I decided to start quite a project: to write my own Encyclopedia of Sid Meier's Civilization. My first entry is about Settlers. I would like to hear your comments on this. You may also wish to contribute - if possible I would like to work with someone who could review my drafts and add some important info I might have forgotten. My intention is to write at least two or three entries a week. Anyone interested? SETTLERS Settlers are one of the most important units in the game. They are available at all the time (from 4000 BC onwards), i.e. you don’t need to discover any technology to build Settlers and they never get obsolete. In fact, they are so important that they are the only unit you start your game with. The value of Settlers: Settlers are the only units in the game to perform the following actions: found new city; build road; build mine; build irrigation; change to (some terrain types to others); build fortress; clean up pollution; build railroad; add to city (population). With the exceptions of found new city and add to city, every action can be performed an infinite number of times without consuming the unit. However, some actions are not available from the beginning but only after certain scientific discoveries have been made (the option to build fortress is only available after the discovery of Construction; the option to build railroad is only available after the discovery of Railroad; the option to clean pollution is only available when there is pollution to clean). Settlers can also perform other duties as any other units: establish contact with other civilizations; defend cities (although they are quite ineffective for this purpose); pillage. As all other units, Settlers can also be assigned to a new city (which can be helpful if the unit is a burden to the city), moved using the go to command, disbanded, wait (for orders), (put on) sentry, or given no orders at all. Although Settlers are not a real military unit in the sense that they are useless to attack and quite lame to defend, they are indeed capable of some military actions like capturing an enemy city or destroying it (if city size is 1) which Diplomats or Caravans can not. The problems with Settlers: 1. When completed, Settlers always decrease the population of the city in which they are formed by one point (eg. Size 2 city becomes size 1) – this can be a serious problem if your city is only size 1 because the completion of a unit will cause the disapperance of the city. 2. Every single turn, Settlers require food for maintenance (the amount depends on the type of government – 1 for Despotism and Anarchy; 2 for all the other types of government). This means that the amount of food available for the city to grow will be reduced, causing the city to grow slower. Sometimes, food produced by the city could be insufficient to maintain its population. If this is the case, Settlers will be lost when food storage is empty even before city population is decreased. 3. Settlers have no military use so they will likely be destroyed when attacked. 4. Many of the tasks Settlers perform take several turns to complete (affected by the type of terrain). This makes them even more vulnerable to enemy attacks because they can be occupied performing some tasks when an enemy attack occurs or is imminent. Note: in this situation, you are advised to make the Settlers abandon the task and move the unit to a safer place (usually a nearby city or unit). 5. Unlike Caravans and Diplomats (the other units without strict military use), Settlers cannot move to tiles adjacent to enemy units (even if both civs are in peace). Suggestion: Use Diplomats or Caravans (Diplomats are cheaper to build) to occupy the tile you pretend to move your Settlers to and then you can move the Settlers even if an enemy unit is in an adjacent tile. When to build Settlers? Settlers are a key unit for every city. Once a city is capable of defending itself (let’s say it possesses at least one military unit, preferably a Phalanx or better), and capable of supporting one Settlers unit, build them right away. As a general rule, build a new Settlers unit whenever the previous unit is consumed in the act of founding a new city. Priorities in the use of Settlers: 1. Clean up pollution – Pollution is like a cancer that will grow if not properly addressed and in the long run will damage your civilization significantly. If a city square is affected by pollution, clean it as fast as you can. 2. Found new city – If there’s a good location available for a city, the top priority should always be to found a new city (with the obvious exceptions of being at war and occupied by enemy units or threatened by barbarians, besides the previous point about pollution). 3. Build road – Roads are essential to link cities and to boost trade. Link all cities as early as possible. 4. Build irrigation – Irrigation of grasslands, plains and rivers is important to boost food production so they allow cities to grow. It’s useless to irrigate rivers when your government type is Despotism. Don’t rush to irrigate everything. Irrigate as many tiles as your city population needs. After one or two irrigated tiles, switch to build mine if adequate. 5. Build mine – Mines are important to boost industrial production. Unfortunately, only Hills and Mountains are worthy of mining (with some exceptions namely for deserts/oasis). 6. Build railroad – Railroads are vital not only for linking cities and making the movement of land units incredibly easy but also for boosting food and industrial production. 7. Change terrain – Turning swamps or jungles into grasslands may take forever but it is worthy especially when your city seems to be unable to grow on population or produce more. 8. Build fortress (this option is only available after discovering Construction) – Fortresses are useless except under very specific conditions. First they take too much time to build. Second they require a strong defensive unit to guard or they will be ineffective. Furthermore, fortresses can be easily avoided by enemy units by going around or by using air or naval units. However, if located on a montainous isthmus they can be useful to block enemy land units behind the fortress. Their effectiveness will always be limited in time because, sooner or later, the enemy units will find another way or they will simply make it through with a little luck and using some tougher attacking units. 9. Add to city – The most useless of all options. There’s always something for Settlers to do. And when there is not, it’s a good idea to keep them on sentry in case some pollution appears. A good ideia would be to have at least one Settlers unit for every 4 cities on the same land mass (more Settlers if pollution is uncontrolled). Besides, adding the Settlers to city might cause some problems in the city generating unhappiness and pressing for the need to build more expensive buildings for maintaining order in the city. On very specific conditions, however, add to city might be an interesting option to consider (e.g. when a city is unable to support Settlers and assigning the unit to another city is not viable). Conclusion: Settlers are the single most important unit in the game. Everything comes from that early Settlers unit you start your game with. They perform unique features that can not be performed by other units and they are quite resilient – they never get old. They represent the spirit of Civilization: Grow, Colonize, Develop.  They are not totally helpless since they have a defence value of 1 point. If they are located on hills ou mountains they have a fair chance of surving when attacked by a weak opponent.