Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Roxlimn, Oct 23, 2010.
Generally after size 15 I find the growth rate really starts to slow down.
Again, don't know about OP, but 12 is too small. At the time you win, I think it would be nice to have cities at size 20 or so. Wouldn't hurt to have 12+ cities, all size 25 and over.
I Tried messing around with this. I think this must have been the kind of plan the developers had in mind, because it does help the balance between research and production a lot. Of course that's half because research goes so slowly lol. Even going all out for population growth, big cities just grow too slowly to generate good research.
The biggest setback is the cost of buying all the tiles I need. Can't get production without hills or forests, and can't get those usually unless I buy them. I had to take the monarchy SP just to afford it, and I was still spending most of my gold on tiles so I could only afford 2 city states.
@Roxlimn: You read my mind! Indeed, I was just typing out an even longer explanation than this post ended up being (justifying numbers and sizes of cities and so on) when I saw your post!
As far as city size is concerned, I agree with you and Celevin personally Ive no problem getting cities to size 10+, but find that Civ 5s requirement for increasingly larger amounts of food to grow to the next pop starts biting as city size moves through the teens. As a result, Id say that the minimum city size is really around 20, pereferably nearer 30 IMHO; the higher the better really. However, more important is that we use some common sense here as we all know, there are going to be occasions when this city size is difficult to reach, perhaps because the city is coastal...so 20 is by no means a hard and fast rule.
As far as the number of cities is concerned, thats going to depend partly on the shape of the landmass. To make things as easy as possible, Id therefore simply suggest adopting a common sense approach here too (which is all Ive been trying use when settling my cities in Civ 5): if a site has some terrain (eg. alot of hills) and / or (preferably a luxury) resource (or more) that makes it attractive, and of course, provided the proposed city can work enough tiles (=> trade posts) to pay for itself, it gets settled. If my experience is anything to go by, the key constraint governing how many cities to settle will probably be happiness.
When it comes to infrastructure builds meanwhile, all Ive been trying to do is simply construct all the buildings in a city appropriate to its specialisation. So a military city gets a barracks, a stable if (usually when given their power) I build horsemen (assuming horses are nearby), a forge (assuming irons nearby), an armory, military academy and an arsenal. (Note: given that this has always seemed to me to be alot of buildings for a military unit pump (from which I want units), once again, lets use common sense here and simply build as many of these as is practical in the game played. In the same vein, there'd be no need to feel compelled to build a barracks or stables if planning an early rush to secure land: you might want to build units instead for the rush and then infrastructure later on, to equip the military pump(s) for the modern era). Oh, and I simply ignore all national wonders, such as the Heroic Epic, because constructing the pre-requisite building in every city works against city specialisation IMHO.
In a similar vein (as youve mentioned Roxlimn), cities looking to generate gold should be building a mint, market, bank and stock exchange. Of course, the city will also need to generate some culture, so monuments are an absolute minimum - my experience is that other buildings will be needed too. The city will need to grow, so granaries are essential (probably watermills too), as is a hospital - and a lighthouse if coastal. And lastly, its important to keep our civ happy, so happiness buildings get built when needed. Wonders would be great to have too in addition to all this infrastructure, but we need to adopt some common sense again here IMHO. After all, the decision to build infrastructure means having to delay / give up building a wonder (and vice versa) by definition. So Ill leave how many wonders to build to everyones judgement and whether marble is accessible. Suffice to say, the more the wonders the better...but my experience to date is that building all this infrastructure whilst growing a civ's cities presents quite a challenge.
In summary, when you factor in the need to build science buildings to help propel your civ along the tech tree, and the potential to construct other available buildings in addition to the above infrastructure, 13-15 buildings per city sounds about right IMHO Roxlimn. (But of course, the precise number will vary by city.) Ive certainly found myself trying to get well into double digits in my most mature cities, assuming I dont capture them late in the game.
