Friday, December 23, 2011

Through The Ages-Part VI-Actions:Governments and Summary

The forum for this topic is found here:
Governments provide the last method of generating actions.  Using the same methodology as the above analysis develops the chart to the right.  Of these, the Republic government technology generates an additional 33 actions under ideal conditions.

Theocracy, which has the same number of actions as Depotism, is not shown as it would provide no benefit. in fact, Theocracy would have a -2 benefit from the time it is adopted.

Monarchy is the only government which can provide a benefit through Revolution.  This is mainly due to the decreased cost to generate Science at the beginning of the game.  The benefit of Revolution will generate a single additional action at the end of the game.  The chart for revolution of Monarchy is shown below:
For Monarchy, and Theocracy, there is a 'ramp up' time needed to gather the science.  From the chart above, the earliest a Revolution can take place is on turn 4, the turn after taking the government card.  The Revolution costs all the Civil Actions for the government, so in this case it is the equivalent of costing 4 actions.  The result is the Revolution costs one action.

For the remaining Government technologies, we make the assumption the science is immediately available, regardless of whether Revolution or normal change.  In all of these cases the Revolution action costs greatly exceed their action return.
Maximum Generated Actions
The following chart tracks the absolute maximum number of actions in an ideal game.

The recipe for this is as follows:
  • Turn 1 (Actions:2): Take Hammurabi, Pyramids
  • Turn 2 (Actions:1): Play Hammurabi, Increase Population,  Build a Mine
  • Turn 3: Build Philosophy
  • Turn 4 (Actions:2): Take Code of Laws, Build Stage 1 of Pyramids
  • Turn 5 (Actions:3): Play Code of Laws, Build Stage 2 and Stage 3 of Pyramids
  • Turn 10 (Actions:5): Take Republic, Play Republic, Take Kremlin, Build 2 Stages of Kremlin
  • Turn 11 (Actions:1): Build Stage 3 of Kremlin
  • Turn 16 (Actions:2): Take Civil Service, Play Civil Service
Since the Build Mine and Increase Population actions are 'normal' actions, they do not count against the actions need to bring the items into play.

The maximum number of actions returned through this method is increased by 68.  Thus, the theoretical maximum actions a player may have is 148.
Reality Check and Conclusions
Many things affect achieving the maximum number of actions available:

  • Cards not appearing at perfect times,
  • Event cards removing resources/actions,
  • Taking cards higher in the Card row,
  • Other Players Military Actions.
With these factors in play, a player can reasonably expect to achieve between 30% and 60% of these additional actions.  This leaves a player between 100 and 120 actions.  I would like to say these estimates are based off some real data, but in this case it is based on an intelligent guess.  Roughly half of these actions will be available in Age I, about 10% in Age II, and the remainder will arrive in Age III. 

If we make the fair decision a player will have an average number of actions, this comes to 114 actions.  Based on the above charts, it is sensible the actions will be divided as follows:
  • Age A (Turn 1): 4/turn (preset by rules/not changeable)
  • Age I (Turns 2-4): 4/turn
  • Age I/II (Turns 5-11):  5/turn
  • Age II/III/IV (Turns 12-20):  7/turn
This increase in actions explains the acceleration factor seen in the game.  Each of Ages I through III has 55 cards.  Age II runs faster than Age I by a single turn, but Age III runs through the same number of cards in just over half the number of rounds as Age I.  During Age III players accumulate more actions and spend these actions on more cards on the card row.  The more cards players collect, the faster the Age ends.
How to Use This Information
Players who understand how much can be accomplished in a game lets them better prioritize their choices.  It lets a player realize the impact of their decisions in card selection and order of playing cards.  specifically, the following points can be made:
  • Once a government is chosen, it is never efficient to switch governments a second time,
    • Especially through revolution.
  • Republic generates the most total civil actions of all cards,
  • Kremlin and Hammurabi are roughly equivalent in Return on investment if the Kremlin comes up early and is immediately build 
    • Hammurabi has a better guaranteed return, whereas Kremlin may arrive too late to be effective.
  • Players have roughly 114 civil actions during a game, meaning players should plan how to spend these actions at the start of the game.
There are other cards which were not reviewed that may impact actions available.  Isaac Newton permits the learning of technologies without expending actions, and Robespierre allows revolutions using Military Actions instead of civil actions.

I want to continue the discussion on Actions, but will switch to Culture Generation.  What issues have you experienced with Actions and might want advice on, or what comments do you have about the information above?
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