View Full Version : A Beginner's Guide to the Specialist Economy (SE)


JackOfClubs
Dec 21, 2006, 09:46 PM
In just about every thread in which the topic is discussed, someone asks for a strategy guide to creating a Specialist Economy. Wodan gives some general principles here (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=180077) but it is still not a step-by-step guide. I do not consider myself an expert, but in attempting to teach myself to master this important style of play, I took several notes from the various threads on the subject and combined them with my own experience. Adding a bit of polish to make them fit for public consumption, I submit them for comments by the true experts.

Please note that this thread is an attempt to tell the beginner HOW to run a Specialist Economy and therefore assumes that you actually want to try the SE for whatever reason. Maybe you think it is a good strategy, maybe you are bored with your current games and wish to try something new, maybe you think the SE sucks and are just a masochist. I don't care. Just keep the comments helpful and save the advocacy for another thread.

The actual guide will be in the second post. Here are some other links that I found helpful in filling in the gaps and getting my thinking in order on the topic:

iamdanthemansta (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=179925)

futurehermit (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=177506) (This is where I got the basic outline for this guide as well as Average Tech Cost and Optimal Number of Science Cities data. He makes an error in his calculations that he notes at the bottom of the first post, which I have corrected in this guide.)

acidsatyr (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=190690)

UncleJJ (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=4897981&postcount=11)

There are lots more, but I can't remember all of them. A search for threads with "Spcialist Economy" in the title is a good place to start for more info.

Edit: I should mention that I don't play the Warlords expansion so I have limited information on that. Anyone that can make suggestions on that score or on anything else I've left out, please feel free.

JackOfClubs
Dec 21, 2006, 09:47 PM
Definition of Specialist Economy:

A civilization in which the majority of research is funded by Scientist specialists supported by 1-2 farms or other high food resources. Since this approach tends to generate Great Scientists more quickly than other economies, another source of research is the lightbulb option.

Benefits


Optimized regrowth of population from slavery/drafting. (Note: this sacrifices research until regrowth is complete.)

Less danger from pillaging since farms are much easier to rebuild than cottages which have matured to towns.

Independence from the :science: Slider increases flexibility to divert commerce directly to gold for upgrades or to Culture/Happiness if the :culture: slider is used.

More effective at higher difficulty levels (Emperor and above).


Limitations


May require more micromanaging compared to Cottage Economy (CE).

Specialists require supporting food resources or farms. In cases where food resources or fresh water for farms are unavailable this may be a limitation on early city placement. After Civil Service this becomes less of a consideration.

Specialists can only be assigned if certain buildings exist (e.g. Library enables two Scientists).

Caste System eliminates the restrictions for item 3, but conflicts with Slavery as well as other labor civics. This may later become critical if Emancipation is adopted by another civ, since the unhappiness generated by failing to adopt Emancipation can be a serious drain on productivity.


General Tips and Advice


Prioritize food resources and farms in new cities.

New cities only need Granary, Library and possibly Courthouse. Any other buildings are secondary. (This doesn't apply to Production cities which will be the same as for CE).

You may drop the :science: Slider to 0 when Alphabet has been researched and trade for any techs you do not yet know. This is to maximize cash for other purposes -- usually military upgrades or high maintenance costs due to conquests. However, it may be wise to keep the :science: slider up at the maximum that is still generating a positive income for certain critical techs such as Literature and the Paper-Education-Library sequence (if there is no GS available for lightbulbing these).

Alternatively, if dropping the :science: Slider from 100% to 0% results in only a factor of 2 or 3 increase in the number of turns for your current tech, then it is about time to drop it. If it is much more than 3, you probably need to focus on getting more scientists up.

Philosophy, Paper and Education are prerequisites for Liberalism and can be lightbulbed by a Great Scientist. Consider saving a GS or three for these techs.


Pre-Game Considerations:

Leader Characteristics: Philosophical is generally considered to be very important (for the double Great Person Points (GPP) and also for the cheaper University). Industrious is a good second choice at lower difficulty levels, but note that you can’t be both. For a second trait, Spiritual is good for rapid civic shifts, Expansive is good for the health bonus, Creative for cheaper libraries (Warlords expansion), and Aggressive because of the general synergy between SE and warfare (See Benefits section above).

City Order: This guide assumes that the capital city will be used primarily for wealth production to take advantage of the Bureaucracy civic. No other city should generate wealth in a Specialist Economy, unless there is no way to farm it (which will be rare, especially post-Biology). I generally find it useful to make the second city a Production Facility and will not found the Super Science City (which also winds up being a GP Farm) until at least the 3rd city. At higher levels of difficulty, however, it may not be beneficial to build the Academy or settle scientists. This is due to the much faster tech rate of the AI and the need to use every scientist to lightbulb a tech. So the Super Science City may not be the way to go at these levels, but that discussion is more appropriate for Intermediate and Advanced guides.

You will probably want at least one other high-production city by mid-game and others as necessary. Also don't get into the mindset that all cities need to be research oriented. The SE is a method of acquiring research in those cities dedicated to the task, but Civ IV is a game of balance and tradeoffs. This isn’t limited to the SE, but the lesson to bear in mind is not to sacrifice military preparedness for research.

The following Age-by-Age guidelines are offered as a preliminary base for experimentation. Obviously any of the recommendations made can be rebutted, but I prefer to err on the side of structure vs. flexibility, since too many options can be confusing to a novice. Once people have tried the recommended format, they will be in a position to decide for themselves what works for their style of game play.

I have used the following principles in determining how many Great Scientists should be settled versus used to lightbulb technologies (based on futurehermit's analysis in this (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=177506) thread): There are no settled GS listed in the Classical era because you are still setting up Libraries and the GP farm. The first spare GS is used for the Academy and each era gets another settled scientist. The exception is the Industrial Age, in which Scientific Method eliminates the two free scientists from the Great Library, so an additional parked scientist is added in that era. The objective is to sustain a rate of science with an average of 5 turns per tech. This requires either the addition of settled scientists or an increased number of cities with 2 or more specialists each.

Note that some people object to settling any scientist or building an Academy, preferring to use Great Scientists solely for lightbulbing techs. The rationale is that, although the former use produces more total research over time, lightbulbing produces the techs earlier which can be more important. I consider this to be more of an intermediate or advanced topic, but I note it here so that the beginner will be aware of the issue. Advocates for the lightbulb theory admit that the SE tends to falter after the late Renaissance or early Industrial eras (about the time Democracy and Scientific Method start eroding some of the SE-friendly benefits). My intention in this guide is to provide a long-term strategy for SE that is sustainable throughout even a long game. But I must also note that these advocates are also much more experienced than I so at least be aware of the controversy. Also, at higher difficulties the lightbulb method may be the only way to stay competitive, but -- again -- that is an intermediate or advance consideration.

