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how to deal with city number maintenance cost?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by fishjie, Feb 3, 2020.

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  1. fishjie

    fishjie omghi2u

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    Hello,
    Recently started playing civ4 again after a decade hiatus due to nostalgia. Was never any good, only played at warlord and noble difficulty and even then struggled. I am reading a lot of articles on here, and one surprising thing i learned is that most buildings are useless, and that you should mostly just spam out units from most of your cities or build wealth/failgold instead.

    So I started experimenting with that in warlord and it worked out really well - but too well. I noticed that soon I had to set science slider close to 0%, even as more cities switched to building wealth/failgold. After doing more reading i realized it was because maintenance costs are a function of both distance and number of cities. this would explain why every time I settled a new city I would actually lose money. and so my research would lag behind, even in warlord or noble difficulty. so how do you deal with this at higher difficulties?

    are courthouses worth it in some cities with high maintenance cost? should i build forbidden palace asap?

    should i expand in a ring instead of pushing my borders as far out as possible? like in my current game i had a whole area to the south to myself, so i thought that i would settle that area later, and instead push my borders as far north as possible. but then the maintenance cost of both distance and city number kicked in and killed me. so i stopped expanding north and began filling in the area to the south, but then the AI came in and started settling those areas. when waging war should i just raze cities instead of occupying them? but then the AI will just settle there again right?
     
  2. Gumbolt

    Gumbolt Phoenix Rising

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    If your under 10 cities it really shouldn't be an issue. Focus on cottages/economy instead of city costs. If the cost is less than -8 a turn I would not worry. (That includes distace from capital and number of cities). Overall anything close to your capital should have a low cost. I would say no to courthouses unless costs are -9-10 a turn.

    On warlords you should be able to rex to 5-6 cities before 1000bc with no real worries.

    How far out are you settling cities? I normally leave a gap of 2-4 tiles between cities. 2 if I want a helper city near capital to run cottages. 3-4 if the site is good for food/resources. If a city is 8-9 tiles away from your nearest city you need to have a very strong reason to do so.

    A save would really help. Or pictures?
     
  3. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Working cottages will save you. Courthouses are not great, 120:hammers: is a lot! That's 120:gold: by building wealth, more by failgolding...
    You should never start a war aiming to raze cities. The reason you go to war is to take more cities!
     
  4. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    Some good advice already, but keep in mind that there are probably quite a few basic things for you to learn that will greatly improve your game overall and make Noble level seem easycakes. I would not play below Noble at this point. Just keep playing Noble with an aim to move up levels as you learn more. Maintenance costs increase substantially as you move up levels and the folks here giving you advice play on at least IMM normally if not Deity, and always look to expand and get large. The point is that there is a way..just takes time to learn and get a feel for things.

    As sampsa mentioned, Courthouses in general are a bad investment, but as you grow quite large, especially if overseas, you might consider whipping out a few in far away cities. Forbidden Palace is something I don't even consider unless I have cities overseas, basically causing the city in which it is built to serve as a de facto capital in that area for distance maintenance.

    -and, yeah, your goal in war is to capture new cities but don't be afraid to raze really crappy cities that the AI is known to sometimes settle. Or in some cases raze and resettle a city spot in a better location in terms of the resources nearby. You goal is to capture capitals which are generally always nice spots, any cities with wonders, and nicely developed cities with good food. I'm not concerned about the AIs trying to resettle really crappy areas.

    a few other general pointers:

    1) The slider: Get used to running 0% or 100%, not in between. Accumulate gold to fund the next target tech. At 0% you still get the binary research so some progress is being made, and you will eventually start running scientists as well which give static beakers. But 0 or 100% overcomes the rounding issue in the game, but also allows you to fund expansion. Generally at the point you found your first city - other than cap, ofc - you will hit deficit research and start applying the 0/100% technique. (Later on you can play with this a bit as the rounding issue disappears with modifiers in place but for now I would just use this technique always until you understand things better) But do raise that slider as soon as you have enough to fund the tech.

