Comprehensive Guide to Terrain, Improvements, Resources, and City Placement

[B]Terrain Values[/B]
[*] The Basics about Terrain
[*] Base Terrain and Terrain Features
[*] Cumulative Tile Values
[B]Worker Improvements[/B]
[*]The Basics about Workers
[*]Basic Worker Actions
[*]Worker Turns for Improvements
[*]Terrain Specific Improvements
[*]Base FPC Values for Improvements
[*]Other things to note about Improvements
[*]Chopping Forests
[*] How Terrain Modifies Improvements (detailed charts)
[B]Resources and Improvements[/B]
[*]The Basics about Resources
[*] Resource Improvements
[*]Added Bonuses Through City Improvements
[*] Resources and Terrain Types
[B]City Placement[/B]
[*]The Basics about City Placement
[*]Resource Bonuses for Cities
[*]Other Important Factors when Placing a City
[*]How Civics and Traits effect FPC
[*]Links to related guides[/list]
[B]Downloads for pdf and text versions of this guide[/B]


The guide will give you a complete breakdown of the types of terrain and their food, production and commerce values (FPC). There is a lot more to it than what is avaliable in the manual or Civilopedia, and this guide is an attempt to cover as much of it as I can. [B]There are five factors involved when using terrain effectively: terrain values, terrain feature values, improvement values, bonus resource values, and civics and tech bonuses–all of which accumulate.[/B] I’ve also made a list of worker improvements and their value modifications for each type of terrain. I’ve included the bonus value of resources as well; though the information is already in the manual, the way they calculated the values are unusual. I’ve recalculated them to make them more compatible with the other values in this guide. Having a more in-depth understanding of these terrain values can really help your strategy when deciding where to build your cities, and so I’ve also added a section on city placement strategies.

This guide was compiled by Stuporstar. I hope that people will find this guide useful. I will continue adding/correcting info as it comes. Special thanks goes to: Heroes for his best income breakdowns and added civics; EridanMan for his excellent guide on forest chopping; and Brokguitar for the most contributions so far, with his screenshots and much added info about terrain, resources and city placement.

PDF and text versions of this guide are available for download in the last section [URL=”″]here[/URL].

[SIZE=”4″][B]Starting with the Basics: Yields (FPC)[/B][/SIZE]

There are three basic types of bonuses that terrain can give to your city: Food, Production, and Commerce. There are also two secondary bonuses, happiness and health, that are given by specific resources (and are a factor in trade) and some types of terrain features. For the moment we will focus on base FPC value. In the game, food is represented by bread slices, production is represented by hammers and commerce is represented by coins. For the purposes of this guide, food, production and commerce will be referred to as FPC.


In the game, FPC value is referred to as Yields. You can see the FPC value for terrain automatically when you click on a Settler unit. On your main screen you can toggle the Yields Display, which will reveal the FPC for every visible tile by either pressing [B]Ctrl-Y[/B],
or by clicking the Yeilds Display button on the bottom right-hand of your screen ==> [IMG][/IMG]

[B]The Difference Between Commerce and Gold:[/B] I thought I’d mention this here because the two are easily confused. Both are represented by the coin symbol (which can be fairly easily modded into two seperate symbols – I’ve created a mod for Gold myself which can be found [URL=”″]here[/URL]). Commerce comes from terrain, trade routes and your Palace, which is then divided amongst your sliders into Science, Culture (enabled with Drama tech) and Gold. The Gold then goes into your treasury or is used for city maintenance and civic upkeep. Because this guide deals primarily with terrain, we will mostly be referring to Commerce and not Gold values.

[SIZE=”5″][B]Terrain Values[/B][/SIZE]

[SIZE=”4″][B]The Basics about Terrain:[/B][/SIZE]

The first thing we will discuss in this guide are the basic terrain, and terrain feature FPC values. Terrain features are things like forest, hills and floodplains which have cumulative values when added to the base terrain types underneath. Below is a screenshot showing the types of terrain and how these FPC values will appear over the tiles. Click the thumbnails for the larger version (saves on bandwidth):


As you can see, the best food producers are floodplain and oasis tiles, with 3 food; the best production tiles are plains/hill, with 2 production (3 with forest); and the best commerce comes from oasis and coastal tiles (including inland sea), with 2 commerce. Others, such as desert, and snow (and ocean) have no FPC value whatsoever, but can be modified by terrain features.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Base Terrain and Terrain Features[/B][/SIZE]

Below is a detailed list with all the FPC values listed for terrain types, as well as any health bonuses or penalties for cities, and movement costs and defense bonuses for units (base movement cost is 1mp).

F = food : P = production : C = commerce : mp = movement cost for units

[B]Base Terrain[/B]

[U]Peak [B]0[/B][/U] impassible
[U]Snow [B]0[/B][/U]
[U]Desert [B]0[/B][/U]
[U]Tundra [B]1F[/B][/U]
[U]Sea [B]1F 1C[/B][/U] (Ocean = 0)
[U]Coast [B]1F 2C[/B][/U] (Inland Sea = 2F 2C fresh water source)
[U]Grassland [B]2F[/B][/U]
[U]Plains [B]1F 1P[/B][/U]

[B]Terrain Features[/B]

[U]Ice [B]0[/B][/U] impassible
[U]Jungle [B]-1F[/B][/U] (-0.25 health) always on grassland; 2mp; +50% defense bonus
[U]Hills [B]-1F +1P[/B][/U] +25% defense bonus; 2mp
[U]Forest [B]1P[/B][/U] (+0.4 health) do not grow on desert/snow; 2mp; +50% defense bonus
[U]Floodplains [B]3F[/B][/U] (-0.4 heath) always on desert
[U]Oasis [B]3F 2C[/B][/U] (+2 health) fresh water source; always on desert; 2mp; cannot build cities
[U]Rivers [B]1C[/B][/U] (+2 health) fresh water source; +25% defense bonus
Rivers give no commerce bonus to Snow, Jungle or Forest tiles.