Classical Age

Research Priorities: Masonry, Writing, Alphabet, Literature, (Polytheism, Meditation?)

Build Priorities: Libraries, (Monasteries?)

Optimal Number of Science Cities: 3 (including SSC)

Scientists per city: 2

Super Science City has: Great Library

Wonder Priorities: Great Library, (Pyramid, Parthenon?)

Civic Priorities: Representation

Notes: Pyramids is somewhat optional and many feel that the time spent on building this wonder can be better used to expand your empire. Likewise with the Parthenon. I recommend building these, but you may need to reconsider if stone or marble is not near the capital. The Great Library, however, is very important and is usually achievable but is much more valuable if you have access to Representation (from the Pyramids). I put a question mark by monasteries since they may not be possible to build if you didn’t found a religion. This period should be characterized by expansion more than research.

Medieval Age

Research Priorities: Meditation, Code of Laws, Civil Service

Build Priorities: Libraries, Monasteries

Optimal Number of Science Cities: 6 (including SSC)

Scientists per city: 2+ (Library allows 2, Caste System allows indefinite)

Super Science City has: Great Library, Academy, 1 Settled GS

Wonder Priorities: Academy

Civic Priorities: Representation, Caste System, Bureaucracy

Notes: There is some debate as to whether Caste System is more beneficial than Slavery. I include the former since Slavery is not specific to the Specialist Economy but use your own judgment here. Make sure that you have at least 6 libraries by the end of this period. This figure includes extra cities to prepare for building Oxford in Renaissance which requires 6 universities (which, in turn, cannot be built in a city without a library).

Renaissance Age

Research Priorities: Education, Liberalism, Astronomy, Banking

Build Priorities: University, Observatory

Optimal Number of Science Cities: 4 (including SSC)

Scientists per city: 3+

Super Science City has: Great Library, Academy, 2 Settled GS, Oxford

Wonder Priorities: Oxford

Civic Priorities: Representation, Caste System, Bureaucracy, Mercantilism

Notes: Mercantilism is also controversial and is included here for similar reasons to Caste System noted above. The usual caveats apply. You need 6 Universities to build Oxford which will use the “extra” cities built in the Medieval period. Also, if you don’t have a reliable source of copper for the Statue of Liberty in the next era, this would be a good time to start thinking about capturing one.

Industrial Age

Research Priorities: Democracy, Physics, Biology

Build Priorities: ?

Optimal Number of Science Cities: 6 (including SSC)

Scientists per city: 5+

Super Science City has: Great Library???, Academy, 4 Settled GS, Oxford

Wonder Priorities: Statue of Liberty

Civic Priorities: Representation, Caste System, Bureaucracy, Mercantilism

Notes: Statue of Liberty is huge (unless you are on an Archipelago map) so make sure you get it. This is doubly important since you lose the Great Library about this time due to Scientific Method.

Modern Age

Research Priorities: Computers, (Fiber Optics?)

Build Priorities: Laboratory

Optimal Number of Science Cities: 8 (including SSC)

Scientists per city: 6+

Super Science City has: Academy, 5 Settled GS, Oxford

Wonder Priorities: (Internet?)

Civic Priorities: Representation, Caste System, Bureaucracy, Mercantilism

Notes: This era is a bit less well researched since many SE games have been won by this point. I will update this if anyone has any further suggestions.

Sample Games:

Frederick ALC - Prince (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=178995)

LotR18 No Cottage Challenge - Prince (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=145463)

Louis XIV - Monarch (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=171597)

Isabella No Cottages - Emperor (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=175281)

Saladin No cottages - Immortal (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=178607)

Acknowledgements:
The following threads/posts were invaluable in forming my early versions of this guide. The discussion thread for this guide can be found here (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=197818).

acidsatyr (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=190690)

futurehermit (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=177506)

iamdanthemansta (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=179925)

UncleJJ (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showpost.php?p=4897981&postcount=11)

Wodan (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=180077)

Sisiutil
Dec 22, 2006, 01:20 PM
Excellent work! It's about time somebody put together a good, basic SE guide like this. I haven't played with the SE in my off-line games for awhile; you've inspired me to give it another go. :goodjob:

I like how you maintain that the Pyramids are optional, especially since patched Warlords makes them a very expensive wonder indeed. Running representation early, however, really lights a fire under the SE.

The one thing you didn't mention is how the SE--at least in my understanding of it--relies upon almost constant warfare. The fact that you have very few cottages vulnerable to pillaging lends itself to warfare (especially since pillaging cottages is the AI's favourite wartime tactic). In addition, pillaging and city-capturing are the principal ways you yourself are going to generate gold for much of the game. The SE definitely, in my experience, lends itself to warmongering as opposed to peaceful building.

As for reference links (thanks for those too!) I will indulge in a little shameless self-promotion and suggest the Frederick ALC game for an applied example of the Specialist Economy (link in my sig). It was my first attempt and I didn't do it perfectly, but the discussions surrounding the game by the SE experts were, I think, very enlightening.

JackOfClubs
Dec 22, 2006, 02:51 PM
Thanks for the positive feedback. I was kind of shocked to discover that this didn't already exist with all the discussion about SE vs CE on the board.

I began hoping that early Representation was not crucial to the strat when my attempts to get Pyramids left my civ woefully under developed. :rolleyes: I was glad to see that several people had demonstrated that SE could be effective without going that route.

The one thing you didn't mention is how the SE--at least in my understanding of it--relies upon almost constant warfare. The fact that you have very few cottages vulnerable to pillaging lends itself to warfare (especially since pillaging cottages is the AI's favourite wartime tactic). In addition, pillaging and city-capturing are the principal ways you yourself are going to generate gold for much of the game. The SE definitely, in my experience, lends itself to warmongering as opposed to peaceful building.
So you think maybe a Benefits/Limitations section in the introduction? That would be possible, but I'm kind of leary since it would inevitably be a step toward controversy and there is enough of that as it is. But your point about the higher cost of regrowing pillaged cottages/hamlets/villages/towns versus farms should probably be mentioned. I'll have to think about it.

