Same old questions you've answered 1000 times.

Gool's Fold

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{Short-list of questions at the end of this post.}

(When you've learnt how to cheat [worldbuilder] you never need to learn how to play.)
Following the build every building in every city strategy, at Noble level, I've won this game (Warlords version) twice (without cheating) in the last 5 years. So yah, the rapid expansion, build forts, and build every building strategy which works in Civ's I & II aren't particularly successful with this game.
But...
Downloading a saved game and copying what others do may be good for teaching a monkey "how" to win that single game, but it doesn't really teach a human 'why' some strategies work or fail in different situations.

I need advice which isn't in gamespeak but in English.
I have no doubt these questions were asked and answered a decade ago, but that just means I'm a decade behind the current whipcycle and cannot comprehend these helpful tips. HoF = Hall of Fame??? Hunting or Fishing??? How others Feel??? (whipcycle???)

So, a few questions if I may:
1. Will mining a snow covered hill cost my city 1 Food? (hills = -1F & snow = 0F) [I had a city in Tundra whose max pop was 6. I wondered if it would be Starved down to 5 if there was a snow covered hill to mine.]
2. Do cities receive income, etc, from resources that are not within their fat-t but within their cultural boundaries?
i.] If my city has 3 beaver within its fat-t, and 4 more beaver (all with camps) within its boundaries, does it automatically get 20 Commerce per turn for the beaver outside its fat-t? (If the city doesn't get the income/production bonus/cultural bonus/resource bonus, does my Civ get it instead?) [I know my civ gains access to those resources, but there is a difference between having access to Stone and having 1 Stone for Trade or personal use.]
ii.] If my city does get the Commerce value from stuff within its cultural borders, what happens when another city also shares those resources?
iii.] (Re-stating part of "i.]") Does my civ get 7 beaver for trade, or only 3, when 4 of my 7 beaver are outside a fat-t?

3. The Civilopedia for my game (Warlords) has no references to the Warlords features or changes. Is there a version specific Civilopedia available, or a list of buildings/units/leaders/traits which are correct for this version of the game?

4. I should mention that the only two times I've won, I was playing on some sort of island. Recently I read that playing on a Pangea Map was the best map choice for beginners. But...
I've found that if I don't try for the Stonehenge Wonder, my cultural borders do not expand fast enough to block the other civ's from building in my territory; and if I do build Stonehenge, barbarians have built cities in the nearby places I wanted to claim for my civ. (Not Raging Barbarians, just the regular sort.)
With that said...
i.] should I be chaining/building cities so close together that they share parts of their fat-t's?
ii.] if someone else has built Stonehenge, and I don't want to build soon-to-be-obsolete Monuments, what early-access buildings are best for expanding my cultural borders?
iii.] by the time I build Stonehenge, a work boat, and one troop, the barbarian cities wth 1-5 pop already have 2 or 3 fortified units and are each spitting out archers/axemen every 2-3 turns to attack my cities and workers. Is this game meant to be played with 2 cities until you get ironworking and 12-15 swordsmen to attack barbarian cities which have 3-5 fortified troops in them?
iv.] When playing on an island (isolated), I've found that Founding a Religion, and building both Stonehenge and the Oracle (Metal Casting) are essential to at least being competitive with the other Civ's. Since this strategy does not work on a map with competitors that share the same landmass, what kinds of early strategies, techs, and buildings work best together?
(On an island, a Leader without Mysticism has time to Found a Religion. On a Continent, that Leader has to have different priorities but I don't understand what choices I should be making.)

5. Recently, I was shocked to read an opinion that stated the only essential building was the Granary. I realized that perhaps this game could be played using a rapid expansion strategy and that this strategy was not so much about building a civilization, but instead making war and utilizing new technologies that could also be used to 'civilize' some of the better cities I've founded. (I'm not fond of war games.)
Is that what Civ IV is? A war game with technologies you have to research in order to make better war?
(In Civ's I and II, you could play warmonger, or you could build a civilization and defend it from warring states.)

