Post 2: This is a continuation of post 1; see instructions in post 3.
3.1. Travel time
Travel time for Settlers and Engineers can be more important than for other units, since as the builders of roads and railroads they help determine the speed of all ground units. The movement rate of 2 for the Engineer is a huge bonus, since it can move onto a square with a movement penalty of 1 (Tundra, Desert, Plains, or Grassland) and still have time during that turn to finish building a road on that square. On squares with a movement penalty of 2 or 3, the Settler gains a little time back. Any unit that has its entire movement point remaining for that turn can move on to any adjacent square, so a Settler next to a Mountain can move onto it just as easily as an Engineer. An Engineer with 1 2/3 movement points left is much less likely to be able to move onto an adjacent mountain square than a Settler with 1 movement point left, because the Engineer, having less than its full movement left, has a chance to fail. See Section 3.3. Any Settlers you have left over in the time of Engineers can spend their time well in roading rugged terrain. Another trick for leftover Settlers is listed in Section 4.2.
3.2. Work time
How long it takes for Settlers and Engineers to complete their tasks is very important to the course of your civilization, since it determines what a city can produce and how fast troops can move into position. As can be seen from the following table, Engineers perform tasks at twice the speed of Settlers. The time periods in this table are measured from the turn you tell the worker to begin the task until the next turn it can receive orders. So an Engineer that builds a road on a Plains square finishes the road right away, but isn’t ready for new orders until the next turn. The numbers in parentheses are only important if you are using Settlers and Engineers together on the same task.
3.2.1. TABLE 3-Work time for Settlers and Engineers
Settler/Engineer To build a road:
__2__ __1__ On Tundra/Grassland/Desert/Plains
__4__ __2__ (with a river)
__4__ __2__ On Glacier/Forest/Hills/Swamp/Jungle
__6__ __3__ (with a river)
__6__ __3__ On a Mountain
__8__ __4__ (with a river)
Settler/Engineer To build a railroad:
__4__ __2__ On Tundra/Grassland/Desert/Plains
__6__ __3__(with a river)
__8__ __4__ On Glacier/Forest/Hills/Swamp/Jungle
_10__ __5__ (with a river)
_12__ __6__ On a Mountain
_14__ __7__ (with a river)
Settler/Engineer To irrigate/ improve farmland:
__5__ 3 (2½) On Grassland/Plains/Desert
_10__ __5__ On Hills/Tundra
Settler/Engineer To clear:
__5__ 3 (2½) Forest to Plains
_15__ 8 (7½) Swamp/Jungle to Grassland
Settler/Engineer To mine:
__5__ 3 (2½) Desert
_10__ __5__ Hills or Mountain
_15__ 8 (7½) Glacier
Settler/Engineer To reforest:
_10__ __5__ Grassland
_15__ 8 (7½) Plains/Swamp/Jungle
Settler/Engineer To build a fortress:
__3__ 2 (1½) On Grassland/Plains/Desert/Tundra
__4__ __2__ On Glacier/Forest/Hills/Mountain/Swamp/Jungle
Settler/Engineer To clear pollution/build airbase:
__4__ __2__ On any square
Settler/Engineer To transform:
___________ Grassland/Plains/Desert/Tundra to:
(N/A)_ _10__ Hills/Grassland/Plains/Desert
___________ Forest/Glacier/Hills/Swamp/Jungle to:
(N/A)_ _20__ Grassland/Tundra/Plains/Plains/Plains
(N/A)_ _30__ Mountain to: Hills
As noted above, the numbers in parentheses only have meaning if Settlers and Engineers are working together. See Section 4. Some of the transformation possibilities were not shown on the chart. Specifically, Forest to Grassland, Swamp to Plains, and Jungle to Plains have not been considered. This is because, as the table above shows, these transformation moves are much slower than the two-step processes of Forest to (i) Plains to (o) Grassland, Swamp to (m) Forest to (i) Plains, and Jungle to (m) Forest to (i) Plains. Your Engineer’s time is too valuable to waste 7 to 9 extra turns on these transformation moves.
