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How far should cities be placed apart?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by gcrockwood, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. gcrockwood

    gcrockwood Chieftain

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    Just looking for what is generally accepted. I've tried 6 apart and that was alright, and I've also tried 4 and that seemed alright too.

    What do you do?
     
  2. Vintage Port

    Vintage Port Backstab this!

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    It all depends on the map, your civ, your social policies, available luxuries, the difficulty you play on, if you are going to get a religion etc.

    Like you said, sometimes 4 works, sometimes 6. It is basically what the map/game will allow.

    Lots of resources and room to expand? Maybe Liberty and lots of cities only 4 tiles apart.

    Not as many luxuries and you want to play tall? Maybe Tradition and more space between your cities so that your borders will expand and cover more territory.

    Hard question to answer as both can work.
     
  3. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    This is extremely map specific. Remember that any city you found rules out another within a full 3 hex range; if you lock in to any pattern without varation, you will block yourself out of working resources.

    What I do instead is look at the map and determine the fewest number of cities needed to have some city work all key tiles near me and use whatever spacing that was; which will very even in the same game.

    Now, I would never build the minimum allowed city placement; (that is so tight it's almost guaranteed that one of your cities isn't bringing anything new at all).

    Going the other direction, I wouldn't build a city so far away that under game mechanic rules a city would be allowed to be placed between the one I just founded and the rest of my empire. (Minor exception of if I just built that far city as a choke point city and will have a settler in route shortly to build the filler city myself.)
     
  4. Unresolved

    Unresolved King

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    I plant cities wherever there is a good spot. I'll settle a city 4 tiles away if the terrain calls for it. I'll settle a city 9 tiles away if there's nothing good between them. Though I prefer keeping my cities 6 tiles and under otherwise defending becomes a chore.
     
  5. Resipsa

    Resipsa King

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    I'd say its map dependent as well if you are going to go wide your don't have to worry about spacing them out too much because your citizens aren't going to be working that many tiles.
     
  6. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    I only plant 3-4 cities in really nice spots (resources, strategic placements or both). It is irrelevant whether they are 4 hexes or 10 hexes from each other.
     
  7. BrokTheFanatic

    BrokTheFanatic Warlord

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    This. I find a good spot is better than 'nice spacing', especially with the 4th and up cities.
     
  8. Tabarnak

    Tabarnak R.I.P.

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    Between 3 and 6 tiles away, 98% of time.
     
  9. Ryoga

    Ryoga King

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    That's what I do as well, I never really bothered counting the tiles, because in the end, especially in the early stages of the game what you want is cities that will grow and produce as fast as possible, plus luxuries and iron.

    What's the point in maximizing the efficiency of the territory you spawn into when you can conquer all the land that you need later on?
     
  10. IAmOzymandias

    IAmOzymandias Warlord

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    as much as possible, i'll settle 6 tiles away. I would never, without good reason, settle closer than this. I often end up with 4 very tall cities of 15+ citizens apeice so it makes sense to have the extra room. For somebody who plays wide you could just stuff them in as close as possible since most of the tiles won't be worked regardless.
     
  11. Meanness

    Meanness Chieftain

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    This. Although I am between 3 and 5 98% of the time. Anything more than 4 bothers me, but I'll do it when necessary.

    Why? Easier defense, lower road maintenance costs, and no chance of the AI dropping cities in between.
     
  12. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    I'm probably a more tall casual player, but I just tend to settle wherever the recources are best, which tends to be about 6 or more tiles apart.

    Unless I'm Spain, in which case a city is going on every Natural Wonder: diplomacy, defensability, and sanity be damned.
     
  13. Meanness

    Meanness Chieftain

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    I respectfully but completely disagree. Bleeding an extra 2-3gpt per city from the start is a terrible trade for a better tile worked by citizen #15.
     
  14. Justice1337

    Justice1337 Sofa King

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    I think the most important question is how long it takes for you to effectively win the game, and thereby, when you need your cities and your tiles to return on the investments made. Better locations return the investment quicker, and more cities in the same amount of area lets you work the tiles sooner.

    So if you're winning on turn 200, it's always wrong to settle a city on Turn 160, then build Granary, Water Mill, etc. That's true no matter how good the location is. On the other hand, even marginal terrain is worth settling if it's early enough. I would much rather take a 1 Fish, 1 Deer Tundra location overlapping my Capital than walk the same Settler 20 turns to get to a double Wheat double Luxury location on a far island. But if it's early enough, I will try to take both.

    I think it's also a mistake to make, for example, a second city situated just right so that you get two luxuries, three food resources, etc etc, mostly on the third ring. You end up waiting dozens of turns to work those tiles, when making two close cities on the same ground lets you grab all of it right away. A lot of the screenshots I see seem to indicate a bias for what a size 25 monstrosity looks like on turn 280, when prime tiles have gone to waste every turn up until then. I care much more what my cities look like on turn 100 at size 6, because the outcome of the game is usually decided by turn 200 at the latest.

    It's also a mistake for players to want to grab too many "plain" tiles. Where I see this most often is in coastal locations. Say a city is 4 tiles from the coast, then there's a few hills maybe on the third ring in that direction, and 2 Fish off into the Ocean. Some players will earmark all the hills for the first city, and so they won't found a second coastal city there because they already think those tiles belong to them. Or maybe they just really hate seeing so much overlap. But the overlap is on plain tiles, and they're foresaking premium Fish tiles. Correct is to found a city there, grow it with the premium Food tiles until to the point where it's working 3 or so production tiles, then staff Artists and Scientists.

    Quite often I see mistakes in undersettling and overgrowing, and there are very few maps I can point at and say, hey, you built way too many cities.
     
  15. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    I play kind of casually in Marathon mode, but in my experience it isn't too hard to get those perfect location cities up and running.

    If you prioritize Culture in new cities, they will be able to work those distant resources far sooner.

    This can be as simple as grabbing some culture-heavy faith building beliefs which will refund their Faith in time and mitigate happiness penalties.
     
  16. BrokTheFanatic

    BrokTheFanatic Warlord

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    I'll add two extra points:

    1) happiness and nearby AI considerations: early on I calculate how many cities I should be able to place and then I figure out where I will put them. Fewer cities usually means slightly more spacing and more cities means closer to each other. Though always on good spots that lead to quicker growth. Exceptions: defensive cities at choke points.

    2) When not on Diety I am far, far more flexible. For example, I might place my 4th+ city along a rive, by a mountain surrounded by jungle. Horrible early potential because not enough production but it can become a real gem later on. And I tend to space cities at 5-6 more often on Emperor & Immortal. Those games are for relaxed fun and are far less war oriented. More about seeing what can be done.
     
  17. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

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    Capital and sometimes 2nd or 3rd city I will allow a bit more space since I will likely have the population to work the extra tiles. Additional cities beyond that is more about strategic location or map control.
     

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