6. Open Borders...
Open Borders allows for more lucrative Trade Routes, which in turn leads to better Commerce/Research. But Open Borders also means your opponents can found cities in territory you've tried to surround to be claimed later. (IE a peninsula you want to settle but which is strategically less important.)
Between barbarians who are also claiming that land and not wanting to fall behind technologically...
So now we come to the crux of the matter... this game is not about a series of steps, but a series of balancing choices.
For example, recently I had to go out of my way into unstrategic territory to found a low quality city (my fifth) on a coastline. I wanted to build Wonders which would increase Trade and the number of Trade Routes; but I was too late. Both Notre Dame and the Colossus were built before I had researched Metal Casting (The Notre Dame was just an indication of how far behind I was by the time I built my fifth city.)
So, when playing a custom Pangea map:
1. What Victory Conditions are appropriate?
2. What are the minumum acceptable food/etc resources for a founding city?
3. Under what circumstances should early Wonders be built? (How critical are Stonehenge and the Oracle? Lighthouse, Temple of Artemis, etc? Is The Parthenon a better choice than Artemis?)
4. Would you recommend a beginner try to build a civilization that doesn't have coastal cities?
5. Resource/land grabs and Cultural Borders... Can't have one without the other but you can't build settlers and cultural buildings at the same time. What is the solution?
6. Should I try to keep my borders closed and lose Trade/Commerce? OR Should I have Open Borders and lose the territory I want to claim?
7. Expansion, when is a good time to stop expanding and to start consolidating my position? (1 city, 4 cities, 22 cities?)

*********************************************************************************************************************************
Short version:
1. Does having your citizens work a snow covered hill cost that city a Food needed for population growth?
2A. Resources within Cultural Borders but not within the fat-t... What benefits do they have for the city or cities that share them?
2B. Resources within Cultural Borders but not within the fat-t... (After development) Do they count toward a Resource you can Trade, or do they only give your Civ the benefit of access?
3. I'm playing the Warlords version of the game. Is there a Warlords version of the Civilpoedia available, or a list of changes made to the game for that version?
4. Building Cities and City buildings/Wonders... In one person's opinion, a Granary is the only building you need, and that person didn't say whether building settlers until your founding city's population reached 10 and then building a Granary was a good idea or if you should only build a settler after you've built your first Granary.
So I've figured out that founding your first city, a coastal city with 3 sea resources, is not the best city for researching Animal Husbandry first. But what about a landlocked city that has both rice (wet or dry) and cows? If Granaries are the only critical building, should I put Agriculture ahead of Animal Husbandry? Even if I only have Fresh Water and 2 Animal Resources?
*This question is not so much a question as an interest in your opinions and what works for you under which circumstances... Personally, I might be inclined to forego researching Agriculture first if I had 2 Animal Resources... But considering I've only found losing strategies so far, I really need to learn what works (for you and hopefully me too).
5. My playstyle is to build a civilization and defend it (A city building game with war aspects). I'm beginning to suspect that this is a wargame that has a side order of civilization. Would you agree that this is a war game with city building aspects?
6. Without Open Borders you lose out on critical Commerce and the Research Commerce generates. With Open Borders, your opponents can claim land you hoped to stragically reserve for later use. Under what circumstances will you agree to having, or refuse to have, an Open Borders agreement?

Custom Pangea Map...
7. Is this the best map for learning how to play this game?
8. What would you consider the minimum number of resources a newbie should have for a founding city, and more importantly, what kinds of resources? (IE: I wouldn't expect you to recommend having both [and only] Stone and Marble; both in desert tiles.) Could you also explain "why" you have made those recommendations?
9. Under what circumstances should early Wonders be built? (How critical are Stonehenge and the Oracle? Lighthouse, Temple of Artemis, etc? Is The Parthenon a better choice than Artemis if your founding city is food poor?)
10. Would you recommend a beginner try to build a civilization that doesn't have coastal cities?
Actually, a better question might be, what strategies, and what nearby features/Resources, makes a landlocked city a viable choice as a founding city?
11. By interlocking cities, you don't need to expand your city's Cultural Borders. By expanding a city's Cultural Borders, you can strategically place cities to gather Resorces. What would you consider a good balance of Wonders, Cultural Buildings, and strategic land grabs?
12. Expand/consolidate, repeat often. How many cities would you consider optimal for a starting civ to build before starting to concentrate on developing their Resources? (IE: Settlers make cities and workers develop built cities and both halt city growth while being built. When should you consider stopping building cities and instead to start developing them?)

