What Are Your Tactics for Building on Plains in CIV IV?

Plains-Cow

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There are generally two different scenarios: plains-heavy cities, and plains-light cities. Typically I'll use farms in both situations and irrigate them, especially if it's a production city. However, if I'm committed to a financial playthrough, then I'll cottage if there's enough food (floodplains in city ring or food resource in city ring that offsets the lower food from plains).

What do you do with your plains in CIV IV and why?
 

Gumbolt

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So you grow a pop and farm a plains. You gobble up 2 food for each new pop. Plus worker turns to farm each plains. Nety gain 1 hammer? If they are on a river I might cottage. Generally I won't settle a city unless it's worth it. Or it grabs a key resource.

Be interested to see some of your saved games. That have not reached 1ad or 1000ad.
 

Plains-Cow

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So you grow a pop and farm a plains. You gobble up 2 food for each new pop. Plus worker turns to farm each plains. Nety gain 1 hammer? If they are on a river I might cottage. Generally I won't settle a city unless it's worth it. Or it grabs a key resource.

Be interested to see some of your saved games. That have not reached 1ad or 1000ad.
There are different situations. Some cities I settle with heavy plains if it has an irrigable food resource (like a grain) or a strategic resource and can be at least slightly in the green food-wise. Biology helps too. I, too, aim for settling grasslands, but sometimes you don't have a choice and need to go plains. This thread's dedicated to deciding how best to handle plains tiles in a myriad of situations.
 

AcaMetis

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If there's a river and at least some respectable food tiles, farms on the highest food tiles and cottages elsewhere. Plains cottages aren't the literal worst, especially when you don't have a great happy cap and can share tiles. Otherwise (this basically assumes I settled the city for a strategic reason, not because the land justifies it) Farms on the decent tiles and maybe mines elsewhere. Trying to grow a city on farmed plains tiles pre-Biology is not worth, I'd rather give the city a mine and have it sink hammers into a failbuild or some such.
 

Plains-Cow

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If there's a river and at least some respectable food tiles, farms on the highest food tiles and cottages elsewhere. Plains cottages aren't the literal worst, especially when you don't have a great happy cap and can share tiles. Otherwise (this basically assumes I settled the city for a strategic reason, not because the land justifies it) Farms on the decent tiles and maybe mines elsewhere. Trying to grow a city on farmed plains tiles pre-Biology is not worth, I'd rather give the city a mine and have it sink hammers into a failbuild or some such.
I'm not for settling a city that's FULL of plains tiles, but for a city that has like 2-3 plains tiles, deciding what to do with them matters long-term. Ideally, biology would be around for them most of the time when deciding on a farm, but othertimes, you need to make do with what you have. Interesting idea about making a failgold-dedicated city.

Have a look at this old thread.
https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/non-riverside-plains-tiles.641320/

There are generally no new questions in civ 4. Chances are someone has answered them again and again. Of course over the years best practice can change as new players arrive/

That's why it's fun to talk about things with new people. Otherwise CIV IV forums might as well be dead. Plus, there's something to be said about looking at old problems/questions with fresh eyes.
 
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AcaMetis

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If a city has that few plains tiles I wouldn't look at them unless they're shareable riverside cottage tiles, in which case I'll have a city work them when it's on whip cooldown or building a worker/settler or some such. Plains tiles just aren't worth working until biology or State Property workshops, and in the former case they're not going to be great tiles to work even than.
 

Fish Man

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I'm not for settling a city that's FULL of plains tiles, but for a city that has like 2-3 plains tiles, deciding what to do with them matters long-term. Ideally, biology would be around for them most of the time when deciding on a farm, but othertimes, you need to make due with what you have. Interesting idea about making a failgold-dedicated city.



That's why it's fun to talk about things with new people. Otherwise CIV IV forums might as well be dead. Plus, there's something to be said about looking at old problems/questions with fresh eyes.

Long-term, when your city has like 16-20 pop or something?

State property workshops. Not as good as their grassland equivalent but few things beat a 1f5h tile you can plop down virtually anywhere.
 

Plains-Cow

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If a city has that few plains tiles I wouldn't look at them unless they're shareable riverside cottage tiles, in which case I'll have a city work them when it's on whip cooldown or building a worker/settler or some such. Plains tiles just aren't worth working until biology or State Property workshops, and in the former case they're not going to be great tiles to work even than.
Would you do everything possible to avoid a plains-heavy city? I'd settle a city to backfill area that has a lot of plains if that's what is all I have left.

Long-term, when your city has like 16-20 pop or something?

State property workshops. Not as good as their grassland equivalent but few things beat a 1f5h tile you can plop down virtually anywhere.
Is anything ever as good as its grassland-equivalent? (besides floodplains)
 

Fish Man

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Would you do everything possible to avoid a plains-heavy city? I'd settle a city to backfill area that has a lot of plains if that's what is all I have left.


Is anything ever as good as its grassland-equivalent? (besides floodplains)

Yes.

Financial river state property levee post-electricity grassland watermills, lol. Even if it's not flood plains, the tile yields 3 food 3 hammers 4 commerce, and that's before a golden age. During a golden age, expect to see: the food output of a farm, the production output of a workshop, and the commerce output of a literal town with next to 0 effort.

A flood plains financial watermill under those conditions AND a golden age gives 4:food: 4:hammers: 5:commerce: during a golden age. That's pretty much the highest tile yield you can achieve on a resourceless tile, and I'm not gonna lie, one of the reasons I go crazy over deity space games is to seem my river tiles coated in 13-yield improvements by the lategame.
 