Note that when it comes to fresh water sources, they must be adjacent to your city for that city to get the health bonus, and you only get a total +2 health bonus to your city. It is not cumulative as it is with forest tiles.
Though forests will not grow on a snow tile, I have seen them randomly generated on the map so they will be covered in the next section.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Cumulative Tile Values[/B][/SIZE]
Listed below are the cumulative FPC value calculations when terrain features are added to base terrain types.

[U]Grassland + Jungle = [B]1F[/B] (2F – 1F)
Snow + Forest = [B]1P[/B] (0 + 1P)
Tundra + Forest = [B]1F 1P[/B] (1F + 1P)
Grassland + Forest = [B]2F 1P[/B] (2F + 1P)
Plains + Forest = [B]1F 2P[/B] (1F 1P + 1P)[/U]

[U]Desert + Hill = [B]1P[/B] (0 + 1P (-1F))
Snow + Hill = [B]1P[/B] (0 + 1P (-1F))
Tundra + Hill = 1P (1F + 1P – 1F)
Grassland + Hill = [B]1F 1P[/B] (2F +1P – 1F)
Plains + Hill = [B]2P[/B] (1F 1P + 1P – 1F)[/U]

[U]Grassland + Hill + Jungle = [B]1P[/B] (2F (- 1F + 1P) – 1F)
Snow + Hill + Forest = [B]2P[/B] (0 ((- 1F )+ 1P) + 1P)
Tundra + Hill + Forest = [B]2P[/B] (1F (- 1F + 1P) + 1P)
Grassland + Hill + Forest = [B]1F 2P[/B] (2F (- 1F + 1P) + 1P)
Plains + Hill + Forest = [B]3P[/B] (1F 1P (- 1F + 1P) + 1P)[/U]

These are the terrain/feature combinations that you will find on a randomly generated map. It is possible to add any terrain feature (and any improvement) to any kind of terrain in the World Builder, and they have corresponding cumulative values. These will not be covered however (for example putting a floodplain on a grassland tile will net you 5 food without improvements, which is so overpowered it might as well be cheating).

[SIZE=”5″][B]Worker Improvements[/B][/SIZE]

[SIZE=”4″][B]The Basics about Workers:[/B][/SIZE]

When you click to move a worker and mouse-over the terrain, you get a list of the types of improvements the worker can build on that square. In this example, the only option currently available on the highlighted square is a farm. The blue glow around the icon represents the AI’s recommendation. The improvements that are greyed out are those that are available to that terrain (or resource) type, but have not yet been researched. When you mouse-over a tile it will also give you terrain info near the bottom left-hand corner, and in the case of a resource, will tell you which technology you need to research if you don’t have it. A worker has two moves on flat terrain instead of one, but movement costs for forest, hills and jungles still apply. Moving onto the nearest flatland square means the worker can start working that tile right away.


[SIZE=”4″][B]Basic Worker Actions[/B][/SIZE]

[B]Chop Forest:[/B] Chopping a forest becomes available with [B]Bronzeworking[/B], and chopping Jungle becomes available with [B]Ironworking[/B]. It will not only clear land for other improvements (except Lumbermills) but will also give a production bonus to your nearest city. More about forest chopping and how it applies to strategy will be discussed later in this article.
[B]Build Road:[/B] Workers can build roads on any tile (except impassible terrain) once the [B]Wheel[/B] is researched. Unlike previous Civ games, roads do not give any FPC bonuses to tiles. They decrease unit movement costs by 1/2 (except in enemy territory), and decrease further to 1/3 with the [B]Engineering[/B] tech. This effect of roads is negated across rivers until you get the [B]Construction[/B] tech (little bridges appear). Roads are also used to establish trade routes between cities (rivers also work like roads in this aspect).
[B]Build Railroad:[/B] Like roads, railroads can be built on any workable tile once [B]Railroads[/B] is researched. They decrease movement cost by 1/10, and give a +1P bonus to mines and lumbermills.
[B]Build Fort: [/B] Forts can be built on any workable tile once [B]Mathematics[/B] is researched. They give units a +25% defense bonus. The disadvantage of forts is that they cannot be built on top of existing improvements. They destroy previously existing improvements and remove forests (kind of pointless when forests give a +50% defense bonus.
[B]Scrub Fallout: [/B] This action becomes available with [B]Ecology[/B]. Workers can remove fallout from nuclear strikes and nuclear plant meltdowns. Fallout make tiles unworkable and removes their FPC value. It also destroys forest and jungle tiles.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Worker Turns for Improvements[/B][/SIZE]

Improvement—–Base # turns—–Forest (Chop+3 turns)—–Jungle (Chop+4 turns)
Road—————–2——————–2 (no chop)————–2 (no chop)
Railroad————–3——————–3 (no chop)————–3 (no chop)
Lumbermill————8——————–8 (no chop)————- —
Camp—————-4——————–4 (no chop)————–4 (no chop)
Winery—————5——————–8———————– —
Scrub Fallout———4——————- — ——————— —

