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Workshops and Watermills

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Theruss, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    Wow, insightful and balanced opinion (one which I happen to share). :lol:

    In short cottages are a nice improvement compared to empty green grass (workshops suck early game).
     
  2. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The future payback of workshops is smaller, but the payback within turns which are relevant to the game tends to give them a lead, if you can get there in time.

    Generally non-riverside non-financial cottages are a tough sell throughout the game; they take quite some time to compete with raw spec yield or alternative tiles. Some capitols definitely merit them, as do very powerful mass riverside cities that don't quite have enough food to be viable for globe. No matter what, GPP is necessary for those who aren't just lazing through the game (so often if I get enough early land I'll just cottage it and sit on it until it's time for tanks/bombers or something).

    Anyway OP, with SP and the right techs workshops are among the best improvements in the game and the only set up costs is the worker turns to build the workshops and having the requisite techs/civics. Watermills in particular are incredible with SP and a levee.

    One improvement I think people under-use is the lumber mill. There are often non-riverside forests (plains or even grassland) that really aren't viable tiles in the early goings for cottaging, and :) cap might not merit a non-riverside grassland farm (and certainly working plains at that point isn't hot). On the flip side, each pair of forests is worth :health:, even with the lumbermill on later. Sometimes that health is hard to quantify, but sometimes it isn't! If you can't pull the trades and would otherwise be unhealthy if not for the forests, you can think of them as aqueducts or as "farms" in the sense of providing food through health. Later in the game these things tend to help productions cities immensely; they have the same raw yield as mines but with a more favorable health situation in cities that will struggle with it.

    I'd still like to see them slightly earlier so that the chop vs mill dynamic becomes very real, but w/e.

    IMO too many of the more experienced players on the forum lately hate on cottages a little too much. Riverside cottages and FIN cottages in general are pretty solid, as long as the player comes up with some decent other city specializations (GPP, heroic epic for example). They also work well for players who are deliberately allowing the game to go on long enough for their ROI to make sense. Cottages placed in the first 50-100 turns are also mature in time to be competitive with alternative improvements. Workshops only dominate cottages mid-game on. At the very start of the game on say a MC beeline, a workshop is FAR WORSE than a cottage, having a NEGATIVE payback (-1f +1h) while the cottage adds a little. Printing press villages do pretty darn well vs caste/guilds workshops...really anything but SP workshops. How many players reach communism before their cottages reach that point in their initial settling phase?

    The above doesn't even take into account bureaucracy bonuses for hammers/commerce or that free speech to boost towns comes alongside one of the techs players gun most consistently. Early cottages work well if you don't overdo them, although going democracy ASAP to emancipate suggests a long-term investment beyond initially funding expansion + some tech.

    Most of this isn't directed at Iranon, but just in general. The growth time on cottages is a direct attempt to balance the fact that they are viable options MUCH sooner in the game than workshops/watermills/windmills. GPP is good but you can only get so many and usually after 1 good NE city you won't have much ROI on more GPP investment in other cities. Non-rep specs are...not so hot compared to cottages. Mines do a lot better, if they happen to be available.
     
  3. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Grassland cottages provide 2 food, which makes them production-wise much better than specialists, and comparable to plains mines when you can whip.

    If you build research, it's as least as good as a grassland forest.

    Cottages do well production/research-wise against mines early on. It's farms (for whippable production) and the happy cap which make cottages look bad. The governor understands this.
     
  4. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    This where I think there could be a balance, at least for me. One thing that I always found appealing about cottages was the build-and-forget them approach, especially in the early game. A mature cottaged-up capital with a lib/academy/Univ/bureaucracy is pretty powerful at the beginning especially with Monarchy/Civil Serv. If I can used this to get a nice tech lead and more land (grown cities through war), and new city I conquer can get workshops/Watermills at this point in the mid game.
     
  5. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Note that I by 'most powerful' I didn't mean to imply 'most desirable' - I believe I already stated that universal rushbuy or fully exploited corporations require considerable investment.

    My experience is that it doesn't matter what you do, it matters how you do it. Compulsively saving flatland forests and making do with filler (grassland forest, coast, windmills) and heavy whipping is the least powerful economy I could find an excuse for, and even that can work surprisingly well (lumbermills as health-boosting mines on flatland, Environmentalism-boosted lumbermills on hills: mature at Replacable Parts, and easy industrialisation).
     
  6. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Emperor

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    Thanks TMIT. I was having some doubts about all this cottage hate as well. While I can certainly appreciate the power of SE, I don't think a hammer economy is that viable until Replaceable Parts and/or Communism. And by the time one reaches those techs, it's already enough time for lots of towns to be developed. While it's true that new cottages shouldn't be made after Communism, I don't really see a good alternative before those techs (other than farms for SE).
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I've seen players like Unconquered Sun throw state property boosted workshops around by 700-800 AD with bad starts and leaders who don't have much direct tech help like charlemagne. It's hard to get "lots of towns" by 800 AD, but to get there he bulbed very heavily; this was possible because he had a very high food capitol with which to work.

