Sirian's Great Library - Strategies for Civilization III
POINTERS
Tips for Improving Efficiency


Nov 16, 2001: Luxuries no longer mean just spending your gold on keeping people happy. Now the primary source of happiness in your civilization comes from the availability of fine goods. Secure as many luxuries as you can, and trade for more. Build marketplaces to improve the performance of these luxuries. It will cost you less, even, to pay per turn for luxurious trade goods than to invest your precious capital into directly paying for luxuries or using up workers on entertainment.
Nov 16, 2001: Captured workers cost no maintenance! Capture, or even trade for, workers at every reasonable opportunity. Also, if you capture an enemy settler, it is turned into two captured workers for you. This may be even better than capturing and occupying an enemy city! Captured workers are only half as efficienct, but for zero maintenance, you can't beat that!
UPDATED Aug 1, 2002: Scientific discoveries are now moderated. No matter how much science you have, it takes at least four turns to make an advance through research. Likewise, no matter how little you have (as long as it's above zero), it takes at most 40 turns to make a discovery (32 on the earliest patches). Either way, there's no sense in being wasteful. If your science can be lowered and you will still discover in four turns, you'd be throwing away money to leave the science rate any higher than necessary. Likewise, if it's going to take you close to forty turns to make a discovery, you might as well drop your science to the bare minimum, even down to zero while running a single scientist out of a city somewhere, to rake in the dough while you wait wait wait on that discovery. Make the most of your commerce! Don't overspend on science when it doesn't make any difference!
Nov 16, 2001: Plant forests in all your Tundra squares, once you learn Engineering. I spotted this from watching the enemy, then thought it through and figured out why this is the best, and only, choice for tundra lands.
Nov 16, 2001: Stacking workers gets a job done faster. Workers you control do their work immediately. Workers involved in an ongoing task don't do their work until between turns after you end your turn (so you could stop them and move them away from danger or to another, more urgent task). Adding more workers to finish a job immediately can get the benefits immediately, instead of waiting until the next turn. It also frees up the committed workers, so nothing is wasted. Once railroads come along, this is quite nearly the ONLY way you should operate, controlling stacks of workers and assigning them to a single task until it's done, then the next and the next. Certainly when it comes to clearing jungles, stacks of three or four get the job done much more quickly and can get the squares into service faster. Clearing pollution on a single turn is also desirable.
Jan 2, 2002: "Remainder" is the amount of shields wasted on the turn that a project is completed. For instance, building a marketplace at 100 shields, at 9 per turn, takes 12 turns. You get to 99 after 11 turns, and then reach 100 with 8 Remainder, which are shields lost, wasted. If you could go into the city at some point, switch the squares in use around to get an extra shield, you can trade one food for not one shield, but NINE, since you also save all those from the Remainder, and you complete your project one turn sooner. This practice can add up over time, building to significant gains without a great deal of effort or attention, if you get into the habit of minimizing waste of the Remainder. The same principle also applies to food, to a lesser extent. Sometimes you can get bonus shields for a turn or two, or else have a city grow a turn sooner, by shuffling around the squares in use to eliminate the Remainder. Working it back and forth both ways, eliminating both the food and shield remainders, can have your city grow a turn faster here or there, build a turn faster, grow a turn faster, etc. On higher difficulties, such efficiency may even make the difference between winning and losing.
Aug 1, 2002: As of patch 1.29f, the whole technology race has been changed. Where the player research used to be standard across difficulty levels, with the AI's getting penalties on the low levels, bonuses on the high levels, now that's been reversed (to slow the ridiculously fast tech pace of Deity games). Now, instead the AI's have a standard tech cost across all difficulty levels, while the player gets bonuses (on low difficulty) or penalties (on high difficulty). This will be most noticable on Chieftain or Deity, and make no difference on Regent, which has always been the game's "fair" setting, where the AI's and the player play under identical conditions. This means that for High Difficulty, player tech will take longer (on Deity, it's now 1.67x longer), and this increases the value and potential of the Minimum Science Gambit, running 10% science or a lone scientist, and pulling in results after 40 turns. That kind of vanished as a useful move in recent patches, but it's back now and in a big way. You can't do it all the time, but especially on Emperor and Deity, it can come in handy.
Aug 1, 2002: Just in case you may not realize this: worker efficiency is tied to government. Under Anarchy, workers at "normal" rate. Under most governments, they work at double rate. Under Democracy, they work at triple rate. And all of these are doubled once you learn Replacement Parts tech in the industrial age. What's more, Industrious Civs have their worker speeds doubled yet again. So work it would take twelve turns to complete in Anarchy, would take an Industrious Democracy worker in the modern age, just one turn. Why does this matter? Well, for any number of efficiency reasons. It helps to know how long it will take your workers to do something, before you assign them to do it. You want your best cities to have enough fully improved "good tiles" to function at their best. You don't want to send a worker off to clear a jungle when there's a wheat tile that hasn't gotten attention yet, for instance. If it helps, think of worker-turns as a resource, like gold or beakers: an economic asset. You only have so many workers at a time, and you "buy" improvements to your land by "spending" your workers on an area for a length of time. Would you throw your money out the window? Would you burn your cash? Find ways to reduce waste of worker turns, and your civ will grow stronger.

- Sirian

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