Thanks in advance for your input, and no insult intended to those who use acronyms and gamespeak. It's me who isn't advanced enough to understand what's being said.

PS: Although I haven't tried to follow-up, I've read something about stealing workers and using slaves. Is this possible in the Warlords version, and if so, could you please explain how it's done (and why it's advantageous)?
Also, something I read suggested that Forts had a Cultural Border of 1 tile and could be utilized to acquire resources and territory at the furthest reaches of your cultural Borders. (Suggested, not stated as fact.) Is this true?
Thanks again everyone who responds.
 

Tonny

King
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Wow, that are a lot of questions. :lol:
Welcome to this forum! Here you'll find a lot of willing people to help you out.
Let me try answering some/all of your questions. I only play BTS, but the general game mechanics also apply to Warlords.

1. No, mining a snow hill does not give negative food.

2. Having those resources improved and connected will help with happiness and health as a whole to your complete empire. When it is a strategic resource (e.g. copper/iron), all cities then can build the appropriate units. All of these resources can be traded with the AI. It only needs to be in your cultural borders and improved and connected.
Resources within your "fat-t" (we call it BFC, big fat cross) need to be worked by citizens to add to your food/hammers/commerce.
So to answer your specific question about the beavers:
- they can be traded
- only those within the fat-t can be worked by citizens and only if worked the commerce will be added. Not worked tiles do not add commerce.

3. Sorry, can not answer that question.

4. It all comes to quick expansion to claim more land. General rule is that you should aim for 3 cities by turn 50 (map dependant).
4i. It depends. Sharing fat-t tiles can be useful and sometimes needed. This is map/game specific.
4ii. I never build Stonehenge (SH in short). Some/few cities require monuments if you have a resource that you badly want in the outer ring of your fat-t. (Now I will start saying bfc). But the best early buildings besides monuments are libraries.
4iii.
Is this game meant to be played with 2 cities until you get ironworking and 12-15 swordsmen to attack barbarian cities which have 3-5 fortified troops in them?
Generally expand faster and do not wait for iron. Axemen will do fine supported with catapults. But generally you can stop barbs from spawning and building cities by fogbusting. Fogbusting is done by strategically placing units (mostly warriors) on the map. This is a rather big topic, but it comes down to this. One unit stops barbs from spawning in an area of 9x9 tiles around him and stops barbs from building a city within his visual range.
4iv. Isolated starts are a complete different ball game. Too specific to answer here and should be addressed while you are playing that game and post questions/screenies and share savegames to receive help. I recommend that you postpone such a map. It's quite a challenge.

5. Yes, generally the granary is only what you need. Some cities also need a library (when it is commerce heavy). And some cities only need a granary and barracks (building troops). CivIV is much more than a war game. With good diplomacy and keeping AI friendly towards you, you'll never see a fight. Most of the games do require 1 or 2 wars to get your empire at a decent size and then you can play in any way you like to do.

6.1. All victory options can be played.
6.2. Short answer. Only food is really needed to grow a city. Long answer. Food is very important, but you'll also need strategic resources (copper/iron/horses/ivory), but you do not need all of them. Try to put cities close to the resources, mostly with them in the first ring of your bfc. Fippy has made a very nice thread which explains this. (Beginner help - the basics | CivFanatics Forums)
6.3. None of all the wonders are essential and most of them aren't even worth the effort to be built by yourself. Use those hammers to build settlers, workers and an army to capture those wonders from the AI.
6.4. I would advise a beginner to start a game and make a thread dedicated to this game alone. Post questions/screenies and saves and explain what you are doing and why. You'll definitely get help from any of us. City placement is not restricted to only coastal or non-coastal.
6.5. It's a balancing act of what is more important at that precise moment. Generally settlers/workers are way more important than cultural buildings. A new city also grabs land and workers can improve that.
6.6. Speaking for myself. I always OB with all AI and never close them again. If an AI sneaks by and claims a spot that I wanted, it means that I was too slow to grab that spot.
6.7. Simple answer. Expand until there are no good spots left. Complicated answer. It is map dependant.