Sisiutil
Dec 22, 2006, 03:05 PM
Have a look at the ALC Frederick thread, especially Eggman's posts. As I recall, he was the one maintaining that I needed to get out and smack down the neighbours almost constantly, and provided pretty sound reasoning for it.

futurehermit
Dec 22, 2006, 04:13 PM
Hey guys,

I've learned a lot about the SE since I did that research awhile back, mostly from acidsatyr.

I now agree that "wasting" GSs on academies, settling, etc. is not the way to go. Instead, much better to be lightbulbing and trading for maximum amounts of beakers.

It is especially important to lightbulb paper and education on the way to liberalism.

Check out acidsatyr's current deity game with better ai mod :wow: with egypt going SE. They got liberalism in 500AD!!!

My current thinking on the SE:

1) Beelining to CoL is very important for 4 reasons: a) opens up philosophy slingshot (1st GS); b) opens up castesystem; c) opens up CS (after trading for math); d) courthouses to stop the bleeding on all your newly conquered cities (did I mention SE goes hand in hand with being a warmongerer? :D )

2) Avoid pyramids unless easy access to stone. Instead focus on early expansion. Early expansion > early representation I now am convinced after many games played, especially on emperor+. Great wall is still an option if you want an early GE (good idea in some cases imo, plus it allows you to ignore barbs, which can be good).

3) Great library still very important, especially if you have marble.

4) Once you start getting into education-liberalism territory, it is important to start thinking about protecting your tech lead, especially if you have designs on wiping out your continent and going for domination.

Ok, now my thoughts on actually running a SE:

1) Farm pretty much everywhere, although you can still cottage you capital for bureaucracy (I will still run some specialists, even if farms are necessary). Instead of "commerce" cities, you now have multiple gpfarms. You can still have some designated production cities. GSs are usually what you want to be farming, although there are times when the other GP (esp merchants) are better.

2) If you are going spacerace, you want to try and get oxford up as soon as possible in your GL/super science city. Go for liberalism beeline and start building universities in your gpfarms once you hit education. If you are going domination, you want to try and get/maintain a tech lead and continually use a technologically superior army to wipe out your rivals. Imo SE is better suited to domination, although it is still definitely possible to win spacerace. If you're going spacerace, running mercantilism and getting the SoL are both quite important (also good if your domination victory will take awhile).

3) Philosophical (for more gp) and Spiritual (to switch between civics such as caste system and slavery often) are some of the better traits for SE although others are ok as well. Try and look for other things to complement your SE: Take a look at the Roman UB for example...

OneBinary
Dec 22, 2006, 04:18 PM
SE Beginner POV: I need more information on the slider. When do you lower it? I understand you gradually lower it over time, but are there any indicators to go off of? Any tips on this?

futurehermit
Dec 22, 2006, 06:51 PM
I will beeline for alphabet (going for it as soon as i don't immediately need any other techs to get my empire up and running). once alphabet comes in i'll generally lower the slider. why? because that is also the time i start cranking military like there's no tomorrow and conquering cities = increased maintenance. in short, i can no longer afford to keep the slider up :D

OneBinary
Dec 22, 2006, 07:35 PM
Do you generally lower the slider as needed to just keep a positive cash flow, or do you purposefully lower the slider to run a high positive cash flow?

JackOfClubs
Dec 22, 2006, 08:51 PM
There are differences of opinion on the slider. I think futurehermit's idea is to drop it to 0 as soon as you get Alphabet. Once you get that, you can trade techs to fill in the blanks and also, as he notes, you can start upgrading your units and paying maintenance on new cities.

Another idea is to drop it as soon as you get your scientist specialists up. This tends to be about the same time as Alphabet, since the scientists require libraries.

One metric I use (and I forget who originally suggested it) is if dropping the slider from 100% to 0% results in a factor of 2 or 3 increase in the number of turns for your current tech, then it is about time to drop it. If it is much more than 3, you probably need to focus on getting more scientists up. I will put something like that into the revision. Any expert opinion on this?

JackOfClubs
Dec 22, 2006, 09:25 PM
1) Beelining to CoL is very important for 4 reasons: a) opens up philosophy slingshot (1st GS); b) opens up castesystem; c) opens up CS (after trading for math); d) courthouses to stop the bleeding on all your newly conquered cities (did I mention SE goes hand in hand with being a warmongerer? :D )

2) Avoid pyramids unless easy access to stone. Instead focus on early expansion. Early expansion > early representation I now am convinced after many games played, especially on emperor+. Great wall is still an option if you want an early GE (good idea in some cases imo, plus it allows you to ignore barbs, which can be good).

3) Great library still very important, especially if you have marble.

4) Once you start getting into education-liberalism territory, it is important to start thinking about protecting your tech lead, especially if you have designs on wiping out your continent and going for domination.

Ok, now my thoughts on actually running a SE:

1) Farm pretty much everywhere, although you can still cottage you capital for bureaucracy (I will still run some specialists, even if farms are necessary). Instead of "commerce" cities, you now have multiple gpfarms. You can still have some designated production cities. GSs are usually what you want to be farming, although there are times when the other GP (esp merchants) are better.

2) If you are going spacerace, you want to try and get oxford up as soon as possible in your GL/super science city. Go for liberalism beeline and start building universities in your gpfarms once you hit education. If you are going domination, you want to try and get/maintain a tech lead and continually use a technologically superior army to wipe out your rivals. Imo SE is better suited to domination, although it is still definitely possible to win spacerace. If you're going spacerace, running mercantilism and getting the SoL are both quite important (also good if your domination victory will take awhile).

3) Philosophical (for more gp) and Spiritual (to switch between civics such as caste system and slavery often) are some of the better traits for SE although others are ok as well. Try and look for other things to complement your SE: Take a look at the Roman UB for example...

I've been following some of you discussions and come to the conclusion that you and acidsatyr are on what I would consider an advanced level of discourse. I will put some of those qualifications in but I am trying not to overwhelm the beginner. It is bettter, when starting out, to have a few easily remembered rules or steps that you can learn, with experience when to break or skip.

I now agree that "wasting" GSs on academies, settling, etc. is not the way to go. Instead, much better to be lightbulbing and trading for maximum amounts of beakers.

It is especially important to lightbulb paper and education on the way to liberalism.
Doesn't this depend on how expensive the tech that they will currently lightbulb is? Or do you mean just save all GS until you can get a good tech? I would think that an early academy would produce more :science: over the course of the game than a cheap lightbulbed tech.

