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Trading posts & City specialization

Discussion in 'Strategy Forum' started by Tomice, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Just wanted to know:

    Do you guys still create classical gold-focused cities with many trading posts? Or do you fully rely on other sources of gold income (trade routes, luxury selling).

    Back in GEM, I used to have most of my cities focused on gold, with trading posts and gold-boosting buildings. But now we have much less gold on the map (none coastal, none from rivers,...), so this seems significantly less appealing. We also have a few additional things to build now (cargo ships, archaeologists,...), making production appear more interesting than before.

    What do you think?
     
  2. jma22tb

    jma22tb Prince

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    That might be a good idea for a tall civ. Caravans and cargo ships can be bought too, so a gold city would be interesting
     
  3. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    I guess I need to specify a bit more to get your attention :D

    As all of us probably know, city specialization and tall empires are back in its full glory since BNW. This post sums up the basics nicely:

    I agree with most of this, except of course that we have to adapt this slightly for CEP, where e.g. gardens don't need fresh water. But basically, that's a good starting point.

    Science, military and production cities are pretty straightforward, but I wanted to talk a bit more about money generation and money-centric cities.

    First, a few basics about trade routes calculations can be found here. It explains quite well how an ideal starting point for all your trade points should look like. Summary:


    1. Coastal
    2. Riverside
    3. Close to other Civs and CS's
    4. Should have as many ressources of any kind in it's radius, especially uncommon ones
    5. Large gold output

    Especially the last 2 points deserve some attention. The question with #4 is whether we let our capital be the main trade hub. Since it will often have the best ressource diversity (due to "boosting" of starting locations through the map generator) it might be appealing.
    But then again, few cities can ever be as big as a capital, since it gets several unique growth bonuses (tradition policies, maritime CS,...), so I tend to turn the capital into a science hub instead.

    But even more important than #4 is #5! The base gold generation in our trade-route-sending city is an important factor in determining how much gold it will generate. Even more important: It also determines how profitable the trade routes coming from other civs will be. If we assume we have the East India Company there, we should be able to attract quite a few trade routes from AI civs to our main hub, boosting our overall income significantly.

    So the main reason for having one dedicated trade hub is not that we have a national wonder that gives a large bonus percentage on gold in one city (AFAIK the max percentage is +75% from market, bank and stock exchange - wonders don't provide such a bonus)
    Instead we try to attract as many foreign trade routes as possible, which is done by mostly by increasing the gold output of our city (and building the EIC).


    Remark: I suppose the above information is right, it comes from my research and experience so far. But I'm surely not the best player around, so correct me if I'm wrong, please!



    Questions resulting from the above:

    A) Is the AI always simply sending their trade routes to the most profitable destination or is there a more complex algorithm in place? Does the AI care about not opening the door for unwanted religions or about not helping a rival too much?

    B) Does the income from already established trade routes count for the formula calculating TR profit? Or is it only local income from terrain and buildings?

    C)
    Since the buildings you definitively need in your trade hub are limited (caravansery, harbor, market, bank, stock exchange, EIC, possibly collossus) how do develop it further? High population doesn't seem to be of much use for itself, so additional farms would only be for merchant specialists. Or are trading posts better? Merchant specialist would eventually lead to great merchants we could settle, but generating those would interfere with great scientist and great engineer production (since creating any of those three raises the cost for all of them).
    Or do you just build other stuff unrelated to money generation? Is generating wealth even worth mentioning?

    D) Which wonders are useful in the main trading hub? Colossus is obvious. Then there's Big Ben, Macchu Picchu and Neuschwanstein adding gold per turn (4,5 and 6 respectively) and great merchant points (2,1,1). Plus a few others giving great merchant points (Eiffel Tower 2, Pentagon 2, Great Lighthouse 1, Notre Dame 1 and CN Tower 1).
    I'd say only Collosus is important, all others don't affect the city itself much.
     
  4. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Short answer: yes, I build trading posts around a gold city, and build markets, banks and stock exchanges there, which I won't do in most other cities.

    Do we have access to the trade route formula code? It might be nice to slightly increase the degree to which trade route gold increased based on your gold income.

    In-game it also feels like population matters, but this doesn't seem to show up in the formula. I also thought distance mattered, but this doesn't seem to come into it either (except that more distant cities are slightly more likely to have different resources).
     
