This article is primarily inspired by Isions 4 Rules of Wonder Addiction Article, an excellent general guide to newbies on how to escape wonder addiction as a major hindrance to improving your Civ3 gaming ability. Seeing that, as far as Im aware, no one has actually posted a thread like this, and that, perhaps worryingly, I have the time to write it, I thought a general reference guide to the function, value and strategies of all the great wonders could be useful for the Strategy Articles Forum or War Academy to have, as an expansion on the basic wonders information link on the Civfanatics main pages. I welcome anyones comments to the strategies I put forward in this thread (and any typo corrections) and will also update the entries to include others views if they make good sense to me and are phrased clearly enough. I also note that all the strategies Im suggesting are in agreement with Isions basic rules, though I may vaunt the value of various wonders and how useful they may be, like him I warn against building more than a few wonders per game, many of the wonders are powerful and an extreme help in the game, but you should under no circumstance attempt to build all of them, or even all of the best ones. Instead, I hope this advice can help players in selecting which few select wonders, above others, are most valuable to their style of gameplay and their particular game. Basically Ive shown every wonder in the game in roughly technological order of being able to build (though obviously such an order isnt exact) described in the following format. To find a wonders description easily you can always use the Find function on your internet browser. WONDER NAME (The name of the wonder) Cost: ### (Its cost to build in shields without accelerated production). Technology Required: (Which technology enables this wonder). Other Requirements: (As youd expect, anything else required to build the wonder such as strategic resources, rivers, other structures etc.). Rendered Obsolete By: (What technology stops the wonder providing its effects). Traits: (The traits, such as industrious, scientific, expansionist etc. of this wonder. The trait of a wonder determines what civilisations it can trigger golden ages for. Note that small wonders cannot trigger golden ages). Effect: (What effect the wonder has on your empire). Culture: (The base culture per turn this wonder produces). Analysis: (My strategic analysis of the wonder, its relative worth to build, what its useful for, what its not useful for etc. etc.). My analyses of all the wonders come from having played Civ3 since it was released, and being an avid fan of Civ2 and SMAC before that. This whole article is written from the standpoint of people playing Civ3 Conquests, however I have tried to identify where there are differences with PTW and Civ3 Vanilla, so this article should be useful for all players. Hope people find this useful. THE PYRAMIDS Cost: 400 Technology Required: Masonry Other Requirements: None Rendered Obsolete By: None Traits: Industrious, Religious, Agricultural Effect: Places a granary in every city on the same continent. Tourist Attraction. Culture: 4 Analysis: Along with the Colossus, the Pyramids are one of the first wonders all civilisations are able to build, and as such almost all players will have found themselves building the Pyramids at one stage or another, you can hardly fail to notice their there. The usefulness of the Pyramids tends to depend on the level of difficulty your playing the game at, and how capable you anticipate being able to keep your citizens happy. A granary in every city on the same continent is a massive bonus to growth, and can ensure that all your cities reach max population within the first couple of dozen game turns, which obviously is a major advantage. Certainly if your planning on pumping out workers and settlers, playing an extreme expansionist strategy, then the Pyramids is a good choice for a wonder, your cities will grow at double normal speed, thus, as long as you have adequate production in all cities, you can expect to be able to produce workers/settlers in twice the normal numbers without bringing your cities down to population 0. And a hefty culture value, and tourist attraction flag, as well as never becoming obsolete means that the Pyramids will continue to be useful for the entire game, so they are definitely worth considering for construction. There are really only two main drawbacks that need to be considered. 1) Their expense: at 400 shields, the Pyramids are the second most expensive wonder of the Ancient Era (along with the Great Library) and it requires serious consideration about whether their bonus is worth the significant effort and wasted build time, most probably in your capital city, which it takes to build them, particularly so early in the game. This is the single main reason why I tend to avoid them. A granary in ever city is very powerful, but at the very start of the game you really need to be more concerned with building workers, settlers, warriors and your early infrastructure, not a 400 shield wonder. So be wary of how much you may be sacrificing to build the Pyramids, especially when you may not succeed to even get them at all. 2) There is, of course, a hidden drawback to double population growth, particularly on the higher difficulty levels. Higher growth means more citizens, and more citizens inevitably means more unhappy citizens and greater chance of civil disorder (or if your using entertainers, then gross waste of that extra pop. that makes the wonder a lot less worthwhile). If you feel that your not going to be able to keep all those extra people happy, particularly if your low on luxuries, or intend to use a democratic government, then be wary of Pyramids, it may actually hurt you more than help you, or at least enough to make it not worth the investment. THE COLOSSUS Cost: 200 Technology Required: Bronze Working Other Requirements: Coastal City Rendered Obsolete By: Flight Traits: Expansionist, Commercial, Seafaring Effect: +1 Commerce in each tile in the city already producing commerce. Tourist Attraction. Culture: 3 Analysis: The cheapest wonder in the game, and with good reason, the Colossus is at best a luxury and at worst, damaging. Ok its cheap and it stays around for a fair period, but so early in the game you definitely have bigger priorities that that extra 21 commerce at the absolute maximum, and that is if somehow you managed to get a size 21 city while Colossus was in effect. In all likelihood the city where your building this is only size 6 at the max at that time, and even with every square producing commerce thats what...