I like your original format of adding one or two settled scientists to the SSC because it is easy to implement and is less counterintuitive than letting a GS sit around until there is something for him to do. But if you can point me to an argument that crunches numbers and overwhelmingly supports the idea of never creating an academy/settling a scientist, I will add a note to that effect. Otherwise, I would consider this to be an intermediate/advanced topic that belongs in a different guide.

Oh, and thanks for the feedback. As I noted above, your original research was instrumental in helping me organize my thoughts on the SE. Even if you feel it has been superseded, it is still a very useful starting point.

JackOfClubs
Dec 22, 2006, 09:32 PM
One more question to the general readership:

I have discovered that in later cities (ie late medieval ore early renaissance) it is sometimes a valid tactic to pop a theater rather than a library and use the Artist to generate both :culture: and :science:. This is useful because
1. the theater is cheaper,
2. it produces happines, and
3. you often need :culture: to push your borders or counteract the residual culture in a captured enemy city.

If you are running Representation this means 4 :science: vs 6 :science: from a scientist, which is not too bad for developing city.

Should I mention this in the guide or is it an intermediate topic? I feel it is the latter, but beginners might benefit from seeing the alternatives. Any thoughts?

acidsatyr
Dec 22, 2006, 11:45 PM
ok i know you'r just trying to present basics here, i'll just comment on academys and settling GSs. On lower levels you might do this. The higher you go, however, you will see that those are poor choices and lightbulbing gives you better immidiate adventage. The only way I would consider building academy is if I'm philosophical, bringing in GSs like theres no tommorow, and currently have GS which won't do anything for a while and my capital has 3 gold mines. You get the picture. Otherwise pop the techs.

Edit:

There is a series of SG, "no cottage games", ranging from monarch to immortal lvl, i think you should include in your list.

futurehermit
Dec 23, 2006, 07:44 AM
Ok, simple rules:

1) Build farms not cottages.

2) Assign specialists as you are able to in most cities (some can be pure production). Use caste system to increase your limit when you are able to.

3) Usually you want to be running scientists since they give you the most beakers and pop the techs you want.

4) If your GS can't immediately pop a good tech then save him for a bit until he can.

5) GSs can pop paper and education which are on the way to liberalism, so prioritize the liberalism research path (start on CS as soon as you get CoL and trade for math).

6) Use your first GS on philosophy. To get this you will need to trade for meditation and math and research CoL.

7) Don't rely on your science slider for research once you get alphabet. Beeline to alphabet as soon as you don't immediately need any techs to build your early empire. By immediately I mean you don't NEED them before alphabet would come in, at which point you can trade for them. Try and get alphabet consistently before 1000BC.

8) In newly conquered cities you want courthouse, library, farms, specialists. Then it's set up and good to go :D

9) Good leader traits for SE: Philosophical, spiritual, creative (cheaper libraries), aggressive (SE works good with warmongering), on lower levels industrious (good for GL, pyramids, SoL, maybe parthenon, etc.).

10) SE becomes more effective as you rise higher in skill level. One reason is that when you lightbulb a tech the AI will have something good to trade because they research quicker.

JackOfClubs
Dec 24, 2006, 05:20 AM
OK, I have edited the guide. I have tried to include as much of the above advice as possible, though some of it was already there and other bits are a little too specific or advanced for a beginners guide.

I added sections for Benefits and Limitations. Please feel free to suggest anything here I might have missed, but let's try not to turn this into an argument. :mischief:

I also added a section for Tips and Advice.

I dropped the Average Tech Cost line since I thought it made that section a bit too crowded and I moved Research and Build priorities to the top of each era since those seem to be more important.

I added a couple of lines to the City Order section to address acidsatyr's concerns about settling scientists and building the academy. I don't think those are too important at the lower levels of difficulty that most beginners will be playing on, but it is worth mentioning so that bad habits aren't formed at the easy levels. ;)

I haven't gotten around to looking into the various other threads people have suggested. I will try to do that Tuesday 12/26 when I get back from the Christmas holidays. If anyone has any other suggestions, please post a link and I will look into it.

Thanks again to everyone for all their feedback.

VoiceOfUnreason
Dec 24, 2006, 06:31 AM
Build farms not cottages.

In general - growth first. All happy citizens work tiles until your desired level of food as been accumulated; then hire specialists off the farm to maintain that desired food level.

If your GS can't immediately pop a good tech then save him for a bit until he can.

Plan ahead - you should be able to get a good sense for when the GP will appear, and schedule your research to match. In the ideal case, you want to be able to use the tech as soon as you get it.

In newly conquered cities you want courthouse, library, farms, specialists. Then it's set up and good to go :D


I've got to believe that a granary belongs in that list (probably before the library).

VoiceOfUnreason
Dec 24, 2006, 07:02 AM
I haven't gotten around to looking into the various other threads people have suggested. I will try to do that Tuesday 12/26 when I get back from the Christmas holidays. If anyone has any other suggestions, please post a link and I will look into it.

Thanks again to everyone for all their feedback.

Where did the numbers of settled great scientists come from? They appear to be completely arbitrary.

Also, the following two ideas appear to contradict each other:

The Great Library, however, is very important.
Drop the :research: Slider to 0 when Alphabet has been researched and trade for any techs you do not yet know.


I would expect that, if the Great Library is very important, then the slider should be kept as high as possible until Literature (the next researched tech after Alphabet?) comes in. Unless the plan is to rush the Great Library with a Great General?


Questions I would like to see addressed:
1) What is a "typical" pace for the spawning of GP? Something to give a player a sense of whether he is ahead of or behind the curve.

2) Allocations of National Wonders. Presumably we want Great Library, National Epic, and Oxford to go together, if possible (subitem: under what sorts of conditions should that pairing be abandoned?), and not in the capital if that city is specialized for commerce? If Wallstreet is part of the plan, where do the banks go?

3) Do cities that will not generate another GP continue running specialists?

acidsatyr
Dec 24, 2006, 07:28 AM
You always want to keep research slider as high as possible, IF by doing that you don’t compromise happiness. Early in the game, IF you don’t have representation, and in all cases on high levels you wont (unless you rush nearest opponent who built pyramids for you), you still want to keep slider as high as possible, especially since you still don’t have drama, so why keep slider at 0?

1) A good spawn rate for GP for philosophical civ is about the rate which I had in my Immortal game tutorial if you want to call it that way. You run as many specialist as you can as early as possible. For any other non philosophical civ the rate is slower, but you can calculate it if you follow what I said above. You need library as soon as you can get it. Creative is really good trait now, but philo will still spawn his first scientist faster if done properly. Too bad philo + creative is not in the game anymore.

