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Base worker saturation was well covered here

I'm looking for a good food composition mid to late game running on 3, 4, or 2.5 bases with the first base slowly running out of minerals. I believe you would roughly want ~30 workers per base (say 3 bases) that would account for around 100 of your 200 food.

Looking at 100 food seems like way to many workers, should this be lower to provide more food for a larger army? I understand every game can be different but what would be a good general practice; more and more econ as the game get longer or should it taper off at a certain point?

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In the other question you linked, you will note that there is a discernible drop-off in your gain per worker that occurs once you have more than 16 workers on minerals and 2 on a geyser. This means you can have 20 workers on a base before you start seeing diminishing returns.

The reasoning for going beyond 20 at any particular base is usually to start massing up for your next expansion. By the time you reach 30 workers on one base, you should be in the process of expanding. After establishing the expansion, you would move workers in excess of 20 to the new base and repeat as necessary for future expansions.

Keeping 20 at each base after expansion also helps you avoid the problem of having many workers bunching up on only a few remaining mineral nodes, especially if you're bad at catching this and transferring workers.

As for the cap, if you're following the above strategy, you'll find that you typically have 3 bases actively harvesting at any given time with a comfortable number of workers for each base, which would put you at around 60 workers. Full saturation of three bases puts you at 90 workers. Any more than that is typically accepted as overkill. This means that, depending on play style and the stage of the game, you'll probably have between 60-90 workers on 3 bases if you are playing at peak efficiency in terms of workers. From there, you'll keep moving workers off of old expansions to new ones until you run out of expansions, then throw them all at the enemy in a last-ditch "crap we ran out of resource nodes" attack.

The mineral mining article on the Team Liquid wiki goes into detail about workers and mining minerals. For some quick information about the maximum number of workers that makes sense, check out their article on resources.

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Agree with Jed Daniels in general, but want to add want one more thing. If you play Terran and your army is close to 200/200 supply, consider case to build some additional Command Centers with Orbital Commands upgrade.

You can get some worker with you for dead. Main purpose - to release 20-30 units of supply, also that can serve other purposes: to take damage from bio ball or to repair your tech army.

As a result your income won't be smaller, but you will have free 30 units of supply for your army.

Regarding to the 2nd part of question:

what would be a good general practice; more and more econ as the game get longer or should it taper off at a certain point?

I would answer "yes" till you are not supply blocked the more workers you have - the better it is for you. The only condition here: you MUST to spend ALL resources. If you have more then 500 minerals - this is bad. If you have more then 1k - it is TERRIBLY! U should build more workers, gain more resources, build more production facilities and build bigger army. The more income you have the bigger army you can "change" with your opponent and quickly restore it.

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+1 Please note that Budda is referring to using MULEs to over-saturize an expansion as seen in the 4OC style. –  Tom Wijsman Feb 3 '11 at 11:59
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It really depends on the food difference between you and your opponent and your race. If you have a substantial food lead, the extra workers doesn't really put you behind. However, if your opponent has the same amount of food as you and you have more workers this leads to a bigger army on their part. If you are protoss or Terran this is a problem as your max army is truly your lifeblood. With Zerg the smaller army is augmented by the fact that you can replenish it almost instantly and the mobility and speed of the army.

As with most decisions in starcraft there is rarely a black and white, right or wrong soolution to these problems. As a general guideline I would stick to around 30 workers/base (with diminishing returns after your first base) the rest is really a judgement call based on how the match is going.

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The rule of thumb that I use is to try to keep the total number under 75 or so. Here is my logic:

Two bases would be 60 workers (24 each for the minerals and 6 each for the gas). For every patch of minerals that runs out at your first base, you can eliminate 3 workers from that one. So if half your mineral patches are gone, then you'll have an extra twelve workers for a 3rd base, which means you'll need 18 more to saturate the minerals + gas (12 more on the minerals and 6 on the gas). So that gives you a total of 72 for 3 bases with your 1st running low.

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