Apart from preventing opening up blatant arbitrages, when valuing racial traits I treat negatives and positives mostly as seperate worlds. [not seperated by a chinese wall, but by something more like a ditch ] Perhaps this becomes more clear when considering full race construction rather than individual traits and characteristics: A strong race is a 'production race', 'research race', 'balanced economy race', 'blitz race', etc. They are strong because of their focus. Why would you combine -science with an Artifacts world, unless you are intentionally creating a suboptimal race? The -science pick can be used for an ultimate blitz race, not for a science race. It is possible to approach this from another angle, not from building strong focussed races, but from trying to make a negative trait playable. For example, if I want to play -money, I could pick the Fantastic Traders trait, because I know that a percentage of my worlds is going to be building Trade Goods for the entire game. Here you have picked one of the worst, if not the worst negative trait for comparison. -prod hurts from the start, on the HW and can never be fixed with a tech. It is so bad that in the VDC mod, -prod was replaced by +3 prod, as nobody would pick it in a MP game. (well, perhaps in some fun-special agreements games, i can't be sure of course). So agreed, comparing -pop with -prod, it can be seen as a generous 12 picks for -pop. It prob. means that -prod should be valued even lower (-15?). About spying bonus: in a previous edition, i valued it lower at 4 pick for +10 and a had a super +30 spy for 10 picks, until someone showed me, +spy combined with Telepathic can actually be used for fast-win blitz races, that sabotage star bases and then hoover over these planets, mind controlling them with a single cruiser. So yes, gameplay experience remains and this example shows the power of focussed races. It led me to nerf spying back to +20 for 10 picks and +5 for Telepathic. Back to your original point: perhaps -pop could be valued a bit less, for example at -10? It is just that i feel that Low-G is a better negative to pick than -pop, but I could be biased by my own personal playing styles of course.