Having trouble specialising my cities...

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by unhealthyman, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. unhealthyman

    unhealthyman Chieftain

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    I understand the theory behind specialised cities and kinda try to make them work, but I generally don't get the working right...

    All my cities tend to end up as average production with a fair amount of commerce.

    So I'd just like to clarify a few points about how i should be doing it.

    For a commerce city, i wanna be building in a preferably grassy area and having enough food for like 1 or 2 growth a turn, put cottages every where I can and stop it growing when it starts to get health/happiness problems? Are they meant to suck at production until you get universal suffrage (or whatever its called,) and if so, how do you build things like libraries etc without it taking forever...

    For a GP farm, i want to find a place with loads of food, build loads of farms and have high pop right? I found that when i tried this the production was too low to build some of the essential GP buildings, especially trying to build some of the wonders which the comp were also building... My main problem is with the GP farm, I just never seem to get one that makes more than about 40 GPP by the end of the game.

    And a production city, should i just build it in a place with lots of hills etc? I can understand production cities i guess, but i never seem to get it quite right.

    Should I be deciding what cities will do what from the word go? I know that theres some things that all cities will need, but how much should specialising affect my plan right at the start?

    It seems to all pull together a bit towards the end when I get democracy and those other techs to make cottages uber, but I just figure I could be doing more to improve my tech lead early on. I guess I was doing something right, as most of the time I could keep the slider on 80% research and put it up to 100% at the end...
     
  2. Mulholland

    Mulholland Happy New Year!!!!

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    I use city specialization only as a general rule. At first they mostly begin as balanced cities. Enough to produce and cover the cost of expansion. at this point they can all work as a whole to stomp barbs here and there as needed and produce the framework for their ultimate specialization. Before Research has dropped too much I'll pick a commerce city (usally my capital) I'm usally a financial civ so rivers and the coast are an excellent location. As the game progresses the real specialization comes into play more buildings and wonders are available to you (think machinery and currency) and you cities then really begin to take shape.
    Just my two cents.
     
  3. opensilo

    opensilo Warlord

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    I've found that the key to city placement and eventual specialization is food. Almost all of the early cities I place are near some kind of extra-food resource: seafood, pigs/cows/sheep/corn/wheat/rice, or a few floodplains.

    Commerce city: without extra food, the best you can do is cottage all the grassland and two plains or grassland hills

    Production city: need 1 food for each grassland mine or 2 for each plains hill. Non-resource irrigation is okay, but inefficient since it only gets you one extra food on a grassland or breakeven on plains.

    GP farm: ideally you want as much extra food as you can for low population. Three resources is okay, four is great, I don't think I've ever seen five. If you're serious about generating GP, you either have to concentrate your wonders/buildings properly or run caste system. The former requires some production at some point, either nearby forests, hills to work, or slavery.

    In all cases, slavery gives you a pop-to-hammers conversion option, especially nice with a few food resources.

    Look to your food excess situation, then see what your terrain can support. Decide if you have a great obvious GP farm (just food resources, not much else of use) or if you want to use a good commerce or production site for a while as the GP farm.

    Figure about 4 commerce to every 1 production city if you're planning on strong military, less if you want to play more defensively.

    Other non-food-resource sites can be okay, but they'll have to be mostly grassland or coast, or they won't have many tiles that can be worked.

    Just my thoughts...good luck!

    I credit a long-ago post by alexti2 for first driving this home to me.
     
  4. linchpin

    linchpin Chieftain

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    Grasslands and flood plains are optimal. You'll also want to include a food resource to increase growth and to make up for an plains that make it into your fat cross. Cottage spam is the best and gold/gems ect work well too. Production isn't supposed to be great but shouldn't be a huge issue. You're not going to be making military and the only thing you'll need are health boosters, happiness boosters and most importantly commerce and science boosters. If you're having a hard time with the production, don't be shy, use the whip and get the improvements built.

    Yeah. GP farms aren't essential. Often I find a food rich production city becoming a gp farm because of the wonders that get built. I don't think i've ever set out to build a gp farm though. I just can't justify using a civic for just one city. If you're getting 40 GPP, that ain't bad.

    Make sure you have high food so you can work those hills. It's nice if you can settle a spot with bronze or iron in the cross for the extra hammers. Build near rivers/lakes and hills so you can irrigate/mine

    It isn't something that’s easy to do but yeah, you should plan the city before it even has a name. You could sit down and add up all the food/hammers/coin but that would be really tedious. For starters look for food resources and hill or coin combinations. Eventually you'll be able to look at a section of map and say "Ohh! Nice (whatever) city!" The point is that by doing this you're not going to waste cities, misplace them, or waste time building improvements that a city isn't going to benefit from. The sooner you plan, the less you waste in terms of hammers/time/population/coin.
     