Talking of the date at which a city becomes part of a civ, anyone who tries this builder style approach to Civ 5 should feel free to settle or conquer cities in their empire as they see fit. Civ is, after all, meant to be a fun game, so please feel free to submit any save or walkthrough covering a playstyle thats as peaceful or not as you wish. (Indeed, if other guidelines need to be waived, my suggestion would be to waive them too, depending on how the game plays out - again it's about using common sense.) After all, as I mentioned in my OP, Ive not had success trying to grow large cities full of infrastructure whilst playing peacefully or when warring (which made things even harder in my experience) in Civ 5. As a result, Im really looking forward to learning something here...so a huge thank you goes out to anyone who helps me in my quest!
@aimlessgun: Im sure youre right to say that infrastructure and wonder-building might not be everyones preferred play style. However, my OP (which Roxlimn kindly copied across to start this thread), was posted because Ive been trying - without success to date - to adopt a builder style approach to Civ 5. (By contrast, Ive had little difficulty on levels up to emperor spamming loads of mid size cities ICS style, owning my continent with horsemen and then going on to win by domination.)
In other words, my losses have come when Ive been trying to construct (only) the various buildings necessary to specialise my cities as well as the odd wonder, all whilst continually growing my cities so they can work more hexes. This is despite reading from various civvers that it is indeed possible to do this and win in Civ 5. The obvious conclusion is therefore that Im missing something, about which I hope to learn by reading a playthrough or a guide (similar to the many that I read when I first came across the strategy articles in the civ 4 cfc forum, way back in the day.) Learning what I'm doing wrong would certainly, as I mentioned in my OP, enormously rekindle my interest in Civ 5.
Edit: Neuro: I look forward to seeing your playthrough. Hope your college game was a good one!
No problem! My interest in Civ is along these lines as well. Generally I win my games playing this way on King on Continents, so I may try for a win on Emperor for a challenge.
Now you're getting into it! I do find that building up tends to get the science lagging, just because the population growth is slower. Since it matches the production speed nicely, I really do get the impression that I'm playing a more-or-less normal Civ game.
I don't mean to drag this into ICS or conquest territory, but my impression isn't that Large City play is too slow in teching - it's that the other styles are too fast!
Generally speaking, you have to balance city placement between production and food. If you can settle the city amidst a bunch of Forests or Hills, it's best to do so. Saves you a bunch of money buying tiles. Then the influence just grows naturally along the flatlands. If nothing else, the flatlands are cheaper to buy.
Highly recommend getting up a Monument or Temple if the prod queue permits. They're more efficient at getting tiles, and help with Policy as well.
I've been debating with myself the benefits of settling on river, or one tile off. Going one tile off creates a better food tile than is usually present there, and gives you a 4 or 3 food Farm to boot. Moreover, it's easier to catch Forests and hills in the first ring if you have placement flexibility. You can always buy the first few food tiles. Those are cheap! Cons are no Water Mill and no Hydro Plant. That said, a city one tile off in the right direction is more easily defensible from attack.
Well I can post a deity game where I have 15 cities ranging from 8-25, and the older ones have most of the buildings. It was also a 100% builder, no warmongering game. Not sure if that's good enough, I only have 1 very large city.
Guys if you're gonna do this, do it right. Anyone can create large cities if you first conquer the world, and then wait around for a long time just watching them grow. I think the main thing is you have to do a hard beeline for biology to get hospitals as soon as possible.
Also, even with a monument and temple, cities can't produce nearly enough culture to grab the tiles they need. Especially hill tiles, which have a low priority but which you badly need. You have to buy all those yourself.
This game = golden ages. No production problems.
Think hard, and bust out 50-200 turn golden ages (epic) and not just with persia. Your large empire not only will be freaking huge, but absolutley unnecessary because you could have killed you oppenents two eras ago by the time you are done building.
Ok, so what settings/rules should be used for an example game?
pi-r8 is right, it should be a builder game, not a warmonger-turned builder game when all the threats are gone. So Rule 1 is no conquering cities.
What settings for map? Obviously something like Archipelago would probably be a lot easier to pull this off on because you don't have to make a military. Fractal? Continents? Pangea? Size?
Any other random restrictions to be thrown in? Borderline exploit stuff like city sales and selling resources for lump sums, then declaring war, should be out.
So we want large cities, large being defined as 20+, and we want a lot of them, a lot being defined as...more than 10 size 20+ cities? More than 15?
We want the cities to have most of the buildings. 13 buildings has been suggested as a target.
