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Help with opening moves

Discussion in 'Civ3 - General Discussions' started by Mike Hussey, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Hello friends,

    I've heard it said that the most important part of a Civ game is the opening play, in particular the first 100 turns. I recently took this to heart by investigating the concept of formal and calculated settler factories and expanding quickly in the early stages. I think I know grasp the basics of this concept. The magical numbers to aim for are 5 food surplus per turn and at least 6 shields per turn whilst on a population 4 city. With numbers lower than this the amount of turns between settlers increasing above 4.

    In attempt to learn how to optimally perform the opening stages of this game I have just started a standard Pangea game with the Mayans. The question I have for you guys is slightly difficult for me to express, but I'll do my best. Basically I want to know about the decision making algorithims and thought process and patterns which will allow me to come to the best moves in the opening play.

    In this situation in particular I am at a loss as to what my priorities should be because there are so many different paths I could take seeming.
    I could immediately chop the forest, whilst starting a granary right after training 1 initial warrior for city garrison and finish the granary quite rapidly. Then build 1-2 workers to keep the population at around 3 and have it grow to 4 right after all the necessary improvements are made to the bonus grasslands. It would then be the perfect 4 turn settler factory. The thing I'm concerned about though is that in this case I would only have one warrior for garrison, no exploration and this would delay my contact with other civs. Additionally the other problem would be that I wouldn't be able to scout my surroundings for a plan of future city placements, particularly considering that they will be the first core ring of cities. I'm not sure whether or not it is worth it to sacrifice the exploration for the rapid establishment of a settler factory.
    In the second scenario, I could possibly train up a few warriors like I usually do, use them for scouting and whatnot and delay this settler factory due to the fact that I cannot build as many workers and therefore also delay the terrain improvements.

    Does anyone have any advice in this scenario?
     
  2. Lanzelot

    Lanzelot Moderator Moderator

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    This start is pretty similar to the one we had in the Asterix game: an agricultural civ on fresh water with a deer forest. See the discussion there.

    We had two different approaches in that game:
    • I chopped the forest right away and used the extra food as fast as possible.
    • Two other excellent Civ3 players, templar_x and Paperbeetle, first improved some other tiles and used the deer tile as shield-supplier to get an earlier granary.

    My approach had a slightly higher commerce output, so I got Republic a bit faster. Their approach had the 4-turner operational a few turns earlier. In the end I think the difference was not that big, but I would now slightly prefer the second approach. Only I would not go for the gran directly (farmer's gambit) like templar_x did, but build 2-3 axes first. The early contacts/trade opportunities are very valuable, as is a good map to know the best spots for the first settlements when the settlers start rolling off the assembly line. (Of course, if you know that you are playing archipelago and are alone on your island, then nothing beats farmer's gambit.)
     
  3. tjs282

    tjs282 Un(a)bashed immigrant

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    Not quite perfect, but it would certainly work. The only way you'd be able to get the magic 5FPT from your capital's BFC tiles, though, would be to clear and irrigate the Game-Forest (getting it to 4FPT, after the Despot-penalty) -- but if the underlying terrain is only a Grassland, you won't get any shields from that tile. So at Pop4, you'd also need to mine and work at least 2 BGrass and 1 Grass (and another mined Grass @ Pop5), in order to bring in a total of 13FPT (i.e. +5FPT excess) and 6SPT (7 SPT @ Pop5) -- and you'd need to set your City-Governor to 'Emphasise production' so that your fifth and sixth citizens were sent to Forest-tiles as soon as they were born, to get the extra 2 IBT-shields.

    But I have to say, if I had been given that start position, I don't think I would have settled in place, as you did, because the current Settler location -- although good for a pump -- is still not optimal. I can see coast/lake 1 tile away, which means that if I founded in place, and if that tile is a coast, my capital could(/would) end up with a tile(s) in its BFC that might(/will) only ever give 1FPT (because I won't be able to build a Harbour). I'd be thinking to move that Settler at least 1 tile -- either 1SE to the Grass on the coast if my Worker-move shows me that the coast is concave (meaning I can still build a decent 1st ring), or 1N or 1NW to the riverbank Grass if the coast turns out to be linear to convex (to make room for more 1st-ring cities).

