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National College, or Second City First?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Jman5, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Jman5

    Jman5 Warlord

    Apr 13, 2010
    I used to always go second city, then national college, but lately I've started to wonder if it's really worth doing.

    Let's give a hypothetical scenario since I know people love to say: it depends!

    Say you have a Tradition start with no trapping resources and no sea resources. So you can more or less go: Pottery -> Mining -> Animal Husbandry -> Writing/Calendar -> Philosophy (National College). Now in this scenario, sometime between Writing, Calendar, and Philosophy you get enough cash to rush buy a settler, but not enough to rush buy a library in your second city before you hit Philosophy. Oh and in this scenario, you have plenty of room, so competing for real estate is not an issue. This is Standard speed if that makes any difference.

    Is getting the second city up and running worth delaying National College as well as increasing the build time, or should I time my second city right as I finish National College? This doesn't have to be so specific if there is a general rule you follow.
  2. isau

    isau Deity

    Jan 15, 2007
    Hate to be repetitive but it really does depend. :) For me, it depends on whether I get a windfall of early gold. If I have 400 gold for an immediate Library, I'll often go ahead and settle. If not then I delay it.
  3. docbud

    docbud Emperor

    Feb 14, 2012
    I'm not sure, but I usually build the National College before founding my second city.

    And a few turns before it finishes I buy a settler and settle him as soon as NC is done.

    Even if I have extra gold (as isau points out), I usually use that for a couple of archers.

    I only play on Prince level, and maybe on higher difficulties my way of playing would not be prudent.
  4. Mr Jack

    Mr Jack Chieftain

    Dec 22, 2010
    At lower difficulties I found NC first a successful strategy but once I got up to Emperor/Immortal I found I needed to get more cities up early. On higher difficulties you can get more science from trade because it takes longer to overtake the AI so the need for NC early is reduced, but you also find you have greater need for the other early techs so mainlining the NC often means you simply get trampled by the other civs. Also the loss of growth/development in your other cities resulting from their not getting online until later hurts more.
  5. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

    Jun 18, 2003
    Hidden Underground Volcano Lair
    I've been doing NC first on immortal the last few games.
  6. FrostK

    FrostK Prince

    Apr 26, 2013
    I think you should found 2nd city before NC for sure. Usually I place 3rd city or even 4th before NC.
    The main target is population, fast NC is secondary. Now I do smth like:
    fast 2nd city, build library or granary, food caravan to it.
    3rd city, food caravan to it, buy library or build library on production focus.
    4th city same turn as NC is finished, or rush buy library.

    If u got Philosophy and libraries in secondary cities are not ready, you can build i.e. Oracle.

    For quick speed fast NC is not a viable strat at all.
  7. EEE_BOY

    EEE_BOY Deity

    Jan 13, 2007
    Agree with Mr Jack.
    Also cash is hard to come by these days, so assume no cash is a bit better for the discussion.

    Tradition: build 2 cities then NC, after that 4th city. If land is likely to be taken, 4th city first and rush buy library.

    Liberty: NC after settling 1 city then expand; or expand 5-6 cities or more (if non-duplicative lux) then use liberty GE to finish NC.

    Honor: not sure, maybe settling 1 city then NC, then war with CB; or settling 2 cities then start war with xbow.

    Piety: not sure, maybe settling 2 cities then NC, build shine before library, followed by monument, so need some cash to buy lux tile to keep happy.
  8. MarauderCH

    MarauderCH Warlord

    Mar 5, 2012
    I try to time it so that I am building the NC while the settler travels to where I need him to settle. Frequently, the settler gets there before the NC is done so he hangs out with the archer he is with until I settle him.
  9. Acken

    Acken Deity

    Sep 13, 2013
    QC, Canada
    I always go 3 city before NC and usually get NC around 75. And I think it would even be better to go 4 if I see I'll have enough happiness right away to sustain it and enough gold to buy a library in the 4th.

    I feel being sure to grab the best lands first is a lot more important than getting NC first with only capital.
  10. casualplayer

    casualplayer Warlord

    Apr 8, 2012
    If you are beelining Philosophy, planting your second city after NC isn't so bad, I guess, especially if you don't have the resources to rush a Library in your new city to still be NC-eligible or plant your second city early enough to hard build it. But why are you delaying yourself with Mining and Animal Handling? If you are picking up those two techs and then shooting for Philosophy/NC I feel you are waiting too long.

    It's not an "always" plan but I usually start building my first Settler once my cap hits 3-4 pop. If I'm in Tradition the 2nd Settler gets built when my cap is at 4-5 pop; if I'm in Liberty I usually get my free Settler right about the time the first one finishes or slightly before. Then I can drop both and have them Library equipped by Turn 70 at the latest so I can get my NC up by Turn 85-90.

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