Section B: Cities

Civ1 FAQ: Cities

1) How do I make a city?

Apart from RTFM (Read The Flaming Manual), take a settler unit and find a suitable place to build a city. (It is my opinion that you should always look around your continent before building a city, especially at the beginning where you are very vulnerable.) When you have found the site of your city press the “B” key to build the city.

Note: Improve the land prior to building your city, as you will not be able to do this later on in the game. Remember that cities automatically build a road and irrigation, but you can still add a railroad, and this will avoid losing 1/3 movement when taking a piece through a city.

2) How do I make my city grow?

The only way to make a city grow in terms of population is to feed it. The best way to feed a city is to provide squares with as much wheat as possible in them. The best way to do this is to irrigate and build roads in the squares and then change to a republic/democracy. Your cities will have an explosion in population. Remember you can change you government to suit your needs. So after you change to republic/democracy you can change back, although it is not really worth it unless you want to have a military campaign.

Although a city may be shown as size-2, this does not mean that the population is twice that of a size-1. The way the population is calculated is as follows:

  Each size adds the new size times 10,000 to the population. 
  1 -> 2 yields 10,000 + (2 * 10,000) = 30,000. 
  A size 29 -> 30 yields 4,350,000 + (30 * 10,000) = 4,650,000.  
  It takes two food units to increase a city by one.

                       size * (size + 1)
   Real population  =  ----------------- * 10000

Having said this, the actual population is not important in the final score calculation. The important factor is the city size. Each size increase adds one citizen to the city screen. A size-14 city will have 14 citizens. Each citizen is worth one point, with the exception of happy citizens which are worth two points. With this in mind, it pays to increase the luxury tax to 100 percent the turn prior to completing the game. This should turn any content citizens to happy, and possibly a few unhappy to happy as well.

3) Should I have many cities or just a few?

I think the general view is MORE, MORE, MORE !!! I never play with more than about 30 cities as it gets boring trying to look after them all, but some people just love 70+, and one person has mentioned having over 250 (which must be an exaggeration, since the savefile only has space for around 126 cities). Here are a few comments from others:

  More!! My normal strategy is to build as many cities as possible before
  attacking anyone not in my immediate vicinity. When you have 60+ cities, 
  it's very hard not to win the game. (I also stay in despotism and build 
  cities 1 square apart from each other, just so they are production centres 
  for military units when I do go to war. Until then, I just build settlers.)
            ---Mark Lilback

  More. A lot of cities close together are easier to defend, since you can
  move attack units quickly between them to whichever cities are in trouble. 
  Second, more cities mean greater population growth, which tends to be
  critical in Civ. Greater population = more of everything + higher score. 
  Spin off as many cities as you can early in the game, and then "perfect" 
  them later on.
            ---James Ollinger

  More, the more the merrier. With more cities you can get more of
  everything: resource, population, tax, science... Oh yeah, pollution and
  unhappy people too. But the advantages certainly offset the disadvantages.
            ---David Gosselin

4) Is there a limit to the size of my city?

If you look at the window around the city it seems that the maximum size a city can attain is only about 15-20. However this is a mistake as you can improve the land extensively. So how do you make LARGE (around 40) cities:

Food production is the primary problem, although if you’re in a democracy and have “we love…” days, your food production is really unimportant, providing there is enough to make them grow.

Pollution does become a problem as your city grows, and the following things have a known impact:

  • Mass Transit (needed at about size 20)
  • Recycling Centre (needed at about size 30)
  • Nuclear plant (needed around size 28-30)

A nuclear plant increases production, yet decreases pollution. I’ve had a city size-30 that had six smokestacks (60 tons) of pollution being produced and minimal production (about 20-30 shields). I built the nuclear plant, and the pollution vanished. Obviously it is a real pain building a nuclear power plant in each city. An alternative (which will affect all your cities on that continent) is to build Hoover’s Dam instead. It has the same effect as the nuclear Plant, but it acts on all cities on the continent, doesn’t have the risk of meltdown (before Fusion) and can be built at an earlier stage (requires Electronics) A final method of building big cities is to remove the most hostile opposition. Taking the Zulus is sometimes a good strategy, since it removes the most militaristic civilization from the planet.

