"Also an increase in tech cost by 10%" Ah. So that's exactly how it works. There's the hidden formula. Just so you know, those formulas DO create an ideal "ratio" of tall to wide. If you think about "what buildings can I feasibly actually build" compared to the relative static cost of the final tech on the tech tree, you can actually extrapolate a tall vs wide formula. It will vary depending on the game but you should be able to guess at how many cities to go. Obviously going order and wide with free research centers or whatever sounds pretty legit. But you see what I mean, in civ 6 I'm like 40% sure 7 or 8 base is the wai 2 go. The real question now is if puppets affect the formula? And are there any other hidden formulas you can tell me about? Edit: My guess: 4 or 5 is ideal barring your little "free research center" trick. But I haven't played that much so who knows? P.S. Turn 494 victory on prince. https://imgur.com/aXHYmlE Thanks to you guys I didn't sleep last night. Edit again: the ideal ratio would definitely probably depend on your policies, so there's going to be some variance I don't doubt.