Rationalism SP - 1st pick

Misanthrop

Chieftain
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Dec 2, 2005
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i was wondering. has anyone done the math on the 1st pick into the rationalism tree? when is it better to pick secularism (+2 science per specialist) and when is it better to pick humanism (+25% generation of great scientist)?

i usually find myself in this "standard" scenario by the time i have to make that decision: 4 cities, full university slots and 2 more specialists (mostly great writer slot), 2 cities have gardens. and each time i pick secularism it FEELS so much better because the number goes up - but is it really?
 

slowcar

King
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I think it is a lot better, but the other tree part has the +17% from universities and +1/trading post, if you have a large puppet empire with trading post spam this is the thing to go for.
 

Misanthrop

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Dec 2, 2005
Messages
47
I think it is a lot better, but the other tree part has the +17% from universities and +1/trading post, if you have a large puppet empire with trading post spam this is the thing to go for.

well the thing is... you usually get both anyway. and yes, the 2nd one on the humanism side is clearly better (in terms of science) than the 2nd one on the left side. but by the time i'm in rennaissance, my social policies come slowly and so its quite a big deal what to pick first.

i just hoped some clever chap might have sorted it out by now, i always ignore some things when im trying to figure these kind of questions out on my own but here you go, that's my take:

i think secularism is stronger because in my scenario (with ~10 specialists) it's basically 2.5 instantly settled great scientists without increasing the gp generation cost and without wasting the tiles. i can't imagine how the 25% production bonus can be better than that (at least not until the time you picked your 3rd sp into the tree which in this case would be free thought). but as i said i tend to forget or ignore certain aspects of the game so your input is welcome...
 

Tich

Prince
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I basically always grab Humanism first. Secularism is at its weakest early on when you're just working Unis and Guilds. It will give you 22-24 bpt at that point (if you're working all 3 guilds, which you usually aren't, but let's assume best case scenario anyways) but that's not better than rushing out Free Thought the vast majority of the time. Moreover, you have to remember than Humanism math is very difficult to determine. It either gets you extra GSes that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise or it doesn't. Even if you can work that out to be an average value in theory, in practice there's no such thing as a an average value when it comes to generating a GS. It either gets produced or it doesn't. I like getting Humanism early on because it maximizes the odds that you will, in fact, get that extra GS for that extra late-game bulb. You never know exactly on what turn you'll get your Schools + Labs so it's pretty hard to determine exactly how many GSes you'll generate that early on. Secularism doesn't have a "useful life" timer like Humanism does so I feel fairly safe taking it third.

Free thought will almost always generate more science than Secularism does unless your population is low and figures to stay low well into turn 160 or so. Since that's usually not the case you're usually missing out by not grabbing it as soon as possible.

Here's a SS from a Shoshone game that I played earlier today. It's turn 157 and I'm producing 350 bpt. I did not rush Secularism this game. I rushed Free Thought. My cities are growing like they should be and so I'm getting most of my science from population and % modifiers. The 24 from Secularism isn't doing that much for me any more. It's also worth noting that I got a GS roughly 12 turns before I won the game and used it to bulb Particle Physics. Had I waited I probably wouldn't have gotten those free 8 turns shaved off of my clock. Anecdotal evidence, sure, but getting it first probably made the difference.
 

Tabarnak

Cut your lousy hairs!
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Beakers earlier are better than beakers later in my book. So i always pick Secularism. Can be en route for 50% RA boost if by any chance the AI is very cooperative. GPP modifiers aren't that good until i can fill 3 or more scientists slots from the same group, which happen often only after public schools.

But, if i play a lower level and grab both Oracle and the GL i might be tempted to get Humanism first.
 

Deau

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I basically always grab Humanism first. Secularism is at its weakest early on when you're just working Unis and Guilds. It will give you 22-24 bpt at that point (if you're working all 3 guilds, which you usually aren't, but let's assume best case scenario anyways) but that's not better than rushing out Free Thought the vast majority of the time. Moreover, you have to remember than Humanism math is very difficult to determine. It either gets you extra GSes that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise or it doesn't. Even if you can work that out to be an average value in theory, in practice there's no such thing as a an average value when it comes to generating a GS. It either gets produced or it doesn't. I like getting Humanism early on because it maximizes the odds that you will, in fact, get that extra GS for that extra late-game bulb. You never know exactly on what turn you'll get your Schools + Labs so it's pretty hard to determine exactly how many GSes you'll generate that early on. Secularism doesn't have a "useful life" timer like Humanism does so I feel fairly safe taking it third.

Free thought will almost always generate more science than Secularism does unless your population is low and figures to stay low well into turn 160 or so. Since that's usually not the case you're usually missing out by not grabbing it as soon as possible.

