Analysis of Great Building value ... This is a series of ideas and thoughts about just how good Great Buildings actually are, as well as how they compare with each other. The calculations are based on data in the Encyclopedia of Great Buildings. I am also trying to update this analysis with some thoughts about what minimum levels you should try to achieve, for the GBs to be worthwhile. ... Overview: Great Buildings are definitely better and more interesting than regular buildings. In effect, they are like large Premium buildings (often much better!), which makes sense given that many were at least partially bought with diamonds, and/or require a LOT of investment to complete. On reviewing their benefits, it is clear that some ARE better than others. It's difficult to figure out exactly how much though, and whether the difference is fair or not. In part, this is because the initial resource costs of GBs go up significantly - by nearly a factor of 3 for each age. (A Tower of Babel, for example, costs the equivalent of 3000 coins and 3000 supplies to produce the 150 Bronze Age goods needed. Building the Deal Castle though, requires Colonial Age goods that would require 800,000 each in supplies and coins to produce. So is the Deal Castle 267 times better than the Tower? Probably not). Likewise, the space needed is also a big factor. The Lighthouse, for example, produces 12% less goods than St Marks. However, it uses less than half as much space (4x4=16 vs 6x6=36 squares). Further complications are that each GB has different combinations of benefits, and some benefits are worth more in different ages (or when boosting better buildings). For the purposes of the latter issue, I made a table where I estimated the output value of GBs in the Early, High and Late Middle Ages, with an assumed standard set of houses and supply production buildings. (Reality will be different of course, but it is a useful gauge/estimate). ... To summarize though, all GBs are great at level 10, and many are good at fairly low levels (although the benefits of specific GBs might not be of any use to you). GBs of later ages tend to be a BIT better than those of earlier ages, to offset their significantly higher costs. If faced with a choice between similar GBs, you should normally build the highest age GB for which you can afford the space and goods construction costs. Exception: I have rated several GBs as marginal or weak, because they either become obsolete (Colosseum), have negative effects (Tower of Babel), require excessive Goods costs for their benefits (Deal Castle), or require you to get them to very high levels for them to be worthwhile (Colosseum). Check first if you really need them for your type of game, before building. Personally, I recommend the Lighthouse, St Mark's and Frauenkirche as three of the best GBs in the game (so far, at least). ... Tabular summary of Great Building benefits, at different levels of the Middle Ages Legend: ...COG = "Cost of Goods" - Total of both supplies and coins (same number of each) needed to pay for the goods required build the GB. For example, a Bronze age GB costs 150 bronze age goods, which cost 3000 cash and 3000 supplies to produce. ..."c" normally refers to coins produced or provided by the GB ..."s" normally refers to extra supplies produced by the GB ..."G" refers to random goods (of the current age) produced by the GB. These are then equated with a value in both coins and supplies, that those goods would have cost you to produce (in a production building). e.g. 5 High Middle Age goods can be produced for 800coins and 800supplies, so would be shown as 5G => 800* _______________________________________________ NEW! ===>> Value analysis of Happiness GBs Spoiler SUMMARY: Cultural Great Buildings are all excellent if you can get them to level 10, and good if you can get them to at least level four (with lower-age GBs needing to get to higher levels). You should try advance the GB at least one level for every Age you progress. Your first Happiness-providing Great Building is (nearly) always a good idea to build. For your second or later, you need to consider how much happiness you need, and if it is possible to save space by replacing some existing regular cultural buildings with the new Great Building instead. Exceptions: - The Colosseum is only worthwhile at level 6 if you are in the Early or High Middle Ages, and must advance TWO levels for each Age that you progress. It's really only good at level 10, and may even then become obsolete in the Age of Progress. Since the other benefit of the Colosseum is to give you a net of about one city expansion's worth of medals, I recommend against building the Colosseum, unless for decorative purposes. . Analysis: Let's ignore the other benefit of each GB that provides Happiness, and evaluate their efficiency purely as a happiness provider. Which ones are worthwhile, and at which level? Since happiness only improves with level and not with your current Age, which GBs will be obsolete first? Also, since your Great Building might not go up many levels these days, is it worth building at all, if you think it might only get to level 3? . The challenge with Happiness GBs is that several are large. So, are they making worthwhile use of your expensive city real estate? This is fairly simple to evaluate using a calculation of happiness per square. If the GB has an equal or higher per-square happiness than Cultural buildings in each age, you're good. If not, you'll either need to push your GB to a higher level, decide whether it's worthwhile for its other benefits, or scrap the GB. We'll ignore