    So the first thing I would do would be to move my Worker onto the Forest-Game tile -- that's going to be the first tile worked anyway, and this would also allow me to explore a little bit. In this case, given what the Worker would show me, I would probably move the Settler 1SE, and build Chichen Itza on the coast. I would admittedly later find out that I didn't have as much space to the S and SE as I'd hoped, but that I would have more potential 1st-ring river-sites N and W -- which is anyway the direction in which I would be expanding first.

    My second turn, I would found my capital and start building at least 2 and probably 3 Warriors. I wouldn't start a Gran immediately, because at 60s, production would tie up my (only) city for a lot of turns while the city was still growing to a size at which the Gran would be useful -- and at high difficulties (and especially with fast Agri-Civ growth), it would riot before I had any chance to build Mil-Pol (or I would have to raise Lux% to a high level, slowing down my research). So I would build Warriors first, send them out exploring, then raise shield-output/ reduce food-output while building the Gran, and then start pumping Settlers in earnest once I have a better idea where I want them to go.

    (NB a 4T Settler-pump making 5FPT and 6SPT, can also produce Workers in 2T -- with shield-overrun, so best to start at Pop4: once your pump has built its Gran, build Settler --> Worker --> Settler --> Worker... so that your new cities can be connected to your capital ASAP)

    So I would initially use the Game-Forest tile (2FPT, 2SPT, because of the Despot-penalty). This plus the city-tile (3FPT, 1SPT) would give me 5FPT (i.e. +3FPT excess) and 3SPT, so my capital would grow in 7T (with 1f overrun), and the Warrior would be built in 4T (with 2s overrun) -- not ideal. The only way I can do this without overruns (before tile-improvements are complete) would be by shifting my Citizen around the local tiles, e.g.:
    • Game-Forest for 3T => 9f and 9s in the food- and shield-boxes
    • Riverbank-Grass for 1T => +3f + 1s = 12f, Warrior built => Warrior2 started
    • Game-Forest for 2T => +6f + 6s = 18f and 6s
    • Riverbank-Forest for 1T => +2f + 3s = 20f --> Pop2 and 9s
    You'll notice that the city will still grow in 7T, but now, even if I forget to tell the city-governor to 'Emphasise production', the newborn citizen will still be assigned to the 'best' tile, i.e. the Game-Forest, giving another +2s on the IBT, so Warrior2 will also be built on the same IBT as the city grows. And since I'll now have two Warriors, one can stay at home and keep Citizen2 from rioting (still on Lux% = 0%, Sci% = 100%), and the other can immediately go out exploring.

    In the meantime, my Worker should have been improving that Game-Forest. In order for it to be useful for a Despotic Settler-pump, it would need to be chopped, irrigated, and roaded. I'm not exactly sure what the best order would be, because I don't know how long each job would take: Industrious Workers finish jobs quicker than normal, but Despotism slows them down, and I'm not sure offhand whether those two factors would cancel each other out.

    However, chopping would likely take <6T, so I would not want to do that while I was building the first 2 Warriors, since that would waste some/most of the shields. In that case, roading would probably be the best option (more commerce = more beakers), then moving to the BGrass and roading/mining that (bringing it to 2FPT, 2SPT, and 2CPT).

    Once my capital hits Pop2, I would use the Game-Forest and BGrass for +3FPT again, and 3-4SPT (this would change as my Worker finished the mine), and start on either another Warrior, or the Gran. If a warrior, I might road/mine another Grass before sending the Worker back to chop/irrigate the Game-Forest, adding the shields to the Gran-build, and then using the extra food to bring my capital quickly to Pop3. At that point I might need to massage the city a little for slower growth /more shields to finish the Gran just as I hit Pop4. I would certainly need more Lux%, since I wouldn't yet be anywhere near hooking up those Furs (which my Warriors should have found already). But that might be the place to send my first Settler...
    If the farm is on a river, you can also pump settlers from Pop5 to Pop7, which can get you 1-2 more SPT if you need it -- although you would also need more Happiness (Lux%, Luxes, and/or Mil-Pol under Despotism) to keep the Settler-pump from going into disorder as it grows.
     
