You may use this image to plan out your city.
City Halls (RED) are always at the city's center.
You have an inner wall and an outer wall (GREY), on which are 8+16 tower slots (BLACK)


When you start a new city, many of your slots are initially filled with resources. These resources pose several problems that you need to work around.

The main problem is that your city setup is not regular: your center is a 9x9 square, with the center already blocked, and the corners lopped off. So it is not perfect.

Second, you face a building limitation. You have a 100-building cap with a fully upgraded Town Hall (level 10). There is no way to get around this limit: any building placed somewhere means a building removed from somewhere else. This creates a need to get the most efficient resource management in the least amount of space.

The net result is that the optimal placement will depend heavily on your city goal. Depending on your resource placement, it's perfectly possible to keep some resource fields intact in the 4 outer quadrants of your city to squeeze as much efficiency out of your city as you can.

For a generic and balanced city that builds armies and produces stuff resources, the optimal setup is to reserve the center for your resource production. To do this, you need to plan carefully to efficiently use every bit of available space. Resource fields are less efficient than cottages - a fully-upgraded cottage provides a 50 bonus to every attached production building, and helps stone, iron, or wood equally. On the other hand, a cottage takes up one of your hundred building spaces - a terribly limited resource - whereas a resource field doesn't. A wise city planner looks to maximize the resources he can take advantage of. The City Planner software ( " Planner)": is a good resource to help you efficiently work out a city plan.

At the same time you try to maximize the usage of your resource fields, don't ever forget that efficiently laid out buildings will be much more helpful than a few extra stone or wood. You will likely have to destroy many resource fields as you're building your city - but which ones? The order you should destroy resource fields is as follows:

  1. Any resource field that falls where a production building would be has to go first.
  2. Any resource field that falls where an overbooster (sawmill, stonemason, or foundry) would go goes.
  3. The last resource fields that go are the ones where cottages go and should be destroyed when you start building level 5 cottages.

For comparison, see these two layouts: (using natural resources) (destroying all natural resources)
> using natural resources increased overall production by 36 overall

Plus, cottages add "on top" of the natural resources, and mills/foundries/stone masons add on top of that. So if you have a woodcutter hut next to 3 forests, 1 wood mill, and 2 cottages, the max bonus you'll get is (base amount)*(1+0.5+0.4+0.4)*(1+0.75)*(1+0.3+0.3)=6.44*base, whereas 5 cottages and 1 wood mill give you (base amount)*(1+0.3+0.3+0.3+0.3+0.3)*(1.75)=4.38*base.

With these new rules, the optimal setup depends a lot more on the chance layout of natural resources, you can no longer max out just by following a recipe.

To get the most out of your resource fields before you destroy them (as you build your layout), put the partial clusters next to their favored resources. So don't begin the game by destroying all your resources, just slowly destroy them as needed by queuing up overnight.

It should end up somewhat like this, but only if you can not get higher by smart placing, because of bad resource placement (Make sure to use the city planner first to see if you can not get higher any other way!):

! City Resource Grid)!

That is the optimal, or "sandwich" model: one layer of production, one layer of cottages, one layer of production, one layer of cottages, and so on. The cottages are placed judiciously so you can place one "overbooster" next to as many production buildings, with every building having at most one, since overboosters are not stackable like cottages.

So, you pick which production to assign to the 4 complete clusters (my suggestion for your starter city: 1 wood, 2 stone, 1 iron), then the 2 corner half-clusters (2nd one wood, 2nd one iron), then you pick what will be the production of the unboosted four squares (suggestion: 2 will be wood, 2 will be iron). Summary: Build the major clusters first, then the corners, then fill in the last 4 extra spots.I left them blank in the diagram because it matters on what kind of city production you want.

That is for industry. Farms, training and gold obey slightly different models and lead to slightly different rules. For farms, for instance, it's far more efficient, per building, to place them next to 8 empty plots than it is placing them next to Mills and Cottages. If you have lakes, it's even better. Do not use Cottages to "boost" your farms. A farm on an empty plot has a 200 bonus . Since a fully upgraded Cottage removes 25 bonus from an adjacent farm and adds 50 instead, to produce more food than a farm it would need to boost 12 farms and it cannot borders more than 8. Mills boost adjacent farms by up to 75, which is 35 more than the empty farmland it replaces. If the farm is touching 2 lakes, then never allow that farmland to be touched.

My suggestion is then to dedicate two outer quadrants of your city with the most lakes to farmland. Destroy EVERY resource field in those quadrants except lakes. You may have to cram two farms next to each other, in a 3x4 plot because space is still a premium, like so :

. . . .
. F . .
. . F .
. . . .

Or, alternatively, you use 3 corners for farmland, and run your warehouses on the edge of a wall.

My take on Farms. - A level 10 mill vs a level 10 farm IS better if you place it with farms on 4 corners of the mill and those 4 farms have land and or a pond touching them.
See Below:
. . P . .
. F . F .
P . M . P
. F . F .
X . P . .

The X is a wall. You cant get all 4 farms completely in the clear.
P is a pond and if your lucky 1 or more of those spots could have a pond.
You can set this formation up in any of the corners on the outside, minus the harbor.

Military efficiency is much more complicated.

Jaardon's view:
It's true that it is inefficient for farms to be lined up in a city grid pattern like the other resources. However, a cottage can be used to better effect than an empty field
any cottage above level 5 will produce a larger bonus than an empty field, same as any other resource field. Thus, if you can spare the buildings, it is more productive to place high level cottages than empty fields next to farms. <- That is not true! a cottage would increase the farms production by more than a empty field, but even if you would have it next to 8 farms (which is dumb in the first place, because then the farms are touch so get an even lower amount) then the total increase in food would be 25 * 8 = 200 While just a farm with nothing next to it would give 100 + 25 * 8 = 300 increase of it's base production. And that's assuming there is no mill or pond next to the farm! <- (Jaardon's response) sorry, you need to check your math there. Your cottage numbers are wrong. A level 10 cottage gives +50 to production, so 8 cottages around a farm would give 100 + 50 * 8 = 500. And yeah, obviously a mill and a pond would be better, so the ideal situation would be a pond, a mill, and 6 farms, which would be (100 + 50 * 6) * 150 * 175 = 1050 increase. <- (They realy need to use a normal wiki here, they don't even have discussion parts on this wiki) My math was right, because a level 10 cottage only increases the bonus by 25. 50 from the cottage, but minus 25 from what that field would give without an cottage. So what they guy posted below "_Edit:" is correct.

Landren: You can't subtract the 25 the farmland would have given from the 50 the cottage gives because it isn't built into the base production of the farm:


where G=Grassland and F = Farm. We'll say a level 10 farm. Lvl 10 Farm = Base production 400/hr. Grassland confers 25 of base production bonus.
25 of 400 is 100 food/hr. So 8x100 = 800 additional food, add the 400 base and you now have 1200 food/hr.



where C=lvl 10 cottage and F = lvl 10 farm. Lvl 10 Farm = base production 400/hr. Lvl 10 cottage confers a 50 of base prod bonus. 50% of 400 is 200 food/hr. So 8x200 = 1600 additional food, plus the base 400 gives 2000 food/hr.

The only concern here is the same as with other productions. You simply can't afford 8 cottages per farm with 100 building limit. So pick and choose with whatever you have left after your inner city and barracks are built.