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How should one use plains?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Elliot, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Elliot

    Elliot Warlord

    Jul 30, 2008
    How should I use my plains tiles before biology?

    option 1: cottage

    This is the best option IMO, but I need lots of food specials in order to make up the food deficiency.

    option 2:farm

    This seems almost pointless before biology. A farmed plains is 2F 1H. All you get beyond feeding your worker is 1H. That seems like a bad use of a population point and worker time. If you're adjacent to a river, add one commerce which can make the investment worthwhile, although I'd rather mine hills and cottage grassland first.

    option 3: workshop

    This seems like a good idea once you're in the Renaissance, but before then, workshops aren't that productive unless you're running caste system.

    option 4: ignore them until you've worked all other tiles

    This seems like the best idea. Although sometimes you get unlucky and much of your land is plains.


    Usually I'll do a combination of 1 and 4. I'll cottage all grasslands first and then go back and cottage plains(I'll cottage plains rivers before regular grasslands however), feeding them with food specials. But sometimes you'll get large tracks of plains(sometimes with rivers) and no food specials in sight. What do you do with this situation?
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

    Jan 26, 2008
    Option 4. Biology, emancipation, or caste/guilds/chem/SP make the plains tiles worthwhile. Prior to that use the other ones first. Plains mines are OK earlier on too...but worse than grass mines and should probably be ignored in favor of whip below pop 6-7.
  3. TeraHammer

    TeraHammer Prince

    May 12, 2005
    Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    I usually allways cottage riverside plains, and ignore non river plains. Maybe a workshop but pre-chemistry, those are not great either.
  4. capnvonbaron

    capnvonbaron Democratia gladii

    Aug 15, 2008
    cyberland, USA
    Unless my hand is forced I don't really use plains until maybe midway through the game. My use of plains is always dictated by the type of city working them.

    If its a hammer city, I'll usually farm everything flat (including plains) and mine all the hills in the bfc and just work whatever will allow the city to grow the largest and crank out the most hammers. If I plan on using state property, plains watermills are very tasty in production cities.

    If its a commerce city, most riverside plains get cottaged with one maybe farmed so I can spread the irrigation to the surrounding flatlands once civil service comes in, depending on hills and whatnot. The timing for that usually works out well for starting a city to start growing more. Again, with state property, I might consider watermilling a few of the riverside plains.

    Specialist cities again all get farmed but I usually won't work them pre-bio unless I need some extra hammers or something.

    Coastal cities with seafood resources will oft get workshops on plains tiles just because they tend to be hammer-poor.

    I guess the theme here is that cities with lots of plains tiles oft need to be micro-managed more than others :p
  5. sherbz

    sherbz Emperor

    Mar 27, 2009
    im quite a fan of water wheel plains on a river. once electricity is in they become a super tile. but yea, unless you cottage, they suck in medieval.
  6. Yamps

    Yamps Deity

    Aug 30, 2007
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Don't settle there. If your land pretty much looks like that, you're in serious trouble though. In any case, I'd farm such cities to increase population, pop would be useful later on.
  7. ruff_hi

    ruff_hi Live 4ever! Or die trying

    Oct 24, 2005
    an Aussie in Boston
    I have a pretty food happy city with 2 plains river side tiles. I water wheeled one and put a work shop on the other. A few 10s of turns later, I noticed that my workshop was pulling 5 hammers (plains, workshop, caste system, chemistry and levee) while my water wheel was giving 2 or 3 plus some commerce. I changed that silly water wheel to a workshop pronto-quick (this city was hammer poor).
  8. FriendoftheDork

    FriendoftheDork Keiser

    Jul 4, 2007
    plains tiles are hardly great but if you are not limited by health and happiness you can pretty much farm them all, every hammer counts and at least they feed themselves.

    Without grassland or resources you won't get to cottage or workshop those plains anyway, and if you do have them you work those first.

    That said if you have 2 grassland, 1 hills plains, 3 coastal (with 1 fish) and the rest plains with rivers then I'd farm everything I could and mine the hills, to make it a mediocre production city. Or settle somewhere else, but you don't always get that option and a city that pays for itself is never bad.
  9. stefista

    stefista Chieftain

    Oct 7, 2009
    Chicago, IL, USA
    I will often cottage 2 plains tiles in a commerce city in order to stop growth at the happy/helth cap. Especially early game, I am likely to settle an ordinary commerce city in a spot with lots of grassland, but no resources, it will grow slowly to the happy cap working cottages only (only 2F surplus). At the happy cap however, I feel it is simply too costly to whip the extra pop and lose the cottage-working turns.

    The solution is to have two 1F cottage tiles, either on plains or on grassland hills (yes, grassland hill cottages). When the last workable citizen arrives, I assign him to one of my 1F cottages and switch another citizen to the other 1F cottages. Instant stagnation. When the happy cap increases I switch back to grassland cottages. This technique works extremely well with deeply overlapped cottage cities so that I can ensure that most cottages are worked all the time in order to grow.
  10. mariogreymist

    mariogreymist Deity

    Aug 11, 2009
    I build a mix of improvements on plains tiles, depending on the situation. If I am running SP (not common for me) there will be lots of workshops and watermills. I build a few watermills on plains anyway. I like to cottage plains when there is sufficient food to be had (by specials, corporations or whatever). Under US, a heavily cottaged plains city can be simultaneously a commerce and production center of impressive proportions. (if a lot of the tiles are riverside, even moreso) I would guess that about 50% of my plains improvements are farms though. Post biology, such cities are very viable (even if they are 21 plains tiles) to build units and/or run enough specialists to make them worthwhile.
  11. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Feb 12, 2007
    If you have a plains heavy start, just whip heavily and run specialists.
  12. ICNP

    ICNP The Third Superpower

    Aug 17, 2007
    Missile Silo
    Communism. Yeah I'm having a hard time with this too in my current game. My plan is Farms + Whip, since the population isn't worth anything to me.
  13. Monsterzuma

    Monsterzuma the sly one

    Jun 1, 2008
    Ignore it for the most part and work something more useful. Cottages/farms work OK on them in the late game.
  14. KeloGBites

    KeloGBites Warlord

    Oct 15, 2009
  15. 0range

    0range Chieftain

    Oct 18, 2009
    cottages/workshops. depends on the city
  16. banson

    banson Warlord

    Oct 17, 2009
    cotages ,workshops and farm mix is good. if its all plains or ostly plains dont settle it as a early site
  17. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

    Jul 17, 2007
    in a Gadda Da Vida
    I try VERY hard to keep forested plains or to have forest spread to plains for future Lumbermills.

    If I have enough food - cottage the riverside ones, workshop the other ones, after improving all the hills/grasslands. I rarely build farms on plains pre-Biology unless it is a chain irrigation situation.

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