Another thing to mention here is to “terraform” all land into food production when you get large cities and pollution is a problem. This takes time, unless you use the settler cheat, but can significantly increase your city sizes. Irrigate hills, plains, and jungles (twice), mine jungles with gems and plains with horses. (*Don’t* irrigate jungles+gems or swamp+oil as it destroys the special square – you end up with plain old grassland).

The best producer of food is desert+oasis which gives 6 food units (irrigation+railroad). If by some fluke you managed to get a city completely surrounded by oasis, its maximum size would be (6*21)/2=63. Not very likely though, unless someone figures out the map editor.

5) How do you keep a city from getting unhappy?

When playing Republic or Democracy it can be very difficult keeping cities from revolt. The obvious things to do are to build temples and coliseums, but these cost to build and are a steady drain on finances. Another way is to create some entertainers, but the loss in trade (from the unused square) can make things even worse. Here are a few tips from various sources:

  Raise your luxury rate and build wonders. If you go into republic or
  democracy, you should have at least a 20% luxury rate. The increased trade 
  values makes up for the loss of raising the luxury rate.
            ---Mark Lilback

  It can be tough. Look at how many military units are away from the city
  (shown on a panel on the left side of the screen. All military units that 
  are away from the city have little black sad faces on them) and try and
  reduce that number. If your units are garrisoning another city, make those 
  change their home city (with the H command) to wherever they're located.
  Units that are in action will have to be dealt with differently. Try and 
  get one or two units from each city so that all the cities have one or two 
  units out--it spreads the burden around evenly. Also try and buy (bribes) 
  as many enemy units as you can. When you buy an enemy unit and you aren't 
  close to one of your own cities, that unit will have a "NONE" home city. 
  You can field a decent army of units that won't create any unhappiness this
  way... Also make sure to get the WOWs that make people happy--WOMEN'S
  SUFFRAGE and J.S.BACH'S CATHEDRAL are the best.
            ---James Ollinger

  Well, set luxury rate higher, send out as many caravans as possible to
  *large* enemy cities overseas and establish trade routes. If the other 
  civilization is also under Republic/Democratic, 3 trade routes can get you 
  close to 30 trades (only happened to me once). With more trade routes you 
  can also put some luxury back to science. WoW are important too, Bach is a 
  must especially on large continents, Woman's Suffrage is even more
  important, especially if you want to fight a war under Republic or 
  Democracy. And, primarily use diplomats as your attacking force, buying 
  enemy cities really pays off since you will get defending units right away 
  and city improvements.
            ---David Gosselin

Note: Bombers and nuclear units create unhappiness in their home city just by existing.

Finally, remember that when playing Republic, the further your city is from the capital, the higher the corruption rate. It can sometimes pay to build a courthouse instead of a temple, or even to move your palace to a more centralised position.

6) How do I make an Elvis (or Taxman, or Scientist)?

To make an Elvis (formally known as an “entertainer”) look at the city portion of your city screen and click the mouse on one of the squares around your city which you are currently using/drawing-resources-from. The little wheat/shield symbols will disappear from that square and suddenly you have an Elvis in the top left hand corner. This probably made a person happy (turned them light blue) or got rid of an unhappy person. This is also how you change the squares that you are currently using. Turn a square that you are using into an Elvis and then click on another empty square to get rid of the Elvis and make use of the resources in that formerly-empty square.

To make a Taxman or Scientist, make an Elvis and then move the mouse up to the Elvis symbol and click on him. He then turns into a Scientist. Click on him again and he turns into a tax collector. Once more and he’s an Elvis again.

For those using the keyboard:

On the city screen press P. This brings up a flashing box which can be moved around the city portion. Select one of the squares that is currently in use and press return. This will remove the items from that square and create an Elvis. Then press 1 for the first specialist up to 8 for the last. Repeated presses of that digit1 will turn the icon through the three types of specialist. To return the resource to the city portion just select an empty square and press return.

7) How much money does a Taxman collect?

A tax collector collects 2 coins (3 if city has marketplace; 4 if city has a bank)

8) How many light bulbs does a Scientist create?

Each Scientist you make in a city adds 2 light bulbs to your total count. If the city making them has a library they’re worth 3, (4 with university too) But if the square you are abandoning by making the specialist had 3 trade arrows (ocean) I don’t think you come out ahead. [Roger Kemp]

9) What is the difference between subvert a city and revolt?

