Roads are free, and can be built from the Town Center . Buildings can be built in squares adjacent to a road square.
Introduction to Road LayoutsEdit
Arguably the single most important part of city building in the early-game is planning your road layout. Players should attempt to utilize as many of the spaces (initially 9x9 and later 11x11, as shown to the right) in their city as possible; failure to plan ahead often leads to large amounts of wasted space. This can seriously hamper a city's economy and military might, and has the ability to put the player at a serious disadvantage.
The following section will detail methods, thought processes, and considerations players can refer to when planning their layout. The section thereafter will illustrate some common structures seen in road layouts that can be considered efficient, or that can form the foundations of an intelligently designed road layout. The final section will detail many common mistakes players make when they first begin, in hopes that you may avoid these.
How to Plan for Best Road PlacementEditThe single most important thing to consider when planning your road layout is the placement of your city's grass tiles. All cities have four special tiles on which only your two Farms and single Lumbermill may be built, and their position is randomly generated from 8 possible locations, which are shown in the image to the right. The locations of these tiles significantly affect the shape that your city's usable space will take. Many players insist that some grass tile combinations are significantly better or worse than others, but for the most part all combinations are very usable, and any advantages conferred by a lucky set of tiles is minor at best.
The next major consideration for your road layout is the ratio of 2x2 tile buildings to 1x1 tile buildings that you want your city to have, as well as the number of basements or towers you wish to have. Some players recomend 12 2x2 buildings, 27 1x1 buildings, and 4 basements as an achievable baseline, however there is no "perfect" layout! The standard notation used in day to day chatter for the aformentioned ratio would be 12,27,4.
When setting up your own layouts, it is important that you think about what each building can and cannot do for you. For example, all cities need gold in order to grow, but there are several viable paths to acquiring that gold. Perhaps you want to aggressively raid other players and barbarians for your gold (in which case you wouldn't need as many markets and would want more stables or barracks to have enough troops to raid effectively). Other players might want to produce all their gold themselves, building up to 6 or 8 markets. A third strategy would to be building only 4 or 5 markets, but comitting to upgrading them early and often (this is more costly, but uses up less space)
Regardless of what ratio of building sizes you want, you should remember that you need space for multiple Barracks , Stables , and/or Workshops (2x2) for unit production; multiple Trading Posts (2x2) for sending/contributing resources, creating Ox Wagons , creating Tribal Structures , or researching the Rush Attack and Rush Defense technologies; one University (2x2) for various researchable Technologies and to speed up research and building times; ten Armories (1x1) and ten Blacksmiths (1x1) to increase your units' effectiveness in combat; at least one Foundry (1x1); one Refinery (1x1); and multiple Markets (1x1). Your plan should include all of these.
Finally, remember that upon reaching Town Center level 8, your city expands from 9x9 to 11x11. This makes a very significant difference in terms of usable space, as without that upgrade, many players might be inclined to build along the edge of the 9x9 sized city. This is just one example of an instinct that proves to be very wrong, and in fact causes a lot of problems for properly layout out one's road.
Examples of Efficient Road Layout IdiomsEdit
Despite the high level of variation amongst different cities' layouts, there are still some very easily recognizable layout idioms that crop up over and over again. These idioms tend to fill a very specific need within a city's layout, and when combined with other such efficient idioms, can get you most of the way to a finished road layout without much brainwork at all. Learning to recognize these idioms and work with them will help you significantly.