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Why coastal cities are better than inland cities

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by kryat, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    This pretty much. I'm sure if you throw around some spreadsheets that coastal cities will prove inferior to inland. But usually when filling in the area around me I settle the riverdeltas and then fill in the inland riverspots. After that I fill in spots that require an aquaduct. But I never play maps with lots of land and am now very much looking forward to small continents map.
     
  2. m_mus

    m_mus Chieftain

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    I agree that in a general sense, inland cities have an upper hand compared to coastal cities.
    Yet In a particular sense, when speaking out of the perspective of certain civilizations (and map-types), it is the other way around:
    Take Maori, Indonesia, Norway and England (?). They are clearly designed to make the most of coastal environments. Especially the first two excel in that regard. As Maori, being able to cross the ocean from the beginning + increased production of forests + buffed fishing does away with the production malus of coastal cities at least in the earlygame. And since I play mp alot, I'd argue the earlygame's course is decisive. Add in the guarantee to be the first to find the ominous island of citystates (if it exists) and you'll leave your competitors behind with ease.
    Others, like Australia, are at least indifferent to the question.
    But indeed, it is the clear minority of civilizations that can make productive use of the coast and this niche kind of contradicts the important role coastlines have played in the development of humankind.
    Additionally, it truly sucks that coastal disasters do not alot any benefits at all...
     
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  3. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Sorry if there are typos and its a bit long, am just unloading and going as am a bit busy

    The main problem with coastal comparison is if you do the math on paper it can seem good or even great. But if you play a lot of coastal games (I mean like 30+) then you you just start saying it sucks without even thinking about why, you just know you suffer in so many starts.
    For a start half your territory is water and some (sometimes quite a lot) is ocean and unusable until seasteads. The coastal water is 1 food 1 gold, just pointless. But of you do get some amber or turtles you get rather excited because it is not that often you do and the rest suck a lot. I do agree fish and crab seem great. I mean fish is a bit of gold better than swamp (woooo) while crab gets you 3 gold (3 is lots right?) Reefs are a nice addition until they appear at a river mouth and the mothers often do because they just stopped me putting a harbor there (why can I not destroy a reef?) So what is often forgotten is I have 4 desert tiles, these reduce my viable land by twice as much as any landlubber city. Hils appear at coasts but an awful lot less than next to mountain chains. You get happy when you have 3 hill tiles within 2 rings on the coast while it is standard for inland cities.

    So the theme so far with the coast, just looking at the water is gold. So what value is gold? Why does everyone (including Firaxis) make the assumption that 2 gold = 1 production? Buying units is 4 times the production, buying buildings is 4x the production and yes, they just nerfed upgrade gold and therefore nerfed gold civs like coastal civs. Does gold get me science or culture, no. So it is inherently worse when you are getting it in quantities greater than what is needed for maintenance and upgrade. 1:3 to me is still too low but lets used it. So that means a 1 food 1 gold tile is a lot worse than plains and we know how crap plains are. A 1 food 3 gold crab is good as ... you got it, plains. And the way I look at it a commercial CS should be giving me at least 6 gold but nope, I get less of an inherently worse reward.

    So lets get something clear with settling. For a start half of my games start without me on the coast so I have to move if I can even see the coast. the majority of starts are not on coastal river and the housing is just appalling then. I ask for more housing because this area is just terrible. Often forced to build granaries which means I have to beeline them and build them with poor production (not enough gold early) and that means I am not beelining harbours or Commercial districts.

    Mountains are on coasts yes... and sometimes you can get luck and get more than 1 but +3 adjacency mountains are very rare and typically are completely useless for adjacency of other districts... but sometimes they are at the mouth of a river like a luxury is, stopping you build there... and with coastal cities it is not about I can build at option b because it is 90% as good. If you cannot settle on a specific tile the difference can be large. And harbour triangles (I claim copyright) are a false economy. You are mounting a large gold approach at the cost of a trade route and with no science or culture yet produced. So everyone shouted... "Free Inquiry!"

