The Freeciv playing HOWTO
Michael Hohensee(aka Zarchon)
Now that you've gotten it running, you'll want to play your
first few games. It is recommended that you try playing solitaire a
few times, so that you can get a feel for how things work, but this is
not necessary. You can learn by playing with others as well.
What timeout should I set?
That depends upon the number of players. If there are just
two of you playing, you can usually get away with using timeout 0. If
there are more than two, or if one of the two is going to be away from
his terminal at random intervals and you don't want to halt play, a
timeout of 60 seconds is usually sufficient. Later in the game,
however, as things get more complex, you may want to extend the
timeout to 240 seconds. In general, the more players you have, the
longer a timeout you will need. Feel free to set whatever timeout
seems comfortable, but remember that going above 300 will tend to
What size map should I use?
The map size depends upon how many players there are, and how
fast you want the game to end. The default map size (80x50) is big
enough for a fairly quick two player game, but will result in a *very*
fast game if any more than three people are participating.
Fast games tend to be frustrating for everyone but the winner,
as nobody has really had any time to develop any defense. If you have
more than three people playing, you should use an 80x80 map. If you
have five or more people, you probably want to consider one that's
What is that "generator" option?
That alters the map generation process. If you play freeciv a
few times without this setting, you are sure to hear of (or
experience) the horrors of a tiny island. Tiny Island Syndrome (TIS)
is known to make people go insane. To fix this, our loving and kind
coders installed the generator option. When set to 1, it does
absolutely nothing. But when set to 2, and when the map is 80x50, it
generates seven islands of equal size. This way, nobody can whine
about losing "on account of that d**ned island."
Should I make the game easier by increasing the starting gold?
If you are inexperienced, and are playing with inexperienced
people, probably no one will object to an increase in the amount of
gold they start with. This is, however, not a good way to learn how
to play. Starting out with lots of money makes the game much easier,
and makes it more difficult for you to learn how to cope with the
default amount. Most experienced players don't increase this setting,
and if they know how to cope with it and you don't, you are going to
go the way of Atlantis.
Note: The same thing applied to the "techlevel" and "researchspeed"
What about those other settings?
The rest of them mainly have to do with what sort of world
will be generated and game mechanics. Increasing "specials" gives you
a high chance of resources/square, and huts determines how many
freebie huts there are. Increasing the amount of settlers or
explorers one starts with makes the game go faster, and allows people
to survive "those $#@! barbarians" which sometimes live in huts.
Increasing the rail**** determines how much more a square will
produce in food/trade/production with a railroad on it, and foodbox
determines how much food each person in a city has to have before a
new person can be added.
As for the rest, higher "mountains" means a more mountainous
map, higher "deserts" means more deserts, etc.
How do I get _____ tech?
As there is not yet a pretty GIF map of all the techs for 1.5,
it is sometimes hard to figure out what techs are necessary for other
techs. Look in common/tech.c. It shows a list of all the techs, and
what techs are necessary to get them.
What kinds of military units are the most useful?
Tanks (armor), Helicopters, Cruise Missiles, Battleships,
Transports, and Nuclears.
Tanks (armor), Mech Inf. Howitzers, Battleships,
Cruise Missiles, Nuclears.
Remember, the best defense is a strong offense.
Ok, I know how to start a game, but how do I play it? I'm tired of
getting whomped by ______. What kind of strategy should I use?
First of all, we haven't been playing 1.5 long enough to
develop a *perfect* strategy, so this one isn't. :) This one is just
adapted form the strategies commonly used in 1.0k. It could probably
be improved upon. That's your job. ;)
The game is divided into several stages.
The Initial Expansion phase
The Second Expansion phase
The Production phase
and The Utter Annihilation of Your Enemies phase
This phase is the most critical. The first thing you want to
do is build cities and explore your island. You want lots of cities.
The name of the game is to tie down as many squares of land as
possible. When building a city, make sure that you don't overlap onto
one of your other cities' territories. You can see which squares are
being used by a city by clicking on it. The map of the city and the
surrounding area contains that city's territory. Keeping this in
mind, try to keep your cities fairly close together. The further
apart they are, the more difficult they are to defend and administer
at this stage. (Tip: Try to build on horses or near fish).
Now that you have a city or two, you'll want to set the
science rate to 100%. Don't worry about the tax rate, since you won't
be building any improvements to drain your cash; you'll be building
settlers. Every city should be churning out settlers. The more
settlers you make, the more cities you can have; the more cities you
have, the faster you gain tech; the faster you gain tech, the faster
you win. After you have built as many cities as your corner of the
island will hold, turn the settlers to irrigating and building roads.
(Note: If the food production in a city drops to +1 from supporting
too many settlers, and you can't rearrange people to increase it, then
switch them to building temples. Unless you make contact with another
player, don't worry about building military units just yet.)
All throughout this time, you have been gaining techs as fast
as possible. What you should be shooting for is first "The Republic,"
then "Democracy," then "Railroad," and then "Industrialization." As
soon as you get the republic, start a revolution and change over to a
republican government. Cities operate much better under republics
than they do under despotisms.
When you get democracy, you are equipped to go into the Second
Expansion phase. This is accomplished by changing the government to a
democracy, making all cities build temples, and setting the luxury
rate to 100%. When you do this, all cities will immediately begin
celebrating, and will grow at a rate of one person per turn as long as
there is surplus food. When they've gotten big enough, set the luxury
down to a reasonable level of 20-40%. This places you in the Second
The down-side to this is that setting luxury to 100% means
that your science research will all but stop. After your cities have
grown, and you put science back up to 50% or so, you will again gain
techs, but at a slightly slower rate. If you have done some
exploring, and are not immediately threatened by another player, it
can be a good idea to keep science at maximum until techs start to
take too long to generate.
Second Expansion Phase:
When you get your cities to a good sized population, wean them
of their luxuries gradually and increase taxes. Once they're down to
30% luxury or so, put as much of the taxes as you can into science,
while maintaining a positive income. When you get railroad, turn all
your roads into rails (Tip: turn every square used by a city into a
road/rail, it increases that city's output).
Now is the time to develop industrialization, and military
technologies. You should also begin planting cities on other islands,
and do some serious exploring if you have not already done so. You
need to find out where your enemies are. Go for techs good for ships,
and try to build Magellan's Expedition. When you feel ready, go into:
Now you're building factories and power plants in your cities.
You want to get as much production as possible out of each city.
Pollution becomes a problem. Try to research "Recycling" as soon as
possible, so you can build recycling centers. Once you've got all
your cities going strong, you must build military units. (Note: If you
come into contact with another player, you should immediately build a
few attack units, and at least one defense unit per city.)
When you want to begin thinking about attacking someone, set
science to 0%, and put raise taxes as high as you can without
provoking disorder. Remember, money can build units too!
Utter Annihilation of Your Enemies Phase:
This can happen at any time, but it's more fun with the
Pick a relatively weak enemy, and send over a few ship-loads of
troops. Take over his cities, and use them to build more units to
take out the rest of them with. Show no quarter! To the death!
Repeat as often as necessary. ;)