    Unless you're financial, cottages are somewhat situational. This is one reason that FIN is (incorrectly) seen as overpowered; it's one of the simplest traits to use in the game and its effects are obvious.
     
  8. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Emperor

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    SP at 800?! I better give SE a try. So far, I stuck mostly with hybrid economies. Any good games of your's I should look at? Preferably one that doesn't rely on Pyramids or any other wonder.
     
  9. ColossusXXIII

    ColossusXXIII Warlord

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    I have to disagree... a hammer economy is certainly viable early, and I would argue that either an SE or HE or SE/HE is at least more versatile than a cottage economy. If not superior...

    I tend to go to war early and often, so for me a cottage based city/economy does absolutely nothing early and here's why.

    first off, production through the whip and or mining to build units/infrastructure is fruitless or at least less optimal. So right away that means less units/buildings and slower across the board, which means less or no capture gold/capture wonders... Capture gold/wonders early are pretty useful for a plethora of reasons. Also to gain territory you would need to build more settlers to gain the same amount of territory because of your diminished war capabilities both offensive and defensive. Settlers stunt pop growth and are expensive hammer wise (plus working cottages while building settlers is very inefficient).

    Second in a hammer city after curr/alpha you can produce wealth/research, and since a mine produces 3 or 4 hammers right away each mine = 3 or 4 raw beakers/gold independent of the slider %. How long does it take for a non fin cottage to produce 3-4 gold? also isn't the gold/beakers it produces affected by the slider position? in a hammer economy early you would be working only food tiles+mines+specials and food surplus would whipped away or used to run specs to reach happy cap. Add forges and you not only add 25% to overall production turning that 3-4 hammers into 4-5 gold/beakers, but you also raise your happy cap an additional +1 for each :lol: metal that you have/trade for. This way, you can still easily win the lib race, and leverage at least military trad on deity normal settings+speed. Combined with bulbing of course...

    Third, when you are running an early CE... you really limit your ability to micro the BFC's of your cities. Your economy is so tied to the individual tiles that you are working. for example when you have semi mature villages or hamlets dotting your BFC, it becomes difficult to stop working those in favor of other tiles or tile types which may better suit your needs at the moment or specs for that matter. If lets say you need to go to war and you switch off many cottage tiles in favor of mines, your economy likely wouldn't survive the hit of not working as many cotts. + the added cost of the war. Similarly pop growth is also quite stunted, by running many cotts.

    people may think that just specializing a few cities is enough, while cottaging the bulk of the balance of their empire. I've found this to be very inflexible and not so practical. Personally IMO being able to put up quick infrastructure or armies or run specs in say 6 of 8 early cities and still maintain a tech lead trumps any long term benefits of cottaging. Also relying on say 2 of 8 cities to produce an army is suicide, similarly only being able to reliably and quickly put up national/world wonders,multiplier buildings and infrastructure in a couple of cities seems poor at best.

    Anyhow the cottage hating is pretty justified IMO... once you step into the higher difficulties, cottages seem more like a hindrance. Increasingly so as the game progresses.
     
  10. Yoshi1

    Yoshi1 Warlord

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    could all be summed up faster thou ;)
    Cottages are available early, at times where there is often not much else around to get you floating.
    Later there are more options, which makes the waiting time for cottages a hinderness.
    But mostly because the AI can be abused, or if you play with tech trading on.
    Without tech trading, and no AI near to jump on, cottages are much more important trust me.
     
  11. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    ColossusXXIII- I'm glad you've found a playstyle that works for you, but I must disagree with your dismissal of cottages if only because it seems unbalanced. Imo not all cities make for good unit pumps, neither is it the case that a cottaged city would produce settlers. If the opposite of a hammer economy is cottage spam, I want to do neither.
     
  12. ColossusXXIII

    ColossusXXIII Warlord

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    I could see that being true, with those particular settings. I assume you're referring to MP games, but in MP aren't hammers and spec beakers also vital? I assume that MP requires a much larger army both offensive and defensive. Also I know cottages are available early, but writing/libr/specs are available 1 tech later. So how do they really factor in?
     
  13. ywhtptgtfo

    ywhtptgtfo Emperor

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    Sorry, I really don't see the difference. You say that CE is hurt by war because one has to work mines instead of cottages to produce units. But how about HE or even SE? When war comes, you build units instead of research/wealth and you work mines/engineers instead of recruiting scientists. Wouldn't that hurt your HE and SE as well?
     