    I got excited when I saw it being introduced and did threads on its possibilities... and this I think is the issue with the OP, looking at the paper value of things. Upon playing free inquiry you realise is is a honey trap. You can only use it for 2 ages and yes you get ahead in science but come out the other end when people are getting huge science bonuses now from many cards, CS and abilities so their cities are on 15-30 science each... and suddenly you find yourself on a few fisherman occasionally thinking of a better way to mend their nets. If that was not bad enough, free inquiry does require a golden age and you can often forget that on immortal +... a golden age is a lot harder to get if you are concentrating on granaries and beelining harbours. In my experience on Emperor about 1 game in 4 I can get a golden if I am trying to get 3 cities out with habours and commercial hubs before classical. The other big problem with free inquiry is it last 2 eras. That and a lack of science after make it a honey trap.

    Fisheries have only one use, and that is a large food source so you can grow above your limited housing by force. And these fishing nets all disappear when a hurricane comes. Hurricanes truly rip a coastal city back to the dark ages. Hurricane are HUGE, why in gods name does a CAT4 cover the same area as a CAT5 and do similar damage? and to add to it I have been hit by sandstorms and blizzards in coastal cities. The thing I have to worry about least is droughts, the thing I really miss on coasts is volcanoes and fissures, they are a huge free gift.

    One of the biggest problems is science, getting it is the lesser problem. The tech tree is just crap for coastal cities, I beeline harbours which is not fast and I still have slingers and warriors at T40 when chariots and archers are on the move with AI's. Playing a coastal game is a gamble. The commercial hub triangle is also an issue here and you will find the best way to play is in fact a campus, harbour triangle because you need the science to survive and now they nerfed cartography coastal cities got it right up the buttress, once again. I need granaries as well, and I want to get to shipbuilding as soon as possible for quads because my galleys do not cut it (unless Phoenicia or Norway) and I want to send my settlers to sea. I want to get to commercial hubs, granaries, archery, bronze working (I am England), celestial navigation and shipbuilding.... just what do I research first? Placing harbors at shipbuilding is about the most sensible solution and I played maybe 40 games with this change in place and it makes the game more playable but in no way OP. The 2 tree leaf to harbors is a JOKE. People were building harbors before libraries.

    To be fair we must look at this in a balanced way. Lighthouses do now improve our coastal areas to 2 food so they are now 2 food and 1 gold, a touch more than grassland but they pump up resources which is nice. The +2 adjacency for harbours can be pushed to 5-7 if you are lucky with adjacency and IF you are lucky in that regard then the double adjacency card will put you at say 12 which is the same as +4 production.... +4 production IF using a card and having got your city just right. It is not as great as you think when you convert it to production... but the one saving grace is shipyards. Shipyards with then give you +12 production or +18 with Reyna but I must stress this is in 1 city with Reyna (sacrificing Magnus/Pingala/Amani benefits) and the lucky one or two other cities are normally around +10 production. A seaport can give great gold on top and you can get some really fat golden coastal cities later but when you start 3:1 the gold it is not that great for the loss of production.

    Double trade did help but I get no road benefit from that and it is hard to protect at sea.
    Bottom line is coastal cities come out much less than par with inland cities and more importantly you have 0 flexibility with them. You have to build in a specific way for a golden result that can also to a degree be mimicked by an inland city if it chooses to go that route. With coastal cities you sort of have to play the naval game which is just dire. yes your frigates are OP and you can rule the waves easily. That is half the problem, it is just snooze time and now with nitre restrictions is just more effort for an dull approach.

    You play a civ with 1-2 coastal cities and you do not really notice but play a vanilla start civ like England where you need the coast for a lot of cities and its more of a struggle than you can see on paper unless you really think hard.

    If your city makes 60GPT you may think that’s really good, but do you think that if your city is on +20 production? I would argue its closer to +15 production.