+6 Commerce? Translating into 3 extra gold per turn on a 50% Tax ratio. If youve got a coastal city before this wonder is built by the AI, then build galleys and settlers, harbours and military units, try an find other Civilisations overseas, trust me...the trade in technology and resources from them will far outweigh the bonus from the Colossus. The only actual reason I can ever see to build this is on the low difficulty settings, where your so in advantage of the AI its never going to be able to build it before you, and where you have a string of coastal cities producing naval units for exploration. Or...it may be worth building on very small maps, where the commerce bonus is more pronounced relative to your total commerce bonus. Otherwise, forget it. THE ORACLE Cost: 300 Technology Required: Mysticism Other Requirements: None Rendered Obsolete By: Theology Traits: Religious Effect: Doubles the number of happy faces produced by all temples in the empire. Tourist Attraction. Culture: 4 Analysis: Another wonder which can help and/or hinder the Oracle is once again, in my opinion, often not worth the effort. Principally this is due to its low period of actual effectiveness, theology may be as few as half a dozen techs away when you can build the Oracle. Culture 4 and a Tourist Attraction makes in a bit more worthwhile but still, you can easily do without this wonder unless your in dire trouble with your citizens, and even then, your only going to find that suddenly all your cities pop into civil disorder when Theology is researched. Thats the thing, even if you get use out of the Oracle, the sudden removal of its effects when you get to Theology can be an unwelcome surprise to many players, who then have to hurriedly build cathedrals and colosseums as a priority. The Temple Of Artemis, available in C3C amplifies both the good and bad side of this wonder, with both wonders you can be guaranteed a very content citizenry, without building temples in all the cities, until the middle ages, but once you get Theology, and then Education, you better have some contingency plan in place very quickly or your going to be set back some way. In summary, the Oracle can be useful, but always be wary of it becoming obsolete, and plan ahead. Usually, its not worth the effort, but I do not condemn the player who likes to build it, I just hope their careful. THE GREAT LIGHTHOUSE Cost: 300 Technology Required: Map Making Other Requirements: Coastal City Rendered Obsolete By: Magnetism Traits: Expansionist, Commercial, Seafaring Effect: +1 to all Sea Movement Values, no naval units sink in sea terrain. Tourist Attraction. Culture: 2 Analysis: Now this is more like it, +1 to all sea movement, and your civilisation is free from the risk of galleys and other early naval units sinking at sea, for 300 production. By the time you have Map Making, you ought to be able to give a bit more consideration to wonder-building, even on the high difficulty settings, where early wonder building is almost entirely off limits, if your planning a naval strategy, the Great Lighthouse can be a good one-wonder to choose. Like many wonders the actual effectiveness of the great lighthouse depends on your strategy, and the time of game your playing. On Archipelago maps, and/or maps with high sea percentage, its possibly the bets wonder of the Ancient Era. On Pangaea maps with only 60% ocean...you can certainly give it a miss. But even if your strategy doesnt need it, respect the worth of the Great Lighthouse, even if your not planning to win the game by naval dominance (which is unlikely with Galleys and Caravels after all), the Great Lighthouses value is still almost as great, largely because principally its advantage is not in the power of your navy, its in its speed. +1 Naval movement early on gives you a major advantage in exploration, allowing you to reach islands and continents the AI never will until Caravels come along, as well as transporting settlers to settle them, give you a lot of expansion points the AI will not reach for another era. Furthermore, because you can come into contact with other Civs earlier than the AI, this can keep you up with the most advanced AI Civs through having many trading partners and, as opposed to most games, you may even be able to trade away YOUR World Maps in exchange for cash. I therefore maintain that the Great Lighthouse is really more useful than its late game twin, Magellans Voyage, as the latter is really only useful for a nation relying on seapower, whereas the Great Lighthouse provides benefits to almost every nation, and I recommend seriously considering it if you have a good production coastal city and a couple of galleys in the water. THE GREAT LIBRARY Cost: 400 Technology Required: Literature Other Requirements: None Rendered Obsolete By: Education Traits: Scientific Effect: Gain for free any technology advance discovered by two other civilisations. Tourist Attraction. Culture: 6 Analysis: While I dont share Isions total antipathy for the Great Library, since his reasons for avoiding it at all costs are primarily due to it preventing newbies from practising essential skills at the later levels, which is true, rather than actual in game disadvantages, I still feel it to be a difficult wonder to handle. On the one hand, gaining for free any technology discovered by two other civilisations seems great, coupled with the second highest culture of any structure in the game, one would expect the Great Library to be a massive help on the higher difficulty levels where the AI can simply run away with the tech tree...the Great Library could keep you up the standard surely? Well admittedly, it can be a help, and you may get a few techs for free which you would otherwise have had to research or buy but overall the Great Library seems to fall short. It costs as much as the Pyramids, 400 shields, but whereas the former will give you value for the entire game, the Great Library becomes obsolete after less than an era. Furthermore, its prequisite is Literature, not required for era advancement and, despite giving you Libraries, almost certainly being one of the least useful techs of the ancient era. I do accept that it is powerful, and if you feel it can be a great help then go ahead and build it. But otherwise you can afford to give it a miss and gain the experience from trading for techs, and using the city that would be building the Great Library for frankly better priorities like workers, settlers and military units. THE MAUSOLEUM OF MAUSOLLOS Cost: 200 Technology Required: Philosophy Other Requirements: None Rendered Obsolete By: None Traits: Scientific, Seafaring Effect: Produces 3 happy faces in the city where its built. Tourist Attraction. Culture: 2 Analysis: Well I mean, theres not much to say really is there. In honesty I have NEVER built the Mausoleum, nor can I see any particular reason for doing so. Its not that its bad its just...well...I can never really be bothered. Nor have I found any one else who really wants to. I mean on the face of it theres no real reason not to build it, 3 happy faces is nice, and it only costs 200, and is a tourist attraction, and it comes with Philosophy which there is a good incentive for making a drive for anyway...but equally theres no real reason TO build it either. The 3 happy faces could be useful in a city by a river, which is therefore likely to grow to size 12 fairly early on and could do with the extra happiness, that I can concede. I guess like the Colossus, this ones basically a luxury, if you have a city with really nothing to do, then sure, build it, other wise just let it pass you without noticing it.