Author Topic: Food economy: my best practices  (Read 380 times)

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Offline Kepler

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Food economy: my best practices
« on: March 23, 2020, 09:19:03 AM »
I am currently in year 225 with about 2500 citizens (1800 adults).  The dominant food in my economy is from beef and mutton (I have about 75 full size equivalent pastures).  This plus fish makes me highly protein rich, so I have been using the 3:1 trade amplification by trading as much as I can (24 fully staffed trading stations) to get grains, vegetables, and fruit.  I have one token farm, no orchards, and about 25 fully staffed gathering huts which get me some of the other 3 groups, too.

The net from the trades covers my food production shortfall (each year I generate about 150k and consume about 300k).  I get about ten visits from food and general goods merchants and move enough "complex" protein to net about 150k "simple" food.

I've experimented with various models over many games and this has some advantages.  It doesn't care about weather.  It doesn't have that annual cycle to worry about -- it scales evenly.  It seems to be far more labor efficient.

Anyway, it has been working for me.  I do seem to get a ton of diseases and some of them explode.  I'll get 100-300 patients during spikes and while my 25 hospitals and 10k herb stores are never overwhelmed, that's still a big labor displacement.  I have had two famines in the last 100 years and each was triggered by an epidemic that threw my labor into churn chaos.  However, things have really calmed down now.  I keep 700 houses and the old age cycle seems to calm down as the population goes over 2000.  Recovery is also quicker.

I'm pretty much content although my populations can't support the coal I need for tools and if I trade for coal I have food shortfalls.  But I'm tinkering now; the really large experiments are about over except for one.  I once razed all my forests but got into a major crisis because I didn't have the trade economy to buy the logs I needed.  My next major effort will be to try it again, convert them all to pastures, work them with ex-miners, and use a percentage of the trade to buy all the resources I lose with the environmental damage (logs, herbs, the gatherer and hunter outputs).  It may work but I have a feeling it will not be very pretty and I'll eventually just let the forests grow back.

If you have any thoughts please let me know.  This is my first post here so hello.

Online kid1293

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Re: Food economy: my best practices
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2020, 10:31:24 AM »
 ;D ;D

First of all - Hello and welcome!

You are trying to get a balanced and self-supporting settlement with the help of trade.
It will work but you can not expect it to be easy when slowly filling the map.
I think you make the right thing to try, evaluate, and try again. There are tons of
information on this site but each to his own to get the most out of the game :) :)

Offline Nilla

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Re: Food economy: my best practices
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2020, 03:03:57 AM »
hello, Kepler

I like to experiment about different ways to support a settlement, just as you´ve done. And yes, trading meat for other food is a thing that works. I´ve played such games, too. It´s harder than the "standard (and quite boring) trade economy"; firewood but makes more fun. It´s harder because of the space pastures need. You need many traders to carry the meat to the ports from the distant pastures and many market places and vendors to carry all the other food to the distant parts of your settlement.

What about coats? If I remember it right, there was a surplus of wool in such games and I used to export wool coats. And unless I have a surplus of firewood, I didn´t bother to import coal; too much is "stolen" by the people to heat their houses, instead, I imported steel tools and produced some iron tools when there weren´t enough steel tools.

OK, I´m probably known as the most herbalist hostile person on WOB, but I wouldn´t import any herbs. (I wouldn´t employ any herbalists with "domestic" herbs either). I would rather put much effort into a good distribution of food and people will be healthy. If I don´t succeed and some people only eat meat and have poor health; herbs will not help. People will walk to the herbalist (and not always the closest), every second month and not work. And if they don´t have all food categories they will soon lose that ½ heart they´ve just gained and off to the herbalist again; a never-ending loop.

Forests or not; it´s a matter of taste. You can do without if you import the logs but as you write, they are also good to produce other food categories. It may be a good thing to locate forests in the most remote corners of the map, where it takes time to carry meat away and other foods in. If you don´t have enough logs you may make a small compromise and import logs for firewood, just to support the settlement with logs. In a vanilla game, nothing is profitable as firewood to trade.

Anyway, it would be nice to hear more about your decisions. Maybe with some screenshots.


Offline Kepler

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Re: Food economy: my best practices
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2020, 09:16:47 AM »
Thank you both for your thoughtful replies!

