I don't build Farms. I don't build Farms. Ever. Well. Okay, okay. I build a few. Actually, I build 6 Farms for three Eurekas (Irrigation, Craftsmanship and Feudalism). If I have a super productive city, I'll build a few more for housing and food and growth. But that's really it. Thing is, I'd like to build more. Farms are kind of cool - I love how they give you housing on the sly (not that there's a shortage of housing) and they have some fun adjacency stuff going on. Farms and agriculture is also a big part of how people went from Hunter Gatherers to Cities and Empires and Kardashians, and so for Roleplaying I like building a few more Farms than I really need. And, you know, they look pretty when you have a whole bunch of them side by side. (And yes, I know I could build them to out Neighbourhoods on them. But whatever.) About those Kardashians... No, but really, why aren't Farms a bigger deal? Civilization is a game about Civilization(s). And Civilizations are about agriculture and farms (and, eventually, Kardashians). Civ does suggests Farms are a bit special. You can build them from Turn 1, and they do have various key Eurekas tied to them. Civ is less clear on whether irrigation is a big deal - it’s a very out of the way leaf tech - but Farms seem a bit special. You know, except for the fact they mostly suck. So, what's wrong? So, basically I think two things are wrong with Farms. The first, which has been just thrashed to death in multiple forums, is that Population isn't that important, and so things that give you Population (i.e. Farms (not so much Kardashians)) aren't valuable. Except Population is a bit valuable. Population is yields, and yields do have some importance depending on how long your game runs, your attitude to chopping, various yield curves and other things. And some Governors make population a bit more valuable, and so do a few other things to a limited degree like loyalty and policy cards and Eurekas etc. But all those things feel a bit like a fudge - or stuff just stuck on to a poor base Mechanic - to make population valuable when really it's just not, with the result that often you're still not looking to really maximise Pop but instead just hit certain arbitrary thresholds (and this one is Pop 10, and this one is Pop 10 etc). And to be clear, just buffing Population isn't a good answer to this problem. If Pop is just always good (eg Pop = Cogs), then every City will be the same - you will just jack up the Pop in every City as much as possible. The game seems geared towards empires having a few big cities and lots of little cities and I think overall that's a good way to go. So, yeah, you can buff Pop, but it has to be done with some care. So, what's the second thing. Kardashians? No. The other problem is local yields. Local sucks The Food a City grows (and therefore its Farms) essentially only benefits the City which Grows the Food. i.e. Food is Local. I'm guessing FXS designed the game this way to make things easier to balance, but it basically makes Food pretty useless. It’s basically all about "stuff". Really, the main thing you do in Civ is build stuff. Stuff is important (tanks, apostles, space ports, Kardashian Containment Zones), but stuff that lets you build other stuff is even more important - hammers, gold, faith (build, buy, it's all the same), and science and culture (build new stuff and build it faster). Food gives Population. Population gives you Citizens that work the tiles, that gives you hammers, gold, faith, science and culture (let's just ignore districts for a minute). But here's the rub. Because Food is local, if you have a City with heaps for Farm land (ie flat land) then fundamentally you don't want to build many Farms - because all that Farm land means you don't have as many tiles with hammers, gold, faith, science or culture that are worth working. And if you have a City with lots of workable tiles (hills and resources) then you likely don't have many tiles for farming (although that can vary). So, still no Farms. And anyway, once all those workable tiles are being worked, you don't need more Pop, so no need for additional Farms. Added to that, we've already discussed high Pop isn't super valuable overall anyway, and so you end up with very few Cities where it's worth building Farms. This local yield thing isn't a problem for other yields. Gold, Faith, Culture and Science are largely Global Yields. Hammers are quasi-Global, because while the Hammers can't move to other Cities, the things the Hammers build can, and anyway you can always run projects to convert Hammers to other Global Yields. It's really just food which is completely local, which is even weirder when you think how much food modern societies do truck around. What about Trade Routes? Sidebar: Trade Routes. Specifically, Internal Trade Routes. Real Trade is about moving stuff from one place to another. You grow some, er, corn?, and then you stick it on a truck train ship and you bring it to me. I send something back, like money or Kardashians. But not in Civ. Instead, Trade Routes magically just create the Yields they deliver, whether it's hammers, gold, food whatever. The local city doesn’t trade away any corn or hammers or science - the trade route just magically makes more. Totally unrealistic. And I'm totally okay with it. Because while it's unrealistic, it is easy to understand and play with. And it's also actually not totally unrealistic. Well, not totally unrealistic if you’re willing to squint. Really, Trade does sort of make something from nothing in terms of economics. If you start trading food, your food might go down in the short term, but in the long term you'll generate more food because of increased demand leading to increased supply (partly because you’ll get more corn or whatever out of the same land / factories etc). I think the Trade Routes sort of get at that, which is why I think the creating yields from nothing is at least justifiable, and like I said doing it this way is probably easier to balance. Anyway. This is sort of a roundabout way of saying the problem isn't (and the solution isn't) trade routes taking food from one City and giving it to another. That would be a big change to the game and would probably royally screw things up. But what is a bit rubbish is that, when Trade Routes generate Food, it has nothing to do with how much Farms, Farm Resources or even Food the destination City has. It's just based on Districts. I mean, even having Trade Route Hammers based on Districts makes more sense, because at least you probably had to have some Hammers to build the Districts, so there's some relation between High Production City gives More Production to Trade Routes. I mean, maybe this links food and trade yields a little bit, because more Pops means more districts means more yield, but Farm rich cities aren’t usually great at having the hammers to build districts. Let's imagine a different world Now, imagine if Food was more of a shared resource, or at least that High Food / Farm Cities boosted Food in other Cites? You'd have high Pop yield rich Cities with low farming land, and you'd have low yield high Farm Cities that feed those high production cities food. You'd have a reason to settle Cities with lots of flat tiles. You'd have a reason to build Farms. And, if someone came along and stole some of your Farm cities, you'd have a real problem because you wouldn't be able to keep feeding you high production Cities. That sounds pretty cool to me. Am I missing something? Should this be how food works? This shouldn't be hard to fix This is not an ideas thread, I promise. It's a thread about how Farms aren't great, and why that's because of Food is local. But I just wanted to say this - I don't think this would be hard to fix. Sure, I'm sure people could come up with lots of funky and complicated ways to fix this. I'm sure we could have a whole mini-game around Farms and Farming and have like a Civ Dedicated to Farms with super Farm Powers and maybe new Great People called Great Farmers that help you rush build new Farm Wonders like the Giant Sheep or the Giant Pineapple or Giant Banana, and like maybe there is a Farming Governor and a new Casus Belli where you can Declare War if someone has more Farms than you and also England gets a Free Melee Unit each time it builds a Farm on a Foreign Continent and the City has a Royal Navy Dockyard and it's also a Tuesday. Or, you know, internal trade routes could give food based how many Farms the destination city has. Or Cities with Granaries get additional Growth based on total Food Production in your empire. Or there's a district, and if you build it in a City with lots of Farms it boosts growth in other Cities. TL;DR. Farms should be cool, but instead they suck; partly because High Pop isn't valuable, but mostly because Farms only produce Food locally.