Is there a deadline for this? By what year should the requirements be met? 2000 seems too late. 1800's? 1900s?
EDIT: Ok just reread learner_gamer's post, so looking for 20+ size cities, number of cities depending on what land you get (I'll aim for 10 large cities anyways), building requirement of every building appropriate to city purpose, and really everything else you're not picky about and just use common sense
Gonna start a large fractal game with this in mind later. The real question is...India or Siam?
The way I understood it was that learner_gamer wanted to know how to set up a large city empire, not how to play without warfare. I completely disagree that conquering cities should be verboten; War is part of the game, just as Building is. If an AI drops a city right next to mine (as they sometimes do) I'm going to either conquer it or raze it. By a similar token, if an AI declares on me, I'll remove the threat if need be.
All Empires require a little conquest now and then.
Well, I wanted to definitively avoid the solution to be "kill everyone around you, then build". Any advice on how to set up a large empire after you beat down your neighbors doesn't really matter, because the game is already pretty much won.
Someone sticking a stupid city right on your borers is different, but I guess it gets pretty fuzzy where you draw the line on what is 'acceptable' levels of warmongering.
Lastly, I'd want an example game to be definitive proof that you can succeed at making a large populous empire without anyone being able to say "well, you abused XXX cheap tactic, doesn't really count", one of which is taking the fight to the totally incompetent AI
I played for achievements on Steam one cultural attempt with Egypt on Archipelago (to not bother with AI Dows etc).
I built 5 cities only (no puppets etc), to my surprise I didnt need to build ANY happiness building, not a single colosseum and was constantly behind hapiness (at times I had something like 50+ happiness).
Since I wanted cash flowing I trade post spammed (not good if you want max growth probably). can't remember exactly the sizes of cities but I think every city was near 20, only the production was something like 16.
My prod city produced 100+hammers though, best culture ones where 100+.
So I can imagine that could work, I had only one problem with the whole thing. It was incredibely boring... doing ICS seems at first sight boring too (since you could probably preprogram prod queue for each city), but when you don't after 150 turns each turn you do something instead of clicking next turn.
There is definitely not enough decisions in the intended gameplay how it was designed, except maybe for MM your units, but that usually leads me to thinking about making some form of suicide... Only yesterday I was finishing another game with Egypt (ICS one, very funny one !) had to organize something like 4 artilerries, 8 rifles/infantries, 5 cavalries and later 5 fighters+5 tanks... ugh ugly. Especially you want to travel from your continent to other...
There definitely should be some "stack transport" because in this iteration moving your army from 1 side of world to the other leads you to thinking about buying gun and going to visit USA.
This is really starting to take shape.
@pi-r8: Your posts are perfectly illustrating the very points that I keep seeing when I try this approach. I build infrastructure in my cities, the maintenance costs from which start eating into my gold - and compromising my ability to buy tiles, the affection of various city states, military units and so on. Building yet more infrastructure only compounds the issue assuming I can get hold of the hammers to do so. This is precisely why Im looking forward to seeing where Im going wrong.
This kind of playstyle certainly rebalances the game because I find that Civ 5s food mechanics start stalling growth as city size moves through the teens. Indeed, the food mechanic is the very reason why ICS works so well in Civ 5 IMHO: you work more hexes more quickly in your empire by establishing two 10+ size cities in my experience than you do by settling one city and watching it grow to be able to work 20+ hexes. Assuming that the resulting empire then keeps infrastructure builds to a minimum and spams trade posts, the hammer, beaker, gold balance then becomes very skewed IMHO and teching through an age before constructing many of that eras buildings and / or units is the result. This is precisely why I (and dare I say it, others) are getting a little frustrated with Civ 5 at the mo.
@aimlessgun & @pi-r8: Youre both spot on re: warmongering and needing a builder style game in which biology and hospitals play a key role. The point I was trying to make was that its important IMHO to allow the civver the flexibility to rush a nearby neighbour if the RNG gods plant one there, before going on to settle more cities and build their specialist infrastructure. My apologies - this didnt come across in my earlier post.
