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How do I stop losing money!?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Couch Tomato, Sep 24, 2010.

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  1. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato First Tomato Emperor

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    As I'm still a noob to Civ V, I think this has become a recurring problem. After a certain point, I just start losing money -- and soon happiness -- to the point where I can't recover.

    Latest example: I'm Iroquois and have been dominating with my initial five cities. Lots of income, happiness, and city-state friends. I decide to plop down a city (and then another) since I figured I had the income for it. Eventually it starts going negative.

    After some wars, I acquire more cities, and my income was so negative that it wouldn't go up until I lost my last military unit to the Roman invaders... then all the cities I conquered.

    Eventually I got it back thanks to my superior tech and a million golden ages, and conquered nearly half the map. I also built like 20 friggin wonders. After digging into Rome (who at one point owned like 80% of the world) extremely deep, I find myself losing money again.

    I can't cut my military units short any more, and it's not like I can get rid of buildings. A bunch of my cities have maxed out the money buildings up to the stock exchange, and it was still at -140/turn. Recently I just put all my specialists into wealth, and it's down to -57 -- but there's absolutely nothing I can do now other than delete units.

    How do I stop this from happening!? Does this game just not want you to conquer the world? Because it seems like there's a cap to how much you can take before everything starts imploding...
     
  2. Syiss_

    Syiss_ Chieftain

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    Trading posts and trade routes seem to be the major sources of income in CiV, as well as certain resources on the map. Unit and building maintenance are the major sources of loss of income. Keep in mind that workers also count towards unit maintenance, with a lot of units the maintenance costs seem to get increasingly steep (some people have reported that at points in the game, deleting a worker gave as much as +7 income/turn). Don't keep your cities garrisoned unless absolutely necessary, it will simply cost too much.

    Also, dont build anything you don't have to (almost all buildings have maintenance costs). Keep in mind that if you are doing a lot of warring and creating a lot of puppet states, you have no control over what they build so they will just make maintenance costing non stop for the rest of the game.
     
  3. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato First Tomato Emperor

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    Yeah, my empire is littered with trading posts, and I manually controlled all my workers this game, and made sure to connect all my cities while not building roads in forests to make use of the Iroquois UA.

    I also have a very bad habit of building extra stuff (like science buildings) if I have excess money. This comes backs and kill me when I go into economic collapse mode.

    Anyways, thanks for the advice! After so much conquering, a lot of workers get sucked into my empire through conquest. I just a deleted a ton of idle workers, and my income jumped up to +61. Awesome!

    One thing I REALLY wish Civ V had though is evolving Trading Posts, like in Civ 4. I don't care if it's even ONE evolution, or if there's none -- but there's a social policy that gives more gold per trading post. Maintenance scaling with no appropriate economic scaling to cover that is ridiculous!
     
  4. Alexfrog

    Alexfrog Chieftain

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    Dont build buildings or units :p
    Or puppet state anything.
     
  5. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Some suggestions:

    1> Water is good.
    Play on an Archipelago map. Alternately, try to find a lake near a shoreline, so that a lighthouse can make those tiles 3 food/2 gold.
    You see, most tiles don't produce gold. Only Trading Posts and a handful of resources produce gold directly, and if you left the city manager on default, he'll usually pick that 4/0/0 or 3/1/0 farm tile over the 2/0/2 Trading Post tile.
    This is where water tiles can be useful, but again in most cases, the AI would prefer to work a land tile instead of a 2/0/2 ocean tile you can never improve. That's why the 3/0/2 lake tiles are so great.
    (In previous Civ games, tiles with roads might produce gold; with roads now COSTING gold each turn, that's obviously not possible. In Alpha Centauri there were ways to improve any water tile to boost production, but we don't have that here. In some games, tiles next to a river produced gold as well, and that's gone here. So it's a LOT harder to get income than it used to be.)
    Obviously, taking manual control of tile usage can help here.

