Population Growth is an important characteristic of Cities in the game. It describes how fast (or slow) a town is growing (or shrinking). It is listed in parentheses after the town's current Population at the top of the City Screen.
Population Growth is affected by several factors, the main one of which is the difference between the city's current and Maximum Population. Because of this, the most convenient way to increase Population Growth is often to increase the Maximum Population. Especially since the easiest ways to increase one (Town Buildings) will also increase the other.
While a city cannot grow beyond a Population of 25 in any case, this cap has no effect on Population Growth. Instead, for calculations of growth, the game relies on the amount of Food available to a city.
Population Growth is always expressed in multiples of 10 citizens, thus one can say its unit of measurement is 10 residents.
There are two groups of factors that can affect Population Growth: direct factors, that add a fixed value or percentage (for example racial growth modifiers); and indirect factors, that change the circumstances on which Population Growth is based (such as the Chaos Magic realm Corruption spell). There are also some factors that affect both, like the Granary town building, which provides both a direct increase to Population Growth, and an indirect circumstance by increasing the town's available Food supply.
- Main article: Maximum Population
The base value of Population Growth is determined by the difference between the current and Maximum Population. The latter, in turn, is a function of the Food available to the City. This is mainly Food available on the surrounding tiles, or provided by Town Buildings and Wild Game, but can also be affected by certain spells, such as the Nature Magic spell Gaia's Blessing. As noted above, this value is not limited by the practical Maximum Population cap of 25.
To determine the base Population Growth, we take the Maximum Population (without the cap), subtract the current Population (every whole 1,000), add 1, and then divide by 2 (rounding down). As long as the town has less than its Maximum Population, this will always be a positive value. As noted above, Population Growth is expressed in multiples of 10, so a value of "1" will be displayed as "+10" on the City Screen.
- Main article: Races
A lot of the game's Races have an inherent modifier to Population Growth in their Cities. While most of these are negative modifiers, Barbarian and Lizardman settlements actually grow quicker than the average. Right clicking on the townsfolk on a City Screen (or a race when starting a New Game) will bring up a pop-up that contains, - among other things, - the Population Growth modifier affecting that specific Race.
These modifiers are also expressed in multiples of 10:
|High Elves||-20 (-2)|
|Dark Elves||-20 (-2)|
Population Growth can be increased by two Town Buildings, both of which can be constructed by any Race, provided that the pre-requisite structures are already built. The Granary gives a direct bonus of +2 (+20 citizens per turn), and an indirect bonus of +1 (by increasing the Maximum Population by 2). The second building, the Farmers' Market, provides a direct bonus of +3 (+30 citizens per turn), while also increasing the City's Maximum Population by 3. This yields an indirect Population Growth increase of +1.5, which results in a rounded value of either +1 or +2 depending on the base calculation above.
Since both buildings are fairly cheap and can be constructed early in a town's development, they provide a good way to offset any negative racial Population Growth modifiers. For Cities with a lower Maximum Population (e.g. 9-10), especially in the case of slow-growing Races, this can even mean the difference between growing and stagnating. This may be even more important in the mid- to late game, when the buildings can often be bought for gold as soon as the settlement becomes a Hamlet.
Stream of LifeEdit
- Main article: Stream of Life
The Life Magic realm spell Stream of Life has a profound effect on Population Growth. So long as the City has not yet reached its Maximum Population, all Population Growth is doubled by this Enchantment.
Since both this spell and the later modifiers are multiplicative, they all affect each other with a similar magnitude, regardless of the order (in time) in which they are applied.
Population Boom is a random event that has a small chance of occuring at the start of every game turn. Its effect on Population Growth is the same as that of Stream of Life: growth is doubled while the event lasts. Like many other random events, it does not have a fixed duration: rather, it has an increasing chance to end every turn after the 5th (but will always last at least 5 turns).
- Main article: Housing
Housing is a building project that can be selected in Cities instead of regular construction or training units. It is listed at the top of the building list, along with Trade Goods. When started, the town will carry on with this project until cancelled (even if it reaches its Maximum Population in the meantime).
Building Housing applies a percentage-based bonus to Population Growth, that is a function of the ratio of citizens that are set as workers (i.e the more workers, the higher the bonus; the Production outbput of the Workers does not matter). It can be further enhanced by the presence of a Builders' Hall and a Sawmill. The final bonus is always in the range of 0% (no workers, no buildings) to 125% (all citizens are workers, both buildings are present), which is then applied on top of all previous bonuses.
- Main article: Dark Rituals
Dark Rituals is a beneficial Town Enchantment belonging to the Death Magic realm that, instead of a regular upkeep cost, has some negative side effects as well. One of these effects is a 25% reduction in Population Growth, that is applied simultaneously with the Housing project (regardless of whether one is ongoing or not). These are the last factors that affect Population Growth, and this spell is the only one that has a direct adverse effect on it.