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.