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Terrain Improvement Guide?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by pconners, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. pconners

    pconners Chieftain

    Mar 14, 2013
    I'm wondering if anyone can point to a guide or discussion on the best improvements to build for each terrain type? I've had a quick search of the forum and couldn't find one.

    Of course if you feel like posting some thoughts/analysis here on that subject that's fine too :)


    EDIT: Maybe I should start by saying that I tend to follow a pretty simple strategy of farms on flat terrain, mines on hills, trading posts on jungles, lumber mills on forest etc. Is there a smarter way of doing it? In particular I don't tend to use trading posts that much and I suspect the better players do - any comments on this?
  2. LuCypher73

    LuCypher73 Chieftain

    Apr 11, 2010
    I dont know of a guide, but thoughts:

    I typically farm it if its got fresh water, trade post it if it dont, Strategics I generally consider for great person improvements since that maintains my connection anyhow

    I build mines as needed to make the production I want happen, I just as often just buy buildings in that city and go with the tradeposts. (If I plan on doing commerce and/or rationalism I definitely favor the tradeposts overall , once they start generating science I love them too much)

    I do sometimes farm the non irrigated tiles if thats what I got to work with of course

    I go tall alot , I suppose a wider game might not necessarily want to farm all such irrigated tiles, but I generally do farm most of them. I dont mind putting gp improvements on rivers though, if I can spare an irrigated tile.
  3. JanghanHong

    JanghanHong Enrico Trololo

    May 29, 2012
    Kingston, Canada
    1. Trading posts on jungles
    2. Farms on any terrain with river and lake (Civil Service doubles these way before any other technology doubles other improvements)

    3. Trading posts on any tiles that doesn't have at least one gold if you want to milk golden ages and around puppets.
    4. Lumber mills around forests if the city sits on flat terrain devoid of hills and hammers
    5. Mines in hills that doesn't touch water source

    6. Great person improvements preference - river grassland or flood plains, then river planes and hills, then the rest.
  4. pconners

    pconners Chieftain

    Mar 14, 2013
    Thanks for the responses. I guess if you're going down the Rationalism path the +1 sceince for trading posts makes them more valuable than I had been giving them credit for.

    JanghanHong - what's the reasoning behind no 6 (placing great person improvements)? For example, if you place such an improvement on a river grassland, you lose the +2 food from a farm, whereas if you put it on (say) a horse you lose the +1 hammer but still get the resource?

    Do people tend to use Great People for improvements? I must confess I tend to use them to rush buildings/tech/golden ages etc.

    Also, do people tend to raze forests or leave them be? The forest plus lumber mill isn't that great and it takes a while before its generating 1 food and 3 hammers. There's also the minor benefit of the production boost from cutting down the forest.
  5. kirbdog

    kirbdog King

    Jun 14, 2005
    If you bee-line research labs, you will spend a good part of the game where lumber mills produce 1 food 3 hammers and mines on hills produce 3 hammers. That's a good reason to leave some forest unmolested.

    If you chop down a forest or two while building National College, that gets you to Education faster. That's a good reason to chop chop.
  6. akashsara

    akashsara Warlord

    Nov 11, 2012
    Placing it on a grassland means that you will still get food. This allows you to work the tile without compromising growth.

    Early Great Scientists are usually used for improvements while later on they are used to research techs.
    Great Engineers are best used for rushing wonders. Though it won't harm you if you settle them for the production boost.
    Great Artists are settled when going for a culture victory. Otherwise they are mostly used for Golden Ages.
    I don't think Great Merchants are ever used for improvements. You don't get a lot of gold from it so they are best used for Trade Missions.
    Great Generals are useful to settle because you get extra land. Plus the odds are that you won't need more than one Great General for your army because their 15% combat bonus does not stack.
    Great Admirals can't be settled.
    Great Prophets can be used to either spread your religion or as an improvement for faith. That really depends on what you want to do with it.
  7. alpha00alpha

    alpha00alpha Chieftain

    Feb 14, 2013
    Farms - anything that starts off with a food bonus, having it on a river or wheat is nice.
    Trading Posts - jungles, if else deserts.
    Mines - any hills you can find, unless they have good food where you would use them for farms.
  8. Lord Yanaek

