Updated July 19th 2011 Hopefully this thread will clear up any confusion about how policies work. The game's information is somewhat misleading about the cost of adding new cities to our empire. It's important to distinguish between these: Cost = culture per policy Income = culture per turn Rate = policies per turn Each new city adds to both cost and income, altering rate in a complex way. In this post I'll talk about: Founding vs not founding a city. Occupation vs puppeting. How the math works. Policy cost difference between VEM and vanilla. The conclusions are: Tall and wide empires are equally capable of cultural victory, so long as they're peaceful. Wide empires research faster, while tall empires get policies quicker. Occupation is better for , while puppets are better for . Playstyles Here's the advantages the 3 Civ archetypes have in VEM. Policy generation is balanced between all these playstyles, and each of the 3 early policy trees have ways of earning culture. Click for details. Peaceful - Tall Peaceful - Wide Conquerors Reading the Tables Each table in the thread contains this information: Culture from: World Wonders (WW) City States Special sources like Mandate of Heaven or national wonders Landmarks Per-city average culture revenue Per-city cost expense Number of cities Policy rate A rate of -5% for the 4th city means policies come 5% slower when you add your 4th city. This is not affected by policy cost (see math section at the end of the post). You could be on your 1st or 30th policy, and the effect of adding a new city to the empire will be the same. - Founding a City - Culture Victory Here's a decent mid-game situation when going for a culture victory: At least one or two world wonders. Half dozen cultural citystates. Some culture from Mandate of Heaven and National Wonders. Half dozen Landmarks. Tradition, Liberty, and Piety trees filled out. Maximum available culture buildings in every city. When pursuing the fastest possible culture victory, founding and developing a new city always slows policy generation. However, adding a city also adds to other things like research rate. Both of these end up cancelling out, so tall and wide are equally capable of achieving a culture victory. It's important the game is a peaceful one, however, for warfare has many damaging effects when going for a culture victory (such as fewer Declarations of Friendship available). Click here for details on tall vs wide culture victories. Spoiler : Conquest Victory Here's my typical situation in a conquest game: Military Caste policy earned. Monuments and Garrisons in every city. 25 from per-player sources that can't be duplicated for each city: citystates, wonders, etc. In this situation founding and developing a new city has no effect policy rate. However, it does drain the empire until a Garrison and Monument are present. If policies are important to you, get these quickly. If you can afford to get Temples in all your cities, each new city will actually improve policy rate. Spoiler : - Occupying a Puppet - Now let's consider the same scenario described in founding a city, but this time use it to determine the effect of occupation. Puppets generate 25% less culture, so puppet → occupied is less income change than founding a city. However this only applies if the puppet governor has actually built cultural buildings already. Here are the overall effects on policy rate: Spoiler : Something important to point out is if the puppet hasn't built cultural buildings and has no garrison, it's the same as not having a city at all. Conquered cities lose all cultural buildings and puppets are forced onto a gold focus, so they lag behind in building other types of buildings. If you can't occupy for a while and the governor builds a temple, policy generation will indeed be 3-5% faster if we leave the cities as puppets. Puppets generate less science, however, so we're better at research if we occupy. It's a tradeoff between (occupation) and (puppets). Here's the combined effect of occupation: Advantages Occupation increases from population. Allows control of city focus and production. Disadvantages Temporary happiness drop. Slower policy generation. Increases cost of National Wonders. - Technical Details - You can play around with the table by downloading the Civ V Modding spreadsheet I use. It's in Excel format, which can also be opened in LibreOffice (which I highly recommend trying). Modifiers in Civ are additive. If the cost of a policy is 1000, adding cities increases it to 1300, then 1600, 1900, etc. It's adding 30% of the base policy cost for each city, not multiplying by 1.3. Ironically though, base policy cost cancels out and can be ignored. This is the formula for the increase in #turns before and after a "change." The "change" can be either founding a city or occupying a puppet. c = cost i = income p = per-player income n = number of cities m = modifier for culture before the change (0% for founding cities, 75% for puppets). - Policy Costs - Compared to vanilla, this is the cumulative cost of policies in VEM: So for example, it takes -15% less culture to get 8 policies in VEM than Vanilla, and +70% more culture to achieve a culture victory. The first few policies are more expensive in VEM than vanilla. The reason for this is VEM palaces give 2 (up from 1), to reduce the impact of other early culture sources: Monument Ancient ruins Tradition/Liberty/Honor opening policies French trait Later policies are cheaper because the total number of trees required for the Utopia Project is increased to 6, compared to vanilla's 5. Midgame culture sources are much more powerful in VEM than vanilla, however. The Opera House gives +50%, and the Museum gives 0.5 per population. The result is the time a culture victory can be achieved is approximately the Industrial era in VEM (was Modern in Vanilla).