As far as other guidelines are concerned, 10+ cities at size 20+, each with 13+ buildings at the time of victory sounds fine IMHO, assuming the landmass (and in particular happiness) will support them. (Of course, I'm assuming in all this that building infrastrcture naturally delays victory until later in the game, to avoid precisely the scenario you note DiabolicX, whereby you simply spam units and crush the world in the early game...that I can already do. ) Talking of landmass, Id suggest playing on simply a standard sized continents map, played on standard speed at about emperor level (although more difficulty is fine too.) In short, Im not trying to do anything more than learn how to play and win using this builder style of game on a standard start (which is precisely what Ive been failing to do to date.) This BTW is also why Ive suggested that gamers should feel free to use common sense and alter the guidelines as they see fit, depending on how their game evolves.
Have fun! And I look forward to learning where Im going so tragically wrong.
Ok, how about this as guidelines for acceptable warmongering:
Self-Defense: If an AI declares on you, they are fair game, but you have to accept any offer of peace that they make, as long as it is at least equitable (in other words, if they offer peace if you give them gold/lux/cities, you are free to tell them no, but if they offer to give YOU stuff, you have to take it).
Encroachment: If an AI settles a city closer to your capital than their own, that city is fair game. Most of us know when an AI is planting cities in "our" territory, and I don't see any reason not to capture them, especially when it's in a spot I was going for. Once the offending city has been taken, you must try and make equitable peace as soon as possible, without capturing any other cities.
In either event, you can't take City States, and you must always liberate any CS that you take from the AI. Also, you can't attack any City States, even just to steal a worker.
My game: I'm gonna do Random Civ, on Continents, on Emperor difficulty. Also, I will do a Science Victory, but I cannot launch until I have researched ALL techs (i.e. no skipping the entire lower half of the tree). My goal is 12+ cities of 20+ population, with both positive income and happiness. If I were to just pick a civ, it would be India, but that feels almost like cheating, so I'll let the comp decide.
@vranasm: Yeah, this playstyle is certainly more sedate than all out war. FWIW, I found auto ending turns helps.
@Neuro & @aimlessgun: I completely agree with the most recent points you’ve made...some kind of war is to be expected IMHO. After all, this is meant to be fun, first and foremost – and Civ 5 war is certainly fun. The only reason I’ve suggested avoiding playing this game at the very highest levels is to provide some breathing space, some time, to allow civvers to build up some infrastructure without fearing a DoW every turn. So, if you get DoW’d or need to take out a nearby AI, feel free to take an AI city (or cities) IMHO...and you’re absolutely spot on BTW aimlessgun, things will get fuzzy when it comes to war...but that’s fine IMHO; one of the beauties of Civ IMHO is that no two games play out the same way. FWIW Neuro, I think your guidelines are perfectly fine...when (or if) to take peace will be the real judgement call IMHO. It may well be that taking more than one city from an AI before going for peace proves more productive.
Once again, I’m not trying to unnecessarily handicap anyone. All we’re trying to avoid is the very scenario you mentioned aimlessgun; kill everyone and then build your cities. The key to a builder style game IMHO is that you’re actually trying foremost to build an empire consisting of large cities and much infrastructure, whilst maintaining enough of a military force to meet your objectives, whether they are to conquer others or defend yourself. In my experience, this is no small challenge given the combination of Civ 5’s maintenance costs and shortage of hammers.
@aimlessgun: FWIW, I’ve noticed that the AI has improved a little following the most recent patch. That said, I don’t believe for one moment that walking all over a hapless AI will detract from your game’s achievement: after all, (i) you can only beat what’s put in front of you and (ii) despite the fact that the AI has its shortcomings, I’ve yet to see anyone post a game showing how to succeed in Civ 5 whilst playing a builder's style game. Indeed, this fact, combined with the fact that I’ve (repeatedly!) tried and failed to win using a builder’s approach (because I get crippled by maintenance costs and a lack of hammers), is what motivated my (kindly copied) OP.
Sorry, i couldn't keep up interest enough to read the entire thread, since a lot of it seemed to be about building a consensus that would solve learners problem.
I still wanted to chime in and say that after playing some games, and after reading these boards, I've found that discussion is excellent for getting hints and tips, and for hearing about exploits, but that part of learning to play the game needs to happen by playing the game, and trying different stuff for yourself.