Custom Pangeae map.
7. A standard pangaea map is indeed the best to learn a game.
8. It's not about what resources you really need, but it is what your empire needs at the moment/in the near future. Generally we all speak of "Food is King". Food is THE basic resource to grow. A lot of nice threads are made on this topic. Food is used to grow and to whip basically.
9. See 6.3.
10. See 6.4.
11. Simply said. No wonders and cultural buildings. Place cities with important resources in the first ring (9 tiles only). But it is map dependant.
12. This is a balancing act as well and map dependant.

Answering P.S. questions
Worker stealing is possible. You need to declare war with the AI and attack the worker. Then it is yours. This is quite a big topic and should be addressed when you play a game.
You call it slaves, we call it Slavery. This is the most powerful civic of the game. This is also a big topic, in fact it is a huuuuge topic. A lot of threads are already being made. Maybe you could find the appropriate ones and study those.
Forts. I never build those. If I want a specific resource I would rather build a city close to it.

I hope this helps. :)

My final word of advice is to start a new game and start asking questions before you even make a single move. I also recommend playing the BTS version, since this is a more builder friendly version of the game and most of us only play that one.
Lastly, but not least. Enjoy the game! :thumbsup:
 

lymond

Rise Up! (Phoenix Style!)
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I recommend that you play BTS as well. It's the definitive version of Civ IV. Plus, you can add the BUG mod.

3. The Warlords Civlopedia should be correct, just does not say what was Warlord's specific additions. Although, you might check to see if there is a "Concepts' section...it may mention some stuff there. Anyway, I can try to mention a few things I think were added in Warlords (keep in mind that this is a game I've not played in many many years)

-I think 6 new civs and 10 new leaders were added
- Unique buildings were introduced in Warlords
- Vassal States introduced
- Two new traits. Protective is one of them. Imperialistic might be the other
- 3 new wonders. Great Wall is one of them
- Stable did not exist in vanilla IV so they are new to Warlords.
- Great General (called Warlord in Warlords) was introduced.
- 6 new scenarios (I recall them being pretty fun..most all of them very combat focused)

4) Worrying about Stonehenge and borders means you are not focused on the right things. You should easily out-expand the AI on Noble level. Instead settle cities better with food resources in the first ring.
-and yes, city overlap is actually a good thing. Tile sharing early is very useful, especially for developing a cottaged capital. Closer cities (to the cap) also reduces distance maintenance, so it is a good practice for moving up levels, as those costs increase substantial on higher levels.

5) I'd add that the advice of Granary is the only building you need is a guideline to provide perspective to those players who just build everything. It has nothing to do with war per se. It means that outside of a granary, which allows one to leverage food for production, which is the single most powerful mechanic in the game, that buildings then become situational. I could write a thesis on all this right here, but just play and learn from others and you will get a feel for the best things to build in your cities.

6) Wow, a lot of questions. A bit all over the place. As Ton says, you need to step back and just do some basic learning here. A shadow game would really help you (on BTS). Some of the things you are concerned about at the moment, you really should not be currently. The key piece I took from all this is that the AI was far advanced than you on Noble. That should not be the case at all, and can be remedied pretty quickly with some focused assistance from others here.

Really, right now, the best thing is to play BTS and start from Turn 0 getting advice. Take it step by step.

Oh..and back to the first question or two. The BFC is worked by citizens in your city. Only a tile worked by a citizen generates something - like food, production or commerce. You might have other improved tiles but you will not receive the benefit until you have a citizen to work it. So yeah, then definitely nothing outside the BFC provides any output for a city. Any connected resources though can be traded. (edit: Play around with the city screen a bit in your next or current game. Move citizens around and see how doing so affects your city's outputs. Just get a feel for it. Note your Food and Production bars in the top center, as well as the info just to the left of each if you hover over it. How much food does it take a city to grow from Size 1 to size 2? How does that change at Size 2?)

