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What's better on plains: an aristofarm or a cottage?

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Strategy & Tips' started by akatosh, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Simple question. In general for the early to mid-game, would you rather be building aristofarms on plains for 3 :food: 2 :commerce: or cottages for 1 :food: 1 :hammers: 1 :commerce:, with the potential to grow to 5 :commerce: ? For what it's worth, a plains aristofarm is equivalent to a Lighthouse'd Lanun coastal tile at 3 :food: 2 :commerce:.

    Assume you're not elves/bannor/kurios, but any other race (including Calabim) will do... is it a straight rule for you to build one or the other, or do you sometimes use both? When do you use each one? You can include Financial or whatever other traits/scenarios to argue one or the other.
     
  2. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    it really depends, aristograrian is so much better than cottages ( especially with financial ) that even a suboptimal choice ( lost hammers ) can be better in the long run, as the food lets you grow quicker to bring more commerce online sooner.

    some things worth considering:

    1) early or late? early on, cottages are attractive as you'll have more time to leverage the additional commerce later. after sanitation, the additional food is very attractive and there might not be enough time for the cottage to break even.

    2) riverside? riverside plains cottage tiles are a lot more likely to be worth working early on, and they trigger the financial bonus immediately like aristofarms. otoh, non-riverside cottage plains at 1f1h1c are meh and remain so for a while, there's often better tiles to work.

    3) need hammers? if you already have plenty of food, and/or are desperate for production, the additional hammer a plains cottage gives can be worthwhile



    all in all, personally I avoid farming plains under agrarianism, unless it's needed for irrigation. since if you're running aristocracy you also have access to cottages early, I try to get my plains cottaged asap, starting with the riverside tiles. that way they start growing early and quickly develop into good tiles, they come in handy especially when at happycap and not building settles/workers. forested plains get lumbermills, unless on hills and running arete. otoh, flat forested grassland usually gets chopped for moar aristofarms, unless production is needed badly.

    however, this is likely more of a personal preference than a strictly more effective way of doing things. evaluate case by case what you need more :)
     
  3. Kiech

    Kiech Chieftain

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    Another big factor is going to be how vulnerable you are to getting pillaged. It takes a lot longer to develop a town than it does a farm.

    I agree with Gekko, but I know many also prefer to build workshops on plains for production.
     
  4. Doug Piranha

    Doug Piranha Chieftain

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    I play the Calabim a lot, and they don't need to worry about the food vs. production choice: food *is* production. Nevertheless, I'll frequently plant some plains cottages (preferring riverside) in the early game, more for help with commerce than production. Once I have sanitation, it's farms everywhere (including farming over the earlier towns/villages/whatever).
     
  5. BobCW

    BobCW Chieftain

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    The +2 food the aristofarm plains tile has over the cottaged one means you can afford to support a specialist; +3 beakers from a sage brings the tile to near-parity with a plains town, the difference being you substitute great person points for a hammer, and the farm takes about 80 turns less to develop. Alternatively, if you're really hurting for hammers and have more than one plains tile, stick an aristofarm on one & a workshop on the other.
     
  6. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Hmm, that's interesting. So assuming no rivers:

    2 plains aristofarms and 1 workshop, max tech: 6 :food: 5 :hammers: 5 :commerce:
    3 plains cottages: 3 :food: 3 :hammers: 15 :commerce: in the late game.

    But that's not a realistic comparison, and maybe not even useful. What's the typical stage in the game when you start working plains tiles anyway? Let's say most of your cities have at least 50% of their tiles as grasslands, hills or floodplains. That means at most 10 plains will be tiles. Let's assume a city that has 6 grasslands, 4 hills and 10 plains.

    How far into the game do you typically have enough happiness to start working 15+ tiles? Once gambling houses are in? So by then you already have sanitation..... so then it's basically a function of city specialization? For a commerce city you get cottages, for a city that's going to build troops you get weak aristofarms and workshops/plains lumbermills?

    Bob: as for the GPP argument, in my experience GPP in non GP farm cities don't amount to much. I find that the city focused on food and specialists, with the national epic, will produce a second GP before an average city gets to the next pop.
     
  7. BobCW

    BobCW Chieftain

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    Fair point about the GPP. The main advantages of an aristofarm plains tile vs. a cottaged one are:


    * The tile is immediately useful, instead of having to wait dozens and dozens of turns for the plains cottage to grow into a plains town of equivalent strength.

    * +2 food is very much worth losing a single hammer, allowing you to run a specialist or work a no-food tile (like a plains workshop), and enabling your city to grow significantly faster (unlocking additional useful tiles, providing population for whips or governors mansions, etc.)

    * In situations where a city has many plains tiles, you likely won't have enough food anyway to work many cottage plains, unless you are willing to build non-aristocracy plains farms (decidedly meh).




    Aristocracy is really the be-all, end-all economy for 90% of FFH factions.
     
  8. doktarr

    doktarr Chieftain

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    In the long run, the choice is between a specialist, or the equivalent in food-negative tiles like mines, versus 1 :hammers: and 3 :commerce:. Which of those is better will depend on whether you have the health and happy to support the larger population, and whether you have extra non-grassland tiles that need working (or the desire to go specialist-heavy for some reason) without enough grassland to support them.

    In a well-placed city (i.e. one with a decent amount of grassland and/or food resources), cottages win in the long run, although this ignores the speedier growth and quicker return on investment the farm provides.

    This parallels nicely with the discussion we were having about Aristocracy+Farms versus cottages while running FoL/GoN; in that case, in the long run, instead of 2 :food: versus 1 :hammers: and 3 :commerce: it's 1 :food: versus 3 :commerce:. In both cases, if we assume that we can work all the good tiles in the BFC either way, we can approximate each extra food as half a merchant/engineer for 1.5 :commerce: or 1.5 :hammers:. So this is closer, but the cottages still win if

    1. We assume that you can work all the tiles that are as good or better than a specialist either way
    2. We are thinking long-term, after the cottages have gotten up to speed.
    3. You don't have an overriding need to bulk up on a certain specialist in a given (plains-heavy) city.
     

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