Starting build order?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Virulent, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Virulent

    Virulent King

    Sep 9, 2006
    I've played quite a few games of Civ IV but I've never really gotten a good handle on what to build first and I think it's holding me back on getting better. I know in many ways this is situational but some general guidelines would help me quite a bit.

    Some specific questions about early game build order:

    My main question is how large your city should be before you start making Settlers/Workers? Your city doesn't grow when making them so I would assume you should at least wait until your city reaches size 2.

    Also should you build Settlers before Workers or vice versa? Once again I know this is situational but some general rules would help a lot.

    Finally when it's time to build your second Settler should you let your first city build it (which should be larger than your second city) or should be more focused on building the right units/buildings for your first city and let your second city have the task of building the settler.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ohjames

    ohjames Warlord

    Jun 18, 2007
    I tend to start with worker/worker/settler. If you research straight to Bronze Working, you can use the workers to chop forests, spitting out a second settler very early for rapid expansion.

    That being said, there are times when you'll want to change that up. If you have two great resources in your city's reach, or if you won't have land-improving techs for a while (the Greeks, for example, can't do much land-improving out of the gate) you might prefer to build a warrior first and grow to size 2. If you're on a very high difficulty level or are playing with raging barbs, it might be critical that you build a warrior first. One benefit from growing to size 2, though, is that you can use slavery to whip out a settler.

    Generally speaking, though, worker/worker/settler, with a warrior inserted into the queue somewhere if necessary.
  3. lilnev

    lilnev King

    Aug 22, 2006
    Rule of thumb: you want to be working your best tiles as soon as possible. Often that means worker first, and research the techs you need (e.g. Ag or Animal Husbandry) to get your food resources online. If you've got seafood and Fishing, then workboat first is generally correct. It's pretty rare to have to build a warrior first, with three main exceptions -- a worker wouldn't have much to do because you lack the techs, or you have seafood but not Fishing (build warrior while researching Fishing and growing to size 2, then switch to workboat), or you start with Mining and a floodplains/oasis (in which case you can grow to size two while building a warrior and researching Bronze Working, switch to Slavery and whip out the worker).

    Overall, worker-warrior-settler is my most common sequence.

  4. Wlauzon

    Wlauzon Prince

    Oct 1, 2005
    I usually modify that just a bit, warrior/worker/worker. Or occasionally fishing boat/worker/worker

    Mainly to get the city to size 2, which usually seems to save about 5 turns on the settler.

    But overall, I have yet to really find "the perfect build order". I doubt if there is one. Back in my younger days of CIV I used to always build a worker first - but after occasionally having built one, and then having him draw unemployment because I did not have the techs made me a bit more flexible :lol:
  5. JoeBlade

    JoeBlade Warlord

    Feb 1, 2006
    Depends mainly on the available resources/tiles vs. starting techs for me. If I can keep a worker occupied continually from the moment he's built I'll start with one.
    Otherwise, I'll typically build a scout or warrior while growing to size 2 and researching some more worker techs first. When pursuing an early religion (an exception, I must admit) I may even build 2 other units before my worker because I'll typically lack any kind of work for the fellow for quite a while.

    Early fishing boats, esp. with a fish resource, can be a great boon as well: it provides a healthy +3 food output, something that very few resources offer, with between 1 and 3 commerce on top. Excellent for building that first worker and settler afterwards.

    Additionally, when my first explorers consistently get, um, consumed by wildlife I may insert one or two more scouts/warriors into the building queue. No point in building a settler when one has no idea where to send him, after all.
  6. OTAKUjbski

    OTAKUjbski TK421

    Mar 4, 2007
    not at my post
    There was a poll about this last month:

    What do you build first?

    Nearly 64% of the votes pointed towards a Worker being the optimum first build. The only rival would be the Worker's naval counterpart, the Work Boat.

    My only exceptions are a Quecha if I'm Incan or a Scout if I start with Hunting and know I'm on a large, Pangaea or Continents map.

    As mentioned before, starting with Mining also makes a Worker that much more tasty. You can research BW first and then use the 1st Worker to chop the 2nd, who then in turn joins the 1st in chopping the Settler.​

    When building the 2nd Settler ...

    I often have both my capital and my 2nd city chop-/whip-rush the 2nd and 3rd Settlers at about the same time after producing Warriors.

    The other variation is that if my 2nd city is a :hammers: powerhouse, I'll use that city for nothing but military production while my :food:-rich capital churns out Settlers.​
  7. Virulent

    Virulent King

    Sep 9, 2006
    So it seems the general consensus that unless you lack the necessary techs building a worker first is generally the best move even it means a couple of extra turns until your city reaches size 2.
  8. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

    Dec 17, 2005
    Planet Earth
    Too many issues to cover them all, but IT DEPENDS.

    Everything matters, starting techs, leader traits, terrain, etc.