  4. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Ok guys, I have decided to play a few iterations of the opening stages of this game to establish the best opening moves possible. May take a few goes and I will try to do one attempt at a time due to the time consuming nature of this.

    Yes I know I have already scouted in a lot of the iterations so I pretty much know the lay of the surrounding land, but I'm using this purely as a learning exercise. To be honest this is the best terrain I have played ever. It has ivory close by, furs, grapes and lots of bonus food resources coupled with rivers and fresh water. I have already spotted a second city site 3 tiles away that is perfect for another 4 turn settler factory! If that were not enough, there is also a chokepoint which effectively 'gates' this whole area leading to the Ottomans.

    First
    4000BC: Move settler 1 tile SE and move worker to game tile.
    (Following tjs' advice I realised that I only needed 2 bonus grasslands rather than 3 to achieve the 4 turn settler factory)

    3950BC: Build Chichen Itza. Start building warrior. Worker starts to roading the game tile.
    (I'm not gonna bother researching technology, but I will manipulate the luxury slider to maintain realism)

    3900BC: -

    3850BC: -

    3800BC: Switch citizen in Chichen Itza working game tile to a bonus grassland tile
    (Instead of getting 2f/2s, I'm getting 2f/1s/1c to grab and extra commerce as there is overrun on shields - probably should have mixed it up earlier to prevent this but oh well)

    3750BC: Warrior completes, move it 2 tiles NE to start exploring. Second warrior started in Chichen Itza. Worker moves 2 tiles to be 1 tile S of Chichen Itza

    3700BC: Worker starts mining bonus grassland. Warrior moves 1 tile NE, sees another game tile on forest.

    3650BC: Warrior moves 1 tile E.

    3600BC: Chichen Itza grows to size 2. Warrior moves 1 tile NE. Adjust luxury slider to 10%.
    (Thinking here I should have garrisoned the initial warrior as I will be building 3 in any case and the extra turns of explorationo are not worth the 1 gold lost?)

    3550BC: Chichen Itza completes another warrior, garrison this in the city. Lower luxury slider back to 0%. Initial warrior continues exploring.

    3500BC: Worker completes mine on bonus grassland, starts a road.

    3450BC: Chichen Itza's borders expand. Third warrior completes, move it west to start exploring. 4th Warrior started in Chichen Itza.

    3400BC: Worker completes road on bonus grassland. Move worker back to the already roaded game tile and start to chop forest.
    (Probably wasted one worker turn going back and forth, maybe should have worked the bonus grassland straight away in hindsight. Because then you save that initial turn of going back and forth, the turn where the road takes longer to complete. Unsure if it will make an overall difference to the year of completion of the settler factory though)

    After 13 turns this is the screenshot, notice the second city site is also a 4 turn settler factory:
    Spoiler :


    3350BC: Chichen Itza completes fourth warrior. Use is as the second garrison in the city. Start granary in Chichen Itza.
    (Unsure of what tiles to work at this point, but this is what the computer has suggested. Couldn't find any better alternatives as working another bonus grassland tile will mean the city will grow a lot faster than the granary can finish and I would like to time the granary finishing just before the city grows. In this case I will still have to change the tiles a few turns before growth - perhaps take the game tile off in order to achieve this. This may be an epic mistake though as I could just use the extra few turns given by growth to build an extra worker before the settler factory starts up)
    Spoiler :


    3300BC: -

    3250BC: Forest chop completes and delivers 10 shields to Chichen Itzag. Workers begins irrigation of game tile.

    3200BC: -

    3150BC: -

    3100BC: Worker completes irrigation. Move it to unworked bonus grassland tile SW of Chichen Itza.