the costs of roads (which are a significant factor for smaller cultural buildings), and first look at the Happiness per square benefit of some good (non-diamond) Culture buildings in various ages. Construction costs are also ignored - although this could be a huge saving for Great Buildings. [table="width: 600, class: grid, align: center"] Age Cultural Building size (Squares) Happiness per square Bronze Tavern 9 280 31.1 Iron Public Bath 16 570 35.6 Early Middle Market 9 430 47.8 High Middle Doctor 9 470 52.2 Late Middle Academy 16 980 61.3 Colonial Trading Co. 12 900 75 Industrial Saloon 9 700 77.8 Industrial Pumping Station 20 1700 85 [/table] . Next, we look at the happiness produced by each GB at each level, and their happiness per square. The level at which the GB happiness exceeds standard Cultural building happiness is indicated. [table="width: 800, class: grid, align: center"] GB level Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Colosseum 42 1100 / 26.2 1200 / 28.6 1400 / 33.3 1600 / 38.1 (Iron) 1900 / 43.2 2200 / 53.4 (E,HMA) 2500 / 59.5 2800 / 66.7 (LMA) 3100 / 73.8 4000 / 95.2 (CA,IA) Hagia Sophia 42 1700 / 40.5 1900 / 43.2 2300 / 54.8 (E,HMA) 2700 / 64.3 (LMA) 3100 / 73.8 (CA) 3600 / 85.7 (Ind.) 4100 / 97.6 4700 / 111.9 5300 / 126.2 6400 / 152.4 Notre Dame 24 1100 / 45.8 1200 / 50 1400 / 58.3 (HMA) 1700 / 70.8 (LMA) 1900 / 79.2 (CA) 2300 / 95.8 (Ind) 2600 / 108.3 2900 / 120.8 3300 / 137.5 3900 / 162.5 Frauenkirche 25 1500 / 60 1700 / 68 2000 / 80 (CA) 2300 / 92 (Ind) 2600 / 104 3000 / 120 3400 / 136 3900 / 156 4400 / 176 4900 / 196 [/table] . What this shows is that: - In the actual Age of the Hagia Sophia (EMA), Notre Dame (HMA), and Frauenkirche (Colonial), these GBs are only effective as Happiness buildings at level 3 and above. Below that level, you can build other cultural buildings of the era, which will provide more Happiness. - Generally, you will need to push your Great Building to at least one level higher, for each Age that you progress, for it to keep pace and remain effective. The Colosseum is worse though, and requires going up twice as many levels. - Since most Great Buildings are built when you are already one age PAST the age of the Great Building (because it takes a while to collect both the blueprints and the Goods cost), I'd recommend that you only build these GBs if you can get them up to at LEAST level 4 (and aim higher if you can). . CONCLUSION: Avoid the Colosseum. The others are worthwhile as Happiness buildings, if you can get them up to level 4 or higher. Note that the other GB benefits of the Hagia Sophia (forge points) and the Frauenkirche (Goods) are more generally useful and greater value than the fixed output Supplies produced by the Notre Dame, especially if you also have a Lighthouse. In the Colosseum section, I calculated the medal benefit as being worth one free city expansion, which is good, but not good enough to compensate for the weak happiness benefit. . So, the best happiness building is the Frauenkirche, then Hagia Sophia, then Notre Dame, with Colosseum least in value. That said, if your city is already enthusiastic, it may be hard to justify building any of these Great Buildings, unless by doing so you can instead get rid of some other old Cultural Buildings. _______________________________________________ NEW! ===>> Value analysis of Goods-producing GBs Spoiler SUMMARY: When considered purely in terms of space used for producing goods, the Goods Great Buildings all pass the efficiency test. That is, they use the same amount of space (or less) that you would need for other city buildings to produce the same amount of goods, and at fairly low levels - you don't need to get the GB to level 10 first for them to be beneficial. This is without taking into account the other benefits of the GBs, which can be considerable (e.g. for Lighthouse and St Marks). Exceptions: - The Tower of Babel should only be built when you are in the High Middle Ages or later - The Lighthouse is best in the Early Middle Ages or later - St Mark's is best in the Late Middle Ages or later (but build it earlier if you can for the cash boost). . Analysis: Let's first try to figure out the true costs of Goods production, in terms of city space needed. . We'll assume that all goods within each age are of equal value, easily tradeable for other goods of the same age; that we only produce goods for which we have a map bonus; and that a Goods building can produce up to 25 Goods per day (3-4 collections). Goods buildings require space themselves, but also require population. Goods production requires both cash and supplies. We'll figure out whichever requires more housing - either houses for population needed, or for the cash requirement. (It works out that from the Early Middle Ages onwards, the cash requirement is larger, and there is "spare" population available). The space needed for those houses is counted. All production is assumed to be at the Enthusiastic (+20%) happiness bonus level, but motivation and plundering is ignored (assumed to balance out). To be enthusiastic, the people need to be happy, so we need to count the space required for cultural buildings. We also need to figure out how much spaces the Supply production buildings will use, although the population requirements of those buildings are ignored (we'll assume there is spare population available). All houses, cultural buildings, and supply buildings are assumed to be of the same age as the Goods building, and the most efficient/best available, although this obviously won't be true much of the time. I have furthermore assumed a four times per