#8 Rocky Roads Take Me Home (The Importance of Orcs and Goblins Streets)
The Woodelves chapter introduces us to Mana, a new “good” that is used to get through the chapter. Mana is generated by the newly acquired culture buildings in the Woodelves research and, as a new twist on the game mechanics, these culture buildings need to be connected to streets in order to produce mana. Mana-producing culture buildings also need a street connection just to be built, unlike previous culture buildings that could be constructed anywhere in the city. This street connection requirement makes the Rocky Road (Humans) and Wooden Trail (Elves) technology unlocked in the Orcs and Goblins chapter a bit more potent than previous street technologies. Since you will need more city space dedicated to streets in order to connect culture buildings for mana, those streets adding culture now becomes even more powerful.
Each Rocky Road/Wooden Trail (RR/WT) adds 77 culture. Since you will have more room in your city dedicated to streets because of mana-producing culture buildings, this 77 culture per tile really adds up. 100 street tiles give 7700 culture. The closest non-event, non-diamond culture building that both races has access to is the Traveller’s Rest unlocked in the Dwarves Chapter. The Traveller’s Rest adds 75 culture per tile that it takes up. So if you have 100 RR/WT it’s like having 100 Traveler’s Rests, and is also similar since the Traveller’s Rest and Roads can’t be polished during neighborly help.
If you are in the goldilocks zone after the Orcs and Goblins chapter, you should have a city grid of 40×40 unlocked. 8 city expansions by 8 city expansions. On Arendyll, I have a 40×40 grid and have 3 provinces scouted beyond the goldilocks zone for the Orc Chapter. I use the goldilocks zone as an example since it is really the bare bones that you can get away with. For Humans, the main hall is 6×7, and in the Woodelves chapter the Elves Main Hall grows from 6×6 to 7×6. This means that for both races, the number of road tiles just going from the main hall to the edge of the 40×40 grid is 67. (34 on one side and 33 on the other) You will need more than this to fit everything against a road, but even just those 67 road tiles equal 5159 culture. On Khelonaar, I have 190 tiles dedicated to roads, which means that I gain 14,630 culture just from roads! The equivalent culture of about 4 Weeping Willows.
When you are rounding out your research from Orcs to Woodelves, try to gain enough extra Hardshrooms, Powershrooms and Debris to make around 200 tiles worth of Rocky Roads/Wooden Trails. The chart below shows the exact amounts needed to accomplish this.
As the game progresses and our cities (and the buildings in our cities) get bigger and bigger, culture-adding roads become increasingly more powerful. And the Woodelves chapter requiring us to use even more of our space for roads makes the Orcs and Goblins Street technology that much more important. So if at all possible, make good use of Rocky Roads or Wooden Trails to keep your culture firing on all cylinders.