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.
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.
TABLE I shows the following information for each terrain type: Terrain / Turns to irrigate / Turns to mine / /Turns to transform / Result of transformation
|Terrain||Turns to||Result of transformation|
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||1||2||3||4||5||1||2||3||4||5||1||2||3||4||5|
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.
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
|Terrain||Turns to build|
|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.
|Terrain||Turns to build|
|Number of engineers||1||2||3||4||1||2||3||4||1||2||3||4||1||2||3||4|
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.
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:
|# of Turn||E #1||E #2|
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:
|# of Turn||E #1||E #2||E #3|
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:
|# of Turn||E #1||E #2||E #3||E #4|
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:
|# of Turn||E #1||E #2||E #3||E #4||E #5|
Finally, if 10 Engineers are used for the transformation, the following happens:
|# of Turn||Engineers working|
The increased waste has negated the contributions of 7 Engineers so that the task still takes 11 turns to complete.
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.
|# of Turn||Pairings of Engineers|
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.