I have been playing this particular game as a Herb Enthusiast, after not using it much in prior iterations.  My main tradeoff with herbs has been location, part of general tactics on how to best exploit forests.

I landscape my forests as single circles the radius of the gathering perimeter, dual tangents, or (rare) triple tangents, each determined by hill/mountain and sea "dead space."  I place Gathering facing Forester, sharing their road, at the very center.  This seemed obvious from the very start.

For Hunters (I love Hunters) I will place them in the astroid (thanks, Steelers) traced by the dead space between the tangent points of the Gathering circles, since this doesn't sacrifice production.

Now, to get back to Herbalists.  I have tried three different strategies with various give and take.  (1) face them to the Hunter.  Pros: large forest coverage to max production; does not subtract from Forest/Gather production.  Con: the longest possible walk for a vendor from the town.  (2) Triangle with Gather/Forest in the circle center.  Pro: largest possible production; Con: by definition a walk of at least the circle radius, cuts into logs and food.  (3) At the forest edge of town.  Pro and Cons the exact opposite of the Hunter astroid location.

After many many games in which my herbs oscillated between 100 and nil, I said screw it this time, went out and just placed an auto buy of 99 Herbs per trader.  The default purchase placement is after food so while it does cut into food purchases through flow-down opportunity cost, it doesn't have the coal problem where if you leave the default order you are forgoing food on every General Goods auto transaction.  The result was after a five year run I looked up and saw I had a 10k herb surplus!  I then removed it from the purchase queue and let it oscillate between 9900 and 10,000 for about twenty years.  I enjoyed not having to worry about health erosion at all.

But are you telling me workers will pass a market or warehouse with herbs and walk all the way out to the Herbalist?  Because that would be... well... bad.  That would be brutally inefficient and if that is the case I might simply dispense with herbs entirely as an attractive nuisance.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 09:21:30 AM by Kepler »

Offline Nilla

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Re: Food economy: my best practices
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2020, 10:07:08 AM »
Yes, herbalists are, what you say, brutally inefficient. I have a reason for my hostility. ;) If you take a closer look, you will see that a person who not has all hearts, leaves his work, walks to the nearest place where herbs are stored to pick one herb (if you are short on herbs this may be very far away) then he walks to one herbalist to regain 1- ½ heart (which herbalist is for me an enigma, it´s not always the closest, neither from where he is when he has the herb, nor where he lives or work). In any case, it´s a long walk, especially if you locate herbalists to get the maximum output of herbs. And of course, it´s a loss of production. If you have no herbalist the unhealthy person just make a brief break and goes on with his work as usual.

On the other hand, the probability to get diseases or to die by childbirth is higher if you have poor health (I think in vanilla 3 hearts but it may also be 4, I´m not sure). But I prefer a good distribution of all food categories over herbalists. This way you´ll have 5 hearts without one herb and better production.

And to the location of hunters; I rather look at the grazing herds when I want a high output; many grazing spots inside the circle gives more meat.

Offline Kepler

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Re: Food economy: my best practices
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2020, 02:25:52 PM »
I haven't made a methodical study of grazing but it seems to me to be highest in the grassland next to the piedmont.  So I like putting Hunters in the outside corners of the map with their circles just touching the mountain line.  (1) The map is usually agreeable since it like to stick the high mountains out there, and (2) if you get a corner Hunter with coverage of two perpendicular hillsides then the herds really roll in.

The disadvantage is of course that those site are out in BF Egypt, so they can't be exploited until the chain of markets reaches out towards the corners.

Which brings up pop distribution.  In this game I created 12 markets with 25 houses surrounding each.  I would establish a market and a few work places and a few houses, then build along the market border streets.  Once I had all my independent "villages" established I started growing them out independently according to the unique configuration of the terrain around each.  This gave me a very nice, gentle pop rise with no retraction for about 125 years (years 50-175) until I hit the 700 houses and the map was pretty full. I did make one megalopolis growing the cetntral three villages together to make a huge sprawl. 

This is all vanilla so no 2-story houses, BTW.

One I stopped building houses the demography time bomb started ticking of course, leading to my worst die off which was a perfect storm of old age / starvation / epidemic: 2880 to under 600 in 1 year.

From this I learned there's a reason they give you so many max vendors to a market -- use them all.  Once I maxed them out the food penetration into my houses became so solid short term downturns and epidemics did not come anywhere near starvation.

 

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