[Civ2] Help with Civ 2 finances


Jan 12, 2004
Southern California, USA
The following was a response to a recent Reddit question entitled "Help with civ2 finances" as posted here: . For this particular individual the reply was not 20 years late...

Hello. After reading through the 13 comments in this thread, i will offer the ideas of a highly experienced player (if i may say so as humbly as possible) including having participated in leagues with a high level ranking and winning percentage. The following is the typical strategy i would employ in a civ building game without the goal of early military conquest which would have its own set of priorities.

One: Early buildings are a big misappropriation of finite resources as your civ will be vastly more greatly benefitted by focusing primarily on new settlers and fast expansion. 13 cities by 1750 ad falls far short of your potential when you can easily have had 100 cities or more, perhaps on average 2 or 3 squares apart with some exceptions, most commonly (but with exceptions) on grasslands including grass/river squares that do not already have a shield. Settler, Settler, Settler (sometimes with a warrior first) - and not buildings - should be our usual default in the earlier part of the game if our goal is to build the most powerful civ as fast as possible. I will typically have at least 40 or 50 cities along with PYRAMIDS and HANGING GARDENS before prioritizing a single building. Buildings ideally will come later primarily to aid in the celebration growth of super trade cities (in Republic) once landing trades becomes worth the investment which is a topic for another thread.

But essentially and ideally we want our trades to be sent to separate land masses generally once we already have 18-20 or more techs, ideally from cities which have built up substantial trade arrows, ideally to foreign rivals, ideally to separate land masses, and ideally demanded. As to why 18 or 20 + techs is important, bonuses are based upon our current beaker cost to research a new tech. Our first tech typically costs 10 beakers, our tenth around 125 or so and our 20th about 400-500. Thus seeking to land trades with too few techs would yield bonuses that are not sufficiently lucrative to justify diverting resources from additional Settlers / additional cities. As an example, landing a trade for a bonus of 50 is not as powerful for your overall civilization development as building a new Settler and a new city instead and landing trades later and from a larger number of cities when these trades will be far more lucrative.

Two: As another aspect of optimal expansion, Pyramids is a fantastic wonder to build fairly early, most of the time best accomplished with 4 caravans and timed to coincide with having approximately 20 cities give or take. Pyramids will typically allow your civ to maintain primarily size 2 cities rather than having cities that are primarily size 1s and to very quickly grow back to size 2's once new settlers are built. As one highly valuable tip, within size 2 cities it is powerful to seek (where feasible and practical) completing new settlers with 20 food in the box which allows the city to grow right back to size 2 the very turn after the settler emerges.

Depending upon the government you are in and the difficulty level (you are playing King level), Hanging Gardens would sequentially generally be the 2nd priority wonder and most especially if you are in Republic where celebration within each city yields an extra citizen per turn. In Monarchy at King Level, the prioritization of HG will ideally be held back until many more cities are built, but keeping in mind that upon vast expansion, there will begin to be unhappy faces that are not satisfied by martial law requiring either Lux or HG. Typical ideal path towards Pyramids then HG: Monarchy or Republic likely with Bronze Working as the required off path tech, then i like Map Making to open up whales and such for ideal city placement as well as to aid in exploration and in the meeting of foreign civs (from which some of the following techs can be obtained), then Currency, Trade, Masonry, Pottery.

Three: Early Exploration is vital in synergy with fast expansion since this will open up the best sites for near future city placement as well as popping huts most of which will be valuable, including Tribes, Nomads, exploring units and also Coin. Whales are great for early cities and secondarily grass/river cities, each of which will provide 2 beakers towards our rushed government path and whale cities with an invaluable extra shield. Regardless of initial government goal, i would not in most cases research Horseback for faster exploring units since it is an off path tech that might end up as one among others in delaying the government tech... and so would instead use generally one warrior per early city for this purpose (perhaps for the first 2-6 cities) depending upon how many units emerge from some of the huts.

Four: Ideal tech path towards fast Monarchy: 1. Alphabet, 2. Code of Laws (then 3. the forced off path tech, usually i would choose Bronze, but if Map Making is vital in your current situation, i believe it needs to be researched 2nd and will not be available as the 3rd), 4. Ceremonial Burial, 5. Monarchy. Sometimes we would pop our one required off path tech towards Monarchy in a hut instead of having to choose one. A more experienced player might prefer bypassing Monarchy and going instead directly to Republic: (Alphabet, Code of Laws, Writing, (then off path, likely Bronze), Literacy, Republic) and depending upon the circumstances i often consider this to be ideal.

