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Optimum Early Growth Strategy

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by ohioastronomy, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    This article is intended to determine the optimum strategy for maximizing production in the first 40 turns of the game. My intention is to quantify the advantages of chopping down forest and to compare different tactical paths in the early game. Tactics to be discussed include the relative advantages of growing your initial city, building workers, improvements, founding your second city, chop-rushing, and queue shuffling. I chose a 40 turn window because in this time it is possible to have two solid cities, with workers improving both, and to be in position to develop a third city if you desire. Over longer periods the mix of tiles, external threats, and other priorities (such as road building and military development) complicate the situation. I’ll contend that the following general conclusions apply for normal speed games:
    1. Building worker/worker/settler is optimal for early growth.
    2. If you can either build a mine or farm a special resource before chopping you end up equal to straight chopping at turn 40. This implies that you do not need to research Bronze Working first (but do need to have it completed by turn 20).
    3. Limited chopping (3 trees) is a key to getting your initial cities set up.
    4. Growing your city to size 2 before building a worker carries a significant production penalty.
    5. Queue switching will be discussed in a followup post, as will the develop-one-big-city first approach.

    Commerce is omitted here, but I contend that is actually reasonable, since significant commerce usually requires worker improvements and thus typically takes off later than this period. As you will see below, any commerce advantage from early growth would have to be balanced against the rather substantial production disadvantage.

    I’ll begin with some basics. A size one city has 3 free production and each additional population point (PP) can generate 3 more production (if there are forests or flood plains) before improvements. Each PP uses 2F. Before improvements, this means that

    A size 1 city has 4 production
    Growing a city by one PP adds 1 production

    Chopping trees yields 30P (at normal) and takes 4 turns including travel time.
    Costs for a warrior, worker, and settler are 15, 60, and 100 respectively. I’ll discuss epic speed separately, but tree-chopping is even more favored there (45 yield for a forest, workers and settlers are 75 and 125 respectively).

    Farms and mines improve basic production, and building them takes a minimum of 5 turns including travel time.
    Wheat and corn (with agriculture) and copper (with BW) add 3 production.
    Mines add 2 production, as do deer camps (but the base is low on tundra and build times are longer). However, mines clear forests, so the maximum production from a mined tile without a special resource is 4 (gain of +1 over a forest or flood plain).
    Normal farms add 1 production - but only on base 2 production sites or flood plains. Creating a farm on a flood plain also takes longer. For this reason I’ll only include the +1P (floodplain+farm and grass/hills+mine) and +3P cases for improvements.

    You can already see from the above that starting a second city adds much more production than growing the first city, and that the best improvements are almost as valuable in the short run as founding a second city. Normal improvements increase total production modestly, but only on certain tiles.

    No growth cases: in this model the first city build is a worker, usually coupled with researching bronze working. On turn 15 the first worker appears. I then compared the following strategies, all ending with 2 workers, and one settler. I also compared the lucky +3 production improvements and the more typical +1 production improvements. Here are the cases:

    A. Chop worker 2, both workers chop settler, improve
    B. Chop settler, chop worker2, improve
    C. Improve city(+3), chop worker 2, chop settler
    D. Improve city (+1), chop worker 2, chop settler
    E. Improve city (+3), settler with no chop, worker 2 with no chop.
    F. Improve city (+1), settler with no chop, worker 2 with no chop.

    Here are the results. Worker turns is the number of turns that you would have workers available to do things by turn 40 other than chop settlers/workers and build the first improvement:
    EDIT: Overflow was incorrectly calculated, thanks to junior7 for catching this. Was 16, should be 8.
    Case A: Worker2 T23, Settler T27, Imp T32, 21 worker turns, 8 overflow
    (12 x 4P + 120 from 4 trees = 168)
    Case B: Settler T25, Worker2 T31, Imp T36, 13 worker turns, 24 overflow
    (16 x 4P + 120 from 4 trees = 184)
    Case C: Imp T20, Worker2 T24, Settler T28, 24 worker turns, 6 overflow
    (5 x 4P + 8 x 7P + 90 from 3 trees = 166)
    Case D: Imp T20, Worker2 T24, Settler T30, 24 worker turns
    (5 x 4P + 10 x 5P + 90 from 3 trees = 160)
    Case E: Imp T20, Settler T32, Worker2 T40, 15 worker turns
    (5 x 4P + 20 x 7P = 160)
    Case F: Imp T20, Settler T36, Worker2 T48, 7 worker turns
    (5 x 4P + 28 x 5P = 160)

    Now, to put these all onto a common metric:
    The earliest completion of all workers and settlers is T27. After this point the main city can grow. Later starts are penalized 10P per turn of delay (4P in direct cost and 2P in delayed production from population points 2,3,4 each). Beyond that point the happiness and health limits can be relevant.
    The earliest settler is T25. Later starting cities are penalized 10P per turn of delay for the same reason.
    Every worker turn that is available after the base tasks above are completed is worth 7.5P (chopping trees; could also be improving for future growth, but that is tile-dependent).
    Production overflow is credited to each case as available.

