The value of Flood Plains

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Iranon, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    I've seen both enthusiasm and scorn with regard to this terrain. I used to regard them a strict blessing at first, but reconsidered when I actually thought about them:

    Every flood plain worked is a good tile (the additional food compared to grasslands cancels out or surpasses the health penalty), every flood plain not worked is bad (pointless health penalty). Simple so far, now the implications:

    1) Commerce cities: Wonderful. We can cottage early on without needing farms to grow into the size to work more cottages. Since we want to work all decent tiles, it's strictly superior to grassland outside of special circumstances.

    2) Anything else: Double-edged sword. Later on, watermills (and possibly workshops) means we can grow these and still support a lot of hammers, and when we want to run specialists a few are still better than featureless grassland... but there can be too many.

    - If we have several food resources and immediate goals other than extreme growth, we will end up with unworked flood plains -> bad if health is a factor at all.
    - Early on, a moderate number of flood plains will allow faster growth than a high one, especially if we have jungles in the fat cross.

    Conclusion: Most cities benefit from a few. Having a lot is a questionable late-game benefit at best (unless health is no issue, say when playing an Expansive leader on a low-ish difficulty). Hence, splitting them up between several cities seems to be optimal if we have the choice.
     
  2. Refar

    Refar Deity

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    I agree with everything but your conclusion.

    Flood plains make for good Commerce cites, and less good everything else. Commerce cities are especially good if you have Wall Streets or Oxfords in them...

    So the Conclusion should be - grab as many FP's in one city as you can get, viciously cottage spam this city, make it your main research center or make it make piles of money.
     
  3. Nay

    Nay Warlord

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    Flood plains are the single best tile short of actual ressources.

    Farm? -> supports 2 grassland-hill-mines
    cottage? ->3 food + teh moneys
    Workshops? -> caste system! :food::food::hammers::hammers::commerce: is nice, but :food::food::hammers::hammers::hammers: :commerce:with replacable is even better. dont get me started on state property.

    obviously, financial leaders can get the most out of them.

    also, they tend to have a river nearby (surprise), leeves anyone?

    I love FPs, though they take longer to improve.
    But definitly worth it.
     
  4. RedRalph

    RedRalph Deity

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    On the Earth18 map, if you found a city roughly where baghdad is, you make an absolute bomb from it. It grows really quickly, makes a fortune and is brilliant for research, create an academy in it, settle a merchant or two and it can soon become your mos timportant city. Crap for production though.
     
  5. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Agreed, flood plains are awesome if you actually get to work them all. Especially late in the game, when advanced improvements are available.

    Initial growth, howver, can be stunted by having too many. A rather extreme example: 10 flood plains, 5 forests would be a lot better than 15 flood plains for a long time. If you can get a different city to benefit from the leftover FP, it becomes almost a no-brainer.
    One other thing I neglected to mention: FC overlap on Flood Plains is bad. It means the -0.4 health penalty is applied more than once, while the above-average yield isn't.

    Don't get me wrong... they are usually the single most valuable terrain without resources, I'm not contesting that. However, I vastly overrated them and bent over backwards to squeeze one more flood plain into a city I had big plans with, when I should have done the opposite.
     
  6. Xan9bhaal

    Xan9bhaal Chieftain

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    I agree, with that you needn't not to have that extra FP for all cost. Better to look at the big picture in regards of that city. In regards of what to put on the FP, I always go with cottage. Especially if I have placed the city adjecent the river. If Im lucky and it is possible, I always go after building my second city, near as much FP as possible, together with at least one hill, (pref. gold obviously :D). Being financial (again especially Dutch, if I can make it with some sea tiles :D), makes this city insane: Levee (Dike), Universal Suffrage. If possible, I go for an early religion, so I can get it in that city (for instance Judaism, would be possible to get, before 3rd city, if focussed) but then again, it might not be possible to get early pottery. Alot of that strategy depends on a little luck, however it has been done before. Bottom line here. I have never thought of anything that convinced me, that cottages isnt the right thing, and I agree, the single most powerful tile in the game. However hills, I find great as well. I seem to have newfound resources popping up, ALOT of the time!

