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The Settler Challenge - A Collaborative Article

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Gato Loco, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Gato Loco

    Gato Loco Open to Interpretation

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    347
    Current fastest build - Smirk, with slavery-assisted settler building. First settler 2720, finished in 1880.
    Also note DaveMCW and Ribannah's more balanced attempts which led to size 5 and 6 cities respectively.

    I’m not sure whether this counts as an article, but I’m posting it here because I hope that the results will be something that should be available for reference in the future. The attached save file is a challenge which I am posting to stimulate discussion of starting rapid expansion strategies. Your first city is on an island with corn, fish, hills, and lots of forests. Your goal is to produce 5 warrior/settler pairs. You are Peter, chosen because his traits won’t affect the results and because the Russians start with mining to make a bronze/chop beeline attractive. The game is Noble level, so tech shouldn’t be a problem. Remember, since this exercise involves trading off short-term and long-term benefit there is no best solution, merely locally optimal solutions for particular goals. If you wish to contribute, please post:

    -Your build order, with dates included
    -Your worker action order, with dates included for the completion of each action
    -The number of forests you chopped
    -The final size of your city, along with the dates at which it grew
    -Any comments you have on your strategy, particularly what about it beats similar strategies that have already been posted.

    Don’t found any new cities. That would add a host of random variables and likely make it harder to get any definitive results. In a real game, these cities would of course be contributing to your empire, so getting your second city quickly counts along with getting your 3rd, 4th, and 5th quickly.

    Strategies of note:

    Simple worker chop (Gato Loco):
    Build order:
    3400 – Worker
    3250 – Warrior
    2920 – Settler *
    2760 – Warrior
    2440 – Settler *
    2400 – Warrior
    2080 – Settler *
    1960 – Warrior
    1640 – Settler *
    1600 – Warrior
    1280 – Settler *

    Worker Actions:
    3280 – Chop
    3120 – Chop
    2960 – Chop
    2800 – Chop
    2640 – Chop
    2480 – Chop
    2320 – Chop
    2120 – Chop
    2000 – Chop
    1840 – Chop
    1680 – Chop
    1520 – Chop
    1360 – Chop
    Total: 13 forests chopped

    City Size – 2, grew at 2760

    Comments – This was the “naive” strategy of building a worker and then chopping and pumping out warrior/settler pairs. The advantage is the speed with which the first settler gets out. The disadvantage is the slow rate at which subsequent pairs get built. In reality, you probably want a second worker after the second settler so you can chop/improve the second city sooner to take full advantage.


    2 Worker Chop (Gato Loco):
    3400 – Worker
    3080 – Worker
    3040 – Warrior
    2760 – Settler *
    2720 – Warrior
    2440 – Settler *
    2400 – Warrior
    2120 – Settler *
    2080 – Warrior
    1800 – Settler *
    1760 – Warrior
    1240 – Settler *

    Worker Actions:
    3240 – Chop
    2960 – Chop
    2960 – Chop
    2800 – Chop
    2800 – Chop
    2600 – Chop
    2600 – Chop
    2480 – Chop
    2480 – Chop
    2320 – Chop
    2320 – Chop
    2160 – Chop
    2160 – Chop
    1840 – Chop
    1840 – Chop
    1680 – Farm Corn
    Total: 15 forests chopped

    City Size – 1

    Comments – Building a second worker speeds up the pace considerably. By the time the second settler is built this strategy has already caught up with the first one. However, the workers managed to chop down all the forests on the island before the last settler was complete, making this the end of the road for chopping in the capitol, and making that last settler take much longer than the previous ones. At this point in a real game, the best thing to do would be to aggressively chop around newer cities to keep things going, after improving the first city enough for it to transition to a real economy. It is also good to note that the city never grew at all during this sequence. Finally, this build led to lots of overflow production. I vaguely remember that overflow production gets a penalty. If so, better results could be achieved by strategically timing the chops to minimize overflow.