  5. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    My current thinking is that you should start planning right away, but not necessarily specializing right away (especially in the opening - that little berg there is going to be a commerce city eventually, but you need more military now....)
     
  6. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    After 3 months of cIV i'm still unable to specialize correctly (other than the GP farm : 5 sea food is quite a word! GP came out running!)

    I even have trouble growing my cities enough to work the tiles!
    I only had one single city over size 20 (the GPfarm remember ;) )!
     
  7. Fetch

    Fetch When in doubt, reboot.

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    Isn't 21 the max pop for a city? And isn't it impossible for some cities to grow huge b/c of their location?
     
  8. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    don't know about that
    I had in mind the max was what the food could support (i think i had a 22 size-city, but i cannot swear)

    And of course, if you're surrounded by desert, mountains and snow you won't grow to size 20, but why would you settle there? (ice age isn't very populous indeed:rolleyes: )
     
  9. Fetch

    Fetch When in doubt, reboot.

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    Keep in mind I'm a novice at best, but it seems quite difficult for me to find city sites that can max out the pop. I'm usually happy if I get middle-teens in population. Do I aim too low?
     
  10. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    don't bend too low, i do not know better (as i said before, i got trouble getting my cities to grow, so specializing is a very far off goal).
    What I know is the famous way to calculate how much farms you need, with a 20 pop goal for working all tiles. When i read the 20 pop goal i :cry: .
     
  11. unhealthyman

    unhealthyman Chieftain

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    I never max out my pop either really, probably partly because i try and finish games a bit earlier. I also find that unhealthiness limits most of my cities to around 14-15 which is fine by me anyway.

    What kinda production is good for a size 15 developed city btw? Just some ballpark figure would help me know if I'm expecting too much or if i'm doing something wrong... Say i've got a forge and powered factory etc, and spaceship parts are taking 10 turns each part? Does that sound normal... If i'd thought about this more I'd have actually checked my production in my last game, I just kinda felt that my production really sucked in most of my cities.
     
  12. DarkFyre99

    DarkFyre99 Prince

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    Cities can grow as large as their health, food, and happiness bonuses will let them. The largest city (a GP farm) I've ever had was size 29. Three flood plains, four food resources, and no plains or hills. When I saw the location in the middle of the jungle, it just screamed "GP Farm."

    I could've grown that city to size 31... but I hit my happiness cap, and I didn't want any unproductive citizens. I tried to get more religions into the city, but I couldn't build missionaries without switching from free religion, so getting the three religions that were founded on the foreign continent was problematic, and the AI didn't even try to convert my people.

    (Needless to say, I was playing at a difficulty level of Noble)

    addendum: After I'd finished the game, I realized that the Globe Theatre isn't a completely useless National Wonder, and maybe this one time I should've built it. I haven't made that mistake since.
     
  13. Selous

    Selous King

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    im having trouble building GP citys effectivly ... but production citys i know and easy to see on the map, to start with you HAVE to have 1 or 2 good food resorces, at least, by using just grassland to get big enough you have serious probs with health and happyness before you get to utilise your dedicated production squares .... a good food resorce will pay for a few mines

    remember that a production city does not have to be that big, you just have to work all the good production squares
     
  14. cabert

    cabert Big mouth

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    What buildings/civics(?)/wonders allow you to make an engineer specialist?

    i know the forge (1), and that's it

    edit : i searched and found only factory(2) and ironwork(3) to add. Not much!

    so if you've got a very big food city, you can boost it with forge, power and factory, ironwork allowing up to 6 Engineers.
     
  15. Samson

    Samson Deity

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    I will decide on a cities specialty as soon as I found it, and often before I capture it. I will have one GP city, and it will be the one with most food potential. Food bonuses are nice, but I will prioritize lots of grassland over 1 food bonus. Being able to get this city, usually captured, up and running by the time you get drama is a priority.

    After I have decided on my GP city, or if my new city will defintly not be the GP one, then it is the choose between production or commerce. The factors I consider, roughly in order of importance;

    - If I am a long way from Civil service (as I usually am when founding cities) and/or I am short of fresh water (eg. on great plains map) then I will make any city with acces to a few irrigatable tiles production, just because all the others will have to be commerce because that is all you can do on flat land.
    - If there are plenty of irragatable tiles, I will determine which cities are production by how many hills are available.
    - If I am still undecided by this point, I will consider the availability of commerce bonuses around the city. I do not like having commerce bonuses around production cites, especially if I do not have another source.
     

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