Here's a list of the stuff I've dabbled with:
One city challenge
The legendary start setting
As few cities as possible
Super Infinite City sprawl from the get-go
Not a lot of experience, but I'm a slow player without a ton of time for gaming; varying difficulty levels, of course, but each game was won on king or higher, or played till i lost interest.
What I found was:
- On one city challenge, I reached pop 36 with my city by the end. That was enough to put me in the lead on both production and science.
- Legendary start is fun. My games are simply more fun with it. Done deal.
- Great Generals are awesome; but their citadel? It's so good, the AI cannot penetrate it even if it outnumbers you 20:1 and you have tech parity.
- Oda Nabunaga has an awesome military. Combine with a single citadel, Oligarchy, Heroic Epic, a nearby unit, and a nearby GG? Noone is getting in. Ever. Your defender easily has 33(Oligarchy) + 15 (epic)+ 15(nearby dude, order tree) + 25(GG) + 100(Citadel) + 25(you put it on a hill) > 200% defense bonus.
- That defense is so solid, nothing can take it down, short of 4 tech-parity siege units bombarding it every turn...and the AI doesn't do that. And melee units get eaten up the the citadels zone of damage (3 a turn is painful).
- There is no shame in building small, special purpose cities; in fact, if a city grows to be too big, it can eat up precious happiness and give you really poor returns. If a size 4 city is already working the 4 best tiles within range, and the remaining tiles are grassland...you might well be better off not allowing it to grow further.
- Making infrastructure be worth it requires that you design and work a city in such a fashion that it actually makes sense. You really need to think about what you want with your infrastructure before you put it down.
I'll try to tie together those observations.
First, there's the military. Obviously, on higher difficulties, you want to be able to defend your empire. There's both expensive and cheap ways of doing this. Clearly, abusing the poor AI with an early rush doesn't make for interesting city building, fun as it may be. But that doesn't change the fact that warring, fighting, and killing the occasional enemy is the best way to build a solid army because of the experience point and great general system. It's like creeping in warcraft 3, if any of you know that game: once you have an army, you want to whip it into shape by having it fight something. Choosing oda nabunaga, and building 3-4 good land units, and 2 good sea units, and killing a civ or two, will basically keep you protected from the others for the rest of the game. I get it; Oda doesn't have the amazing happiness boosters of Ramses, or the incredible happiness potential of ghandi.
But if his army is half the size...well think about it. That can make a big economic impact. Just saying it's a worthy consideration.
Secondly, there's the way you design your civ. Consider what you get from large cities: More research, and you work more tiles, in return for expending more happiness. 1 research a turn is usually not worth 1 happiness; if you traded away a luxury resource for a research agreement, you would typically get the equivalent of 2 bulps. Now 1 happiness is almost definitely worth 1 specialist - at least when it comes to science and engineering. And sometimes, the tiles you work bring in something worthwhile for your civilisations. This is certainly true with working resources, and usually with working river tiles, but barren grassland? that's probably not worth expending happiness to work.
In a city like the capital, where you have all the good improvements? You can certainly allow that to grow, but don't just let it go. Always consider if picking up too many citizens is an actual advantage.
This might sound really strange for a player wanting to build big cities, but my point is, you can use small cities to fuel your bigger cities. A city that picks up a new luxury resource doesn't need to grow beyond size 1 if there's nothing else that's worth investing in, in it's area. It might cost you 2 happiness, but it provides you with 5. 8 once you build a coloseum in it.
It also expands you cultural borders. Why build a monument in a city to expand cultural borders for 1 gold pr. turn if you can claim the land with a small city and come out ahead that way?
I'm quite confident I can meet Neuro's requirements if I'm allowed some small cities in addition to 10 big ones. It'll require some manual citizen management, but I'm 100% certain that a mix of small and big cities will be easier than pure big ones.
I've finished a game messing around with this. I have to say, it's a lot more fun doing it this way instead of lots of small cities. The turns go a lot faster too, with a lot less to manage. Of course the overall tech rate is much slower, though. I played on emperor, and was lucky enough to stay at peace the entire game, so I could just concentrate on building my cities and ignore warfare.