    EDIT: Corrected yield for Case A
    Case A: +145.5 (4 trees)
    Case B: +81.5 (4 trees)
    Case C: +146 (3 trees)
    Case D: +100 (3 trees)
    Case E: -87.5 ( 0 trees)
    Case F: -307.5 (0 trees)

    EDIT: There is also a difference in the improved city production
    after the workers and settlers are produced. This is significant
    for cases A, B, C, E (where there is a good special available).
    These cases get stronger production released after turns
    32, 36, 28, 40. When this effect is accounted for, Case C
    (improve a +3P special before chopping) saves a tree and
    gets the highest yield. Cases A and C are thus very close).

    Chopping is strongly favored, and building a second worker before a settler is favored. Improving a special resource is a wash with chopping first, and building a 4 production tile before chopping is disfavored. You don’t need to clearcut for a solid start.

    What about growing first? If you have the right tiles available you can grow to size 2 and put out a warrior by turn 10. How does this compare with building a worker first? We’ll focus on Case A above (worker/worker/settler), as it doesn’t rely on a handy wheat or corn. In this case:

    Size 2 turn 10, worker 1 T22, worker 2 T28, Settler T34, Imp T37, 10 worker turns, 20 overflow. In all the other cases we assumed the city would start growing on turn 27, while in this case 10 turns of early growth went to the city+unit and it is free to grow again after turn 34. As a result, I give this case 30 extra production for a growth head start (it gets 10 turns of growth by turn 34 while the other cities get 7), and add 24 for the extra production in turns 11 through 34. In effect, the worker-first cities catch up in size while the grow-first city is catching up in workers and settlers. This setup has a rating of +36, e.g. significantly worse than the build-worker first case. In terms of the land grab, it also postpones founding the second city by a potentially crucial 9 turns.

    An early delay in building workers (without growing to size 2) costs 25 production/turn: a one turn delay in founding a city and two lost worker turns chopping trees. I hope this is useful; comments/questions most welcome.
     
  2. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    Queue swapping is an interesting tactic to combine early growth and tree-chopping. It starts the same as the worker-first strategy, producing a worker on turn 15. On turns 16, 17, 18 the city grows and builds a warrior. On turn 19 the city switches to a worker, with 34 production (4 basic plus 30 from chopping a forest). The second worker appears on turn 23, both chop on turn 27, and one chops on turn 31 while the other produces an improvement on turn 32 (6 overflow). Relative to case A, the founding of the second city is delayed 4 turns, and 4 turns of worker action are lost; this is a 70 production penalty. However, the main city has had 12 extra turns of growth (a 120 production edge.) As a result, queue swapping is a net +193.5 on the original scale, but does burn 5 forests. There is some opportunity cost in losing resources that could be used later (for wonders, barracks, granaries, etc.)

    There is also a trick to use only the chopped timber for settlers and workers (extreme queue swapping). Essentially, you set production to settler on the turn the chop is due, manually make the worker chop, and then set production back to warrior. This is more competitive at epic speed, but is an expensive idea on normal speed: settlers cost 100 and forests yield 30, so you would have to chop 6 forests (with 20 overflow) by turn 31 to get out the settler. Relative to normal queue swapping, this method loses 4 worker turns (30 penalty) and gains 4 turns of growth (40 benefit) with 14 extra overflow. The overall net is +217.5, so it scores highest on an absolute scale. If you subtract the opportunity cost of the forests used, however, the relative rankings are different:

    No queue swapping +63.5
    Normal queue swapping +43.5
    Aggressive queue swapping +37.5

    Whether you use this technique or not therefore depends in part on how many forests you can use and what else you might do with them.
     