Here's a SS from a Shoshone game that I played earlier today. It's turn 157 and I'm producing 350 bpt. I did not rush Secularism this game. I rushed Free Thought. My cities are growing like they should be and so I'm getting most of my science from population and % modifiers. The 24 from Secularism isn't doing that much for me any more. It's also worth noting that I got a GS roughly 12 turns before I won the game and used it to bulb Particle Physics. Had I waited I probably wouldn't have gotten those free 8 turns shaved off of my clock. Anecdotal evidence, sure, but getting it first probably made the difference.

Sadly, maths will prove you wrong 99.9% of the time on this. I am actually surprised to see a very successful deity player not pick secularism immediately. It is extremely potent.

Let's take a reasonable simple game setup and accept some math simplification hypotheses.

3 city setup. No observatories for simplification (observatories favor secularism over free thought) and no city growth between first policy and third policy (this slightly favors free thought over secularism).

We just hit T120 and can pick one of the 3 policies, we will get the 2nd SP on T 135 and the third on T150. We work 0 TPs, growth still matters too much.
Cap size 18 (nc built)
city 2 size 14
city 3 size 12

Cap works both uni slots and 2 GW slots
city 2 works both uni slots and 2 GA slots
city 3 works both uni, no GW yet.

Before any SP, BPT on T120 is calculated as follow:
(18+9+3+6)*1.83 + (14+7+6)*1.33 + (12+6+6)*1.33 = 133.71 BPT

Scenario1 - Secularism
Your science immediately jumps to
(18+9+3+14)*1.83 + (14+7+14)*1.33 + (12+6+10)*1.33 = 164.31 BPT

Net gain of 30.6 BPT for 30 turns, grand total of 918 beakers from the secularism path

Scenario2 - Humanism
You gain 15 turns worth of +25% GPP for GS. This effectively means 1.5 GPP per turn per city for a total of 1.5*3*15=67.5 GPP

You gain Free thought on T145 at which point, your science jumps to
(18+9+3+6)*2.0 + (14+7+6)*1.5 + (12+6+6)*1.5 = 148.5 BPT

Net gain of 14.79BPT for 15 turns or 221.85 beakers


So basically, the tradeoff between the 2 paths in the setup mentioned above is of roughly 700 beakers for 67.5 great scientist points.

I don't know how much you value GPP but unless those 22.5 points in a given city would've allowed you to grab an additional GS in the late game for a bulb, it nets out to however many extra beakers you get from working the academy tile 2-3 turns earlier which is worth approx. 32-48 beakers total.


To have a better picture, you would need to run a spreadsheet, add the growth of each city and add any existing academy in the equation. Realistically though, 17% science from even 2 academy (which is quite generous to have on T135, you basically need to be Babylon or hit pisa), the free though bonus to each academy is worth 20.4 beakers over the 15 turns. We're still faaaar off the 700 beakers to bring them to par.

When could free though be better? You work nearly 0 specialist slot because for whatever reason you need to grow. Or you are working a hefty amount of TPs (you'd need to work about 25 TPs in non puppets or 25/.75=33.3 tiles from puppets.

If you have any observatory in cities where you work specialists, the favor shifts even further towards secularism.

If you have more cities working even just 2 scientist slots, it shifts again more towards secularism especially at lower pop cities (eg 4 cities size 15/10/8/8 working only all scientist slots)

This doesn't include the longer term mini snowball effect from reacing scientific theory approx. 3 turns earlier! etc.
 

evilcat

Warlord
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Messages
185
Secularism, even with just uni and guilds (and ocasional workshop) it is nice amount of free :c5science:. In fact it is too good.
 

Misanthrop

Chieftain
Joined
Dec 2, 2005
Messages
47
Sadly, maths will prove you wrong 99.9% of the time on this. I am actually surprised to see a very successful deity player not pick secularism immediately. It is extremely potent.

Let's take a reasonable simple game setup and accept some math simplification hypotheses.

3 city setup. No observatories for simplification (observatories favor secularism over free thought) and no city growth between first policy and third policy (this slightly favors free thought over secularism).

We just hit T120 and can pick one of the 3 policies, we will get the 2nd SP on T 135 and the third on T150. We work 0 TPs, growth still matters too much.
Cap size 18 (nc built)
city 2 size 14
city 3 size 12

Cap works both uni slots and 2 GW slots
city 2 works both uni slots and 2 GA slots
city 3 works both uni, no GW yet.

