Home > game mechanics, multiplayer, series > Good UB – Bad UB #11: Unique Buildings

Good UB – Bad UB #11: Unique Buildings


Finalizing the “Good UB – Bad UB” series with those unique buildings that have some effect, but either no real scenario to use them or other drawbacks that make another pick better for a specific strategy. Some have potential uses in very specific scenarios, but aren´t the best option for those strategies. It´s interesting to know though what you can do with them if you get their civ shuffled to you in a random civ/leader ffa game for example.


Unique building for the Arabian; Replaces Library
+25% science; +4 culture; Can turn 2 citizens into priests and 2 into scientists;
Required to build University, National Epic, Great Library
Available for free on Modern and later starts

The Madrasa is a library that gives a city +4 culture instead of +2 culture and that let´s you work 2 additional Prophet to the usual two potential Scientist Specialists. I can think of two ways of using this, each in a different setup.

In an ancient 5v5 teamer where you get a civ shuffled to you randomly (probably the most played setup in common day-to-day multiplayer games), you can use the Madrasa as a small culture bomb in a front city – it´s probably only worth it, if you´re creative and thus get it build much cheaper.

In an Ironman/ffa game a Madrasa could support a GP economy, making it possible to work Scientist and Prophet specialists easily and early. If you get Arabia in an ffa game shuffled to you – especially if you additionally are Philosophical – the way to go is the GP eco. If you can pick freely, you can probably pull this kind of strategy with a different pick just as good or even better. Egypt with its Obelisk comes to mind…

Sacrificial Altar

Unique building for the Aztecs; Replaces Courthouse
+2 Espionage; -50% maintenance; -50% anger duration from sacrificing population
Can turn 1 citizen into Spy
Required to build Forbidden Palace

The Altar is probably the nost freakish of all unique buildings due to its unique ability. It reduces the anger duration from sacrificing population by 50%. Unfortunately – or probably luckily – this only applies to population sacrificed by Slaving. If it applied to Drafting as well, it would probably imbalance this mechanic entirely. Drafting already is the most efficient way of getting units massively over a short period of time at the cost of stacking unhappiness heavily. Would the Altar apply to it, Aztec could probably run Nationhood the entire game solely relying on Drafting.

My clan tested the altar in Medieval/Renaissance start games, where you heavily slave units all game long. The problem here is that if you use 2-pop slaving right, you won´t get into any trouble regarding the stacking of unhappiness anyway. Also you don´t want to invest the 80 hammers (quick speed) for Courthouses, a building with little effect in teamers started in those eras.

If the Altar substituted Barracks for example, it would become a strong option for Ancient/Classical start games, allowing 1-pop slaves much more often, which otherwise cripple your cities fast due to the stacked up unhappiness.

Alternatives for “Happiness UBs” in Ironman/ffa

The last four UBs bring effects with them that could find use in Ironman/ ffa games, but not teamers. All of them have to compete with the “Happiness UBs” (Read about “Happiness UBs” here.) comparable to the way Holy Rome´s Rathaus and  Inca´s Terrace do, the latter though also being very good in other types of games.


Unique building for the Koreans; Replaces University
+3 culture
+35% science
Required to build Oxford University

The Seowon is library that gives the city which built it an additional 10% boost on research. Naturally it´s only an option in buildering orientated games where technology is the key aspect. Certain OCC (One City Challenge) setups see Corea being played due to the Seowon. There an additional 10% research can give you a slight advantage over an opponent and OCC is all about microing out that little advantage. In Ironman games its problem is the always present competition with unique buildings giving you happiness. In the end it´s worth more to be able to grow a city two population higher than getting 10% more on the research it does. Two population more results in a bigger boost to the tech than the 10% from the Seowon do. In an ffa game, where you can trade happiness or in a scenario where you have “enough” happiness resources (assuming for theoretical purposes) it´s still probably not worth picking Corea since there are other civs with buildings that instead of giving happiness provide you with a great effect. Holy Rome´s Rathaus and Inca´s Terrac come to mind, as mentioned above, are the ones to name here…

Stock Exchange

Unique building for the English; Replaces Bank
+65% gold
Required to build Wall Street

Basically the same arguments that apply to the Seowon, apply to the Stock exchange. The difference being that you don´t pick England in OCC. Also England´s starting techs are horrible (Read about the importance of starting technologies in ffa / Ironman here), making it virtually impossible to pick in an ffa or Ironman game even if you leave the happiness factor aside.

All in all you pick for happiness buildings in Ironman / ffa games and if you don´t for whatever reason, you pick Holy Rome or Inca for their great buildings. Corea and England would be the next on the list in terms of strength of their UBs, but that doesn´t change the fact that there is always a better pick no matter which strategy you´re planning on and whatever the happiness resource situation might be.


Unique building for the Sumerians; Replaces Courthouse
+2 Espionage; -50% maintenance
Can turn 1 citizen into Spy
Available with Priesthood; costs 60hammer instead of 80hammer (quick speed)

The Ziggurat is a normal Courthouse – the difference being that it´s available with Priesthood instead of Code of Laws and that it costs 60 instead of 80 hammers on quick speed. The reduced hammer cost and the fact that you don´t require Code of Laws for Courthouses is the main argument here. It being available very early isn´t very helpful since at this point int he game you will wan to expanding, building workers and settlers and not Courthouses. Not that it´s not nice to have cheaper Courthouses being able to go for Civil Service via Currency instead of Code of Laws, but – again – there is simply better stuff if you´ve decided to not pick for a happiness UB in an Ironman / ffa.


Unique building for the Americans; Replaces Supermarket
+1 food; +20% gold
+1 health from cow, deer, pig, sheep
+1 from Hit Musicals, Hit Singles, Hit Movies

This is horrible. 20% more gold is something one could maybe do something with early on, but it comes so late into the game that it won´t matter at all. The supermarket in general appears in the game when everything is over anyway and its effect already wouldn´t be good earlier on.

Good UB – Bad UB parts 1-10

For Good UB – Bad UB part #1 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #2 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #3 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #4 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #5 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #6 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #7 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #8 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #9 click here
For Good UB – Bad UB part #10 click here

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