    3050BC: Worker begins mining bonus grassland tile. Reassign citizen working game tile to work a second forest tile.
    (Originally, Chichen Itza was 2 turns away from growth and 4 turns away from completing the granary, now it is 6 and 3 respectively. That way it will grow after granary completes. Again not 100% sure of the implications of this - would be interested to know your thoughts)

    3000BC: -

    2950BC: -

    2900BC: Granary completes. Start building worker in Chichen Itza
    (Interesting choice for me as I never build workers this early. Want to synchronise city size at 4 with all necessary terrain improvements together so at this stage as my city size is already 3 and 1 turn away from size 4 a worker also allows me to increase the rate of improvement completion)

    2850BC: Worker completes mine on bonus grassland. Starts road. Chichen Itza grows to size 4, set luxury slider to 10%.
    (Deliberating between moving worker to next grassland to speed up mining or to finish a road first)

    2800BC: Chichen Itza finishes worker. Starts another worker. Move second worker to unworked grassland square. Put luxury slider back to 0%.
    Spoiler :


    2750BC: First worker finishes road, move it to the same square as our second worker. Second worker starts to mine. Put luxury slider back to 10% as Chichen Itza grows back to 4.

    2710BC: Both workers working on a mine on grassland tile. A third worker completes from Chichen Itza, move it 1 tile N to a grassland.

    2670BC: Third worker starts mine on grassland. Set luxury slider back to 0%.

    2630BC: Fourth worker completes in Chichen Itza, start warrior. Move fourth warrior 1 tile N of Chichen Itza to stack with third worker building mine. First and second workers complete mine on other grassland tile, also start and complete road the same turn.

    2590BC: Move first and second workers to forest tile to north east area of Chichen Itza to move toward connecting the first city with the second city site with roads. Both third and fourth workers building a mine on the last grassland tile needed for the settler factoy.

    2550BC: Warrior completes in Chichen Itza, city grows to size 4, luxury slider up to 10%. Warrior moves toward second city site to act as immediate garrison. Mine completes on second non bonus grassland tile. Workers build and complete road on this same tile this same turn.

    Settler factory complete at 2550BC after a whopping 31 turns and 1450 years!
    Spoiler :


    At 2550BC I have:

    5 Warriors
    4 Workers (!)
    A relevant tiles around settler factory fully improved with the exception of a road into the forest
    Exploration

    Next iteration I may do the one without building workers just to see how much faster. Also would like to run some variations based on some of the comments above.

    Would also love to work on a dotmap for this area as well.

    I have never put so much thought into the early stage of the game but really enjoying it actually.
     
  5. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Alrighty, I did a speedrun this time of the same variation as above and this time I did not move the worker to the game right away and also crucially did not build any roads except one. This meant I achieved the settler factory at 2710BC quite a few (about 4) turns earlier, but:

    Spoiler :


    6 Warriors
    2 Workers
    All roads missing on terrain improvements with the exception of one, also one mine missing
    Exploration

    So basically in the previous example an extra 4 turns bought me all those extra roads and one mine plus 2 extra workers. Not sure whether you guys think that is worth it but it sounds like it is as it is a lot achieved in just 4 extra turns.
     
  6. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Spoiler :
     
  7. ahman

    ahman Chieftain

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    Here's how I think I would play (can you post a save file):

    Chop and irrigate the game immediately to be able to grow every 4 turn. There's plenty of other nice forest tiles. Don't let a stupid 6-7 shields overrun from the chop decide what to build, when to build it and/or to delay your growth. It's small potatoes compared to the 90 shields for three warriors and a granary, and look at it this way: you earned 3-4 shields, you didn't lose 6-7. If it's more than 7, press space on the worker?

    Then grow at 5 fpt while still not caring about small shield overruns. Build 3 warriors, with a second worker in between when neccessary to avoid working undeveloped tiles. Switch to working non-roaded (not gonna use them later anyway) forests at pop 7. Send the workers to build roads for the first two settlers. Finish granary and 1 settler to go to pop 5.

    Don't build a second MP, it's just 1 gpt. As long as you only have one town you don't have to be afraid to raise the luxury, there's no other towns that get "too" happy. Later, let the second town build a 2nd MP for the capital.

    Don't move to the coast. This town won't need it for a long time, pumping settlers and many, many workers, and you're probably gonna jump the capital later anyway. Moving to the coast means that you lose 2 of the 5 forest needed at pop 7. For building the granary and the first settler, but you may also want to do that temporarily sometimes later.

