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When Should You get Your First Worker?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by MarigoldRan, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    I don't like worker first since I like my city to grow before getting it. I can build a worker faster when the city is at size four then at size 1. Also, I like scouting in the early game. Thus, my openings tend to be warrior-warrior-warrior (aggressive civs ftw!).

    In some situations, this works spectacularly well. In other situations, it doesn't work as well.

    I'm curious as to whether anyone has done a cost-benefit analysis of worker first compared to worker later. The advantage of worker first is that you can get lots of tiles worked, early-on, but it feels very meh compared to the warrior openings (which are much more exciting- but are they better?).

    P.S. I'm probably an immortal-level player with the right civs (like Ragnar, Alexander, or Caesar). In that, I can beat immortal, but it'll be stressful. I find emperor to be pretty easy.
     
  2. Higher Game

    Higher Game National Socialist

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    Worker first.
     
  3. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

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    yes, you can build a worker faster at size 4 than size 1.

    But there's a pretty good chance you can get to size 4 faster with a worker first than not a worker first.

    With unimproved tiles, you are probably adding another hammer/food for each citizen, whereas with improved tiles, you will be adding 2 or more hammer/foods for each citizen (assuming you have specials/hills you can improve, of course)
     
  4. sydhe

    sydhe King of Kongs

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    Depends. If you have several food sources you can work, going worker first can bring your city up to speed. I also like it when I have gold or gems in the BFC. Other times I'll build a warrior or work boat first, or start a barracks, especially if there wouldn't be anything for a worker to do. I.e. if I wait a couple of techs before The Wheel.
     
  5. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    The calculations have been done numerous times, and i'm quite sure you'll find them in several beginner guides. Worker first is your best choice unless

    a) Multiplayer
    b) coastal starts, but a good portion of the coastal starts favours worker first aswell
    c) you want to choke + workersteal right away. This can easily backfire, so you might want to know what you're doing. Ofc, that's only useful on Emperor+ where the AI starts with a worker.

    Also note that there are alot of mapscripts where you have a fairly high chance to end up in a very bad position when you chose to not go for worker first, namely Archipelago, Continents, often Fractal or any mapscript with a huge distance between the start positions in general, or where you could be isolated. Choking from the start might be pretty good with AGG leaders on Pangea, though.
    But unless you really want to choke, warrior first is most likely the inferior choice (true for 99,99% of the starts out of my experience).
     
  6. AbsoluteZero

    AbsoluteZero Deity

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    Getting a few warriors first might be ok if you're playing with huts on or you intend on choking an AI. Otherwise worker first is usually best.
     
  7. ahcos

    ahcos King

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    This is only worth considering if your worker would have nothing to do for MANY turns, and this is simply impossible ;) You'll chose your techpath according to what you have in your BFC, therefore your worker WILL have something to do. It might be bad to have the worker idling, but it's even worse to not work your good tiles too long. There haven been done countless discussions, threads, calculations and guides about the topic, feel free to look them up, otherwise... worker first.

    The worst setup one could think of:

    You start as Isabella (Fishing, Myst) on a fully forrested start except a single pig. Given that you don't have any additional commerce and no bonus to workerproduction, you'll take 7 turns for Hunting and 13 turns for AH, another 8 turns for Mining and 17 turns for BW, therefore letting your worker idle for 7+13+8+17-15 = 30 turns before you substract the used workerturns for the pasture and moving, estimated 5 turns, and moving to the next tile you will improve as soon as BW comes in, another 2 estimated turns, leaving you with 23 wasted workerturns. As we know that the map generator gives you at least 4 resources in the BFC by default and that forrests don't spawn on mining resources and horses, this situation is very rare and the worst one could think of, unless i forgot something here :) if you'll grow on a 3F tile (riverside pig for this example) to size 2 fast while timing the build of the warrior with citygrowth, it could be reasonable to grow to size 2 first here, but i'd really recommend to prove this by calculating the start, namely when you'll get your first save settler out as this is the #1 benchmark for the beginning.

    Even in this tricky situation you most likely will get get out with worker first ahead, as you can build the settler at size 1 and then move the worker along with the settler to the next spot and let him improve your second city while waiting for BW or wheel.

    It's hard to argue against worker first, and you'll really have to know what you're doing. When you have the slightest doubt about what to build, simply stick to worker first.
     
  8. iggymnrr

    iggymnrr Deity

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    Quickly in Civ IV, not so quickly in Civ V.
     
  9. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Deity

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    Joining the chorus - worker first except in a small number of well understood situations.

    There are two problems with doing anything else first - the payoffs for the other choices suck, and you don't have enough information at turn 0 to make an informed decision.

    First point - your city initially starts with 4 production, and this number goes up by one for each citizen working an unimproved tile. The number of turns this saves you in training the worker goes as the inverse - from 15 turns, to 12 turns to 10 turns...

    This edge totally gets buried by the advantage worker first gets - both because the stronger tiles get worked sooner, and because the stronger tiles grow the population faster.


    Simple case study - warrior - worker vs worker first, with - oh, let's say dry corn, and whatever 3 tiles you want handy. If you do everything right, you can finish the warrior in 9 turns, then train a worker for 12 turns.

    For the first 8 turns, production is dead even. On turn 9, because you are size larger, you get an extra hammer per turn! That holds true through turn 15, when my worker is finally trained. Let's suppose it takes 5 turns to farm the corn - I'm still losing a hammer per turn to you during that entire time. So at turn 20, you are ahead by 11.

    On turn 21, I earn 6 hammers to your 4. You finally have a worker, but you're 21 - 15 = 6 turns behind me on getting the corn done. So you're so you're already behind

    Whoops, except that's not true either, because I'm growing. I'll have 25 food by turn 22, which is enough to grow, so now I'm three/turn ahead. You can't possibly get to size 3 before turn 27, which I'm going to make without breaking a sweat.

    But my worker hasn't been sitting around - so while you've got three citizens and one improved tile, I've got three citizens and *two* improved tiles. That second tile is at least as good as a mine, so you are still falling back by two per turn.


    With different tiles, it can get worse. I've been using this example of late:



    That's 29 turns, starting with worker first. Trying warrior first, I get
    pop 3, instead of pop 4
    2 warriors, instead of 3
    2 improved tiles, instead of 3

    Basically the warrior first approach is already two turns behind, and your compensation is that you had a second warrior ready at turn 10 instead of turn 24?

    You must find that awfully exciting....
     
  10. cbucks

    cbucks Warlord

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    i'd love to see a lets play on immortal where you go warriors until size 4
     
  11. Dhoomstriker

    Dhoomstriker Girlie Builder

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    I did something similar once when I was:
    Imperialistic + Financial

    I grew on two Oasis squares (3 Food + 3 Commerce each) and then on a Flood Plains square while teching Bronze Working. I 2-pop-whipped an early Settler and then built my Worker.

    As you can see, these circumstances were quite exceptional and specific, particularly in the fact that each square that I grew into yielded more than 3 basic inputs of Food + Hammers + Commerce.

    If the decision is between a Warrior or a Worker such that at Size 2 you won't be working a second square that offers more than 3 basic inputs (generally you'll work a 2 Food + 1 Hammer Grassland Forest = 3 basic inputs), then you'll have the more efficient start by building the Worker first.


    Of course, as the point was made above, sometimes other factors can trump efficiency, such as surviving in a Multiplayer game without having your capital razed while your Worker is still being built.
     
  12. Higher Game

    Higher Game National Socialist

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    Much of the multiplayer crowd would tell you warrior first, but that's in many games where starting with hunting might just be an instant loss. :rolleyes: A couple starting archers or a gentleman's agreement to not attack before perhaps 1000 BC would make for a fair match. I do recommend the point based start.

    Besides, you can just start another multiplayer game if you get warrior rushed in the first 5 minutes. :D
     
  13. xenex

    xenex Prince

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    Bah, I wrote whole text and the browser decided to remove it without giving me the option to undo.

    Yes the analysis have been done before, worker first is always better, if your not doing worker or workboat first you are probably hurting yourself.

    If you are doubting the power of worker first then you shouldn't not be considering opening of settler first or warrior first, stick to worker/workboat first understand why they are better then you can consider starting wth something else.
     
  14. NihilZero

    NihilZero WHEOOHRNY

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    Settler first is also a very (very) rare possibility with IMP leaders, but that's mainly for people who like to gamble.
     
  15. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    Ha ha. You're all talking like I'm some newb. Just played The Emperor Series IV: Hannibal. Granted, that the map is particularly kind, but still...

    Since the map started with a crapload of food next to capital, the build order was warrior, warrior, worker, warrior, warrior, settler, barracks, settler, granary, settler. With craploads of whipping. I build settlers whenever I have to keep pop down (because of whipping...)

    Tech order: Bronze Working, Wheel, Agriculture, Pottery, Writing, Alphabet. I had to build those warriors since I had nothing better to do and a bunch got eaten by lions. Paid off. The warriors I built early-game garrisoned my future cities. They also did a lot of scouting, and stole a worker.

    Why choose warrior over worker? Because of the intangibles:

    1. More scouting.
    2. More back-up in case initials die.
    3. Potential worker-stealing.
    4. More excitement early-game.
    5. Get Bronze Working first. Then whip out a worker or a settler DEPENDING on whether you managed to steal some workers.
    6. No need to waste your time researching silly worker techs. Hate them. The only ones I consistently like are Bronze Working and the Wheel. Then a lot of times, I go straight for Alphabet.
    7. At high levels (Emperor or above) you need to keep your population LOW early-game. Thus, working a lot of tiles is worthless because you can't use them all. The way I deal with it is a combo of 2-pop whipping and settlers.

    What? City is not happy? Whip them! Then build a settler. At which point you have to find a place for the settler to settle. Which means more warriors.... Etc.

    Yeah, worker first is "safer." I know the general math. But I think the risks are worth the rewards.

    EDIT:

    In the Monarch Alexander game, I went:

    warrior, warrior, warrior, worker, warrior, warrior, settler, barracks, warrior, or something like that. Crushed the comp really early. Stole two workers. Which allowed me to get more cities earlier. Which allowed me to rush AND build the Pyramids. And the Great Wall. :lol:

    In the Immortal Napoleon game, I went:

    warrior, warrior, warrior, SETTLER (stole two workers really early from close neighbors). Once again, got three cities very fast, which allowed a combination of wonder-building and rushing.

    EDIT 2: The worker stealing also slows the neighbors down. Which makes them more susceptible to a rush. Did it on the Earth18 map with Ragnar, on immortal, where the comps start with their usual techs (like archery). My woodsman warriors stole like nine workers off the Ottomans, Russians, and Holy Roman Empire, which I then proceeded to rush with axemen and swordsman. They had NOTHING and was at the bottom of the power chart because of the initial harass.

    In other words, I conquered Europe-including the Russian part- (except Portugal) BEFORE berserkers.
     

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  16. Optical

    Optical The Fall of the Eleventh

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    Tried worker first after hearing the advice on the forums. Never looked back :).
     
  17. AndiD

    AndiD Chieftain

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    How does game speed affect the general rule? Workers are a bit cheaper on Marathon (as any unit except Settler), aren't they? Depending on the resources in your capital's BFC and your starting techs you might end up with a good number of idle worker turns...
     
  18. Optical

    Optical The Fall of the Eleventh

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    If you only need to research one tech to improve, the tech will be finished before the worker. I play marathon, and I think the only time I'd have an idle worker doing worker first is if I only have AH resources.

    Hope that helps :).

    EDIT: Mind you, I play on Noble (for the rest of my current game that is :)) and the situation may be different on higher levels.
     
  19. xenex

    xenex Prince

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    Just because you can win a game by not going worker first does not mean its the better choice.

    You may not be a noob, but if you constatly start warrior first then you are doing noobish mistakes.
    If you want to keep going warrior first then you are like those players that no matter how many numbers and tactics they are shown they will still rather keep bashing their head against the wall.


    If your going to ignore our suggestions and ignore the numbers then why even ask the question?Your just going to do your own thing, so whats the point, if you want to keep doing it how you want to do it, then go ahead, but please don't try and give advice to the newer players because you will hurt their games.

    Feeling like this thread was a troll thread, sigh.Hope at least some other new player got some use out of it.
     
  20. MarigoldRan

    MarigoldRan WARLORD

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    Attached saves in the post above. Warrior first is NOT a noob mistake. It is a CHOICE made by a civ II veteran who understands the risks and rewards of a warrior-heavy opening. In contrast to the worker-first orthodoxy prevalent on this site. Which I think is hurting new players, because it removes from them the killer instinct.

    The results have been, you know, quite good. Granted, I normally play on Epic or Marathon, and I like large land-mass maps. But these are perfectly normal conditions, similar to, for example no-huts or other weird things that people do to the settings.

    EDIT: The problem I find with worker-first is that you have to find things for the worker to DO. At which point people start doing things like research the worker techs, make their cities pretty, etc. This sort of mindset is fine up to Prince and perhaps Monarch. But after that, it cripples you.

    With the killer instinct, the details don't matter as much. SIP? Settle one square north? Which tech should I get right now? All these complicated questions instead boil down to one simple idea:

    How do I crush my neighbors around me in the fastest way possible? How do I take their cities and make a mountain of skulls of their armies?

    By going warrior first, it narrows the focus to something much simpler: find opponents, cripple opponents, then crush them.

    Use their cities to get more armies. Then crush more opponents. Then get more armies. Then crush MORE. (In the meantime, keep the economy afloat).

    It's like playing multi-player, except with stupid computer opponents....

    EDIT: If you manage to cancel out the early advantage comps get, you've won. That's the idea behind warrior-heavy openings.
     

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