AcaMetis

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Would you do everything possible to avoid a plains-heavy city? I'd settle a city to backfill area that has a lot of plains if that's what is all I have left.
Not "everything possible", land is land after all, and if it's a question between letting an AI settle it and settling it myself I'd choose the latter unless the spot was really godawful (no food, bordering another psycho AI, etc.). That said I wouldn't settle it first unless it had a critical early game resource or other strategic value, and even when I settle it it's not going to see a whole lot of development until State Property and possibly Biology are in. Before that point I'd grow it as much as is reasonable and just have it hammer away at failbuilds, or maybe run some specialists if I've got Mid and Rep for instance.
 

Fippy

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In most scenarios half of the BFC doesn't matter anyways.
A city with pigs + 2 floodplains + everything else plains should be more valuable than an all green one with no :food: powertile and just dry rice, for most of the game.
(production cities are an outdated term cos of slavery)
 

Plains-Cow

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In most scenarios half of the BFC doesn't matter anyways.
A city with pigs + 2 floodplains + everything else plains should be more valuable than an all green one with no :food: powertile and just dry rice, for most of the game.
(production cities are an outdated term cos of slavery)
I agree that in most scenarios it doesn't matter. By the time you'd grow onto it without the intention to whip off of it, the game's typically already decided. It really is wild how powerful the slavery mechanic is, isn't it? When do you usually like to switch out of it? I usually stay in it as long as I can until the hammers get too expensive and I start whipping off of too many tiles.

Not "everything possible", land is land after all, and if it's a question between letting an AI settle it and settling it myself I'd choose the latter unless the spot was really godawful (no food, bordering another psycho AI, etc.). That said I wouldn't settle it first unless it had a critical early game resource or other strategic value, and even when I settle it it's not going to see a whole lot of development until State Property and possibly Biology are in. Before that point I'd grow it as much as is reasonable and just have it hammer away at failbuilds, or maybe run some specialists if I've got Mid and Rep for instance.
I love chasing mids. It's a problem. I love the engineers they give for wonders. If I see stone, I'm settling that city as a priority once I have 2-3 cities already up and running so I can go for mids (especially if other AI don't have stone).

Yes.

Financial river state property levee post-electricity grassland watermills, lol. Even if it's not flood plains, the tile yields 3 food 3 hammers 4 commerce, and that's before a golden age. During a golden age, expect to see: the food output of a farm, the production output of a workshop, and the commerce output of a literal town with next to 0 effort.

A flood plains financial watermill under those conditions AND a golden age gives 4:food: 4:hammers: 5:commerce: during a golden age. That's pretty much the highest tile yield you can achieve on a resourceless tile, and I'm not gonna lie, one of the reasons I go crazy over deity space games is to seem my river tiles coated in 13-yield improvements by the lategame.
Epic setup. I love watermills, too. What are your thoughts on mines vs. windmills? Do you always seeks to spam out watermills? When do you like to make the transition to building watermills? Have any AARs about your Deity space games?
 

BornInCantaloup

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Late game, for Golden Age wondkutry,
I will farm the plains and workshop the grassland. Then you get the hammer bonus on the grassland.

Before then, farm or cottage, it really doesn't matter whether your tile is brown or green.
What you should look at is your food surplus, your city size, your happy cap. How many turns does it take you to grow ?I
+6 food surplus is considered, standardly, healthy but it widly depends... +8 or +10 could be desirable depending on the happy cap (I'll greet +10 if the specials support it). In the opposite way, in the case, for example, of a very early game with no happy surplus, +4 might do... Can you stretch your food surplus or not ? Those are things to be assessed in game. Ideally, any city grows 1 size per turn into happiness (Monty does it best).

Never cottage too late, though. Unless you're doing gimmicks like mass +100% growth. In that Fish Man gives a strong tip. You go mass towns if a) you have a rich map and b) you invade early.
 

Snowbird

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Rule of the thumb was don't touch plains before biology/state property unless you have good reason to.

Good reasons were just two for me.
a)them having resources :)
b)riverside in the capital, especially if shared.

Overall, the city with two pigs + 6 plain cottages is better than the one with two cows + 6 green cottages (just because pigcity would have faster growth). Of course, splitting the pigs into two cities might have been even better.
 

Plains-Cow

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Rule of the thumb was don't touch plains before biology/state property unless you have good reason to.

Good reasons were just two for me.
a)them having resources :)
b)riverside in the capital, especially if shared.

Overall, the city with two pigs + 6 plain cottages is better than the one with two cows + 6 green cottages (just because pigcity would have faster growth). Of course, splitting the pigs into two cities might have been even better.
Sounds good to me.

What's the love with riverside? Irrigation? That's what I'd guess.
 

Nick723

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Agree with the general comments, not high priority tiles!

One niche application is in isolation, where the value of food can be pretty low. Here sometimes plains become more valuable to cottage than grasslands (particularly if alphabet is researched).
 

Plains-Cow

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I think you cottage Riverside plains in capital food permitting.
That's what I do with mine. How about non-riverside plains but food-permitting?

Agree with the general comments, not high priority tiles!

One niche application is in isolation, where the value of food can be pretty low. Here sometimes plains become more valuable to cottage than grasslands (particularly if alphabet is researched).
I am always pro-cottages.
 
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