    Note that the second town is surely slightly corrupt, so no settler factory, but excellent as a worker factory.
     
  8. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Been doing a bit more thinking about this and thinking of ways to mitigate having to move my settler. I realise that in both cases whether moving or settling in place, a 4 turn settler factor can be achieved, but I would like to put to you some points in favour of me not moving the settler.

    1) According to a particular form of dotmap planning for future cities and tile use, I can make it so that I do not need to use the harbour square, particularly considering that coast tiles do not provide shields and core cities are generally used as "shield pigs".
    2) That building a harbour, even building it much later when the city reaches size 12 and has high SPT production will cost turns
    2) That moving the settler delays the startup of the factory by one turn
    3) That moving it detracts from the utilisation of one particular bonus grassland tile 2 squares away from the capital due to the placement of the other cities

    Wonder what you think about this :)
     
  9. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Totally forgot about the corruption aspect in the second city, good point! Your post is auspicious because I was just thinking more deeply about the possibility of not moving the settler, listed my reasons above.

    Interesting that you advocate for only 1 warrior garrison, does that mean that it is only one warrior per settler factory city? or one warrior per despotic city? The thing I'm 'warried' about is that we need to raise the lux to 30% at size 5 with only one MP.

    Anyway I will try your timings tonight and post the results,

    Edit: OK, I have just tried it out now and basically you can get to a settler factory at 2750BC which is the earliest date so far! Plus you can have

    4 Warriors
    3 Workers
    Exploration
    all relevant terrain fully improved, except the road to the forest
    and a saving of a whopping 5 turns compared to first attempt, although we do sacrifice 2 warriors and 1 worker. No big deal I think. Our best attempt yet! :goodjob:

    I have attached the original save file
     
  10. ahman

    ahman Chieftain

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    I finished 1 turn faster, but with one less warrior and worker. A road is ready for the first settler to travel to the second game site. One of the workers has time to develop the first tile before it gets there. Maybe both workers should go there to get the worker factory up ASAP?
     
  11. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    Starting from turn 1, I'd probably do one of the following:

    1. Build the city in place and build two warriors for exploration (are there barbarians around?). The first worker chops and irrigates the game. Then put out a settler and another worker. Chop the other forests towards the granary. Make the city a settler factory.

    2. Build the city in place and build one warrior for exploration, and then a second worker. The first worker improves the non-game squares until you know that the first worker will finish with no overbuild. Then it chops and irrigates the game. Chop the other forests towards the granary. Then use the city as a settler factory (no more warriors or workers from the first city).

    Rule of thumb: build roads in a square before leaving it! I don't/didn't do this around my capital on Sid, but that's an exception.

    I'd probably go with the 2nd option here. The starting location shows that we have plenty of rivers around. There's at least 3 other good spots on rivers. And you get a bonus food in despotism for any city that is directly adjacent to a river. So, scouting isn't necessary to found good locations for your first few cities.

    Here's what I had at 2550 using the 2nd approach:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. ahman

    ahman Chieftain

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    I have 0 treasury and +0 income, yet I lose my granary at the next turn? :eek: EDIT: And why have the two ottoman spearmen been fortified at the chokepoint for ages? I've never seen that before either.
     
  13. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    You guys are both literal gods at this game! How did you manage to get so much done in the same amount of turns?!

    I followed you guys' advice particularly with chopping 2 forests and managed to the get the granary out a bit quicker. I still ended up having to build 4 warriors though for some reason and had 2 workers, however I managed to get the settler factory up at 2850BC (shaved a turn off yours ahman :p). The only problem is that there are already 6 shields in the box for the settler so I'm not sure if that will cause the factory to be out of sync for the first cycle.

    Spoiler :


    Edit: I just tried another variation of your second build Spoonwood but this time chopping 3 forests. I then was able to pump out a settler before the settler factory is operational. So at 2850BC I had 2 workers, 1 settler and 1 warrior with the city being 3 turns away from being an operational settler factory.