Improvement—Tundra—Tundra/Forest————Snow —Desert/Floodplain
—————(+25%)—(+25% +3 turns chop)—(+50%)——-(+25%)
Road————-3———3 (no chop)————–3————3
Railroad———-4———4 (no chop)————–5————4
Farm————7———10———————- — ———–8
Cottage———-5———9———————- — ———–6
Workshop——–8———11———————– — ———-9
Lumbermill——- — ——-10 (no chop)————- — ——– —
Camp————5———5 (no chop)————–6——- — —
Quarry———- — —— — ———————–9————8
Pasture———-5——– — ———————- ———— —
Plantation—— — —— – — ———– ———- — ———–7
Winery——— — ——– — ——————— — ———- —
Well————-9———11——————– –10————9
Scrub Fallout—-5——— — ———————–6————5

[B]Factors that increase worker speed are:[/B]

[B]Civilizations: India[/B] – Unique Unit, Fast Worker – movement 3 instead of 2
[B]Techs: Steam Power[/B] – workers build 50% faster
[B]Civics: Serfdom[/B] – workers build 50% faster
[B]Buildings: The Hagia Sophia[/B] (World Wonder) – workers build 50% faster.
+8 culture, +2 Great Engineer. Tech required Engineering; Obsolete with Steam Power.

The tech and civic bonuses are cumulative, so it is possible to have your workers build 100% faster.
This chart was modified from Brokguitar’s guide.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Terrain Specific Improvements[/B][/SIZE]

The list below lists the basic types of improvements you can build that are specific to terrain (resource specific improvements will be covered later in the resources section).

[B]Desert[/B] = No improvements except Roads/Railroads

[B]Flatlands: Grassland, Plains, Floodplains, Tundra[/B] (only with River) = [B]Farm[/B] (only near river until Civil Service tech), [B]Cottage, Workshop[/B]

[B]Hills:[/B] (all terrain) = [B]Mine, Windmill, Cottage[/B] (only on Grassland Hills)

[B]Forest:[/B] (all terrain) = [B]Lumbermill, Chop Forest[/B] (whatever you can build on the base terrain)

[B]River:[/B] (all flatlands) = [B]Watermill[/B]

[B]Snow and Tundra[/B] = No improvements except Road/Railroad without River, Hills or Forest

Here is another screenshot by Brokguitar showing how the basic terrain-based improvements appear on the map and a comparison with the base terrain FPC values. Lumbermills on forested hill tiles and Workshops on floodplains are not depicted.


[SIZE=”4″][B]Base FPC Values for Improvements[/B][/SIZE]

[B]Farm[/B] (flatlands, can only be built near rivers until irrigation; can build on resources)
Tech Required: Agriculture
[B]FPC Value: 1F[/B]
Tech Modifier 1: Civil Service (spreads irrigation)
Tech Modifier 2: Biology (can build without irrigation) + 1F, only base 1F without irrigation
[B]Best income: 2F[/B] (Biology with irrigation)

[B]Mine[/B] (hills; can build on resources)
Tech Required: Mining
[B]FPC Value: 2P[/B]
Tech Modifier 1: Railroads +1P with railroad
[B]Best income: 3P[/B] (with railroad)

[B]Cottage[/B] (flatlands, and grassland/hill)
Hamlet (10 turns)
Village (20 turns)
Town (40 turns)
Tech Required: Pottery
[B]FPC Value:
Cottage = 1C
Hamlet = 2C
Village = 3C
Town = 4C[/B]
Tech Modifier 1: Printing Press Village +1C, Town +1C
Civic: Universal Sufferage (Democracy) +1P for Town
Civic: Emancipation (Democracy) +100% growth for Cottage, Village, or Hamlet
Civic: Free Speech (Liberalism) +2C for Town
[B]Best income: 1P 7C[/B] (Printing Press, Universal Suffrage, Free Speech)

[B]Workshop[/B] (flatlands)
Tech Required: Metal Casting
[B]FPC Value: -1F 1P[/B]
Tech Modifier 1: Guilds +1P
Tech Modifier 2: Chemistry +1P
Civic: State Property (Communism) +1F
[B]Best income: 3P[/B] (Guilds, Chemistry, State Property)

[B]Windmill[/B] (hills)
Tech Required: Machinery
[B]FPC Value: 1F 1C[/B]
Tech Modifier 1: Replaceable Parts +1P
Tech Modifier 2: Electricity +1C
[B]Best income: 1F 1P 2C[/B] (Replaceable Parts, Electricity)

[B]Watermill[/B] (only near rivers)
Tech Required: Machinery
[B]FPC Value: 1P + 1C[/B] from river
Tech Modifier 1: Replacable Parts +1P
Tech Modifier 2: Electricity +2C
Civic: State Property (Communism) +1F
[B]Best income: 1F 2P 2C[/B] (Replaceable Parts, Electricity, State Property)

[B]Lumbermill[/B] (forest)
Tech Required: Replaceable Parts
[B]FPC Value: 1P[/B] +1C to rivers
Tech Modifier 1: Railroad +1P with railroad
[B]Best income: 3P 1C[/B] (1C from river, 1P from railroad, 1P from forest)
Note that the +1C to river tiles from Lumbermills is only returning the river bonus that you do not get on forest tiles.
Best income breakdowns were contributed by Heroes.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Other things to note about some improvements:[/B][/SIZE]

[B]Farms:[/B] As you can see from the previous chart, even with Biology, it is better to just chain your irrigated farms if you can, because the non-irrigated farms that this gives you the ability to build do not get the +1F irrigation bonus; however it may be useful if you are on a particular landmass that has no way of reaching fresh water and you desperately need to increase your food production. Once Civil Service is discovered, you can chain your farms if they are connected to a river or irrigated farm. You can in fact chain irrigation through cities; a city built on fresh water spreads irrigation to all adjacent tiles, provided it is built on flatland and not a hill. The only exception is on Tundra, which cannot have a farm built on it without being directly adjacent to a river.