Five: Minimal defense only as needed, focusing instead upon fast expansion and fast exploration, opening up land to better see what's coming. This too is a nuanced topic which could be much expanded upon in another thread.

Six: Next generation wonders typically after having at least 30-50 cities. Marco's can be quite useful, especially on a larger map as this will yield map and tech trades which would otherwise take much longer to obtain. Excellent fast exploration especially on a smaller map will render Marco's far less valuable since once a civ is encountered we can trade maps and techs without an embassy. As another consideration, Marco's built earlier can often provide for some desired key techs without having to invest in researching them ourselves (allowing for minimal Science rate and maximal gold income) For example after Monarchy or Republic, we might want to pursue Currency and Trade on our own and build Marco's at which point the potential is fairly strong to obtain Map Making, Masonry and/or Pottery with tech trading along with possibly writing and/or Literacy towards Republic (and Republic itself if we are very lucky). Another benefit of building Marco's is that upon getting Map Making, Masonry, Pottery and Republic, and then gaining every remaining available ai tech, we will likely be at the point where our beaker cost is sufficiently high whereby demanded trade caravans landing on separate land mass foreign soil will yield significant returns, perhaps bonuses of 200-350 or so.

In any case, on a large map and especially with 7 civs, Marco's is quite valuable, including in opening up maps and tech trades that otherwise would likely have taken many additional centuries to obtain. In turn these maps open up the most optimal trade routes.

Michelangelo's is a high level wonder for added celebration growth, typically helping many size 5 cities to celebrate to size 8's and sometimes 11s or 12's. I will reiterate here that celebration growth in Republic is transformational, first with the help of Hanging Gardens and then later Mike's elevates this explosion in citizenry to the next level. But we don't want this taking place with only 10 cities, we want it to be more like 30 - 50.

In some situations, Lighthouse is powerful and maybe necessary in reaching foreign lands, but often not. As a side note, in games vs other humans, LH is considered by many to be so powerful a wonder that it is commonly banned. But in games vs the ai, it is most commonly not very important.

Seven: In the very early stages of the game, there is a challenging decision in whether to invest 2 turns to build a road en route to the next city site or to skip it and build the city 2 turns faster. At this earliest stage, swift city placement is all the more vital and unless the road will be built on an immediately utilizable production square, i would typically skip it for the time being. As to irrigation, i would almost never invest in it early on unless traveling a significant distance along rivers and/or roads towards the next city placement and storing a turn of work each turn along the way. 2 steps at a time (out of 3) then storing the work by clicking i then clicking it off, continuing to complete this process each subsequent turn and the 5th turn will yield an irrigated square. A second settler en route to city placement can also contribute into this, for example with one of them contributing 2 turns of work and the other 3 to complete the irrigation.

Very early on i only want to invest in a road and/or to a lesser extent an irrigation if my city production will immediately benefit from it, keeping in mind that a size 1 city can only utilize the single very best square (aside from the city square itself) and additional upgraded squares beyond this one are for the most part a misappropriated investment of finite resources, in this case 2 turns of work for an improvement that will not be utilized right away as opposed to building a very early and crucial city 2 turns earlier.

A foremost consideration is that the sooner the city is placed, the sooner it will begin to multiply itself and the sooner we are likely to complete our government tech which then propels the civ faster yet towards greatness.

There is much more that could be written and these are just some of the more significant aspects, but prioritizing your early game in these ways would advance your caliber of play significantly.
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The following was a response to a recent Reddit question entitled "Help with civ2 finances" as posted here: . For this particular individual the reply was not 20 years late...
I presume you discovered this because you use Reddit. Perhaps you could share this succession game, since seeing how an actual game is played can be a lot more helpful than general advice. Maybe point out that the game was played in Classic, where the AI is not so hostile.
I presume you discovered this because you use Reddit. Perhaps you could share this succession game, since seeing how an actual game is played can be a lot more helpful than general advice. Maybe point out that the game was played in Classic, where the AI is not so hostile.
Yes i have only just barely used Reddit, but discovered a Civ 2 question in there as well as a "subreddit" for civ 2 or maybe for all civ. I quite agree with you that seeing how an actual game is played can greatly complement general advice. It is possible that the questioner played with a hostile ai, but in truth my thoughts would be the same either way. The using as little military as necessary point would still apply, but more would be needed to satisfy this minimal need... and perhaps with nearby hostile civs that will never be friendly it makes more sense to wipe them out than to peacefully coexist. If he responds back i can add additional details and can link to the succession game. I expect he would benefit by checking out your youtube channel as well ( https://www.youtube.com/@ProfCiv2 ).
Hi- where can I get the actual exe file?! Everything i've downloaded is not it. frustrated
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