2)I rarely, if ever build NE when philosophical. The reason is that with +100 birth from trait itself, and probably the pacifism your going to run, its not worth it to spend production on NE, and I always seem to get GA from it even though the chance is minimal. But GL + NE is good IF you are going to run at least 4 scientists (2 from GL and 2 from library). With only two scientists from GL and NE, you get high chance of GA. So unless your not running multiple scientists it’s not a good idea. I almost always end up with GL + NE + Oxford in my capital and run as many scientists as I can. Wallstreet usually goes in shrine city you conquered. Lots of times, due to its high production cost and not that great of a benefit at that stage of a game, I just don’t bother building it. For FE/SE it’s not important wonder at all.

3) Yes they do; if your civ is pretty much FE you need to run them.

GoodGame
Dec 24, 2006, 11:04 AM
How about Expansive as well----potentially larger cities = more specialists. Or is health overated to SE?

Ok, simple rules:



9) Good leader traits for SE: Philosophical, spiritual, creative (cheaper libraries), aggressive (SE works good with warmongering), on lower levels industrious (good for GL, pyramids, SoL, maybe parthenon, etc.).

futurehermit
Dec 25, 2006, 12:26 PM
In general - growth first. All happy citizens work tiles until your desired level of food as been accumulated; then hire specialists off the farm to maintain that desired food level.



Plan ahead - you should be able to get a good sense for when the GP will appear, and schedule your research to match. In the ideal case, you want to be able to use the tech as soon as you get it.



I've got to believe that a granary belongs in that list (probably before the library).


Of course growth is first, but farms of course help growth more than cottages and I was just making a general statement about the kinds of general tile improvements you want to be making (i.e., not cottages).

Yes, of course planning ahead and playing optimally is the best way to go, but this is for *beginners* so I was just saying that if you *happen* to have a GP that doesn't have anything to *immediately* lightbulb, why not keep him around for a few turns while you open up a better lightbulb opportunity?

A granary does belong on that list, possibly before a library, but again I was just making a general comment that once you have courthouse, library you are good to go (on the tech side of things). Of course you want things like granaries, barracks, etc. as well, but I was trying to keep it simple.

RE: Keeping slider up. Of course you don't want to hamper your tech rate if you don't have to--i.e., you want to keep it up for as long as possible. Yes, keeping it up to lit is a good idea and I often will do this. I was just making a comment from my play style, which is to crank out a ton of military asap once I hit alphabet and go capture a bunch of cities. More cities = more libraries = more specialists = more research so sometimes I will temporarily lag my research in favour of military. However, I will still try and run a few specialists to keep research going toward literature and I will also raise the slider a bit again once I start getting good money from capturing cities. So, yeah, that's just the way I play, but definitely GL is important so you should get Lit asap one way or another.

Sisiutil
Dec 25, 2006, 12:47 PM
A guideline I use for adjusting the slider is that once you have the SE basics set up (granaries, libraries, sufficient population for 2 scientists in most of your cities), you should be able to research the early game and mid-game techs in around 5-10 turns with the slider at 0%.

I don't always play as an SE purist who sets the slider down to 0% and leaves it there; I'll tweak it all game long to get the techs ASAP. I'll especially nudge it up a notch or two to finish a nearly-complete tech 1 turn early.

As for cottages--with the improvements to the AI in the Warlords patch, I find the AI civs cottaging more often. I sometimes capture a city with several hamlets and even some villages, and I think it makes sense to leave them and work them to supplement your income. And, of course, I can play the game and tell the SE purists that I never built a single cottage! ;) :D But then again, I think it makes sense to cottage at least one city--either the capital to capitalize on Bureaucracy, or a shrine city that will one day host Wall Street.

futurehermit
Dec 25, 2006, 02:36 PM
^^^I usually just cottage the capital. It makes sense to run bureaucracy, even if only until nationhood comes on board.

JackOfClubs
Dec 26, 2006, 08:39 PM
Where did the numbers of settled great scientists come from? They appear to be completely arbitrary.
Good question. The numbers are not completely arbitrary but they are subject to adjustment based on circumstances. The numbers come from futurehermit's analysis which I linked in the first post. The objective is to sustain a rate of science with an average of 5 turns per tech. This requires either the addition of settled scientists or an increased number of cities with 2 or more specialists each. If you follow acidsatyr's advice and use all GS for Lightbulbing, then the latter approach will be preferable.

Essentially, there are no GS in the Classical era because you are still setting up the GP farm. The first spare GS is used for the Academy and each era gets another parked scientist. The exception is the Industrial, in which Scientific Method eliminates the two free scientists from the Great Library, so an additional parked scientist is added in that era. I don't know if this is precisely what futurehermit was thinking when he originally devised the scheme, but it makes sense to me and I have had good results in experimenting with this system. Any of the recommendations made can be rebutted, but I prefer to err on the side of structure vs. flexibility, since too many options can be confusing to a novice. Once people have tried the recommended format, they will be in a position to decide for themselves what works for their style of gameplay.

I originally had commentary included for each line of the Age by Age section, but I found it too cluttered and not easily digestible. I think it might be worthwhile, though, to include the above analysis in the general considerations section.

Also, the following two ideas appear to contradict each other:

The Great Library, however, is very important.
Drop the :research: Slider to 0 when Alphabet has been researched and trade for any techs you do not yet know.

I would expect that, if the Great Library is very important, then the slider should be kept as high as possible until Literature (the next researched tech after Alphabet?) comes in. Unless the plan is to rush the Great Library with a Great General?
True, but my experience suggests that the AI rarely tries for early Literature so there is usually not that much of a hurry and with Alphabet, you will be able to see if anyone already has it and act accordingly.

But your general point that the :science: slider should be used to maximize critical techs is a valid one. Combined with acidsatyr's criticism in the following post, this represents an alternate strategy that is useful to consider.

I am assuming for this guide that the player is an experience Civ IV player and is inexperienced only in the SE strategy, so the advice to manipulate variables to achieve an immediate goal seems obvious to me. This is one of those tradeoffs that makes Civ IV so complex and satisfying.

The reason for dropping the :science: slider is to maximize cash for other purposes -- usually military upgrades or high maintenance costs due to conquests. Independence from the slider is one of the listed advantages of running the SE. But I see that more commentary is necessary to justify the recommendations.