[B]Watermills:[/B] There are two exceptions where you cannot build a watermill on a river adjacent tile. When there is a bend in the river, you cannot build a watermill on the tile near the point on the bend (highlighted by the blue circle). You can still build watermills on the three other river adjacent tiles, however you also cannot build two watermills on opposite sides of the river. This means, that in this example, the tile directly below the workers cannot be turned into a watermill either because there is already one on the other side of the river.


[B]Cottages:[/B] Cottages grow to produce more commerce. It takes 10 turns for a cottage to grow into a hamlet, 20 to grow into a village and 40 to grow into a town. It is a good idea to build these early to take advantage of their growth. However, this improvement will only grow if the tile is being worked by a citizen in your city. Normally you can see a little hut icon on the tile that is being worked, but with improvements those icons dissapear, so if your cottages aren’t growing, you may need to check which tiles are being worked in your city screen.


[SIZE=”4″][B]Chopping Forests:[/B][/SIZE]

Chopping forests is a very useful strategy, especially early in the game. The production bonus you get from chopping a forest can help get your civilization to an early head start. However, keeping the forest will give you better production in the long run than if you chop it down to replace it with farms or cottages. The health bonus from forests is also useful. But it will take a while before you can research Replaceable Parts and build lumbermills. Here are some things to consider before you start deforesting your empire. Plan ahead, and think strategically.

[B]Health Bonus:[/B] Keeping a few forests around have long term benefits to your cities health. You get a 0.4% health bonus to cities for every forest tile inside it’s radius. You will also get +1 happiness in your cities with the Environmentalism civic (also for jungles).

[B]Hills:[/B] On a forest/hill tile you only stand to gain 1P from replacing it with a mine, which you would eventually get back when you can build lumbermills. However that extra early production and the city production bonus you get from the chop is something to consider in exchange for waiting too long for equal production and added health benefit. I’ll often leave hills forested until I’ve built more critical improvements first (unless I really need the bonus hammers fast and there’s nowhere better to get them), but hills are a high priority for chopping once I find the time to build mines.

[B]Rivers:[/B] Forests also take away the commerce bonus from rivers, which you will also eventually get back with lumbermills. Because you need as much commerce as possible, and the earlier the better, forests near rivers are usually on my high priority chopping list. There are too many better ways to use river tiles such as farms (early in the game) and watermills (much later).

[B]Try to chop outside of your city borders[/B] (you can even chop outside your cultural borders!). The bonus hammers will go to the nearest city. There are distance modifiers, which means a forest chopped too far outside your borders will result in less hammers, but sometimes it’s more worthwhile to keep those few forests within your city borders for the health effects.

[B]The number of hammers you get from chopping will vary.[/B] The most consistent factor is game speed. A Quick game will average you about 20 hammers per chop, at Standard speed you will average about 30, and at Epic you will average about 45. Another factor is distance from your city; you will get less hammers the further away you chop. But what has the greatest effect on the number of hammers is production bonuses in your cities. Forges, factories, etc. and production increasing civics will all increase the amount of hammers you get by the percentage bonus you get for that city’s production. The Industrious trait will also increase the number of hammers you get from chopping while building a wonder, because your wonder production is +50%. Having the right build materials for wonders (such as quarried marble to build the Oracle) will also double the amount of hammers you get from a chop while building it. Having the right building material for a wonder, plus any other production bonuses due to certain buildings and civics, will accumulate the number of hammers you get. I’ve heard it’s possible to get 90 hammers from a single chop!

[B]Chop before you improve.[/B] You get no turn penalties for chopping then improving, and you will get your bonus hammers that much earlier (3 turns). If you build an improvement on a forest tile, it will take you the time to improve the tile PLUS the time for the forest chop before you get your bonus hammers.

[B]Forests (and jungles) will grow only on UNIMPROVED tiles as long as there is a forested square nearby.[/B] They do however grow over roads. I’ve tested and verified this by bumping up the forest growth percentage to something ridiculous and watching the forests grow all over the map. The chance of regrowth being calculated by the number of adjacent forest/jungle tiles is still up for debate, but it seems pretty random. There is currently no way to plant forests later in the game as there was in Civ III.

[B]Defensive positions:[/B] The last thing to consider is the defense bonus and whether or not it is of strategic value to chop a forest or jungle. The defense bonus for both is 50%, and if that’s on a hill (25%) you get a cumulative 75%! Because unit movement is also decreased, having a few forests in strategic positions around your empire can slow an enemy advance to a crawl. If you have a forest on a hill, in a good position for a fortification, DO NOT CHOP IT DOWN TO BUILT A FORT. A fort only has a 25% defensive bonus.

Much of this info I learned thanks to EridanMan’s excellent guide in the CivFanatics forums.

