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Master & 2 rookies

Discussion in 'Civ4 - PBEM Games' started by MattiK, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. MattiK

    MattiK Warlord

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    Turn 20 on 3200 BC. Warrior has explored most of the western Europe and is now heading home. Spain already has archer in addition of warrior defending its capital. Gotta get archers for myself, but gotta research hunting first. Just recently I completed my first worker and he is now making a mine. Can't build cottage until I have researched pottery first.

    Would it be worthwhile to make city at south end of Italy, on top of sheep or next to it? Not now, better places in France & its neighborhood. But later?
     

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  2. Phylhom

    Phylhom King

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    Finally! My first worker was built! Now I can improve my tiles!
     
  3. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    Some words of advice from a decidedly average player, based on what I've glimpsed:

    1) For Phylhom specifically: Since Egypt starts with The Wheel already researched, you could have gotten more out of your worker.

    Instead of moving him N-NW, which leaves him out of moves, you could have moved him N, laid down a road, then immediately cancelled that action on the same turn. On the next turn, move him NW; he'll still have a move left, and you can start farming without delay.

    The net benefit would have been 1t invested into a road on the tile N of Thebes, which could have been completed on the return trip (EDIT: this does take one turn longer on floodplains, though; not sure if it's worth it in this instance), and will save you turns on movement on several future occasions. For instance, if you have Masonry researched no later than when said road is completed, you could walk the worker S-SW onto the stone and improve it on the same turn -- that's another turn saved already. Mind that cascading advantage.

    It's important to know that the game remembers all worker turns spent on improvements, even if the worker doesn't actually finish the improvement on that turn.

    2) From that situation, both of you can derive the more abstract law: Never have a worker do nothing but move in a turn, if you can help it. You often have to grant exceptions for moving onto roadless hills or into roadless forests (the Indian Fast Worker can avoid even that), but when moving across flat terrain, you can almost always avoid losing tempo.

    3) Speaking from past mistakes I have made when I still considered Monarch difficulty something of a challenge: get your first roads up while improving tiles, and think about which improvements/roads you actually need, so that you can reach your desired site for your future cities at max speed and have it connected via trade route as soon as you found it. Always know what your workers will do next.

    4) Plant all your cities so that they can access an improved food resource immediately (that is to say, the tile must be located within your empire's cultural borders right after you click "Found City"), unless you can manage to get two workers onto a raw food resource and improve it. It's often a good idea to found cities that overlap the fat cross of some other city, so they can "steal" a food resource that the more developed city doesn't need to work right now. The trade-off is that you'll have fewer tiles to work with in the late-game, but that's a long time coming, and specialists don't require extra tiles -- they just require lots of food (two for every specialist employed).

    Note especially that cow pastures on plains, as opposed to cow pastures on grassland, do not qualify as "improved food resources" for this purpose. A surplus of three food per turn simply won't suffice to sustain a reasonable growth curve. All cow pastures are very profitable tiles to work when you're building settlers and workers, though, because they yield six combined :food: + :hammers: per turn, so do found cities near plains cows when there's another food resource (even riverless rice, the worst food resource) nearby.

    5) Egypt seems to be lacking in firewood, so I can't really tell you to chop forests for your next settler, Phylhom :lol: -- but MattiK, you should definitely do that. I know how I used to think "but I want to use these chops after Mathematics to chop this or that wonder!". Forget about environmentalism in Civ. Trees were made to yield 20 raw :hammers: (30 post-Maths) right now, to speed up your horizontal expansion. This means workers/settlers/granaries/work boats/lighthouses, sometimes monuments or libraries, sometimes military units. Again, think ahead: if you found a city with only a few forests nearby, decide what to use them for (usually a granary).

    Importantly for MattiK, you are playing an Imperialistic leader, so forest chops into settlers yield 30 :hammers: in that specific case even before Maths is researched, and 45 afterwards. Play to your trait's advantage -- you won't have it when the map is already filled, and Central Europe gets very crowded on this map rather fast as I recall (haven't played it in years, though).