    Growth-Focused Expansion (Gato Loco)

    Build Order:
    3400 – Worker
    2920 – Work Boat
    2800 – Warrior
    2680 – Warrior
    ???? – Warrior
    2560 – Warrior
    2520 – Warrior
    2320 – Settler *
    2120 – Settler *
    1960 – Settler *
    1760 – Settler *
    1560 – Settler *

    Worker Actions:
    3200 – Farm Corn
    ???? – Mine Grass Hills
    2880 – Improve Fish
    2640 – Chop Forest/mine plains hill
    2440 – Chop
    2320 – Chop
    2120 – Chop
    1960 – Chop
    1760 – Chop
    Total: 6 Forests Chopped

    City Size – 5, growth at 3160, 2920, 2700, 2600

    Comments: This strategy is based around getting the city to grow before embarking on the chopping spree. The warriors are built first to maximize the size of city at this point. As a result, the first 3 cities will be founded later than the earlier strategies, so you won’t start getting any extra production for a while. On the other hand, this order leaves you with a size 5 city, a full set of improvements, and a bunch of forests left to chop. Even after you stop chopping, you’ll be able to produce at a respectable rate. This strategy works best in situations where you have a large amount of space to expand into, such as in large maps, or ones where you are alone on an island or peninsula. It would be much less useful on small maps in which all the good city sites get snapped up before 2000 BC.


    “Smart” 2-worker chop (Gato Loco)

    Build Order:
    3400 – Worker
    3080 – Worker
    3000 – Warrior
    2840 – Work Boat
    2680 – Settler *
    2640 – Warrior
    2440 – Settler *
    2360 – Warrior
    2200 – Settler *
    2120 – Warrior
    1880 – Settler *
    1840 – Warrior
    1680 - Settler *

    Worker Actions:
    3280 – Chop
    3040 – Chop
    2920 – Farm Corn
    2880 – Chop
    2800 – Improve Fish
    2720 – Chop
    2720 – Chop
    2520 – Chop
    2520 – Chop
    2400 – Chop
    2400 – Chop
    2240 – Chop
    2240 – Chop
    2080 – Chop
    2080 – Chop
    2000 – Chop
    1880 – Mine grassland hill
    1760 – Chop
    1720 - Chop

    Total: 16 Forests Chopped

    City Size – 3, growth at ????, 2040

    Comments – This was an attempt to improve on the basic 2-worker chop. The city was allowed to grow to size 2, and terrain improvements were placed to get the maximum use out of the worked tiles. The first settler was a bit slower because of a work boat which may not have been advisable. The fifth settler was created faster than any of the previous three strategies. The only real downside was the number of irreplaceable forests chopped to get this result. I know that I made some micromanagement mistakes on this run, but I’ll leave it to a dedicated chop fiend to get it perfect. Please post any results that achieve a better performance for the 2-worker chop.
     
  2. Xineohp

    Xineohp Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Hello all,

    I m not a very good player but isnt creating 5 cities that fast will put your cashflow very low and so hit your research tab very hard ?
     
  3. DaveMcW

    DaveMcW Deity

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Messages:
    6,489
    Finished in 1800.

    My basic strategy was getting to size 5 while building warriors and mining the hills. The workboat doesn't pay off in such a short time span.

    I used the warrior-settler-chop-warrior trick to collect shields while still growing.

    3200 Farm Corn
    3160 Chop Plains Hill
    3040 Mine Plains Hill
    2840 Chop
    2680 Chop
    2680 Mine Grassland Hill
    Chop
    Chop
    Chop...

    3400 Worker
    3080 Switch Warrior to Worker
    3080 Chop comes in
    3080 Switch to Warrior
    2960 Warrior
    2840 Warrior
    2760 Warrior
    2720 Worker
    2680 Warrior
    2600 Switch Warrior to Settler
    2600 Chop comes in
    2600 Switch to Warrior
    2520 Warrior
    Settler
    Settler
    Settler...

    10 forests chopped.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. FratBoy

    FratBoy Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Messages:
    34
    Yes, this kind of rapid expansion will hurt your cashflow, but on the harder game levels you realy must expand this fast in order to grab enough land early in the game. To counter the bad cashflow you will want to do the following:

    1) Build lots of cottages. If you are financial and build a new city near a river, and cottage a grassland tile next to the river it will give you 4C (3 from the cottage, 1 from city tile) straight off the bat. At city size 2 you will be getting 8C (4 from first cottage (=now a hamlet), 3 from second cottage, 1 from city tile). Each new city will generally cost you something like 4-6 gold in upkeep depending on how far away it is. Naturally without the river you will only be getting 2 gold for a size 1 city, and 5 gold from a size 2 city. If you don't have the financial trait the whole cottage thing will be very crappy indeed, since obviously in this case financial gives +50% commerce.

