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Initial Expansion - new city placement

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by syndicatedragon, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. syndicatedragon

    syndicatedragon Warlord

    Nov 14, 2003
    St. Louis
    I realize that city placement is largely situational, but I was wondering in general about a few things. Is it generally better to initially to keep new cities close to your capitol, or to put cities far away in order to "contain" a neighbor?

    On the one hand, cities close to your capitol will develop faster since they will likely have trade together and less maintenance. Plus it takes less time for the settlers to reach their destination, you can be more confident they won't be picked off by barbs, and the capitol can support it by making additional defense/workers.

    On the other hand, it might be better to place initial new cities such that a neighbor cannot expand in your direction, establish a border. You can always "backfill" the area you have fenced in, so to speak (as long as you say no to open borders with that neighbor). But, is having that extra land available in the future more important than having good cities now? Plus, defending those far away cities can be difficult depending on the distance.

    I've tried both, and I can't really decide which is better. Anyone have any pointers?
  2. petey

    petey Prince

    Mar 7, 2002
    Atlanta, GA, USA
    If there's a strip of land thin enough for your borders to quickly fill it in with just one or two cities and leave a large area for you to expand into on your own, or if there's a key early resource that you need, it's best to strategically place cities and then backfill later. In the vase majority of cases, though, it's best to put them close to your capitol and cut down on maintenance costs and defence requirements until you get to a point where you can begin to expand through the AI.
  3. ElJojo

    ElJojo Chieftain

    Jan 9, 2006
    problem is, if you don't agree to open borders, some AI will end attacking you. so building a far away city is only useful to hook ressources or if you really a nice choke point you'll be able to hold in case of an attack. Too dangerous in my opinion to systematicaly refuse open borders. Except if you're preparing for war anyway, but then what's the point of refusing them to build cities for you ? That's what subcontractors do!
  4. Yzen Danek

    Yzen Danek Warlord

    Dec 15, 2005
    Really the only times I'll place an early city far away is if it gives me a desperately needed resource (like bronze); even stone or marble I'll usually just wait and try to build/conquer in that direction.

    I suppose there is a second case, which is that I'll settle in the middle of a land bridge if it completely restricts foreign access to my part of the world and/or allows naval units a huge shortcut between bodies of water with probable strategic importance.
  5. Formula Juan

    Formula Juan Chieftain

    Jan 24, 2006
    Personally I prefer to build my cities quite far one from others. However, I don't let any "no man's lans" between two parts of my territory.
    If two cities are too close of each other, they will develop slowly because these 2 cities will have to share food, production, etc...
  6. jar2574

    jar2574 Prince

    Oct 25, 2005
    I liek to spread mine out and then backfill. More land = more power once things are up and running well.
  7. RandomInsanity

    RandomInsanity Warlord

    Apr 23, 2005
    i once settled my first three cities to contain an ai opponent that i was on an island alone with. it worked out well. they only ended up building two cities and got crushed quickly
  8. punchandpie

    punchandpie Warlord

    Jan 12, 2006
    Clinton, Massachusetts

    This a good point, if you have the chance to cut a AI civ off from the rest of the map, and keep the AI away from key resources, do it. No only does it keep the AI from expanding, but it also allows you to crush the AI how and when <i>You</i> choose to, which is great. :goodjob:
  9. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

    Dec 31, 2005
    I usually build my very first new city close by, and then start stretching out. There are several reasons.

    1) The quicker I get a 2nd city established, the quicker I can get a settler from it.

    2) The closer my 2nd city is, the faster I can get my initial workers to it to start chopping, and the safer it is for them to travel.

    3) I pay less maintenance costs on this city, meaning I can research faster, longer.

    4) I can develop my initial trade routes quicker. More money = more expansion.

    However, there is another big consideration for that 1st new city, it needs to have forests. Not a lot, 2 is enough, but I want to be able to chop rush a settler off of it. Then my 3rd city can be dedicated to something else, while I get 2-3 settlers off my 1st two cities.
  10. kamigawan

    kamigawan Warlord

    Nov 10, 2005
    You sort of did an analysis and answered your own question there, but generally if I have nearby neighbors I'll aggressively settle further away, if not then just build steadily capital out.

    However, I also give significant consideration to resources such as stone, gold, horse, copper, iron, etc. in where I settle my cities. You may have to travel a while to get to these, or if the most fertile land is closest to home, it's probably a good idea to set up cities there first.
  11. rickmc

    rickmc Chieftain

    Nov 21, 2005
    my rule of thumb is if i can block a civ with a city that only takes one more city to fill in the gap, do it. beyond that, just let him build the block off city and be ready to take it.

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