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Optimizing Bulbing Speed: Steel

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vicawoo, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    I hate bulbing Paper. It's base cost is 600 (around 900ish normal settings), which is a little more than half a full value great scientist bulb. I'm leaving beakers on the table! Similarly, I'm very reluctant to put a second great scientist in education, or philosophy.

    I've been practicing going for steel lately, through the usual method.

    Spoiler How to liberalism steel (with sailing) :

    Bulbable: philosophy, paper, education (2), liberalism
    Liberalism requires compass, calendar, no machinery.
    Trade for Metal casting, machinery, engineering (all engineer bulbable).
    Tech gunpowder, bulb chemistry (2)
    Chemistry requires printing press (1).


    Two "is this really efficient?" moments struck me:
    1) I had to tech compass and calendar to enable the liberalism bulb.
    2) Bulbing/teching printing press to bulb chemistry.

    So I started looking up the exact costs, to see what my bulbs are really worth:

    A great scientist bulbs approximately an 1000 base cost tech. 2 will bulb Astronomy (1000 base beakers, about 3200 normal game). The conversion of base cost to normal speed cost is about 5/3, or maybe more accurately 13/8.
    Here's a list of commonly bulb techs with their base cost
    Spoiler :

    Paper 600
    Philosophy 800
    Compass 400
    Optics 600
    Liberalism 1400
    Printing Press 1600
    Education 1800
    Chemistry 1800
    Astronomy 2000
    Calendar* 350
    *not bulbable, but for reference


    So if you trade for compass and calendar, then 1 bulb into liberalism is a full 1000 value. Obviously you can't put a second into it, as then you'll get liberalism instantly before you can get chemistry.
    But if we have to tech to enable a bulb, time wise that counts against the bulb. In this case, if we have to tech compass, a liberalism bulb is worth 600 beakers - the same as paper. If we have to tech calendar and compass, 250 beakers.

    Now what about bulbing chemistry? Printing press costs 1600 beakers, so one bulb and 600 beakers, and for steel we don't care about printing press. Chemistry costs 1800. So we're spending 3 great scientists and 600 beakers for an 1800 beaker tech. Or 3 great scientists for 1200 beakers, or 400 beakers per great scientist.
    If we spend use one great scientist on printing press and one on chemistry, we're spending 2 great scientists + 600 beakers for that one chemistry bulb. So 400/2 =200 beakers per great scientist.
    If we spend 4 great scientists (2 on each), we net about 450 beakers per great scientist.

    All in all, these are pretty mediocre returns. Bulbing philosophy is worth 800 and a second education bulb is 800, while slightly inefficient are still twice as good as chemistry/liberalism+compass bulbs.

    Spoiler steel bulbing efficiency list :

    Education 1st bulb - 1000
    Liberalism w/ compass trade - 1000
    Education (#2) 800
    Philosophy (#2) 800
    Paper - 600
    Liberalism w/ compass self-tech - 600
    Chemistry bulb (using 4) - 450 each
    Chemistry bulb (using 3) - 400 each
    Chemistry bulb (using 2) - 200 each
    Liberalism w/ compass and calendar self-tech 250


    From this list, it's probably ideal to bulb philosophy and double bulb education, which gives you the added benefit of more great people/a university in your capital.
    And if we include great merchants, it's probably best if we get academy, philosophy, switch to merchants to get a chance of one 2 or 3 great people down the road.
    Tech paper, get a merchant (switch back to scientists once you get one) and 2 great scientists, double bulb education, tech gunpowder and part of liberalism (<400 beakers worth, or around the cost of compass), bulb most of liberalism, trade for machinery, low probability bulb engineering, tech chemistry.
    So we use 4 great scientists, 1 merchant, and hopefully an engineer.

    A caveat: this all assumes you can trade for techs when you need to. Time spent teching paper/education/gunpowder may give you time for the AI to tech and trade machinery/engineering. However, saving great scientists means you can immediately bulb chemistry/printing press immediately after you trade for engineering, which may be safer if you're trading paper/philosophy and don't have the base tech speed to slow tech chemistry in a few turns.
    If you do decide to bulb chemistry, you might be better off saving 4 great scientists, 3 if you're stuck teching printing press while waiting for engineering.
     
  2. Keilah

    Keilah King

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    yeah i'd say using scientists for philo, 2xedu, lib, and merchants/research (remember to get some base commerce somewhere) for the rest will be best. AI is almost always willing to trade away engineering by the time you can lib steel.
     
  3. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Bulbing paper indeed sucks. It costs the same as optics!
     
  4. Keilah

    Keilah King

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    more thoughts:

    for maximum efficiency, you'll want to put your stockpiled EPs to use, possibly by stealing engineering. You can make the most of that by saving the missionary from Taoism, then spreading it to the city you plan to steal from. Remember to swap religions before you steal, and who cares if it makes you unpopular? You're about to conquer the planet ^_^

    Also, if we're using 5+ great people for bulbs, it probably makes sense to burn one of them on a golden age near the end, which should get you that final scientist (making up for the burnt great person) and also allow you to do the religion swap tech steal that i mentioned, and then revolt into your wartime civics at the end of the golden age.
     
  5. cseanny

    cseanny Emperor

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    I'd say earlier war and get a Vassal to research paper and education for you......then just bulb part of PP, then Chemsitry, then Liberalism, and take Steel and your free tech around 1000AD+.
     