    2) Mine gold. Mined gold gives 7C, or 8C for a financial, or a whopping 9C for financial+river. So a size 1 city with mined gold will get you 10C (and no net growth, but who cares about that right now?). Gems will give only 1C less than gold, but usually it's covered with crappy jungle.

    3) Set research very low. I play on emperor level, and I am never afraid to lower my research all the way to 0%.

    To sum things up you can put it in a very simple way: Cottage for teh win!
     
  5. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    188
    3-worker chop: Finished in 1920, no forests left.
    Level 4 city, 2 mines built, one farm built, no workboat, 3 workers.

    Workers: 3400, 3080, 2720-2960
    Warriors: 2960, 2720, 2480, 2200, 2040
    Settlers: 2600, 2440, 2280, ....., 1920

    O and I switched between warrior & worker / warrior & settler continually.

    Edit: One forest grew in the last 3-4 turns, not 100% sure whether it contributed to the last settler.
     
  6. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    188
    3-worker chop, including chopping for a workboat after the 2nd worker completes: 1840 BC. (the last settler ends up getting built manually instead of getting chopped).
     
  7. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,898
    I'm at work right now so can't verify this claim, so forgive me if i'm wrong.

    I think Gato Loco's main problem is that he doesn't switch production between warrior and worker/settler. Because of this, he doesn't allow his city to grow. The whole point of producing warriors and settlers in pairs is to allow growth (by building warriors) while still building settlers (from chop alone).
     
  8. Ribannah

    Ribannah Fighter Druid

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,449
    Location:
    Castle Gobs
    I finished in 1880bc at size 6 with zero food and hammer overflow and two forests left. No exploits. The workboat clearly helped, and so did founding (but not adopting) Hinduism to faster expand the borders.

    Build order: Worker, Workboat, Warrior, Warrior, Worker, Warrior, Worker, Warrior, Warrior, Settlers.
    Workers: Farm, than all-out chopping but completing two mines right before growing to size 6.

    The first Settler didn't get completed until 2240bc!
     
  9. Quantum7

    Quantum7 Warlord

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    188
    Why would expanding the borders help? It doesn't influence chops.
     
  10. Ribannah

    Ribannah Fighter Druid

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    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,449
    Location:
    Castle Gobs
    I could be mistaken, but I got 30 shields from forests within my borders, and only 25 from the one that I cut outside of the borders.
     
  11. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,898
    The shields you get have to do with distance from the city. They have nothing to do with your borders.
     
  12. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,526
    Has anyone tried using slavery to speed this up yet? (especially with the ability to have a 9 food surplus at size 2!) Growing 3 times is less food than a settler.
     
  13. Smirk

    Smirk King

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2001
    Messages:
    839
    Here's my attempt completed in 1880 BC

    Techs
    4000 agriculture
    3760 bronze
    3360 mysticism
    3160 polytheism
    2800 fishing
    2640 priesthood
    ???? monarchy

    Build sequence
    4000 worker
    3400 worker
    2960 warrior
    -- chops going to settler hereafter
    2720 settler
    2680 warrior
    2530 work boat
    2400 settler
    2360 warrior
    2200 settler
    2100 warrior
    2120 warrior
    2040 settler
    2000 settler

    Worker actions
    3400 worker farms corn
    +5t mines grass hill
    3000 chop
    2960 worker 2 chops then mines plains hill
    2840 chop
    ... more chops



    I revolted to slavery in 2280 and rushed 1 pop in 2040 and rushed 2 pop in 1920, both completed settlers. I left 5 forests intact, 3 were in city range the other 2 were outside second culture boundary so the 25 hammer yielding ones. At the end the city was size 2 with 4 unhappiness out of a possible 6 and 30 hammer overflow. Hinduism was founded but not switched and monarchy is 10-16 turns away.


    Doing the above without the workboat or with it and only one worker might work out better since not much time was spent growing or building settlers to really take advantage of slavery and the large food resources. Also I don't know the rush value so didn't micromanage well, its roughly 30 or 40, so I used one pop is equivalent to one chop as my measure.
     