Regular hill mines of any type are food negative/deficit. Grass hills have 1F. Plains, desert, tundra and snow mines have 0F. A citizen costs 2F. That is, when you grow a new citizen, that citizen is eating 2F from the total food generated by that city. Now if that new citizen works...say...a 3F farm then it is actually adding 1F to the city's food surplus. If instead it works a grass cottage tile, then the city's food surplus remains the same as it was before. If he works a grass hill mine, then the citys' food surplus loses 1F. Now, if he works other hill mines, that is -2F food to the city's food surplus. Now note that I say a city's food surplus. Surplus is that extra food a city produces other than that used by citizens, and allows a city to grow. Of course, this is based on what food the city already has that is worked by some citizens. So when you ask if your city would starve if it grows onto a snow mine, you need to look at the city screen and how much food it currently produces, or just find the food surplus at the top left next to the food bar. If a city has a food surplus say of +2F, it could grow onto a 0F mine and not starve. However, note that the city's surplus would now be 0F, so it will not grow again unless more food is available. (edit: I should mention that a city's health could factor here if it grows into unhealthiness. 1:yuck: = -1:food: in a city, so if said city grew onto a snow mine and into unhealthiness, it would have a food surplus then of -1:food: and be in a state of starvation.

I don't know what you mean by "custom" Pangaea map, but I do recommend standard Pangaea maps for learning the game. Main reason, is it puts focus on expansion as well as getting some diplomacy experience.

I found cities primarily focused on food, so I want at least one good food resource. Other resources will come, but sometimes you have to settle a "resource" type city to nab a strategic resource or some more happies.

Honestly, while learning the game I would ignore Wonders entirely. Wonders are really a distraction to more important concepts right now. If you run a shadow game, we might suggest a particular wonder now and then based on the situation - and show you how best to build it faster - but would generally just ignore them for the most part. You can always add them in later as you get basic concepts down. (I would note that I very rarely ever build Stonehenge)

10) Coastal cities? Really really not an important question right now. Often very map/map type dependent. In most cases I want my starting capital to be inland with good tiles and no sea tiles. Coastal starts are always trickier to manage. There is no guideline regarding coastal cities.

PS stuff..

Worker stealing can be very advantageous, but you need to know what you are doing. It becomes more of a gambit the higher the difficulty.

Forts themselves do not add culture. However, a fort and a road can connect resources within existing culture but outside BFCs, i.e., would not otherwise be worked by a city. Forts can also create canals in your borders next to water, or can function like a port.

If by slaves you mean slavery/whipping, it is THE most powerful mechanic in the game and one that really makes this game unique. It's a deep concept that will take time to learn, but you can get some solid basics here . (There are mods though that have "slave" units, so maybe you ran into some discussion of a particular mod)

Lastly, again play BTS. BTS has everything Warlords has plus much more, as well as a lot of overall improvements. It's the version that really made IV one of the best game of all time.
 
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BornInCantaloup

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I didn't read it all.
My understanding about this game is that many questions asked are wrong (lack of perspective).
This is something useful :
1:food: = 2:hammers: = 3 :commerce:
This is a gross exageration but, as a rule of thumb, it holds.
Tiles are what matter. How you get access over those tiles is what matters.
 

Gool's Fold

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 21, 2021
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Lack of perspective... 100 cities with Granaries is not a Civilization.
I'll uninstall this game again.
Thanks everyone.
 
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You can certainly win this game building every building - just not at the highest difficulty levels. Above, say, Prince, the "cheats" that the AI uses start to weed out certain playstyles as being insufficient to win. But if you want to "sim city" and build everything, you just need to be aware of the limitations.

Once you get good enough at playing a more 'ideal' playstyle, you'll understand more about how to 'relax the rules of thumb' and play more 'freestyle'. But at the top levels, even good players can't always goof off and expect to win.

As an example of the difficulty involved - you can go back to posts from the first few years after release, and Deity was considered to be 'unbeatable' on many/most maps. Only by using/abusing the best game mechanics is that possible.
 

pigswill

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Not everyone who wants to play civ wants to learn the optimal strategies to beat deity (which involves major streamlining/efficient gameplay). Some just want to have fun.

edit: NothingBesdieRemains. iirc when the game first came out Deity was considerably harder than it is now, BTS made deity easier and lower levels harder.
 