  5. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Apart from the above, what do you think about going wide? Is there a good concept for additional cities apart from the 5 or so main hubs?

    Gold and production don't have penalties for additional cities, so those will always rise when going wide. Then again, to make your peripheral cities profitable, they'll need their own production and quite some gold for rush-buying for a long time. So their benefit comes with a significant delay.

    I can imagine two versions of additional cities that could be profitable:

    1) The trading-post-spam city
    2) The high-population university science centre

    Both would profit a lot from rationalism policies (there's one giving +2 science per specialist and one giving +1 science per trading post and +17% for universities). And of course there are the freedom tenets that cut the happiness and food costs of specialists in half, but that's all very lategame.



    I'm really not sure how one could benefit from having more than approx. five cities. Especially on large/huge maps it's quite boring if we can't do much with a higher number of cities. Especially if we manage to get those 5 basic cities up early - what to do afterwards? What to conquer for?

    Right now - without a good concept of what to do with more cities - it feels like expanding my empire is only making the game harder than it is.



    EDIT: @Ahriman
    I've seen distance mentioned as factor, but never in threads discussing detailed mechanics, only in previevs/reviews of BNW and such. I can't remember hearing explicitely about population being important.
     
  6. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    Distance afaik is only circumstantial in that bigger distance = higher probability of a better trading partner in your radius (and hence more money).

    Generally speaking, trading posts do seem worth it, but only after the city was allowed to grow some. I'd definitely think, it's worth it to go for a early Great Merchant and settle it in your trading hub.

    A: Yeah, would be good to know :)
    B: No. At least that's not how it's displayed. It's the base income of the city that counts (for multipliers), and then the trade route gold is added on top.
    C: Food would be the first priority, to employ more Merchants or work more gold tiles. I'd say these may even come before a market or so. Also, I wouldn't say the 'distinctions' between the specialized cities are as clear, you can always merge two of them, with say the culture or science city. Especially for the later more cities going for science is never bad.
    D: Colossus mostly, and Macchu Picchu when it goes back to its GEM effect, basically anything that adds :c5gold: on tiles or buildings.

    One issue you haven't adressed is Religion. If I build a :c5gold:en Religion, say with Tithe, does that income count in my holy city or is it empire-wide? There are some gold-boosting beliefs (or at least there should be in the future... ;))

    With Wide I'm not so sure. Probably most of the times it's better to acquire a foreign city than build a new one yourself (harhar, I like how I rationalized my thirst for world dominance). Even if you find a spot that is better for your trade city (and you don't need more than one most of the times), it will take too long to get i up and running + defend it. So "spam trading posts" doesn't seem to be a valid reason as well. But it's a medium reason, probably only trumped by "I need a city for my museum to hold these Great Works and Artifacts". Wide vs. Tall could probably use some thoughts, but those deserve a thread on their own :)
     
  7. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    In practical gameplay some merging will always happen, of course. But I'd like to find out what some kind of "ideal" concept could look like, a direction where to develop.
    Putting one of the guilds in the main gold hub has already been suggested, to claim more ressource tiles with the extra culture.

    Especially if our capital is coastal, there are covincing reasons to turn it either into the science or trading hub. It might work to do both, by making the capital super-tall and combining the two most important hubs here.

    I only fear the production might be insufficient - no matter how tall we go - to create all necessesary buildings and especially wonders there. Not to forget that the capital often can't avoid having to produce settlers, workers or military units in the beginning.

    Good thought, thx for bringing it up!
    I'm no religion expert, but it might be very interesting to combine trading hub and holy city. I've usally taken happiness-oriented beliefs so far, but I might try gold instead next time. So far my holy city was usually just my capital, which tends to be my science hub. Didn't think much about moving the prophet somewhere else before founding it.
    I don't know how all the religious pressure would sum up, however. What if we trade with several other holy cities, possibly emanating more pressure?

    EDIT: Looked it up and it actually seems that combining the trade hub and holy city is the only sane thing to do, especially if you have the grand temple and possibly some pressure-increasing belief. Explanation can be found here for example. I didn't know that the pressure from the holy city is approx. 7-times higher than from any other. And it can be doubled!

