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Should your capital ever be a production city?


Mar 3, 2008
New Jersey
In the game I started today, Vanilla/Noble/Huge Pangea/Marathon, playing as Roosevelt, it looks like Washington is , at least early on the best choice for a production city. It has a food resource, horses, several hills, one with gold,but also a lot of floodplains and riverside grassland with few plains in either the BFC or the 2nd border pop. The immediate area where cities 2 and 3 are has copper and marble, one is mostly grassland with a hill or two, and the other may be good for a production city in time. These ar on either side of the capital.

Washington has the makings of a killer commerce city I think, I'm going to try specializing for the first time, and if I added up the food correctly, I don't have to build any farms save for on the corn tile. It's about 1000AD, but I only have the 3 cities up, and the barbarians are just running me ragged, sending 2 and 3 units at me constantly. Just as I beat off an assault at one city, they show up at the next. I am constantly moving units to deal with them.

With FDR I should be prety good with wonders, I have stonehenge and The Oracle already and have what looks like a good shot at the Parthenon in the Capital. I haven't put a barracks in it, not wanting to waste the hammers/or chop fodder, but have had to whip out archers to keep the barbs at bay. I have a barracks in one of the other cities, but it isn't ready to be a production city. There is a barb city to the north not far away, but I haven't been able to break away to deal with it.

One caveat, I am going to start the game over because I erred on placing the 2 other cities, they did not pop into the copper and marble soon enough and the barbs are now coming with axes and I'm still a turn or two from even starting them. I do have Hereditary Rule through the Oracle, founded Judaism and bulbed Theology with the first GP, as it was too risky sending him to the Holy City for the Judaism shrine.

So upon restarting, should I expend the resources on a barracks in the capital and use that as my militray machine early on, or assuming earlier copper access, try to get the other city up sooner?.

I'm not at home right now, but when I get in I will put up the initial start.

Sounds like you have a plan.

As for the topic question, no reason why your cap can't be a production city sometimes. I had a game recently where Moscow had like 3 seafood tiles, 9 sea tiles in total, as well as grassland iron, a couple plains hills, and a couple forests. I decided to build Moai there, and it turned into my best production city, especially once ironworks got in there. Since it wasn't in the middle of my territory, I actually moved my capital (twice, even).

But as for your game, how you describe Washington, I would say best to make it your bureaucracy capital. lots of floodplains + riverside grasslands + gold = mixed capital. While "specialization" is good, if your capital can gets lots of commerce and lots of production, get both from it.
The only time it matters, really, is with Bureaucracy. The +50% hammers vs. +50% to commerce is key. Usually if I'm doing wonderspam/superspecialists, then my capital can really use +50% hammers, especially if I've been diligently settling Great Prophets/Engineers. Otherwise, you'll more likely want the commerce bonus for faster research.
3 cities and barb problems at 1000AD is a problem. When you restart, try fogbusting a little better and expanding earlier.

As for the question, capitals are sometimes best as production cities, but as others have pointed out you probably have a good bureaucracy capital with heavy commerce and hammers. I consider the capital a prod city (and often move the cap at some point) when you start with only one food resource and have to farm grassland just to work the mines.

why bulb theology?

Why not? I know in a previous thread I started the pitfalls of founding multiple religions were pointed out, but I didn't want to risk the Great Prophet going to the Jewish holy City t the time, didn't want to settle or hold him, figuring because I was behind in troops, the Theocracy XP Boost would help as axes were just about to come online.
Theo bulb is fine. Getting Theocracy early can be quite nice. Plus it gives you a leg up in the AP race if you want to go that direction.
3 cities and barb problems at 1000AD is a problem.

