Old World: How does X work? Post your gameplay questions here!

There is an “arid” type of map tile which can be built on but “sand” cannot.

Once you’ve turned it into an urban tile, can you then build a road, or is it still counted as sand for the purposes of road building?

Thanks, Tom, the encyclopedia is indeed clear on this. However the manual only has 2 listings for “sand;” one is for the Pyramids and the other says “Clerics: Can build improvements on sand tiles.” w/o adding “urban”

If only someone knew the game’s designer and could suggest a slight change in the game mechanics!

Well, a) I’m not sure I would do that without understanding the rationale behind the decision. Which I think I do in this case? And b) I actually like the idea that deserts (i.e. patches of “sand” terrain) are effectively dead to anyone but clerics! Western monotheisms have a special relationship with the desert, so its cool to see a gameplay expression of that, even if it is relatively minor.

Ooh, excellent question. I’ll check it later, but I will be astonished if the answer isn’t yes. So that’s how clerics can build a highway across the desert!

That’s all I saw as well. I just did a keyword search for “sand” and got those two hits. I didn’t catch that one of them was incorrect. :(

To be honest, I haven’t read the manual since it’s final version, but the few times I’ve attempted to find information in it, I’ve either had little luck or the info is superfluous with the ingame documentation. The manual isn’t a very good reference guide, mostly because it’s not written that way. It’s got a very loose conversational style that I find hard to navigate and difficult to read. I imagine it might be helpful for people learning to play Old World, but I’m long past that point myself.


I’m at the “I think I used to know how to play, and trying to remember while adjusting to all the changes since last summer” stage so I found parts of the manual helpful. But it’s good to know that the encyclopedia is a more reliable source. And since the game calls that terrain “sand,” I should have been looking up that and not "deser."t

Answering my question - if you click on the ! notifications it allows a quicker way to tutor

Edit: Oh wait, sometimes it doesn’t work. I had to manually scroll down to the child to do it, it does not show up on the reminders.

In all honesty the Old World interface, taking into account the vast width and depth of info, is the best strategy game UI ever - it has flaws sure but its overall level of function given the scope of the game is outstanding

Can you verify that your heir didn’t age out of eligibility, or the she wasn’t being tutored already? That icon in the notification row has always seemed reliable to me. If you have indeed found a bug, I’m sure Mohawk would be interested in checking out a saved game.


Does the science needed to research a technology increase with map size? If not, is progress through tbe tech tree quicker on larger maps?

Technology costs are fixed by column, starting at 60 on the far left and increasing as you move right. I’m not aware that the map settings have any effect on this.

It would stand to reason that a larger map would mean you have more cities, which would mean you’re producing more research, which would mean faster progress through the tech tree. But each individual technologies will still cost the same amount of research.


thanks! Ive been playing on small maps to mKe games quicker. I should see how large a map I have patience for

To an extent, there’s a bit of an internal limit to expansion until you’ve got things like baths or other discontent reduction. I’ve tried to expand at fill tilt before, and ran into a bit of a discontent spiral.

isnt discontent soley city by city?

It was a bastard child which didn’t have notification. I’ll savegame next time I see it

I think I disagree. The limits to expansion are actually resources before any sort of unhappiness or malus or negative reinforcement. Old World doesn’t have to solve city spam, because it’s already solved with the fixed settlement locations, therefore Old World doesn’t need to punish you for expanding.

And that’s certainly not the function of discontent! You can expand at full tilt and every single city will start out just as happy as every other city. Discontent is basically drag applied to your economy as it grows. You can ignore it and do just fine, but if you want to tune your economic engine, you’ll want to sand down the discontent. But I find it’s an issue of optimization rather than necessity.

Can you explain what you mean by this? I’d say Old World’s economy is deliberately designed to avoid economic death spirals, but we might mean different things when we use the term.


Ah, I wonder if that means you can’t tutor bastards until you make them legitimate? I’ve certainly had my share of rude surprises with bastards throwing complications into the works. :)


I guess one minor map-size-linked limit to expansion is that regardless of map size and number of cities you only have 1 chancellor and so can only pacify 1 city per turn.

Absolutely! As you may have noticed, it’s not great to have unhappy families. And the happiness of a family is directly influenced by the discontent levels of your cities (I think also with a per city penalty if you’re lacking certain resources, and maybe more stuff). So when you delay (in favour of expansion) your discontent management infrastructure (connections, walls, baths) you are decreasing family support because their cities are discontent and you are creating more discontent cities.

That is a pretty pesky multiplicative effect, can absolutely cause spirals - both direct (rebellions causing city damage causing discontent causing worse family relations causing rebellions) and more indirect.

So I find that until you can get discontent management under control, you really can’t just expand as fast and as far as you want.

OK, but this is a thread about Old World, a computer game.