Archive for February, 2010

Civics in Focus Part IV: Economy

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment


Required Tech: Banking
Effect: +1 Free Specialist per City, No Foreign Trade Routes, Foreign Corporations have no effect
Use: Getting free additional GP points in Ironman/ffa and Renaissance to Future start games. Increasing research in combination with Representation. Speeding up start with additional Hammers from free engineers in Renaissance to Modern start games.

Mercantilism provides you with a free Specialist in all your cities while having the (for ffa diplo games severe) backlash of disabling Foreign Trade Routes. If you play an ffa diplo game and have open borders with several players, Mercantilism is no option, because the Commerce you loose due to that, cannot be compensated by the Specialists. This is especially the case, when you play on a map with continents, where you have intercontinental Trade Routes, that provide a heavy additional boost.
Also Free Market gets available at about the same time on the Economy branch, providing you with another of those oversea trade routes instead of loosing them all.
In always war type games you don’t have foreign trade routes anyway, so this is no problem, which makes Mercantilism an interesting option. While you only have Free Market as different option, Mercantilism will always provide a better bonus.

If you play later Era start games where Mercantilism is available from the beginning, it allows you to work an Engineer in each city from the very beginning, giving you two additional hammers (you have a Forge in your cities when planting from Renaissance upwards), which is a pretty nice boost for your buildup.

If you run Mercantilism together with Representation (the case with specialist economies in ffa/Ironman and Industrial Teamers) and work Merchants/Scientists each specialist provides money/science equal to 6 Commerce. This is quite considerable and e.g. the way to get to Communism in Industrial Teamers.

Finally the simplest use of Mercantilism is getting additional GP points from specialists if you want to push out GP. This is valid in any type of game.

Read more…


Echoes from the Civ World #4: Civ5 trailer by 2K.Games

February 25, 2010 1 comment

Categories: Civilization5, echos Tags: ,

Echoes from the Civ World #3

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The hottest topic at the moment regarding Civ 5 is the – not yet confirmed and even less specified – “1 unit per tile” (1upt). The rumour is based on interpretations of the released screenshots and various forum posts.

1. Civfanatics user translates interview w Jon Shafer in Danish magazine

Sian claims to have read in the Danish “Gameplay Magazine” something he translates into:

[…] the allready [sic] (im)famous [sic] “one-per-tile” is only one military unit, civil units aren’t a part of it

The following thread circles around speculation on whether this is reliable information and on ways how a limitation on the amount of units you can have on a single tile could work and how it would change the way the game is played.

2. Quote of alleged official statement regarding “1upt” in

The thread is based on an alleged quote, though there is neither a source nor an author named:

One of the first changes we made was to remove the possibility to ‘stack’ units. Now that you can only place one Military unit at each tile, there would be created large fronts between the players that battle each other

3. Discussion thread regarding “1upt”  at (in German)

A thread in the German civ forum, mostly with sceptical posts regarding the concept of 1 unit per tile. Involves arguments regarding the in-game balance, but also the reference to reality. Latter involving some math based on in-game demographics of Civ4 killing the argument that it´s not “realistic” to have many dozens of units on one tile hence the possible change being good.

4. Article on IGN

The pretty vague announcements in this article contain among other the following claim:

[Civilization 5] will feature an entirely new combat system.

Whether this is connected to a potential “1upt” is unknown.

Categories: Civilization5, echos Tags: ,

Echoes from the Civ World #2

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Civ5 is announced and the interwebs is going nuts.. Here some of the stuff that´s going on already even though it´s all about 8 screenshots, very few and partially undefined facts and some rumours:

1. Civ5 “Facts and Rumours” Forum Thread at

A summary of facts, conclusions from screenshots and announcements and a couple of rumours.

2. Screenshot Analysis Forum Thread at

Analysis of the so far existing screenshots. Theories about land tile types, improvements, mechanics of culture, resources, units and more.

3. Civ5 in GamePro Magazine

April issue of “GamePro Magazine” featuring new information on Civ5 and interviews with Sid Meier and Jon Shafer.

4. Civ5 Screenshot Gallery

A gallery of all the eight so far known screenshots from the current state of the game.

Categories: Civilization5, echos Tags: ,

National Wonder #3: Good. Basic. Not Game Breaking.