Questions I would like to see addressed:
1) What is a "typical" pace for the spawning of GP? Something to give a player a sense of whether he is ahead of or behind the curve.
Ooh, that's a tough question. I can see the benefits of listing a typical pace, but I have a hard time even expressing what such a pace would be. Would it be in terms of turns/GP or GP/era or GPP/city? In any of these cases there are so many variables that I would have a hard time calculating the expected value, even if we could agree which version is the most useful. I think in general practice, the tech rate is what people focus on and take the generation of GP as a side benefit of the strategy.


2) Allocations of National Wonders. Presumably we want Great Library, National Epic, and Oxford to go together, if possible (subitem: under what sorts of conditions should that pairing be abandoned?), and not in the capital if that city is specialized for commerce? If Wallstreet is part of the plan, where do the banks go?
This I think should be left to the player. As stated, the Great Library should be built in the SSC along with the first Academy (in fact those two buildings more or less define the SSC). But beyond that I wouldn't want to venture. Wall Street should probably be built in the capital if the recommended strategy of making that the financial center is followed, but since the focus of this strategy is on research not commerce, it is debatable whether that wonder should even be built. In any case, I don't think such considerations are essential to understanding the Specialist Economy, and would often be similar for any economy style, so I would be leary of including it here.


3) Do cities that will not generate another GP continue running specialists?
Of course. The specialists are what make this an SE.

JackOfClubs
Dec 26, 2006, 08:50 PM
How about Expansive as well----potentially larger cities = more specialists. Or is health overated to SE?
Arguably health is more important than happiness to the SE since you will be able to use the :culture: slider for the latter. I included this point in the first paragraph of the Pre-Game considerations.

NaZdReG
Dec 30, 2006, 10:09 AM
I gotta ask why cottaging the capitol is so important. lately I've been setting it towards production to crank out medieval units with beurocracy.

NaZ

VoiceOfUnreason
Dec 30, 2006, 12:46 PM
I gotta ask why cottaging the capitol is so important. lately I've been setting it towards production to crank out medieval units with beurocracy.

Commerce being generally regarded as having more leverage than hammers under Bureaucracy unless you need military units.

futurehermit
Jan 04, 2007, 03:39 PM
I gotta ask why cottaging the capitol is so important. lately I've been setting it towards production to crank out medieval units with beurocracy.

NaZ

It's not SO important. There are times I farm the capital. The thing is bureaucracy improves BOTH commerce and production so to get the most out of it you'll want cottages and mines. Farm enough to get the most out of your production. If you farm the capital, either bureaucracy becomes useless (meaning you don't get access to a good civic in this category until nationalism) or you only get half the benefit (for production).

That's why I usually cottage the capital.

Mutineer
Jan 04, 2007, 06:25 PM
Commerce being generally regarded as having more leverage than hammers under Bureaucracy unless you need military units.

it is simply could be made more efficient, as more +% avalible to commerce (Academy)

JackOfClubs
Jan 05, 2007, 02:18 PM
Another point is that the capital is the one city where you have the least choice as to placement so it is less likely to suitable for a purely specialist approach. In my experience the starting location AI usually picks a spot pretty well balanced between commerce and production potential. There is usually some fresh water but you can almost always find a better location for farms, so it makes sense to put those non-farmable tiles to work as early as possible. Bureaucracy comes in the same tech as the ability to daisy-chain the farms, but by then the cottages have already matured a bit.

acidsatyr
Jan 05, 2007, 02:39 PM
that depends on map. Oasis map has tons of food is a heaven for fe/se

Viperace
Jan 08, 2007, 03:24 AM
Hi all,

I am new to this SE. I have a newbie question,
I assume that SE allows one to accumulate quite some money since the slider is low most of the time. What did you guys usually do with these money?
-Trade for tech?
-Upgrade unit?
-keep?

JackOfClubs
Jan 08, 2007, 01:19 PM
I usually use it to upgrade units. Trading gold for tech can be dangerous as it gives your competitors more gold to aid their research or upgrade their units.

OneBinary
Jan 08, 2007, 01:54 PM
Hi all,

I am new to this SE. I have a newbie question,
I assume that SE allows one to accumulate quite some money since the slider is low most of the time. What did you guys usually do with these money?
-Trade for tech?
-Upgrade unit?
-keep?

I actually keep the slider at the maximum while still running a surplus because it does help with research rates, but if I'm going to war and I need to upgrade some units, I'll run the slider at 0% for a few turns to accumulate some gold.

futurehermit
Jan 09, 2007, 10:54 AM
Hi all,

I am new to this SE. I have a newbie question,
I assume that SE allows one to accumulate quite some money since the slider is low most of the time. What did you guys usually do with these money?
-Trade for tech?
-Upgrade unit?
-keep?

run research at a deficit or expand more = more maintenance = constant anxiety about having enough $$$ :D

Viperace
Feb 05, 2007, 08:54 PM
I was having hard time in my current monarch/pangea/std game, I tried not to build cottage in all cities except the capital. :D

-Must SE requires an early war(axe/sword)?
-What if early war is not feasible, nearest opponent was too far away (12+ square). Go for catapult/maces?
-Do we still build mines on hills and forges ?
-Do we still build university,market and other stuff?
-Do we try to whip only 1 pop point per turn or it doesn't matter?
-Slavery or Caste System? I never tried Caste System, when should we use it?


The problem I am facing is that I didn't start an early war. And since the map is pangea , it happened that all AIs are nice to each other and they trade tech like mad. I did not get any single wonder at all as I am not having a tech lead. All this turn into a long peaceful growth/expand period,and eventually those cottage-spamming AI out-tech me and I was last place.

I must be doing something wrong. Or is there no peaceful SE/FE

Wodan
Feb 10, 2007, 06:56 PM
Some commentary from the peanut gallery.

By and large, awesome job. My approach here is to try and be of some small help to improve an already good document.

Rapid regrowth of population from slavery/drafting. (Note: this sacrifices research until regrowth is complete.)
Many CE models posit 1-3 farms per city. Basically, the idea is to use farms and/or food resources to get the city up to size, and then to switch to cottages. The farms remain and are "cottaged over" only when the city is at a size that whipping becomes inefficient and nonsensical. In the between time, a CE can and often does use whipping and drafting.

Thus, this point is true of CEs as well as SEs.

Some may respond that this is true of all SE cities, whereas some CEs may make the decision to use serfdom or to minimize slavery usage (and simply to suffer the slow regrowth). I agree.

Bottom line my suggestion is to change the word "Rapid". I don't like that word anyway because it's subjective. Better would be "Optimized regrowth" or "Maximum regrowth" or something.

