Settling in Place - when not to?

Dreadful

Chieftain
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Apr 12, 2010
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I've browsed the forums for some sort of general rule of thumb concerning settling in place, but it were all pretty detailed examples.

I mean, I always settle in place. It happened that I moved my starting settler 1 tile to a more advantageous location (still founding my capital in the first turn), but that's very rare.
Are there situations where you do move your settler a couple of tiles, delaying the start of your Civ by several turns? Does the better starting position outweigh the loss of research and hammers etc etc? If you do start wandering off, how many tiles are "acceptable"?
 

ParadigmShifter

Random Nonsense Generator
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Normally I move if there is too many plains around, or if moving reduces the amount of sea tiles.

Best reason for moving is to Quechua rush someone though ;)
 

catfish99

Warlord
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On lower settings and at slower speeds, the penalty for moving is not as great.
If you move your scout/warrior and see an obviously better spot (ie, losing a turn adds two food sources to the BFC or something along those lines) you might do it.
If the initial spot just looks plain crappy, regeneration is the better move.
 

LegioCorvus

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If moving costs you one turn, but get you a few extra strong resource like grassland corn/pig/gems, fresh water in your capitol (+2 :health:), a decent coastal start, or even make it easier to fit more cities, then go for it. One turn is hardly a setback when it nets you a better setup. I say I do it roughly 5-10% of the time.

That +2 :health: alone is often worth it at Monarch & above, though you don't really want to sacrifice good resources for it.

2 turns? You better have a pretty crappy starting position. Rarely do I make the 2 turn move for the capitol, but I've had some good & memorable games come from it.
 

ParadigmShifter

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You always get a fresh water source where your settler is initially located!!!!
 

ParadigmShifter

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Are you sure about that!!!????
 

ParadigmShifter

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Hmm I thought the start location algorithm adds rivers or lakes as necessary to ensure a fresh water source. Or is that only for certain map types?
 

Yxklyx

King
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On Prince, I've noticed quite a few AI capitals are one square away from the coast and I find that I often start one away from the coast as well. Something to think about...
 
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Hmm I thought the start location algorithm adds rivers or lakes as necessary to ensure a fresh water source. Or is that only for certain map types?

Not all games use the start normalizer.
 
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If moving costs you one turn, but get you a few extra strong resource like grassland corn/pig/gems, fresh water in your capitol (+2 :health:), a decent coastal start, or even make it easier to fit more cities, then go for it.

Stronger center tile is the one obvious case missing from this list.

My guideline is that I won't look beyond the candidate choices exposed by the initial position plus first scout move.

I'm not willing to go wandering for an interesting start; if the initial map looks boring, and there's no clearly better alternative, I'll tell the map generator to try again.
 

Wreck

Prince
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Hmm I thought the start location algorithm adds rivers or lakes as necessary to ensure a fresh water source. Or is that only for certain map types?

The start normalizer may fail to add an adjacent fresh water source in several ways. For reference see this:
http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=359383

The initial "dumb" river addition can fail, I think. And it can also have the river go south, or east, thus not giving you fresh water. You see this all the time: your settler is catty-corner northwest from a river's start.

Although it will attempt to put a lake next to the start, a lake can only be placed on a tile non-adjacent to any water. So, the presence of water all around your start will prevent it from being able to place the lake. Another thing you see sometimes is that there is a lake in the second ring out from your settler; the startsite code checks the inner ring first then goes to the second ring and can put the lake there instead.
 

Wreck

Prince
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As for when to move: Legio above hits most of the things.

Resourcewise, you want a gems or gold in your capital if you can also keep food in the BFC, and you should move to get it if you can see it after the warrior/scout move.

One thing not mentioned yet is moving to settle on a plains hill, thereby getting a 2:hammers: center tile and speeding your start considerably. This is easily worth a turn to do. In fact would be worth more turns if you magically know the terrain and don't have to give up anything important for it. But that is rare to vanishingly rare, since you won't know about anything more than a move or two away from your startsite. Don't go speculatively wandering out into the black.
 

GreenShift84

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Try several game openings with moving the settler around and see how it plays out. It can work great for rushes if you get closer to your target(s). Those lost turns of research/hammers are well worth an extra capital and crippling an opponent. It can be good for blocking as well. There is less opportunity cost with moving the settler on slower speeds, just something to keep in mind.

Generally I won't move more than a tile or two (if I don't settle in place), but I've moved even further before and still had great games. I think I moved around 5 tiles in the NC Darius game (emperor/epic) and it went very well. Some considerations there were 1. lack of spectacular tiles in the starting location 2. room for settler to move w/o tress+hills in the way and 3. a river to follow. In fact that game went so well I retired at 300BC.

I will also move if it lands me a good commerce resource (gold, silver, gems) w/o crippling the capital from losing good tiles like food. Less ocean/coast is also preferable.

Moving the settler can be an easier call if you know roughly where you are on the map. Heading into jungle or desert w/o floods+gold would be a bad move. That said, moving around too far is often not "optimal" in terms of game play, but it sure can be fun.
 

Gr8scott

Warlord
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169
One thing not mentioned yet is moving to settle on a plains hill, thereby getting a 2:hammers: center tile and speeding your start considerably.

Related point...If you ever see a plains hill with marble or stone on it, strongly consider settling on it. a 2-food, 3-hammer capital makes for a very quick start. You also get insta access to the resource with masonry, so quickie wonders are helped as well.
 

vicawoo

Chieftain
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Some coastal starts don't give you fresh water. I think inland ones provide a lake or river on normal maps.
 

ahcos

King
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there are several reasons ..

1. stronger resource than you have in your initial spot, e.g. corn > rice
2. you want to move on a river, saves a bunchload of workerturns for roads and gives great traderoutes with enemies plus direct connection to resources on the same river
3. you want to free up a coastal resource, or even two, for a second city OR, in that case, you want to settle on coast
4. rather rare, but happens: you start with fishing/aggriculture, but have all tiles except 2 cow/2 dye resources covered with wood - that way you'll have to research alot until you can use your worker (arguably, you could delay worker first but that doesn't make sense imo) - so you move the settler to gain a few non-forrested tiles in your BFC the worker can improve with farms or so
5. avoid health penalty by moving the cap away from too much Floodplains and use the free space for a second decent spot
6. to get a commerce resource like gold/gems/silver in the BFC, somewhat counts for the first point but is somewhat different
7. avoid brown tiles and gain more green in the BFC
8. to move on a better city tile, e.g. plain hill, ivory, sugar for 2/2/1 or 3/1/1
9. avoid "one of the coast"
10. strategic resource in the BFC - ofc, only stone + marble can be grabbed this way for sure, but some great players sometimes gamble for a "suspicious" tile, e.g. a non-forrested tile between forrested tiles all around.

of course, your decision may depend on several of these factors. settling in place rarely is a "bad" decision, but there are those games where you can really profit moving the settler. you should ALWAYS consider moving before settling in place, the fastest possible opening is the single most important factor to win most of the games in my experience.
nonetheless, imo, discussing the startposition is often somewhat overrated and / or overdone, although you can learn alot from following the discussions regarding capital placement.
 
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