    - Another key point here is binary research means non-committal to a tech - other than the very small bpts going into it. The point after Writing is in and libraries being built is a great example. As this is where you are deciding on tech like Apha, Aesths or maybe Maths. You may run binary at this point for a couple of reasons. First, you are getting up libraries as you accumulate a generous amount of gold in the bank, such that when you do decide to commit you have the beaker modifiers in place. Second, this is still around the time for your initial expansion phase to probably at least 6 cities, so you are basically funding that expansion at this point. Lastly, by not committing at this stage during the library construction and expansion phase, you can make a decision on the next tech based on the overall situation and know AIs. Did someone already get Alpha? Well tech something else so you can set up a trade for Alpha. Granted that applies more to higher levels since the AIs tech very slowly on Noble compared to what you SHOULD be doing on your own. On Noble, I'd probably just go straight to Alpha myself.

    2) After currency you can build wealth, of course, but it also opens up the ability to trade resources for gold per turn (GPT).and trade tech for gold, which you should always be looking for opportunities to take advantage of. Always make sure you are trading extra resources for gpt. You can renegotiate these deals every 10 turns so check if they have more gpt available (note: for renegotiating wait until they at least have >1gpt avialable). Resource trades improve your overall economy. Tech trades for gold, or sometimes tech+gold, allow you to fund techs faster. Keep an eye out for wonders finishing as other AIs might have a lot of fail gold available for quick large sums for gold.

    3) You can actually beg small amounts of gold. i don't know the exact coding on this, but seems to be relative to how long you know an AI. Don't beg from someone you just met. If you've known them for a few turns or so, you can at least beg 30g. However, if you known them a long time then 50 or 60g is a good amount to ask for, maybe even a little more than that. Don't try begging again for at least 20 turns with that AI.

    4) A strong cottage Bureau cap will go a long way in funding your empire, not to mention obviously greatly increase your overall beaker rate. Additional cottage cities near rivers are also advised as well to increase your overall economy which overall funds a large empire.

    5) I find that less experience players seem to think that their economy is worse off than it actually is. As long as you are making gpt at 0% research you are okay. Things will get better and better if you develop your empire properly.

    6) Judicious teching is also helpful. Don't tech things that the AI almost assuredly will tech for you. Instead tech things that will facilitate good trade values. For instance, things like Iron Working, Machinery and Feud I would rarely tech myself.

    Anyway, if you are struggling now on Warlords/Noble, again, there are quite a few basic concepts you need to learn. If you desire to get better at this game, which is a fun aspect on its own that can drive your interest (it has for me for 12 years now..ha), then run a shadow/learner game here for advice from Turn 0. Learn to excel in the early game component and the world is your oyster. Play with normal settings/map (Pangaea recommend) and no/huts events.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  5. fishjie

    fishjie omghi2u

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    Whoa thanks for all the helpful information.

    Regarding point 5, I realized that if you defy an AP resolution to return city, your own people think you are a villain and you get massive penalties. yikes. So actually what I thought was the maintenance from expanding too fast was also just being punished for defying AP.

    Regarding point 1: I am reading more on binary research. It sounds like the main benefit is flexibility. Found a few threads on it but wasn't sure if there were any guides:
    https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/binary-research.329730/

    Never tried it before but will give it a go.
     
  6. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Well, also in the early game, say after you've settled your 2nd city, winning or losing 1:science: is big, almost 10% of what the whole empire produces per turn.
     
  7. lymond

    lymond Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!) Hall of Fame Staff

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    I'd say flexibility or adaptability is part of it. But first and foremost, you eliminate the rounding issue found in the early game by going 0/100%. You will do this even before writing when that 2nd city is settled. This gets even more painful the higher the level. That thread from years ago had some good points here and there but not sure if anyone truly nailed the point home on why it is important. There have been posts here and there on the subject over the years where it was explained better, but who knows where to find that stuff now.

