The Civilinic Books

The Cost of Research Explained
by samson

Hi all.
The Key Civ discovery allowed me to run some controlled tests on the numbers of beakers required for researching new technology. I think I understand how the cost is calcuated now. Some of this stuff is already known, but I will repeat it here just to have the whole mechanism described in one place.

The cost of researching a new technology (the beaker count) is the product of two factors.
The first is the Tech Number which you are researching. This is the number of Acquired Techs you have +1. Acquired Techs are all techs you have received in gameplay from research, huts, trades, gifts, or steals. It does not include your starting techs.
The second factor is a Base Tech Multiplier to which either a bonus or penalty can be added. The formula would look like this:

Cost of Research = TechNumber X (Base + Penalty/Bonus)

The Penalty/Bonus is based on how far ahead or behind your research is compared to your current Key Civ. That relationship is quantified by comparing your TechNumber to your Key Civ's TechNumber. If you are the same you receive the Base Tech Multiplier with no Penalty or Bonus.

If you are on a lower TechNumber than your Key Civ, then you receive the Bonus. The Bonus is the same no matter how far behind you are. On a medium map it is either a -1 or -2 depending on the TechNumber (see chart below).
If your TechNumber is higher than your Key Civ's, you are penalized a +1 to the Base Tech Multiplier for every 3 techs which you are ahead of him.
In other words, if you are even or ahead by one or two, your penalty is 0.
If you are ahead by 3,4, or 5 techs then your penalty is +1.
Thus, the higher the TechNumber which you are researching the farther ahead it is possible to be. If your Key Civ is stuck in the Bronze Age while you are researching Space Flight, you will be paying an enormous penalty in beaker costs.

Here is a chart of TechNumbers, Base Multipliers, and Bonuses for the first 20 techs.
Multipliers and Bonuses
0110 0
02 11 -2
03 11 -1
04 12 -2
05 12 -1
06 12 -1
07 12 0
0813 -1
09 13 -1
10 14 -2
11 14 -2
12 15-2
13 15 -2
14 15 -1
15 15 -1
16 16 -1
17 16 -1
18 17 -2
19 17 -2
20 26 -2
All TechNumbers above 20 have a Base of 26 and a Bonus of -2. The Minimum Beaker Cost for a given TechNumber can be calculated from this chart and that Minimum can be achieved in gameplay by lowering your TechNumber relative to your Key Civ through tech-gifting.

One important consequence of the fact that the Penalty/Bonus is based on TechNumber, rather than total techs, is that Starting Techs are critical in determining how much you will pay for research in a game. If you have fewer Starting Techs than your Key Civ, then you can only get the Bonus when that Key Civ actually is ahead of you in researching. You can never reach the Bonus through tech-gifting alone.

On the other hand, if you have more Starting Techs than your Key Civ, you can easily get the Bonus without even giving away all of your techs. Starting Techs are an enormous advantage not just at the start, but throughout the whole game as they determine your ability to reduce your science cost.

If you start with NO techs, and the other civs all have them, you may be paying research penalties the entire game, even with aggressive tech-gifting.


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