    Exactly. But we should figure out more about vanilla BNW gameplay. I have yet to find a convincing guide for a tall BNW strategy, though.
    Once we discuss this, we should also talk about specialists. Currently there's are 4 slots available for each of the main specialists, and none of them before midgame. I really liked how you had either a specialist or cottage economy in civ4, and have a feeling we could make more out of specialists in Civ5, too. They seem rather situational in my experience so far. But GEM already improved them, so I'm sure the topic will come up eventually.
     
  8. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    With the current domestic trade route values, going wide is very weak compared to tall. At unhappiness per city and minimal domestic trade route gold, it's hard to get the happiness to support very many cities without starting to hurt ones growth.

    This is not really the case, because wide means you have to construct more buildings in order to get the same benefits (eg I have to build 7 libraries rather than 4), so I don't really have more effective production, and similarly I have to pay more in building and road maintenance costs, so I don't really have more net gold.

    I think we should consider removing the domestic trade route nerf, and putting some more happiness into Liberty.
     
  9. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    More domestic trade would help for sure. It was reduced to compensate for the better gold income from terrain CEP offers, right? So basically to compensate for better trading posts?
    If we add gold in one place, we need to take it out elsewhere I guess.



    Another issue is happiness. We have the following values in BNW:

    3 per city (5 if occupied)
    1 per normal citizen (1.34 for occupied population)

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Sid Meier's Civilization V\Assets\DLC\Expansion2\Gameplay\XML\GlobalDefines.xml

    In CEP we have these values:

    4 per city (5 if occupied)
    1 for all citizens (occupied ones as well)

    communitas_expansion_pack___basic__v_3\Gameplay\Cities\CEC_Data.xml

    So playing wide has been nerfed in CEP through the core expansion-limiting mechanic, while warmongering has been buffed (the lower population loss after city capture in CEP might have demanded this change as well). On a side note, courthouses seem mostly worthless and annexing has almost no happiness penalty (so basically no real penalty at all compared to founding the city yourself AFAIK). The only benefit from puppeting seems policy generation as far as I can tell.




    There are also a few interesting wide-buffing Order tenets, like cities that start with 3 population, or one of each yield per city. But Order seems to late for an expansion buff, the Exploration tree might be better.
     
  10. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Not really, it was reduced because Thal decided there was too much gold in the game. The change I suspect is part of what is killing the AI's economy.

    Trading posts aren't really better in CEP than in BNW, the only difference AFAIK is the fresh water bonus, which is an important way of making it so that you don't automatically farm every fresh water tile.

    [There's also something messed up with improvements, in that mines and lumbermills end up giving +3, while farms and trading posts give +2. The +1 production for mines and mills without fresh water should be merged into the techs which give +1 production to all mines and mils).

    Yeah, I think the lack of occupied unhappiness is a bug, it was a GEM bug and now it has been copied over.
    I don't think it is intended.

    To be fair though, the +1 unhappiness for cities is compensated by the stronger Colosseum, zoo, and stadium (3 happiness rather than 2).
     
  11. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Bug report posted! (relating unhappiness)

    I considered the better lategame yield from lumber mills an intended change to compensate for the highter-tier tech unlocking them. Didn't know mines are as strong, though.

    You're right about the happiness buildings.... :think:
    The whole thing get's to complicated and offtopic for the strategy forum I guess.




    If someone has ideas for viable wide strategies, I'd still be very curious. It would also help a lot for balancing if we had more thoughts!
     
  12. Anvari

    Anvari Warlord

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    i could be wrong here but afaik we get also more happiness from buildings. At least we had that in GEM? Don't know if that is already implemented in CEP.



    on topic:

    I usually build a lot of Villages. If i have a tile without proper improvement, its going to be a Village. I don't have any mathematical prove for that, it's just me feeling. But the main reason is, that you get less Gold now from tiles. The second part is the Science bonus, especially in Jungle areas. Last but not least, i like Villages more then say Farms, because you get a lot of Farm Improvements 'late'. I think 2 Gold are more worth than 2 Food, especially if you already have a couple food resources.

    BTW don't we have access to Villages way earlier then in BNW vanilla? This is something to take into account.
     
