neutral and thus can feed themselves, which is great. They also can do a number of things. You can cottage them, which is good as towns are a very powerful tile after the CE civics come online. You can farm them, which is also good as post-biology one grassland farm can support one specialist. They also help with whipping and drafting. You can also workshop them mid-to-late game for some very powerful production, especially with state property. Some of my most powerful production cities were majority grassland tiles that got workshop spammed.

    I find that the best games I have are games where I have a large empire consisting mostly of grassland tiles. If I have surroundings that feature a lot of coast, mountains, desert, tundra, and plains I view my chances of winning as diminished relative to seeing lush grasslands around my neighbourhood.

    So, what do you think, if land is power, is grassland the secret to that power?
     
  2. ICNP

    ICNP The Third Superpower

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    Since Tundra, Desert, and Ocean are all useless than yes Grassland is power but so is coast to an extent.
     
  3. futurehermit

    futurehermit Deity

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    well, i'm also talking about plains, hills, etc. of course hills are very important for production early in the game (and later as well to a certain extent), and if you don't have production early you are often screwed, but if you have hills but very limited grassland (i've had games like that) i wonder if you are in worse shape in the grand scheme of things.

    i don't know what the ratio would be, but i'm thinking if you have > a certain ratio of grassland tiles over the course of your 20+ city empire then you will have a better chance of winning than if you don't exceed that ratio, something like that.
     
  4. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    Postulate 1: A food-neutral tile that produces 1h is too slow to bother working.

    So plains farms are out pre-biology, as are windmilled hills before replaceable parts. Grassland forests should be chopped mercilessly.

    What do we have left?

    grassland hill + grassland farm = 1.5h
    plains hill + 2x grassland farm = 1.3h
    grassland farm + slavery = 1.3h to 2.6h
    any food resource + any hill = 1.3h to 2.8h per tile

    In conclusion, the limiting factors are grassland and food resources. Grassland hills are 12.5% more productive than plains hills given infinite grassland, and 50% more productive given limited grassland.
     
  5. STATS

    STATS Habitual Wonder Builder

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    Here's how I think about it:

    Each tile produces food, hammers, and commerce.

    Hammers allow you to build units/buildings and commerce goes through the slider and becomes beakers, EP and gold.

    But the food resource is more important than hammers/commerce because it is a prerequesite for generating those hammers and commerce.

    For example, a tile with no food means it can't support the citizen working it. No food = no hammers/commerce.

    This doesn't hold true the other way around. It doesn't make since to say a tile with "No hammers = no food/commerce".

    Indeed, a tile with sufficient food may generate all commerce and no hammers (think cottaged grassland) or vice versa.

    Grassland tiles are self sufficient. They are the baseline and the amount of food generated by a city is directly proportional to it's output of hammers/commerce.
     
  6. Artichoker

    Artichoker Emperor

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    That is true for the most part, since all cities need Food to grow bigger, and that is how they become more powerful in general.

    However, city growth is meaningful only when your cities are secure (a city without military units can easily be in danger), and sometimes it is better to favor production over growth, in order to ensure that your cities are secure.
     
  7. DeaExMachina

    DeaExMachina Warlord

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    I determine my ability to win by the amount of hills I control. Grassland is nice, Grassland hills are better. What am I going to do with grassland before the modern era? Cottage or farm, the only reason to farm is so I can work hills.

    I've lost many a game where I've been able to out tech my opponents but they could out produce me with weaker swarms (this is, strictly speaking of MP as I do not play Civ SP). Production is the key and I base my entire empire around having the best production in the world.
     
  8. Morgrad

    Morgrad Attack Rodent

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    I agree if you're going to take a game through the industrial age - but until you get all those bonuses that make grasslands so stinkin' versatile (as well as State Property), grassland is mostly just food or commerce - no hammers.

    A formerly-jungle, riverside grassland city with lots of workshops and watermills is a sight to behold, but I'll take that city site from your cold, dead hands if I have food + hills early on and you don't.

    To a degree I agree with your train of thought on this, but I think you're stating it a bit more firmly than I would go along with. :)
     
  9. Ibian

    Ibian King

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    Food is power.
     
  10. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    I think Morgrad summed up my thinking. Late-game a grassland city can be very powerful but your early cities need a balance. Some grasslands/floodplains/food resources and some hills (or less optimally forests). I agree plains don't contribute a lot. If on a plains heavy map food resources tend to be the main factor in where I place my cities so I can work whatever else is there. Also a grasslands farm is only +1 food, a food resource up to +4 food, so early game when cities are small food resources are much more important than grasslands.
     
  11. Munch

    Munch Benevolent Despot

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    Your basic philosophy that "Land is power" is almost right, unless it's useless land. Basically:

    Repeat 3 times.
     
  12. Hereditary Rule

    Hereditary Rule Warlord

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    Which then translates to, "Citizens/Pop is power," no?

    This is making me re-think the power of the Kymer UB, which basically reads "turn one plains into a grassland in every city."
     
  13. Munch

    Munch Benevolent Despot

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    Pretty much! You can't get the population without generating the food, though.

    Or "+0.5 population".
     
  14. Daedal

    Daedal Prince

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    Land is power and food is power because in the end speed is power. How fast can you REX? How fast can you rush your neighbor? How fast can you tech to Liberalism? How fast can you beat the game? Food is the basis for doing all of that because food lets you do more stuff faster, whether that be by letting you work more squares, run more specialists, or whip/draft more. I'd agree with futurehermit's OP, grassland is the secret to the power of land. Better yet, flood plains (the game's won by the time unhealth is a problem). Better still, food resources. Good land beats lots of land any day.
     
  15. CivMcNut

    CivMcNut Having Fun At It

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    I would make the exception of areas where there are lots of resources in a concentrated area. Like a bunch of deer and silver in a spot where a city can be founded (but is tundra). Or what about that seafood city where there's four seafood tiles (but the land is plains or lots of desert). Through a Moa Statues there and watchout. But otherwise yeah, grassland is power. Some of my best end game cities have been strictly grassland, no hills. I think of jungle as grassland about to happen.
     
  16. Calouste

    Calouste Deity

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    You forgot:

    Grassland farm + grassland workshop (w/Caste System + Guilds + Chemistry) = 2h per tile.

    Even with just Caste System + Guilds, which you can run for a fairly long time, flatlands with a workshop are as good as hills with a mine.
     
  17. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    When you are trying to squeeze the most out of your terrain, grassland workshops aren't that useful.

    Suppose you start with 2x grassland, 2x grass hill.

    You could do 1 farm + 1 workshop for 4h.
    Or you could do 2 farms + 2 mines for 6h.
     
  18. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

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    With chemistry & caste system, and without state property and railroads...

    Let's suppose you don't have replacable parts either.


    If you can do 1 farm + 1 workshop for 4:hammers:, then you can do 1 farm + 1 workshop + 2 windmills for 6:hammers: 2:commerce:, which is better than 6:hammers:.

    Of course, these comparisons change a lot throughout the course of a game.
     
  19. Ibian

    Ibian King

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    Depends exactly where on the tech tree you are.

    Windmilled grassland hill=2f 2h each, and a bit of commerce.

    Unless im running state property, what i do is build mines and workshops early on, then change them to watermills and windmills later when the population is high enough. Gives more overall production than mines, because they are food neutral.
     
  20. LlamaCat

    LlamaCat Emperor

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    absolutely, that's why most people play "temperate" climate maps..... anything else and you're asking for a real challenge :)

    PS I like your designation of floodplains as being grassland on steroids... in other words they give you get a powerful boost, but at the expense of long-term health :)
     

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