[SIZE=”4″][B]A detailed breakdown of how worker improvements modify terrain values:[/B][/SIZE]







[B]Summary:[/B] a breakdown of which terrain improvements maximize income/production/food best would be:

[B]Food:[/B] Farm [B]+2F[/B] (5F 1C best terrain) (+2F 1C with resource)

[B]Commerce:[/B] Cottage [B]+1P 7C[/B] (+1P 8C with river)

[B]Production:[/B] Workshop [B]+3P[/B] (1F 4P 1C best terrain)
Mine [B]+3P[/B] (5P 1C best terrain) (+2P 1C with resource)
Lumbermill [B]+3P[/B] (5P 1C best terrain) + health bonus from forest

[B]General:[/B] Windmill [B]+1F 1P 2C[/B] (2F 2P 3C best terrain) (1F 3P 3C best terrain)
Watermill [B]+1F 2P 2C[/B] (2F 3P 3C best terrain) (4F 2P 3C best terrain)

[SIZE=”5″][B]Resources and Improvements[/B][/SIZE]

[SIZE=”4″][B]The Basics About Resources:[/B][/SIZE]

First off we will look at the different types of resources available using more of Brokguitar’s screenshots. On top of the tile bonuses (FPC value) they provide, these resources also provide bonuses to your civilization which can be accessed through trade. In order to benefit from the trade bonuses they need to be within your cultural borders, connected to your trade network (via roads or rivers), and have their corresponding improvement. They can also be traded to you by another civ. These trade bonuses come in three categories:

[B]Luxury Resources:[/B] provide [B]+1 happiness[/B] (for only one of each type) to all cities connected to your trade network. These resources are: Dyes, Furs, Gems, Gold, Incense, Ivory, Silver, Spices, Sugar, Wine and Whales. These also add commerce to your cities. Of these, Ivory, Furs and Whales eventually become obsolete. They retain their FPC value but lose the happiness bonus to your cities.


[B]Food Resources:[/B] provide [B]+1 health[/B] (for only one of each type) to all cities connected to your trade network. This health benefit can be further increased by certain city improvements (such as granaries, grocers, etc.). These also add food to your cities. These resources are: Bananas, Clam, Corn, Cows, Crab, Deer, Fish, Pigs, Rice, Sheep, and Wheat.


[B]Strategic/Production Resources:[/B] Most of these resources are essential, as they allow you to create certain unit types or increase wonder production. They also add production value to your cities (Uranium being an exception, which adds more commerce). These resources are: Aluminum, Coal, Copper, Horses, Iron, Marble, Oil, Stone, and Uranium.


[SIZE=”4″][B]Resource Improvements:[/B][/SIZE]

The following improvements can be built wherever their specific resource is found. The improvements are non-terrain specific, though on a random map the resources tend to generate only on certain types of terrain. All these terrain values and bonuses are cumulative. This means that the 2P bonus with the improved resource iron, copper, coal or aluminum + 2P for the mine + 1-2P on a hill can equal up to a maximum of 7P on a single tile.

You will notice these values are different from the manual. The manual seems to calculate what is added to the base bonus (so corn = base 1F and improving it adds and additional 2F rather than just stating that improved corn = +3F on top of the base terrain). I’ve recalcuated the values so that the base bonus is calculated into the improved value and reflect what you will actually get added to the base terrain. In the case of mines and farms I have NOT included the added value from the mine or farm because they can be modified by tech/civics.

[B]Farm:[/B] Agriculture
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Corn[/B]—–[B]1F[/B]————-[B]3F[/B] +1 Health (base bonus 1F + improved 2F)
[B]Wheat[/B]—[B]1F[/B]————-[B]3F[/B] +1 Health
[B]Rice[/B]—–[B]1F[/B]————-[B]2F[/B] +1 Health
*not included is the value added by the farm, so what you will actually see is that improving corn, wheat or rice adds an additional 1-2F on top of the improved value given. Farms can be built on top of resources without irrigation, however you get [b]no bonus for the farm[/b] until it is irrigated.

[B]Pasture:[/B] Animal Husbandry
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Horse[/B]—-[B]1P[/B]————-[B]3P 1C[/B] Revealed by Animal Husbandry (as of patch 1.09)
[B]Cow[/B]—–[B]1F[/B]————–[B]2F 2P[/B] +1 Health
[B]Pig[/B]——[B]1F[/B]————–[B]4F +1[/B] Health
[B]Sheep[/B]—[B]1F[/B]————–[B]3F 1C[/B] +1 Health

[B]Camp:[/B] Hunting
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Deer[/B]—-[B]1F[/B]————-[B]3F +1[/B] Health
[B]Furs[/B]—-[B]1C[/B]————-[B]4C +1[/B] Happiness (obsolete with Plastics)*
[B]Ivory[/B]—[B]1P[/B]————–[B]2P 1C[/B] +1 Happiness (obsolete with Industrialism)*
*note, when these go obsolete you still get the tile bonuses from them.
Camps, like Lumbermills, do not remove forests when you build them.

[B]Quarry:[/B] Masonry
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Stone[/B]—-[B]1P[/B]————-[B]3P[/B] (speeds production of some wonders)
[B]Marble[/B]—[B]1P[/B]————–[B]2P 2C[/B] (speeds production of some wonders)

[B]Mine:[/B] Mining
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Silver[/B]—–[B]1C[/B]———- [B]-1P 5C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Gems[/B]—–[B]1C[/B]———- [B]-1P 6C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Gold[/B]——[B]1C[/B]———- [B]-1P 7C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Copper[/B]—[B]1P[/B]————[B]2P[/B] Revealed by Bronze Working
[B]Iron[/B]——[B]1P[/B]————[B]2P[/B] Revealed by Iron Working
[B]Coal[/B]——[B]1P[/B]————[B]2P[/B] Revealed by Steam Power
[B]Aluminum[/B]–[B]1P[/B]———-[B]2P 1C[/B] Revealed by Industrialism
[B]Uranium[/B]—-[B]0[/B]———–[B]3C[/B] Revealed by Physics
*these values do NOT include the added 2P from the mine, so what you get from improved copper, iron, coal or aluminum is actually +4P. Silver, gems and gold are an unusual case since they actually reduce the production from a mine by 1, however they do not reduce the production of the base tile (which is why -1P is added to the improved bonus), so adding a mine will only give you +1P instead of 2P.

