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Roads and Railroads

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by Aaroc, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. Aaroc

    Aaroc Warlord

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    (And to a lesser extent, harbors)

    I find a lot of people always talking about how setting up trade networks are not worth it unless your city is a certain distance from your capital so you get plenty of returns for your investment. Sometimes, that harbors are a better investment because they only have an upkeep of 3gpt, while building roads might cost more than that if the city is more than 3 tiles away and such, but I find that I almost never build harbors unless I'm planning on actually using the naval unit production boost in that city (unless, of course, that city is on a different continent/island than my capital).

    I like having my units be able to move around my cities quickly, which usually means building more roads than are required to simply hook each city up to my capital for trade networks, but also to provide quick passage from each city to each other city, and sometimes, even to a resource that I want to be able to quickly defend from being pillaged by a barbarian or another civ that I'm at war with.

    Am I the only one with this kind of mentality, or do others also like to put down more roads than are strictly needed for setting up trade networks?
     
  2. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

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    You can do that in the endgame when you are filthy rich and unit upkeep is high.

    But extra roads are the last thing you should be wasting worker turns on.
     
  3. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    Agreed; roads to nowhere aren't a good idea in Civ V.

    A city on the border with a direct road connection to a second city instead of the usual one may sometimes be justified for military reasons but that's about it.

    If a key resource tile on the border is 2 or 3 away from the nearest city, place a local garrison on or next to that tile instead of all the way back at the city limits.
     
  4. chazzycat

    chazzycat Deity

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    If a couple extra roads will greatly enhance mobility for your military, it can be worth it. I don't think he means plastering all tiles with roads, just adding a couple to get troops to the borders faster. That is at least worth considering. A road just to a resource that might get pillaged is probably overkill.
     
  5. Pac-Dragon

    Pac-Dragon Destroyer of Worlds

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    Building a road to better protect a resource wouldn't be worth it. To figure this out, we'd have to make some assumptions:

    1. A resource is worth 300 gold to you. This is the price you would buy or sell a happiness resource with a friendly civ for 30 turns.
    2. You would need two roads, you wouldn't normally have, to protect that resource.
    3. Having the road would mean you would be able to protect the resource 100% of the time.

    With two roads, you'd be spending 2 gpt maintaining them, which would be 60 gold over 30 turns. So essentially, you'd be spending 60g to insure a 300g investment. There would have to be a 20% risk of losing the resource for you to break even on that insurance.

    The more roads you have to build would make it an even worse deal. Plus, it doesn't take many turns for a worker to repair the pillaged resource. If a resource was pillaged, it's unlikely that it would be more than 10 turns before the resource was repaired... which would make the cost of having that resource pillaged around 100g. Spending 60g to insure against a 100g loss would be a pretty bad deal.

    Of course, maybe it's a strategic resource and not having it pillaged, even for a few turns, is much more valuable to you than any amount of gold. But if it was that valuable, you'd probably prefer to station an actual unit there.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that you'd actually show a big profit by having your resource pillaged, if you already sold that resource to another civ for a lump sum. Once you repaired it, you'd get to sell it again. It's probably an exploit, but I'd still use it if I was getting overrun with barbarians in the early game. I'd just consider the extra cash an emergency relief donation from those helpful AIs.
     
  6. Aaroc

    Aaroc Warlord

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    in Re: road to resource: I was talking about a resource such as Iron that units rely on. I don't usually toss these roads down as such, but I've thought about it a few times though.

    Mostly, for me, the benefit of buildings roads is to have the roads there for troop movement, especially if my capital, or whatever city that builds my units, is on one side of my empire and I'm fighting a war on the other side of my empire. Getting reinforcements back to the battle as quickly as possible is more important to me than the money the trade routes bring in, and in every situation where I've checked my improvement maintenance against my trade route income, it's always been a gain.
     
  7. Alex_K

    Alex_K Chieftain

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    One way to reduce the cost of road and RR maintenance is to have your workers develop each tile to within 1 turn of completion of the road or RR section before going ahead and completing any of the sections. If possible use many workers to finish that length of road/track as quickly as possible. This prevents lots of turns of maintenance fees with no trade income.

    If you have extra workers sitting around and don't want to have to rebuild them later, one can have them build nearly complete (but not finished) road or RR sections for future expansion/war or alternate routes just in case.
     
  8. uncarved block

    uncarved block Prince

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    The only time I'll have a road that doesn't connect anything is when there's a river on the "wrong" side of a city, and there's an apparent need to get units over there quickly-- say, I'm planning on relocating for an attack, or got backstabbed. 1gpt is worth it for a little mobility, especially if the AI border is more than six tiles away. This hardly happens every game.

