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Pharaoh: Game Help
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Topic Subject: Why mastabas may take more bricks than you expect
posted 12-16-21 10:54 ET (US)   
During my recent sojourn in Behdet, I was somewhat perplexed to discover that my medium mastaba took rather more bricks to build than I was expecting. This replicated my findings in Men-Nefer, where I also discovered my small mastaba took more bricks than I'd bargained for.

I have now run a few more detailed tests, the results of which I will present below.


1. Mastabas (at the very least, small and medium mastabas) require more bricks to build than the in-game dialogues say they do.

- Small mastabas require 12,000 bricks (6 courses of 2,000 bricks), not the 10,800 the in game dialogues indicate. I haven't yet seen this vary.
- Medium mastabas require at least 26,400 bricks (6 courses of 4,400 bricks), not the 24,000 stated in game. This can vary significantly (see below).
- Large mastabas require [TBD]

2. In certain scenarios, additional brick deliveries can be necessary. These are, I think, due to inconsistencies in the way bricklayers arrange themselves and call for brick deliveries. As far as I can tell, these scenarios are only a problem for medium (and presumably large) mastabas.

They best workaround I've found that minimises these additional deliveries is to have sufficient guilds to ensure every bricklayer position on each course is occupied immediately. That means at least 3 guilds for a small mastaba, and at least 6 for a medium mastaba. I'm not certain this is foolproof, though.


I built test cities in Men-Nefer and Behdet to examine this in more detail. For ease of working, I tested at Very Easy difficulty. In both cases I imported all the necessary bricks (in Behdet, I accumulated a full 30,000 bricks before I started building, just to make it easier to keep track).

Small mastaba

For the small mastaba in Men-Nefer, in every scenario I tested (different permutations of the number of work camps and guilds), 12,000 bricks were required. There was no variation whatsoever.

Medium mastaba

For the medium mastaba in Behdet, it was a very different story. There, the total number of bricks needed to build the mastaba varied significantly - from a minimum of 26,400 all the way up to a staggering 31,200!

And the only thing I changed? How many bricklayers guilds there were in the city.

The table below sets out all the different values of bricks used I observed across several runs with different numbers of guilds in the city. Note that, in some cases, I only observed one outcome across multiple runs with the same number of guilds. But in other cases, different runs produced different outcomes.

Bricklayers guildsBricks used
6 or more26,400

Underlying causes

Minimum number of brick deliveries

It appears the game simply miscalculates/mis-states the number of bricks required to build a mastaba.

A small mastaba has a 10x4 footprint. A medium mastaba has a 6x14 footprint. When you're building them, each mastaba is divided in a number of 2x4 building 'zones' (medium mastabas also have one 2x2 half-sized building zone). In the diagrams below I've represented each building zone using a music or juggling platform glyph.

Small mastabaMedium mastaba
Music platform
Music platform
Music platform
Music platform
Music platform
Building zoneBuilding zone
Building zone
Building zoneBuilding zone
Building zone
Building zoneBuilding zone
Building zone
Building zoneBuilding zone

By design, each building zone attracts two bricklayers (with the exception of the half-sized zone in the medium mastaba, which attracts 1). Each building zone (including the half-size zone) normally needs one delivery of 400 bricks in each course of the mastaba.

Some simple maths then gives us the following totals for each mastaba size:

Small mastabaMedium mastaba
(6 courses) x (5 building zones) x 400 bricks = 12,000 bricks(6 courses) x (11 building zones) x 400 bricks = 26,400 bricks

These values match exactly the minimum brick totals I've observed for small and medium mastabas.

So what causes you to need more than those minimum values? I've observed what I think are two different issues.

Split bricklayer pairs

The way the bricklayers position themselves on the mastaba is not always consistent. They should position themselves in pairs, with each pair then calling for a single delivery of 400 bricks, which they then place to form a 2x4 tile of the mastaba. If it's needed (as it is on the medium mastaba), a single bricklayer will be positioned on the final 2x2 tile of the mastaba.

But occasionally pairs of bricklayers get split up. This can result in both halves of the pair each calling for a brick delivery. When that happens, each brick delivery is built separately as a 2x2 half-tile of the mastaba, thereby "wasting" 400 bricks.

Whether or not split pairs occur seems to be a function of how bricklayers arrange themselves when they first arrive at the monument. Except when there are surplus construction guilds, this doesn't always seem to happen consistently.

Curiously, in the medium mastaba I've only observed split pairs forming in the building zones that run parallel to the short edge of the mastaba. Not at all sure what to make of that.

Phantom brick deliveries

Sometimes (thus far, much more rarely than 'split pairs'), even when the bricklayers are arranged in the correct pairings, an additional brick delivery just happens. Those extra bricks vanish into the aether.


Thus far, I've only ever observed 'split pairs' forming where there aren't enough bricklayers to fill all the building zones at once. I've also only observed them in the medium mastaba, but I'm guessing they're also possible in a large mastaba. I also think they might be more common if your bricklayers don't have a full complement of employees (possibly because then they don't produce all the the bricklayers they should). An employee shortage might also cause split pairs in small mastabas.

Since each bricklayers guild can supply bricklayers for 2 building zones, the best way to minimise brick 'losses' is to have 3 guilds for a small mastaba, 6 guilds for a medium mastaba, and (I think) 9 guilds for a large mastaba.

As a boring aside, I'm now going to have to replay my Behdet to see if I can get that mastaba built faster...

[This message has been edited by Caesar Alan (edited 12-16-2021 @ 04:44 PM).]

posted 12-19-21 21:04 ET (US)     1 / 1  
Thanks for spinning this off into a separate post. It will be helpful to have this info in a post with "mastaba" in the title, so the forum search can find it.
Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Pharaoh: Game Help » Why mastabas may take more bricks than you expect
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