  3. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    An alternate approach is to build a large city first and then use the enhanced production to churn out units later. An additional advantage is that such a city produces more early commerce. However, this strategy is significantly weaker in production (and, over the long term, not as strong in commerce as it might appear) because of the power of chopping and improvements. Assume the most favorable case for growth, namely 5 good food resources or flood plains on a river. In this case the capital will grow to size 2,3,4,5 after 8, 14, 19, and 24 turns respectively. By occasionally swapping in some grass/hills/forest it is possible to build 2 warriors and grow to the prince capital happiness limit (5) in 25 turns. The larger city will have 8 production, and if you follow up with worker/worker/settler then you can have worker1(33 turns), worker2(37 turns), and settler (42 turns). There is a commerce edge until the initially smaller capital catches up in size (108), and a production edge (95), assuming the growth pattern is the same. However, there is a 16 turn delay in founding city 2 and you need 9 worker turns past turn 40 to finish the initial builds. The net effect is -132.5 on the original scale, or almost 300 production behind emphasizing settlers and workers early. If anything, this understates the disadvantage of growing onto unimproved tiles. A size 1 city working an improved wheat has almost the same production (7) as a size 5 city working 5 unimproved tiles (8). By the time the big city has produced its first settler, you could have had two medium cities (size 2-3) working improved tiles and could have even founded a third city with supporting worker. Even the commerce edge (roughly one good tech) has to be kept in perspective; a single gold mine has a much bigger long-term yield.

    You could get better results by building two workers and then using them to improve tiles while letting the city grow to the happiness limit, then building a settler. The exact results are more complicated to compute because they depend on what tiles are available. In my view, this actually confirms the idea that building a worker first is optimal for a variety of play styles.
     
  4. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    Different game speeds can significantly change the benefits of different strategies. The key thing to understand is the different way that units and tech/forests/growth/production scale with speed. As you go from Quick-Normal-Epic-Marathon (Q-N-E-M) the costs for a unit scale as
    Q 4/5 - N 1 - E 5/4 - M 2
    (for example, the respective costs for a settler are 80, 100, 125, 200).

    However, tech costs, city growth, improvement builds, and forests change more quickly with speed. They scale as
    Q 2/3 - N 1 - E 3/2 - M 3
    (for example, the respective yields for forests and the turns to clear including travel are
    Q 20 (3) - N 30 (4) - E 45 (5) - M 90 (9)
    This means that Stonehenge always can be gotten with 4 forest (2 with stone) at all speeds,
    but the cost in forests for a settler is
    Q=4 N=3.33 E=2.78 M=2.22
    and the time to build a settler with the basic 4 production of a city is
    Q=20 N=25 E=32 M=50

    With an important exception for technology speed at high difficulty levels and marathon, you can therefore expect the following
    relative trends. I'll post details for other speeds if people are interested.

    1) In quick games cities grow rapidly and the yield from tree-cutting is smaller. The rapid pace of technology also means that workers are more flexible - it is very likely that you can improve special resources immediately upon founding a new city. This makes improvements more powerful, and dramatically reduces the differential impact of chopping on early production. If you start with good special resources you can do better by improving the first one (after you have a worker) than you can by focusing on tree-cutting (an improved wheat has a higher return than a forest cut after 7 turns). Worker-worker-settler is still the preferred sequence, but clearcutters will quickly run out of forests. Building a big city before a settler still fares worse than building a worker first, since once the tiles are improved the capital will grow to the happiness/health limit almost immediately. Note that because cities grow very fast (as quickly as three turns per population), having extra workers in the early game will have a large impact on production; you'll benefit from hooking up special resources to raise the health and happiness caps. Peaceful builders and tree-huggers will probably like this speed.

    2) In epic games the technology speed is still fast enough that it doesn't play the huge role that it will at marathon. Worker-worker-settler is strongly preferred to other build sequences. Trees provide so many hammers that queue swapping is extremely effective, and can be used to put out early warriors, etc. without a large production penalty. You may even want to do a reverse queue swap, putting a warrior in the build queue when you want to get it out quickly and then crediting the overflow to the worker or settler. Remember that the costs are not exact multiples of timber yields, so that you want 200 production going to your second worker+settler, not the 180 you'd get just from cutting four trees (so you will want to have 5 turns of native production applied to units, not growth, to avoid using up too many of your valuable forests.)

