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I'm bad at city planning

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by rantzzz, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. rantzzz

    rantzzz Chieftain

    Dec 9, 2007
    I usually plonk my settler into a forested area, and chop down the trees, spamming cottages on every tile within the fat cross.

    I'll also build whatever I can build for that city. Obviously this is not ideal. I have no idea how to specialize my city, either by creating specialists or by building selected buildings.

    Just would like to ask what are your thoughts on city specialization, and how to go about doing it? I usually don't really think much about specializing, simply because the city's borders will expand, and a newly settled city in a forest area will eventually have other tile types in its borders.

    And like I said, I just spam cottages :mad:
  2. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

    Dec 5, 2005
    If all of your cities look the same, specialization isn't going to make a lot of sense.

    There are a lot of different jobs that cities can do (production, military production, research, wealth, espionage, great people). Specialization is the notion that each city should concentrate on one particular job, and do it very well.

    There are a couple of benefits to this. The primary benefit is that it reduces your infrastructure cost by a whole lot. What buildings does a city that builds melee units need? A barracks, and... well, that's it really. Sure, without happiness and health the city won't grow much past size 7, but you won't need it to be bigger than that for a while.

    Now, why doesn't this city need a library? Because it isn't generating very many beakers (though it does generate some), and it isn't going to be running scientists (you use up the surplus food by working mines). So the 90 hammers is better invested in more units. [Note: a military city with a library is certainly better than the same city without one. The useful question is whether it is 90 hammers better.]

    If you have a city generating 15 hammers per turn, and doing nothing but training units, you are going to find you have a lot of units. Which means that your other cities don't need to train any. So not only do they save a bunch of hammers that would otherwise be invested in units, but they also save a bunch of hammers because they don't need to construct a barracks.

    So by putting all of your hammers in one basket, as it were, you are ultimately saving yourself 40-70 hammers per city (depending on how you do the math).

    Let's suppose that you are convinced, and have chosen a city to dedicate to military production. What does the land around that city look like? Cottages? No, of course not - cottages don't provide hammers. Your city looks like mines and workshops, and enough food to keep them running. This tells you what sorts of improvements your workers will build there, and also gives you a hint as to what sort of terrain you are looking for (food specials and lots of green hills).

    Notice too that since you are building all of you military here, it is really obvious which city gets your military instructors, Heroic Epic, and so on.

    The same kind of idea holds for a science city. You want the city to generate a lot of beakers, which will likely mean many scientists, or possibly cottages. Here, you'll construct your library, and as many monasteries as you can cram in, and settle your scientists, and build an Academy and ultimately Oxford University.

    That there is local specialization - figuring out how to make each city the best that it can be at what it does. Unfortunately, that's not a victory condition - you need to build a civ.

    This is where the global aspects come in. Essentially, you have to consider the opportunities that the map provides, and try to work out what kinds of cities are possible, and which specific combination will provide the most interesting game.

    There are a number of ways that you can treat this. I normally concentrate on identifying super cities, and what roles they might fill, and then choosing my other city locations to cover the gaps. Capitals tend to be flexible, so that city will take the most important job I can't locate somewhere else, and the other cities will share whatever responsibilities remain.

    See also: City Specialization: where I do it, A Guide to City Specialization...., Specialization of Cities, Sisiutil's Strategy Guide for Beginners (section 4.6).
  3. Cer

    Cer Warlord

    Aug 20, 2007
    In my opinion, this strategy is not so awful as you think it is. However, it is a good idea to use grassland-farms (or higher food tiles if available) to make low food cities grow to the happy cap. You also want to make some of your cities (i would go for at least 1 in 4) be cottage-free. The no-cottage cities will be production cities.

    Production cities should get forge and barracks (and later on, probably factory and power plant). Normally with any city that works cottages for half or more of its working tiles, I will build all or most of the science bonus buildings and gold bonus buildings (library, bank, etc).

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