    If you can get your workers/settlers out that much earlier and constrict e.g. Saladin or Alexander into their sorry little starting corners, you'll land the few wonders that you really need anyway. Or you'll simply have more and better-developed cities, outproduce the AI, and take their cities filled to the brim with wonders as a bonus. ;)
     
  4. Phylhom

    Phylhom King

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    Hi Krugi! Thank you for dedicate a considerable time to analise the game (images of the game) and write so extensive considerations! Your informations are very useful and valuable! I learned a lot with that! :goodjob:
     
  5. rd13

    rd13 Prince

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    nice tips Krugi, my experience would suggest the same, with the possible exception of 4) . I have usually prioritized long game plan when placing cities, ie. to get fewer overlapping plots between cities, unless playing on a very small map/island.
     
  6. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    That does depend on difficulty level and Single Player/Multiplayer, yes -- on Emperor, and presumably above (I've not quite made that leap yet), you usually do want to avoid overlap as much as possible, because the first city you plant already costs 3 gpt in most cases and the AI bonuses to production start to approach blatantly ridiculous levels, so that the threat of getting boxed in (or overexpanding, thereby wrecking your vital early-game research into Alphabet) demands that you plant as few cities as necessary to grab as much land as possible. Most Multiplayer games that I've watched play out on Prince or Monarch difficulty instead, and on those level, tech costs and city maintenance are sufficiently lower that short-term horizontal growth on overlapping tiles tends to outperform slower options thanks to the worker labor you save, and because your first cities will build additional settlers/workers that much sooner. -- In addition, you may not always have a chance to avoid overlap if food resources are scarce and you need to claim a site with copper/horses/iron or some luxury resource right away. Of course, when your hand is obviously forced, there's not much of a decision to be made.

    One special use of overlap applies to all difficulty levels, though. Cities near the capital can often work overlapping cottages to develop them (sometimes for lack of good tiles) when the capital is currently prioritizing :food:/:hammers:, so that Bureaucracy kicks in with all the more impact later when you reassign the mature tile improvements to the capital. For example, you can see Rusten, an amazing player, do that here, playing Sitting Bull on Deity.

    Well, you may have heard about it, but now comes the actual learning. ;) Sure, I can dispense general hints such as "when you're Expansive, put axemen/spearmen in the queue at 4/35 :hammers:, then double-whip and overflow into a granary to complete both unit and granary in two turns; that's much better than single-whipping the granary" -- the question is if I'll configure the food correctly so that I can time the next double-whip to be due in 10 turns precisely before the city would grow past the happiness cap again. Perhaps this will require me to work a grassland forest, or a plains forest, for some turns to keep my food surplus under control, where I could have been working a mine or a cottage instead, if my workers weren't presently dedicated to improving a different city which, as it turns out, doesn't need that improvement just yet. That's just one example of my worker management still... lacking, to speak carefully; and that's why I'm still playing on Emperor and not Immortal. :D

    Besides, those are just micromanagement tips, I haven't even touched on grand strategic planning yet, which is by nature much harder to generalize and improve on.
     
  7. MattiK

    MattiK Warlord

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    That is very useful info. Thanks a bunch! Otherwise your info dump is too heavy on micromanagement and powergaming ( = exploiting loopholes in game rules) and I don't like about either. Besides I have a feeling if I am going to try any of such, it will come bite my rear later when I frak it up: now, where was that partially worked road again...

    I have started new solo game. You can read about it in here.

    [edit]
    I'd like to spare some forest tiles for lumbermills. And forests improve health level. Double advantage there.
     
  8. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    Huh? What powergaming? What loopholes?

    Health is irrelevant for you, you aren't surrounded by floodplains without health resources like poor Phylhom. If you absolutely insist on saving forests then do so with dry ones, that is those that aren't riverside so you don't lose out on commerce, and have an even number per city as every forest provides 0.5 health rounded down, so 1 forest doesn't do anything, 2 and 3 forests give 1 health, 4 and 5 2 health, and so on.