The ability to alter terrain is accomplished by applying “work-units” to a task, a concept commonly referred to as charges. When considering Settlers and Engineers together, it may be helpful to think of a Settler as offering half a charge per turn, and an Engineer offering a full charge per. (Hopefully, when using Settlers and Engineers together, you have more Engineers than Settlers.) Each turn a Settler irrigates, for example, it applies its charge for the turn, finishing in 5 turns. But until it is finished, the charges are stored in the Settler, not in the ground. If you wake a Settler on the fourth turn of mining by clicking on the unit, move it to a different square, and tell it to irrigate there, the irrigation will appear instantly. It already was holding 4 Settler-charges, and the fifth turn, when it was told to irrigate, it had enough to finish the task. Charges are charges; they can be used for anything (except transforming, in the case of Settlers).
The idea of charges can be deployed in a variety of ways. When a Settler or Engineer has less than its full move left, and it needs to move onto rugged terrain, there is a chance that it will fail to complete the move, wasting time. Since whatever is going to be done on the next square will probably take more than one turn, tell the worker to start some kind of Settler/Engineer type task instead of gambling on the move (i, m, r, o, e, or f, but preferably not k, and if p is available, keep doing it), and then wake them up immediately. The next turn, they will have a full movement point to complete the trip to the new square for sure, and they will have a charge stored in them to complete the work faster once they get there. Gambling on moves for Settlers and Engineers is not required. When moving Settlers a long distance over roads, you can “steal time” this way by moving the Settler until it has 1/3 of a move left, then starting a job and waking the Settler right away. A full Settler-charge is accumulated each turn this way, as described in the fourth paragraph in this section.
Another way to use charges is in military campaigns. Moving your units into battle may be difficult because of distance, and lack of defense once they get there may also be a major concern. A blitzkrieg attack supported by charged Settlers/Engineers that quickly build railroads and fortresses can be the difference between victory and defeat. A Settler/Engineer will continue to hold its charges until it completes a worker-type task, at which time any leftover charges vanish. Pressing the space bar to end a Settler’s turn (to wait for the assault to be ready) does not destroy any charges it is already holding, though it does waste its charge for that turn. Saving a game that includes charged Settlers and then reloading does not destroy charges.
Other units have a situation somewhat similar to charges when it comes to healing. A unit that does not move or fortify, that has damage, will heal itself partially or fully at that start of your turn. This includes units that are already fortified. For Settlers and Engineers, healing seems to happen separately from charges. A Settler in the middle of an irrigation project, that has damage, will heal just as quickly as a Settler that is sleeping. Moving a Settler, however, will affect healing rates. Unlike healing, charges never happen partially. An Engineer that starts a project with 1/3 of a movement point left will put just as much into it as an Engineer that starts a project with 2 movement points left.
Other results of the concept of charges are described in Section 4.
3.4. Assessment order
Other than shipping, assessment order probably affects Settlers and Engineers more than any other type of unit. As your turn progresses, all of your units, even the fortified ones, are examined by the computer one at a time. If the unit is available to receive further orders, it becomes the active unit. Once your active unit has been told to fortify, sleep, wait, end its turn, or runs out of movement points or dies (or, in the case of workers, starts a project), the computer starts assessing your units again. It starts looking on the square where your last active unit ended up. Then it starts looking in the squares immediately adjacent, two squares away, etc. There does not seem to be an absolute rule as to which compass direction the computer starts looking in adjacent squares, it could be north first or perhaps west, etc. If there are several units on the nearest square, the computer first examines the unit that was on that square the longest. If the nearest unit is one that was already told to wait this turn, the computer will probably assess all other units before it comes back to that one. If the only units left are those told to wait, it will pick the nearest one.