day collection schedule, every 4 hours except overnight. The requirements for roads are ignored as being too difficult to calculate, and initial construction costs of all buildings are also ignored. Finally, the OTHER benefits of each GB (or other Great Buildings which might affect your situation) are ignored - we are here only looking at the GOODS production component. [table="width: 800, class: grid, align: center"] Era of Goods bldg Bronze Iron EMA HMA LMA CA Indust. Goods Bldg space 9-16 9-16 9-16 6-12 9-16 6-16 12-20 Pop used 108 230 340 460 580 720 1020 Houses reqrd for pop 3.3 Chalets 3.2 Cottages 3.1 Clapboard 3.0 TownHouse 2.8 Apartments 2.8 Gambrel 2.2 Victorian Cost for 25 Goods/day (C+S) 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 12000 16000 Houses reqrd for cash 1.3 Chalets 1.9 Cottages 3.5 Clapboard 4.9 TownHouse 7.6 Apartments 7.4 Gambrel 5.5 Victorian Cultural Bldg spaces 5 (Tavern) 9 (Bath) 8.1 (Market) 13.2 (Church) 25.4 (Academy) 25.6 (TradingCo) 30.7 (WaterPump) Supply Bldg spaces 7 (Blacksmith) 8.5 (Butcher) 9.6 (Shoemaker) 12.2 (Farm) 19.9 (Brewery) 23.7 (Tobacco) 27.2 (Ceramics) Min Space needed 34.2 (1.37) 39.3 (1.57) 40.7 (1.63) 51 (2.04) 84.7 (3.39) 84.9 (3.4) 102.9 (4.12) [/table] (The value in brackets in the last row, is the space required in squares PER GOOD produced, assuming daily production of 25 Goods per Goods building). . Without factoring in the space costs of the cash and supplies needed, the smallest Goods production of each age requires about 29 spaces on average, except 37.5 spaces in the Industrial age. However, when cash production and supply needs are included, the space required rises rapidly in each age, and the Goods building itself is by far the smallest part of that. Keep in mind that on average, your city will usually have some lower age and less efficient houses, supply and cultural buildings, so will actually be less efficient at producing latest-Age Goods than the minimum space indications above. (You may also only have map bonuses for Goods buildings which require more space). So, now that we know how much city space it takes to produce those 25 goods per day, at what level or Age does each GB become cost-effective for the space that it uses? . [table="width: 800, class: grid, align: center"] GB Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Tower (16) Goods per day 6 (LMA) 7 8 (HMA) 9 10 (EMA) 11 (Iron) 12 (BA) 13 14 15 Lighthouse (16) Goods per day 8 (HMA) 9 10 (EMA) 12 (Iron) 13 (BA) 14 15 17 18 19 St Marks (36) Goods per day 10 (Ind.) 12 (LMA) 13 15 17 18 (HMA) 20 22 (EMA) 24 25 Frauenkirche (25) Goods per day 7 (Ind.) 8 (CA, LMA) 9 10 11 12 13 (HMA) 14 16 17 Royal Albert (42) Goods per day 11 (Ind.) 12 14 (CA) 16 18 20 21 23 25 27 [/table] . What this shows is that: - The Tower of Babel is worthwhile at Level 1 from the Late Middle Ages onwards, but you'd need to get it to at least level 5 to be worthwhile in the Early Middle Ages. - The Lighthouse is cost effective as a Goods building from level 3 and up, in the Early Middle Ages (or from level 1 in the High Middle Ages and later). - St Marks is best built in the Late Middle Ages if you are only looking at the Goods output (but is still awesome earlier for its other benefits) - The Frauenkirche is worthwhile as a Goods building from Level 2 onwards, assuming it is unlikely to be built while you are still in the High Middle Ages. This is even without considering its value as a Happiness provider. - The Royal Albert Hall, if built in the Industrial Age, is (just barely) worthwhile as a goods building alone, even at only level 1, although this is more due to the exorbitant costs of producing Industrial Age goods than from any special efficiency of the RAH. . CONCLUSION: Research, construction of Great Buildings, quests and negotiations for territory can all use a lot of Goods, which require an enormous amount of space to produce, especially in later ages. Great Buildings can produce goods of the latest age more space-efficiently and cost effectively than you can do with regular non-diamond buildings (especially at higher levels). Although a single Great Building is insufficient to produce all your Goods needs, it can help a lot, and will have other benefits too. I'd recommend having at least two Goods-producing buildings in your city, to allow taking at least one current-age Goods building offline. Instead, use your more efficient current-age houses and supply buildings to fuel production of a few lower age Goods buildings, wherever you have trade shortages. The more GBs you have, the better, as this will allow you to take even those lower age Goods buildings offline, and trade for the lower age goods instead. ... Analysis of individual Great Buildings ... Statue of Zeus: Mostly decorative (ok for PvP). Spoiler The Statue gives a unit attack/defence bonus when attacking. Although this is somewhat helpful to all players for conquest of map sectors (and hence saves on some goods), it is particularly helpful to players later interested in PvP contests and medals, so has enduring value. (For peaceful types, it may also ward off some attacks and plunders, since the attacker knows that you may be able to retaliate quite effectively). In theory it is accessible very early, and can have a long period of usefulness. .... The Statue is interesting both because it is the smallest GB (2x3, only 6 spaces!), and the only one with only a single benefit. Since some other later GBs give the same benefit, this is very useful for comparison purposes. It is still hard to figure out the real value of the Statue, but at a guess, I'd think