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My workers are morons


Nov 8, 2001
Burnaby B.C.
Irrigate or mine, workers make up your mind and move on!

It drives me nuts, all my workers who go around undoing previous work when automated when there are still undeveloped areas! They build a mine, then when thats done, decide they'd rather have irrigation, only to realize-- No, we wanted a mine afterall!

Am I the only one with indecisive, inefficient moronic labourers?

The problem is, I assume, that you are automating your workers with either the 'a' key or the automate button at the bottom of the screen. Some of the earliest threads on Civ3 pointed out: NEVER use these methods. They result in moronic workers.
Instead, use 'Shift-A'. This automates, but doesn't undo previous improvements.
SHIFT-A will automate the workers and tell them NOT to mess with existing improvements (like irregation or mines)
Yup, shift-A do wonders!

I usually control about 10% or so of my workers just to change those few spots that I wanted differently. Otherwise the workers do work out right most of the time. ;)
I only automate workers to clean up pollution. And this only when there is a lot of pollution. I guess I just like micromanaging. I also don't trust the AI to make any decision for my civ that I can make myself, after seeing some of the truly absurd things it does. I have seen the AI march 20+ workers 30 squares across my empire to improve one square of tundra in a useless colony on the other side. I don't want my workers wasting time like this.
In 2 games were ive had a large land mass and a large number of captured workers ive noticed some strange behavior.

When I automate using shift-a I have had 5-10 workers who spend every turn literally running around in circles. They would spend all three movement points moving to one road sqaure, to another road square, and back to the first. All these workers where in the same place on the map. I had to activate them and give them manual orders. Very annoying.
They're suicidal, too. The Babylonians are rampaging across my borders, and I have to use every tank I have to repel them. The instant my territory is clear of the invasion, my automated workers rush to the front line to start repairing, only to be captured by Babylonian wave #2.
I don't know where these complaints are coming from. I've NEVER had a problem with the 'A' ed workers, in v1.17f that is.

Yeah, they'll go back and irrigate over a mine but only after you get electricity and can irrigate without local fresh water. I've never seen them mine over irrigation. And, yes they'll build roads and railroads in every square - it's because those improvements increase your production from those squares.

In Civ II I never automated the workers, because they did the exact things you guys are complaining about. But, in Civ III automated workers have never disappointed me.

Early in the game I'll use Shift I to only improve around a city, but after they finish that I hit 'A' and turn 'em loose.
Hmmm. Well, I usually just mouse-click the "automate" button. I suppose this gives the same result as "a"? Anyway, thanks for the tip.
Yeah, I learned the hard way about the difference between A and shift-A. I wanted to build a wonder after discovering the tech for it, so I found my most productive city and began building it. Another civ was also building it, so I checked to see how long it would take them. It would take both of us exactly 20 turns! I wasn't sure who would be awarded the tie-breaker. So I had a nearby city build a settler, so it could join the city that was building the wonder. Problem was, that my workers wanted to irrigate my mines (thus taking longer to build the wonder:mad: ). Ok, simple enough, I'll just click on any worker I see near that city and send them off to the opposite side of the country to keep them busy for a while. But I had about 50 workers all wanting to irrigate that city like crazy :mad: .

What really bugs me is that the workers irrigate so much under Despositism (a real waste of time on grassland). And even when you already have enough food for 12 citizens and you are a long way from hospitals, the workers want to irrigate even more!
I micro-manage my workers early but once I hit democarcy and railroads I hit A and turn them loose.
i find i can have 1/2 or 1/3 the amount of workers if i control them myself, kinda makes sence, those huge sprawling civs with MANY workers will be more inneficent because u cant be arsed to controll them all, but i dont think it was a design feature
Though I support using shift+a all the way, I disagree with using 1/3 or 1/2 of the workers instead of having a huge work force using shift-a. The reason is that workers count towards your army size when other civs gauge whether they are willing to attack you or not.
i guess my point was i would rather build military units than give the appearence of strength and still have the same terrain improvement rate ... but hey ... if u want workers defending your citys so be it .... but that wasnt my point ... id like to see u use this tactic when multiplayer comes out
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