Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Through the Ages - Part XV - Culture: Buildings

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Culture- Leaders
I plan on covering Leaders separately in a later article separate an unto themselves.  Their various abilities make analyzing them difficult.  However, they are not the topic for today.
Culture- Buildings
Buildings and Leaders represent the largest source of culture in Through The Ages for the majority of players.  The winning player will generate around 118 points from buildings and Leaders in a game.  Like much of the game, the majority of these points come from later age buildings.  Some Leaders will boost these points upwards, but the majority of points need to come from the core structures.

One advantage of buildings is a player may have more than one of a given type.  Depending on governments, this number can be as high as 4.  However, analysis of the games shows it is not until late Age II when the third building of a given type tends to come into play.  The fourth version of a building just doesn't come into play very often.
Culture Building Types
There exist three cultural buildings: Theaters, Temples, and Libraries.  Each building comes in three levels (Age I, II, or III).  Each building provides an additional benefit beyond culture.  Players tend to focus on two of the three types of culture buildings.  This usually comes from a lack of resources.

The following chart shows the average culture gained from the different building types.  The difference between the various buildings is relatively small, 6 points at its greatest.  Despite this, certain patterns emerge which are discussed in detail below every item.
Every Temple provides a single culture point per turn regardless of the Age of the temple.  Temples are easy to analyze from this perspective.  Temples are the cheapest building and are the first built.  Temples generate 27 culture over the course of the game for the winning player.  Players build either theaters or temples to resolve the happiness problem in most cases.

Players tend to build temples as happiness is needed to solve the discontent issue.  From the diagram, these tend to occur early, near round 3 and again round 9.  Players tend to upgrade temples roughly half the time rather than build more temples.
Libraries provide science and culture in equal parts.  Each Age increases the building's return of each of these attributes by 1.  Libraries generate an average of 31 culture points per game.  The first library is built around turn 9.  The second library is built usually within two turns after the first building.

Unlike the other culture buildings, players tend to build three libraries during games.  Players also upgrade libraries rather quickly.  These additional buildings and upgraded buildings drive the culture gain of libraries.
Theaters, like temples, provide happiness.  Only a single happiness is provided per theater, but the culture gain increases as the upgrade cost goes up.  On average, theaters provide 32 culture over the course of a game to the winning player.  Unlike the other building types, most winning players only build theaters of a single Age.  On average 2 Theaters will get built.  However, if the player chooses the Age I Drama theater, there is a tendency to build slightly more of the buildings.
The diagram above shows the culture depending on the Age of building chosen.  The early Drama buildings generate 40 culture.  Operas and Movies generate more culture per building per turn, but the lateness of their build doesn't make up the difference in culture of the earlier buildings.
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