    3) In principle you might expect marathon games to be a simple extension of the above trends, and a theoretical analysis supports that. But the glacial pace of research has interesting consequences - especially at high difficulty levels. When you found your first city and choose your first tech on a normal start, you'll see something like the following for bronzeworking (BW) and a Worker(W) at Prince:
    Quick BW=9,W=12 turns
    Normal BW=13, W=15 turns
    Epic BW=21, W=19 turns
    Marathon BW=49, W=30 turns. At Marathon/Deity, it take 67 turns to get bronzeworking....
    (If you have a special start tile the worker time will be less, and if you have commerce on your second tile the tech time will be less. You can usually shuffle the worked tile in that case so that the arrival of the first worker and getting BW happens at the same time on epic).

    What this means is that unless you either prioritize commerce or are extremely careful you will have extended stretches where your workers, and cities, have absolutely nothing useful to do. It is entirely plausible that it will take you 150+ turns before you can actually use that pig next to your starting city, and even improvement build times are long (15 turns for farm, etc.) As a result, financial leaders have a significant production edge, and coastal production, specials with commerce, etc. will dramatically speed up city development.
    Timber is useful for a lot of things, and you should think carefully about how you want to spend it. The AIs don't tend to use it for wonders, for instance, and it does save a lot of time for buildings as well. Unless you can speed up the tech, there is no gain in starting with a worker until you can time their arrival to coincide with a useful task - you might as well spend the first 20 turns getting a warrior out, unless there is a lovely gold mine next door.
     
  5. Wreck

    Wreck Chieftain

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    Good stuff.

    When growing first, growing to size 2 requires 22 food, so, you'll either hit it on turn 12 (w/ 2F surplus), or turn 9 (w/ 3F).

    Of course, I'll bet it's even more superior to queue-swap.

    You might want to make a little clearer that the "production" you refer to in the earlier part of the post is food plus hammers.
     
  6. thomascolthurst

    thomascolthurst Chieftain

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    On higher difficulty levels especially, not having a warrior escort for that first settler can be extremely dangerous. I guess you could use your inital unit (which is a scout for some civs) for that purpose, but then you are potentially giving up lots of gold or techs from goody huts. (And guaranteeing increased barbarian activity).

    I'm not saying that growing to size 2 while building a warrior is a good idea, just that building a warrior should be considered as a pre-req to building the first settler, and the calculations adjusted accordingly. My initial build order is usually worker, worker, warrior, settler or worker, warrior, worker, settler depending on how many forests are protected from animals by my cultural boundary.
     
  7. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    That's a good point - I did implicitly assume that the first warrior would have to swing around to escort the first settler, and there are other costs to that (as well as the risk of death during exploration.) For worker/worker/settler you could modify it by a reverse queue swap, switching to warrior on turn 27 and completing the settler on turn 28 with the overflow from the warrior. This would delay the founding of a second city by 3 extra turns (the slow warrior has to escort the faster settler), but would free up the first warrior to go exploring. If you do this, it reduces the yield by about 30-40 production depending on how quickly the warrior and settler can get to the new site.
     
  8. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    Would you say that for a civ starting with fishing and at least one sea food tile, it's better to make a work boat first? Intuitively, that's what i'd think. You'd need to calculate with a fish and alternately with a clam/crab.

    Personally, i always like to start with a warrior/scout or two while growing to size two and sending them all out to explore, granting me more hut prizes.
     
  9. HawkeyeGS

    HawkeyeGS Prince

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    The problem with growing to size 2 city at the start is that it is slower to get a worker which could be chopping. Also on higher levels you get less good stuff from huts. You more often get barbs.

    The whole stratagy really comes down to the amount of trees you have near your capital and the terrain they are on. The more you have the more workers you should build strait away. Once you start running out of trees (or decide to stop chopping soon) I then build a warrior and 2 settlers. A worker, the new warrior and the first new settler go off together to build city 2. The worker chops there for a warrior while the former escort returns to city 1 to pick up the settler which should be about ready and another warrior. The 3 units go off to city site 3.

    I then build a few more workers and warriors followed by buildings (libary mainly). I spend a while (probrably too long) at this stage with 3 cities because I do not have the cash to fund a 4th while maintaining a high research percentage.

    Good article I just thought I would add my lot. Hope it helps someone.
     
  10. HawkeyeGS

    HawkeyeGS Prince

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    I am now trying to build the 2nd and 3rd cities a bit closer to the capital to get lower upkeep fees. This is helping me get the 4th city earlier.