[B]Plantation:[/B] Calendar
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Bananas[/B]—[B]1F[/B]———[B]3F[/B] +1 Health
[B]Dye[/B]——-[B]1C[/B]———[B]5C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Incense[/B]—[B]1C[/B]———[B]6C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Silk[/B]——-[B]1C[/B]———[B]4C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Spices[/B]—-[B]1C[/B]———[B]1F 3C[/B] +1 Happiness
[B]Sugar[/B]—–[B]1F[/B]———[B]2F 1C[/B] +1 Happiness

[B]Winery:[/B] Monarchy
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Wine[/B]—[B]1C[/B]————[B]1F 3C[/B] +1 Happiness

[B]Well:[/B] Combustion and [B]Offshore Platform:[/B] Plastics (built on sea sqaures – requires Work Boat)
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Oil[/B]—–[B]1P[/B]—————[B]3P 1C[/B]

The following improvements exist only on coast or sea squares and require a Work Boat to improve them (this includes Offshore Platforms as well, mentioned above). As mentioned in the manual, a work boat can only be used once to improve a tile. It is then destroyed upon completion of the improvement and you must create a new one to improve further water tiles.

[B]Fishing Boats:[/B] Fishing
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Fish[/B]—-[B]1F[/B]————-[B]4F +1[/B] Health
[B]Clam[/B]—[B]1F[/B]————-[B]3F +1[/B] Health
[B]Crab[/B]—[B]1F[/B]————-[B]3F +1[/B] Health

[B]Whaling Boats:[/B] Optics
Base Tile Bonus——-Improved Tile Bonus
[B]Whales[/B]—[B]1F[/B]————-[B]1F 1P 2C[/B] +1 Happiness (obsolete with Combustion)
*note, when this luxury becomes obsolete you still get the tile bonus.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Added Bonuses through City Improvements:[/B][/SIZE]

There are certain city improvements which will either add one health or one happiness for every resource of a certain type connected to your trade network (only one bonus for each). Other improvements can increase the FPC value of all the tiles in your city, or all your cities.

The following buildings give health or happiness bonuses:

[B]Granary:[/B] (Pottery)
stores 50% of food after growth
[B]+1 health from Corn, Rice, Wheat[/B]

[B]Harbor:[/B] (Compass)
+50% trade route yeild (commerce)
[B]+1 health from Clam, Crab, Fish[/B]

[B]Market:[/B] (Currency)
+25% gold, can turn 2 citizens into Merchant
[B]+1 happiness from Fur, Ivory, Silk, Whale[/B]

[B]Grocer:[/B] (Guilds)
+25% gold, can turn 2 citizens into Merchant
[B]+1 health from Banana, Spices, Sugar, Wine[/B]

[B]Theatre:[/B] (Drama)
+3 culture, +1 happiness per 10% culture rate, can turn 2 citizens into Artist
[B]+1 happiness from Dye[/B]

Supermarket: (Refrigeration)
requires Grocer, 150H
+1 health from Cow, Deer, Sheep, Pig

The following improvements increase yields (FPC value):

[B]Lighthouse:[/B] (Sailing)
required to build The Great Lighthouse
[B]+1F on all water tiles in city[/B]

[B]The Colossus:[/B] (Metal Casting) World Wonder
+6 culture, +2 great merchant
requires Forge, 250H (double production speed with Copper)
[B]+1C in all water tiles[/B] (in every city)
obsolete with Astronomy

[SIZE=”4″][B]Resources and Terrain Types:[/B][/SIZE]

These are the types of terrain on which certain types of resources are randomly generated (as derived from the CIV4BonusInfos.xml). The base terrain types are highlighted in bold text. In some cases terrain features are optional and in other cases they are required. It may be possible for resources to be generated on other terrain types not listed, but this is something I cannot verify, so I am going to stick to the lists as defined inside the original xml file.

[B]Aluminum:[/B] Hills – [B]Plains, Desert, Tundra[/B]
[B]Coal:[/B] Hills – [B]Grassland, Plains[/B]
[B]Copper, Iron:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Grassland, Plains, Desert, Tundra, Snow[/B] (no river)
[B]Marble:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Plains, Tundra, Snow[/B] (no river)
[B]Stone:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Plains, Desert[/B] (no river)
[B]Uranium:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Grassland, Plains, Desert, Tundra, Snow[/B], Jungles (optional) (no river)
[B]Oil:[/B] Flatlands: [B]Desert, Tundra, Snow, Ocean[/B] (no river)
[B]Horses:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Grass, Plains, Tundra[/B] (no river)

[B]Clam, Crab, Fish: Coast[/B] (Fish also on Ocean)
[B]Corn:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Grassland[/B] (no river)
[B]Cow:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Grassland, Plains[/B] (no river)
[B]Wheat:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Plains[/B] (no river)
[B]Rice:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Grassland[/B], Jungle (optional) (no river)
[B]Pig:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Grassland[/B], Jungle (optional) (no river)
[B]Sheep:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Grassland, Plains[/B] (no river)
[B]Deer:[/B] Hills or Flatlands – [B]Tundra[/B], Forest (optional)