    Lord Yanaek Emperor

    Aug 15, 2003
    I don't think there is 1 rule for tile improvements. It depends on terrain, your strategy and city focus (while Civ5 no longer has focus sliders, you can still focus your cities towards production - gold - science - culture ...)
    • If you want science or culture (specialists) you'll need high population so as many farms as possible, especially near fresh water for early growth. This means even farms on hills (those 2food/2prod tiles are actually quite nice) and chopping down riverside forests (preferably when building a wonder, science building).
    • If you want high production for building wonders and cranking out military units you'll definitely want some mines. Forests with lumber mills are nice later but mines are more productive early so i'll often mine hills while keeping, if possible, some forests on flatlands for some later production.
    • If you want gold you need trading posts. Trading posts on forests will give you a nice mix of food, production, gold and possibly some science. Jungles are obvious for TP as it's the only improvement that will preserve them for the +2 science. I also often put them on non freshwater plains for basically the same output as a forest. I rarely build them on non forested hills unless the city is a puppet.
    • No matter what, you need some population growth. If you don't have some bonus food tiles, you need enough freshwater farms. One riverside grassland farm will feed the citizen working it and an additional 1. So you basically need 1 farm for every mine or 1 farm for 2 forests/plains. Jungles are self supporting. If you are in plains, riverside farm will only feed 0.5 population in addition to the pop working it, but OTOH will give you some production.
    • Plenty of plains can actually make for a nice secondary city. It won't grow as much as a city on grasslands but will have some decent production without any mine. If i have a city with many plains, i'll often farm freshwater and build TPs on every other flat tile. This way, 1 farm will feed it's pop and one pop working a TP. Those 2 pops will give me 2 prod, 2 gold (3with economic sciences) and 1 science with rationalism SP tree.
    • Most of the time, i don't plant GP on riverside tiles because you sacrifice the +2 food from civil service. I will try to plant them on non freshwater grassland or plains if there is no grassland. Planting them on strategic ressources is an option but most of the time, i prefer basic tiles cause i don't like to loose any bonus.
  9. Ra's Head

    Ra's Head Chieftain

    Feb 6, 2011
    As mentioned, this definitely varies. I like to farm all river tiles, chopping forests to do so. I generally mine riverside hills, though, but this depends on how many other production tiles I have. Non-riverside, I farm plains and trading post grasslands. If the forest is on plains I chop and farm. If the forest is on grassland, I lumber mill. I always chop forests on hills to mine.

    Obviously, this is a production oriented approach. If the city is lacking food, then I have to farm more. This makes a large number of relatively low population (10-12) cities with solid production for building units or whatever else.

    In puppets, trading post everything. Nothing else matters. Trading post everything, even if the city starves. I guess unless you plan to annex in the future, then do what you normally do.

    I put Great People improvements on non river grassland. I know that strategics are better, or sheep is the best or something, but I just can bring myself to do it. Maybe I just love the pasture graphic?
  10. Karagee

    Karagee Chieftain

    Jul 31, 2012
    I have some questions on this post. What is the difference between a tall game and a wide game? (I am still trying to learn the jargon here; it's always fun when you do. I have played some other games where in the chat rooms the convos look like gibberish to someone new but are quite understandable to a veteran player.) And trade posts start generating science later? Did I read that right? LOVE IT :p
  11. Deau

    Deau Emperor

    Apr 17, 2011
    Quebec, Can

    Pretty much "best improvement" depends on various factors. How early in the game/what VC you are aiming for/city landscape/city specialization

    For instance, the post with regards to settling GPs on strategic resources - If your city has already outgrown it's "good tiles", then you might as well settle a GP on something else than strategic because the strategic tile improvement gets you 1-2 extra tile yield with the proper improvement.

    Someone else also mentioned spamming farms for fresh water. Yet if you play a long Golden Age strategy, it will be more benefitial to TP lake/oasis fresh water tiles as you will want that GA +1 GPT for these tiles.

    Then spamming TPs on jungle tiles. Sure it's nice after universities+left branch of rationalism kicks in but if most of your riverside tiles are jungles, you will want to chop a few early in the game for farms or your early game growth. Same can be thought of hills jungle on all grassland/jungle starts. They're your only sources of hammers.
  12. atarihuana

    atarihuana Warlord

    Mar 29, 2013
    well not putting an early GS on a cow is always the inferior choice.
    planting GE only when you have low prod citys that can tileshare.

    dont put GP on luxes or hills. a GE on a hill is a total waste.
  13. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

    Mar 17, 2008
    My standard is:

    Hills with Freshwater : Farm
    Plains with Freshwater: Farm
    Forest on flat plains: Chop & Farm
    Forest on Hills or on flat grassland: Lumbermill
    Hills (no trees) : If playing the Incan, Terrace Farm, otherwise mine.
    Flat Grassland (no trees) along river: Trade post (unless a severe food shortage)
    Jungle: Trade post
    Flood plains: If playing the Dutch; their unique improvement, otherwise trade post.
    Flat grassland NOT along river: Low priority: Around time of Economics is around the corner, Trade post.
    Plains without fresh water: Very Low Priority: Farm when nothing else to do.
    Marsh: If playing the Dutch; their unique improvement, otherwise clear it; this will convert to grassland at which point trade post.
  14. compwiz1202

    compwiz1202 King

    Mar 18, 2012
    Bethlehem, PA, USA
    Be careful of putting Great People on resources because it won't count for being able to build a building if you don't have another regularly improved resource. (i.e. The Cow Thing - If you GPerson improve cows and have no other pastures, you can't build a stable) Although, once you have the stable you can safely GPerson improve the cows, right? I've always found it weird how buildings like factories can still function if you go negative in coal.

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