  14. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    i think the point is that it will hurt you less. You won't whip from cottages but from hills and quicker regrowth on farms being the first thing that comes to mind.

    you switch slider off in war mode and switch wealth to units.
    It's good btw not only for defense but even for preparation of large stack on attack.
     
  15. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    @ColossusXXIII,

    I tried my first cottage-less game the other day and I did surprisingly ok apart from making a few key mistakes in terms of where to place my Oxford for example. This led to me having some difficulties maintaining a suitable tech rate earlier on. I relied alot on bulbing techs. Using a philosophical leader, I double bulbed Education for example.

    In the absence of cottages, where should the beakers come from early on? Scientists I know, but you can only run 2 per city. Also, I could switch to caste early to run more scientist, but then I can't whip my universities (let's say I'm not philosophical and don't get a discount on unis)...

    Is it just a question of running scientists and building wealth until the slider is at 100% and then build research? With the slider at 100%, whatever commerce the empire is generating from riverside farms and specials PLUS the specialists will drive my research?

    Anyways, what I like about the SE/HE is the micro it requires and the flexibility it gives me.
     
  16. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    @yanner

    there is not only libraries.
    you get commerce from trade routes, you can get some important wonders (mids - skyrocket research, GLH even more TR's, TGL for 2 scientists)
    you can do failgold for running slider at 100%
    and then there are some pretty lucrative commerce tiles as furs, gold, silver, calendar ones (they come a bit later though and to get there you usually already solved the primal problem with teching since you should have alpha or cur)

    and then there is the biggest tech multiplier called tech trades.

    btw when you end in isolation or even semi-isolation I probably won't do no-cottage game.
     
  17. ColossusXXIII

    ColossusXXIII Warlord

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    It's your right to disagree, and I'm glad that you're glad that I've found a play style well suited to me. My dismissal of cottages, may seem unbalanced. The reason is that I don't have time to present all sides of the argument as I would in a documentary about cottaging. I can only offer my pov's based on my experience, and what works for me. The thing is I have extensive experience running multiple and various economic systems, both individually and in combination. What I've been saying about HE vs CE comes from having tried both + a bunch of hybrids, that experience leads me to lean in favor of what I find works best and is more versatile.

    I think think this goes to a discussion about specializing cities. IMO relying on 1-2 specialized cities to accomplish any task is not optimal, whereas as having many versatile production focused cities working towards a common goal is superior. whether that goal be economic, military, cultural, or otherwise.

    neither extreme is perfect... but an overly balanced approach, may leave you average in all areas. Rather than excelling in key areas, and exploiting key advantages. That being said, it is important to find an economic model which suits your personality and player profile. I would however recommend playing a variety of economies and their corresponding hybrids, if only to become proficient in all of them. That way you are more versatile in your overall game, and more adept at dealing with the variables in the game. Isolation,bad starts or bad terrain etc.
     
  18. ColossusXXIII

    ColossusXXIII Warlord

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    precisely :goodjob: there are many subtle details which unfortunately get glossed over.
     
  19. yanner39

    yanner39 Emperor

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    Thanks. Pretty much confirms what I thought. Building wonders has a good synergy with the hammer economy. Many of the non-cottage games I've seen the players build alot of wonders.
     
  20. ColossusXXIII

    ColossusXXIII Warlord

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    I've been lurking through that game a little and thought you were doing fairly well, despite a couple mistakes as you mentioned.

    2 per city should get you aesth easy, trade for alpha (after 2-3 turns of self research), build research, get currency, build wealth. Going to war and capturing wonders or forested capitals to chop/build wonders/fail gold. And not to mention capture gold of course (my favorite).


    In the first place, in general I prefer creative leaders (spiritual leaders also awesome). quick libraries to whip easily in every city, plus the obvious benefits of spreading culture automatically. Universities, are rarely difficult to simply build/chop/finish with whip, even with non philo leaders. switching to caste is extremely situational, the timing of which is highly game dependent. For me, I do it during any Golden age and then switch back, or depending on the bulb requirements for Lib. If I need to bulb, more than whip I go cast. Otherwise, start adding forges and markets or grocers if you have early rep to run other specs. even without rep other specs have a lot of benefits.

    trade routes as vranasm mentioned and trading for techs of course. Also don't neglect multiplier buildings,capture gold, failure gold, bulbing/academy or demanding tech as tribute/begging from friends... Everything combined fuels your research, that's why it's versatile and balanced.

    With the slider at 100%, you now have the wiggle room to field a huge+modern army and get bigger, keep building wealth in more and more cities as you capture new ones and old ones are built up. keep expanding and crushing neighbors while allowing your new cities to catch up in terms of infrastructure. this way, if done right you can support a huge and very powerful empire.

    me 2 :D
     

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