    Spoiler :


    BTW interesting that you both opted for different placements of the second city site, and particularly interesting that ahman you decided to place a city so close to the south of Chichen Itza? I was more thinking along the lines of placing a city eventually at the southern most tip of the land and having that city mainly work coastal squares so as to not take grasslands squares away from Chichen Itza. Is your approach to make Chichen Itza utilise more of the northern grasslands squares and have that southern city be able to use more grasslands squares so that it can produce more shields?

    I also noticed that you both researched Alphabet at high science levels, is this standard for all games or was it just because we were isolated from other civs in this game?

    With your save Spoonwood I was also surprised that your placement of the second city, I was considering one tile closer to Chichen Itza but the more I think about your placement the more it makes sense because it is less cramped.

    What do you guys think of my dotmap in the spoiler above, any adjustments you would make?

    I'm puzzled at why they would start disbanding builds and units at zero income but I think for the spearmen the AI are trained to fortify chokepoints on the map. I had another game with the same thing happen and they ended up building a fortress there too with the spearman still there in the middle ages.
     
  14. Spoonwood

    Spoonwood Grand Philosopher

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    "With your save Spoonwood I was also surprised that your placement of the second city, I was considering one tile closer to Chichen Itza but the more I think about your placement the more it makes sense because it is less cramped."

    I didn't do it for that reason. I placed it there, because I would have the city on the river and still have access to that forest square, and the game square without any cultural expansion.

    I see in your picture you have two workers on an unroaded square. So, you've used 2 total worker moves just to move to that one square. You could have used just one worker move to get there, and then used the other worker to develop something else.
     
  15. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    It's not even something I considered. I've just been blindly following the "stack 2 industrious workers together or 3 non industrious workers together" rule blindly. So what you are saying is that in the early game this is inefficient, or specifically a rule for an unimproved tile with no road that you should spend only one worker turn moving and roading before stacking?
     
  16. Theov

    Theov Chieftain

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    My rules of thumb concerning workers:
    - roading a tile happens by one worker (or 2 slaves) ideally, since it takes a turn to walk to the spot. If there's no hurry, there's no need to stack slaves even.

    - don't leave a tile while it's unroaded (or: any tile a worker walks on, should be roaded).
    You're going for max efficiency here so I don't know the calculations of saving worker turns, but later in the game, the tile needs a road for extra commerce anyway, and walking back to an unroaded tile costs another worker turn

    - I use 2 workers or 1 worker and 1 slave to do tasks. This maximizes efficiency. What 1 worker will do in 12 turns, 2 will do in 6 turns. BUT: 3 will not do it in 3 turns. Any added worker/slave after 2 will lose efficiency.

    So other than late game pollution clearing, I max 2 workers/slaves per tile. (maybe I make an exception for when I need a road to a lux. Then I might use 4 slaves or something).
     
  17. templar_x

    templar_x usually walks his talks

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    i will go with everything but this one :)

    of course 3 workers will not do a 12 turn task in 3 turns, because 12/3=4 and not 3. this does not mean they are less efficient. i you put 3 workers on 3 tiles to build that improvement, it will take them exactly the same number of turns if you have them work those tiles alone, or one alone and 2 paired together... 36 workers turns, in any case.

    t_x
     
  18. Mike Hussey

    Mike Hussey Cricketer

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    Thanks for your advice guys, this is what ended up happening, domination victory in 12 hours, my fastest victory so far.



    I'm still confused about your worker situation though. You are basically saying don't stack workers unless the tile being worked already has a road on it?
     
  19. Theov

    Theov Chieftain

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    Oops, I thought they'd lose their efficiency, but of course you'd have to divide by the number of workers present, I divided by 2 regardless.
    I re-checked it and you're correct, 6 slaves will build a mine on a mountain (normally 36 turns.)

    What you should watch out for is the 7th worker that will do nothing. And walking with workers on un-roaded terrain, as it costs a worker turn to walk them on and off them.
     
  20. Theov

    Theov Chieftain

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    No, my bad, you can stack them and not lose efficiency. Just make sure the number of turns needed can be divided by the number of workers.
     

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