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Efficient transfer of food

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Level 9 Human Gamer
Alignment: Good
Posted on June 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

What's the most efficient way to move food around the interior of your empire, particularly over large distances? Should one just leave it up to the road links and tweaks of the stockpile levels? Or is it better to load up a bunch of workers/slave and send them out? It seems like the road net should win hands down (unless there's a maximum transfer limit per week -- don't have the game on hand to check), but I thought I'd ask.

The reason I'm particularly interested is that currently Heraclea Lyncestis has a surplus of 14,500+ (!) and my recently conquered cities leading up to the Nestus are starving.... I'm in the process of tweaking the stockpile levels in between, but that doesn't appear to be making any difference in the short term.

Incidentally, is there an upper limit to food storage in a city?

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: New Jersey
Posted on June 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm

What's the most efficient way to move food around the interior of your empire, particularly over large distances? Should one just leave it up to the road links and tweaks of the stockpile levels? Or is it better to load up a bunch of workers/slave and send them out? It seems like the road net should win hands down (unless there's a maximum transfer limit per week -- don't have the game on hand to check), but I thought I'd ask.

The reason I'm particularly interested is that currently Heraclea Lyncestis has a surplus of 14,500+ (!) and my recently conquered cities leading up to the Nestus are starving.... I'm in the process of tweaking the stockpile levels in between, but that doesn't appear to be making any difference in the short term.

There's a definite maximum transfer limit per week, I think it's at a max 100 food/week. However, the longer the roads are the lower the limit (I think the lowest I've seen is 15/week). You're referring to the Chalcidean/Athenian cities on the coast, right? As long as you connect them to each other and connect one of them to a city with a good supply (usually one that has at least two more farms connected to it than it has units garrisoned, I'd say) it will eventually fill up. In the meantime, I usually use workers to bolster the stockpiles (make 5 at a time, fill them up, then disband them when they reach the target city). If possible use maxed out slaves, because they can hold double the amount workers can (cuz they have twice the people). Just be careful not to walk them through too much fog of war.

Incidentally, is there an upper limit to food storage in a city?
I don't think so, I've had really crazy amounts of surplus at Lyncestis (sp?) in one of my longer games (easily breaking 100k).

Level 9 Human Gamer
Alignment: Good
Posted on June 13, 2010 at 6:04 pm

There's a definite maximum transfer limit per week, I think it's at a max 100 food/week. However, the longer the roads are the lower the limit (I think the lowest I've seen is 15/week).
I thought that might be the case, but I can't check right now. Whatever the limit, I imagine that the larger the distance, the more intermediate destinations will "have first dibs". I'm assuming that the system is not "packet" based (in which specific packets are addressed to specific destinations) but simply "flow" based (all external demands are added up and that's what's pushed out -- and whoever taps it first wins). With almost any reasonable limit, there will be far more demand on the relatively few links to the "breadbaskets" than they are likely able to supply.

You're referring to the Chalcidean/Athenian cities on the coast, right? As long as you connect them to each other and connect one of them to a city with a good supply (usually one that has at least two more farms connected to it than it has units garrisoned, I'd say) it will eventually fill up. In the meantime, I usually use workers to bolster the stockpiles (make 5 at a time, fill them up, then disband them when they reach the target city). If possible use maxed out slaves, because they can hold double the amount workers can (cuz they have twice the people). Just be careful not to walk them through too much fog of war.
Yes, those are the ones. I've been doing exactly the same thing as you: waiting on supplies and supplementing with workers and slaves. The principal reason I was asking is to get a feeling for the break-even points: supply lines provide steady but relatively low supply per week; workers carry quite a bit, but are not terribly fast; and slaves can carry a lot, but are very slow. Given that road supply is limited, there must be radii below which workers and slaves are not efficient.

My biggest difficulty with "wait it out" right now is that I have a couple of food riots going on, most nearby locations are tapped out, and hiking in food from Heraclea Lyncestis is going to take a while.... =) I think that my main problem is that I have a habit of moving battle line units into newly conquered walled towns to quell rebellion while a garrison is raised: when they leave, they have a nasty habit of taking every scrap of food with them. In this case, I left the walls up on the cities along the coast since I don't have control of the seas and I'm worried about Athenian landings. I should probably just tear them down, disband the garrisons, and switch to a mobile defence, which is what I'll probably do tonight. That's probably what I should have done in the first place.... Live and learn.

I'm really just getting underway (pushed to the Nessus in the east, bypassing the peninsulae,; in the southwest, just took Thermopolae -- haven't even reached Corinth yet) so I'm a bit concerned that this is going to get to be a bigger and bigger problem as distances grow larger.... So much subtlety, so much to learn. Wonderful game!

Level 13 Human Shadow
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Earth Orbit, Preparing to Attack
Posted on June 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm

One tool that I used in midgame was building tribal cavalry at locations without much food, sending them south via a large food store city, and essentially have massive numbers (about 20-30) cavalry units move all the food with them prior to attacking an enemy.

Level 9 Human Student
Alignment: Chaotic
Posted on June 14, 2010 at 12:53 am

What I usually find is that one city per "region" can be made into a bread basket given enough time, and then I use it to supply surrounding towns. There are also exceptions like Pydna, which you can use to supply towns over longer distances. Heraclea Lyncestis is not a good bread basket because it is quite isolated, despite its massive food production rate. Pharsalus/Pherae, Olynthus, Larissa and Crenides are good examples of bread baskets as they can have a large number of connections and have a high potential food production rate.

Food production rate; proximity to other towns; and number of available connections are the main factors in whether a city is well-suited to be a regional supplier of food. Set its stockpile high but not too high, so it doesn't hoard food.

Some regions are just very poor in food though (e.g. the mountainous regions) so you have to micromanage them a bit more and it makes taking and holding the tribal regions a lot harder.

Level 14 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on June 18, 2010 at 4:45 am

I usually increase the stockpile level of cities with lots of connections to other cities so that they're able to adapt to the sudden food requirements when you attach new cities to your network or build lots of new units. Sometimes it's not enough and you'll need to send workers to stop a city from rebelling, but it can help. Don't do this if you're currently trying to solve a current supply problem, though; cities won't transfer any food until they've met their stockpile level, so raising your stockpile level is just going to make things worse. This is something that needs to be done before the problem actually happens.

It's also a good idea to build your units at a city that has a lot of food to begin with, so you don't drain your city's food before your units even have a chance to do anything.

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: Good
Posted on June 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I also use workers for food transport and I think this part of the game affords unnecessary micromanagement.
I usually build 8 workers (16+ clicks), then I have to wait till they are ready. Then pick each single one and make them grab food (another 16 clicks), make them walk to the target and there I must disband them (16 clicks). Not funny, not entertaining.

Why not create a caravan system? I pick a food rich city, click on the caravan button and tell the system how much food I want to deliver. When the caravan reaches a city it's automatically disbanded, done. Can't find any disadvantages. You still bear the same risks due transport, make it cost the same as workers would do. You just have less work with organizing the transport, which is always a good thing.