Independence from the :science: Slider means all commerce converts directly to gold (or to Culture/Happiness if the :culture: slider is used.)
Another nitpick, use of the word "all".

Many SEs use the science slider at a very high rate. Perhaps happiness is not needed and/or scientist research is supplemented by slider research.

Suggestion: "Slider means the player has the complete flexibility to convert commerce to gold, to research, or to culture/happiness, without affecting the primary source of research provided by scientist specialists."

Farms require fresh water prior to Civil Service so this may be a limitation on city placement. However, the general availability of food resources makes this problem rare.
Logical disjoint. Suggest: "Farms require either fresh water or sufficient food resources, so this...."

Specialists can only be assigned if certain buildings exist (e.g. Libraray enables two Scientists).
Spelling. Suggest cut&paste the entire article into Word for spell check.

Caste System eliminates the restrictions for item 3, but conflicts with Slavery.
Additional limitation: Desire to utilize Caste System or Slavery prohibits player from utilizing Serfdom or Emancipation.

General Tips and Advice
You should also talk about tech research preferences.

A shrine helps a SE considerably. It also helps a CE just as much, so nothing new there. However, it is worth pointing out that the "religious" path to Alphabet/Writing may be a good idea.

Furthermore, going for Hinduism, then Masonry, followed by a possible bid for the Oracle to be used to get Code of Laws (not Theology), and lastly Alphabet/Writing, allows taking a shot at getting the Pyramids. This is of huge benefit to the SE.

Next suggested priority is the Great Library.

Based on the article so far, many players will probably think you're suggesting going for Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fishing, and then Alphabet/Writing. Agriculture is good to do as one of the first. The others, however... personally I would put down the line. The important point is that you don't need the big food resources until you get Slavery or Libraries.

Back to general tech preferences... it's also important to get either AH or BW somewhat early. You need at least one good military unit. So, wherever the player decides to fit it in, the better. However, keep in mind the cost of doing it too early. BW is an expensive early tech. Doing it before Priesthood, for example, might mean not getting the Oracle, which means you have to pay full research for Code of Laws. That's a pretty huge negative. On the other hand, don't put your military too long, or you'll find yourself pwned. :)

Philosophy, Paper and Education are prerequisites for Liberalism and can be Lightbulbed by a Great Scientist. Consider saving a GS or three for these techs.
Shoot, I would use all of early GSs for lightbulbing.

You will probably want at least one other high-production city by mid-game and others as necessary. This isnít limited to the SE, but the lesson to bear in mind is not to sacrifice military preparedness for research.
You probably will be forced to have at least one other production city, by the terrain. Until Civil Service, there is no spread of irrigation. So, some early cities simply can't support specialists until CS. These are not a negative to be avoided... use them to generate military units, workers, settlers, etc, so that primary cities don't have to deviate from making infrastructure. Taking 20 turns to make a settler in one of these cities is much better than 10 turns in a primary city, and infinitely better than whipping the settler in the primary city (which requires turning off the scientists). And, it's much better than allowing the AI to settle in that city site. It will be a wonderful city later in the game, after CS.

There are no GS in the Classical era because you are still setting up the GP farm.
Not quite. Most early GS in a SE come from oddball cities. If you have 4 cities each with 2 scientists, then each of those cities will probably produce a GS before you get your GP farm rolling. Heck, it's probably the Medieval age before the GP farm is truly eclipsing these oddball cities, and becomes your only source of GSs. Basically, I'm saying the GP farm has nothing to do with this point. It's a good point, but not for that reason.

So, suggestion here is "there are no GS because you're still getting Libraries set up".

Notes: Pyramids is somewhat optional and many feel that the time spent on building this wonder can be better used to expand your empire.
And some would disagree with those notions. The Pyramids is almost always worth going for, if you plan a SE.

Even if you don't get, you realize a very favorable return on converting hammers to cash. Cash which can be used to run the empire and be turned into research. Which, by the way, is the entire reason for your economy and the "name of the game".

The Pyramids is simply too huge of a benefit to the SE to forego any attempt to get it.

Likewise with the Parthenon.
Less of a benefit, but I do think it worth going for. Depends on whether you take the "religious" path I recommended above. It's not worth deviating your tech path to go get the Parthenon. But if you're there already (for the previously mentioned reasons), by all means go for the Parthenon (marble or no).

The Great Library, however, is very important.
I don't understand the tacit recommendation to "skip" the Pyramids, but saying the Great Library "is very important". The GL w/o Representation is just as beneficial to a SE as a CE.

It's the synergy between the Pyramids and Great Library that rocks.

Otherwise, you get scientist GPP (which is eminently valuable to your GP farm). But, again, many CEs have a GP farm too.

Nuts. Dinner's ready. I'll be back.

Wodan

Wodan
Feb 10, 2007, 09:05 PM
I would think that an early academy would produce more :science: over the course of the game than a cheap lightbulbed tech.
Two main benefits of lightbulbing:
-- getting beakers "for free" in addition to those provided by the economy (CE or SE)
-- getting a tech earlier, which allows earlier access to buildings (obviously the earlier you build a market the earlier and the more turns of the game you get the +25% gold income), earlier access to military units (which can be a critical benefit allowing you to build less defense or capture cities), or can be traded to multiple AIs (trade the same tech to 2 AIs gives you 3 new techs while each AI only gets 1 new tech; trade to 3 AIs get 4 and still give only 1; etc)

Anyway, your comment seems to ignore the second point, which many people think is the more advantageous of the two....

I don't always play as an SE purist who sets the slider down to 0% and leaves it there; I'll tweak it all game long to get the techs ASAP. I'll especially nudge it up a notch or two to finish a nearly-complete tech 1 turn early.
I do the same.

My thoughts on the slider are to keep some ready cash for rush upgrades if you need them because of surprise attack. With a CE, you can drop to 0 for a turn or two and have buttloads of cash. With a SE, that's much more difficult. Yes, you can switch all your scientsts to merchants, but that's a pain. Simply keep some ready cash and avoid the issue.

Of course, if you keep your military up to date, you hopefully won't need rush upgrades in the first place. :D

But then again, I think it makes sense to cottage at least one city--either the capital to capitalize on Bureaucracy, or a shrine city that will one day host Wall Street.
I tend to agree. I often cottage the capitol. Shrine cities depend on the situation.