    If I'm close to getting BW out of the gate I'll never build a worker, only whip em. And if I'm not, I still may not build them if there isnt resources worth it, or the techs for those will take a while. I'll then wait until I get BW and then whip.

    Normally if I have a leader like Ramesses, he can work farms right off the bat and roads, so I'll build him from the start. As long as I have corn fields or something worth going over. Since he is a BUILDER leader, it will be generations before I'll be researching BW with him, which is another issue altogether.
  9. popejubal

    popejubal Emperor

    Jan 13, 2006
    Allentown, PA

    If I start with mining, I'll often research Bronze Working first, let the city grow while building a Hunter/Warrior and then whip the Worker into completion once I complete Bronze Working.

    The Frederick is especially good for this since he is Expansive and gets a bonus to hammers used to produce Workers (whipping counts as hammers while food "bonus" does not count as hammers and does not get the production bonus). Frederick also starts with Hunting which means he can build a second Scout and potentially pop more "goodie huts" and he also starts with Mining which makes Bronze Working just a short hop away.

    The extra Scout also lets me look around at the surrounding area much more easily so that I can see where Bronze is and claim it much more reliably with my second (or sometimes third) city.

    Long story short (okay, I know, too late now): the "correct" build order is Worker, Warrior, Worker, Warrior, Settler or some minor variation on that.

    ...except when it isn't.

    It's hard to go wrong with a Workboat first if you have Fishing and a workable seafood resource. Building a Scout first can be great if you start with Hunting and want to see more of the land around you. Building a Worker first is never a really terrible choice in any event, though.

    You can also build Barracks first (rarely a good idea) or even Stonehenge first (almost never a good idea) depending on your leader.
  10. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Deity

    Jun 27, 2003
    North Harbour
    One time you might not build a worker first might be if you had two high commerce tiles to work, you were chasing the early religions, and you had no good worker techs.

    For example, if you were Wang Kon, starting with mining and mysticism and you wanted to found Buddhism and Hinduism for some reason (e.g. as part of culture strategy) and had some river or flood plain tiles to work but no hills to mine, then an early worker would be a bit redundant.
  11. InFlux5

    InFlux5 King

    May 25, 2003
    As you've said, it is situational. But here's the opening I find myself using more than any other:

    -Begin researching Bronze Working (or Mining)
    -Build Warrior(s) to size 2
    -Switch to a Worker
    -Whip the worker if possible (depends on land and starting techs)
    -Chop/Whip a Settler

    I play on Monarch, and personally I don't feel safe starting with a Worker - especially if I started with a Scout. Quick exploration and fog-busting is going to be needed for your 2nd city; and at this stage of the game, getting my 2nd city ASAP is far and away my top priority. One military unit just isn't enough for me.

    Nonetheless, sometimes I will go Worker -> Settler. Personally I never start with 2 Workers. I understand why people do, but my main concern in the early game at Monarch is grabbing a good site for my 2nd city before the computer does. Many times I've lost a planned city site to the AI by just a few turns, because I waited too long to build my Settler.

    At lower levels I don't think it matters as much. But in all cases I think a Worker should be one of your first 3 builds.

    P.S. I just read the post above mine by HarbourBoy. My post doesn't really apply if you are going for a religion; but I never grab an early religion so it always applies to me. :crazyeye:
  12. oyzar

    oyzar Have quit civ/forums

    Oct 7, 2006
    i find that i almost always get a worker asap. only time i grow to size 2 is if i plan to whip the worker(only with a 3 food title and starting with mining) or if i get a workboat first(though with a forest plains hill it can often be advantageous to just get the boat then the worker(assuming you dont have access to the whip, cause if you do you should ofc grow to size 2 before whipping the worker). I also find that i almost always grow to size 2 before starting on the settler since the worker then improve 2 titles to work while working on the settler. I also find that i very very seldom get a second worker out before my first settler. So the general rule of thumb is as illnev posted worker warrior settler(1 chop).
  13. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

    Oct 6, 2006
    New York City
    My order is generally
    1) Workboat if I have seafood and fishing.
    2) Worker if I have wheat, rice (not in a jungle), corn in fat cross and start with agriculture
    3) Worker if I have gold, silver, gems (not jungle) and if I have mining.
    4) Worker if I have deer or elephants if I start with hunting.
    5) Warrior otherwise
    6) I will start on a settler when I have 2 warriors in my capital and it has grown to level 3 UNLESS i have no good food or production tiles then I will wait.

    I do play marathon speed with huge maps so I have a little more time than a smaller map.
  14. BrantleyL1

    BrantleyL1 Warlord

    Mar 27, 2007
    Plano, TX
    I go for warrior first. This allows for a little city growth - usually to 2 before he is done. I generally play CIVs that start with Agriculture.

    I'm a convert to whipping and had some level of success with that, so that is my concentration at this time. SO, I research mining (if necessary) and then bronze working.

