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What to do with Plains

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by mcorey, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. georgjorge

    georgjorge Deity Wannabe

    Dec 14, 2009

    True, whipping the city gives you more hammers than cottaging, and specialists give you more commerce than cottaging...but maybe cottaging gives you more combined hammers + commerce than either alternative (if the specialists wouldn't produce a Great Person of course). It's not always that I want every city to do only one thing, maybe at the time I just need another city that can give me a net commerce gain while quickly making some units for Hereditary Rule happiness of more important cities. In this particular case, I wouldn't cottage as well, but if the plains are riverside, I might consider it.
  2. NihilZero

    NihilZero WHEOOHRNY

    Jul 20, 2009
    Dublin, Ireland

    Great post.

    By the way, does anybody ever reckon Representation specialists into these calculations? Rep > HR, in my opinion. HR is often a last resort for me, any other source of happiness is preferable unless I'm going cottage crazy and really want the highest pop I can possibly get.

    HR is often good for diplomacy with many of the game's less desirable elements, though.
  3. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

    Jun 13, 2006
    How do you know this is what he wants or needs? The OP asked about how he should use the plains tiles and you answered he should whip (presumeably units) or run specialists. What happens if he already has several other cities performing those roles? Should he still continue and follow your advice?

    You've jumped to some preconceived conclusion based on a poor analysis. You might be right and you might not be.
    You are incorrigible and seem to be unable to interpret the likely reason this city was founded. This city wasn't founded to generate commerce, the clue is in the metal :rolleyes: Then having founded this city for strategic reasons he wants to know how to get the best out of it. It is a city able to do any of the 3 basic jobs but none of them very well since it has limited tiles. Commerce is just one of those jobs and I said that clearly in my first paragraph of my previous post.

    My advice is superior to yours because I accept that the city could be used for production (iron plus whipping or workshops or both), could run a few specialists (but a surplus of only 9 food means it will be tied up for a long time after the first few GPs have been popped) and could be used to generate commerce though cottages (and trade routes and some coastal tiles perhaps). Eight cottages plus infrastructure will make a useful mid game contribution to the economy regardless of whether he plays a CE or SE eventually. If you do generate a mid game GP or two in this city give some thought to what it can do afterwards, obviously workshops and production are a late game option but late game cottages are less favoured even with Emancipation. I would suggest if you want cottages here eventually then start them early and avoid the specialists.

    Without knowing the game situation or the player's gameplan you (and some others) have arbitrarilly discounted one of the 3 options.
    Why does he need this city as a production city? He might want that, if he's going to war soon, using macemen etc, but if he's intending to go for Liberalism what will it be producing? Does he still want a big army eating his gold while he's in a research race?

    With only 9 food it is unlikely to be a good specialist city this late in the game.
    I can't allow you to make such ridiculous assumptions to try to salvage your poor advice. In no way is it likely that this city (say the 6th) founded in the mid game will be producing the first GP. Other earlier cities will already have grabbed those low hanging fruit. It is more likely to be the 6th GP by the time the city has grow and whipped in enough specialist slots. That is a much harder case for you to justify. 600 GPPs will cost 400 food and that takes 50 turns from when 4 specialists are available (quite a delay unless you use Caste System). By the time that GP is produced most of the cottages would be close to maturing and PP and FS are available if he's going with CE civics and technologies. With 15 hammers a turn invested into infrastructure we could expect 600 hammers worth of multipliers (market, library, monastery ... ). With OR and a forge this could be big underestimate. Setting that against using the 400 food for a GP we get a very different picture. What's more this little city (with limited tiles) is just beginning to blossom, a GP is just a one shot boost (useful although that is, with trade potential etc.) I reject your analysis of this city's potential.

    Worker turns: Are you serious? This city has iron and he'll send one or two workers here pronto to hook that up and then they can develop the pig and cottages (each cottage only takes 4 turns) and they can be built as fast as the city grows. Remember the city needs workboat, granary, lighthouse, courthouse and so on as basic infrastructure before it starts to work the cottages seriously. Some of those buildings can be whipped if unimproved tiles have to be worked due to fast growth from the food surplus.

    A cottage is a cottage and gives identical commerce regardless of the tile its built on. The difference between a plains and grassland is well known and trades 1 food for 1 hammers and due to this brown tiles are usually less favoured. But that doesn't make them useless. A player has to play the map and make best use of the tiles available. That is the problem the OP has posed us and we should address that.

    The clues are in the OP's question for those bright enough to interpret it. He already has iron (the likely reason for founding this city) and asks about workshops (hence Machinery) so this likely to be his 6th city and we're past turn 150. Cottages in this city could be a good idea, if my interpretation is correct, providing a commercial backbone for a SE or an early maturing city if he adopts a CE playstyle. Note I said he could use cottages not that he should, that depends on his other cities.
    You listen to Dave McW too much. He doesn't understand when to use plains cottages and has mislead a lot of gullible people. It is far more subtle than his crude advice. One size doesn't fit all situations. Anyone who (seriously) tries to give one line advice on how to play a complex game like Civ 4 should be treated with skepticism and not as though they know what they're talking about. It's about time you realised this. Dave is witty, often amusing, but he can be wrong.
  4. Wreck

    Wreck Prince

    Jan 4, 2006
    They're great if you get the Pyramids. If you get Rep via tech, you're already halfway up the tree and well past the time when you should have gotten a decisive war tech or two and crushed a neighbor or two.

    True that Rep is usually preferable to HR in the early game, for the owner of the Pyramids. But HR is a first resort otherwise, because HR is the first Government civic you get to.
  5. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

    May 19, 2006
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Rep per se only beats HR if your empire has little more than the number of cities that receive Rep :) and if the would be :) garrisons can't deliver enough citizens working worthwhile tiles/ being specs to beat the extra beakers from rep boosted specs ( and this not considering civic maintenance issues, where HR beats Rep without any help ).

    Said in other words, if your empire is small and has little pop, Rep beats HR without a blink. If your empire has a good pop, good tiles to work and/or a good assortement of spec slots, and far more cities than the ones that can get Rep :), then HR wins.
  6. InvisibleStalke

    InvisibleStalke Emperor

    May 24, 2006
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I really don't understand the anti plains cottage sentiment. What else are you going to do with a plains tile?

    Sure it eats your food and you may have better priorities for the food like whipping - but that doesn't really affect what you do with the tile itself.

    Farming it is near useless. Workshops subtract more food which only compounds the problem in a food short city. So why not cottage it?

    The only question then becomes whether to run specialists or work the cottage - and that calculation can be made based on the return you are getting from specialists, your happy cap and the return from cottages. Its unlikely that a plains city is going to be driving GPP - but a steady rate of commerce from cottages will help pay the bills and they can be whipped off for production if you need to.

    In general if a city isn't going to grow big and isn't going to produce Great People and can't work lots of mines then I would rather have it as a commerce city paying the bills and able to draft/whip troops in a military surge. Early on I can afford cities which run 2-4 specialists because they will generate early great people. But later cities which can't run enough specialists to generate great people and can't sustain a high enough pop to be worth putting in the big multipliers probably should be generic commerce cities. As long as they can pay their way and contribute troops they can either let your real specialist cities focus on scientists because they are paying the bills - or just be the first cities you whip because they are not as valuable as your big cottage cities.

    Anyway I wouldn't stress too much - a size 10 city with a couple of food specials and lots of brown cottages is pretty handy and while it won't be a city you base national wonders in, it will still be a net positive and pretty useful.

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