    You cannot put a civilian on ocean so it has no value until seasteads. The adjacency value of mountains people always talk about. They are both “yields’ but I know which I would prefer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  4. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Not sure it was worth its own thread so decided to bolt on here

    Harbor specialists provide +2 gold, +1 science.... I wonder what happens when I build a seaport... +1 culture as well? Or is it extra gold or science?
     
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  5. m_mus

    m_mus Chieftain

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    I'd kind of hope for more science as this would help to make a buff similiar to free inquiry permanent, thus making coastal cities more viable.
     
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  6. kryat

    kryat Prince

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    The way the discussion is often framed is:

    All coastal cities are great, so all inland cities are terrible
    OR
    All inland cities are great, so all coastal cities are terrible

    This is a mutually exclusive set, but is the false dichotomy

    I tend to build my empires as such:
    Many small, but little importance inland cities to get the production, science, or culture I need, but many of which I never remember once the game is done, plus a few awesome coastal cities.

    While I would agree that while it is important to have more inland cities that coastal cities, I would also posit that a few well-placed coastal cities often end end up being individually better than most or all of the inland ones, even if the inland cities are collectively more important to success. But, playing without a few good coastal cities is a handicap.

    This is because the real descriptor is
    Some coastal cities are amazing, and some inland cities are amazing
    AND
    Some coastal cities are fine, and some inland cities are fine
    AND
    Some coastal cities are terrible, and some inland cities are terrible

    The exact balance of city placement is heavily dependent on the map and the selected civ. As it should be.
     
  7. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Doctor of Funk

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    Coastal cities ought to be nearly useless before the appropriate sailing technologies. The greatest of them should be mid-to-late-game powerhouses, but because the game's usually over by then, it frequently doesn't matter. If the game is decided in the first half, nothing that matures in the mid-to-late eras will have much impact. I usually win (or lose) games well before countries like Germany and the United States historically existed, so their late-game advantages never matter.

    The reason everybody idolizes coastal cities is because they're centers of maritime, international, and eventually intercontinental, trade. Control of the seas is why, for example, the British Empire was an empire. But before the Age of Sail, the technology to make use of the deep oceans didn't exist. But that's real life, and whether coastal cities are useful in the game is a more pertinent question. My mind inexorably rolls around to the fact that the game is often decided before the middle turns.

    That I can see, the only advantage to ocean-going Trade Routes in the game is double the range. That's not nothing, but it's not enough. Various policy cards, alliances, and whatnot can ramp up the Gold value of Trade Routes in the late game to 30+, but it applies to all Trade Routes, land and sea.

    Coastal cities, to have both historical flavor and in-game utility, ought to be literal game-changers in the later eras. Deep-ocean trade should essentially define empires from the Age of Sail onward.

    ---

    A couple of ways to make trade more impactful (and if coastal cities were more efficient centers of trade, these effects would be amplified when using seaports over other trade hubs):

    - Resources ought to be reliant on potential Trade Routes. That is, if you have Iron in City A, you shouldn't be able to build a Swordsman in City B unless you can transport the Iron from City A to City B. If you have a Luxury in City B, City A wouldn't get any Happiness from it if you couldn't get it there. Now, actual Trade Routes in Civ VI don't represent the sum total of commerce between our cities. The humdrum, everyday trade is abstracted, so you don't have to manage it, because that would be incredibly tedious. I would propose that cities be within trade route distance to share Resources, but not require an actual Trade Route.

    - You should be able to "chop" tiles in City A and send those resources to City B or City Z, if they have a Trade Route. One of the big resources the British and French took from North America was timber. Who knows, those rowhouses in Liverpool might have been built from ancestors of the trees outside my window right now. And I think several Royal Navy ships, and Lord knows how many merchants ships, were built not far from where I'm sitting (I mean, why bring timber all the way back to England, just to build a ship out of it?). Heck, a pond across the street from my office used to be a source of ice for Jamaica. No kidding, they would cut blocks of ice from the pond in the winter, pack it in sawdust in the hold of a ship, and sail it to the Caribbean where wealthy Brits would put ice cubes in their drinks. Of course that business evaporated (pardon the pun) when refrigeration was invented. (Speaking of, refrigeration MASSIVELY impacted international trade. You can buy oranges and mangos in Toronto and New York. In the middle of winter.)

