Although I've been playing Civilization for some time now, I've never really figured out when to stop or start making farms. My style of gameplay has really to spam farms to promote massive amounts of growth, build mines when they're not next to rivers, and harvest happiness resources and strategic resources. I never build any trading posts, and I tend to build way more farms than I probably need.

Is there a rule of thumb of how many farms I should have per city? Also if a farm isn't being worked by a citizen is in the city, do I still get the food/production/gold yield?

  • 1
    I think you have two questions here, maybe make "Also if a farm isn't being worked by a citizen is in the city, do I still get the food/production/gold yield?" into a separate question?
    – SimonL
    Jul 13, 2013 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is any rule that you can follow to build the perfect number of farms, since it really depends on the situation. You can, however, make an informed decision about how many you should build.

To answer your second question first, if a tile is not being worked by a citizen it does not improve your gold, food, or production yield. The only situation where an unworked tile is beneficial is when it contains a luxury or strategic resource. If you aren't working the luxury/strategic resource, but it has the correct tile improvement, it will still be available.

With this in mind, there isn't really a need for 10 farms around a city with 2 citizens. If you listen to the AI recommendations for workers, it will often suggest you build only farms around a low-population city. This is more telling you "you should increase this city's population" rather than "there aren't enough farms." So when building tile improvements make sure you don't just overload on farms. A city with a population of 20 but no production or gold yield isn't nearly as useful as it could be.

In general, try to always consider what improvement would be most effective on a given tile, and what your current goal is. If you have a small city, start by improving tiles that will give you the highest food yield. After you have a few food-generating tiles prepared, try to increase production. This will help you build things such as a water mill or granary in your city itself to further increase growth. After you have a decently sized city you should balance food, gold and production improvements. You want to maintain steady growth, but you also want your city to be as productive and as economically viable as possible.

There is no harm in replacing one tile improvement with another if necessary, but generally you should try to plan ahead by improving tiles in the most optimal manner from the start. City location is very important here, as if you're surrounded by deserts you will always have a weak city.

  • So if I stop city population growth and remove all the farm plots used by said city, my city will starve right? Does 1 food yield (not farm tile) provide the food needed for 1 population unit? Jul 13, 2013 at 21:31
  • Yes, your city will starve. It takes two food units to support one citizen, and surplus food builds towards creating a new citizen. The amount of surplus you need is preset. You can read more about it on this page.
    – bgalin
    Jul 13, 2013 at 22:16
  • 1
    It's about trade-offs. You produce food to create new citizens. Those new citizens can work production and gold tiles to build and pay for buildings such as Granaries and Lighthouses that themselves produce more food or increase food production of certain tiles. Jul 15, 2013 at 8:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .