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Are Laboratories worth it?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Alraun, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. Alraun

    Alraun Warlord

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    Simple question, but maybe not a simple answer. Obviously Labs are essential for any cities that might be building space ship parts, but if you're running a purely commerce based empire, rushing all buildings with gold, are they worth it to build for the science? It seems like they might well come too late in the game to pay for themselves.
     
  2. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    They also add many points to your score.
     
  3. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    I know they're worth it to pop rush, that's for sure.

    Edit : i confused laboratories with observatories. Nevermind.
     
  4. playshogi

    playshogi Emperor

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    At that stage of the game does it matter? As you said, build them for the spaceship part production bonus. Chances are the science benefit might save 1 turn at some point, though. Maybe the difference between getting another tech (for score) before the end of the game.
     
  5. Alraun

    Alraun Warlord

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    Not all of your cities will be building spaceship parts. Also, you have to sacrifice several turns of science just to buy them all. And then also, what if you're not going for space victory?
     
  6. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    Don't they also contribute points, if you are going for domination victory? IIRC there isnt any culture added, but your status increases.
     
  7. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    A domination victory only depends on having enough pop and enough land. Labs increase neither.
     
  8. jayseedubya

    jayseedubya Chieftain

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    Your score will increase every time you construct a building. Labs will help out science, especially in your commerce giant. Unless I am going spaceship, labs are only built in my cities that are getting like 200 research/turn already, where they'll actually make a difference. Otherwise, too expensive to get a 30 beaker bonus that late in the game.
    -jcw
     
  9. karlhegna

    karlhegna Warlord

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    Usually everything in the game has a purpose or advantage.
     
  10. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    Your score will increase, but a domination victory isn't triggered by score. If you think the score has any relevance whatsoever, i think you should start fixing yourself new objectives. You meant in an impersonal fashion of course, i don't mean you personally.
     
  11. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    The answer to your question may be what would you be building instead if you weren't building labs (cost as opportunity cost).
     
  12. Alraun

    Alraun Warlord

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    What I would be rushing instead would of course be swarms of military with which to dominate the world.
     
  13. ShaLouZa

    ShaLouZa Warlord

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    Laboratories are worth it if you have them soon enough: ideally you must be able to build them before you achieve Project Apollo and with a lot of techs left to discover. When I aim a space victory, I usually search Industrialization to boost my production (sometimes Plastics if I have a lot of rivers or if I want the 3 Gorges dam) and then I beeline to Informatics and Robotics for the space elevator.

    With all cities already industrialised and powered, laboratories are quickly build and +25% science and +50% production of spaceship parts are really interesting. They may not pay for themselves economically speaking, but they give a good edge towards a space victory.

    The only downside I see is that you'll probably have to search Medecine sooner or later, even if it's a dead-end tech, to build hospitals or run environmentalism if you don't want too see smelly clouds all over your cities, with the risk of starvation. Ecology is good too, you'll have to research it anuway to build a part of the spaceship, but it comes later and the recycling centers are way more expansive than hospitals if I'm not wrong.

    Obviously, if you aim for domination, conquest or any other kind of victory than spacerace, you don't need labs.
     
  14. Alraun

    Alraun Warlord

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    You might want to read the thread before typing out your post next time. :D
     
  15. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    There is a function for calculating the literacy of your people. I would not doubt labs help improve this literacy, but for what good this does is another question.
     
  16. ShaLouZa

    ShaLouZa Warlord

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    You show me where in the thread someone says how to power your production before getting the labs, why you must beeline for Informatics soon, and how to counterbalance the unhealtiness generated in your cities, and I'll agree with you.

    Yes, everyone has already told that labs are worth it only for a spacerace victory. Seems pretty obvious to anyone with at least two brain cells working, I guess. But that's far from being all that I've said.
     
  17. Zherak_Khan

    Zherak_Khan Warlord

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    The discussion, as the original poster says, is not whether laboratories are good in SS cities, but whether they are worth it in non-SS cities, just for the research.
     
  18. vormuir

    vormuir Prince

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    On a standard game, you're probably not building labs until well into the 20th century... say around 1950 or so. So, you have 100 turns "left". But most games don't run until 2050! You'll be lucky to get 50 turns out of your lab.

    If you build the lab in a city with 100 base beakers, the lab will give 25 more beakers per turn. In 50 turns, that's 1250 beakers. In a standard game, the more expensive techs run 10,000 - 12,000 beakers each. Even if you build labs in several cities, you're not going to get more than, at most, one extra tech.

    Tentative conclusion: in a standard game, labs are useful only for a space race victory. There's little point to building them in cities that aren't building SS parts; and if you're not chasing a space race victory, you can probably skip labs altogether.

    Caveat #1: the equation shifts on epic and marathon games. There, you might have labs for 100+ turns. Even though techs cost more in those games, the lab still has longer to pay for itself.

    Caveat #2: a lab could be worthwhile in a science city whose /base/ science is 200+. At that point, the lab means you're probably getting later techs a turn or two sooner. That's worth pursuing.

    Finally, I suppose you could beeline to Labs. The shortest path would go

    Astronomy -> Physics -> Electricity -> Radio -> Computers

    In theory, this could bring you to Computers decades before the usual time, early enough to make Labs much more useful.

    The problem, though, is that this is a deeply weird beeline. I've never seen anyone try it. You'd have to blow past some of the most attractive and useful techs on the tree -- steam power, steel, biology, railroad, you name it. You'd end up with computers and labs, but trying to hold your empire with musketeers, knights and catapults while your neighbors were playing with riflemen, cavalry and artillery. You would need a very strange game situation for this to be a plausible path, never mind an attractive one.

    Might be interesting to try sometime, mind.

    Waldo
     
  19. ShaLouZa

    ShaLouZa Warlord

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    +25% research, nuff said. You can skip it, but you'd better use it if you're close in techs with others civs.

    Vormuir, you can have labs around 1900 at epic speed, without beelining that hard and having infantry, tanks and battleships. I've already made it by 1900 with Industrialization and Rockets already researched, as all the techs needed to find these (Combustion for exemple). I usually skip the dead-end techs and the whole Refrigeration tree (not sure it's the right name in english : the tech that allows you to build malls and gives +1 movement to naval units) until I have Computers and Robotics. That lets 150 turns max to use them, and even if you'll never go to 2050 they give an edge : an edge is useful even on 20 or 50 turns if you're running away in techs.
     
  20. pigswill

    pigswill fly (one day)

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    If you're looking at bombers then radio may be a priority tech which puts you close to computers for labs. If you think you can win the game with bombers and tanks then labs are of less use, you may as well build more bombers. If you think you'll need stealth and modern armour then labs in your principal research cities (i.e. the ones with observatories) may repay the hammer investment.
     

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