    I know these aren't just tweaks. I don't know if changes like this to Civ VI would even be possible now, or would have to be reserved for "Civ VII." I suspect the latter.
     
  8. m_mus

    m_mus Chieftain

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    Nonetheless, if civilization is understood to mirror at least in a minimal way the general conditions of the development of humankind, coastal cities should be more profitable compared to what we have now. I am not arguing for a binary 'either/or' (indeed a false dichotomy) but rather to a shift in the relative strength of "city-types" alongside a continuum.
     
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  9. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    None of that is how I'd describe them.

    My view is Coastal Cities are generally "okay", but on average they tend to be weaker (as in "less useful") than inland cities (for all the reasons Victoria has discussed), are more likely than inland cities to end up being garbage at some point and currently, and this is the real killer, they don't really have any really specific niche or use case beyond maybe filling in gaps on the map, one with Reyna or if you're lucky Free Inquiry (which as Victoria has explained, is not all it's cracked up to be). (All assuming a Continents type map.)

    For all that, they're also uniquely vulnerable to barbarians and - post GS - catastrophic disasters they can't recover from.

    Of all those issues, the lack of a real niche is the biggest problem. Yes, they're good for gold, but probably not actually better than an inland city with a commercial hub, and gold just isn't that valuable overall.

    If FXS buffed Coastal Cities a little, and nerfed Commercial Hubs and Markets a little, that would probably mostly solve the problem. There is a wider issue about how much gold is in the game and the best way for trade routes to work particularly late game - and maybe even an issue about the lack of maintenance costs escalating or fluctuating - but dealing with those would be really hard, aren't a huge deal in the scheme of things, and Coastal Cities could be made more fun without tackling all that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    can you just drop this? Use something like heavily polarised views or false comparison if you must. A coastal city can be better than an inland city. No-one said they could not be so just stop with the fancy words.
    It is not just about the city, it is called playing the game with the city. We are talking about the journey to the end result as well as the picture we see at the end. That is a comparison of city placement in a game.
    And no coastal cities are not terrible, they are not as good overall, using words like terrible seems to be trying to create some type of false dichotomy that is not there.
    And that is why I delayed replying. Using the word best is just so unspecific. How can you say a Korean city with 150 science is better than a greek city with 130 culture. The game is way too complex and variable for highly accurate on paper considerations and you have to PLAY the game, not look at what it is like on paper.And by play I mean try and measure your city abnd civ success against another civ and city, ideally one that is not AI based.
    I was making the triangles a long long time ago and now realise they are a false god. That balance is better than extreism. Triangles give neither science nor culture, just more gold than you really need.

    Coastal cities are not about ocean trade early, they are about trade between cities along the coast. It was far faster to use a ship than a wagon and could carry a huge amount more goods. Coasts and rivers were the motorways in those days. and this caused trade which caused jobs which caused pop growth which caused specialisation. That is how civilizations grew.
    And Wales (Great Orme) was trading copper with europe 3800 years ago.
     
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  11. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    @kryat Following a bit from what Victoria is saying, you're right that with the right spot a Coastal City can be your best City. If you get an unobstructed river mouth, the right Adjacencies for the Harbor, have a few good hill tiles etc. Stick Reyna in a City like that and it's awesome.

    But the thing is: (1) really good Coastal City spots are much more rare than good inland spots, and actually pretty rare generally, and so relatedly (2) situations where having Coastal Cities is more optimal are less likely to happen than other City types.

    Where Coastal Cities could maybe shine is being sort of small weak Cities with not much production, but when added together supply a good wack of gold that you can invest in your better high production cities. This is usually how I end up using them, ie they're deliberately not my best Cities but instead just provide a trade route and passive gold, but they're a real mixed bag because they can be really slow to set up (precisely because they are small and weak), very easily get smashed by Barbs and Storms (and can't recover), and frankly there are easier ways to get gold.