    EDIT: I think you can read it from above, but I also prefer one single city with FP than it spread around. It screams specialized city!
     
  7. MrWhereItsAt

    MrWhereItsAt Warlord

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    In the early game, I much prefer having several flood plains on each of several cities. Unless you have great luck with the right resources with all those cities, until you have the pop built up you have to go for growth or production - not both. With a few irrigated flood plains you can afford to work some mines/high hammer tiles at the same time, meaning that you can start building serious things like Wonders sooner, and you can continue to grow (allowing more production tiles to be worked on) whilst you are working on an attainable high-shield project!

    And unless the AI poisons your water supply, when do you really run out of health in the early game? Happiness is always my bugbear far earlier on, since it takes Calendar for a whole raft of happiness resources to be activated, whereas most of the health ones are able to be hooked up with little more than Fishing, Hunting, Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and The Wheel - all techs on the first or second column of the tech tree.
     
  8. AfterShafter

    AfterShafter Deity

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    Mmm... From my current game.... About sums up the value of flood plains. Expansive/financial for the win :) Now if you'll excuse me, I have to raze Athens before Knossos reaches 50,000 culture...
     

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  9. DigitalBoy

    DigitalBoy Emperor

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    Flood plains are the best non-resource tile, period.

    The only such thing as too many floodplains is when your city has so many it's sick at size one. Other than that, the extra food always compensates for the extra sickness. Think about it, it takes 5 flood plains to cause 2 unhealthiness. Assuming you're at your healthy cap, that's -2 food but you get 5 additional food for having flood plains instead of grasslands. This is, of course, assuming you're working the flood plains, but as productive as they are, why wouldn't you be?
     
  10. MarkM

    MarkM Cow Herder

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    Actually once you build a levee you can flip that, it will have pretty good production.

    Talking about flood plain (implying river) cities in general, not Earth18 Baghdad specifically (don't know anything about that)
     
  11. AfterShafter

    AfterShafter Deity

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    Case in point: My screenshot. Over 100 natural production (not my Ironworks city) with 430'ish tech income per turn. Needs Universal Sufferage to buff it like that, but on a heavy cottage economy, US is preferable to Representation in my opinion.
     
  12. Diamondeye

    Diamondeye So Happy I Could Die

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    Earlygame, try not to grab too many, though 6-8 is fine, a bit more with Exp. Later on, rivers are far higher prio, and health is not that much of an issue. a FP with Watermill, stateproperty, elec and replaceable parts is 4:food:3:hammers:3:commerce:

    Maybe one more :commerce:, actually, and another one with Fin. That's one hefty tile.
     
  13. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Digital Boy, in your example you are only counting Flood Plains you are actively working. Worked FPs give 2.6 food, 1 commerce at least which is more than decent.

    I sort of disagree with your conclusion though. In the early stages, your city will usually grow more slowly thanks to surplus flood plains, at least on higher levels (being at your health cap without having enough population to work all/having better things to work like grassland + resources).
    Eventually, Flood Plains will overtake grasslands, sure... but until then too many are a liability.

    'Any unworked flood plain is a horrible tile' is almost a truism. Bringing happiness into the equation is an argument AGAINST excessive Flood Plains, unintuitive as that might be:
    The happy cap doesn't mean you don't benefit from growth (at worst you build up for times when you placate the population. At best, you use the whip to turn unhappy citizens into production) so health matters even when you are operating under excessive unhappiness.

    Depending on circumstances (difficulty level, civics, resources, buildings), there is a number after which additional Flood Plains are ahindrance rather than a bonus, especially if there are food resources available.
     
  14. Mesix

    Mesix The Allfather

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    I always see floodplains as a blessing. I cottage them up as quick as possible to get the maximum benefit. Sometimes I will develop my floodplains before I develop my resources. A cottage takes time to mature, a resource provides its benefit from the moment it is created. If I don't need the resource immediately, I will send my workforce out to cottage up those flood plains to provide me with research early on and cash later on to support my science specialists and GP farms.
     

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