If you cause an enemy city to revolt, you lose some of its units, some of its improvements and have an unhappy populace. However, if you subvert it you keep all the installations and all of the military units, and the city tends to stay happy. Also, causing a city to revolt tends to break any peace treaties whereas subvert doesn’t.

Also, subversion is only available when a peace treaty exists. It costs twice as much as a revolt.

Tip: Bankrupt an enemy civilization to make its cities cheaper to “incite revolt”: Choose an enemy city that is remote and not well defended (no city walls). Pound the city just enough each turn to leave it undefended. The enemy civilization will buy a defensive unit every turn at 120 or 210 coins per turn to keep it defended. A city of 10 to start with can cost them 1400 or more to keep you from getting. Always take the city at 2 so that you can sell the improvements. Not many civilizations can maintain this outlay of cash and I have yet to see one that will just let you take the city to save the money. After this is done a couple of times their well defended cities are much cheaper to “incite revolt”.

10) Which is the best government type?

This really depends on your strategy. For a detailed look at the different pros and cons, look at the strategy section. However, there are two main options. If you are playing a military game, with the aim of destroying the competition as soon as possible, then stick with despotism. Although resources are generated slower, your armies do not use them up as fast. This means that one city can generate huge armies without much penalty. Any other strategy really requires Democracy. This government helps to increase trade, which in turn increases science and money. The only problem is that each military unit away from home causes two unhappy people, and if a city revolts twice in succession, you have anarchy for about 6 turns. Republic is a useful government if you have a compact productive island. If your capital is located somewhere near the centre of the island or in your best knowledge town then corruption is not too much of a problem. Once you develop Women’s Suffrage, being in a republic is like having a license to kill. In this government you still get the growth and trade advantages that democracy gets. Most importantly you can still celebrate We-Love… The knowledge advances don’t come quite as fast as democracy but you still get armor quick enough that you can go take over the rest of the world.

Despotism: -1 to food, resources, and trade. You get the highest corruption rate. But you get 1 food requirement for settler support, and free military support. You also get content citizens with military presence, and the senate won’t force you into a peace treaty or deny you first strike capability.

Anarchy: Although the corruption rate is a little lower, you will suffer no taxes being collected, no light bulbs generated and maintenance costs are not paid.

Monarchy: No modifier to food, resources, or trade (which means it’s a +1 if you’re moving up from anarchy or despotism). Corruption is lower than anarchy. Military support is 1 shield per unit. 2 food units for each settler unit.

Communism: Same as Monarchy, but the corruption level is “flattened.” Normally corruption rises as the distance to the capitol increases, so in large empires, you can go to communism and have it all averaged out. Everyone gets the same level of corruption no matter what. This is great if you’ve got the palace in the center of the map and most of the empire is out on the fringe.

Republic: The senate now gets veto power and can force you into a peace treaty if the opponent offers one (just refuse to parlay). There is no modifier for food or resources. Trade resources are +1. Corruption is lower than Monarchy. Military support is 1 shield per unit and an unhappiness for every unit that’s away from home. 2 food units for settlers.

Democracy: Same as republic, but two sad faces (even more unhappiness) for units away from home, but 0 corruption. In a democracy–more than a turn or two of civil unrest throws you into anarchy.

11) How does the computer cheat?

The computer is known to cheat in a number of ways.

a) Computer triremes are allowed to move as sails. This means that they don’t sink when out at sea.

b) Wonders are built randomly, whenever the computer feels like it.

c) Improvements (at Emperor level) for the computer are at 1/3 normal cost.

d) Technologies are achieved at silly rates with only a couple of cities.

e) Cities that are suffering civil disorder do not have production penalties.

f) Caravans are *teleported* to remote cities immediately.

g) [Computer opponents make contact with any piece, not just diplomats.] Actually, it appears that diplomats are allowed to teleport to wherever the computer has a piece. This means that if the computer has a military piece stationed next to one of your cities, the computer can teleport a diplomat to that square and steal a technology!

h) The computer sometimes builds multiple cities before its first settler is created. (However, when playing the Russians, human players sometimes get two settlers!)

i) Also, production in cities at emperor level continues, even if the city is shy the necessary resources to maintain what it has.

There are probably more, but these few show how difficult it can be to beat the computer. It is also a good excuse for some to use the various *human* cheats without feel guilty.