    I think Coastal Cities would really be useful if there weren't so many other easy ways to get gold (eg nerf commercial Hubs) and gold was just a bit more useful overall (eg increasing and fluctuating gold maintenance). I guess, in some ways, the problem isn't with Coastal Cities per se, but some of the mechanics around gold and trade which mean your economy just doesn't need many or even any Coastal Cities.

    (Side note: this discussion is going to be pretty funny if FXS have actually buffed Harbours in the next patch. What are the chances...?)
     
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  12. Pietato

    Pietato Emperor

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    You can build lumber mills in the ocean? Weird mod.
     
  13. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    I mean, obviously coastal cities also usually have lots of land tiles. Only a weirdo would settle a 1-tile island in this game since that would only give you space for a single district.
     
  14. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    ... no districts or the central city as a district if it is one tile.
    I played a Kupe game and settled my capital on a one tile island quite close to Auckland. I think it ended up around 50-60 production in the end.
    Auckland and god of the sea do change things but as kupe giving up havest for sea god was a hard choice buty i wanted to try it out and it worked. When every coastal tile is +4 food +2 production and you have a lot of coastal tiles it does get to be an incredible strong city.... but then I think of my +150 land based cities and appreciate the difference. On the + side that production was quite early game.

    Keeping one eye on the game is better than keeping two on the districts you can build
     
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  15. Kwami

    Kwami Emperor

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    Well, the City Center and a Harbor. Obviously, there are exceptions where doing something weird works. Usually, one-tile island cities are really bad.
     
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  16. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Doctor of Funk

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    Yes, no question, although right off the top of my head, the Mediterranean is the only sea where maritime trade was abundant in the Ancient-Classical period. I do think river trade may be undervalued in this game, and if we're just talking about commerce, then rivers and canals should be given a closer look. Rivers and canals aren't what distinguish coastal cities from inland cities, though. Quite the opposite, they're one of the things that allow inland cities to become major centers of trade, allowing an early civilization to forgo the risks of sea trade.

    If we're talking coastal areas, I think the Med is the only place where great empires grew out of coastal trade. (Sorry, but Wales wasn't among them. Great Orme would just be a couple of Copper Mines near each other on a Civ VI map, although maybe we should think about whether Bonus Resources and trade-related Technologies and Civics should have a reciprocal relationship.) I'd have to do more research on the Asian countries before the days of the great sailing ships. I don't know a lot about those. I'm thinking about all of those Japanese islands as an example, but neither Japan nor Britain were even regional powers while they relied on coastal trade; on a global map, they look like they're not too far from their respective mainlands, but for most of human history, a body of water the size of the North Sea and the English Channel was a forbidding expanse. The reason there was so much coastal trade on the Med was because it's an enclosed sea; you can circumnavigate it, you don't need to go straight across. And nobody was really a global power on the strength of coastal trade. I guess Spain was the first global super-power? 15th Century, I think. I think the Ming Dynasty could have beaten them to the punch, in the 14th Century, when Zheng He's famous fleet was turned back in its journey to Africa by internal politics.

    So you're right that river and coastal trade may be undervalued in this game, but even so, I still think deep-water, ocean-going trade upended the entire apple cart and if human history were a game of Civ, the game would change unbelievably dramatically in the 14th-15th Centuries. The proliferation of gunpowder weapons would be a big part of that, too. Anyone who has gunpowder-firing armies and navies just crushes anyone who doesn't, adapt or die. I don't know if I've seen that happen even one time in a game of Civ VI. When I started playing, seeing a neighbor produce a Musketman while I still had Swordsmen and Crossbowmen used to make me pee my pants. Now that I've played for a while, I don't even care. That's all well beyond the subject of this thread, but it's part of the larger issue, that the mid-to-late-game rise of Renaissance Era empires just doesn't happen, and that's when coastal cities ought to start becoming not just useful, but crucial.
     
