Settler at size 3 for REX vs....


Oct 4, 2003
Silverdale, WA, USA
I've long approached the game by ensuring that first settler gets out as soon as possible, and usually I repeat the process until corruption or land prevents a 20-turn settler, with at some point transitioning the capital and select core cities to "real" production instead of disband-when-Republic regular warriors.

With that and tech brokering, in Regent-to-Emperor on a standard-sized map, I tend to end up somewhere near 10 cities, almost having Republic or already in anarchy, a handful of vet troops, and one or very few workers struggling to prioritize roads vs city improvement. I'm a worker addict and this dearth of workers hurts me deeply, but the rapid expansion seemed to be worth it.

Better players than me say it's better to build settlers later. Lanzelot in particular points out the tragedy of repeatedly taking your capital down to size one, and in cases when I need to try hard to compete in research on an isolated start I grow the capital as big as I can as early as possible.

Yesterday I accidentally tried the go-big-first tactic, and at Regent on a standard sized map I ended up with 8 cities and a settler, two settler factories turning out settlers every 6 turns, the capital over 10spt, 2 turns from a successful Republic slingshot, and having beat the crap out of my neighbor with an archer rush. I should have had another city of theirs, but it went from size 3 to size 1 as I attacked.

So I am very intrigued. I'm going to try this some more. Maybe this map just favored the strategy.

I fired up the game and just started a new game with the last settings to look at some of the option screens. I happened to get Vikings on a river with 6 BG, a cow, 3 hills including a gold hill, spices, and a mountain in the fat X. It was set on regent because I've been recording my videos at the "fair fight" level which is lower than I usually play, but I just felt compelled to beat the heck out of others and see how fast I could get that city using all that stuff.

I went barracks first, then vet archers. I think I popped pottery from a hut and built a granary. The cow wasn't in the first 9 tiles, so it took 10 turns to grow to size two, and I had the granary done in time to get the settler out shortly after hitting size 7. I don't recall how quickly it got into full gear, but the worker got the town to 10spt and pumping out some archers and a settler every 6 or so turns.

The second city had a cow, too, and it went granary then either settlers or workers until I quit playing in 110 BC.

The Ottomans were nearby and placed their second city about 5 tiles from my capital, so lucky for me I had some vet archers wandering around. I meant to take the town but destroyed it and captured a couple of settlers. I then took their capital but had to end the war before wiping them out because some bad RNG left an archer of theirs with a clear shot to retake their undefended capital.
I politely waited 20 turns before restarting the war and wiping them out.

I went into builder-and-defender mode for a while as the other 2 civs weren't really intruding into Ottoman/my territory. By 110 BC I made contact with the other continent, had all the area settled I wanted, and was looking to conquer or dominate the world. I actually quit the game because I had no doubt I would win, and it wasn't worth the bother of taking more land as I had the best lands already and didn't feel like slogging through invading the other continent.

So my regular strategy has been to settler-at-3-REX my way to a point where I'm around 10 cities (on standard size), run of space, or discover I'm isolated. The downsides are the lack of workers and improved tiles and lack of research power. I make up with tech brokering the research disadvantage, but then I hit Republic and am struggling to build and grow my flat & wide civ with the far-flung civs making workers to send back and build up the core.

The grow-first strategy got me to a ridiculously powerful start with vet troops that didn't fear barbs like a lonely reg warrior on monarch does. I started with min research, but not getting scouts out sooner for brokering advantage makes me wonder about just full-researching early next time and then catching up the rest of the tech tree with trades later.

And when I got to Republic, I didn't have to go through disbanding reg warriors left and right as I didn't have any the whole game. Maybe my lux situation, map location, and difficulty helped out, but I also had plenty of income and reason to hold on to every vet troop I had. And my cities could quickly build infra like markets and harbors as soon as I got the tech.

I'll have to go try to math it out and do some more play testing, but I may be a hard sudden convert on grow-first vs settler first. On the other hand, agricultural civs with fresh water nearby and starts with food we'll see.


Nov 16, 2003
Dunedin, New Zealand
I normally explore slightly first then a settler or two then granary.

Gives you three or so settler factories.
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