12) What is the highest population for a single city?

In theory 63, but in practise there are reports of cities between 39 – 44. For the 63 monster you would need all squares to be irrigated, railroaded oasis. Each of these squares would give off 6 wheat icons!! Not likely without cheating, so here are some other comments.

Size 44. To get enough food to support a monster like this, you need to be positioned in an area where all of the surrounding squares are either Grassland or River. They should all be irrigated and Railroaded. Cities like this look nice, but are really quite useless towards the end, since there is nothing left for them to build, requiring a switch to build/sell SDI defenses. (Does ANYBODY use these?)

Only the first 8 specialists do anything for you; the others look like Taxmen but produce no money. Therefore, a city of size 29 is no better than a city of size 28, except for the final score; and except that you can also use such a city to spin off settlers, bring the population back down to 28, and use the settlers to build new cities, all the while keeping the city “maxxed out”.

  If you change byte 10 (0x0a) of the save file to a 7, you'll be
  playing at a difficulty level 3 steps harder than Emperor. There is
  a little bug at this level, and computer-owned cities grow
  limitlessly. I [Ralph Betza] once owned a city with a population of 110,
  which I bought from the Chinese. Starvation followed, of course...
	---Ralph Betza

13) Why do I appear to get unhappy citizens for free?

A post from Jas (jpacker) states:

As I understand it, the number of happy citizens per city that you get for
free, as it were, is based upon the level you play at (6 free content ones 
at Chieftain, 2 at Emperor). After that size is reached, any people over
that number are automatically unhappy, unless appeased by a temple
cathedral, coliseum, or other improvement that fixes unhappy folk (like 
some wonders). Another thing that makes unhappy people content in any
government but Republic or Democracy, is martial law. One person is made 
happy for each military unit you have sitting in the city, keeping the

14) Should I sell obsolete improvements?

In theory, the answer to this is yes, but in reality it depends on which improvement you are referring to. People have mentioned that you should sell libraries once you have universities. DON’T!. They still add to your light bulb supply, as do marketplaces with banks. The only safe ones to sell are factories after manufacturing plants, and all varieties of power plants after building the Hoover Dam. The latter only affects cities on the same continent as the dam.

15) What power plants are the best, and when can I build them?

This mainly depends on the position of your city, and the order you discover the various technologies. The first you will be able to build is the power plant. This increases production, but also pollution. You will need to discover the steam engine to build these.

As soon as you discover electronics you will be able to build hydroplants in all cities next to rivers or ocean. These give the same increase in production as power plants, but actually help to reduce pollution. Remember that you will also be able to build the Hoover dam, which will give hydropower to all cities on the same continent.

When you discover nuclear fission you will be able to build nuclear power stations. These, like hydro, will reduce pollution. However, until you discover nuclear fusion, there is a danger of meltdown.

Once you have discovered fusion, the only difference between nuclear and hydro is the maintenance cost; hydrocosts four coins, and nuclear only two coins. Nuclear are also cheaper to build; 160 shields against 240 for hydro.

Lastly, remember that you have to sell one type before building another.

16) What is the maximum number of happy people in a city?

  A friend of mine noted that you cannot get more than 11 happy people in a
  city no matter how high you set the luxuries.  This means that We-Love-the
  President will only happen until the city hits size 23.  However, if you  
  build cure for cancer you get a twelfth happy person, the city hits size 25 
  and then a 13th person is now happy.  After this point the city will    
  continue to celebrate [and grow] until it runs out of food (a new happy is 
  made every two steps).  I haven't rigorously tested this hypothesis but it 
  was true in the last game I played.
            ---Roger Kemp

17) What is most important in developing the assets of a city?

I’ve found that roads and irrigation are most important. Roads not only give you trade, but they make your units move faster, which makes it easier to amass firepower between cities for a common defence against invasions. In other words, if one city looks like it will be attacked, it is far easier to bring out the knights/catapults/cannon/armor/whatever to the city’s defence if there is a good network of roads. I also give higher priority to irrigation. Irrigation means wheat, which means population. Population increases trade, coins, and light bulbs. A city with a lot of mines and no population will watch those mines go unused. But a city with a lot of wheat production grows fast. Generally, I find it best when a city has maybe one or two forest squares, one or two mining areas, and the rest are irrigated. And everything has a road/railroad on it.