  17. S1AL

    S1AL Warlord

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    Mesopotamia traded with the Indus River Valley by sea. All of the coastal parts of Asia traded by sea. The English Channel was not a "forbidding expanse". You can literally see France from the British side.

    So basically ever highly-populated region on the planet traded by sea from the ancient era.

    EDIT: It's also difficult to assess this correctly when you cut off the beginning of major trade eras for the rest of the world by limiting it to the "Ancient or Classical" era, which is based on Mediterranean progression. Scandinavia and Britain and various parts of Africa engaged in the same amount (or potentially more) if you refer to equivalent population and technology levels (e.g. Viking trade circa 800 AD).
     
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  18. Scaramanga

    Scaramanga Brickhead

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    Just jumping in here.
    The housing on the coast is nice if there are no rivers around.
    Caravels are easier to get to then muskets and provide a huge garrison boost when placed in a city. It's purely defensive of course but there is the added benefit of water making sieges harder.
     
  19. tedhebert

    tedhebert King

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    Not government promotion... Governor ;-) I'm sure this is a typo...

    Interesting thread guys... while I agree with the conception that coastal cities are not great, here's my 2 cents:

    - I NEVER play pangea... hate it... of course, on pangea,it's totally useless to build coastal cities... I mean, more than one let's say...and even then.
    - On most other maps, there are situations when coastal cities can be good. It's called 'play the map' ! Isn't this what everyone here has been asking for ?
    - A good coastal city is a gold machine. Thxs to @Victoria here who has reminded me (again) that the ratio is NOT 2 gold for 1 prod though... Still; You need gold, some at least
    - Having Auckland in game, and meeting it ealry enough, is a game changer to me. This alone will make me go all out on coastals, if the map allows for it. This being said, perhaps FXS should really take note that Auckland is NEEDED to make coastals even a little close to inland cities ? It's a clear message
    - Here's my take on this... CivFanatics all over the place complain that CIV6 is too easy ! "I can win on deity eyes closed ! Ai sucks" etc... Well, I play with Coastals pretty much every game. Good if it's not a good as inland cities. I WANT a little more challenge. My advice, STOP playing Pangea for a while

    In my mind, the problem is NOT that coastals are less proficient than inland cities. It's that Sea control if pretty much useless on the military side of the game. I don't play MP, but a few in this thread have mentioned how crucial it is to NOT let any enemy get away with sea control. Well, it really SHOULD be this way in SP also. And it isn't.
    This debate wouldn't really exist if sea control was a thing. In my mind, it'S even worse than the air control, because in this game, make a few bombers and it pretty much allows you to win ANY game because you then can go on a rampage and conquer anyone that challenges you. Sea control doesn't give you that edge.

    Not that I mind a good debate ;-) Love it. Keep it coming, fanatics !

    Edit: Oh and fisheries ? I still build them. Because by the time I build them, it's usually ok to be a little wasteful of the cost of builders to make them, and I like to grow my cities. I wish that the prod bonus applied without having to leave Liang though

    Edit 2: Also, in my current Englelaenor game, I got control of Cardiff, and I must say that's it's really one of the best CS bonus you can get in a coastal game. That one went totally unnoticed by me until I got to use it
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  20. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    I agree, now take that thought back to trading in ancient times between 2 cities. Remember these cities are not part of a large civ back then, while they loosely bow down to a greater power they do consider themselves their own city.
    Large amounts of copper trade would generate large amounts of wealth and if you just read a website of Great Orme you probably did not appreciate the town of Llandudno very close by which would have been where the ore was traded from. It would have been of far greater importance back then and all that trade generated money/goods for someone even if the majority was then taken inland. The quite remote location would limit a lot of factors in it becoming great and who is to say the main trade was done from there rather than another port further down the coast?
    Your ocean trade argument is taken to a smaller scale earlier, the ability of having something desired brings with it trade for foreign goods and along with that comes communication of both techs and culture. Coastal cities are highly underrated.
    Great post @S1AL
     
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