Applicability: This is for low- to mid-level players looking to figure out how to stave off starvation, or grab resources quickly; high-level players should already be familiar with this. All information is intended to be relevant as of Civ4 BtS 3.13 +Bhruic patch (the most recent, as of Dec24, 2007). Most of the information will be usable for other versions of Civ4, but the rules have changed a number of times and this doc would double in size to account for all changes. Additionally, mods may change much of this. Please PM me with any errors, corrections, additions, spelling errors, or to suggest better wording (probably to avoid my natural tendency to meander from the actual topic). Use the thread for arguing the merits of this guide. Introduction: We’ve all had the problem of acquiring a city – through founding or conquest – and needed to get its borders to pop quickly, to allow the city to feed itself, to grab a resource 2 (or more) squares away, to reduce revolt or culture-flipping chances, or simply to deny an area to AI explorers or settlers. Your first few cities in the game may suffer from not being able to get its borders popped in a reasonable amount of time, often stifling the city and your empire. What we need to do is increase the amount of culture in the city, but you may not be aware of how many options you have at your disposal. I didn’t see anything like this on the forum, and I kept having problems remembering when I could use a given method to get my borders to pop, so I started making a list. Eventually the list grew large, until I decided to make it into a strategy article and post it for all to use. I hope it proves useful to you. City acquisition methods (Where are all these cities coming from?): • Founding (settler, village result) • Cultural flip • Military conquest • Treaty result Border pop reasons (Why should I jack up the culture in this place?): • Starvation avoidance • Resource grabbing • Reduce revolt chances • Reduce culture-flipping chances • Reduce culture-based unhappiness (usually from conquest) • Area denial or land theft from other civs Tools at your disposal (What gives culture?): • Traits • Civics • Wonders • Buildings • Specialists • Units • Miscellaneous Methods of increasing culture (How do I use these tools?): Traits Right from the very start of the game, the leader you choose can make a difference in how quickly you get culture. Most Traits can be used in some fashion to indirectly boost culture, but these give the most immediate results. Creative The Creative Trait gives you +2 Culture in all your cities, and provides a +100% bonus to your Library production – see the Buildings section, below, for further information. A free +2 culture in all your cities means you don’t have to do anything at all to get your first border pop. This is killer in the earliest stages of the game, before you can build things that will do this for you, but as the game progresses, its value slowly wanes until it’s almost useless. Industrious The Industrious Trait gives you a +50% production bonus for Wonders. This is a very indirect effect, because you’re not going to build a Wonder in a newly acquired city late in the game just to pop the borders. No, instead, this trait’s usefulness comes from building Wonders that give you culture in all your cities; see the Wonders list, below. Spiritual The Spiritual Trait gives you a +100% production bonus to build Temples, and allows you to switch Civics often. See the appropriate sections (Buildings and Civics) below for further information. For late-start games, Spiritual is really only a hedge against getting Cristo Redentor. Civics In late-start games, you get the opportunity to choose from among the available civics immediately. Choosing wisely can get your city borders popped immediately, where starvation and loss of a few free population points is a real possibility. Caste System (Labor) Caste System allows you to have an unlimited number of merchants, scientists, and artists, of which the artists are the most important, because they give you culture. See the Specialists section, below, for further information. With the Sistine Chapel, any specialist can produce 2 culture. Free Religion (Religion) Free Religion is a double-edged sword because many culture effects depend on having a state religion for culture and culture-boosts, but on the other hand, each religion’s buildings will generate culture instead of only those of the state religion. Overall, though, I’d consider Free Religion detrimental to culture until the late game when you have lots of religions in your cities and the best religious Wonders are expired or someone else has them. Free Speech (Legal) Free Speech gives you a +100% culture production boost in all cities. This won’t help if you don’t have any culture in the city in the first place, but it makes use of other culture production all the more effective. Mercantilism (Economy) Mercantilism gives all your cities a free Specialist. By itself, this isn’t useful, because most new cities won’t let you use him for anything but a Citizen, but if you have Caste System enabled, you can make this free Specialist into an artist. You could also rush a building that allows artists, theaters usually being the best choice, but if you have Eiffel Tower, then you have a broadcast tower itching to get an artist assigned to it. Combine this with Statue of Liberty, and you could have 2 free artists. Slavery (Labor) and Universal Suffrage (Government) Both of these allow you to rush production of things. Usually, you will use one to rush a culture-producing building, the Theater being the most likely because of it's cheapness and large amount of culture (but see the Buildings section, below), but you might also rush a missionary or executive in a different city and get it to the city in need. Wonders Building any Wonder will give you culture, but it’s almost impossible for it to make a difference on your first border pop. It could happen that it’s early in the game and you’re building the Wonder before anything else, or it could happen that you have a Great Engineer standing by to insta-build something in an important place, or it could even happen that you can build a Shrine in a Holy city that you just acquired which didn’t have one yet (and you’ll need a Great Prophet standing by too). No, the important thing is that a few Wonders, when built elsewhere, will provide benefits to newly acquired cities. Cristo Redentor Cristo Redentor allows you to change Civics every turn, giving you all the advantages of being Spiritual without having to wait 5 turns between changes, although you do have to wait until the game is mostly over to build it. See the Civics section, above, for further details. Stonehenge Stonehenge gives you a monument in every city, each of which gives you a culture point. (This is also good enough to qualify for the Statue of Zeus.) Unfortunately, these Monuments aren’t actually built, and so will not get doubled culture, nor will they stick around in your cities when Stonehenge becomes obsolete, but until that time, they are the poor man’s Creative Trait. The Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower gives you a broadcast tower in every city, each of which is worth a 50% culture boost. By itself, the broadcast tower is as useful as the Free Speech Civic – that is, by itself, it’s useless, but when combined with something else that gives culture, it means you’ll pop your city faster. Like Stonehenge’s relationship with monuments, you don’t get actual broadcast towers, so if you should happen to lose the Tower, your towers will also disappear. The Pyramids The Pyramids’ contribution is that they allow you to switch your government to Universal Suffrage, which in turn allows you to rush-buy buildings. Being Spiritual will improve the value of this, as will going into Golden Ages, but on its own, it’s not your best tool. The Sistine Chapel This is the big one, the motherlode. With the Sistine Chapel, your Specialists and your state religion buildings produce extra culture points - +2 and +5 respectively. This means that any Specialist, even an ordinary Citizen, can now help pop your borders out. This also means that the Temple gives a much larger bang for the hammer than the theater. This Wonder combines extra well with Mercantilism and Statue of Liberty, because of their free Specialists. The Statue of Liberty Almost as useful as Mercantilism, but without the massive foreign trade penalty, the Statue of Liberty gives all cities on the same continent an extra Specialist, which can be an artist if you have the ability to designate them (best used with Caste System, Eiffel Tower, or Sistine Chapel). The Statue is useless on other land masses, so you’ll have to be careful about relying on it.