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ArchGhost

Prince
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Aug 2, 2016
Messages
501
1. Will mining a snow covered hill cost my city 1 Food? (hills = -1F & snow = 0F) [I had a city in Tundra whose max pop was 6. I wondered if it would be Starved down to 5 if there was a snow covered hill to mine.]
Tiles can never have less than 0 food. Tiles are sometimes discussed as being "food-negative" but this is only in reference to the baseline of +2 food on a tile. You need to keep working another +2 tile each time your city grows a size to maintain the same growth rate; less on a new tile means you will slow or stagnate your growth, more means your growth will speed up.

2. Do cities receive income, etc, from resources that are not within their fat-t but within their cultural boundaries?
No.
If a resource is hooked up with the proper improvement (camp for Fur, etc) and a road network, it is available for trade and the global benefits of the resource itself (+happiness, +health, unlock a strategic unit etc) are provided. You only gain the yields of any tile if the the city actually can and does work that tile.
In the case of fur here, the bonus commerce is a tile yield, while the +happiness is a global boon to your empire. You cannot get the commerce just by hooking it up, it has to be worked as one of the 20 tiles of a city's big fat cross.

3. The Civilopedia for my game (Warlords) has no references to the Warlords features or changes. Is there a version specific Civilopedia available, or a list of buildings/units/leaders/traits which are correct for this version of the game?
Not sure, but recommend getting BTS and installing BUG mod, which comes with modded Sevopedia that includes some older strategy articles as well as infor on all versions of Civ4.

This is a complex question as the early game is arguably the most important point of the game and can be difficult depending on your start/leader combo. But suffice it to say, you should not be chasing Stonehenge every game, even if playing a Mysticism civ. Focusing your production on more important things is paramount like settlers to expand, workers to improve, and units to defend/prevent barb incursions, and to do better/play on harder difficulties you WILL need to prioritize these with speed else the AIs or will choke you out with their expansion without giving you a chance or worse, you get overrun by barbs There are more lessons to be learned about where to settle and how that will help you much more than popping borders. Your own description belies why it's a bad idea to chase Stonehenge slavishly--you are taking so long to get it built that the delay in claiming land is costing you against barbs and AI expansion anyway, making it a poor choice.

But not everyone is in it for playing min-max, they just want to improve or have fun, and I get that. But if you are really so hung up on heavy border-pop focusing, I'd recommend just playing Creative leaders in the meantime so you can focus on the other early game fundamentals and ignore the temptation of Stonehenge. I do not mean any disrespect by this, but the CRE trait can be a kind of training wheels sort of thing (or a cushion, if you prefer) and you can learn how to play without fast border pops later after you get the hang of other things like build order, tech choices, settling locations, barb control, managing early expenses, etc.

I'd argue that even the granary is not essential depending on the city. It operates very specifically in tandem with the slavery civic that makes it a huge productive boost, but in general it does improve any city's growth and is one of the earliest, cheapest buildings, so it is very very good and should be a first or second consideration in any new city as a broad rule.

War is the most lucrative path in Civ4, and can pave the way for any other victory type. That's why it's such an effective strategy to warmonger. On higher difficulties this is only more true as you can use war to take land by force that you are denied by the AI and their crazy handicaps that make it difficult or impossible to match them. Land is power in Civ4.

You don't HAVE to be violent though, or even be huge with non-violent expansion (not very likely as you approach Deity mind you) to win. As long as you can secure enough land for your strategy, and learn the diplomatic finesses, you can be effective at winning at any difficulty with victories other than Domination/Conquest. Plenty of One City Challenge space races, the old 6 city cultural, or Apostolic Palace diplomatic victories to attest to that.