Tell me about it. I'm not super fast, but I can usually get up 4 or 5, maybe capture a decent barb city as well. misplacing the 2 really make a difference, I ignored the blue circle both times:lol:

Since I have several mining resources handy, I started researching mining and building a worker right off. My initial warrior popped a scout from a hut and those 2 did the initial recon, and I built a second warrior after the worker. I went for Mysticism then Bronzeworking figuring I could do some mining first to get the gold flowing. I worked on Stonehenge until the city went to 2, the switched to the settler and chopped whipped it and a 1 turn warrior from the overflow to set up city #2, then finished chopping Stonehenge with a a whip at pop 3. I then chop/whipped the granary, researching, pottery,hunting and archery, and getting the wheel from a hut with my scout. 2 hills mined, one for gold, and had corn farmed and a cottge built in the capital, otherwis it was chop city

City 2 was slow initially, I built a worker, then an archer and only had farming tiles in the initial box. I built the settler/escort for city 3 in the capital then went for the Oracle using it to get Hereditary Rule, researching writing, and also founding Judaism in city 3 which helped it pop to the copper. Problem was that's when barbs started their game. I've played a few games on Noble now and have adjusted to them fairly well, but they just seem especially plentiful this time, rarely coming as a single , almost always in 2's sometimes at more than one city at the same time.

I was trying to use city 2 as my military generator, had the barracks built, but it was slow in popping it's borders with nothing but the Stonehenge culture points, plus it was one tile off to get the copper on the pop. City 3 had the copper, and marble on the next pop, but I couldn't risk the worker to build the mine. In fact all my workers were pretty much relegated to working a tile or two and then running from barbarians.

My opponents so far are Caesar, Alexander, Louie, Peter, Hattie. Huyana and Tokugawa.

Jeez, I wrote a fargin novel just now, sorry guys.
Production cap can actually be superior to :commerce: cap even under B. Wonders are a major concern in their own right; just nabbing parth/TGL alone will massively increase your GSci rate allowing you far more bulb options. Beyond that, failure cash/build overflow can handily beat out cottages in the short run. The modifiers you can use with wonders can make +50% :hammers: far more valuable than +50% :commerce:. Early game you can average 1.5 :hammers: per normal tile and 4 : commerce: with a town. Modding the town we most likely have (at best) a lib and a market. Assuming we have mature towns; this means that we get 5 net :science: or :gold:; if we build a wonder in OR with resource, forge, and IND we get +25% (OR), +100% (resource), +50% cap, +50% (IND), and +25% (forge). Thus we net +250% mods to our hammers which means that our 1.5 :hammers: per work tile gets modded up to 5.25 :hammers:. Thus at CS itself, the strongest thing a B cap can be doing is failing to build a wonder (assuming the wonder is not worth more than the cash). Similar feats can be accomplished with a HE cap building warriors/chariots (workers/settlers with exp/imp leaders) or later WBs using drydocks.

Now, obviously most leaders aren't IND, you don't always go for early forges, and you rarely fail to have more multipliers in a :commerce: cap. However, the above analysis is extremely generous for the short term in giving you nothing but fully mature towns. More likely you are going to have a few towns, a few villages, and a few hamlets as well.

So what says go for production? My short list:
1. Ind leader. Even if you just double build nat wonders in the cap, you can rack up substantial gold. The OR/forge/IND/resource/B cap is one of the best sets of multipliers in the game.
2. Any situation which requires me to go for lots of early warfare (particularly anything beyond a simple rush); for a prolonged rush (more than just killing a close AI with chop builds) I'm likely going to settle a GG in the cap; making it a good HE location which I can then abuse with B and overflow.
3. Limited (e.g. none because I'm slingshotting up theo to paper) time in B. In these cases I'm likely going to swap directly into Nat or FS without touching B and I'm far further ahead by having a dedicated production town. If I'm going to run vassal (either in order to keep FR/Pac/OR while warring, because I lack religion, or because I'm trying to get 3 promos out the door); then it is a given that I'm going to be building mass units and my cap is best at hammering those out.
4. Going for early PS.

