Friday, March 9, 2012

Through The Ages - Card - Universitas Carolina

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This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.
Universitas Carolina (UC)*
* Yes, I know the abbreviation of the real Universitas Carolina is "CU, however I already referred to it as UC in an earlier article so I will continue to use it for internal consistency sake.
Universitas Carolina, also known as the Charles University of Prague, is one of the oldest academic institutions in Europe.  The Holy Roman Emperor Charles of Luxembourg had the University built in Prague.  Founded in 1349, it was modeled after the University of Paris.  Unlike the University of Paris, Universitas Carolina has maintained near continuous operations throughout its some degree.

University's older than Charles University exist, but few have played as large a part in European development as Charles University.  It's list of notable alumni is long, but some of the more world famous include: Franz Kafka, Nikola Tesla, and Jaroslav Heyrovský.  But the University played more than just scientific studies in its history.  It has served as an incubator for new religious and social thought.  In the 1400's it nursed the writings of John Wyclife and Jan Hus which would later become the Protestant Reformation.

Today the Charles Unversity of Prague still operates, quite successfully.  It is ranked in the top 2% of educational institutions in the world, and in the Top 100 in Europe.  It educates roughly 51,000 students around the year.
Game Stats
In the game, Universitas Carolina has an elder sister: Library of Alexandria (LoA).  Unlike the Library, the Universitas Carolina provides 2 Science instead of one.  It also doesn't provide the ability to hold an additional military and civilian card.  Perhaps most importantly in comparison, the Universitas Carolina has a random "availability", where as the Library is available from the start of the game.

The "winning odds" the Universitas Carolina benefits again resembles that of the Library.  There is a slight 2% increase in winning the game with UC over LoA, but LoA has better odds of ending in 2nd place than UC.  Overall it is too small to make either a significant deciding factor in the game.
Strategies, Combos and Opinions
Science: The Library forms a strong addition for starting a science strategy.  Unfortunately, the Library is subject to Ravages of Time, and has the highest Action cost of all Age A wonders.  Building the Library leads to a greatly reduced economic and military engine.  Ideally this would be offset by the ability to learn technologies quicker than opponents, but this may not be the case.

The Library, like the other pure science wonder, Universitas Carolinas, has no card combinations.
The Universitas Carolina, like its sister the Library of Alexandria, represents a constant stream of science, a critical component to many strategies.  UC requires 1 fewer action, 3 additional ore, and provides 1 additional science per turn compared to the Library.  In the long run, the UC loses to the Library in terms of culture output, but by only 4 points.  In return, the UC can be expected to generate about 8 more Science than the library.

An alternative to the
Printing Press, Journalism
costs twice as much but
saves on population
If both were built as quickly as possible the comparison becomes more striking with the LoA generating 20 Culture and 18 Science.  The UC would generate 18 Culture, but a whopping 32 Science!  But the UC may be built as late as turn 13, in which chase it would generate only 10 Culture, but still manage 16 Science.

In comparison to other Science/production buildings, the UC holds up significantly better than LoA.  However, the Printing Press still out performs UC since it costs 1 ore less and generates twice the culture.  However, the UC doesn't require population, a critical component to early economies.

From a statistics standpoint, the UC doesn't due much better than LoA.  In fact, building the UC seems to do slightly worse since the odds of coming in 3rd or 4th are slightly raised compared to LoA.  Still, neither seems to improve the odds of winning the game.

Overall, I like the Universitas Carolina.  I prefer it over most other Wonders, especially if I fail to get an Alchemy or have a late arriving Printing Press.  The UC can provide an alternative means of gathering Science.

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