    I'll also road toward an AI that I'm going to attack so that I can keep troops far enough back to keep them fretting, but still can everything into place quickly. But that's more of an investment toward a new city or three, not a permanent condition . . .
     
  9. northernlights

    northernlights Chieftain

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    In agreement with most here, roads are too expensive to use for anything but connecting cities IMO.

    That said, going into negative gold to get your first few cities connected is important and worthwhile. If you can't get your troops to respond to an early rush in time, that extra few gold each turn is not worth much.
     
  10. Deau

    Deau Emperor

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    It's definitely overkill to super micro manage for roads this way. I do it like one out of 50 games for a single citiy if I settled it a mile away from capital to lock the path to other civs but that I don't expect to have the happiness to settle in-between for a while. It can be very good in the early game though.


    As for the OP, I do find myself very frustrated every other game about the lack of road tiles to move my units to the front, especially on defense. Playing as Hiawatha in a forest spammed start made me realize how old school road spam was missing. On the other hand, I can't think of giving up so much extra gold for slight mobility. I would rather just save some of that gold for emergency rush-purchases. Maybe even annex a puppet to purchase rather than giving up so much $
     
  11. apocalypse105

    apocalypse105 Deity

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    It not only depends on the distance of the cities but more importantly the population if the citie you want to connect to your capital has a low population and is not close to your capital you will lose money on the trade route...

    Sow it is best to wait for your cities to grow before making a trade route
     
  12. King_Course

    King_Course Prince

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    If you got a strategic city, say it's on a river, defending against armys from the opposite side. it can be a very good idea to build a single roadtile over the river and leading nowhere. Simply to allow your cavalry to ride out and attack and return.

    Roads to Citadels can also prove themselves well worth it as it allows you to interchange units entrenched there.
     
  13. Janne

    Janne El Comandante

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    in early game when cash is sparse I only build roads if I can get a positive gpt out of a trade route...I rather have the cash to quickly rush a unit in a city in need than move whole armies..anyway in early game I don't tend to have huge empires so it would take me 3-4 turns max to get to any given city...

    I rather deploy my troops in a way that they can hold any important city for as long as it takes to get my main army there than to spend gpt on roads...

    and I would never build a road to a strategic resource...if it's vital I'd station a unit on it....
     
  14. TPQ

    TPQ Cogito Ergo Civ

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    I usually only build roads when I know that when they're finished, they will at least pay for them selves, if not make a small profit.

    I rarely bother with harbors, unless I actually need them to connect overseas cities, or I want a navy. Roads may cost a little more, but the extra mobility for empire defense is worth it imo.

    Roads to nowhere are rarely useful.
     
  15. Agent Cooper

    Agent Cooper Lynch's Creation

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    I usually only build roads to 'nowhere' when:

    - building a road towards an AI civ I mean to invade soon. I build it until it reaches their border and continue when war has erupted. Your land troops/reinforcements will reach the frontline faster and the traderoute between your capital and new cities will be established fast.

    - building a road to a fortress (or ring of fortresses) situated at a very important strategic location between my empire border and potential enemy civs. I want units to support the fortress to get there asap if I am invaded.
     
  16. eric_

    eric_ Emperor

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    The only time I build roads that aren't connecting my cities is if I'm building them to link up future cities (aka, enemy cities).

    Sometimes I consider building two routes to one city if it will dramatically cut down on travel time from one side of my empire to another. E.g.:
    C = city
    r = road
    . = terrain

    CrrrCrrrC
    r.........r
    r.........r
    C........r
    r.........r
    r.........r
    r.........r
    CrrrCrrrC

    But, I almost never pull the trigger on something like that.
     
  17. Kwik E Mart

    Kwik E Mart Chieftain

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    l often think of roads as "force multipliers" since ranged units such as cat's, treb's, cannon's, etc. get to move and fire in same turn if starting on road.
     
  18. StarEye

    StarEye Chieftain

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    On the topic of roads, aren't they a bit expensive to maintain? I mean, 1gpt per tile? The same amount as some of the buildings?

    Also, you get 3gpt for every city connected to the network (traderoute), thus to break even, the road can't be more than 3 tiles long? How often do you settle a city with that little space between them? I know about the Commerce SP that gives you cheaper roads, but I feel it's taking a bigger toll on the overall economy than it should.
     
  19. Rex_Mundi

    Rex_Mundi Prince

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    Yes roads and railroads are expensive, but a traderoute can yield much more than 3gpt pr city.
    The yield is based on the population of the city and the capitol.
     
  20. StarEye

    StarEye Chieftain

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    How is that calculated? How long should one wait to build roads, if you only take the traderoute yield into account?
     

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