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment

This is the third edition of a four-part series about National Wonders which is supposed to describe the scenarios in which those play a role. As usual when evaluating a building, unit etc. in civ it´s vital to not only look at effects and abilities, but as well at costs, required technologies and most importantly the overall context: In what situation in what kind of game will the building/unit/etc. help me achieve a certain goal? The more situations and different kinds of scenarios there are, the better is the examined object.

There are 14 National Wonders. The series consists of the following four parts:

I. Click here for National Wonder #1: Flop 3
II. Click here for National Wonder #1: Top 3
III. Good. Basic. Not Game Breaking.
IV. Specific. Key for some scenarios.

Wall Street

Cost: 402 (quick, 600 on normal speed)
Effects: +100% :4gold: in this city; +1 :4gpp: for Great Mechant
Can turn 3 citizens into Merchants
Requires at least 6 Banks (depending on map size)

Wall Street is the gold equivalent to University of Oxford – again only useful in Ironman/ffa (possible exceptions being rarely industrial teamers and OCC games), meaning longer games. It´s “problem” is that you´ll want to run as much science as possible most of the time. When your research slider is at 80-100%, the bonus of Wall Street is only applied to the remaining 0-20% and the gold the city accumulates otherwise (religious shrine in Holy City, Merchant specialists, corporations etc.). That still can be enough, especially with those other ways of getting gold per turn, to build it. It comes relatively late (with Corporations) and Banks are expensive buildings, if you have a big empire with a holy city or a corporation headquarter, it´s still worth getting it. A Bank is useful anyway in your capital, since even at 20% the gold accumulated there is significant in absolute numbers. In any case it´s a good idea to use any specialists you run in that city (mercantilism, statue of liberty, all tiles worked and still food to grow etc.) to be Merchant in order to take more advantage of Wall Street. With the Grocer, Market, Bank and Wall Street one merchant specialist gives you 9 gold per turn, helping in keeping the research slider as far up as possible. Read more…

Civilization 5 announced

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Today, February 18th, Civilization 5 for the PC has been announced. Graphics look … different. But mainly it´s gonna be hexagonal tiles from now on! There is talk about new ways of playing and winning and about options for competetive multiplayer. All very vague so far – but hey, it seems Civ5 is coming this Fall…

Announcement on

Civilization 5 on Facebook

Categories: Civilization5 Tags: ,

The “Happiness Cap”

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

General thoughts

City happiness is an important factor of civ – whatever the settings are, you´ll always have to deal with keeping your cities happy. In teamer games that are restricted to one era, you will either run Hereditary Rule, basically giving you unlimited happiness at least till you move out for an attack or additionally use the culture slider. This text is not about how to most effectively avoid (too much) unhappiness especially when slaving, but about the concept of the happiness cap (aka “happy cap”).

The happy cap defines the maximum population your cities can reach before becoming unhappy.

Of course you can define a happy cap when running Hereditary Rule and/or using the culture slider – the interesting part though is the happy cap without those two. In teamer games you don´t necessarily want to grow your cities to bigger sizes and additionally running 10% or 20% culture doesn´t hurt you as much as in a long solo game like Ironman or ffa, where you will want Representation or Universal Suffrage eventually and where sacrificing research in order to increase the culture slider for happiness is not an option if you´re planning on doing well in the game.

The concept of the happy cap is most important in Ironman/ffa. There you basically have three phases:

  1. before Monarchy for Hereditary Rule
  2. from Monarchy on
  3. when switching from Hereditary Rule to Universal Suffrage (or Representation)

When planning how to plant your land, you need to be aware of how big you will be able to let your cities be when switching away from Hereditary Rule – this is where knowing the happy cap of your empire is key. It´s very difficult to win an Ironman or ffa with 5-7 opponents when not being able to leave Hereditary Rule. The lack of Universal Suffrage or Representation and the additional upkeep and production of police units hurts too much.

Let´s get into defining the happy cap and analyzing possible strategies resulting from it. Remember, a city with one unit in it has as a basis a happy cap of 5, a capital 6. That´s 4 (5 in cap) without the unit and one more with it – the unit having nothing to do with Hereditary Rule. A happy cap of 5 means the city can support population 5 without any citizens becoming unhappy (negative effects on happiness like Slavery taken aside).
Read more…