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Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Is Irrigation mandatory for a winning strategy? rss

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Brian Murray
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Played our first session of this game on this past weekend and I found it to be a blast. Lots of variation and different strategies / technologies to try with each play.

However, the only technology that EVERY player (4 player game) took was Irrigation to get the ability to build a 3rd city. The extra income / building opportunity of a 3rd city struck me as a requirement to win, especially if all of your opponents take it.

Is it just me or do you NEED Irrigation to be competitive? I hope others have found ways of winning without needing that 3rd city because I hate when variable strategy games like this include an "option" that in reality, isn't.

Thanks for the advice!

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Chris J Davis
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This had occurred to me also, but in the end I decided I didn't mind. I guess with something like Irrigation it's more about *when* you buy it rather than *whether* you buy it.
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Graham Smallwood
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TWO Equals in an "if" statement!!!
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Remember Civ back in the day? Only way to build farms everywhere. You kids nowadays don't understand who essential that and Granaries were. Only +2 food these days. Bah.

You kids and your "Policies" and "City-States". Back in my day, if you took one too many steps away from your capital a barbarian came and burned it down. That's the way it was and we liked it!
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Adam Hoffman
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Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
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Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land; nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange & design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history
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I've only played one game, but it's hard to imagine anyone being successful without the third city. I agree with the previous poster: it's a question of "when" rather than "if".

I had expected Irrigation would be my first III Technology, but pressing matters delayed that.
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Drake Coker
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I suppose it's not mandatory if nobody takes it laugh

Otherwise, hard to see passing it up.
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Cameron McKenzie
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For what it's worth, in the only game I played, I didn't tech irrigation, and I won (against two others that both teched Irrigation quickly).
This is probably because I was going for a culture win. Setting up a city to produce decent culture requires such effort that there wasn't much point in wasting a level 2 tech slot and a build action (to make the scout) just so that I could built a city from which culture would trickle in later.

I had only a handful of level 2 techs, and they were all important. Most importantly, I had to learn those techs which offered wonder-discounts. I would have been unable to build them without the discounts. Having both The Louvre and The Porcelain Tower paid off big-time, way more so than settling a third city would have, I feel.
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Chris J Davis
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MasterDinadan wrote:
For what it's worth, in the only game I played, I didn't tech irrigation, and I won (against two others that both teched Irrigation quickly).
This is probably because I was going for a culture win. Setting up a city to produce decent culture requires such effort that there wasn't much point in wasting a level 2 tech slot and a build action (to make the scout) just so that I could built a city from which culture would trickle in later.

I had only a handful of level 2 techs, and they were all important. Most importantly, I had to learn those techs which offered wonder-discounts. I would have been unable to build them without the discounts. Having both The Louvre and The Porcelain Tower paid off big-time, way more so than settling a third city would have, I feel.


That's very good to know.
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Cameron McKenzie
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I also should mention that I had pretty weak military, and probably would not have been able to hold all of my cities if I'd expanded any closer to my neighbors. Building two cities very close to one another allowed me to stay out of most major conflicts. If anyone turned their sights in my direction, I would have plenty of time to prepare for it before their armies were on my doorstep.
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I played 5 games of civ so far and i think irrigation is nowhere near mandatory. I won a game with 2 cities (tech, russia) and i won a game with 3 cities (military, china). In most of the other games i had 3 cities. But in the end i always noticed, the 3rd city was not developed much and didn't do much at all.
I think developing a level 2 military unit is much more important than a 3rd city.
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Holger Hannemann
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It might just be coincidence, but of the 4 games I played the person to build the third city first always won the game.
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steve perkins
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No, as long as you have 2 or even one city producing enough culture can win it for you.
 
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Brian Murray
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I played a game last night as China and pulled off a culture victory where I had only 2 cities for about 80% of the game. So for what it's worth that was refreshing to me.
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stephen biggs
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Depends on which nationality you are, & which victory type you want.
e.g. Egypt can easily build the most expensive buildings from a new city. So Egypt gains noticably from having a 3rd.
Rome gains a culture just from building a city. So should build the 3rd, even if it's certain to be destroyed. Infact, Rome activly wants it to be destroyed so that it can rebuild it somewhere else.
For the other nations, it's not so clear an advantage.
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Matt Mehlhoff
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Played last night with 4 people. Everyone's first game.

I won via military and didn't have irrigation
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J Knoerzer
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I played this weekend with all experinced players. I was germany and the only one with out irragation. I didn't win I crushed. No one had a level four tech, no one was on the Level three culture section and no one had more 8 coins. I sacked Rome's capital and the same turn I could have destoryed his last city before hand (we called the game when we realized no one could stop me) and wiped him completely off the board. I think the better questions is irragation worth getting at all. This game is a race and is the effort of buidling up a third city really going to speed you to your goal? I starting to lean that a third city takes to long to develop and requires to much effort to protect and is really only useful in certain situations.
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Noble Knave
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It seems that the 3rd city is much like increasing your family size in Agricola: to certain people and in certain groups it seems like a necessity because the extra action(s) is so powerful. However, the opportunity cost of getting that action, and the fact that it tends to be weaker than the first two actions, can actually mean that it's not as strong or "necessary" of a strategy as it first appears. Spending the time and resources on strengthening your existing machine may be more valuable in the long run.
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Once you realize the third city will never be well developed, you'll build it if your strategy needs the trade boost (if you have access to a desert- or coast-rich city spot) or if you want to harvest resources (you will seldom want to "waste" your two main cities' actions on harvesting instead of building stuff or racing ahead on culture)

Essentially; you build a third city if you have a need for an action that even an undeveloped city can take.