it should give a 5% improvement in your weekly medal rewards, and some goods saved. These are at minimum sufficient to pay back the cost of the space and goods required to build it. However, if that same space (2x3) were used by Clapboard houses, you would have the equivalent of 720 coins produced per day. That's about the value of one Late Middle Ages good per day, or about one expansion space every 4 weeks. I suspect that the Statue can't really achieve that real value level, so it's mostly a decorative / vanity addition to your city, and helpful to those who really enjoy the PvP battles, or want to use those battles to improve their overall game score. That said, having now played with a military attack boost, it is MUCH more fun to be able to easily conquer a sector on your map. The Statue (and Cathedral etc.) do encourage more militaristic play, if you can get them up a few levels. . Note: The Statue and other attack bonus buildings are VERY helpful for conquering map sectors in the New World map (Industrial Age), where many areas have a significant defense bonus. (There are also a few such areas in the Colonial age bonus map territories). Tower of Babel: Weak before the HMA, Good at level 1 in LMA or later. Spoiler The Tower is attractively sized at only 4x4, provides people and goods (daily). The daily goods production is a bit less than that from the Lighthouse, and the Dresden Frauenkirche. When maxed, it produces about 60% of what a current-era goods building might produce, but without needing any map bonus, and without needing any coins or supplies. This means that the value of the output doubles with each age, as the equivalent coin/supply costs would double to produce those goods in a regular building. (This works out to about 4800 coins and supplies daily in Late Middle Ages, so handily beats the Clapboard-house equivalency test used re the Statue). It's not as good in earlier ages though, and is of dubious value in the Iron Age or earlier. If you have one of these, you'll want to spend your forge points to advance to later ages as rapidly as possible. .... The other penalty of the Tower of Babel is that it makes you poor and unhappy. That is, it gives you people, without any corresponding income. When maxed, it gives you 1140 people, which is more than 5 LMA Apartment houses, but without the corresponding >5000 coins per day. Worse yet, the extra people require happiness, so you may lose out on the happiness productivity bonus unless you build a few Public Baths or something. That 4x4 small size is suddenly more like an 8x8 monster. .... Bottom line, a maxed Tower is bad news early on, and only really beneficial in the Late Middle Ages or later - unless you have another GB or two to cover the increased need for happiness and income (e.g. Colosseum and Cathedral of Aachen). Lighthouse of Alexandria: Excellent (for peaceful/traders) - Level 1 and up Spoiler The Lighthouse is also an easy 4x4 building, boosts your supplies output, and provides goods. It improves as you progress. The daily Goods output of the Lighthouse is similar to, but slightly better than that of the Tower, or about 6080 (coins +supplies) equivalent every day (in LMA). You'll still want to have some goods production buildings, but the Lighthouse definitely makes life easier. Again, you'll want to advance to the next age as rapidly as possible, to get the maximum benefit. ... The other benefit is to boost your supply buildings (by up to 145%). You'll want to have 10 supply production buildings, collected 4 times per day, or some similar arrangement. The supplies boost is very good (more than 27,000 supplies per day, when you have some farms), and actually exceeds the benefits of the Goods side. With all those supplies, you'll be able to upgrade your houses fairly easily. ... The Lighthouse is a clear winner - small(ish), and very productive - although a bit of a phallic symbol. The Goods output is primarily of interest to more peaceful players, and people wishing to buy provinces, rather than those trying to use military for everything. And if you happen to reach the end of the tech tree or take the last sector of your map, the Lighthouse might not be very useful anymore - but you'll have had good value in the meantime. Colosseum: Weak, unless you can get it leveled up to Levels 8-10. Avoid if you are in the Late Middle Ages or later. Spoiler The Colosseum is large (6x7=42 squares), but provides happiness and some medals. [table="width: 800, class: grid, align: center"] Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Happiness 1100 1200 1400 1600 1900 2200 2500 2800 3100 4000 Equal to 2 Baths 1120 (IronAge) 3 Markets 1290 (EMA) 3 Doctors 1410 (HMA) 5 Cartogr. 1600 (LMA) Library +Academy 1920 (LMA) 5 Coiffeur 2200 (CA) 4 Saloons 2800 (Indust.) 4 Saloons 2800 (Indust.) 