Shout out to krinid for this new thread, we had been discussing our different play styles before Fizzer nerfed the markets. He asked me to create a guide on how I craft/smelt so everyone will have an alternative if the markets are way overpriced. Of course, the longer you play the level, my method is more profitable anyway, the hitch was the setup cost.
Before we get started, as a disclaimer, this is built on my play on 5.13. However, I think it will still be valid because I mostly smelt the items I need, rather than buying from the markets. More on this later.
First of all, my AP stats as of this time
Increased Army Camp Production 140%
Increased Cache Money 65%
Joint Strike Maxed
Increased Ore Sell Values Maxed
Discounted Mine Upgrades Maxed
Mine Visibility 30 mines
Increase Smelters Speed 20%
Additional Mercenaries 35%
Statistics Level 4
Increased Idle Time 360 (8 hours total)
I just finished Africa Huge a few days ago, and as on most levels, money was more of an issue than armies as I had 23 Billion in unused mercs at the end. There are a few that I ran out of armies and mercs on, but more often it is money - for dig, upgrades, mercs, etc.
The #1 AP advancement I've found for money is Increased Ore Sell Values, and the second is Mine Visibility. It might seem counter intuitive, but by getting the mines sooner, I have more money to buy army camp upgrades and mercs from selling the ore. I am still on my first playthrough, & so I know I'll have less ore to sell on a shorter level time frame, but I don't see it becoming of less value because I got most of my income from ore and item sales on Africa. Of about 2.2 trillion, almost 900 billion came from items, and 700 billion from ore. That leaves 600 billion from territories, bonuses, alloys, and caches combined.
Another advantage of Mine Visibility is that you can play with fewer Fog busters on a level. Here are some photos of where I uncovered army camps and hospitals on my way to capture a mine here on
On the way to the top mine, (read left to right) I got a free Hospital
On the way to bottom mine, (read right to left) I got a free army camp almost as good as both of my other 2 put togetherhttps://imgur.com/a/90Nsudc
Look at this lovely hospital I found (this time with before and after)https://imgur.com/a/zP9bTB4
And another example on the far side of 2 mineshttps://imgur.com/a/L4wq0GR
I currently upgrade all my mines to level 7 up to about Neodymium, (I've heard it's better to cap at 4 and will try it out next level) and 2-5 for all the mines after that. I've found this supplies most of my crafting needs, and it also makes me a huge profit selling ores. A few mines I have to upgrade quite a bit higher than that because a recipe needs a lot of a certain ore, and in that case, I upgrade only the required mines. more on this in the next section.
This leads us to the purpose of this guide: crafting. The ore sales are nice, but the item sales are even nicer! Specifically, I'm going to tell how I smelt and craft without such a heavy dependence on the markets. The only things I usually buy from the markets are a few 10-50k in tin and MAYBE a couple k in iron, zinc, lead or nickle because they are super cheap, and only for complex recipes that require other items, and multiple kinds of bars. I only craft these aforementioned recipes because they are required for techs. Otherwise I completely ignore them, they are all either unprofitable for money, or are less profitable than single ingredient item recipes.
On 8-2-21 I was on Africa Huge and I had 7 crafters and 11 Smelters and the Rare Speedy Crafters artifact equipped. I did some calculations for Explosive Bolt, and found with 7 crafters + the Rare Speedy Crafters artifact, I required 97.88793103448276 Platinum ore to be produced per second. My mines upgraded to level 7 produced 109 per second. I'm going to guess I spent 40-60 Billion on upgrading my platinum mines. because I did not document my first mine upgrade costs before I decided to run my calculations. It took 2.5 smelters to produce bars at exact sustainable levels, and by rounding up to 3 is how I got 97.88793103448276 Platinum ore per second I have better numbers on the Iron because I tracked it after krinid asked me how much my process cost. I spent 13 Billion to upgrade my iron mines to level 18 where they produced 387 iron ore per second. 3 smelters making Platnum bars required 594.8275862068966 per second, so if I hadn't had 49 million extra iron ores give, I would have had to max the iron mines out to keep my crafting sustainable.
To have sustainable crafting, your crafting recipes need X materials per Y time frame.
When calculating, I personally prefer to reduce all time frames to seconds, so an item that takes 4 hours and 41 minutes to craft would be 16,860 seconds. Then I calculate how long the smelting time is for the required bars (sometimes items, and I have to repeat for the bars required for that item as well, but all times reduce to seconds). Say the bar takes 14 minutes and 58 seconds, that = 898 seconds.
From there it's easy to say X times # of crafters, divided by craft time, multiplied by smelt time = number of smelters needed. Then take the # of smelters required & round up to integer status, divide the total smelting ingredients by the smelt time and compare the result to how many ores are getting produced per second in your mines. If the number less, you will stall out, if it's more, you can sell part of the ores, even while continuing to smelt
I will now demonstrate how to calculate smelter/ore requirements for Tin Cans on Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Please note, having Statistics Level 2 will make it much easier to see how much total ore you are getting per second.
I currently have 4 crafters.
Each tin can takes 68 tin bars. [x4=272]
With the Speedy Crafters artifact, craft time is 6 minutes 15 seconds (375 seconds)
272 bars/375 seconds = 0.72533333 bars required per second
Smelters (with my 20% AP) take 9 seconds to produce a tin bar [0.72533333x9=6.528]
6.528 = 7 smelters needed (unless you want to micromanage it and constantly switch 1 on and off tin bars)
1 smelter takes 234 tin ore to make 1 tin bar [x7 smelters/9 seconds] = 182 tin ore per second needed
I only have 68 tin ore per second, so additional mine upgrades must be bought or tin bars purchased from the market if there is not enough tin ore in your back stock for the time you desire to craft tin cans. In this case, I was smelting bars for techs, so I bought tin from the markets.
Same thing for Metal Pipes:
1 metal pipe requires 84 iron bars, 14 silicone bars and 13 copper wires.
With the Speedy Crafters artifact, craft time is 9 minutes 46 seconds (586 seconds)
Let's start with Copper wire because this is where things get fun. 13 copper wire/586=0.0221843003412969. Times 49 seconds = 1.087030716723549 which now means you need 5th crafter, or cuts you down to 3 crafters
1 Copper Wire takes 11 copper bars/49 seconds = 0.2244897959183673 x 8 seconds per copper bar = 1.795918367346939 smelters needed for copper.
84 iron x 3 = 252. 336/586=0.4300341296928328 Iron bars take 11 seconds to smelt, so I need 4.73037542662116 smelters for iron.
14 silicone x 3 = 42. 42/586=0.0716723549488055 Silicone bars take 55 seconds to smelt, so I need 3.9419795221843 smelters for silicone
As you can see, I need 11 smelters, and I only have 5, so some supplies will have to be purchased from the markets. Assuming I had enough smelters, I would need 80.25 copper per second, 130.9090 iron, & 120.7272 silicone per second. Accomidating all this is much more expensive than tin bars.
I really find my sustainable crafting to be single ingredient recipes from twine onward. I will post an update when I obtain more recipes, specifically glass, bolt, struct and boiling flask. Rivet and welding rod are a bit more cost heavy, but can sometimes be managed as well. I will also include an ore cost per second and a profit per second breakdown for each of the featured bars.