If not, you can probably do with Engineering, Hanging Gardens (etc) instead.
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Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory
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Won a tech vitory with Russia yesterday, in a three-player game. Both my opponents, Germany and America, built a third city. I got irrigation from one of them, but never got around to building the third city. Having a well developed city near them pumping out tech-stealing armies was enough. (Also I had enough producing units to defend against two fairly aggressive civs. If they'd let up a bit, I probably would have built the city, if only for the extra trade.).

So no, I don't think it's always necessary. And good point about opportunity cost.
 
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Nigel Saloway
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I have played only one game so far. I was the Americans and won with economy. For that I see the third city as a really important piece of the machine. Having three cities with a market place and then by research upgrade them to banks by the time you have 5-6 coins iwas my winning strategy.

The third city also provided as a buffer to my second city. However, it is always related to what kind of map you have and what the other players are doing. Adaptation is the key.

I can imagine playing with only two cities, for example if going for culture victory. So no, it is not mandatory.
 
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Polychronis Perrakis
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I don't think there is an option here.. Irrigation is mandatory of course.. Either research it or steal it, it's mandatory..

Quote:
I can imagine playing with only two cities, for example if going for culture victory. So no, it is not mandatory.


If you can make it happen (by playing against serious opponents of course), I would be glad to here it... Culture victory demands a lot of trade, too.. So you have to build almost all of universities and 2 temples maybe.. Furthermore, devoting means few units.. I don't know..

Now that this matter has been discussed, I'll give it a try, but I don't think it will work..
 
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Zach Rivenbark
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I've won several times without irrigation. For the Japanese, I didn't see it as useful. I would have lost too many hammers and gained too much trade, which I did not need.
 
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Nick Wester
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I would say, very, VERY situationally, you can win with only two cities.

We did a 3-player game on Saturday, I was Japan against Mongols and France. France screwed me early on by using a culture card to move my scout and attacking it on the turn I'd planned on researching Irrigation. Then he founded his third city nearby, leaving me with no realistic option for a third city until researching Flight.

I still nearly won via science. I was making 9 trade per turn and could use Feudalism to get free Silk to funnel through Horseback Riding when desperate. When not desperate for trade I was able to harvest Incense from my second city and toss that and the Feudalism freebie into Pottery to both temporarily increase my coins when it came to research and to re-invest into the Science investment. After getting Education I was able to use excess resources to get a level 3 an 4 tech.

In the end, I lost when the Mongols invaded my capital with a bunch of Cannons that trumped the bunch of Riflemen I'd made to trump the French Knights. Winning was very much within my reach even without Irrigation. There were a lot of little things that could have changed the game in my favor, including, but not limited to: Building any buildings in either city (The capital has no grasslands! and my second city had 1 hammer), paying more attention to army composition, researching Replaceable Parts instead of Flight (I got one free plane from Military Tradition, as opposed to bumping all my Riflemen nearly out of Cannon threat range and getting one of those free), or most importantly picking a better starting Social Policy--Rationalism isn't good for two cities, and conflicts with Japan's discount. Change any of those things and I could have done it, even with two cities.
 
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Derrek McNab
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In the games I played in the past, Irrigation used to be my first or second tech.

Now, depending on what's going on, it can be my first through fourth II tech.

I don't think Irrigation is mandatory because of the "appearing weak" technique. Building tall with a good defense but having only two cities can be enough to deter your friends. And with enough manipulation to get your friends to fight each other constantly, I have been able to sneak out a culture win as China and a Tech victory with Katherine using only two cities.

So my judgement on Irrigation is how much of a threat I want to be, or can I get away with tricking my friends into going at their throats.



 
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Ignacio Gonzalez Ampudia
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Yes, it is. Actually, if your first tech is code of laws (and you change to republic), and your third one is irrigation, you will expand pretty fast, and the extra trade and actions that 3 cities give is something really useful by turn 3/4. Also, i think you should always try to go for a military victory, since it´s the only victory condition that prevents you from an enemy attack.
 
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Nathanaël Dufour
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A third city means : +1 city action, more trade, and +1 social policy. It is a very strong move and I don't really see anyone playing without it in Wisdom or Warfare, unless the game is really short.

However, Irrigation doesn't need to be your FIRST lvl 2 tech : Governments such as Monarchy and Feudalism give you a free action as well, Democracy gives you trade, and sometimes the military boost makes these techs more urgent.
 
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