    2> Don't be afraid to expand.
    The amount of gold you make from a new, developed city is far more than the increased costs, and you'll make the unhappiness back fairly quickly if you manage it right. The problem is that trade route income is tied to the city populations of each city, and conquering a city cuts its population in half. With the very slow city growth rate in Civ5, it'll be longer before you can make up the losses, so if you wait until the industrial era to make your big push you'll bankrupt your empire.
    Now, if you conquer a city near a luxury resource, for instance, it's still easily worth it; even if it's a duplicate resource, you can sell it to an AI for cash.

    3> Golden Ages are your friend.
    I had one Epic game, playing as Persia, where I spent something like eighty CONSECUTIVE turns in a Golden Age, through a combination of wonders, great people, happiness, and SPs. You'll make huge bucks in any golden age.

    4> Don't keep a large army sitting around.
    On Prince, you can only have 5 units (including Workers, I believe) before you start paying unit maintenance, and the Inflation rating is high enough that once you get to the Modern era, an army of 15-20 units is crippling. So only garrison cities that are directly under attack, and only build units you absolutely need for attacking. (Since practically everything upgrades to Infantry, you'll have way too many of these and MechInf in the late game, and too few armor/bombers.)
    So get used to disbanding low-XP units, or gifting them to city states you like.

    5> Don't build roads and railroads.
    You need a road network just to enable trade and to make it easier to shuffle units around, but there's no need to connect resource tiles or make extraneous road spurs. (Harbors are a nice money saver, but they don't help with movement.) And there's REALLY no point to building railroads; the speed boost they give over roads is small (x3 instead of x2). I'll occasionally build a single rail line across the length of my empire just to shuffle units between fronts, but even that's probably not worth the +1/tile cost.
    If you conquer an AI empire, don't be afraid to destroy roads on the tiles you gain if they're not absolutely necessary. Worker units have the ability to remove roads without destroying other tile improvements, so take advantage of this.

    I'm sure others will have suggestions. Personally, I think the system is a bit broken in several ways, and I'm planning on modding quite a few parts if possible.
     
  6. Venereus

    Venereus This Is Streamlined!

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    Stop buying unfinished games.
    [/kinda witty]
     
  7. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    I should add something to my previous post:

    One thing to watch out for is that the AI that controls which tiles get annexed by a city are horribly skewed against water tiles. Basically, it makes claiming land area a MUCH higher priority than it should, and this results in cities that don't claim the nearby water until much later in the game than we're used to.

    For instance I had an arctic fishing village in my most recent game. This town had a couple land resources I needed (one coal and one luxury), a couple food resources (deer), and a couple fish. So far so good, right? The rest of the area around it was useless snow tiles, but there were quite a few good water tiles nearby, and I'd rushed a Lighthouse, so I should have been fine.

    Well, one fish, one deer, and the luxury were all on/next to a small island just off the coast. And the AI WOULD NOT buy the water in between. Instead, it bought the utterly useless snow tiles on the mainland, even though an unimproved ocean tile would be more useful. Even after I manually purchased the waterway, the AI continued to try annexing the remaining utterly useless snow tiles on the mainland in preference to the resource-laden island tiles, let alone the 2/0/2 ocean tiles.

    Just something to keep an eye out for.
     
  8. lordrune

    lordrune Chieftain

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    I'm going to play my next game with two broad philosophies in mind.

    1) Build a strong military, but don't conquer. Instead, attack aggressors, and liberate.

    2) Micromanage tiles for all cities. I used the governor to allocate citizens in Civ 4, but that just doesn't give me good results in Civ 5 - I can build mines and they just sit there with no citizens on them, even though I've got food to spare and I want to build stuff!

    If I prioritise production, it penalises my gold. If I prioritise gold, it penalises production. If I leave it on default but 'avoid growth', it seems to penalise both production and gold.

    It'll take adjustment before micromanaging citizens feels natural to me, but it'll happen.
     