Before any SP, BPT on T120 is calculated as follow:
(18+9+3+6)*1.83 + (14+7+6)*1.33 + (12+6+6)*1.33 = 133.71 BPT

Scenario1 - Secularism
Your science immediately jumps to
(18+9+3+14)*1.83 + (14+7+14)*1.33 + (12+6+10)*1.33 = 164.31 BPT

Net gain of 30.6 BPT for 30 turns, grand total of 918 beakers from the secularism path

Scenario2 - Humanism
You gain 15 turns worth of +25% GPP for GS. This effectively means 1.5 GPP per turn per city for a total of 1.5*3*15=67.5 GPP

You gain Free thought on T145 at which point, your science jumps to
(18+9+3+6)*2.0 + (14+7+6)*1.5 + (12+6+6)*1.5 = 148.5 BPT

Net gain of 14.79BPT for 15 turns or 221.85 beakers


So basically, the tradeoff between the 2 paths in the setup mentioned above is of roughly 700 beakers for 67.5 great scientist points.

I don't know how much you value GPP but unless those 22.5 points in a given city would've allowed you to grab an additional GS in the late game for a bulb, it nets out to however many extra beakers you get from working the academy tile 2-3 turns earlier which is worth approx. 32-48 beakers total.


To have a better picture, you would need to run a spreadsheet, add the growth of each city and add any existing academy in the equation. Realistically though, 17% science from even 2 academy (which is quite generous to have on T135, you basically need to be Babylon or hit pisa), the free though bonus to each academy is worth 20.4 beakers over the 15 turns. We're still faaaar off the 700 beakers to bring them to par.

When could free though be better? You work nearly 0 specialist slot because for whatever reason you need to grow. Or you are working a hefty amount of TPs (you'd need to work about 25 TPs in non puppets or 25/.75=33.3 tiles from puppets.

If you have any observatory in cities where you work specialists, the favor shifts even further towards secularism.

If you have more cities working even just 2 scientist slots, it shifts again more towards secularism especially at lower pop cities (eg 4 cities size 15/10/8/8 working only all scientist slots)

This doesn't include the longer term mini snowball effect from reacing scientific theory approx. 3 turns earlier! etc.

thx for the work you put into this, looks pretty conclusive to me and to be honest, i'm quite happy that my gut didn't let me down this time. i'll be able to pick what i usually picked with confidence now, haha...
 
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3 city setup. No observatories for simplification (observatories favor secularism over free thought) and no city growth between first policy and third policy (this slightly favors free thought over secularism).

We just hit T120 and can pick one of the 3 policies, we will get the 2nd SP on T 135 and the third on T150.

This may be nitpicky, and/or my maths are just off, but you're getting about 20 culture a turn, right? Seems like it would take longer to get your 2nd and 3rd SPs.

Also, I don't know how much more likely it is that those 67 GPP gets you a GS (5%?) but given that a GS is worth 7000+ beakers by game-end, a 700 beaker boost isn't as big a deal. Probably still +EV to go with specialists (I always do, unless I have a huge wad of trading posts/jungles) but wanted to point that out.
 

Buccaneer

Deity
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Nov 2, 2001
Messages
3,562
Since I tend to get into Rationalism a bit later than usual, I will have my specialists up and running and therefore the boost from Secularism is much more beneficial to me.
 

Matthew.

Deity
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Sep 14, 2011
Messages
2,179
To get through Rationalism faster you need the culture from GWAM anyway... may as well get the science on top of it :)

I also don't consider Free Thought to be high priority. Capital is already running 50% NC and 33% uni, so an extra 17% isn't that much. At about ~24 pop, the capital breaks even although you get Secularism quicker. That isn't including trading posts, which could sway the numbers to Free Thought sooner, but I think more often than not trading posts don't come into play later (puppets, don't need further growth in core cities, whatever).

A more interesting comparison would probably be the 50% RA's to 17% on uni's and +1 on trading posts.
 

Deau

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This may be nitpicky, and/or my maths are just off, but you're getting about 20 culture a turn, right? Seems like it would take longer to get your 2nd and 3rd SPs.

Also, I don't know how much more likely it is that those 67 GPP gets you a GS (5%?) but given that a GS is worth 7000+ beakers by game-end, a 700 beaker boost isn't as big a deal. Probably still +EV to go with specialists (I always do, unless I have a huge wad of trading posts/jungles) but wanted to point that out.

The duration for next SP doesn't matter too much for the sake of comparison other than increase the gap. However, since almost everyone nowadays plays trad 5/consulates/rationalism, you usually get 24-32 CPT from good exploration at that point in the game. For all but CV, you will also extremely likely bulb the GWs for faster SPs so 30 turns shouldn't be completely out of this world. It is definitely on the low end.


