City Placement - Surroundings and Proximity

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City Placement - Surroundings and Proximity Empty City Placement - Surroundings and Proximity

Post by Djehuti on Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:03 am

Before choosing where to place your city, it might be a good idea to read "City Resource Distribution - 5f VS 7f." While terraforming a tile on the map is always an option to get your plot distribution how you want it, knowing the purpose of the city and what you hope to accomplish with it may assist you in finding the best possible tile type and surroundings for placing the city.

This topic will focus on:
*The terrain type of the 8 tiles directly adjacent to your city
*The locations proximity to allies
*The terrain type of the city location
*The sovereignty tiles within the first two rings found around your city (the 8 directly adjacent, the 16 tiles 2-2.83 away)

The reason I'm discussing the terrain type of the 8 adjacent tiles around your city before talking about the terrain type of the city tile itself is because the terrain that surrounds your city is, in many ways, more important than what type the actual city is built on. In times of war, the biggest threat to your city comes from the possibility of a siege attack, which will attack your city with catapult volleys every hour, de-leveling your city buildings with each successful strike until the enemy has the option to either raze the city to ash, or capture it for themselves. If the enemy doesn't pick either of these options, the volleys will continue for as long as the siege remains, potentially leaving you with no buildings in the city and a population of 0.

In order for a siege to take place, the enemy must send their siege engines (and likely armies to guard the engines) to one of the 8 tiles that surround your city. Once the siege lands, it takes 12 hours to "setup", then begins it's assault. The siege will remain for as long as the enemy set it to occupy the tile, for a maximum of 14 days. In order to break the siege, you or one of your allies must send troops to battle the enemy army - the battle takes place on the tile adjacent to your city which the enemy placed the siege, not on the tile your city is placed on. Sense different terrain types offer different bonuses or penalties for different types of troops fighting or defending on the tile, the tiles you pick to surround your city are vitally important.

Terrain Modifiers

ATTACKING                             %AGE MODIFIER
Terrain Type Cavalry Spears Infantry Ranged
Buildings -50 20 40 5
Large Forest -15 5 30 -20
Large Hill -15 0 10 10
Large Mountain -30 0 15 15
Plains 30 -15 0 0
Small Forest -10 10 30 -10
Small Hill 0 0 0 0
Small Mountain -20 0 5 10

DEFENDING                             %AGE MODIFIER
Terrain Type Cavalry Spears Infantry Ranged
Buildings -45 25 30 15
Large Forest -15 5 25 -20
Large Hill -10 10 5 15
Large Mountain -30 20 5 30
Plains 25 -15 0 0
Small Forest -10 10 30 -10
Small Hill 0 5 5 5
Small Mountain -15 15 5 15

The most commonly suggested terrain type to surround yourself with is a plains tile. This is primarily because the fastest and strongest attack units in the game, the cavalry, receive the best bonuses when attacking on a plains terrain. Because of their speed (t1 Orc cav move at 17 tile p/h and t2 cav at 12 tiles p/h), cavalry is often the troops used by distant allies to destroy a siege on your city - this makes sense because if you have a siege that is de-leveling your city every hour, you want your backup to arrive as soon as possible to destroy the siege. If your allies sent infantry, which could potentially move as slow as 5 tiles per hour, it could take days to arrive. If, for example, the siege is setup in a large forest terrain, the cavalry units sent to destroy it will be hindered by a -15% attack penalty, causing your ally to loose far more troops in the battle, and potentially not be able to clear the siege completely. Alternatively, a small hill is a viable replacement for a plains - they do not offer any bonuses for the attacking cavalry units, but the penalties are none as well. A large hill is the third best option, with a rather minimal attack penalty to cav. Plains are still preferred, however.

There are some exceptions to the 'surround yourself by plains' rule, though they all have their risks. One alternate option is if your cities are placed within a large cluster of cities belonging to you and your allies, and all or most of the cities are military oriented. This setup is also fairly dependent on the types of troops they produce - if they're all cavalry cities, then you'd still want plains surrounding you. But, for example, in the case of our alliance cities on the island which homes the faction hub Madh-Vraken-Kalj, the island is steadily growing with alliance cities, and very few (if any) outsiders. The island itself is primarily mountainous, and the many of the players on the island focus on spear, archer, or infantry troops, which all do fairly well attacking a mountain tile. So in a scenario such as this, it is not quite as dangerous to not be surrounded by plains, because your allies troops - though slower moving than cavalry - are much closer to each other, and are therefore better equip to reach the enemy siege in a timely manner.