    Once I hit the 4 city barrier I am good because I have heaps of cottages growing rapidly giving me tons of gold to fund expansion and then on to advanced military (around about when I get Civil Service so I can build macemen)
     
  11. Moonsinger

    Moonsinger Settler Retired Moderator

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    Good article!:goodjob: Would you compare the the early growth for the Marathon game speed too? I usually do worker/worker/settler at normal game speed and warrior/warrior/worker/worker/settler at the marathon game speed with very little chopping and some queue swapping. The reason for this is because there are usually too many barbarians in my game and I need to save the forests for swordman rush.

    As for building the early fishing boat, I do not build a fishing boat until after I have conquered around 30% of the world. The reason for this is simple: it takes too much time to research sailing and building ships. On top of this, seafood is the AI favorite target. Even when they are dying, they would still try to rush a ship to go after my seafoods. Therefore, I think acquiring seafoods is a waste of time and because I can't really protect my seafoods in time of war. With enough swords and axes, I could easily claim another food source on land. Plus I need a strong military early to deal with the barbarians too. Of course, I could be wrong about this; there is still much about Civ4 that I don't know (probably because I'm still playing Civ3 and very little of Civ4 so far).
     
  12. Wreck

    Wreck Chieftain

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    One more thing to consider is the possibility to choose a hills plain (or even a resource tile) for the initial city site. A normal city gets 4 net production of food+resources to start with. On a hills/plain, that will be 5. It will speed the initial worker build from 15 turns to 12. Thus, it should be worthwhile to spend at least three turns at game start searching for a hill to put your city on. And probably more - the extra shields keep coming after turn 15.

    There is no downside here if we assume that the map is uniform in terms of city-site quality. However, if the initial location of the settler is being enhanced by the program to be a superior city site, then it may not be worthwhile to search for a better. Still... in my (limited) experience, it often is.
     
  13. Kerrang

    Kerrang Chieftain

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    I generally play on Epic or Marathon, and am currently still at Noble diff.

    One thing that should be factored in here is time it will take to research Bronze Working, as you cannot cut until you have BW. On Epic and Marathon settings, research time is increased, and I am sure that in some cases it may not be possible to have BW researched before 30 turns or more have gone by. Also, at Noble difficulty and higher it can be suicide to avoid building a military unit for any length of time. If your Civ starts with a warrior, you can place it in your first city to avoid losing it to barbs, but you will need to build another before you build your first settler. The problem with this though, is that you do not get to explore much, and this can reduce your options when trying to find a suitable spot for your 2nd city, and increase the number of barbs that harass you.

    I quite often play civs that start with a scout though, so exploration is not a problem. The other good thing about starting with a scout at higher difficulty is that they always obtain positive results from huts, you won't have to worry about them turning into barbs. The bad thing is this means that I need to produce a warrior first to defend my capital, or if starting with a warrior, I need to research Hunting first to get scouts quickly enough to start exploring. In the latter case, this delays Bronze Working even more.

    My normal progression at the start of the game is this:
    Warrior, worker, warrior, settler, worker

    Or you can play a custom game and turn off barbs, so that you don't have to worry about your military at the outset.

    I tend to avoid cutting, except when improving a tile, this may be a result of the amount of time I spent playing the previous Civ games, and Alpha Centauri, in which clearcutting your natural surroundings seemed to be more detrimental in the long run. Of course, if you only cut early in the game, don't improve the tiles, and leave a few forests around, your forests can grow back over time. This can be effective, and I have used it in situations where I have alot of forest/tundra tiles on the extreme borders of my civ. I avoid planting any cities in the area, unless I need a certain resource there, and cut every other tile before leaving the area alone for a good long time. Once I return a few of the previously cut tiles have grown back, and I can cut them again.
     
  14. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    The calculations for fish are decent, and would benefit from queue swapping (since population growth would be rapid). Boats cost 30, and if you maximized hammers (hills/plain/forest) you could get a boat in 8 turns. Assuming no lighthouse, worker 1 shows up on turn 19 and worker 2 on turn 23, with a settler on turn 30, 25 worker turns, 4 overflow, 3 trees. The net figure of merit is +122.5. Since you could chop an extra tree, queue swapping would help here: you'd gain five turns of rapid growth and trade it for 4 lost worker turns, for a net of +142.5. If you choose to use the first worker to chop the boat, the net is better (worker 2 on turn 23, settler on turn 28; 26 worker turns). The net without queue swapping is +155. The extra production power of the first workers is so large that even a substantial benefit, such as fish, turns out to be only roughly equal to just making a worker.
     