[B]Banana, Dye, Sugar:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Grassland[/B] (only with Jungle)
[B]Spices:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Plains, Grassland[/B] (only with Forest or Jungle)
[B]Silk:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Plains, Grassland[/B] (both only with Forest)
[B]Ivory:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Plains, Grassland[/B] (only with Jungle)
[B]Incense:[/B] Flatlands – [B]Desert[/B]
[B]Wine:[/B] Flatland or Hills – [B]Plains[/B]
[B]Fur:[/B] Flatlands or Hills – [B]Tundra, Snow[/B], Forest (optional)
[B]Gems:[/B] Flatlands or Hills – [B]Grassland[/B] (only with Jungle)
[B]Gold:[/B] Hills – [B]Plains, Desert[/B]
[B]Silver:[/B] Hills – [B]Tundra, Snow[/B]
[B]Whales: Ocean[/B]

* no river indicates that the tag is set to 1 in the xml file. I can only assume this means the bonus is not supposed to generate next to a river. This possible effect is currently unconfirmed.

[SIZE=”5″][B]City Placement[/B][/SIZE]

[SIZE=”4″][B]The Basics about City Placement:[/B][/SIZE]

When you first settle your city you will see a border surrounding it. Your [B]workers[/B] can improve any tiles that are within these [B]cultural borders[/B] (only roads/railroads can be built outside). The [B]citizens[/B] within your city can only work within your [B]city boundary[/B]. In the beginning you will only have a 9 square boundary. As culture in your city develops, these borders will expand. It takes 10 culture points for the first expansion. Known as the ‘fat cross’ once it expands to 21 squares (the 21st being the city itself, which is automatically worked), your citizens will only be able to work these 21 squares surrounding your city, even though your cultural borders will continue to expand well beyond that. Here is another screenshot from Brokguitar showing these city boundaries (notice that the cultural borders have expanded beyond the city boundary):


A city square nearly always gets [B]2F 1P 1C[/B]. This includes normally useless tiles such as Desert or Snow, which is something to consider; because of this, try to build cities ON them instead of near them if you can. There are some exceptions where you can get more than the base 2F 1P 1C for a city. [B]The only exception for terrain is an additional 1P when you build a city on top of a plains/hill.[/B] This seems to be the only time you get any bonuses for city placement (without building on top of resources). You get no bonus for any other kind of hill, and no bonus for a flatland/plains square. It must be a plains/hill. The other major advantage to building on a plains/hill is of course the defense bonus. Hills get a defensive bonus of 25%.

[SIZE=”4″][B]Resource Bonuses for Cities:[/B][/SIZE]

When you build a city on top of a resource, you can, under specific circumstances, get a small bonus for that resource. That bonus is not equal to the value you would get by improving the tile, but it can have great strategic worth and give an early boost in production. You will be able to use that resource once you research the appropriate tech. If you build a city on top of stone, you will not be able to use it until you discover masonry, but once you do, it will be immediately available to that city (and others connected to your trade network).

The advantages to building a city on top of a resource are: quick access to resources (your worker won’t have to use turns to improve that tile); easy defense from enemy civs; and an early production boost to that city. The disadvantage is less production in the long run, since the production from improved resources is much greater. For this reason, consider building on only strategic resources (which give production bonuses under certain conditions) in order to protect them, and other resources only early in the game when that one extra FPC bonus is going to make the most difference.

One thing I have noticed is that the AI is notorious for pillaging Oil Wells with their spies. This is one case where I would definitely try to settle on a late game resource just to protect it.

Here is Brokguitar’s list of the types of the bonuses you get for settling on top of a specific resource. You do not need the required technology to gain the extra FPC bonus provided by these resources.

[B]Commerce Resources:[/B] When Dye, Gold, Gems, Incense, Fur, Silk, Silver, Spice, and Wine are next to a river, you will receive [B]Two Extra Commerce[/B] when you settle on top of them. [i][color=red]Edit: this is not correct – you get one extra commerce in this case. However, the bonus from the Financial trait applies to the city tile just as it does any other. When the original analysis was done, George Washington was Fin/Org — vou[/color][/i]


[B]Food Resources:[/B] When Bananas, Rice, Sugar, Sheep, Corn, Cows, and Pigs are on Grassland Tiles Only (no hills) you are able to produce [B]One Extra Food[/B] when you settle on top of them.


[B]Production Resources:[/B] When Coal, Copper, Iron, Marble, Oil, Stone, Aluminum, Horses, and Ivory are on Plains Tiles Only (not hills) you are able to produce [B]One Extra Hammer[/B] when you settle on top of them.


Now if these same resources are on a [B]Plains/Hill[/B] tile you can produce [B]Two Extra Hammers[/B].


[SIZE=”4″][B]Other important factors when placing a city:[/B][/SIZE]

[B]Terrain will determine how a city specializes:[/B] a city with more food will grow faster, which can become a Great Person generator; a city with a lot of commerce can support your entire empire; and a city with high production is probably best used as a unit factory. Having at least one of each type is a good idea, while most of your other cities will be more generalized. Have a good look at your surrounding terrain and you’ll have a good idea, even before improvements, of how your cities should be best utilized.

[B]Jungle/Floodplain:[/B] Health value is can be a big deal when placing your cities. A city surrounded by jungles or floodplains will become unhealthy very quickly. Researching Iron Working will give your workers the ability to cut down jungles. The other advantage/disadvantage to building on a floodplain is the very rapid growth. In the early game, this can lead to unhealthiness and unhappiness very quickly. It’s always great to have 2 or three floodplain tiles near your city, but settling right in the middle of a large stretch of floodplains will not only cause your cities to grow out of control, but will be very poor on production. Consider not building farms on floodplains right away if you need to control your growth. In the later game, these cities will make great GP (great people) generators.

