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Absorbing initial worker

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  • Absorbing initial worker

    Worked out nicely playing Spain (seafaring) and with two sugar resource, river adjacent squares.

    But do you do it often?

  • #2
    The problem with absorbing the initial worker is that you lose a lot of time improving tiles. A mine can change each of those sugar tiles from producing one shield to producing two shields, but if your initial worker is added to the city, he's not mining those tiles. At size 3, you'll need additional tiles to work beyond those two sugars unless you're planning to build a settler so quickly as to make time spent at size 3 essentially irrelevant (in which case you end up with two cities early but no workers to improve tiles for either of them).

    I've always been a firm believer in building enough workers to more or less keep up with city growth. With agricultural civs starting on rivers, I've even taken to making a second worker a priority most of the time (especially if some kind of food bonus is also available) before my traditional granary. What the workers cost in city size, they more than make up for by letting the city get more out of the size it does have, or at least such has always been my belief.



    • #3
      I should add that I beelined Philosophy. The extra citizen helped in initial research, and since I had plenty of rivers in the area, I wasn't pressed for roads.


      • #4
        With a sugar tile on a river, a road doesn't make a difference to commerce under Despotism. But once you grew past working just the sugar tiles, road+river is two gold while river only is just one. Similarly, if either sugar was not on the river, doing without a road cost a gold. So while the extra citizen helped with research in the earliest stages, the loss of the worker almost certainly hurt research later on.


        • #5
          Adding the initial worker is rarely the correct strategy for a given opening.


          • #6
            When do you believe it to be the right strategy, then, DrSpike?

            Has anyone tried a calculation? Say, taking the two sugar on a river case and comparing resources generated after, say, 20 and 40 years?


            • #7
              i can only think of one occasion where it's worth adding the worker:

              on a 1-tile-island-start

              no, seriously... adding the first worker to my city was a mistake i only did in my very first games
              - Artificial Intelligence usually beats real stupidity
              - Atheism is a nonprophet organization.


              • #8
                I can't actually remember a game where I did it, though I thought about it a lot as a possibility back in 1.07. I should have said 'never', but I'm sure there is a counterexample somewhere so I wimpily said 'rarely'.

                Essentially the benefit of adding is small, and the benefit of improving tiles large in comparison. Usually you are short on workers early game of the key decisions is how much time and food to 'waste' kicking out workers. Taking one away without a very good reason is not advisable IMO.


                • #9
                  Depends on what the goal is. I remember looking at a HOF game over at Civfanatics, trying to figure out how this person had a Conquest victory on turn 9 (Chieftain, Tiny map, 2 AI). For the life of me I couldn't figure it out because the start would only allow a Jag Warrior every 4 turns in that timeframe, and the huts didn't give out any Warriors.

                  Then I noticed he didn't have any native Workers. By adding the first Worker, the Jag Warrior comes out in 2 turns (was working 2 Cattle on plains instead of 1), and gives just enough time to get to both the AI.

                  There were times with the old Industrial trait that you could come out close to even by adding the initial Worker after improving a tile or two. You end up with a bit more commerce and production at the expense of a bit less food. Now (especially considering the chop time for Forests) I don't think it would work as well.

                  Certain gambles like the one I described above might pay off, but they are rather big gambles. As another example, expansionist Civs could get out faster Scouts, and if that allows the player to make contacts with the AI in time to trade starting techs, could make a very big impact on the game. Especially if the player is able to grab a couple AI Workers in those trades that otherwise wouldn't have been available.


                  • #10
                    Well, the example now surfacing focus on a short term increase in shields coming at a critical moment.

                    The downside is that after a short time the loss of early improvements to tiles kicks in and tips the balance of advantage into loss.

                    The examples given are of cases where the extra initial speed produces so great an advantage that this longer term loss does not matter.

                    But can the longer term loss itself be ameliorated?

                    Say the first city finds time at some point to replace the worker? Is there any sequence of builds which would keep the initial burst but manage to limit the longer term loss?


                    • #11
                      There was a thread a while ago where someone worked this out and determined that it was not worth it...but it was close.
                      We're sorry, the voices in my head are not available at this time. Please try back again soon.


                      • #12
                        Another factor too was that I did start building settlers after a few initial scouting warriors. Does getting your second city settled with comparable terrain make a difference?

                        I still think it could be advantageous especially to those civs that can easily beeline Philosophy. It also seems to help with building scouts quicker for good huts.

                        Spaced Cowboy, I'm gonna try to look for that thread. Any hints?


                        • #13
                          This was discussed at length in some old threads. I did some turn-by-turn calculations in different positions on absorbing the worker, lumgerjacking a forest then absorbing the worker, etc.

                          The final word seemed to be that adding your initial worker back to your city is only worth it if your starting position is very bad, in which case you would've been better off moving the settler a few times before founding your initial city. You really can't justify it except in obscure situations where infrastructure is a non-issue, like essentially abandoning the city or Aeson's interesting example of making few warriors and winning immediately.

                          In my own analyses, I was calculating the time it would take you to have four cities, three warriors and two workers (or something like that). You were always better off keeping the worker, although if your civ is Industrious, you can pull it off and end up only being a couple turns behind in some situations.
                          To secure peace is to prepare for war.


                          • #14
                            Here's the thread I was talking about:
                            To secure peace is to prepare for war.


                            • #15
                              I never even considered doing it.
                              Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...