I played as India, and used just three cities. Here's the land:
The reason I stayed with just 3 cities was mainly because I just couldn't find any other location that would be good for a city! If you're going to make a big city then you really need a river, and at least 5 hills. My coastal city on the left strugged a bit, from lack of food and lack of production. Delhi did the best, thanks a lot of river tiles to farm and hills to mine.
Here's the second reason 3 cities works well- buying land is expensive! Especially buying those hill tiles 3 hexes away, which are absolutely necessary for good production but cost a fortune. And they're the lowest priority for the city to grab naturally, so you have to buy them yourself. By the way, this screenshot is AFTER I adopted the monarch social policy which cuts land purchase costs in half! Monarchy is an absolute necessity for this playing style, I think. I'm actually thinking that Washington might be the best leader for building big cities, just because of his discount to land purchase costs.
Delhi had pretty good growth, just because of it's massive food potential. Of course I had to alternate between working farms and working mines. Still, even with all those riverside farms, it took until almost 1500 AD just to reach size 15! I could reach size 15 easily by 1AD in Civ 4. Getting the hospital and medical lab helps, but it's still not super fast. In this game I only had 2 maritime allies, just because that was all I could afford after spending so much money buying land.
It's incredibly annoying that trade routes aren't affected by gold multiplier buildings, and that the capital size doesn't generate any trade income. I felt like I was being cheated out of at least 20 gold here, from all the people in Delhi.
This is usually what my other cities looked like. They had decent food production, but growth was still slower than I wanted.And this is despite a granary, waterwheel, and hospital! (I saved up several scientists, and bulbed biology in about 1300AD, then saved some more and got penicillin in about 1500AD) On average I'd say pop growth took between 8-12 turns.
Here's what my demographics looked like in the middle part of the game, shortly after getting hospitals. They're OK I guess- I was leading in tech most of this game- but much, much lower than what I can get by spamming small cities. In the RB3 succession game, we have better stats than this by turn 100! Thanks to the Freedom policies though, I had a good rate of scientist production.
Here's my cities when the game was just about over. After this I built some rocket artillery and rampaged across the entire map. That's a pretty good population, I guess, but I'm disappointed that I couldn't get it higher considering that this was the entire focus of my game. Of course the population was still rising, (I think Delhi reached size 35 eventually), but the game was effectively over at this point.
On the plus side, playing in this manner did make research and production values line up much better. I had time to build almost every building in every city. I built every single national wonder, and I built a few world wonders too, although most of them Darius snuck in before I could finish them. Also, the AI never attacked me- I wonder if they're programmed to just be very irritated any time you settle a city?
I really don't think it's possible to set up 10+ size 20+ cities in any sort of reasonable time farm. Surprisingly, happiness was never a problem, the real problem was the cost of buying land and city states while paying maintenence on so many buildings. Not to mention the lack of good city sites. A better way might be to also build some smaller cities which work nothing but trading posts. I'd like to see someone try this method with Washington and see where they get.
A better way might be to also build some smaller cities which work nothing but trading posts. I'd like to see someone try this method with Washington and see where they get.
If you had plopped out a couple of settlers here:
then you would have saved a ton of money, am i rite?
And you had the happiness to do that. Even with ghandi, those two cities would be 10 happiness, no more. You could've just let them stick around at size one at first, then build coloseums using the mines of delhi, and let them pay for themselves in happiness.
The main problem with this strategy would be that you would get social policies slower, but at least you wouldn't need monarchy.
I mean, I could be totally off base...but wouldn't the advantages outweigh the happiness cost?
Once you had your two maritime states up, you could run specialists in both cities, probably merchants because their buildings have no maint. cost, and then use the GM's to bribe those very city states.
@aemer: FWIW, I’ve no problem at all with civvers trying to settle what I call satellite cities which help grab resources for an empire. Indeed, it’s something that I’ve done in both Civ 5 and Civ 4 – to try and grab (i) luxury (or happiness in Civ 4) resources to help my major cities grow and (ii) gold in Civ 5 by spamming trade posts. Indeed, as pi-r8 mentions, doing it well (which I obviously haven’t yet ) may be the key to unlocking the builder potential of Civ 5. That said, as pi-r8’s terrific playthrough has also demonstrated, the key in this kind of playthrough is to let your core cities grow as much as is reasonably possible, so that we try and avoid the ICS style outcome: an empire consisting of a number of mid sized core cities, smaller satellite cities and a skeletal infrastructure.