  15. Orca

    Orca Chieftain

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    Nice work, however optimal start has to do a lot with game settings.
    Some examples :
    Marathon game : Chop is less valuable, Fishing is a an alternative.
    Easy AI level : Sacking the closest AI capital is an alternative.
    3 prod square, e.g plains stone hill : Settler first is an alternative.
     
  16. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    At least on epic speed, the first worker and bronze working appear at about the same time. If you have a good special resource (wheat or corn) you could just improve it for the extra +3 production while you're waiting for bronzeworking, and you do about as well as you would with chopping. I don't ever recall having barbarian problems much before 2000 BC (my usual game is prince/epic, which is getting too easy). But I sometimes do wish I had a guard for my worker when animals attack in the early game.

    A good question to ask about early military units is to determine what you're gaining. Every turn you delay the worker you're delaying permanent improvements, a second city with 4 free production (and the extra production when it grows), and you're losing the option of +7.5 burst production/turn from chopping trees. All of these are long-term losses that are significant when you only start with 4 production. Would you rather have an extra early warrior (4 turns of pure production minimum, no growth) or one of 1) stonehenge, even without stone; 2) two barracks chopped by the workers; 3) two developed special resources and 4 warriors later? The tradeoff really is that dramatic when you compare a position with an early worker with a position where the worker is delayed (although the delayed position could eventually build these things, the other position will in turn have had a chance to add 2 granaries, etc.).

    The cost from making warriors after the first worker is much smaller, since you're already getting the production boost, e.g. you could get 2 warriors by turn 19 with a modest production penalty with queue swapping.
     
  17. Dr Elmer Jiggle

    Dr Elmer Jiggle Chieftain

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    You might be overrating the value of extra worker turns. You give 7.5P, which I supposed is based on 30P divided by 4 turns per chop. That's fine as long as the trees are available, but in cases like C with 24 worker turns, you're implicitly assuming that you have 6 forests available in addition to the 3 you already chopped down.

    Nine forests is a lot. Not every start has that. Nine forests that don't cost you a single extra turn of movement to get there is even more rare.
     
  18. Smirk

    Smirk Chieftain

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    How can you ignore commerce when commerce is the only thing thats going to allow you to settle more cities? This becomes more apparent in the higher difficulties but ultimately its determines your expansion rate in all of them.
     
  19. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy Chieftain

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    714
    Thanks; this is an interesting point. I'm considering the difference between build orders rather than the absolute production, so travel time doesn't matter. If it takes me 3 turns to get to the next tree, and I get a four turn head start in one case, then I'll still have 30 extra hammers (even though there won't be any yield for a seven turn gap in both cases). However, given that there are a limited number of forests, I will eventually chop all of the ones that I want to and therefore the choice is whether I get them sooner or later.

    There are two other ways of looking at it. One is that every worker turn is translated into earlier improvements. Assume that a worker can build the first improvement on turn 20, second on 25, third on 30, fourth on 35 (and that the city can use these tiles!) This isn't actually a bad approximation after a city is freed from worker/settler building and is growing to the happiness limit. The second case has a worker making the same builds one turn later. If one is a special tile (+3), another is a slightly worse special tile (+2), and the last two are mines or floodplain/farms (+1) then I will have gotten +7 extra production because I gained the added production one turn earlier in each case. This doesn't go on indefinitely because cities don't grow indefinitely, and because the speed at which I can improve tiles exceeds the speed of city growth.

    The second case is that even though I will eventually chop a given forest, I get compound return because I used it to get anther settler or worker earlier.
    Again, take a single worker who is chopping a settler at a new city. I start on turn 30, chop 34, chop 38, settler turn 40. If I arrive one turn later, then everything is the same but delayed one turn. I'll therefore found my third city one turn later and will get a permanent production loss as a result (4P at the start, 1-4P every time the population grows depending on improvements up to the happiness limit). In this case worker turns could be worth even more than 7.5/turn. Similar considerations would apply to chopping a granary (or other building), although the yields would vary.

    You could also use workers for roads, which have advantages that are tougher to quantify (military defence and health/happy bonuses from resources). You're correct that the yield depends on how you use the worker, but it is substantial for a lot of different strategies.
     
  20. suspendinlight

    suspendinlight Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Urbana, IL
    Just wanted to note that this really doesn't hold if you are playing raging barbs because your early improvements will all be destroyed and your workers will often be forced off of a task by a wandering barb.
     

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