    Point is, or recommendation, is that you just start practicing and getting in the habit of running 0/100% as soon as you hit deficit research, such that you bank enough gold to fund the next tech. Generally, you will bank just enough to fund the next tech..in other words don't just sit there banking gold forever and forget about it...you want to be very focused on completing techs as soon as you can. The one exception may be a longer period of banking right after Writing during library construction, using some tech as a placeholder ..on high levels this would likely be Aesths, but Alpha or Maths work fine as well. You are expanding as well during this time, so it might take some turns to bank gold anyway to have enough even with libraries and scientists. Really depends on the level and the land you have and how it is developed. For instance, having an early Gold online and workable is going to make a huge difference to your economy.

    As for the AP thing, you really never want to be in a position to defy a resolution or be in a position where Ais will prompt vote resolution in some way against you. However, keep in mind that the defy penalty only impacts cities with the AP religion, so if you have like 1 crap city with AP religion somewhere then that is not harming you at all. Still, you otherwise want to plan around AP as a factor in your game. If you are large and have good spread of the AP religion, and in that religion, you should have a strong vote anyway such that you don't need to defy but just vote no. You can check the current vote layout on the AP screen. As for wars, try to plan around the AP vote timer, and either finish that war or vassal the target in that timeframe, or otherwise be prepared to use a cease fire (not Peace Treaty) to avoid the vote for peace out, then kick then DOw again immediately.
     
  8. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    Binary research, why ?
    a) No reason to lose beakers due to rounding ;
    b) Trades : it's a bummer if you stop researching halfway and then have a trade unlocked ;
    c) Multipliers : if you have several libraries coming up and/or an academy, it's probably wise to stock up on gold ; conversely, if you have 6 banks coming up, you should probably use up your gold reserve.

    Original question :
    Work more tiles.
    A new city is almost always a drain on your economy, for some time. It's an investment. How do you circumvent that ?
    a) let the city grow (8g maintenance doesn't mean the same to a city that produces 3 or 30 commerce - one of those cities is productive and the other isn't) ;
    b) build infrastructure, so the tiles that are worked are more efficient.
    Depending on your tech level (Cottages, Currency, Courthouses, Bureaucracy, etc. ; happy cap), you can afford more or less cities.
    If you have 10 cities before Pottery, you're likely to be broke. If you have Factories unlocked already, you could probably support more.
    Bottom line : you (can afford to) acquire new cities as you tech up and increase your happy cap.
    Timing your expansion with your research is how you do it.

    If you've expanded already and have economic issues and have some happy cap margin and have some food surplus... just growing for 15 turns while cottaging the land is likely to solve the issue. And when it's solved, you should aimed to expand again.
    The better you become at managing the increases in maintenance, the less downtime you'll suffer while trying to recover.
     
  9. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Except 2nd city, even on deity! Especially on lower difficulty levels you should aim to expand as fast as possible to say 4 cities, because especially when connected, they don't cost you :gold: and produce :food:+:hammers:.
     
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  10. fishjie

    fishjie omghi2u

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    thanks for the info everyone! i'm gonna wrap up this game on warlord difficulty and then play on noble difficulty only. i'll post screenshots or save games if i run into trouble

    Question, in other threads on here, I was reading its not worth it to build banks. They did some cost/benefit analysis based on hammer cost and calculating how many turns it would take for bank to start paying for itself if they had instead run wealth. With binary research, is it worth it to build banks and grocers and marketplaces in cottage cities?
     
  11. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    Usually, no. Note though that it doesn't matter to the value of :gold:-multiplier buildings whether you run binary slider or not. 10 turns at 40% slider is the same as 6T @0% 4T @100%. The difference is only the things already mentioned in binary science -discussion.
     
  12. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    Banks are rarely built because people usually try to spend as little time as possible running a 0% science slider. If you're not producing gold, the bank is useless.
    So they look for other/better sources of gold to fund research. (trades, failgold, build wealth among others... city captures, shrines, trade missions...)
    But : in a situation where you're broke and your science slider is at 0 for a while, banks are a sound investment.

