[GS] What's the ideal number of population per city?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by kryndude, Apr 27, 2021.

  1. kryndude

    kryndude Chieftain

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    Standard settings, deity difficulty, ignoring unique abilities. What's the ideal number? Clearly not as many as you can get since pops give you diminishing return as you run out of good tiles to work. Maybe 15 for the policy cards? Are those enough to make 15 worth it?

    I found this thread that claims 6 is the optimal number, but it's from 2017 and I'm wondering if things changed since then.
     
  2. Noble Zarkon

    Noble Zarkon Elite Quattromaster - Emperor (BTS) Super Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    6 seems a bizarre line to choose when 7 opens up another district slot!
     
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  3. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    As an empire builder I usually want each city to have campus, theatre and at least one of the trade districts. Depending on the game I might also want a holy city. So that would need a city size of ten. Some need to be bigger for industrial, encampment, government, etc. I I usually try to let them grow as big as they can anyway.
     
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  4. PiR

    PiR Emperor Supporter

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  5. Vargas1

    Vargas1 Prince

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    I ten-d (dad joke alert!) to aim for around 10 for most cities. I’ll usually have a few larger, since I love building Temple of Artemis for a Pingala city and I’ll usually want a sprawling coastal Mausoleum city. But otherwise 10 lets me do trade district, campus/TS, IZ/HS, and another district depending on function and location of city (GP, DQ, EC for Colosseum, encampment on borders, preserve near wonders, etc.). I also find it’s not too tough to get to 10 by mid game without building a ton of farms or neighborhoods.

    Of course, if you’re playing as Khmer, 10 is where you aim by the end of the ancient era...
     
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  6. McKeu

    McKeu Chieftain

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    As many as I can successfully sustain. Surplus population can also man districts (max. of 3 specialists per fully upgraded district).
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
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  7. slavaskii

    slavaskii Chieftain

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    I saw someone mention in a comment here that technically 4-5 was an ideal number because smaller cities which are ecstatic will inevitably produce higher yields than larger ones. I can see that making sense, though it does seem to be dependent on whether or not you can get enough luxuries to make that work. I would suspect Scotland would be particularly interesting with that strategy, considering their Golf Course now gives +2 amenities per city.
     
  8. Kwami

    Kwami Deity

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    Well, and enough cities to make that work. Ultimately, if you're limited to 10 cities because of your surroundings, then you either need to go to war or else try to grow your cities taller. There's really no reason to limit city growth unless you're worried about amenities and there are plenty of ways to get amenities. Besides, your 4-population city is going to have a tough time finishing wonders or building space ports once you run out of woods to chop. At some point, you'll need some taller cities with more production.

    There's also the district problem. If you limit your cities to 4-6 population, then you only get two districts per city. In a science game, that means sacrificing either the commercial hub (harbor) or the industrial zone. And it leaves no room at all for theater squares (to get better governments, envoys, and titles), holy sites (to buy a few key great people), encampments (to store extra aluminum for lasers), or anything else (e.g. entertainment complexes or water parks for amenities, era score, or adjacency requirements). Sounds suboptimal to me, and also boring.
     
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  9. aieeegrunt

    aieeegrunt King

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    It really highlights the shortcomings of these math model spherical cow in a vaccuum type analyses

    I have a city in a choke point so I build an encampment plus walls, and thus basically don’t need a military.

    Where is your precious one size fits all equation now?
     
  10. kryndude

    kryndude Chieftain

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    Yes, but it helps to know how efficient each level of population is in terms of general gameplay. It acts as a baseline to evaluate individual cases like yours, for example.
     
  11. TCBB

    TCBB Warlord

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    Well exactly. Min-maxers gonna min-max, but that doesn’t make them right (and, perhaps more importantly, it sucks all fun from the game).

    My own response to the OP: I’d say it depends on the victory condition.

    • For science victories, you need quite a lot of districts: Campuses, obviously, but it’s also pretty essential to have a Commercial Hub/Harbour in almost every city, as well as a few mid-game Theatre Squares (to get to Tier 3 g’nment & the good late game policy cards), plus a scattering of Industrial Zones. So that’s probably four/five districts in your ‘core’ cities, ergo pop 10 or 15; and three/four districts in your others, ergo pop 7 or 10.
    • For tourism victories, I find you can get away with fewer districts. Theatre Squares and Holy Sites in almost every city, plus a few Campuses and maybe the odd Industrial Zone, but it’s mainly all about the TS & HS. So your population can be lower (though I don’t stress if it does get higher, as you can always just spam late game Entertainment Complexes/Water Parks).
    • For domination, the traditional focus is on rushing your military early on. So districts become much less important.
    • For religious victories, you basically just spam Holy Sites. I usually win RV around turn 115-140 (and my best is 106), so there’s not really much time to get more districts (or the incentive to do so).
    • I don’t care for diplomatic victory.
     
  12. Kwami

    Kwami Deity

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    @TCBB: You also want commercial hubs or harbors for a tourism game. You get a lot of bonus tourism from having trade routes to the other players!
     
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  13. Shadowstrike

    Shadowstrike Warlord

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    42, of course.
     
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  14. McKeu

    McKeu Chieftain

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    I tend to let them grow naturally through the game. While you might end up with some 20+ cities, you will also have the handful that won't grow over 5 or 6, cause you planted them in the middle of the desert or tundra, just to get your hands on the two oil there. That might obviously be counter-productive to any rush strategy, but I also don't tend to Zerg. I can sit half the game on 3 to 4 cities easily and enjoy myself. It really depends on the victory conditions that you enabled/aim for.
     
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  15. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    Think outside of population or number of districts. Think about yields. Typically you want science, gold and culture from each city. Faith and production are a means to that end.

    Typically I want either a CH or harbor in every city for the trade route and gold.

    I may not build an early campus in every city but generally have one planned.

    With choral music I could skip TDs and get faith and culture from one district. I could build a preserve and get both faith and culture as long as I dont care about tourism or religious units.

    Then I like having every city covered by an IZ and an ED. Water parks are great for coastal cities for amenities, tourism and some yields.

    Rule of thumb is:
    1 slot campus
    1 slot culture (TD, HS or Preserve)
    1 slot gold (harbor or CS)
    And one misc slot, IZs, Encampments, EDs etc.

    That's 4 districts so 10 pop for me.

    Governors took away a lot of that stuff though. Reyna or Moksha can buy districts so weighing districts vs projects has gone out the window. Vertical integration on Magnus and the adj bonuses for IZs from green districts has made building overlapping IZs an ok thing to do.
     
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  16. Kwami

    Kwami Deity

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    Choral Music is really hard to get, though, unless you're playing at a lower level or you get lucky with a bunch of non-religious opponents.
     
  17. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    Never had a problem getting it.
     
  18. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    The 15 pop policy cards are generally not worth it because it takes quite a while to grow to 15 pop, and you need to probably build housing of some sort while getting more amenities. The only cards that are kinda worth it are Ratonalism and maybe Simultaneum. If you don't go for a science victory, this is probably not a thing.

    Personally, I think it's however many citizens it takes to work on the high yield tiles in a city and enough to keep amenities high. If all that's left to work is desert and tundra, then growing more citizens to work them at the cost of everything else would be silly. Specialists are kinda crap and the little bit of extra culture and science per citizen is exactly just that.

    Of course this is more or less anecdotal, People should start posting games of how much extra pop gives I guess.

    Furthermore, just because you need a lot of districts does not mean you need every city to build them; some cities may only have enough production to build so many districts in a reasonable amount of time.

    There is some reason to get particular cities high so you can get the relevant inspirations and era score, and perhaps the Pingala city.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
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