When a Settler in the middle of an irrigation (or any other kind of ) project is assessed, the computer checks to see if it has accumulated enough charges to complete the task. If it has, the upgrade is applied to the square, the Settler’s charges are erased, and its turn is over. If it does not have enough charges, 1 more charge is added to the Settler and its movement points for that turn are gone. Attempting to wake a working Settler after it has been assessed will cancel whatever current project is still underway, leaving charges intact, but the Settler will be unable to move. Waking a working Settler before it has been assessed will cancel the current project, but the Settler will be able to move that same turn. Its charge will not have been accumulated for this turn, though; you still should assign it another project this turn or continue the previous one.
If a Settler is about to complete a project, and you want it to use its charges for something else, it is very important to wake the Settler before its turn is assessed. Sometimes, this is difficult, because the last unit assessed on the last turn is usually the first unit assessed this turn. If the last thing you did last turn was assign a Settler to a task, and you want to wake him before he is assessed this turn, you have to Zoom to one of the cities the computer notifies you about and wake one of the defenders there with the “activate unit and close city screen” option. If you don’t get a chance to Zoom to one of your cities, you’re sunk. This all applies to Engineers too.
4.1. Using two workers on the same task
The speeds listed in Table 3 for completing tasks can be cut in half when two Settlers/Engineers are placed on the same square and assigned to the same task. If one Settler is assigned to irrigate a square, and another Settler is assigned to put a railroad on that square, they will have no effect on each other. But if two Settlers are moved onto a Hills square and both are told to mine, the mine will be completed in half the time. If two Settlers start irrigating a square at the same time, on the third turn the work will be completed with one charge left over. This will result in the second Settler assigned to the work to wake up and be available for further commands on that same turn.
The result is the appearance that the two Settlers/Engineers are both holding their charges until the work is complete. But that is not what is happening. Whenever two workers are assigned to the same task, the first one assigned to the task passes all its charges along to the second one. If two Engineers have been trying to transform a Hills square for 8 turns, and you wake up the first Engineer assigned to the task and do something else with him instead, the second Engineer will be able to complete the transformation project in 4 turns. It accumulated 8x2=16 Engineer-charges already, and only 4 more are needed. The first Engineer, whom you moved somewhere else, didn’t keep any charges. It can be hard to remember which worker started the project first. But if you moved them onto the new square one at a time and started them up in that order, clicking on the square will list all the units on that square in the order they arrived. The top Engineer should be the one that started first.
The result of the above rule is that it is possible to use more than two workers on the same task.
4.2. Using several workers on the same task
If you send three Engineers to the same square, tell them to Transform, and just leave them to it, the third Engineer’s efforts will be wasted. The project will not be completed any faster than it would have if only two Engineers were working the square. The game just doesn’t work that way. However, because of the rule in the previous section, that the first “working” Engineer passes its charges to the second, you can use more than two workers on the same project during the same turn.
One way to describe this is with a trick that makes leftover Settlers more efficient. You can use two Engineers and a Settler as an irrigation team. According to the table, irrigation takes Engineers 2 ½ turns. If you just move all three units onto a square and hit the “i” button for each of them, the irrigation will not be done instantly. But if you tell the two Engineers to irrigate, the first Engineer has already passed its charge to the second. So, wake the first Engineer up. Now, only one unit is currently working the square. Tell the Settler to irrigate the square, and its workload of half a charge will be joined to the Engineer that’s still irrigating. The exact number of charges needed to complete the irrigation project will have been applied, using only two workers at any one time, and the irrigation is finished in one turn. The Settler doesn’t have to go third, it can go first or second just as easily. Second might actually be better, since then there can be no confusion about who should wake up; it has to be the Engineer that’s currently irrigating.