    Depends what you do with your slider. Ideally, you want to run it high but it doesn't always happen.
    If your slider spends half the time at 0... banks giving you a 50% multiplier for 200 hammers... Yes, it's expensive. It's a worse ratio than that of the library. But it's a better one than that of the university. And if you can't afford to raise your slider, then it's the best deal you have (in buildings).
    I believe commerce cities should get some of those multipliers, yes. A grocer might not matter much ; a market giving +3 happies could be a good investment (provided the happiness matters). I almost always build them all in the capital.

    Overall, though, science multipliers are much better than gold multipliers. Getting new techs is more important than amassing 3000g in treasury.
     
  13. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    Yeah, banks in the cap, any conquered shrine cities, or major commerce generators. And then your best other to get up to six if you're thinking about wall street. That's usually not a concern for me since by the time I get to corporation, I've conquered enough cities that a few banks survived. And that's when I need them because of the increased maint. due to quick conquest expansion. If you're on a large enough world some ones going to eventually get rifles so you can't totally stagnant your tech progress.
     
  14. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    I think maintenance cost is, ironically, much more of an issue on lower difficulty levels. Partly because the lower level players don't know how to develop their cities quickly, so they have a lot of money pits that stagnate forever. But also because the AI expands much slower, and defends itself less, so you can easily get a dozen or more cities early in the game and hit 0% research before you've even got currency or code of laws. On deity they fill up the map so fast that it's not even an option. Then when you do take their cities, you get these awesome cities full of infrastructure and well-developed cottages, instead of the lousy ruins that a warlord-level AI gives you.
     
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  15. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    While some of that is true, laying down that 3rd or 4th city at a lower level barely impact you. On the higher levels you can be down to 60% or less to be positive already.
     
  16. sampsa

    sampsa Ghost

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    I'd say mostly because of this? If you can't capture good cities, you can probably found good cities. :) 3-pop whip settlers, work cottages and so on.
     
  17. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Sure, but 15 cities on noble costs a lot more maintenance than 3 cities on deity. And 15 cities on warlord/noble is easily doable even by new players.
     
  18. Snowbird

    Snowbird Warlord

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    Sure, but 15 cities produce a lot more everything.

    I think lesson is that research % does not matter, beakers per turn does (sustainable 60% of 300 is more than 100% of 90) and potential from claimed land matters too. I would not mind crashing to zero if it gets lots of green riverside with pottery being teched.

    Imagining that stuff like tech percentage and score mean anything is what holds lots of players down few difficulty levels down.
     
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  19. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    Yeah, it's all about beaker count. But unless your three cities are really great, your beaker count cant touch that of a larger empire. (unless you just expanding really stupidly.)
     
  20. fishjie

    fishjie omghi2u

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    Thanks for all the help.

    Here is my latest game, I am at 0% research again. Noble difficulty, standard size fractal map. Rolled random, got Zulu as my civ. Currently 50 AD

    Some things that went well, I destroyed the dutch early on by spamming warriors. Things that went poorly, I lost a settler to barbs due to carelessness, and later had to recapture nobamba which got captured by barb axeman when I only had one warrior defending. It is 50 AD and I have 8 cities. Utrecht I will make a GP farm.Bulawayo, kwadukuza I will spam cottages in. Ulundi and Nobamba I was going to make production cities. Amsterdam, nMgungundlovu seem like hybrid production and cottage cities? not sure what to do. Once I can get more gold I will clear forests to the north and turn those into cottage cities as well. Currently I make +7 gold per turn at 0% science. Running at 100%, I lose 50 gold per turn, so it takes 7 turns just to do one turn at 100%. So I am building research so as to not fall behind. Currently researching currency so I can build wealth. At some point I will spam units and destroy Ethiopia, but I'm unable to afford war right now. Afterward though I'll have whole continent to self.

    here are some screenshots from steam
    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1992312676
    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1992311801
    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1992311431

    here is the save game file (FIXED)
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/1qiedg9pvhlguyg/jieyangh AD-0050Zulu.CivBeyondSwordSave?dl=0
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020

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