Workers working harder in Civ4

In Civilization 4, one of the most significant changes outside of the civics and religions, is the expanded role given to workers. Previously, it was very easy to know what to do with your workers. If a mountain or hill was involved, put a road and mine; otherwise irrigate and road. Jungles and forrests had no purpose except to make your cities sick or deprive you of an irrigation spot. However, if you eliminated them, you would miss out on certain key game resources which only appeared in jungles and forests. So you had to just deal with the sickness and hope that a resource would appear nearby to validate your city’s sufferings.

In civ4, however, your workers have become MUCH more intersting units’ It’s not so simple anymore to decide what the best course of action is. For any plot of land you have the option of a cottage, mine or farm. For other land. depending on t characteristics, you have the options of windmill, watermill, lumber mill, farm. Whereas before your only real choice was to build an irrigation for growth and road for commerce, the civ designers have made the game a little more challenging and realistic. Now you have to make a choice – do I want commerce OR irrigation.

You see, roads no longer provide commerce. The purpose of a road is now to connect your cities, thus providing a trade route, as well as allowing your units to easily move around your empire. In order to get commerce you much build a cottage. But cottages provide wealth and no food so you have to figure out whether growth or money is more important. However, in their infinite wisdom, the programmers on the civ4 team have balanced things out by no longer making it desireable to grow your cities without bound. They had similar incentives in civ3, but whereas in civ3 your citizens became discontent, in civ4 they get unhealthy. They therefore, don’t necessarily lose productivity for a turn and demand an entertainer.

Things get even more interesting when you consider another improvement the programmers added to make life more balanced in civ4. You see, before the only cities I could use to build wonders were those cities by hills and they were the only ones generating enough shields (hammers in civ4). In civ4 you can use watermills and lumber mills to increase the productivity of a city. So when you have a city where building units/buildings is very important, you have the choice between growing the city, getting more commerce, or building more objects. It makes for a very interesting landscape. As you can see in some of my screenshots.

Finally, railroads continue to be a great improvement to make in your empire. However, the emphasis has changed a little. Instead of blanketing every square with railroads, you’ll want to concentrate on the land spaces which would most benefit as they increase the effects of certain terrain improvements, but do nothing for others. I’ve noticed that they are of my benefit for lumbermills and cottages. And, as with before, you’ll want to use railroads to get your units around without wasting movement points – very useful during a war. I think there are also some trade route benefits, but I haven’t really explored that.
AnutliejL yuud imp .ruv emeu L in civ4 ia Lha.L the computer players have much better AI when it comes to working their land. In civ3 it seemed as though the computer was programmed to put a mine on every square accompanied by a road. Therefore, depending on how much my workers were needed elsewhere, I often found myself busy replacing all of these mines with irrigation so that the cities would grow beyond size 3 cities.

I have -50 more turns left in my current game of civ4. I have REALLY enjoyed it a lot and I think the team has done a superb job designing it. Now that I have a better idea of the roles of the civics, religions, and workers as well as a better understanding of the revised tech tree, I think I will be able to make much more informed decisions in my future games.

I think I will play a few more games at settler difficulty to ensure that I have a good feel for the new dynamics in the game. (It took me about 5-6 games in civ3 to really start taking advantage of roads and other advanced concepts) I have a hope of completing the space race – something I’ve never been able to achieve since civ2. I’m not sure if this is because it seems a lot easier in civ4 via trade routes and other money producing techniques to spend a lot on science or some other balancing they’ve done in the game or just because I’m in settler mode. I know that by this time in a civ3 game I have wall street and I am not making as much money as I’m currently making in civ4, so maybe they have changed the economics of the game. Right now I have markets/banks (which don’t seem to have the same relationship they did in civ3 and below) in maybe half of my cities and I’m making -300 gold/turn. Usually, with democracy, railroads, forbidden palace, wall street, and stock markets in civ3 I am making around 50 gold.