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What is your population growth strategy?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Aldor, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. Aldor

    Aldor King

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    I usually try to grow my cities slow and carefully. I manage the worked tiles so that the city has a food surplus of one or two bread. If I'm close to the happiness/health limit, I try to have one or even no food surplus at all. The advantage of this way is of course that I can work more production/commerce producing tiles, and don't need to worry about my cities running into unhappiness or unhealthiness uncontrolled. Gameplaywise it is a somewhat lazy approach because I don't need to check my cities every other turn to make sure everything is all right :)

    EDIT: A downside that sometimes happens that I grow too slowly, and suddenly find I have plenty of health/happiness over, because I didn't watch the increasing limits.

    But there are other strategies, like growing as quickly as possible to happy/health limit and then stagnate, then as the limit goes up, grow again and so on. During this time ignore production/commerce in favor of food. Would this be generally better than my approach? Or perhaps, grow quickly until you have enough population to work one more mine, then stagnate?

    Or are there even better ways? Which do you use and why?
     
  2. dimebolt

    dimebolt Chieftain

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    The strategy I use depends mostly on the circumstances, but I rarely deliberately slow down growth. I think in general it's better to quickly grow and then stagnate when you hit the health/happy limit in production cities. In low production/high food cities I prefer growing as quickly as possible even past the limit. This way, slavery can provide the much needed production.
    The only thing I really delay growth for, is a gold mine in the early game. The extra commerce from a gold mine can give such a research boost that it outweighs the slower growth.
     
  3. Dr Elmer Jiggle

    Dr Elmer Jiggle King

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    I rarely, if ever, set a city to stagnate. I'd rather have 5 citizens plus 1 unhappy guy instead of just the 5 citizens.

    That unhappy guy isn't hurting you. You already had the extra food to feed him. That's why the population grew. True, he isn't producing anything for you, but he isn't costing you anything either.

    More importantly, as soon as you are able to make him happy (you get a new resource online, you build a new happy building, you garrison another unit under Hereditary Rule, etc.), you get an immediate production boost instead of waiting another 10 or 20 turns for your city to grow.

    That's not to say you should ignore happiness. Obviously a happy empire is better than an unhappy one, but IMHO a large unhappy empire is better than a tiny happy one.

    About the only time I'll stagnate a city is if there's no realistic way of adding happiness in the foreseeable future and adjusting worked tiles would see a significant improvement (ex. move someone from unimproved grassland to mined hill), but those situations are rare.

    Note: I play Noble or occasionally Prince (I can win on Prince, but I don't enjoy it as much), so maybe this is a bad approach on higher difficulties. I don't know.
     
  4. Shillen

    Shillen Deity

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    I have to disagree. That case is almost always present.
     
  5. sandman_civ

    sandman_civ Warlord

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    What if you miscalculate your cottages and you stagnate let's say by 1000AD, would you then build a farm over your town, or wait until farm tech a lot later? I've had games building cottages over river grasslands only to wish later that I've thrown in a farm or 2. I'm beginning to think farms are better over fresh water, and they in turn will work the cottages over non-freshwater, but it's never quite that simple...
     
  6. Shillen

    Shillen Deity

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    I always plan my cities ahead. I can tell if it's going to need irrigation or not just by the tiles it has available to work. Just think of each tile in terms of how much food surplus it generates with each improvement. You want all your tiles to average 2 food (0 surplus). So if you have 3 tiles that are producing -1 food surplus (mined hills for instance) then you need to counter that with a combination of tiles that produce +3 food surplus if you want to work those tiles without stagnating the city.
     
  7. dar

    dar Chieftain

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    He's costing you 2 food. If he wasn't there you could move a citizen from a +2f tile to a plains mine getting an extra 4 hammers.
     
  8. SlipperyJim

    SlipperyJim Prince

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    So move the farmer to the mine and watch the unhappy guy starve, right?
     
  9. dar

    dar Chieftain

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    Yes, unless you will be increasing your happiness cap within the next few turns.
     
  10. shadow2k

    shadow2k Emperor

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    I normally get my city to it's max happiness as quickly as possible, within reason. I still want some produciton there to build...more happy buildings, or whatever it may be.

    When I hit the cap, I will keep the excess food coming in until it's one turn from growth, and then switch to max production, usually no excess food. If there is excess food, I tell the gov'nah to stop growth. Then when I gain a resource/building/civic that allows me to happily grow again, I can grow in one turn.