  13. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    If you are going Wide, the most important thing is to take as many social policies as possible that give you happiness, and to try and found a religion and take a lot of happiness beliefs (Pagodas in particular). The Exploration happiness from coastal cities helps a lot too, since its not that hard to make many/most of your cities coastal.

    But Wide isn't really optimal, we'd have to see some balance changes to put it on par with Tall.
     
  14. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    I don't think I'll find time today to start a proper thread for this, but the first and foremost question will be:

    What do we want as main strenghts and weaknesses of building either wide or tall?

    Might be good to brainstorm a bit about this first. Note that I agree wholeheartedly to Thal's philosophy that victory types should not be limited to specific playstiles/empire types. But there should be pros and cons of taking either approach.
    I don't think we should stick too much to Vanilla or G&K, they were favouring wide too much. Might as well start with a blank sheet of paper. Trade routes have changed too much to take GEM as a base either.
     
  15. Anvari

    Anvari Warlord

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    I kinda disagree. You don't have to pick Happiness Beliefs, it is more then enough to just get Padogas with +2 :c5happy:. You usually can ignore the rest. What i found much better was getting the +2 Happiness policy per luxury good in Trade.

    I think you only need the Happiness from Religion until you get Zoos or the Trade-Policy.
     
  16. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Note that pantheon and founder beliefs give national happiness, while higher-tier beliefs all tie their happiness to buildings, making it lokal.

    I do agree that one can go very wide before hitting the happiness cap. Devoloping the new cities well enough to make them clearly beneficial is the bigger challenge IMO.
     
  17. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Wide should be giving you more territory (and so more luxuries, more strategic resources, and more bonus resources), more gold, and probably slightly more total culture production.

    You'll work fewer farms and more trading posts, and you'll have higher aggregate population but fewer multipliers per pop on average (eg science multipliers from universities, gold multipliers from banks, production multipliers from factories, etc.).

    Tall will probably be giving you faster science, more social policies, more wonders (and national wonders), and will be more defensible.

    One thing that I'm not sure we need is the diplomatic penalties from settling lots of cities. Should people really hate me more for having 6 cities of average population 12 than they would for 3 cities of population ~20-24?

    Not in the early/early-mid game you can't, unless you get very lucky on luxuries/trade partners. An extra 3 cities is an extra 12 unhappiness. That's a big deal, and colosseums take a long time to build in small cities.
     
  18. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    I agree with Ahrimans set-up and add that Wide empires due to the more ressources, nearer locations to city states and more expansionary nature in general should be better at allying city states.

    The Diplomatic Penalty does seem strange and more like a 'nerf' to wide and ICS when it was needed. But nowadays not anymore really...
     
  19. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Wide empires would do better at allying city states if they have more gold. But I'm not sure how resources (strategic/luxury/bonus?), being close to city states, or being expansionary have much to do with allying city states.

    I would also argue that the benefits from allying with city states are generally much higher for a Tall empire than a Wide one. Culture from city states contributes more to policies if you have few cities. Free military units from city states matter more when production is a bit more scarce and you can't get your own. Food is more important for Tall cities than for wide (assuming we go back to the old design of flat food per maritime ally rather than +1 for all cities, which favors wide). Wide empires are more likely to have the luxuries and strategic resources that they need, and so benefit less from getting these from city states. Scholasticism policy favors Tall more, since +X science increases your tech speed more for
    small empires.

    Mercantile city states, giving happiness, are about the only ones which really favor Wide.

    So I'm not sure that there is or should be a particularly pro-wide aspect to city states.

    Yeah. And Wide is also more likely to have the control-territory-that-they-want diplo penalty too.

    Basically: Tall and Wide are somewhat balanced in GEM and in BNW. In general, GEM was somewhat more pro-Tall than G&K was. But BNW has introduced additional pro-Tall features, with the per-city science penalty and making trade routes a per-empire mechanic. This means that the GEM economy plus the BNW mechanics ends up favoring TAll.
     
  20. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    That argument was regarding Quests. Higher chance of fullfilling those quests for ressources or for roads, better chance to be able to bully another CS or find new Civs/NW/CS. I'd also be for including a quest "gift unit x to CS". They should also be awarded though if you already have the ressource (?). The benefits may be better for tall empires, but getting there should imho be (slightly) easier for wide ones.

    Empires that go for CS are often also Wide personalities, no? (like Siam f.e.)
     

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