Another exception might be if your cities are fairly close to each other (even if you're farther away from alliance members) and all or most of your cities are military oriented and producing troops that excel in attacking the terrain type that surrounds your city. For example, infantry units receive a 30% attack bonus when attacking a large forest tile - if your town is surrounded by forest, or a mix of forest, plains, and hills, you can rely on your own infantry troops to break forest sieges, and still request aid from allies if the siege comes from the plains or hill tile. A similar example can be found with the archers bonus when attacking mountain terrains. However, this strategy has its risk - when the enemy comes in the form of a very large military alliance, an enemy siege could potentially be composed of over 100 catapults and a half million troops or more. It would take a very large number of troops to break through these types of high numbers, and relying just on your own troops may leave you wishing your surrounding terrain types were better suited for a distant allies cavalry assistance.

While not as important as the surrounding tiles terrain type, the terrain location you pick to build your city on does contribute to your potential survival or demise. When an enemy sends an attack on your city - not a siege, but a direct attack - the battle takes place on the terrain type the city is located.

Sometimes the attack may contain catapults or rams, though this is a more rare way to use siege engines. When it does happen, the army will consist of any number of troops and no more than 20 siege engines (more than 20 don't fire, so even if they're included in the attacking army, they are no threat) that will each fire at the city if the attack is successful. Whether the attack is successful or not is determined by whether or not you have enough troops in the city to defeat the enemy troops that were sent along side the siege engines - if you manage to defeat all the attacking troops, the siege engines will be destroyed without having fired a shot. If the attacking force is not defeated, the sieges will each fire once at your city, and then return home to the enemy city from which it was sent. In the cases of catapults, each volley that does hit will de-level a random building in your city. In the case of rams, each accurate strike will de-level your city wall by 1 level. The chance for the siege engines to actually hit is fairly low (sometimes none will hit, often only one or two will strike a target), which makes this method of attack a less common type, especially for catapults.

The majority of attacks that come directly at your city will be composed solely of troops. The purpose of these types of attacks is (usually) to reduce your cities troop numbers, either to make you less of a threat during a war, or to clear a path for a siege army to capture or raze a city. In some cases, the purpose of a direct attack is just to steal your basic resources (military units can potentially steal wood, clay, iron, stone). If you are online prior to the attack, you do have the option to simply dodge the attack by moving your troops out of the city (usually via the feint maneuver) - this will sacrifice some of your cities basic res, but allow you to keep your troops available for other purposes.

In either case, if you choose to defend with troops, the terrain type your city is located on will play a big factor in how well your troops do at defending. Because of this, many players suggest the best terrain to build your city is a large mountain, because enemy cavalry troops will receive a hefty attacking penalty when going after your city, and the best unit for attacking a large mountain is an archer, which only receives a 15% bonus for it; additionally, many defense units receive at least a minor bonus when defending on a mountain. Large forests are also a recommended alternative, though that location is more susceptible to attacks from infantry units (who receive a 30% bonus), and only infantry and spear units receive a bonus to defense in a forest (archers and cavalry receive a notable penalty). Your city wall can also offer a defensive bonus for your troops, up to 115% bonus for a level 20 wall, regardless of terrain.

"But," you may ask, "why should I care about any of this? I'm a trade and crafting player who has no interest in war and wants to get along with everyone!"

If you don't have any interest in the military side of the game, the above information may never relate to you. Plenty of players in this game go their entire Illy career without going to war, and if that's your thing, that's OK. Most players will respect neutral parties, even if they are at war with the alliance, and in the instances where someone views you as an opponent just because you're in the alliance they're at war with, you do have the option to temporarily leave the alliance until the conflict is over. HOWEVER, personally, I would recommend understanding the mechanics to the above terrain bonuses and their relationship to warfare, and planning your city location according to it as much as possible, just incase. The vast majority of the players in this game will not attack you without provocation, especially if you leave an alliance that they have quarrels with - but one can never be 100% sure some random player won't just decide to be a dick for some random reason. If that should ever happen, there are many players in the game - both within and outside of our alliance - that would likely come to the aid of someone being picked on for no good reason, but in order to do that effectively, you would still want to offer them the optimal terrain type to come to your defense on. It might not be worth sacrificing a location surrounded by the specific sov type that supports the city build you are aiming for, but when sovereignty is not a factor, go with a defensive position. Which brings us to the next topic...