  6. -Asterix-

    -Asterix- Prince

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    You should also note that usually GS bulbs give way more than that 1000 beakers due to big population. On deity it's harder to REX but on lower difficulties I often find my first Edu bulb to give e.g. 1300+ beakers. With that it's no use to spend another GS on it as even bulbing Paper becomes a better option. Also, at times I've found myself in problems while trying to partly bulb Liberalism as the bulb is already giving enough beakers fully acquire it. Even two bulbs on Astro often seem like a waste.
     
  7. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The 1000 was based on the base cost of the tech. He details it in OP.
     
  8. goldys_lackey

    goldys_lackey Hitler

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    So when are you libbing steel with this method?
     
  9. -Asterix-

    -Asterix- Prince

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    Yes, that's how I meant it too. Of course tech costs and beakers from bulbs scale with different speeds, my experiences are mainly from XOTMs with mostly normal speeds. I'm just saying that multiple bulbs to one tech get often very inefficient unless you have only small number of cities or consider later techs like Scientific Method.
     
  10. stimpyhoek

    stimpyhoek Warlord

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    steel is a big tech, if u want to go that way make sure u game incorporates it

    ie make a load of trebs 1st

    upgrading trebs to cannon is super cheap

    plus it is super close to get grens as well

    combo of these 2 units is very strong and can carry u to many game wins

    u dont need bulb much if u make oxford after u get education

    i only get 2 great ppl, 2 g scientist

    1 for academy and 1 for edu bulb

    if u philo then y its a whole other ballgame

    dont wait for steel either

    u in war and u can upgrade u trebs on the fly
     
  11. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    What are your thoughts on the Compass bulb ?

    I've found it pretty appealing a few times. Especially when being behind in techs due to a REx. It guarantees trades for Currency and CoL and retains value to get Machinery / Civil Service.
    Although it doesn't yield as much beakers as a philo bulb, you can trade it around as much as you want.
    I can imagine Compass being fine as well if you're holding on to an early Metal Casting as your lone classical era tech. Or if one went straight for Mathematics.
    Well, it's a trade bait that fits easily in many schemes you can draw before knowing Code of Laws.
     
  12. -Asterix-

    -Asterix- Prince

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    I often find Compass to be too cheap tech to bulb and in many cases some AI will tech it and trade to you. I'd only bulb it if I happen to have one extra GS sitting around and desperately need to get prequisite techs for Liberalism bulb.
     
  13. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

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    Is the amount you get scaled properly for map size and speed? I've never really paid attention to how much a GS gives me in terms of beakers, but I know that a GM doing his trade mission usually nets 3300-3900 :gold: on Mara/Huge.

    If it is scaled 3x for Mara but nothing for Huge, that means that the GM is more efficient (1100-1300 :gold: when your average science bonus is around 10% means its worth 1210-1430 :science:, which is about 20% more than a GS, according to OP). It seems to me that you should be able to make the same choices in terms of trades and the only techs that you really need sooner rather than later is Education and Liberalism, which are late enough that you'll be getting them faster with GM's.
     
  14. Keilah

    Keilah King

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    gms give lots of $$ but often you can run @100% via trades/failgold in which case bulb wins
     
  15. ZPV

    ZPV Short for ZPVCSPLFUIFDPEF

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    It's scaled for game speed. The OP does not say that a GS gives 1000 beakers ingame - it gives 1500 + 3*population on normal speed - but 1000 scaled down to base tech costs as given in the XML.
     
  16. Um the Muse

    Um the Muse King

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    Oops, ok. But how did the OP use his GM in his example, then? Looks like he either used the GM to bulb or he made the same mistake that I did.

    There's also no mention of trading any of these techs around. Is that a big no-no? I guess it could also mean that the OP thought that they were equally tradeable, which is not really true.

    I really found the whole OP confusing :crazyeye:
     
  17. ZPV

    ZPV Short for ZPVCSPLFUIFDPEF

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    The premise is "How can we get a Liberalism->Steel slingshot quickly via lightbulbing GS".
    Then the OP tries to put some numbers to the idea that it might not be worth lightbulbing a 1000 beaker tech if you have to manually research 800 beakers' worth to unlock the lightbulb.
    At some point, yes, a trade mission from a GM becomes better value.
     
  18. vranasm

    vranasm Deity

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    I think for bulb the Compass doesn't cost enough, but I agree that Compass could be very good trade bait especially if you get MC and no AI goes for it.
     
  19. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    I'm probably not a very good writer.

    The post below yours is a pretty good summary. I didn't flesh out great merchants, but they're probably a better alternative than low efficiency bulbs.

    About trading, if you're not worried about getting the AI to trade their techs in time, even a paper bulb is overall more efficient and therefore faster than a printing press chemistry bulb.
    If you end up done with gunpowder/most of liberalism while waiting for the AI to trade engineering, then your getting education and paper faster might not help, as engineering might be the bottleneck. The problem is that maximizing bulbing implies slow teching chemistry, and you're probably trading the AI something that will get closer to liberalism in exchange for machinery/engineering. So if you trade them education, and the AI tech liberalism before you get chemistry, you lose.
    That's why what you trade might matter (kind of).
     
  20. Yamps

    Yamps Deity

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    Note that the AI doesn't protect the monopoly on Printing Press, they will trade it even in isolation. That's a good place to look for optimization if going for Steel.
     

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