    Nevertheless, I must emphasize that a small bonus early on is often better than a large bonus later on due to snowballing. 60 hammers chopped into a Catapult that helps capture an enemy city sooner than otherwise manageable or makes it possible in the first place is a whole lot more valuable than an extra 4 Hammers per turn and 1 health coming 100 turns later, not to mention that with State Property you could get the same thing from Workshops, and the health impact is negligible.
     
  9. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    Punch in the hotkey <Alt-S>, then click on a tile, and you can place a permanent sign on that specific tile, with a caption of your choice, such as "1t road", "pre-chopped", or "staging tile". :mischief:
    There are certainly times when you want to preserve forests for now (e.g. when you plan to get involved in certain wonder races, such as the Pyramids; or simply saving most chops for after the Mathematics bonus).

    Still, as your mentor has mentioned, lumbermills come online no sooner than Replaceable Parts is researched, probably some 150 turns into the game, and their output, even when riverside, is quite mediocre compared to an unimproved riverside grassland tile -- it's just two additional :hammers: until Railroads. If you had chopped and cottaged the tile a hundred turns earlier, it would probably have matured into a village in the meantime, if not a town (depends on how often you whipped it away, of course), which already gain substantial bonuses at Printing Press, on the mandatory path towards lumbermills. I frankly can't remember the last time I built a lumbermill in this game.

    Think of it as a feedback loop -- chopping forests allows you to build settlers/workers faster, which allows you to chop more forests all the sooner. If the AI beats you to a prospective city site, it will unscrupulously chop all the local forests in any event, so you're effectively saving the environment by prophylaxis. :groucho:

    Saving forests for after Mathematics is a different beast, since that tech comes so much sooner and the bonus is so substantial (10 additional raw :hammers: per forest, and in your case, 15 :hammers: per forest when producing settlers; this doesn't even factor in the :hammers: bonus from Bureaucracy that usually comes ~30 turns after Maths) that you can overcome the advantages of a player who chopped out all his settlers/workers in the first sixty turns (you might beat him to the Great Library, for example).

    To round out this topic, here's an example, taken from a rather famous Multiplayer team game, of an inconspicuous forested city that churned out a critical mid-game wonder in a few turns. This required a vast surplus of worker labor; the necessary workforce had been produced with much assistance from early-game forest chops.
    Believe me, those were just some of the very basics. :lol: I see nothing exploitative about them, although feel free to point out what precisely you see as such. The cancellation, maybe? That's just so the worker doesn't continue with the action automatically on the next turn for unwanted results; in this case, that would amount to roading the tile to completion, thus delaying the essential :food: bonus by a turn. This counts double if you have Unit Cycling switched on. (Powergaming tip: I always turn it off and press <W> to cycle through my units, because at no point in a strategy game, even turn-based ones, do I want for the camera to fly around haphazardly. What's more, it's vexing to cancel worker actions when the game sees fit to zoom straight to the other side of the planet each time you give orders to a worker.)

    I think that the game has become more fun to me by touching upon its inner workings. Some years ago, I played a game of Civ with some of my friends, none of us playing much better than the Noble AI. One of us had never played it before; afterwards, he dutifully noted that "all you do in this game is hitting ENTER for ages" with a splendid laugh. Of course, he had automated all his workers and hardly been aware of whips or chops, and built his first settler on T60 or so. When I first fired up this game, as a twelve-year-old, I also played it quite like that.

    Later I learned that you could chop forests and build more workers and just do more with your cities by timing the whip, and suddenly, the game became much more engaging than before, by virtue of its unraveling intricacies, as I noticed how many more decisions I could make -- cheap exploits, I think, would yield the opposite result.
     
  10. MattiK

    MattiK Warlord

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    A'ight, I think I'll adopt slavery then. Could someone explain to me how the darn thing works? I mean, when am I supposed to 'whip' and when not to?
     
  11. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    Ho boy, where to start? Whipping is indispensable in the early game unless you are seriously lacking for food (in which case you have bigger problems), and still valuable until the very endgame depending on how much you want to (ab)use it.