2 Water pumps 3400 (Indust.) (Best) 4000 Medals/d 9 10 11 12 14 15 17 19 21 32 Medals/wk 63 70 77 84 98 105 119 133 147 224 % value 28% 30% 35% 39% 45% 51% 58% 65% 71% 100% [/table] A fully maxed Colosseum provides 4000 happiness and 32 medals per day (big increase in update 0.26). The happiness is almost as much as 8 Churches, while using half the space. (It's also more happiness than four premium Printers, for the same space, i.e. 1800 diamonds or so). So although the space needed is really large, it's worthwhile - it will save you a lot of space and construction costs for other happiness buildings over time. ... Here's the rub though. What if you can't get it up to level 10 - is it still worthwhile? As the table above shows, maybe not. I have listed alternative cultural buildings which can give the same amount of happiness as each level - but using LESS space than the Colosseum. Levels 4 and 5 are (nearly) as good as Late Middle Age buildings; Levels 6-9 are worthwhile even in the Industrial Age; but only Level 10 is a clear winner. So you'll want to either get this GB early (High Middle Ages or earlier), or put a LOT of forge points into getting it up to at least level 4 - unless the medals are worthwhile? .... The medal benefit is harder to quantify, but at over 900 medals/month, is probably worth 4 city Victory expansions over time, that a peaceful (non PvP player) would never see. It gets harder to calculate if you assume that the Colosseum is NOT at maximum level, AND/OR the player has other ways of earning medals. Let's assume a level 4 Colosseum (98 medals per week) - this earns about double the medals that an average player might be able to get from investing in GBs (at a cost of 100fp/week) or PvP tournaments alone. (A GOOD PvP player can get much more than 50 medals per week, but let's assume there is strong competition). So, the 200 medal expansion takes only 2 weeks; then the 500 medal expansion another 5 weeks; then the 1000 medal expansion another 10 weeks; then the 2000 medal expansion another 20 weeks. Over 8.6 months, you have earned 3700 medals (approximately) and four victory expansions to your city (and note that the Colosseum itself uses about three expansions worth of space). A PvP player or someone who only earned medals via Great Buildings would likely have earned half that many medals, but would only be ONE expansion behind. So anyone who is able to get medals without the Colosseum has to consider the happiness benefit alone. Assuming you are early in the game and not a regular PvP player though, the medals will pay back the cost of space needed within less than 6 months. This means that the happiness provided is a free bonus .... So, the Colosseum is good, if you are early in the game (High Middle Ages or earlier) and need the happiness - AND can get it up to at least level 6, preferably 8 or higher. It is not as good for happiness as several other later Great buildings, but can pay back the space requirements in free expansions. If you can't afford enough space in your city to have two large GBs, I greatly prefer the Notre Dame or Hagia Sophia happiness GBs over the Colosseum, but if you get a full set of Colosseum blueprints first (and are confident that it will get up to at least level 6), then build it for sure. If you are in the LMA, Colonial era or Industrial Age, you will likely already have many victory expansions, and the Colosseum medals will not be worth much (the cost of expansions keeps going up), plus the regular Colonial (and industrial) happiness buildings can provide much more happiness for the space used. So in that situation, the Deal Castle or Frauenkirche GBs may be more appropriate instead. Hagia Sophia: Very good (requires at least level 4) Spoiler The Hagia Sophia is also large (7x6=42 squares), providing happiness and forge points. At 6400 Happiness, a maxed Hagia Sophia makes the Colosseum look puny. That's the equivalent of 12.3 Churches, or 4.3 (LMA premium) Palaces, but in much less space of course. So like the Colosseum, the space needed to build this GB is well worthwhile. That is, it saves you both space AND multiple happiness building costs. (Read the Castel del Monte section for another interesting comparison). Note that as discussed in the comparison of happiness GBs, if you build the Hagia Sophia in the Early Middle Ages, you will need to get it up to at least level 3 for it to be Good as a happiness building (i.e. better than other cultural buildings of that Age). You will also need to get your GB improved by one level per age that you progress in research, for it to keep pace. So by the Industrial Age, this GB is only worthwhile (for Happiness) if you can get it to at least level 7. .... The daily 6 forge points benefit is harder to quantify. Research-wise, you simply end up being held up by unlock costs of technologies. So the main benefit of those forge points is in donation races when contributing to other Great Buildings - it will be significantly easier for you to win first place to get more blueprints and medals that way. Quite simply, the Hagia Sophia allows you to get more GBs (and allows you to get them levelled up faster too). For the altruistic team players, it also allows getting level 0 GBs of other players into production faster, which will be more of a challenge over time. Note: Subtracting the Statue's of Zeus's 6 spaces from the Castel Del Monte's 25 squares [for same benefits], it seems that 19 squares of the Castel are used for the forge point production. Presumably the Hagia Sophia uses 19 squares for fp production, which means that the 6400 happiness is coming from only 23 squares (vs only 3900 happiness for the Notre Dame's 24 squares). .... Bottom line: strongly recommended, and much better than the Colosseum, if you have a choice. Cathedral of Aachen: Good in High Middle Ages or earlier, only OK after that. Requires at least level 6. Spoiler The Cathedral is moderately sized (4x6=24 squares), providing coins and a military unit boost when attacking. The unit bonus when attacking (+50% when maxed) is the same as the Statue (and stacks), so the Cathedral could be considered as being part Statue, and part (24-6=18 squares) income generator. The daily income provided jumps significantly after level 7, and is rather nice when maxed (12640 coins since update 0.26), but does not improve further over time. The Cathedral (at L10) is effectively