6. Open Borders...
Open Borders allows for more lucrative Trade Routes, which in turn leads to better Commerce/Research. But Open Borders also means your opponents can found cities in territory you've tried to surround to be claimed later. (IE a peninsula you want to settle but which is strategically less important.)
Between barbarians who are also claiming that land and not wanting to fall behind technologically...
So now we come to the crux of the matter... this game is not about a series of steps, but a series of balancing choices.
For example, recently I had to go out of my way into unstrategic territory to found a low quality city (my fifth) on a coastline. I wanted to build Wonders which would increase Trade and the number of Trade Routes; but I was too late. Both Notre Dame and the Colossus were built before I had researched Metal Casting (The Notre Dame was just an indication of how far behind I was by the time I built my fifth city.)
So, when playing a custom Pangea map:
1. What Victory Conditions are appropriate?
2. What are the minumum acceptable food/etc resources for a founding city?
3. Under what circumstances should early Wonders be built? (How critical are Stonehenge and the Oracle? Lighthouse, Temple of Artemis, etc? Is The Parthenon a better choice than Artemis?)
4. Would you recommend a beginner try to build a civilization that doesn't have coastal cities?
5. Resource/land grabs and Cultural Borders... Can't have one without the other but you can't build settlers and cultural buildings at the same time. What is the solution?
6. Should I try to keep my borders closed and lose Trade/Commerce? OR Should I have Open Borders and lose the territory I want to claim?
7. Expansion, when is a good time to stop expanding and to start consolidating my position? (1 city, 4 cities, 22 cities?)
There is very little reason to not Open Borders in Civ 4 and those reasons are very specific. You gain much more in trade route income and diplomatic channels than you mitigate. While learning I'd just recommend you open borders ASAP when you can and DO NOT stop trading with someone when another AI demands it. It's the simplest way to approach it. And by the way, AIs will not settle on the other side of your borders if you close off land between you and the AI (until like, they hop on a boat and go around, which is forever away). So just settling in a blocking position faster can have the same effect as closing borders if there is no path around your culture. Again the issue of focusing on things other than expansion early on is costing you everything else in the end.
As for the Pangaea questions:
1.) Any. Domination, Conquest and Diplomatic will all be easier to achieve as you have direct paths to all targets and will meet all AIs early enough to cultivate positive diplomacy throughout the game (which also helps the war path, your friends will help you trade and won't stab you in the back!)
2.) Any city can arguably be useful if it grows, but for a general guideline, hrmm...you want at least one actual food resource (+4 food tile) or 2-3 floodplains/equivalent 3food tiles.
3.) Wonders early on are generally a bad idea unless you have a way to compensate for the tradeoff --Stone speeding up the Pyramids, lots of islands to settle with Great Lighthouse later, or a powerful capitol that can push out a couple settlers quickly and then let strong secondary cities take over expansion. Only Mids and Great Lighthouse (and GLH only with lost of coastal/island cities) are really strong enough to be justifiable, though on the right map/situation Great Wall can be game-changing. Stonehenge/Temple of Artemis are like the worst wonders to actually complete in that stage of the game. Oracle is a very specific strategy and definitely not something to be relied upon, you won't get away with it on higher difficulties unless the land is conducive and you have a plan for fast Monarchy, fast Code of Laws, fast Civil Service, etc. Parthenon is not a very powerful wonder in most cases and is likely to be contested as you move up in difficulty, so you shouldn't really consider it unless you are quite ahead -- the Great Library is just one tech further and it is MUCH, much better.
4.) No. But I would recommend that a beginner not play a map with a coastal starting location or heavy water map with a non-Fishing civ. The openings can be complex.
5.) Expand faster and claim choice spots earlier, settle for important resources in first cultural ring, and worry about borders later. If you pick spots correctly and fast enough, the AI doesn't get much opportunity to settle past you (they will also be looking for "choice" spots too, and will abort a settling attempt if you nab it before them).
6.) Answered this already, just open your borders and settle more/faster
7.) There is no hard number, and the level at which you'll need to stop as a soft number of cities changes based on difficulty (you could easily get away with over 20 cities and never have to stop on Noble, but crash hard at half that on Immortal), your land quality/resources (lots of cottage riverland or gold?) and traits (Financial and Organized especially can expand a little more before economic crunch). A lot of times, the game will answer this question for you on difficulty starting at Monarch and above -- either the AI will claim the nearby land between you or your expansion will stifle your economy and either way you CAN'T expand any more.

It should be noted that there are different approaches to this part of the game, for instance I like to expandExpandEXPAND until crash and then recover, while others like to just get 4-7 quality cities without sacrificing tech speed...but the point of the Rapid Expansion (REX) strategy is to quickly claim land in a burst of settling after getting initial development in order, and then develop/recover after "enough" or as much land as possible is claimed. This is because the AI itself expands at such a rapid pace due to lack of difficulty induced economic penalties (they actually get handicaps as it gets harder...) and you need to get some land yourself or you'll be up the proverbial creek. Or go to war and take it. But either way you need land.
 
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