    At its very basic whipping is a way of turning food into production. Every point of population is worth about 30 hammers when whipped, give or take (worth more with production modifiers like Forge, less if you whip without having any hammers invested in the build). Hence whipping is best when you have lots of food and little production. In the early game that's more or less the case for every city, as your happy cap won't allow you to grow past size 5 or so. Also consider that population in smaller cities regrows faster than in larger cities as for every consecutive growth you need 2 more food in storage than for the one before. Lastly, every time you whip you only increase your unhappiness by one, no matter if you just whipped one, two, or thirteen population away, so you often actually gain net happiness from whipping as you also gain one unhappiness from every population point in a city. Thus whipping serves two purposes: Turning surplus food into hammers and keeping your population happy. Theoretically if we only regard production it would be most efficient to whip as little population as often as possible, i.e. one pop per turn, but even if the growth could be sustained, the happiness could not, so this is not really an option in most cases. On the other end of the spectrum, which is not to say that it is bad for production of course as the whip is generally efficient unless you lack food, you want to whip away as much population as possible as rarely as possible if you are more concerned about happiness than production. Well, not really rarely, every time after ten turns* actually, as by then the unhappiness from the previous whipping will have gone away and won't stack with the next one.

    For now focus on the second method, the first one you can ignore until you encounter an emergency like a surprise invasion and you need troops immediately. To give you a practical example: Suppose your happy cap in all cities but your capital is 5 because you are in the early game, have no happy resources, no religion, and no Hereditary Rule. Most of your cities have a good improved food resource or two, like Corn or Pig that they are working around the clock. Such a food resource is a very good tile, but soon you run into problems: Your city has grown past size 5 and every further pop point that is born now won't do anything useful for you. You could of course just stop working the awesome food tile, but that would be a real shame, especially when there is a better way: Just whip something for 3 population as soon as that city has grown to size 6, and you have both solved your happiness problem and can thus continue working your best (food) tiles, and you got something real nice produced real quick, like a Forge, a Library, a War Elephant, whatever fits your needs. Until you have found ways to increase your happiness you should whip something in that city whenever it is about to grow unhappy again, but only after ten turns since the last whip. Basically, in cities that have lots of food slowbuild small stuff (warriors, archers, Wealth or Research) and whip the big stuff (pretty much all buildings and your better units). Axes, Spears and Swords are on the fence, if your base production is really low you can 2 pop whip them, if it's decent you are better off whipping stuff like Catapults or Horse Archers, though for 3 pop whips you'll most likely need to use buildings before unlocking Medieval units anyway.

    If your city has so much food that it regrows fast enough to exceed your happy cap before the whipping unhappiness has disappeared you'd probably best use it to slow-build workers or settlers, or maybe run specialists. On the flip side, some cities may have good production resources like horses or Iron but only marginal food surplus and need forever to grow for lack of food. These cities you only need to whip rarely, if at all, whenever they exceed their happy cap.

    This is as good a place as any to mention that barring emergencies you should only whip something after you have already invested at least one hammer into it, as otherwise you have to pay an extra "fee" in the form of an extra population point or less overflow in your next build. The same goes for rushbuying with gold when running Universal Suffrage btw. Also whipping/rushbuying wonders costs extra.

    To summarize:

    • whip small and whip often = awesome production, awful happiness
    • whip big and whip rarely = decent production, decent happiness
    • whipping excellent for getting up basic infrastructure and controlling happiness in small (<10 pop) cities
    • whipping is getting less efficient the bigger your city is
    • don't whip something with 0 hammers in it unless it's an emergency
    • don't whip wonders
    • whip when you have too much food and too little production
    • don't/rarely whip when you have too little food and good enough production

    *On normal speed, the time is longer on Epic and Marathon and shorter on Quick speed.
     
  12. MattiK

    MattiK Warlord

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    After completion of warrior and city growing to size 3, I have started build settler. I've got excellent location for new city by the coast next to Normandy with 8 resources in its BFC. But I've got some potential problems with it:
    1. No initial trade route until I research & build a road
    2. Don't have religion or anything else at the moment to increase new city's culture
    3. Gap in culture borders where another civ can make city between and cut my cities off from each others

    Can I address those issues somehow or would it be better to give up on that place?
     