[B]Rivers and Fresh Water:[/B] Building on a river will not only give you extra health (+2 for a city adjacent to fresh water), but will automatically connect any cities on that river. You won’t need to build roads to get that essential trade route early on. I always try to found my second city on the connecting river to my capital if I can. A resource tile directly linked to a river does not need a road built on it in order to connect it to your trade network. The only requirement is that the river somehow links directly to your trade network. Remember that for the purposes of trade [B]Rivers = Roads[/B]. Oasis and Inland Seas also count as fresh water sources and give the +2 health bonus, though it is not specifically stated in the manual. As mentioned in the section about farms, cities built adjacent to fresh water sources also spread irrigation to all adjacent tiles, so that once Civil Service is discovered, you can chain your irrigation through cities (provided they are built on flatland and not a hill). Another benefit to rivers is the defense bonus (+25%) and you may find that some cities have rivers on three sides, almost surrounding it like a moat. This, on top of a hill can make your city nearly impenetrable. Also consider, if you are going to ride out on the offensive from within your city, your units take the same penalty for crossing that river.

[B]Coastal Cities:[/B] There are a number of factors to consider when building a city on coastal terrain. The first is of course access to the sea and an extra trade route. [B]A coastal city can become an economic powerhouse[/B], especially with the Colossus wonder, which provides an extra commerce for every cities’ water tiles. Building a lighthouse will also provide an extra food for every water tile within that city’s borders. Though water tiles provide no production value, this can usually be balanced with worker improvements on the surrounding land tiles. Try to focus on getting production up to reasonable levels on coastal cities, because the coast and sea will take care of your commerce and food.

[B]Strategic Positioning:[/B] You may want to build a city just to block another civ from gaining access to land you want to settle in the future. Without an Open Borders agreement, a civ cannot pass through your territory, or even enter your cultural borders. (All hail Civ IV! This was my one biggest beef with all the previous versions of the game.) A city also can be built to serve as a canal or port to pass between two seas or a sea and an ocean. This allows you to bring ships to areas others cannot; though other civs CAN pass through these cities and use them as ports if you have an Open Borders agreement with them.

Try to build towards other civilizations and block them off if you can.

Mentioned before was defensive positioning. Building on a hill will give you a 25% defensive bonus to your city, and a river gives a 25% attack penalty to units crossing it. This is very important for border cities. Here is a screenshot of a city with all the strategic elements mentioned above (yes, made in the WorldBuilder for example purposes. You’ll rarely get this lucky):


[B]Founding your early cities:[/B] Distance and City Upkeep (a very brief explanation). After your first founding city, you will need to consider city maintenance, which is affected by the distance to your capital. Founding your first few cities close is a good idea, but this has to be balanced by several factors. If your cities have overlapping tiles, this will severely cripple their growth and production later in the game. Remember that Civ IV tends to favour city quality over quantity. Founding you cities just outside of your capital’s city boundary will incur you only a minimal upkeep penalty. You will also want to consider the resources nearby, connecting rivers, and any strategic positions that can limit the growth of other civs. For example, if you find that your only source of iron is too far away, you will still want to grab it as soon as you can despite any heavy penalty for city maintenance. However, you should not do the same for less important resources.

[SIZE=”4″][B]How Civics and Traits Effect FPC and City Growth[/B][/SIZE]

Civics choices may effect the FPC of an improved tile or the way a worker produces. Many of these have been mentioned previously, but here they are again for quick reference:

[B]Universal Suffrage:[/B] +1 hammers gained from a Town
[B]Bureaucracy:[/B] +50% hammers, +50% gold in capital
[B]Free Speech:[/B] +2 gold gained from a Town
[B]Serfdom:[/B] workers 50% faster
[B]Emancipation:[/B] +100% growth for Cottage, Hamlet, Village
[B]State Property:[/B] +1 food from Workshop & Watermill
[B]Environmentalism:[/B] +1 happy from Jungle & Forest, +5 health in all cities

There are Leaders that effect the financial earnings of your cities by use of their traits.

[B]Financial[/B] leaders such as: Catherine, Elizabeth, Huayna, Mansa, Qin, Washington, and Victoria all receive a +1 Commerce bonus to all tiles already receiving 2 Commerce.

[B]Expansive[/B] leaders are: Bismark, Cyrus, Genghis, Isabella, Julius, Peter, and Victoria. Having this trait gains a +2 health bonus to all cities.

That pretty much covers it. Feel free to post comment/suggestions/corrections or just talk about related strategies. Without the input of many of the members here, this guide would not have been half as complete as it is now.

Here are some links to some other threads that helped contribute to the info found in this guide:
[URL=”″]Photo Guide to Terrain, Improvements and City Placement[/URL] by Brokguitar
[URL=”″]Worker Chop – the (preliminary) Guide[/URL] by EridanMan

And for more on chopping, which seems to be the most popular discussion in this thread:
[URL=”″]Which Forest tiles do you chop? – Some Guidelines[/URL] started by TheDifficult3rd

I only briefly touched on City Maintenance, but an excellent guide exists here: [URL=”″]The Curious Cat – City Upkeep Explained[/URL] by Gato Loco

[B]Finally, [url=]here are text and pdf versions[/url] of this guide available for download below:[/B] contains an rtf text version of the file plus a pdf version of the detailed terrain/improvement modifier tables (because trying to translate those into plain text was a mess). Full pdf versions are currently in the works and almost complete.

[url=]Discuss this article on the forum[/url]