Another way to use several Engineers at once is with transformation projects, which always seem to take too long. Perhaps the most efficient way to do this is to use ten Engineers as a team, since all transformation work is completed in a multiple of 10 turns. (5-Engineer transformation teams would work too.) With so many workers operating as a team, it is important to keep track of what order they start their work, accomplished by moving them onto the target square one at a time and having them start work in that order. After at least two Engineers have started transforming, the one closer to the top of the pop-up list that shows when you click on the square should be woken before the next Engineer starts its work. As long as one or two Engineers are transforming, and the bottom one of the two that are currently transforming is never woken, the charges will be passed from one Engineer to the next, adding up as they go. Ten Engineers can get Grassland, Plains, Desert, and Tundra squares transformed in one turn. The pop-up list will only show the first 9 units on a square, but you won’t have to wake the tenth unit. If you do wake the wrong unit, you’ve messed up the project for this turn, but try to make a note of which Engineer it was, because it has lots of charges you can use next turn!
What if your group is tackling a transformation project that won’t be completed in one turn? One possibility, on subsequent turns, is to move all but the bottom two Engineers (who should still be working) off the square and then back on one at a time, continuing the process started last turn. The bottom two Engineers will become the top two, since they’ve been there the longest. Moving Engineers back and forth can be annoying, and doesn’t eliminate confusion, but it does keep you on task. Another possibility is to use the charged Engineer approach. This means charging each Engineer up individually, usually on an unoccupied adjacent square, (and waking each one up immediately,) then moving them onto the target square when they have accumulated enough charges to finish in one turn. To transform a Hills square to Plains, each Engineer in a ten-pack would charge for 1 previous turn, holding a grand total of 10 charges. Once this is accomplished, they add up these charges plus their charges for the current turn on the target Hills square.
There are two problems with the charged Engineer approach. One is that, since part of the work is being done off-square, you need to know exactly which turn you are on so as to complete the project at the correct time. When using a ten-pack, I charge Engineers the first turn in two groups of 5, on adjacent squares. Then, when I see two groups of 5 Engineers next to each other, I know they’re all holding an extra charge. For Mountain squares, an extra turn of charging is required, so I move one Engineer from one of the groups to the other, and groups of 4 and 6 Engineers showing up next to each other means it’s time to knock down a mountain. You could alter that to groups of 3 and 7 (to indicate that it is turn number 3), but you don’t want to mistake that group of 3 for an irrigation team. The other problem with the charged Engineer approach is that you don’t want to forget to wake the last Engineer up, or it might keep charging on the turn when you want to move him to the target square. See Section 3.4. It sounds like the charged Engineer approach is complicated, but I find it increases my accuracy in using several Engineers on a single project over the back-and-forth approach.
4.3. Using many (12-30) workers on the same task
What’s that you say? Three turns is too long to wait for your mountain to die? Don’t worry, you’re covered. You can use up to 30 Engineers on a single project, as long as it’s transforming a Mountain. Nothing else takes that long or longer. The only catch is to be able to wake the top Engineer currently transforming when you can’t see it in the pop-up list. The list only shows the first 9 units on a file, so by the time the 12th Engineer arrives to join the effort; you can’t wake the 10th Engineer like you normally would. Instead, as originally discovered by Xin Yu, you have to go to the home city of the 10th (in this case) Engineer. Click on the Engineer in the Units supported box on the left side of the city screen. Choose the “return to city” option. The Engineer won’t move, because it’s already gone this turn, but it will stop transforming and get the Goto (G) indicator on its shield. This allows you to continue to add Engineers to the effort. Every time you want to add an Engineer to the effort past number 11, you have to do this. This means that every Engineer past number 9 in the effort must be one of the first 8 units supported by their city, or otherwise you can’t click on it in the city screen. None of these later Engineers can be NON Engineers, either, or there will be no city screen to use. And you have to take careful notes, or you’ll wake the wrong one. The return to city trick is complicated, and you have to wake all the Goto Engineers quickly next turn or you’ll have a mess, but it is the fastest way to complete large projects. Settlers could do this too, maybe for knocking out a Swamp or Jungle square, but it’s not as likely that Settlers will get together so early in the game and work as a large group.