You Never Move Your Settler! - Opening Strategy Splits Civ V Studio

Greg Tito

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Sep 29, 2005
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You Never Move Your Settler! - Opening Strategy Splits Civ V Studio

There are many turns in a Civilization V game, but what you do in those first few can have a very large impact.

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Callate

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Dec 5, 2008
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There's something here that bears mentioning that I don't think comes up in the article.

Moving that first settler is a risk due to other factors the player has little control over. The player may move into a lush, fertile area on turn two or three, one brimming with resources and potential for expansion- only to stumble on a wandering barbarian or a war-favoring competitor civilization. In which case those extra turns of production, building protective units, could have prevented that early failure.

But- and this is a big but- isn't it preferable to get destroyed in the first few dozen turns than to play until the Renaissance and then discover that other Civs' early positions have given them an advantage you'll never surmount?

To borrow a line from a recent Extra Creditz, isn't it preferable to "fail faster"?

Certainly, there are manners of degree; it's easier to commit to a city in a grassland next to a river than just off a coast in the middle of tundra and mountains. But I think an absolutist "never move" strategy is likely to bite the player not just strategically, but in their overall enjoyment of an extended game.
 

gigastar

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Sep 13, 2010
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Generally i would only dare to move the first settler if it will grant me immediate access to something that will prove useful later, such as a coast, a river, a luxury resource that has a food bonus or a certain tile that my civ gets a special bonus from.

Otherwise i wouldnt consider it worth the risk, especially since you know so little about your surroundings at the start.
 

SoopaSte123

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Jul 1, 2010
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I'll always try to move to a hill if I don't begin on one. Besides the extra defensive advantage, it gives your city more production, speeding up the early game which more than makes up for delaying by one turn.
 

Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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I've always been one to move.

If I can't find a mountain/hill and/or a river/ocean in three turns or less...
Then I just move the nearest green spaces.
 

Kuredan

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Dec 4, 2012
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I have a shifting table of priorities when I start that affect the decision I makes

1. Coast
2. Natural resources
a. production
b. luxury
3. Hill
4. Not wasting movement/ Turns
5. "Civilization bonus optimization"
6. Natural protective borders


I also have a compulsive habit of, when playing as Egypt, putting all my wonders in a single ubercity that is by the coast and one hex away from a mountain. Who doesn't doesn't want to visit the Colossus Stonehenge Library Lighthouse of Chichen Itza located in beautiful Thebes? Moar Wunderz!!
 

Icehearted

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Jul 14, 2009
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I really hope Brave New World sees a nice sale sometime this year, the endgame portions of the original Civ5 leave a lot to be desired. My strategy has been pretty must unchanged from older civ games when it came to city placement, and rapid border grown and early defensive capabilities were essential every time, but it mean I'd wind up being an isolationist, which is where BNW could change things drastically, and make the late game portions more exciting than the beginning portions when I'm just working on securing resources and expanding rapidly.
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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Dec 6, 2009
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One or two turns missed in the very first stages only really delays your first unit/building by about two turns, and puts you two turns behind in research and culture. If you can move to a position that doubles your capacity for producing shields, beakers or culture beyond the starting values, it's definitely worth it.

For instance, Japan in the latest expansion produces +2 culture from atolls. Say you begin with an atoll slightly out of range: moving means you lose a turn of culture production (1) but every turn thereafter will give you 3 culture if the atoll is worked. Six turns in and you can hit your first policy, which snowballs from there.

There are tons of other reasons. If you start on a hill, you'll never be able to build a windmill in the late game, which has to be balanced against the extra +1 production in the city square from a hill (+1 production across the whole game versus being able later acquire +2 production, +10% when building and one engineer slot). If there's a river in sight you may want to move there so you can take advantage of the river specific buildings like waterworks or hydro plant.

They've made moving less and less of an issue with progressive games. It may have been suicidal in Civ 2 when you only had your settler, but now they give you a starting unit to help scout, and you can move the settler and still found the city if you don't burn all your movement points at once.

My rule is always to move the warrior to a tile that reveals as much terrain as possible before I touch the settler, so that I can suss out whether a move is worth considering.