providing the same income as about 12 Apartment houses, while using the same space as 4.5 (or 6 really, plus the military bonus as a freebie). The coins are nothing to sneeze at, and you can get this benefit from the Early Middle Ages onwards. That said, by the Colonial age, the Lighthouse is effectively providing over 12,000 coins and 39,000 supplies daily, in less space. There's a lot to be said for GBs where the output benefit improves as you progress through the ages. (By the way, the Cathedral is a very helpful addition to your city if you have a Tower of Babel.) . In terms of level benefits from coins, the Cathedral is paying for itself - by level 4 in the Early Middle Ages (better than Clapboard houses) - by level 5 in the High Middle Ages (same output as Town Houses) - by level 7 in the Late Middle Ages (similar output as Apartments) - by level 8 in the Colonial era (Town houses) - only at level 10 in the Industrial Era (Boarding houses) .... Bottom line: get it if you are not too far advanced - it pays for itself if you can get it up enough levels and is not too hard to fit in. Pretty, too. And it helps everyone. Strictly speaking, it's a lot better than the Statue of Zeus, because at low levels, there is very little benefit from the attack strength bonus (on either GB), but the Cathedral still gives you some coins. (You will want to get the Cathedral up to at least level 6 though, before it will be paying more than the land cost). It would be better if the benefits scaled up with each age... St Mark's Basilica: Excellent (peaceful/traders) - good from level 1 and up Spoiler St Mark's is large (6x6), provides a better daily Goods output than the Lighthouse, and boosts coin production. The Goods output (25 goods per day) produces about the same amount as a single regular production building, but without the costs (7680 coins+ supplies each per day, in LMA). Again, it's better at higher ages, so you want to advance to the Colonial era or later as soon as possible. (The Goods production alone is really only worth the space used by this GB at level 6 or later - refer to the comparison of Goods GBs). . Where St Mark's shines is in the coin boost ability - you will double your income even at only level 1 of this GB. Assuming only 20 town houses (probably in LMA or later), a maxed St Mark's will be boosting your income by 34,000 coins per day (and more in the Colonial era, or if you upgrade to better houses). This is can unlock nearly one city expansion per day, which is astounding! (You may soon run out of expansion spaces, unfortunately). Even from level 1, the increase in your daily cash income is equivalent to that from more houses than would be used by the same space as the St Marks. ... Bottom line: it's definitely worth while, and will quickly pay for itself. Interestingly, the Goods output of St Mark's is only somewhat (15%?) better than that of the Lighthouse, while needing twice as much space, and having a greater initial goods cost. So the Lighthouse is better for it's size - but the coin boost of St Marks is so huge that it makes up for the larger size. I'd really rather have both GBs if I could, as a peaceful player. It might not appeal as much to aggressive PvP players though. Notre Dame: very good (requires at least level 4) Spoiler Notre Dame is moderately sized (4x6=24 squares), providing happiness and also supplies. When fully maxed, it provides 7240 supplies daily. This is nice, but pretty weak compared to the supply boost benefit of the Lighthouse, or even to the goods production GBs' output, and it doesn't improve as you advance to later ages. Let's see how much you are actually getting, by comparison with other supply buildings that use the same amount of space, and assuming three four-hour collections per day, plus an 8-hour production overnight. This is not really a fair comparison, since supply buildings require population, which require more space and happiness, which I am ignoring. Notre Dame still looks like a VERY weak GB if you only consider the supplies output. [table="width: 800, class: grid, align: center"] ND level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Happiness 1100 1200 1400 1700 1900 2300 2600 2900 3300 3900 ND Supplies 1380 1680 2080 2550 3090 3680 4320 5010 5750 7240 Better than 5 Black smiths 1.25 Goat Farms 2 Butchers 2.5 Shoe makers 1.25 Farms Bldg supplies 1195 2025 2360 3925 6812 [/table] Instead of viewing the Notre Dame as a Supplies GB though, you should look at it as a Happiness GB, with a few supplies provided as a freebie. At level 4, it's like having a free Clockmaker. At level 8, it's worth two of them, and at level 10, it's worth three Clockmakers. That's not too shabby. . The other benefit of Notre Dame is to provide lots of happiness (3900 when maxed). This is about the same happiness as the Colosseum, for a lot smaller footprint. (A Colonial era Circus only gives 2500 happiness for 500 diamonds and the same space 5x5.) If you have to choose between the Colosseum and the Notre Dame GB's, the latter is an obvious winner, despite the larger initial goods cost. As discussed in the comparison of happiness GBs, you need to get the Notre Dame to at least level 3 in the High Middle Ages, for it to be better than other cultural buildings of that era. You will also need to advance it at least one level per Age that you progress in research. So don't build this GB unless you can get it to at least level 4, preferably higher. ... Bottom line: yes, take it for the happiness, especially if you are short of happiness. (The supplies provided are just a bonus). It's not as powerful as some