    Second is a worker. Growth stops while you build workers and settlers.

    When BW is done, I convert to slavery and the worker is usually done a turn or two later. At this point, the worker can chop a nearby forrest and build a farm. This will get the settler out quicker.

    As you've probably figured out by now, everything here is "it depends"....

    If I did not have agriculture, you can build a mine on a hill with trees and hurry the settler.

    Use your warrior to escort your settler to your chosen location and build another. At lower levels, the barb warriors will not be built yet - so your city is safe for NOW. Don't delay in building some sort of warrior unit.

    When you complete BW, IF there is copper nearby, it will be revealed. If you are lucky, it will be in your fat cross. If not, that will likely suggest a good location for your second city. If there is no copper, there may be iron. Research for that. If you are lucky, you will have that nearby. Once you have iron or copper, connect your cities and start pumping out axemen. They are excellent early military. Use them to kill the wandering barbarian military units. Stack two or three for that. If you are bold, stack a bunch together and start killing off your nearest and/or weakest opponent.
  15. spider1

    spider1 Prince

    Mar 29, 2006
    I generally agree with everyone and the "it depends" answer. You just can't tell your starting build order until you see your cities land. However one thing that is a constant, I never build a worker first, ever. I always start with a warrior. The only exception to that is if my starting positing is on a plains hill. With the extra production bonus I can pump out a few quick scouts (if my civ has hunting tech to start). Granted the scouts don't last long, but if you make them quickly you can get a better idea sooner of your whereabouts in relation to the other civs.

    So, for the most part, my build order for "most" situations is warrior, scout, worker, warrior, settler, worker. I will vary from that, but not often. And, of course, it has to do with early avaliable resources.
  16. budweiser

    budweiser King of the Beers

    Jun 18, 2003
    Hidden Underground Volcano Lair
    I believe that growing to size 2 while you research BW then whipping the worker, vs building the worker from the start gets you the worker at about the same time, but if you grow first you can also build another unit like a work boat, or a warrior or a scout. Thats the way I usually do it since I want to reveal copper asap anyway.

    After that first worker, I build either a settler or a second warrior, then a settler. I don't build my second worker until after I complete the settler and I dont like to send out the settler with out at least a warrior escort because my scouts or other warrior may be far away from the second citiy site.

    Then I alternate settlers and workers and units until I have 3-5 cities, allowing my capitol to grow in between.

    When its all done, I have my cities built, capital at happy cap with a library and two scientists working.
  17. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

    Feb 12, 2007
    I know it's popular, but is early fishing boats really worth it? It's only one time, whereas workers will continually up production for awhile. You can grow, but you're wasting 30 production and at least 22 food.

    Whereas worker/settler is faster than worker/worker/settler (unless you chop 5 forests), the second worker will allow your second settler to come out much faster. Double improve one tile in the second city, then double chop.
  18. uncarved block

    uncarved block Prince

    Jan 25, 2006
    I used to build a Warrior first, and save the Worker for later. Those games were hard, and I was usually behind in tech and power. Now I build Worker first about 80-90% of the time. The game got a lot easier. While possible this was due to an increase in gaming skill, I tend to think the having all the good tiles developed had more to do with this. This is on Noble, for the record.
  19. Brave Jay

    Brave Jay Warlord

    Mar 2, 2005
    Read Sulla's civ 4 walkthrough, and all of his other games on his web-site and you'll figure out the optimum build orders vary from game to game. As everyone has stated, It depends. On what? on these:

    --Your civ's starting techs

    --Your leaders traits

    --Your goals for winning the game. (winning space race vs. conquest will drastically change your opening. You will focus mainly on production for conquest, and commerce for space.

    --your map type. (isolated start could change things a bit)

    --most importantly your starting terrain. Why build a worker to start if you have a coastal city capital with 2 fish and/or 2 clams? You would be better suited in that case to grow your city while building/chopping work boats, and then when your fishing resources are worked, build workers/settlers twice as fast. Or, if going for a religion early, you might be able to build an extra scout or warrior before it is even necessary to build the worker because you might not have the worker techs to use the worker.

    --i'm sure there are more than these, but the point is that for someone to take the step from being a noble player to prince and beyond, they must learn to throw out all of the cookie cutter type starts. A good player is quick to adapt to environment/circumstances and plan ahead based on that.
  20. Wlauzon

    Wlauzon Prince

    Oct 1, 2005
    I have been trying a revised build order the past couple of games, and it seems to work just about as well as warrior>worker.

    Been building a warrior first, then stonehenge (or some other fairly long project). Since the city keeps growing, at about size 5 I whip a worker out.

    That only works well it seems if you have a good food location, but in my last game it only took 2 turns longer to get the first worker, and I had also gotten stonehenge about 40% done.

    This is pretty situational and depends on what map etc, but it might be something to keep in mind for some occasions.

Share This Page