It depends on the map really, one time I got free reign over my continent so built about 8 cities. Another time, I had to share it with 4 other Civilizations so I only made 4 before I started to just take surrounding cities if I needed to expand.
Usually 2-5, I like doing just 1 but that's a pretty different game. I hate creating cities after the first few hundred turns, if you can't get the most opportune place it takes forever for it to contribute anything, just bumps up the culture requirements. I might be doing it wrong.
I tend to play on the continents map style so I usually build 2-3, one at each corner, to cover that continent. By the time its conquered and I need to expanded to he other one I'm usually bored of the game and quit shortly after. If I did keep playing I would build one on that continent and use it to spread my rule.
It really depends on the situation and map. If I find that I have plenty of room and the right land to play a horizontal game, then I'll just continue to build low population cities in an ICS until I run out of room. As long as I have the happiness of course. Any city that ends up on bad land just focuses on gold with lots of trading posts, and the others that have good land focus on production. If I'm playing a culture game or have very cramped surroundings suitable to a vertical game, I'll keep my number of cities to a max of 4 and focus on making sure they're high pop production cities.
Situational. Just now I managed a careful buddy-buddy science-grind as the Babylonians as a single city and then I decided to thank that asshole Caesar for his smug denouncement spam of the last thousand years with giant robots and helicopters.
And then the rest of the planet, leaving only Ghandi's India behind.
Finished it by leaving on a space rocket. F that planet.
@Cheesebob: A lot can work. A lot of people bash Civ5, but what is really nice is that you can win more easily with fewer cities. City spam also works though, and is often the way to go. I place them 4-6 tiles away. Grabbing resources is more important than optimal growth potential. But I usually go for quick expansion.
This has inspired me to do the one city challenge, It's always scared me as I like to expand rapidly and at the expense of my opponents comfort, but we will see what happens.
Focus on your economy early on and make friends with others. As long as you make sure to focus on small empire policies and then maybe going to commerce, it shouldn't be too hard. There is usually one guy that no one really likes, and you can try and go for him early on, just make sure you figure out who it is quickly, so your not super nice to him right before pummeling him or other civs will start to hate on you. Lots of gold and lots of happiness will help conquering go quickly because you can handle the unhappiness from annexing, and unit costs. Plus in a pickle you can purchase a needed unit.
Something I've always wanted to know with cities in Civ 5. What is a good distance from your capital to make a new city?
That really depends on how many cities you are making, and what your focus is going to be. With a military game, I tend to clump them up so they can all support one another, but make sure they have enough space to expand and there is no wasted land. With lots of cities, you can get away with closer cities because you'll probably have them expanding a lot less, but with a few cities, they tend to get really big, so spreading them out is always useful, even if it means putting up with the cost of route maintenance.
A few big cities seems to work better in my experience, especially for early game stuff. I tend to build up my cities really well so it takes time till I want to make another one, but they are always crazy good at whatever I need them to do.
It all depends on what kind of victory I am going for. If I want a cultural victory I build no more then 5, maybe even 4. I dont even annex/puppet other cities. If I am going for a domination I just keep expanding constantly. So if it is a bigger map I can get about 8 cities, if its smaller I will get like 6.
@SomeJerk: Funny because in my games, Ghandi enjoys warmongering most of the time.
Hell, the first time I played Civilization III I thought I was doing pretty well, I go over some hills and meet Ghandi. My horses were no match for his tanks...
I usually build 2-5, just enough to keep in line with other civs until my military is a viable option, then whenever you conquer a city, raze all cities under 10 population and keep ones at or above 10. That way when you do regain control of the city it is usually making enough of its own gold to make the courthouse worth the 4 gold a turn price.
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