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The Chopping Imperative

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Velvet glove, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Velvet glove

    Velvet glove Chieftain

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    It seems that many follow a religion with the Chopping belief but I don't find it all that powerful and am wondering what I'm missing.

    First, chopping is certainly great at any stage for completing something crucial or urgent, especially competitive wonders. It is also good at the very end with the spaceport things to add extra production asap.

    But it's a one-off action, forests are limited, and the production per forest doesn't seem excessive compared to the current time period - a chop is worth a few turns of production but more like 5 turns than 10. So it's a nice booster but essentially an extra, and the bulk of production comes from citizens, districts and buildings. Early on in particular, when you factor in the cost of the builder charge, it seems to even bring no extra benefit - except in a transfer of production from one city to another or an earlier to a later time in the same city. Later on it does get better but is still just a few turns of production.

    So in summary it looks like a nice tactical move but one that's on par with many others and not something that by itself will make a difference. But is that it or is there more?
     
  2. Entroputor

    Entroputor Chieftain

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    I guess it depends on what's around your city.

    Lumber Mills are great for cities with sparse hills (especially Grassland ones), or a few Plains hills with forests. I don't chop unless I'm building an Industrial Zone/Dam/Aqueduct combination or if there's a 'must-get', like pumping out a Settler.
     
  3. Velvet glove

    Velvet glove Chieftain

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    Yes, that's my take on it too. But even an early settler seems like false economy because the builder charge costs you ~20 and that's how much you get from the forest, so instead of building a builder you could have done a settler directly and saved the forest for later. Unless it's a builder you built during the first turns when the town was still size 1 and you couldn't work on a settler and you want to get that production back.
     
  4. Bliss

    Bliss Warlord

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    I think that most people that defend it in an excessive way are actually more worried about "fast victories" than anything else. And I suspect that they are the same people that also say "some games are unwinnable". Well, if you do things in an strict way and don't actually play the map and the match that is given to you, definetly, not every game will be winnable but also, when the planets align, you will make some miraculous fast victories.

    Everything comes to this point. Do you prefer winning every time? It implies that you will deny other people their victories more than actually focusing on your own. Or do you actualy prefer crazy fast wins records? If so, be ready to restart many games and wait for that "perfect start".
     
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  5. konokono

    konokono Chieftain

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    Well maybe let's take another way to look at it. How many forests do you still have when you win the game? Well, every single one of them should probably have been chopped at some point
     
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  6. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    One big benefit of chopping is essentially converting production between cities, or from different times. For example:
    -Run the bonus for +2 charges, build/buy a builder. Now, change policies to +50% production to a unit, or even just the +15% to wonders, and then chop. Those chops are much more productive now, especially if you time it right.
    -Alternately, it's the best way to get a new city online. Build a city, and ~2-3 forests/deer/stone later they have a commerce hub or campus or harbor ready.
    -Have nothing you want to build? Build a builder, so once you unlock the tech for whatever you want, you can chop and get ahead on it.

    The other big bonus with chopping is if you can move around Magnus, since that gives a big bonus. Ideally, you build a 6 or 7 charge builder in your Liang city (maybe bought 30% cheaper during a golden age, or built using a 30% production card), and then have potentially 6 or 7 chops where you can get +50% from Magnus and then compounded on that another bonus to settlers/units/wonders.

    But yeah, overall, in many cases I try to limit my chops to tiles where I actually do want to clear the tile, or else I will chop when I have the max bonuses. I find it's also much more important to chop in low production cities than high ones (so mostly when setting up a new city). Sure, saving 2 turns on a harbor in my capital is nice, but not essential. But shaving 50 turns off the campus in a pop-1 city? Huge.
     
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  7. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    It’s hard to appreciate aggressive chopping, especially because it feels like you’re reducing the potential of the city long term. And when you win a game, doesn’t it feel better to win with big, powerful cities?

    But you can work out the numerical aspects of chopping; there have been long threads on the topic, I believe there are good ones named “Choppity Chop” by @acluewithout and if you prefer your debates a bit spicy, “Rethinking Lumber Mills” by Lily Lancer. (It becomes a chop thread pretty fast.)

    Also I shall shamelessly plug my own post that seems to get referred to every so often. In truth I actually dislike chopping somewhat. I’m more of an IZ guy, personally.
     
