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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Through the Ages - Card: Eiffel Tower


This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.
Eiffel Tower

History

One hundred years after the French Revolution, the nation of France was to hold the World's Fair.  France wanted an item which showcased both the fair, and the achievements of man (with some benefit to themselves).  A competition was set and over 100 submissions were gathered.  In the end, the honor was granted to the engineering firm Eiffel et Compagnie.  Although the tower was eventually named after Gustave Eiffel, the owner of the company, it was Maurice Koechlin who envisioned and designed the work.

Maurice was a french structural engineer who worked on the Statue of Liberty.  Most likely it was this experience in working with building large iron structures which powered the desire to build an even larger construction.  Thus, the groundwork was laid for what would become perhaps the most iconic symbol of France.

Construction began in January of 1887 and was completed in time for the fair in 1889.  When completed it stood 300 m tall with three levels of observation for guests.  Oddly, the tower was met with much controversy.  Some viewed it as an incredible achievement, others viewed it as an eyesore.  At least it was only temporary.

Or so they thought.

In the early 1900's the Tower was to be dismantled, having served its purpose.  But in 1909 the government realized its great height and iron structure made it perfect for radiotelegraph.  During The Great War (WWI), the Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy communications, alerting to zeppelin movements.  During Germany's Occupation of France in WWII, the tower's lifts were damaged so the german soldiers had to use the stairs to replace the flag.  During the liberation, it is said Hitler ordered the Tower (and Paris) to be destroyed, but neither occurred.

Since that time the Eiffel Tower has become inextricably linked to Paris.  It is estimated over 7 Million people visit the Tower every year, making it the most visited monument in the world.

Game Stats

The Eiffel Tower maintains its popularity in Through The Ages, and its easy to see why.  It's expected culture generation, for both action and resources is excellent.  The benefit of a free happiness simply adds to its attractiveness.  There is only one Age II wonder which outranks the Eiffel Tower in popularity (Transcontinental Railroad), and just by a single game.

The Eiffel Tower requires only three actions, and by the time it arrives the player's economies should be well established. In most of the games analyzed the Eiffel Tower was completed the turn after it was placed.  This means the Eiffel Tower's middle cost of 7 Ore is large, but not insurmountable.
Strategies, Combos and Opinions
Strategies
Culture
The Eiffel Tower's benefit is almost totally cultural.  It can make up a great deficit quickly and economically.  The Happiness is nice, but almost entirely a side effect.
Combinations
St Peter's Basilica
The double happiness of St Peter's will complement the Eiffel Tower.  Furthermore, with St. Peter's culture benefit this comes to a whopping 6 culture per turn for an expected 6 turns.  If player's were to focus on only these two culture generating Wonders, they would account for 54 Culture, 24% of the expected total.

Taj Mahal
The ultimate Culture Wonder combination!  If both of these are built by the same player in a game, the player could expect a gain of 67 culture.  This constitutes 30% of the required Culture generation.
Opinions
Not much to add from the analysis.  The Eiffel Tower is a solid wonder and one which should be built when it comes available.  Like most Wonders, the earlier the better!

References
1. http://www.history.com/topics/eiffel-tower
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