As for the GS points however, your understanding of the mechanic is flawed although this may arise from lack of explanation on my part in the former post. You get an extra 1.5 GPP per turn per city, so the difference is effectively of roughly 20-30 GS points to any city over the course of the game. Now realistically, at the very end of the game where your cities produce 15+ GPP/turn, this basically means a difference of 2 turns in any such city to get the GS.

So it is not nearly as much as "you may catch an additional GS". The best case scenario for the free thought path under this circumstance is to get the very last GS pop 2 turns before the very last tech required for your VC effectively earning you 2 turns, or if you'd rather roughly 1/3rd of it's beakers bulb strength. In any event that the last GS pops 10 or so turns before the last tech, you will get the GS from the secularism strategy on time to get its full benefits anyway so you have, at best, a 8-10 turn window for the timing of your last GS pop, granted it happens from one of the cities that benefited from humanism early, to get a very slight benefit from humanism.
 
Joined
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The duration for next SP doesn't matter too much for the sake of comparison other than increase the gap. However, since almost everyone nowadays plays trad 5/consulates/rationalism, you usually get 24-32 CPT from good exploration at that point in the game. For all but CV, you will also extremely likely bulb the GWs for faster SPs so 30 turns shouldn't be completely out of this world. It is definitely on the low end.


As for the GS points however, your understanding of the mechanic is flawed although this may arise from lack of explanation on my part in the former post. You get an extra 1.5 GPP per turn per city, so the difference is effectively of roughly 20-30 GS points to any city over the course of the game. Now realistically, at the very end of the game where your cities produce 15+ GPP/turn, this basically means a difference of 2 turns in any such city to get the GS.

So it is not nearly as much as "you may catch an additional GS". The best case scenario for the free thought path under this circumstance is to get the very last GS pop 2 turns before the very last tech required for your VC effectively earning you 2 turns, or if you'd rather roughly 1/3rd of it's beakers bulb strength. In any event that the last GS pops 10 or so turns before the last tech, you will get the GS from the secularism strategy on time to get its full benefits anyway so you have, at best, a 8-10 turn window for the timing of your last GS pop, granted it happens from one of the cities that benefited from humanism early, to get a very slight benefit from humanism.

Re SPs, I forgot about GW bulbing -- good point, that could make the difference. The one time I actually kept track, I didn't hit Rationalism after Trad/Consulates until turn 155 or so, so turn 110 seems really early to get your 9th SP, but with bulbing and/or some early luck I can see it might be possible.

I agree with your math, and forgot that those 67 GS points are distributed among your cities. On the other hand, while this may only save 2 turns if the GS is timed well, those 700 beakers are probably not buying you many more turns than that -- e.g., you projected that you hit Scientific Theory 3 turns earlier. (Yes, I know, 3>2 by some unknown degree ...)

Just trying to play devil's advocate -- like I said, I go with Secularism first unless I'm in a jungle-heavy-already-have-lots-of-TP situation.

In sum, it seems like this is yet another lesson about how getting an immediate benefit can outweigh getting a seemingly bigger benefit a lot later in the game.
 

Deau

Emperor
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Quebec, Can
Re SPs, I forgot about GW bulbing -- good point, that could make the difference. The one time I actually kept track, I didn't hit Rationalism after Trad/Consulates until turn 155 or so, so turn 110 seems really early to get your 9th SP, but with bulbing and/or some early luck I can see it might be possible.

I agree with your math, and forgot that those 67 GS points are distributed among your cities. On the other hand, while this may only save 2 turns if the GS is timed well, those 700 beakers are probably not buying you many more turns than that -- e.g., you projected that you hit Scientific Theory 3 turns earlier. (Yes, I know, 3>2 by some unknown degree ...)

Just trying to play devil's advocate -- like I said, I go with Secularism first unless I'm in a jungle-heavy-already-have-lots-of-TP situation.

In sum, it seems like this is yet another lesson about how getting an immediate benefit can outweigh getting a seemingly bigger benefit a lot later in the game.

There also is a miniature snowball effect from getting the science earlier though. Bigger tech lead opens up new wonder quests to CSs. Helps you get first ideology pick which gives you some additional golden age points or some additional science(order)/culture/growth(earlier to hospitals). Faster to broadcast towers for increased culture if it matters. Other than having first pick @ ideology, the snowball is quite marginal but nonetheless, secularism first is simply better. It becomes significantly better if you have observatories in some cities.
 

iggymnrr

Deity
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May 20, 2003
Messages
2,249
I guess I look at the end as each scientist makes a tech doable in ~1 turn. And there are a lot of options to end up with too many scientist(s). Not really worth a policy to get an extra % for GPP.
 
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