In general, a lack of rivers/seafood tends to push slightly towards production.
expand, expand, expand ... and then expand some more :p

a good guideline is down on 30% science slider if you don't know how to recover, and all the way down to 0% if you know how to :p
Your capital should be whatever you need it to be. My capitals are just as often production cities or GP farms as they are commercial cities. There's no rule that says you need to make your capital a commerce city. Remember you can always move your capital later. A GP farm capital is not very good with bureaucracy, but maybe you won't run that civic, choosing vassalage instead, and maybe your starting city is the only GP farm spot in your empire, thus you move your capital later.
Capital as production city is good, however then it is often best to move the capital later on. Best with expansive and/or imperialistic where you can spam settlers and workers for fast early game expansion.
Playing on emporer, my capital always ends up as a production city.

If I go for an early attack rampage, I get to three cities (to grab copper, iron, horse etc) and spam units to kill off 2-3 AIs. Inevitably, I generate a GG real early and then settle him in the capital (often the capital has the most hammers) to get 5 xp units out of the bat.

After the initial slaughter, I will probably end up grabbing 2-3 AI capitals (hopefully with 1 of them a holy city which will have WS and 1 of them with a few early wonders which will get NE). My own capital will have HE and spam military units simply because by the end of the rampage, I will have 2+ generals settled there and it seems a waste not to make full use of them.

If I go for a peaceful start, I spam wonders in capital and chances of me getting the wonders are greatly increased by making it a production city. I love bureaucracy simply because the increased hammers from that civ helps me get 3 wonders even if I run pacificism, namely AW, UoS and TM). By the time the game ends, my capital will have 12-18 wonders and an awesome GP generation rate.

On the other hand, I can see the benefit of founding both hinduism + (judaism or confusionism) in the capital and make a crazy bureaucratic capital with double shrines later, but I never had much interest in going for religions in emporer level.
I've done well with a bureau capital production city. Since I typically spend a lot of time in war, it's especially great with HE, as just about every military unit you could want is built in 1 turn. The main key I find is I need two strong cottage cities up and running early, to offset the reduced commerce in comparison to a cottaged bureaucracy capital.
Look for my thread on capital specialization. I have some screenshots in there of production capitals. The answer to the title question is: "Of course, if that is what the capital calls for"

Production capitals are good for REXing and for building wonders. Be careful though as low :commerce: can make things dicy if you expand too quickly.
I guess at least half my capitals in BtS should be classed as production capitals, if not more. They are a great asset as long as you have several other good cities to do research and raise gold. Apart from Bureaucracy (which is important in the mid game) the only thing special about the capital is the palace (which is important for commerce in the early game and city maintenance later). With both Justinian and Sulieman I've made my capital a military production city with the HE, drydock and settled GGs and found it a very successful middle and late game use of the city.

A good capital can do several jobs (produce military and settlers, build wonders and help the economy) and I often build a few cottages early as well as farms to work hills. That produces a hybrid capital initially but that will often develop as more useful technologies become available. I do find it difficult to turn towns into watermills and workshops later on, but it has to be done once other cities are producing more commerce than the capital, concentrating hammers with good production multipliers and exp from settled GGs is more important than more beakers and gold when you already have enough.
...beakers and gold when you already have enough.
I didn't think it was possible to have "enough". ;) Except maybe when you're into future tech.
Production capital with Bureaucracy? Yes please!
I often put a lot of production in my capital in the early and mid-game. You can grab lots of wonders or expand quickly (by settling and war). Bureaucracy boosts production as well as commerce.

Eventually, you should move your capital, though. Somewhere you have a city with about 16/20 river squares and enough food to cottage everything in sight. Once those cottages mature, that should be your capital and oxford.

The original capital gets national epic if you scored several wonders and becomes a nice GP machine. Once you move the palace, shift gears on the old capital from max production (workshops, mines) to max food (farms, windmills) and run specialists.
Using the capitol as a production city makes sense, I agree, if the site lends itself to such use. Frequently, my capitols are production cities, but once more appropriate locations are settled, I move. That's virtually always the way for me.
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