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  13. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    I would settle a city further south first, the danger of Spain settling in between and cutting your new settlement off is too great.
     
  14. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    Isn't that the notorious Angers from RFC? ;) By all means strive to settle that incredible city soon, that's how you want to stamp the seal of the Imperialistic trait on the map; but I agree that you probably want the Alpine pigs/stone site first, roughly where you would presume the location of Geneva, not so much because Spain might cut you off -- Writing should be on the horizon -- but rather due to the distance delaying the necessary tile improvements for that city to commence its meteoric rise; you'll either have to produce a worker at Angers, or lose many turns of worker labor roading/moving towards the city. Third city could and most likely should be precisely that one, though.

    Just curious, because it doesn't make much of an impact right now: are you playing as Julius or Augustus? Should have looked at the first post again; Julius it is.
     
  15. Phylhom

    Phylhom King

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    Farm completed! Next step, build a quarry on the stone.



    I started to research fishing. My objective is pottery. The priority for now is obtain health.
     
  16. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    Aedveafgsad fihwdqoihawbu0bwaiwar Why are you avoiding growth????? Stop that right this instant young man and/or lady! And actually work the farm you just built! Do you even have Masonry yet? Fishing won't do you any good without a second city. If you have no other improvements to build you might as well build a few roads until you get a new relevant tech. Masonry for Quarries and Pottery for Cottages are the two obvious candidates.
     
  17. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    That city screen shows a granary as a possible build, indicating that Phylhom has already researched Pottery :confused: I agree to the plan of relentless cottaging with Masonry as the next technology.

    For you, Phylhom, the Fishing -> Sailing route makes sense as soon as one of you two has researched Writing for Open Borders and you have defogged a coastal route through the Mediterranean, but that will take some time yet. I think both of you should also prioritize Alphabet; you'll want to coordinate your research in the Classical era.

    Health is actually a concern for once on this start; that's one more reason to build a granary, yielding an additional :health: from crops (i.e. wheat) and speeding up the capital's growth in general. You don't even need to road the wheat, as the river already connects it to your capital.

    You should also decide whether to grow to size 2 or 3 before commencing work on your first settler (size 4 is definitely too late). And yeah, don't forget to work that farm. ;)
     
  18. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Simperator Knoedel

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    That's something that's been bugging me. Tech trading in multiplayer opens up a whole lot of options you don't have in single player, and I'm not sure if we want that in a game that's supposed to teach two newbies how to play.
     
  19. Phylhom

    Phylhom King

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    I was completely crazy! :crazyeye:

    Correction applied!





     
  20. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    With Thebes' low natural production, you should be building a settler. You're probably assuming that slow-building a granary at 3 :hammers: per turn will ultimately give you faster growth and extra health at Thebes; the problem is that Thebes grows much faster than it produces (excluding the proper use of Slavery), so you'll spend unproductive turns at sizes 3 and 4 while waiting for your build to finish, and then you'll still have grown past the health cap; therefore, in fact, the granary will not produce the desired effect. What's more, you're neglecting your horizontal expansion; the Middle East in particular will soon be sealed off by regional competitors, i.e. Hammurabi and Saladin, and possibly the Greeks/Byzantines, whoever is on the map. The Ptolemaic dynasty controlled the Levante and Cilicia for a long time, why not make that your goal for early expansion? :king:

    In contrast to your current plan, if you build a settler near the southern sheep and order your worker to herd them in a pasture, you will end up with two small cities that can work all of their tiles to their full potential for the time being. Since the River Nile would flow between the two cities and the relevant stretch of that stream would be contained entirely within your own borders, you would not be required to build roads or research Sailing to connect the new city to your trade network -- "can trade along rivers and coast" in that tech's description refers to tentative trade routes that leave your own borders. Note that these Sailing routes can be very lucrative, as they save worker turns otherwise spent on roads, and foreign trade is always more valuable; this map in particular allows for great Sailing trade routes because the Mediterranean, Black, North and Baltic Seas are all connected. That's not quite your concern yet, though; just keep it in mind that a single exploring galley may pay off its cost in opportunity and :hammers: well for you. ;)