Kuredan said:
I also have a compulsive habit of, when playing as Egypt, putting all my wonders in a single ubercity that is by the coast and one hex away from a mountain. Who doesn't doesn't want to visit the Colossus Stonehenge Library Lighthouse of Chichen Itza located in beautiful Thebes? Moar Wunderz!!
Ah, the Egypt theme park strategy. So dear to my heart. That was how I won my first one city challenge, even before Venice and the new culture rules made it terribly easy.
 

Killclaw Kilrathi

Crocuta Crocuta
Dec 28, 2010
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As utterly blasphemous as it is, I not only have no issue with moving my settler but will do so for up to about ten turns before thinking of hurrying up and settling. I like to find a "sweet spot" where I'll maximize production and not have a single tile at any sort of disadvantage. Mind you I'll happily admit I'm not the best player, and will lose to the AI as often as not on a regular difficulty setting. So certainly don't take anything I say as gospel.
 

Terminal Blue

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It depends what strategy you're going for I think.

If you're going tradition, for example, the site of that first city matters because of all the bonuses you get to your starting city. Losing a turn or two is pretty negligible if you can make it back with interest pretty early in the game.

I don't have brave new world, though, so maybe they shook this up.
 

iniudan

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Apr 27, 2011
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Shamanic Rhythm said:
Kuredan said:
I also have a compulsive habit of, when playing as Egypt, putting all my wonders in a single ubercity that is by the coast and one hex away from a mountain. Who doesn't doesn't want to visit the Colossus Stonehenge Library Lighthouse of Chichen Itza located in beautiful Thebes? Moar Wunderz!!
Ah, the Egypt theme park strategy. So dear to my heart. That was how I won my first one city challenge, even before Venice and the new culture rules made it terribly easy.
Back in Civ IV, I actually did a one city challenge with Gandhi, and by some miracle I was also able to be the first to both found both Buddhism and Hinduism, can I say at that point that that my aim was a laser focus on farmland with the Great Pyramid, Shwedagon Paya and Angkor Wat. Thus the Amalgamated Church of Delhi was born.

 

AdmiralCheez

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Nov 9, 2009
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I've noticed that the game has been pretty kind to me as far as starting points go. I don't think I've ever really gotten a "bad" start location. Although, I know for a fact that I've moved the settler a few times; usually for a coastline, but that was always in sight at the start. I don't think I've gone more than three or four turns before settling.

Reading this immediately made me want to start a new game of Civ V. Then I looked at the clock and noticed it was after midnight, and decided that would probably be a bad idea.
 

aelreth

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Dec 26, 2012
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I'm in the never move camp because OCD would cause me to think that the breadbasket of the continent is just 3 hexes away.

Then the barbarian would eat me.

So I just randomize the world again.
 

Parshooter

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Sep 13, 2009
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In Civ I-IV I only do if it will be one turn and it will pay off by at most the classical era.

With Civ V I hardly ever have to because the game outside hard difficulty will give you loads of bonus crap for the tile you start on no matter what.
 

NuclearKangaroo

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i do this, moving my settler, i thought it was obvious, settling where you spawn is way too risky

do you seriously think a tundra civilization will get anywhere?
 

JaceArveduin

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Mar 14, 2011
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Depends, but if there is a coast, hill, or river nearby, you can bet your ass I'm putting my city in the defensible area! I'll take a slightly slower start if it means my city is harder to take.
 

Skeleon

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Nov 2, 2007
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In the Civ-games I played, I usually at most traveled two tiles, not further than that. Especially when you're close to barbarians or another culture, you can really screw yourself over if you are too slow at the start. That said, I find the idea of never moving silly. I've gotten some really bad starting positions at times with no productivity at all, for example, which set me back in building city upgrades for hundreds of years. In the end, that meant I was actually slower than if I had moved a few tiles at the start.
 

Griffolion

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Callate said:
Yeah, it's a difficult decision. I always had a rule, that if something better wasn't, at most, one hex away, I'd settle where I currently was. It is pretty important getting your civ going as soon as possible, getting research (no matter how meager at the time), and providing a base for explorers to operate out of.

Also, EC took the "fail faster" line from DSDM methodology. Just giving credit where it's due.