In a previous post I talked about the usefulness of geographical knowledge for strategies in some of the Civilization 5 mods. This included ‘Extended World Map’ and ‘Reforestation’, but mainly focused on ‘Perfect World’.
Perfect World is a mod based on map elevation data to create landforms, and a simplified model of geostrophic and monsoon wind patterns to generate climate. This post will be in a walk through style, and will show you the decisions that I made in the early stages of the game in order to apply geographical knowledge to my advantage.
Game set-up was set to random. (Unless you are like me, who selects random, then restarts several times to get a leader I actually want to play as).
Firstly, plonk your first city down. Next, take a look at the resources and terrain around you to get a better idea of what sort of climate you’re in. For this scenario I looked to the top red circle and saw incense, desert and an oasis. Already this implies a tropical climate. My initial guess is something akin to Africa. Left shows shallow seas which have higher chances of shallower resources such as crabs and pearls.
Below, a citrus plantation leading down towards forest. This implies the further south is going to be generally wetter and more fertile, providing more plantation type resources. Finally the circle to the right indicates dunes with flat desert above. As the size of the desert above is fairly large already, I concluded that the dune was a singular boarding formation (as it is large and angled toward the sea, so formed by wind deposits) rather than a continuing feature East.
Right, North and South seem like good bets for exploration to find resources in the fastest way. South first, as the biosphere is more sustainable, and therefore more likely to hold a higher amount of resources in a smaller space.
As predicted, the forest is pretty bulked up with resources. The red circles show where mountains occur, the circle to the left illustrates how mining resources tend to now tailor mountainous features, rather than at random which tended to happen in the original game. This area is very close to my first city however, and probably doesn’t warrant building another as my boarders will expand.
The second circle indicates another mountain feature. The forest only occurs on one part of the mountain alone, meaning that precipitation (brought upwards off of the water by orographic lifting) is only occurring on one side, and is blocked off from the other by the height of the elevation. As the side that is bare is the South West, it suggests that further south the fertile forest will give way to more savannah and wheat type resources, as the rains aren’t able to make it that far down due to the natural barrier. Time to look North.
As predicted, there are some tasty shallow sea resources in the two smaller circles to the left.The large circle to the right is not only indicating a mountain region, but one that is obviously a different colour. This tells me that the geology of the area is different to the mountain we saw down South. The formations are much larger, darker, and ridged so they are most likely metamorphic and/or igneous rocks. This will cause a greater rain shadow South (rain that only falls on one side of the mountain).
Mountains this large and ridged tend to span formations rather than singular features, so I’m betting that they continue further East. They could span further North, but I decided that that wasn’t as likely seen as below there is flat desert most likely caused by adiabatic compression (lost moisture and heated, creating arid conditions) on the leeward side of the mountains. Therefore, the most likely formation must be a barrier spanning the length of the desert bowl, clearly indicated by the build up of dunes at the base of the mountain.
Now I can see that the desert has been created via water deprivation, rather than wind patterns. Now I know that although the desert will be just as big, it’ll be flatter and more of plain, so won’t hold any mining or durable plantation type resources such as incense.
Based on the information above, I’m going to scout North rather than East, as the rain shadow South means that North should be where the warm moist air, probably brought off of the sea to the left by prevailing winds will be trapped.
Boom. Finally, we have found the highest concentration of resources, shown in the larger circle. In this area there is a resource in every single land plot, spanning 6 in length and with others noticeably near by. Perfect for settling near and getting a head start on the resource race.
I’ve left the walk through here, because as useful as this kind of tactical knowledge is, it really only gives you a considerable edge in the first age when you need to optimise where your cities should be. Also, this becomes far easier once you have scouted out all, or at least most, of the map. In that case it becomes as simple as ‘I have eyes and I see gems. I am going to go to those shiny, shiny gems’.
There are other tactical applications to using the geography of the map however. For example how to pick the best strategically placed and more defensible city or unit locations, or how to identify the places with the highest chance of having a Barbarian encampment. In the next post I’ll go into those a bit more. Maybe it’s time for killing some things, geography style.