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How many cities?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Vegito, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Vegito

    Vegito Chieftain

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    Is it always necessary to have at least four cities to play optimally? If your expansions spots are subpar or if you are boxed in, is it better to get something like 2-3 good cities or 4 or more bad cities?
     
  2. LordBalkoth

    LordBalkoth Prince

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    "Playing optimally" doesn't really have much meaning given the nature of the different victories. If we're talking about a science victory, then having three really good cities is better than four bad cities, yes.

    But "bad" city needs to be defined carefully and if you can get three good cities then you can probably get four "good enough" cities.

    It is entirely possible to win science victory on Deity with three cities, though. Or less, technically.
     
  3. fallout3dc

    fallout3dc Warlord

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    sometimes you don't get even 4 pretty good cities. A 4th city can actually cause a lot more issues than it could help due to the cost of happiness. If you can manage the happiness and high pop, you can pretty much settle anywhere.
     
  4. consentient

    consentient Domination!

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    Being an outright warmonger, I'm no expert, but the really good players whom I asked all said that 3 city NC plus 2-3 after gives the most science for early science wins, I think.
     
  5. Vegito

    Vegito Chieftain

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    This is what I'm asking about. If you can take the happiness hit, is it better to build new cities in subpar locations or is it better to just keep to your core?
     
  6. JeSuisNapoleon

    JeSuisNapoleon Prince

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    The best way to get the 6th or 7th City (IMHO) is through a peace deal at the end of a war.
    There is no loss of population this way, and you get to keep all the buildings, if any.

    Sometimes these cities are garbage, in which case I sell them.
    But I have had a few gems become mine this way, and they ended up being great after a courthouse and a few minor tweaks.

    Obviously, this is a partial war monger move, since you will need to be at war somehow, but if they DoWed you and you turn the tides, then its a great way to expand without much penalty.
     
  7. LordBalkoth

    LordBalkoth Prince

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    It depends on how subpar the location is.

    If you show us a spot you're considering settling we could help more!
     
  8. kb27787

    kb27787 Deity

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    Seriously, why the obsession with getting 4 cities...
    The number "4" was decided back in the day where going wide was so powerful.
    In BNW, not so much; actually 3 should be the new cutoff point for tradition's SP, in my opinion.
    If your capitol has an observatory (and plenty of farm land), you can still tech just fine with only 2 cities even.

    My easiest wins were with 2 cities or 3, and by easy I mean the decisions to make are easy and you hardly have any chance to make severe mistakes. It's also easier to keep friends, and have minimal headaches throughout the whole game.

    A 4th city costs way too much unhappiness (and hence gold, SPs to fight the happiness problems) for the science it generates to be useful if the city itself is not that great. That, and if you are settling your 4th towards warmonger/land-covetous AI, then that 4th city becomes a huge hindrance. Although sometimes I will settle that 4th city in that critical location, then sell it to a friend to block off warmongers.

    In my experience, when you go only 2-3, you have an excess of happiness so you can sell luxes/help friends when they ask, and can afford more wiggle room in all areas. Getting more RAs/getting SPs and national wonders faster as well as more gold because of less maintenance and happiness problems more than compensates for the lack of science from the 4th city easily.

    I've played games with 3 cities where I never built circus maximus all game; but it seems to be required when going with 4.
     
  9. beetle

    beetle Deity

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    The forth city is for those of us who can’t bare to leave food on our plate (assuming Tradition). The free monument/aqueduct is too much to pass up! It is not worth holding up NC for, but otherwise a pretty marginal late-founded city can still catch up quickly enough to (listed by turn order as become important):
    1. not be slowing down other NW
    2. net plus science, culture, gold
    3. contribute to international projects
    4. construct a trade route or an archeologist while cap and better cities are busy
    5. hard build one part for SV at end.
     
  10. consentient

    consentient Domination!

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    Acken had 5 cities for his T216 SV on DCL #5. He also said he would have preferred six cities.

    On DCL #11 (Morocco), I complained about my slow T302 SV with 4 cities, and the general consensus that came back from the other players was that 5 or 6 cities is always faster IF you can support the happiness.

    Surely, more cities = more beakers = faster finish, no?
     
  11. Salvatierra

    Salvatierra Chieftain

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    I think it really depends on the land where you settle, of how much food you can grab from it, one time I played a game as Babylon, searching for a SV, my starting place was really bad for food production, so in order to produce more science I needed to found a city that can grow more quickly, very close from my capital I had a 3x hex radius area that easily was 80% grassland, with some wheat and rivers, but without luxuries or other resources, So I took the risk and I found a city in the center of that area, risky move, but it worth it, 200 turns later that city was producing almost the same amount of science than the actual 8 academy powered Babylon from that game.

    So what i'm saying is, if the map favors you with good clay, nice resources that are at hand from your starting location, you're not necessarily forced to have only 4 cities the whole game, if the cities can grow fast, and you can sustain the growth rate of your civ, you are not being as efficient as you may think with having only 4 cities and wasting all that good dirt.
     
  12. DWilson

    DWilson Where am I? What turn is it?

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    I'm probably investing in too much early infrastructure, but I always struggle to get a good fourth city. Three pushes my various resources near the limit.
     
  13. baranysos

    baranysos Chieftain

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    I try to compare the pro's and con's about founding new cities after 4th one. The main issue for me is to deal with the science and culture penalty and happines. Sometimes other issues need to be dealt like wonder requirements, possibility of war etc. 6 cities are the most i founded.
     
  14. Mahasona

    Mahasona Prince

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    I go with 3 cities in most of my games, I usually struggle to find a good spot for the fourth so don't bother.

    A weak fourth city delays National Wonders which I'm usually impatient to get.
     
  15. Erneiz Hyde

    Erneiz Hyde Warlord

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    My personal rule is "if I am to found x cities, I will need x+1 unique luxes".

    And then one game with Hiawatha, RNGod decided to be a bully and I had a whopping ONE unique lux in a quarter of the Pangaea that I started in, even though no other major Civ is nearby. This is because CSes gobbled up the remaining unique luxes, and I wasn't privy in capturing multiple CSes... Was a painful game to play because capital wasn't even a good spot to OCC, barely managed staying happy, and later on pretty much the whole world DoWed me anyway because I went Freedom. Managed to bail out with Diplo in the end. I wish, but I didn't. I probably could do it or Culture if I persevered, but I lost interest in the game.
     

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