Sometimes when playing Civilization II, you will be graced with a second settler. This settler can be quite advantageous, because the settler doesn't require any food support, nor taking your city size down by 1 to start improving your initial city. Saving 40 shields at this stage of the game is nothing to sneeze at either.

I have historically made a point to never build with a free settler (starter or wandering nomads): if I am going to build, I might as well do it with one that costs food somewhere, so that city can get that food back.

But it occurs to me that I might also be well served making an improvement or two and then immediately planting a second city. Is it conceivable to go about making an objective analysis of these two initial strategies and what the long term consequences are of this initial decision?

  • lol thought this was a Civ 5 question for a second...was like what are you talking about! – Paralytic Dec 16 '12 at 23:03
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    Haha, yeah Civ 5 is a great one. But there's something about civ2 that has always captivated me. I was playing Settlers of Catan the other night and happened to have civ on the laptop. I couldn't help but notice the striking similarity, especially in color scheme haha! – corsiKa Dec 17 '12 at 16:45

Think about the shield production of your first city and irrigation/roads it needs. Can you build a third settler in the time your settler is upgrading? Churn out settlers from that city, rely on new cities for production, and use the foodless settler for roads.

Is there a danger/need of early armies? Make that settler into a city quickly, unless it will stretch your potential defenses (2 cities shouldn't), in which case consider joining it into your first city after a few improvements.

Does your first city lack the ability to churn out new settlers, no matter the improvements that can be made (not uncommon)? You're going to want that second city with the ability to increase your production. Limiting yourself early on can put you dangerously behind.

If you've got time, try an iterative experiment. Compare the state of your civ 50 turns in with the second city built and without on many maps.

  • Oh, I hadn't considered building it into the capital. That would make a great initial boost from say, size 3 to size 4! And the idea of doing a simple run of 50 (maybe 75 ish) turns is a great idea. The 'long term' effects should have stableized by then such that I can get some hard numbers (# cities, # breakers gained, etc). Thanks a bunch! – corsiKa Dec 17 '12 at 16:44

In most cases, I try to keep that second settler until about midgame (that is, when I get, or am about to get engineers). Then the settler costs less (in terms or productivity) than engineers to build a new city. And having a settler needing no shield or food support represents a massive savings.

I also try to get "second" settlers near enemy cities. That is, I capture a (small) enemy city, depopulate it (using a settler created from it to "rush build" new ones until the city size is 0). If it is closer to other enemy cities than my own, the settler will have "none" as its home base. Of course, I have military units on hand to protect the settler.

The exceptions are as the other poster mentioned; if you made a mistake with your first city and need to correct it, or if there are enemies nearby, and you need cities now.

  • You don't aim for Leo's Workshop to upgrade your settlers into engineers? (To me that's the biggest benefit of it...) – corsiKa Nov 16 '17 at 20:08
  • @corsiKa: That's not my highest priority in medieval times. In descending order, they are Adam Smith's trading company, Michaelangelo's Chapel, and Bach's Cathedral. The computer player usually builds Leo before I do. One disadvantage is that your military units don't upgrade to veterans. I prefer Sun Tzu's Academy, which gives my military that 50% increment; in other words a 40-shield rifleman is really worth 60. – Tom Au Nov 16 '17 at 20:34

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