  9. Trickster7135

    Trickster7135 Chieftain

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    1. Just set in the city panel to auto work gold tiles. No need to select manually, there's a button there for production, food, great people, ect. Also: rivers still increase gold by 1.

    4. There are no free units anymore, just a buggy interface that doesn't display things correctly.

    If you're having problems generating enough gold, you aren't specializing your cities. Don't build barracks in every city, pick one or two to be your high production military unit cities, and have everything else work trade posts. Science buildings, however, should always be built in every city.
     
  10. Rathelon

    Rathelon Chieftain

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    Instead of building extra buildings or units that you dont need, switch the city Wealth. In Civ IV, that's what I would do with all my cities that didnt have anything they needed to build - because generating extra money would also let me pump my research or culture sliders up (in Civ IV).
     
  11. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Unfortunately, speaking from experience, this doesn't work. Liberation is only an option when you conquer a city that was once a capital (or city-state), AND only if the original owner has been eliminated entirely. If they've still got a tiny fishing village off somewhere, you can't do it.
    Otherwise, you only have the usual annex/puppet/raze options. While you can gift the city to its original owner, it won't be worth much (even post-patch) since so much will have been destroyed. So you gain nothing from playing this way, and in fact it hurts you in the long run; the AIs see you as a warmonger, even if you don't keep the cities you take. (I speak from experience.)

    Besides, the whole point of this thread has been to discuss economics. Building a strong military and NOT using it is the absolute worst way to make a profit; the unit maintenance costs are brutal.
     
  12. kiphemyst

    kiphemyst Chieftain

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    what about railroad production bonus ? (+50% for cities connected to capital via rail)
     
  13. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    BAD idea; Wealth is absolutely horrible in Civ 5. It's now Production/10, while Research is Prod/4. Since even your largest Modern-era cities will only have 50-70 production (and remember, all those bonuses from things like Workshops don't apply to Wealth), you're only going to make a tiny amount.

    You're actually better off building units and then immediately disbanding them for cash. It's ridiculous.
     
  14. coe

    coe Chieftain

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    This is true, infact you can make a fortune just by building and disbanding units you don't need. Build wealth is big no-no.
     
  15. Seanner

    Seanner Chieftain

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    You're both right..rails are rather expensive in my experience as my income tends to be marginal from massed combat unless I'm in a golden age..but the 50% boost to a specialized production city is huge. I just wouldn't build them between every city. A city making mainly gold doesn't care if the bank finishes in 20 turns instead of 30 if it has to pay an extra 5 gold a turn until the end of time...
     
  16. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    They're not "free", per se, but the costs scale non-linearly. As a test, I took a modern-era save, one where I'd never disbanded a unit and where I'd captured every worker I could find.

    I had one scout watching an area for Barbarians, 3 armor, 8 MechInf, 5 Bombers, 1 Destroyer, and 3 Cavalry. (It was a Pangaea map, so no need for a big navy.)
    Oh, and 23 Workers, most of which I'd captured.

    Total unit upkeep: 244 gold per turn.

    Disbanding two units reduced this by 12. ANY two units. Two workers, two MechInf, it was the same reduction either way. Considering how quickly I could replace the workers if needed, it became a no-brainer to disband half of those at least. For the first dozen or so units, it was a very consistent 12 per pair. (Again, note PAIR. Disbanding one unit does nothing half the time, it's an odd/even thing.)

    But the pattern broke down once I got down to the last 10 or so units. At that point, it became 11 per two, then 10 per, then 9 per, and 8 per for the last two units. That's the "free unit" part of the equation; the first few units cost much less to maintain, and presumably the amount depends on the usual factors.

    I hadn't even heard about this, and there's nothing in the Civilopedia that mentions it. But once I knew to look for it, yes, it's there. (Although, +50% added linearly isn't that much when each city already has over +100%. Personally I'd rather have the flat +1 hammer per tile from the Civ4 days.)

    Unfortunately, due to the previous discussion about the horrible Wealth ratio, boosting production doesn't help your economic problems, unless you do the unit-disband trick.
     
  17. Tennyson

    Tennyson Chieftain

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    Set most of your cities to gold focus and build markets and etc. The cities will grow more slowly, they will take longer to build gold-sucking buildings and units, and a few superstar cities can keep your empire cranking new units and wonders.

    You can also sell your excess luxuries to other civs, or trade them for extra happiness.
     
  18. Couch Tomato

    Couch Tomato First Tomato Emperor

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    Actually, another question I have is how do you find out if you have excess or not? It was really easy in Civ 4, but I can't find where I can just get a flat out picture of luxury resources...
     
  19. Seven05

    Seven05 Warmonger

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    I know there's been a lot of other discussion, but here is what I did. I should note that I was playing Greece so I'm sure I did things differently than you would have.

    From the very start of the game (epic, huge continents, prince) I had a large military with about two or three units per city not counting workers. I just shut it down for a break in the 1700's, I own one continent entirely (18 cities) which includes three annexed capitals, two annexed cities (they had wonders, all others were burned to the ground) and there are six city states, three of which I liberated for permanent (and free) ally status. I'm currently pulling in just over 140 gpt, almost 300 beakers and right around 100 culture with my hapiness at 22.

    There are some basic ideas that will help with income-

    Focus your cities. Don't believe the comments form people who haven't played yet that say otherwise. You will waste a TON of gold with a bunch of generic cities loaded up with a bunch buildings. If you specialize them you don't need to build half the buildings there. It's not possible all the time and sometimes you'll find cities that are good at more than one thing so be flexible. For one example if you end up with a city that has several jungle/river tiles around it will be good at both gold and science output if you put trade posts in the jungles rather than chopping them for farms.

    Make allies of City states, never conquer them if it can be avoided. Even if you're not playing as Greece you have the bonus from patronage which will help keep them allied without going broke. Best case scenario: you have a warmonger for a neighbor. Let them conquer the city states and stay out while you build up your army, when the time comes get in there and liberate every last one of them as that will make them your ally and you won't have to put any effort into keeping them that way. In my current game I have an army of about 10 land units and several frigates that does nothig but travel the globe looking for city states to liberate. This army alone is so incredibly promoted that they could probably conquer half the world by themselves, hell the frigates alone all have +1 range, two attacks per turn and indirect fire- but I don't want to win just yet. Oh and a little trick if city states annoy you with their missions, if one your allied with one that wants you to conquer another that you're also allied with you'll obviously never do it and they'll never (not in almost 400 turns anyway) ask you to do anything else. Remember, city states providing you with food means you don't need farms. If they give you culture you'll get policies quicker and free units can be disbanded or used to 'bribe' other city states.

    Say no to puppet states! You should be razing every city you conquer unless it's a capital or it has a wonder you want. Pupet states are like union workers, they'll cost you a fortune and won't do half the work of a regualr city. They will build a TON of building you dont' want and your maintenance will really rack up. Annexed cities will require an extra building (courthouse) and still have extra unhapiness to deal with after that.

    Trade everything you can, take almost whatever they offer. If you have multiple luxury resources and you haven't traded them away you're wasting money. So what if they'll only give you 100 gold in exchange for 45 turns worth of gems, do it. You can even trade away strategic resources if you want. Anything for cash.

    Take a break from warmonger every once in a while. If the AI offers you cash for peace, take it. You can use that ten turns to bring up more units.

    Pillage. You're going to raze their cities anyway (right?) and you should have an army of workers ready to move in, may as well get a couple hundred gold undoing the AI's poor choice of improvements.
     
  20. Grotius

    Grotius Chieftain

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    I like the idea of focusing my cities, but if I do manage to specialize, it's almost always by accident! I look up and realize that one city is doing well with gold, another with production, etc. What sort of terrain is best for each type of specialization? Hills for production, rivers for gold, I guess? What's the best use of grassland, plains, jungle, etc? I'm sure this has been discussed to death, but I'm still struggling with how to build specialty cities.
     
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