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  8. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    I do think with the upgrades to IZ and lumbermills, it's not nearly as hard anymore to get high production, so that does reduce the impact of chopping a little. I'm to the point where my big cities can actually build things in a reasonable span, which definitely reduces how chop-happy I go.
     
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  9. Velvet glove

    Velvet glove Chieftain

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    @Sostratus Oh, I certainly appreciate chopping especially in strategic situations like your Big Ben example. In the last 6otm I chopped everything in the capital the moment I got smart materials and insta-completed the expedition. The point was more that if it's 5 turns of production it doesn't seem to be extremely overpowered thing, but I saw that previously Magnus has provided 100% boost and you were able to use the 100% naval card to double the overflow too, and lumber mills and IZs were less powerful, so at that time it could have easily provided the equivalent of 20 turns of production rather than 5, which did make it op.

    Btw, when you compare production per turn vs now, shouldn't you also consider the possibility of replanting? It's two more builder charges but you can still come ahead by chopping/harvesting and replacing with forests and mills though of course the replanting should be evaluated against the future yield. For example when it comes to the spaceship acceleration projects it's certainly worth it, you can have many builders ready to chop everything to complete as many projects as possible immediately, and then regrow so you can complete another mission or two as fast as possible. But even earlier let's say you've captured the Pyramids and have Feudalism and Monumentality - you can faith purchase 7 charge builders with Liang, and you should come ahead on chop/replant/mill and there is enough time ahead for the mills to pay off, though I don't know what the exact numbers would be.

    About your IZ sentiment, the Germans are a favourite of mine too and I loved your adjacency guides. Like I told Victoria recently that her guides were very helpful in learning the ropes, so were yours great in getting my head around how to think about adjacencies. And on the spicy thread, even though I'm quite new here, I've already noticed Lily's talent for spiciness :)

    @konokono You are right of course in that if you want to cut down every possible turn from the victory timing that's the way to go. But there are two things, one is aesthetics, like Sostratus says, it's nice to finish with big powerful cities rather than a barren planet you burned down, and I personally find that solutions and (and products and other things in real life too) combine aesthetics with efficiency without sacrificing one for the other. The other is that you have to draw the line somewhere. If you are on a huge map, do you really want to spend additional hours to super optimize everything just to win a turn or two faster? I would strive for a good and tight game, but after all we are not solving nuclear fusion here or competing for million dollar prizes, but having fun and I'd rather save my energy for the things that would have a more valuable impact.

    @Bliss Agreed, especially with the planet alignment factor because a victory time is tied to a specific map and means nothing on its own. But even on the same map like in Gotm if there is a nearby village where I get a relic which gets me Religious settlements, and you get the inspiration for Early Empire, or it just so happens that in one game the AI is very easy to exploit because they lost their military to barbs and in the other didn't, this makes a big difference outside of any skill factor. Though it is possible to measure the relative skill of a group of people by playing many Gotm-like maps until you have statistically significant results on the comparative win times, if one really cares about that.

    @UWHabs Your examples and conclusion are all great and that's the perspective I'm coming from - it has its uses which are very strong in the right places but in others it's just ok-ish without being overly glorious, and now is different than before because of the changes.
     
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  10. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    It's more of a deal that a few turns in the ancient era is a bigger deal than later eras. Total production over time is a meaningless measure if it means a lost city spot, a lost wonder, or not having enough army to attack before the enemy gets crossbows, etc. It's the same reason why rushes are heavily favored in strategy games. You make a move to win the game now and it simplifies later decisions because they just aren't as important.

    But the other issue it is hard to grow cities large in civ until very late in the game. That means a lot of tiles take forever to use, especially if we're talking about generic forest tiles. Mills don't come until construction either. Civ 6 also advances much faster than older games so there's less time for any investment to really work though GS tried to change matters.

    What is probably true is that excessive early chopping actually can backfire. This is because builders per-feudalism are pretty expensive, and they escalate in price. Many would suggest holding chopping until that happens, unless you are chopping something of consequences. Chopping also increases in effectiveness with era.

    None of this actually has to do with lumber mills actually being useful though. Regardless, it's generally a better idea to tell new players to chop everything instead of getting them to find situations where it's better to mill or not chop. The chances of that actually mattering is pretty much nonexistent. It's much like people saying more cities is always better which actually isn't true. There does reach a point where it's better to just go for the win than settle another city. But since new players tend to underexpand; it's a better rule of thumb to tell them to keep expanding.