@pi-r8: Thank you for your demo!
FWIW, your attempt was certainly better than anything I’ve managed to achieve, in part because you’ve managed to get biology earlier than I have previously. In addition, I’ve also ended up settling (in some cases many) more than three cities which, of course, necessarily slows down progress by draining more gold from the coffers. (Indeed, based on your save, I think this may be my biggest problem: I’m over-rexxing as a legacy of Civ 4.) That said, I completely understand why you limited settling to three cities in your playthrough – as I mentioned in my earlier posts, it’s all about using common sense to adapt to whatever the map presents you.
Of course, I’ve also noticed that your pics display an awful lot of themes common to my attempts. The most obvious is city growth: it just never seems fast enough IMHO. Indeed, at the risk of going off topic, it’s why I’ve been wondering if Civ 5 needs to amend a building somewhere, perhaps to store 25% food early on – and make the hospital store another 25% (instead of its current 50%). I’ll leave that one to Firaxis and the modders though. Then again, perhaps another civver's playthrough will prove me wrong.
The other issue that your playthrough confirmed was the very point that we’ve been discussing in this thread – that maintenance costs represent a non-trivial handicap to this playstyle. The real issue of course here is that Civ 5 has replaced slavery as the primary means of speeding up production (in Civ 4), with giving you the option to buy units, buildings or tiles in Civ 5. Of course however, there is a key difference between the two mechanics: one (slavery) is local – you can whip in any city, independent of whether you whipped in another city. By contrast, the amount of gold you have available to buy things in Civ 5 is a global (ie. empire wide) constraint – if you buy something in one city, you have less gold available by definition to buy something in another city. And IMHO, maintenance costs represent a very real handicap to accumulating gold after it’s spent in an infrastructure heavy game.
The great thing about your playthrough is that, in a sense, it’s a very pure illustration of what can be achieved in a Civ 5 world. The absence of any military action until the late game means that you didn’t need to unnecessarily divert hammers into military units. This contrasts with my tendency to plump for horsemen and wage some war before growing cities across “my” continent.
With all that in mind, I suspect you may well be right re: the difficulty associated with settling 10+ cities. As I’ve mentioned, settling more cities to secure good land is exactly what I’ve been trying to do, but invariably end up having to accept the compromise of lower pop cities and a skeletal infrastructure across the empire. Hopefully though, someone out there can show me what I’ve been missing.
Most importantly, I’m glad that you found this playstyle more fun. Quite frankly, that’s more important than anything else IMHO. Talking of fun, I haven’t played Washington since my very first Civ 5 game...something about manifest destiny = conquest motivated that choice. Now that you mention him though, maybe it’s time for me to give him another whirl. Thanks again for your playthrough!
Interesting stuff folks. I think I've tried playing the game like this (8-10 larger cities) as is my typical wont in Civ games, and always run into the issues you mention here: Slow growth, crippling maintenance costs. I've won that route, but never on anything higher than King, and the reality is most of the cities ended the game in the low-to-mid teens, just the capital really growing to a late 20s megalopolis.
That said, I wonder who is really the right choice for this type of game. The contenders in my mind:
India - Obviously this is the Civ the game is encouraging you to use, tho I think the happy cap is easier to find ways to circumvent than the overarching issues of slow growth and maintenance costs.
Siam - If you can find a few maritimes, would the greater food bonuses be able to counteract some of the slow growth?
Persia - Golden ages would be incredibly valuable to this sort of empire, where you're likely working a lot of tiles, and extending them would be even more so. If you prioritized Chichen Itza/Taj Mahal and saved a few great people, you might be able to stay in GA for that always sexy 50+ turn GA around/just after Biology/Penicillin. Seems awfully gamey, especially for the higher levels though.
America - Again, as stated, the discount would let you get the best tiles worked earlier.
Babylon - Sub-optimal probably, but you could probably hit Biology faster with Neb than with any other leader. Its worth a consideration.
Nobody else really leaps to mind that would be as good as those 4 at the vertical empire. I think I'm going to try Persia tonight and see how that goes.
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