The optimal sovereignty claims for a city are located in the 8 adjacent tiles to your city (the "inner ring"), and the 12 closest tiles to your city just beyond those (the "outer ring"). This is due to the fact that the farther way from your city sov is claimed, the more gold and research points it will cost you in hourly upkeep. For cities not geared towards military that and have low unit upkeep costs, the possibility to claim farther out is not quite as bad an option, but in any case it is generally unwise to claim farther out than 4 tiles away from your city (and even that could be pushing it, so make sure claims that far out are important to your cities needs).

City Placement - Surroundings and Proximity 2drgpc1

There are two types of sovereignty - sov that offers a basic res boost, and sov that offers production bonuses (to either troops or craftables), and they both function slightly different.

Basic res sov (most popularly being food sov) must have a level 5 building present on the tile corresponding to the sov offered in order to receive the listed res bonus. For example, if the tile is a 5|3|6|4|7, and you place a level 5 farmstead on the tile, you will receive a 7% bonus to you food production. On that same tile, a Logging Camp at level 5 will give a 5% wood bonus, and an Earthworks will give a 3% bonus to clay production. If the sov building is lower than level 5, the bonus received drops by 20% for each level under 5.

(sov building level x .20) x res offered on tile = res production bonus

For example, the level 4 farmstead placed on the 5|3|6|4|7 tile would be:

(4 x .20) x 7 = 5.6% bonus to food production

Unlike the other types of sov buildings, the basic resource sov buildings don't require an hourly upkeep of basic resources (though, they still require the gold and research point upkeep p/h for the sov claim). Another point worth noting is that on a coastal, lake, or river tile, you can only build fisheries - no other sov buildings may be constructed.

Production sov buildings behave differently. A production sov building will offer a 5% bonus to the production type supported by the building per level of the building, with an additional bonus per level if the tile it is built on offers a listed bonus to the production of the same type. That sounds confusing, but hopefully this example will put it in perspective: If the claim tile is a Sharp Crags (which offers a +3% swords bonus) has a level 5 Bladesmith built on it, it will give a 40% production speed bonus to swords being built at the blacksmith within the city. That's the standard 5% bonus for each of the 5 levels of the building, plus the 3% bonus per level offered by the tile itself

(5% + 3%) x 5 = 40%

If it was only a level 4 [sword building], you'd get a total of 32% production bonus to swords built in the city.

(5% + 3%) x 4 = 32%

On that same tile (with the +3% sword bonus), if you built a level 4 Training Ground, you would get a 20% bonus to the speed in which spear units are produced in your city. Because the tile bonus is listed as swords, it becomes irrelevant if you do not build the corresponding sov building type on the tile, and you'd receive the standard 5% production bonus per level of the sov building.

5% x 4 = 20%

All that being stated, it is wise to seek out a city location that has the type of sov bonuses offered that correspond to your goals with the city itself.

If you're trying to create a city with a very large population and high taxes, it is good to find a location that offers multiple tiles that offer double digit food. The highest food offered on a single tile is 20. If you have a 17, 15, and two 13 food tiles close to your city, you could potentially claim 60% worth of food production bonuses with only 4 buildings, leaving another 16 tiles for different types of sov (or more food!). Coastal tiles are usually good to find double-digit food on, but keep in mind only fisheries can be claimed on them, so it can be potentially limiting if you change your goals down the road.

On the other hand, if you're military oriented, finding a location that offers ample troop production bonuses to the troop type you wish to build can provide a greatly improved bonus to the speed of the units produced. Likewise, if you want to build swords at an incredible speed, find a location that offers that craftables bonus.


Now, what is the likelihood of you finding a spot that offers the plot distribution you want, along with the sovereignty bonuses, the terrain surroundings, and the proximity to the alliance that is optimal? Let's be honest - it's quite slim. Terraforming will likely be needed to ensure your plot distribution needs are met. As far as the other factors, some aspects of what has been discussed in this post may have to be sacrificed in favor of others, so much of what you pick to prioritize on will be determined by what's most important to you as a player. This post attempted to explain what factors are most important to which goals, so it's up to you to weed through the information to pick what best applies to you and use that to excel in your field of choice.


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