  14. akots

    akots Poet

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    3,981
    Location:
    Moscow-Houston, Russia-USA
    I also finished around 1800BC but had built workboat and granary in Moscow. Whipped 4 citizens total and researched Judaism, and chopped all trees inside the cultural borders (total 9 or 10) iirc. And I did not use grow while chop trick.
     
  15. Gato Loco

    Gato Loco Open to Interpretation

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    347
    Thanks for the submissions so far. Slavery didn't even occur to me as a worthwhile solution here but it seems to work quite well. I really need to get better at spoting useful slavery opportunities. It appears we've learned something new already.
     
  16. LordTerror

    LordTerror Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2005
    Messages:
    73
    I got it done by 2000 BC. I will go though the exact steps, but first I need to make some assumtions to make it easier to explain/type...


    1) I didn't use the scout, warriors, or settlers. Fortify them whenever they are active.

    2) I switched between warriors/workers very often. When I say "skip", skip the worker's turn (AFTER they spend thier movement points chopping at the tree) by pressing space. On the next turn, once you have changed the production, finish chopping the tree. You should always be skipping when they have 2 turns left and 0 movement points. If not, you did something wrong.

    3) Since the workers don't have infinate movement, the location they move to is important. I will use a grid system with X and Y coords. It will be expressed by (x,y). The city is 0,0. -x is left; -y is up; +x is right; +y is down.

    4) If nothing changes in the turn, I won't write anything for that turn. Otherwise, I will write what I am producing in the city followed by what the workers do.

    5) For research, I clicked on agriculture, shift + clicked on bronze working, and shift + clicked on future technology.

    6) When I say move/chop, I mean to move your worker to that square (0/2 movement left) and set it to chop the next turn.

    Ok, now for the production/movement log:

    4000-Worker....
    3400-Warrior...new worker called wka...move/farm wka 1,0
    3360...........say no to slavery :)
    3200...........move/chop wka 1,1
    3120...........all skip
    3080-Worker....all chop...after chopping 30P to worker, change back to warrior
    3040-Warrior...move/chop wka 1,2
    2960...........all skip
    2920-Worker....all chop
    2880-Warrior...new worker called wkb...move/chop wka 2,1...move/chop wkb 2,-1
    2800-Warrior...all skip
    2760-Worker....all chop
    2720-Warrior...new worker called wkc...wka move/chop 0,-1...wkb mine (still at 2,-1)...wkc move/chop -1,0
    2680-Warrior...
    2640...........wka/wkc skip
    2600-Settler...wka/wkc chop...after chopping 60p to settler, change back to warrior#5 to finish it

    For 2560 and on build settlers only. Since there are many trees left, there are many ways to get the same effect. No production switching is required anymore since there are only settlers being built, so the only thing that you need to do is move the workers. Make sure every time you move your settler that it only has to move one turn to get to the next tree. Once there are only two trees left, move all of your settlers to one of the trees and chop that one. Since all of the settlers need to be close toghether, you need to plan where you will the settlers will start chopping (before starting the 2560 turn).

    Once all but one tree has been chopped, it should be 2000bc and you should have 3 workers, 5 warriors, and 5 settlers.

    I don't see a way to do it faster. With only 2 workers, you can't save enough from not getting a 3rd worker to beable to get a settler (the 3rd worker chops 100 hammers worth of trees which is exactly 1 settler). With 3 workers, the only way to improve is to micromange better. By the end, you get 8 production/turn, so to be even one turn faster, you would need 8 production, which would be more than one or two turns of better micromanaging.

    I'm fairly certain that this is the fastest that this challenge can be done, but feel free to prove me wrong.
     
  17. RockStar-holic

    RockStar-holic Chieftain

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    25
    Location:
    400Ft Deep
    Would ther be any benefit to getting a warrior first prior starting out on the first worker? Is there enough un-improved production in the starting position to justify it and more importantly what level of un-improved production is required to warrant it?

    Sorry that I can't investigate it myself but it will be the summer or later before I can put cIV on my mac.
     
  18. carn

    carn Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Messages:
    158
    It does influence chops, but do not know exactly how.

    I know that the forest directly outside the city's 20 square production cross produce 25 hammers if borders are still limited to the production cross.
    As soon as border expands, those forests will give 30 hammers.
    Further away forest inside borders still do not give 30 hammers, but they are better than outside border and as far away.

    Carn
     

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