    Same goes with chopping. If I can just put out resorts to win a cultural win, it makes little sense for me to keep chopping and reduce the appeal. But this kind of nuance is just purely academical most of the time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  11. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I definitely think this is a key point: It comes very much down to how much you "roleplay" and how much you "play to win". In a game where pretty much everything is decided in early game by how fast you reach certain markers, chopping will overall get you to a faster victory, even if the raw numbers may not seem that different when considering long-term production yields. Also although I'm no way near being an expert (I'd only rate myself at 25 % chopper on the chopper-no chopper scale), I think a key to understanding the power of chopping is that it's not irrelevant what you chop for. Chopping an early Campus district, chopping early Settlers, chopping a key wonder, etc: The benefits add up, and they add up quickly.
     
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  12. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    Am more of a roleplayer. I generally only chop when I plan to use that tile for a district, wonder or a farm(triangle). I am especially cautious with forest/jungle on flatlands; hills can always be turned into mines.
    Also very happy with mills on jungles, always hated that jungles were only good for chopping. Even use a mod that removes the negative appeal modifier from them, too silly that jungles and marches prevented national parks.
     
  13. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Going out on a slight sidenote here, but I do think there should be some sort of feature unlocking around Conservation or Ecology, that you can choose to restrict yourself from being able to cut jungles and marshes, and instead they should give some bonus yields and have positive appeal for natural parks.
     
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  14. Entroputor

    Entroputor Chieftain

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    I like Lumber Mills on hills more than Industrial Zones, since the latter is less effective with Mines and usually needs an Aqueduct or the entire diamond to get juice from something like the Craftsman Policy Card.

    Conservation and Mercantilism also help certain Civs get/preserve adjacency bonuses for their Districts; like Norway and Brazil respectively. Sometimes I'll even tear down Mines on plains hills, throw a forest up there, and build a Lumber Mill.

    I'm not super focused into chopping because it's easy to abuse.
     
  15. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    Yeah, that would be a nice bonus. Even adding back in the old "rainforest preserve" like in previous games would be a nice late-game feature. Basically it would become the rainforest-tourism improvement, maybe something like +1 gold/+1 tourism per adjacent rainforest and the rainforest now yields +1 appeal to adjacent tiles instead of -1 (and thus +2 or +3 for Brazil).
     
  16. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    Was it Civ 5 where jungles got +science when you build a university in the city? Now you can get it with zoos but you generally build far less of those. There should be some sort of late game bonus for preserving jungles and marshes.
     
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  17. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Time, it is all about time, not just district costs but getting a settler 3 turns earlier makes quite a bit of difference. Chopping with Magnus and bonus cards just escalates it.
    It is such an OP thing... I am a bit speechless. Sure at the beginning 20=20... but hold off on builders until T80 and 20=80 without bonuses.
    The chopping example below explains the strategy, you don’t have to use it to win but if you look at MP games where people would sell their grandmother to win, the map is naked in no time.
    Look at the fast player maps in GOTM at the end of the game.... naked.
     
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  18. Velvet glove

    Velvet glove Chieftain

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    I get it, it's about squeezing every possible advantage and a few turns of production is actually extremely significant and worth exploiting to the utmost where winning/getting the fastest victory is the uncontested priority.

    But even the 21 production you get at the start is ~3 turns for the first settler so this and what Archon Wing is saying about turns in the Ancient era makes me wonder if it isn't worth starting with a builder and mining and doing two chops if you can spare the forests and using the builder as a scout. Even though the net production boost is small, you still end up with a scouting unit at 12 production (though a few turns late) and an extremely accelerated first settler.

    Lol
     
  19. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    This is particularly effective when on an island because only builders can get off with sailing and time is critical. For example in the latest GOTM.
    Spoiler :

    My first builder used 2 charges then got me both the writing and astrology eurekas, and the political Philosophy inspiration
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  20. Velvet glove

    Velvet glove Chieftain

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    In complete agreement, and even on non-islands I think seafaring builders are worth sending out because there are often a few CSes that are clustered together on a chain of islands and remain virgin for a while. Also if you get Monumentality later the builders start moving at 4 speed even in water and can embark/disembark and move an additional tile making them amazing explorers. One thing I like to do with that is map out the territories of other civs so I can see when they start working on a key wonder that I want and can estimate if it's worth competing for it or not, and to know the good places for invasions.
     

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