The Civilinic Books

How to get the most work from Engineers and Settlers
by AGRICOLA, CFC

Table Of Contents

There have been recurring discussions about the optimum number of Engineers to use for building terrain improvements and for transforming terrain. I think that this information answers any remaining questions for MGE.

CAUTIONARY NOTE

Easy acquisition of the data for this summary was made possible by discovering how the CIV II MGE processes and saves information on the progress of Settler and Engineer tasks. I do not know if the results are valid for other versions of CIV II that may possibly use a different algorithm.


I. IRRIGATING, MINING AND TRANSFORMING

TABLE I shows the following information for each terrain type: Terrain / Turns to irrigate / Turns to mine / /Turns to transform / Result of transformation

Terrain Types
Table I
Terrain Turns to Result of transformation
irrigate mine transform
Desert050520Plains
Forest05XX40Grassland
GlacierXX1540Tundra
Grassland051020Hills
Hills101020Plains
Jungle151520Plains
MountainsXX1060Hills
Plains051020Grasland
Swamp151540Plains
Tundra10XX20Desert
  1. The turns shown are for a Settler. The order to perform a task is given during turn 1 and the task is completed on the turn shown in the table. The turns for Settlers rather than Engineers are shown in order to be consistent with the Civilopedia.
  2. XX = not possible (MGE Civilopedia is incorrect about irrigating Mountains)

TABLE II summarizes the number of turns required by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Engineers to irrigate, mine or transform each type of terrain. For example, the number sequence 20,10,8,7,8 indicates that it will take 1 Engineer 20 turns, 2 Engineers 10 turns, 3 Engineers 8 turns, 4 Engineers 7 turns and 5 Engineers 8 turns to complete the task. The fact that 4 Engineers require less time than 5 is not a misprint.

Number Of Engineers
Table II
Terrain Irrigate Mine Transform
Number of engineers 12345 12345 12345
Desert 32222 32222 105444
Forest 32222 XXXXX 2010878
Glacier XXXXX 84433 2010878
Grassland 32222 53323 105444
Hills 53323 53323 105444
Jungle 84433 84433 105444
Mountains XXXXX 53323 3015111111
Plains 32222 84433 105444
Swamp 84433 84433 2010878
Tundra 53323 XXXXX 105444

I am surprised by some of the irregularities in the results and by how little the use of more than 2 Engineers actually speeds up the work in most situations. Players may want to consider carefully whether it is worthwhile assigning extra Engineers to speed up the completion of a task by a turn or two.

II. ROADS AND RAILROADS

Among the other tasks that Engineers perform, building fortresses and air bases or cleaning up pollution can all be accomplished by 1 unit in 2 turns or 2 units in 1 turn. Only the building of roads and railroads on different terrain types warrants detailed investigation.

TABLE III lists data in the following order: Terrain/ Turns to build road / Turns to build road if river present / /Turns to build RR/ Turns to build RR if river present

Roads And Railroads
Table III
Terrain Turns to build
Roads Railroads
Normal River Normal River
Desert02040406
Forest04060810
Glacier04060810
Grassland02040406
Hills04060810
Jungle04060810
Mountains06081214
Plains02040406
Swamp04060810
Tundra02040406
The turns shown are for a Settler.

TABLE IV summarizes the number of turns required by 1, 2, 3 and 4 Engineers to build a road or railroad on each type of terrain. For example, the number sequence 7,4,3,3 indicates that it will take 1 Engineer 7 turns, 2 Engineers 4 turns and 3 or 4 Engineers 3 turns to complete the work.

1 to 4 Engineers
Table IV
Terrain Turns to build
Roads Railroads
Normal River Normal River
Number of engineers 1234 1234 1234 1234
Desert 1111 2111 2111 3222
Forest 2111 3222 4222 5332
Glacier 2111 3222 4222 5332
Grassland 1111 2111 2111 3222
Hills 2111 3222 4222 5332
Jungle 2111 3222 4222 5332
Mountains 3222 4222 6333 7433
Plains 1111 2111 2111 3222
Swamp 2111 3222 4222 5332
Tundra 1111 2111 2111 3222

The results are consistent with those in TABLE II in that there is generally no advantage to using more than 2 Engineers for most of these tasks.

III. EXPLANATION

The process of building/transforming is simple if a single unit is doing the work. Each turn, the unit earns points and the accumulated points are stored in the unit’s record. When the point total reaches or exceeds the number required to complete a particular task, the task is finished, the icon for the square it has been working in is changed, the point total is reset to 0 and the unit becomes available for new orders.
As a Settler earns 1 point per turn, the number of points required to complete the task equals the number of turns a Settler needs to complete a task. An Engineer in CIV II earns 2 points per turn when it is building or transforming. These numbers do not change if the “Base time for engineers to transform terrain (x2)” is changed in the Rules file, as it is for some scenarios. Changing the “Base time for engineers…..” only changes the number of points needed to complete a task.
Consequently, if the command to transform Mountains to Hills (60 points required for completion) is given on turn 1, a single Engineer will complete the transformation on turn 30. It earns 2 points on turn 1, adds 2 points on turns 2-29 and reaches the required 60 points on turn 30. However, when more than one Engineer is assigned to a task, the CIV II MGE algorithm for calculating and assigning accumulated points does some unexpected things. If 2 Engineers (E1 and E2) are assigned to transform Mountains to Hills, they accumulate points in the following fashion:

2 Engineers
Table V
# of TurnE #1E #2
010400
020800
031200
041600
052000
062400
072800
083200
093600
104000
114400
124800
135200
145600
156000
Task completed

15 turns needed for the transformation. Points earned by both units are credited to E1. When the point total for E1 reaches 60, the task is completed. No points are wasted.
In the case of multiple workers assigned to the same task, the algorithm assigns the earned points unequally to the workers. When the point total of the worker with the most points reaches the required total, the task is finished. The points assigned to all other workers are wasted. It can be seen below that, as the number of workers increases, the waste also increases.

If 3 engineers carry out the transformation, the points are credited as follows:

3 Engineers
Table VI
# of TurnE #1E #2E #3
01040002
02080004
03140004
04200004
05260004
06320004
07380004
08440004
09500004
10560004
11000000
Task completed

Because of “waste”, rather than the expected 10 turns, eleven turns are needed for the transformation. All points earned by E1 and E2 are credited to E1. Four of the points earned by E3 are wasted because they are not credited to E1.

If we increase the number of Engineers to 4, their points accumulate as follows:

4 Engineers
Table VII
# of TurnE #1E #2E #3E #4
0104000004
0210020004
0316040004
0422060004
0528080004
0634100004
0740120004
0846140004
0952160004
1058180004
1100000000
Task completed

The addition of the fourth Engineer has not speeded completion. However, there is an unexpected anomaly in that 4 Engineers accumulate the 10 points needed for some of the irrigation and mining and the 40 points needed for three of the transformations more quickly than either 5 or 10 Engineers (see TABLE II).

If we increase the number of Engineers to 5, their points accumulate as follows:

5 Engineers
Table VIII
# of TurnE #1E #2E #3E #4E #5
010402020200
020604040004
031606060004
042008080004
052610100004
063212120004
073814140004
084416160004
095018180004
105620200004
110000000000
Task completed

Nearly half of the earned points are wasted so it still requires eleven turns to complete. The information summarized in TABLE II was extracted from TABLES V – VIII by noting the turn on which 2, 3, 4 and 5 Engineers reached 5, 10,15, 20, 40 and 60 points. The data for Table IV was obtained in a similar fashion.

Finally, if 10 Engineers are used for the transformation, the following happens:

10 Engineers
Table IX
# of Turn Engineers working
#01#02#03#04#05 #06#07#08#09#10
01 0400000008 0202020200
02 0602020210 0404040006
03 1404040412 0606060004
04 2006060614 0808080004
05 2608080816 1010100004
06 3210101018 1212120004
07 3812121220 1414140004
08 4414141422 1616160004
09 5016161624 1818180004
10 5618181826 2020200004
11 0000000000 0000000000
Task completed

The increased waste has negated the contributions of 7 Engineers so that the task still takes 11 turns to complete.

IV. COMMENTS

If you need to transform the Mountains into Hills (60 points) in a hurry, this is how 4 Engineers can do it in 8 turns if you change the pairings each turn. The Engineers need to be “awakened” at the beginning of turns 2 - 8 before the computer can “process” them, the pairings changed as shown below and the transform command re-issued to all.

Pairing Of Engineers
# of TurnPairings of Engineers
Pair#1Pair #2
01 E1+E2 E3+E4
04000400
02 E1+E3 E2+E4
12000400
03 E1+E2 E3+E4
20000400
04 E1+E3 E2+E4
28000400
05 E1+E2 E3+E4
36000400
06 E1+E3 E2+E4
44000400
07 E1+E2 E3+E4
52000400
00 E1+E2 E3+E4
00000400
Task completed

The task is completed in 8 turns rather than the 11 turns it would have taken if the 4 Engineers had simply been stacked and ordered to transform. For transformations requiring 20 or 40 points, use of this method would have saved 1 turn in each case.

Unfortunately there is some inconsistency, which I cannot explain, as to which unit in a stack of 2 gets credited with the points. It may or may not be the top one in the stack. To overcome this, after the units are “awakened” at the beginning of a turn, I save the game and test to see which one of each pair is “hot” by seeing which one can immediately construct an airfield or fortress. After re-loading, the two “hot” units and the two “cold” ones are stacked and the “O” orders issued. data for this summary was made possible by discovering how the CIV II MGE processes and saves information on the progress of Settler and Engineer tasks. I do not know if the results are valid for other versions of CIV II that may possibly use a different algorithm.

Table Index

  1. Table I. Terrain Types
  2. Table II. Number Of Engineers
  3. Table III. Roads and Railroads
  4. Table IV. 1 To 4 Engineers
  5. Table V. 2 Engineers
  6. Table VI 3 Engineers
  7. Table VII. 4 Engineers
  8. Table VIII. 5 Engineers
  9. Table IX. 10 Engineers
  10. Table X. Pairing Of Engineers