    Why are trade routes so powerful? Simple answer: they yield :commerce: for almost no investment beyond tech/roads, every turn, without any need to use worker labor or population points on building/working cottages. That's not to say you should neglect your cottages, as their mature yields very much pay for the opportunity cost of not working farms/mines/specialists, but profits from non-Financial cottages come much later than Currency, a tech of supreme importance, since it instantly turns nearly any city's commerce output into a net profit compared to its maintenance costs via (1) trade routes and (2) the ability to build :gold: from :hammers:. Your cottages must effectively also pay back the costs of any trade route you couldn't establish several turns sooner because you chose to improve your tiles for :commerce: rather than :food:/:hammers: for faster settlers. Trade routes do cost 100 :hammers: because they only come bundled with a settler, so to speak, but you want settlers for other benefits as well and can't avoid building them, so the opportunity cost of trade routes is very small.

    Anyway, back to why you should prefer settler over granary here:

    By virtue of its placement, the new city would receive the fresh water bonus and less floodplains to cause you trouble with low health; better yet, by roading the sheep, you can add another health resource that would give its benefits to your whole empire, rather than just one city. Thus you could also achieve progress towards your (well-considered) strategic goal of improving health, but in a shorter timeframe than by slow-building the granary, while also expanding your empire.

    By the way, I think that researching something like Mining -> Masonry -> Pottery -> Bronze Working -- and wasting no turns with the initial settler, of course :mischief: -- would have been optimal for you, because you could have built at least one quarry for additional :hammers: to speed up your settler/worker production (Masonry would have finished before the 12-turn worker would have finished improving the wheat, I think), same as if you had two plains cows at your start.

    As general advice, before you have a granary + Slavery in your capital, always build a settler rather than growing your capital when the best tile you can add at growth is a "forest" (that is, any tile with 3 combined :food: / :hammers:).

    Here, with unhealthiness taking away your food, the 3/1/1 stone/floodplains (or marble/floodplains) tile you would next grow onto actually amounts to a 1/1/1 tile, 2 combined :food:/:hammers:, because two :food: are consumed by two points of unhealthiness past the available :health:. You can observe this directly in the city screen, where it currently says "-1 :food:". Thus, since every population point adds another point of unhealthiness (and also unhappiness; remember this), you can foresee that the tile you add at size 2 will have its output stifled by -2 food per turn until you gain :health: by some means. To gain health, you would have to build either a settler (for the nearby sheep resource) or a granary, but the granary takes too long and only adds enough health for the size you're already on, so you still cannot grow and the granary's boost to growth wouldn't help you. You also cannot improve the stone or marble (10 turns of research to Masonry, and ~8 for a desert quarry after that) before Thebes grows at least twice and the granary will already be complete. Here, you can easily decide that it's time to build a settler.

    Pottery is a good tech, but generally, commerce isn't quite as important in the beginning and you wouldn't be delaying cottages unreasonably if you were to improve the wheat and two quarries first. Besides, 10t earlier villages usually won't make up for 5t earlier cities, keyword: "snowball" and all that. For a demonstration of this, you can see this single player map I'm currently playing, on which BornInCantaloup expertly surpasses my opening by using an innovative tech path (correctly identifying the stranger characteristics of the map, while my play was too generic) and focusing on horizontal growth (i.e. more cities, not bigger ones), which I have neglected. As a result, in 1000 BC, I'm at six cities with a seventh settler coming in shortly, but BornInCantaloup has eight by turn 75 and will tech Currency faster than I can, with Sailing also researched, so that his commerce output will overtake mine in short order.

    From that benchmark alone, you can probably imagine that not founding a second city before roughly turn 40 would have disastrous effects on your economy.
     

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