    Having an unhappy citizen is wasteful. You're producing more food than you need, which takes away from commerce or production you could be producing instead. If you let that city starve off it's unhappy pop, that means your food bin will empty, more waste. Where you will have to regrow the city from nothing, I will be one turn away from that extra citizen.
     
  11. Zelda's Man

    Zelda's Man A Link to Something

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    I would rather grow faster b/c you can always pop rush the unhappy people away.
     
  12. Khift

    Khift Prince

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    In the first two steps of the game, (Expansion phase and recovery phase, as I term them) I do everything I can to make sure that no citizens are unhappy. While later in the game having an unhappy citizen or two is mostly a nuisance, in the early game it can be crippling. Not being able to move citizens from Grassland/Forests onto Plains/Forest/Hills because you're stuck supporting a useless angry person is a huge penalty when every ounce of production counts.

    Towards the middle game it can actually be profitable to allow a city to run above it's happiness limit -- usually when that city has nothing important to build and a happiness bonus is coming in soon. When this occurs, it can be fairly profitable, but it tends to be the exception.

    As for health... I do everything I can to beat health. It tends to screw me over far more than happiness ever does. Connecting health resources, trading for more resources, building every improvement that helps I can, even putting prefence on health technologies. Fighting health seems to be a constant and uphill battle in every game I play.
     
  13. shadow2k

    shadow2k Emperor

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    It's not profitable. In no way do you ever gain from having an unhappy citizen. Like I pointed out, you have to support him with food, or lose food in the process of him starving. If you grow to your happy limit, and then store up enough food to grow in one turn, then stagnate growth...you can get that pop up in one single turn (or even MM to grow on the turn your extra happy resource/building comes online), but not have to deal with supporting an unhappy citizen wasting food, or even starving the pop and emptying your granary.

    Health a bigger problem? Maybe in terms of keeping everyone healthy if you chop all the trees and have no fresh water/coast, but the penalty is far less severe. One extra food for an unhealthy person, that still produces something because he still works. But unhappy people just eat food and produce nothing. Your approach seems very odd. :confused:

    It seems like you have these backwards. Unhealthy people can still be profitable (even though I tend to avoid them anyway), but I do everything in my power to avoid unhappy people, who are a complete waste. While it may be easier for you to keep everyone happy due to playstyle, it's still far better to have unhealthy people, as opposed to unhappy people.
     
  14. Yooka

    Yooka Chieftain

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    I'm with shadow. My population "strategy" is pretty much to get them goin as fast as possible, and once problems arise, analyze what the problems are, and solve them. So I use graneries for almost every city, lighthouses where possible also. For the first few 'bad faces', it's usually a matter of building an aquaduct, theater, or something like that, and it will be recommened to build.

    For the more long term problem, I just do the math in the city screen as far as food, or look as to what might be making them unhappy that I may have overlooked (besides population, obviously). I try to keep two or three forest tiles nearby for health, especially if I'm on flood waters. Usually, it becomes clear how many people I am set up to support, and I begin to intentionally stagnate growth, and I micromanage for production from this point forward.

    EDIT: I don't think it's right to say "you never lose anything with 1 unhappiness". You lose production, which is always valuable.

    Bear in mind, I'm a terrible civ player. However this, as far as I have seen, has been a major improvement in my game, and I rarely have a problem with building fast, healthy empires. My problem is in keeping ahead in terms of Wonders and military strength.
     
  15. ekanata

    ekanata Chieftain

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    I like fast growth (within reason) since I like slave rush, along with granary. When happiness/healthy issue arise, just slave rush the right building. It's seems wrong that by being spiritual allows me to switch to slavery, rush my people to death to build something, and back to emancipation/serfdorm with little penalty. :D

    I send my worker to improve special resource tile first. If there's no rush to connect strategic resource, I prioritize on resource that give the most food. After all special resource are connected, I put cottage on all grassland, unless the food yield of the special resource tile is too low in which case I'll build some farm. I like a grassland cottage, since nurturing it doesn't impair the city growth. Later, hills will be mined (to allow resource discovery). The forest on plains will stay, unless I have biology and need more farm to allow the city to support as many people to work on the city tiles (don't need 20 if there's ice or desert) as the happiness limit allows. If there's too many hills, farm will be build in the first place instead of cottage, and assign the city as an industrial center.

    I avoid unhappy city more than unhealthy one, since not only I have to needlessly feed them, but they also burden my maintenace cost.
     

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