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This stems from the comments on this question. Imagine two cities, A and B, close enough that one can work the tiles that were acquired by the other (either through purchasing them or through cultural expansion). If a tile was acquired by A, and I manually select the tile to be worked by B, does the tile transfer "ownership" to B? So that if B were captured, the tile would go with it, or if A were captured, the tile would stay with B?

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Oh geez my head. It's a good question but ouch. – Daniel Lew Nov 11 '10 at 16:34
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Working a tile does not seem to change the ownership of that tile. If the city is conquered, only the tiles the city directly acquired (culture or bought) are transferred to the conqueror.

Placing a city into an area already owned by the player will transfer ownership of the city tile and the initial inner ring of tiles to that new city.

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Unless of course part of that inner ring of tiles already belongs to a different player, in which case it won't transfer, correct? – bwarner Nov 11 '10 at 17:54
I did not test that explicitly, but I assume (and I think I remember it from previous games) tiles from other civs won't switch if you build a city near them. – Mad Scientist Nov 12 '10 at 7:08
that is right, you can't steal tiles from other civs by settling cities – Adj Nov 12 '10 at 11:30
This is correct, and I'd like to add something to it: this matters most for special tile bonuses, such as the +25% speed to early wonder construction from marble. Only the city that acquired the tile can have that bonus. If you have two marble tiles, and want two different cities to both have the bonus, it is essential that each city claim one of the two tiles. Likewise, only a city that acquires a marble/stone tile itself can build a stone works, making it very worthwhile to purchase stone/marble tiles to guarantee two cities each get one, rather than letting culture decide. – Theodore Murdock Nov 2 '15 at 3:55

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