other GBs, but this is offset by the smaller footprint. Saint Basil's Cathedral: Good, requires level 5 or better Spoiler St Basil's is moderately sized (5x5=25 squares), providing a defence boost, and coins. The (maxed) daily output of 19750 coins (much less than the pre 0.26 output) is weaker than that from St Mark's (which is a larger GB), but much better than the Cathedral of Aachen (same size, but earlier age). The coin output is better than Late Middle Ages Apartments at level 4, Colonial Country houses at level 5, and Industrial Boarding houses at level 7. . The other benefit is a defence boost (100% when maxed). This is actually a fairly weak benefit, as the AI is still stupid, and the boost only helps the DEFENSE value of your units. Weak units (e.g. long range) are still easy for an attacker to kill; use Fast and/or Heavy units in your city defense instead. .... Bottom line: take it for the coin production, or if you are in an aggressive neighbourhood, as a deterrent. It's a bit expensive for what it does, but still worthwhile. And it's pretty colorful! Castel del Monte: Ok - Requires at least level 7. Spoiler The Castel is moderately sized (5x5=25 squares), providing an attack boost, and forge points. The attack boost is the same as that for the Statue of Zeus (+50% when maxed), and stacks. PvP players are going to want to get a full set of this GB, the Statue, and the Cathedral of Aachen. ... The other benefit of this GB is to provide forge points, at the same rate as the Hagia Sophia (+6 each day). Given the much bigger construction cost of the Castel, this seems underpowered. Anyway, the Castel could have been better. The forge points may still be very helpful to progress through the enormously long Colonial age technology tree, or the upcoming age of Industry. Note: since the forge points are produced by about 19 squares of the Castel, we can compare with the 2fp sometimes produced by the Wishing Well from 9 squares, and deduce that the Castel needs to be at least level 7 (4fp daily production) to be worthwhile having in your city (excluding the attack bonus). . The best comparison may be with the Cathedral of Aachen. Both provide an attack benefit, but the Cathedral provides a fixed amount of coins, whereas the Castel provides forge points. If you have a St Mark's, the Cathedral coins are unnecessary, and the Castel's forge points are much more useful. Even without the St Mark's, the Cathedral's coins are less valuable in later ages than the Castel's forge points. Neither of them scales up with new ages, but the Castel's benefit is a bit more durable. ... Bottom line: get it if you are a PvP player, like the extra forge points, or just collect GBs. As a PvP player, if you are in the Late Middle Ages or later, the Castel is probably a slightly better long term choice than the Cathedral. Deal Castle: Ok Spoiler Deal Castle is huge (7x7=49 squares), providing a defence boost, and medals. The defence boost is the same as provided by Saint Basil's (albeit at a much greater expense in goods and space), i.e. +100% when maxed. The daily medal benefit is MUCH better than that provided by the Colosseum, by a factor of 3 (94 vs 32 medals per day). Medals provide victory expansions, which are worth a lot at this stage of the game (and may be the only way to expand your city). I'm not sure that it's really worth this size of building, but at least it will eventually pay for the space that it uses. The Deal Castle medals work out to more than what you can get from all the PvP competitions each week, or about 2820 medals per month, or about one expansion every month or two, depending on how many victory expansions you have already taken. At this rate though, it will take a few months to pay back the cost of the space needed to build it - assuming you can get it up to level 10. And the medal value is less if you have already been getting expansions from an iron age Colosseum. ... Bottom line: a bit overpriced. Don't kill yourself to try get this one early (before the colonial era), but it's ok if you can afford it. Both PvP and peaceful players will like the defense benefit, while the medal benefit is more helpful to peaceful/trader players. It is an amazingly pretty castle though. Dresden Frauenkirche: Excellent - good from level 2 and up Spoiler The Fauenkirche is moderately sized (5x5=25 squares), providing happiness, and goods. The happiness production of the Frauenkirche is impressive, 4900 when maxed, or 196 happiness per square. This is about 25% better than the Notre Dame (same size), and 33% better (on a per-square basis) than the Hagia Sophia (much larger). The Frauenkirche is worthwhile for this alone, as long as you can get it up to at least level 3, preferably level 4. . The second benefit is to provide up to 17 random goods daily. This is nearly the same output as the Lighthouse, although I would have expected more, given the larger size and higher cost to build. However, since Colonial and Industrial age goods are so enormously expensive to produce (especially when you factor in the voracious population needs and Goods building size), the Frauenkirche works out to be cost effective from level 1 onwards in the Industrial Age (or level 2 in the Colonial Age). It's as if the Goods production saves you the 25 squares worth of buildings you would otherwise need. You could then say that the happiness benefit is entirely free And the value of the goods output improves greatly at higher levels of the GB of course. ... Bottom line: build this one for the happiness benefit OR the goods production - it's worthwhile for either alone - and doubly powerful if you can use both benefits. Royal Albert Hall: Very Good - at level 1 and up Spoiler The Royal Albert Hall is an Industrial Age great building, on the large side (7x6), and produces goods and boosts supplies output in the same way as the Lighthouse (but better). ... Thematically, this GB is a disappointment, as the output (supplies & goods) does not mesh at all with its description as a beacon of culture... (and it has nothing to do with Trade either...?) That said, it's like a Lighthouse, but about 50% better in output. Ok, it uses more than twice as much space, and the initial goods cost is 80 times more expensive, but I happen to like the Lighthouse a LOT. They will also both scale and improve in output value in future ages. ... Let's look at the value of this GB in another way though. The Goods output alone (at level 10) is about as good as you can get from a single IA Goods building. So, why not skip on a Goods building? This saves you between 12 and 20 city squares, 1020 people, the initial construction cost and more importantly, ALL the costs of producing those goods (17280coins +supplies daily). This means about a 50 day payback period, after which your initial construction cost for the GB is returned by the value of goods produced. In practise of course, the payback period is difficult to calculate, because you also save on nearly 100,000 coins and close to 500,000k supplies (in cost of other buildings that you don't need), and because a lower level GB will produce much fewer Goods initially. That aside, let's continue with the analysis. The 1020 people saved is an important factor. Let's assume those people would have needed 3 Worker's houses, or about 22 spaces if you include roads. Furthermore, those people would need 2 Saloons (actually a bit more) to keep them happy, or another 39 spaces or so. Total space needed (to produce the same Goods as a L10 RAH): about 77 city squares. The 42 squares used by the Royal Albert Hall is starting to look like a bargain. And that's even without factoring in the value of the additional Supplies boost, which is huge! ... Bottom line: It's Good. If you get to the Industrial Age without a Lighthouse, then the RAH is a great GB. On the space savings alone (for producing Goods), in the Industrial Age, the RAH is worthwhile from level 1 already (and it's better at higher levels). If you already have a Lighthouse, your benefit from the supplies boost will be much less though. And if you already have other Goods-producing GBs as well, you might not need the RAH. If you have a choice between the Lighthouse and the Royal Albert Hall, and your city space is limited, the Lighthouse is MUCH cheaper and better for its size - but if you can afford the space, the Royal Albert Hall does produce more of course. Finally, if you have a Lighthouse AND a Capitol, then again the Royal Albert Hall is not as valuable. Capitol: ok Spoiler The Capitol is another odd choice for Industrial Age Great Building. It provides a LOT of people, and a reasonable daily amount of supplies, in a moderate size footprint (7x5). Not really thematically suitable, and looks a lot like a fancy town hall (although pretty). ... People.... well, you need a LOT of people for Industrial and Progressive age military and goods buildings. In the Progressive Era, the Capitol should be at LEAST Level 4 to provide as many people as high-rises, for the same space. However, keep in mind that you will need extra happiness (cultural buildings or GBs) for these people, and will also lose out on the income that having houses might have produced. This GB will only be worthwhile if you also have some other GBs (especially St Marks) that boost your happiness and income. ... The Supplies output is a nice bonus, but not worth it on its own. The output is double what the Notre Dame produces, but about a third of what you would likely get from having a Lighthouse. It also does NOT scale up in value if you advance into the next age. That said, if you already have a Lighthouse, and build the Capitol, you will be swimming in so many supplies that you will NOT need a Royal Albert Hall. ... Bottom line: Very situational. IF you have a high income, AND lots of excess happiness, then the Capitol may save space if you can get it to higher than Level 4. Below that, it's just costing you space and loss of income. . My thoughts about the (Progressive Era) Chateau Frontenac and Alcatraz GBs are on page 4 in this posting (due to lack of space here). SUMMARY: the Chateau is good if you like doing Quests; while Alcatraz is only useful for PvP players. . __________________________________________________ . Update: March 13, 2013: now includes the Industrial Age GBs; also updated to include some tables showing relative value of happiness GBs vs regular Cultural buildings, and Goods-producing GBs relative to the space used for ordinary Goods production. .. Note that the original analysis was made before the 0.26 update announcement on Feb 5, 2013, and some comments have been modified or updated since then. Several GBs were rebalanced or nerfed in happiness, medals and goods production. The new Tower of Babel output makes it even weaker/worse; Colosseum is significantly better (but still weak); and the Deal Castle, Cathedral of Aachen, and St Basil's are all much weaker at level 10 now - but still worth building (if you have room). Original summary table of GB output included below, for reference. Spoiler Version 2 below included the updated output levels after 0.26, but had an incorrect Build cost for Colonial Age GBs, and did not include Industrial Age GBs.