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How fast should one expand?

Discussion in 'CivRev - Strategy & Tips' started by someguy486, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. someguy486

    someguy486 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    I always seem to either expand too fast or too slowly. What is the general rule for expanding? What population should the city building the settler be? Should I wait until I get Republic? Wait until I pass the first era so that new cities have more population?
     
  2. erislover

    erislover Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
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    39
    Assuming you are talking about offline games versus the AI...

    For me it strongly depends on whether I can hold ground. If I am in a large, open area, I expand painfully slowly, because I want to be sure I can hold my ground, which means basically any city is open to attack, and if you are even close to a lead in any category, some, possibly all, AI will declare war on you. I adopt a sort of ICS style here.

    But, if I have a continent where there are nice choke points, I will expand very aggressively, including rushing settlers, in order to control these points with some city. The strategic value of this city is more important than resources/hills/trees/etc. The AI is not strong, navally, until Navigation (even then), giving you time to fill in the holes. If I have a very favorable map like this, most of my empire will be undefended. On the higher levels the AI will launch direct naval attacks, much to my surprise, but even then you just have to have coastal cities defended. Any interior cities can be totally unmanned.
     
  3. Apolex

    Apolex Chieftain

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    Nov 5, 2002
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    Location:
    Bel Air, MD
    Yes I do something very similar, except instead of putting a city at a choke point, I fortify an archer army, then use the settlers for more optimal city placement. I'll replace the archers with pikemen, riflemen, etc. to hold the spot the whole game. The AI will always lose dozens of armies against these choke points, and it becomes a General factory. This lets me expand as quickly as possible to fill in huge holes and claim most of a continent eventually. I usually beeline to code of laws so I can get Republic for rapid expansion. Basically, expand as soon as the city reaches 3.
     
  4. Random Fires

    Random Fires Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Canada
    Yep, the map plays a vital role on expansion. For me, it's the goals four or five moves ahead that determine expansion. If I'm racing for a tech, I'll try to make sure my settler production arrives after that goal, not mid way. This could reduce the techs arrival in half.
    My first settler is typically gained with gold, and a settler is produced from my original city, which is well feed ahead of time for it. So in general, I have 3 cities early on, any expansion after is a capture, and I generally expand towards the Ai's.
     
  5. I-am-a-panda

    I-am-a-panda

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    Jul 28, 2008
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    Location:
    Ireland
    expand too fast andyour porrly defended cities will crushed to dust. Expand too slowly and you're dominated by surges of enemy troops, mega culture and science can't kick off. Ideally 4- 5 before industrial - 3 mainland and 2 island seems to work best.
     
  6. someguy486

    someguy486 Warlord

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    Nov 28, 2007
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    I was speaking more for multiplayer. I do fine single player on Emperor, though I find Diety impossible. If I expand too fast it always seems like an agressive player always finds me and takes my cities and if I dont expand fast enough It seems like the other players with more cities really get ahead in tech and everything else.
     
  7. vinstafresh

    vinstafresh Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
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    385
    I play single player, but I can imagine this could work in MP as well:

    I try to get to steam power early for the free cruiser. I usually load a settler on that cruiser (galleon is possible too earlier on) and settle on an island. I rush buy a settler from that new city, load it on the cruiser and move to the next spot on another island. I want dye, whales or a couple of fish in the direct 3x3 square so it can generate science or make up for the 1 or 2 pop-loss when I rushed the settler. In 10-15 turns or so you can build 5-6 cities this way. You'll need about 500 gold to pull it off.

    After you rush a settler, build an army of the latest defenders and you should be pretty ok. If the area you are settling is like an archipelago, try building a cruiser fleet to protect the waters from invading forces (if any). Don't forget to build courthouses, harbors and temples there!
     
  8. Sirp

    Sirp Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2001
    Messages:
    1,746
    Location:
    Texas
    It really depends on several factors.

    One huge factor is whether land is potentially claimable by other sides.

    If it is, then there is much more pressure on you to expand there as soon as possible, before the land is settled by another civilization.

    If land is in your 'back lines', and no other civilization can really lay claim to it, then you can answer the question based completely on economic grounds.

    If it's a site that will have fairly high production quickly (usually meaning there are forests near it) then it's a good idea to expand to it quickly, to get it up and running asap. If the site has lots of food and/or trade, but little production, then you will probably need to put some gold into it before it becomes productive, so don't worry too much about settling it until you can spare the gold.

    Also, try to build settlers in smallish cities. The bigger a city is, the more food each new population costs. This means that taking population off the top will take a lot more resources to regain. If possible, I like to have a high-food city (perhaps plains with a granary) that I pump all my settlers from.
     
  9. bardolph

    bardolph King

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    I don't have MP experience, but I'll try to contribute anyway (mainly 'cuz I like to hear myself talk!)

    My assumption is that army production must be your first priority, and settlers should be second. Don't sacrifice population from your barracks city, since you can't afford to lose any hammers. Use your second (non-barracks) city as your settler pump, and build as many cities as you can reasonably defend. I would stick to 3 cities (1 free + 1 built settler) until Republic. Under Republic, build as many cities as you can defend - however, I would only build a settler after you have enough workers to work all of your food, hammer, and resource tiles. Basically, if you are working unimproved tiles, trade tiles, or tradesmen, then it's time to build a settler. However, definitely don't build a settler if the population hit would knock you off of a resource.

    If you really want to micromanage, you can try to time city growth with settler production so that you always maximize your tiles. If a city is a turn away from building a settler, but is still working good food/hammer tiles, switch over to something more expensive until your growth pops, then switch back to the settler.
     

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