That's it. Again, great job. :goodjob:

Wodan

slowcar
Feb 15, 2007, 08:12 AM
Playing on emperor and above i'd say that the "research alphabet and get all backward techs"-strategy is not always a good idea, mainly because it will cost you a lot of tech-trade-points. see WFYABTA (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=206578) for details. Better research a 3-turn tech yourself and get some expensive by trade later on.

While i agree to most of Wodans post i think the pyramids are way too expensive (esp. with warlords) on higher levels. You have to sacrifice wood and/or pop to get them in time even as a industrial civ or with access to stones. Hope your neighbour builds them and invest the shields into axes.

Wodan
Feb 15, 2007, 05:04 PM
Playing on emperor and above i'd say that the "research alphabet and get all backward techs"-strategy is not always a good idea, mainly because it will cost you a lot of tech-trade-points. see WFYABTA (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=206578) for details. Better research a 3-turn tech yourself and get some expensive by trade later on.

While i agree to most of Wodans post i think the pyramids are way too expensive (esp. with warlords) on higher levels. You have to sacrifice wood and/or pop to get them in time even as a industrial civ or with access to stones. Hope your neighbour builds them and invest the shields into axes.
Excellent point on the "trade points" comment. Most people forget about that, or don't mention it.

For Pyramids, I probably should mention here that I've been playing exclusively with BetterAI lately, and they've been tweaking the AI build priorities. I don't remember if they made the AI build them more often or less, but simply to say your experience may be different than mine. By and large, I definitely endorse the BetterAI changes... huge improvements over 2.08.

Wodan

Martinus
Apr 05, 2007, 09:46 AM
What is your opinion about usefulness of Sistine Chapel for a SE economy? It's 3 culture per specialist, which can mean quite a culture border push when you have it up and running.

Wodan
Apr 05, 2007, 10:15 AM
Border pushing, for its own sake, can be good and bad. General comments about border pushing and Sistine:

Good
-- to get a fat cross in a city which is already being pushed by your neighbor, in other words, a defensive push
-- to try and flip your neighbor's city
-- to increase cities when you're going for domination (easy to set a merchant or something in a brand new city, which can replace the need to have slavery and whip a theatre)
-- if you're going for a cultural victory, every little bit helps, especially if you're doing a SE / cultural (you run Caste System and many artists in your 3 cities)
-- Sistine Chapel itself is a good boost for a cultural victory in one of your big 3 cities
-- increases tensions with your neighbor, maybe he'll declare war

Bad
-- costs production that almost always is better spent on something else
-- increases tensions with your neighbor, maybe he'll declare war

Wodan

KMadCandy
Apr 06, 2007, 09:38 AM
i like sistine chapel for gaining tiles during a war in my newly captured cities. it's super handy, lets you get workable tiles and a buffer zone for safety from his nearby cities that you haven't captured yet. it works even without caste system. no matter what, even under slavery or other civs forcing you into emancipation due to unhappiness, and even with no infrastructure in the city, even with no workable tiles yet, plain old one-hammer citizen specialists are always available, and sistine works on them.

twice recently i've captured the wonder from Louis. thanks for spending the hammers for me buddy! i'd never thought about it as a defensive war tactic until that first capture, i tend to build it only in culture games, so that i don't trigger domination in other games (i leave all conditions on even when i want only one). getting it free tho, and seeing it in action, man it was wicked cool. made me a believer, altho not to the extent that i've built it myself in a warmonger game.

iamnleth
Apr 06, 2007, 10:26 PM
I've been wondering about the best place to put the Great Library. I usually place it in my capital (and my capital is usually my science city). Is it a major penalty to place it elsewhere if the desired location has no production? And should I be cottaging the capital?

Wodan
Apr 07, 2007, 03:29 AM
If you plan to run Bureaucracy it's almost always a good idea to cottage the capitol.

I'm not sure what you mean by your other question.

jihe
Apr 08, 2007, 02:06 PM
completely useless. instead of culture push, just take the next city.

What is your opinion about usefulness of Sistine Chapel for a SE economy? It's 3 culture per specialist, which can mean quite a culture border push when you have it up and running.

Bagpuss
Apr 10, 2007, 04:17 AM
completely useless. instead of culture push, just take the next city.

This made me laugh because I can see the truth in it, but once you've taken the next city...Well, there's only one logical conclusion to this way of thinking!

I want to experiment with an SE and I'd like to say thanks to all the knowledgeable people who have contributed to this thread, and especially to Jack of Clubs for the original article.

I have a point that I'm not entirely clear on though and I'd appreciate some wise words. My question is: Where do you set the food 'slider'? By which I mean, is there a rule of thumb with respect to the balance between how much surplus food is devoted to city growth and how much we plate-up for the cosy, pampered, soft-handed, never-do-a-days-hard-work intellectual types?

I've pretty much managed to dispel the voice in my head that constantly whispered 'buildings are good!', but that 'growth' voice might need some serious medication to put to sleep.

Also - and it might be an idea to add this to the article since it's for beginners - what would be the best map-type/size to be using for experimenting and getting comfy with the SE? Someone earlier mentioned Oasis - is this the way to go?

Thanks.

Wodan
Apr 10, 2007, 02:56 PM
...is there a rule of thumb with respect to the balance between how much surplus food is devoted to city growth and how much we plate-up for the cosy, pampered, soft-handed, never-do-a-days-hard-work intellectual types?
There's another complicating factor, as well: Slavery and whipping. So the question is how to balance between:
1) city growth
2) running specialists
3) whipping

Comments:
-- Most people say that you whip like mad when the city is small, and stop once you have the buildings you need (usually granary, library, and maybe theatre). The reasoning is that each "grown" citizen is cheaper (in terms of food required) when the city is smaller. (It takes much less food to grow from size 2 to 3, than from 5 to 6). And, once you whip the couple of cheap buildings you really want, other buildings cost a LOT to whip (University, Forge, etc can cost 4 or more citizens).
-- Then you let it grow to max size; once at max size, assign 1-2 scientists; then when the city starts to have unhealthy or unhappy citizens, turn off the scientists and whip again (repeat)
-- I'm one of the few who replaces the above point by often running specialists in any city which has 4 or more surplus food. What does this do? Gives me research all along, and gives earlier research (1 beaker now is worth 2 beakers which you don't get for another 500 years).

I've pretty much managed to dispel the voice in my head that constantly whispered 'buildings are good!'
Good for you! :) We won't have to put you on the 7-step recovery program.

what would be the best map-type/size to be using for experimenting and getting comfy with the SE? Someone earlier mentioned Oasis - is this the way to go?
Ehh, I wouldn't worry too much about that. You want fresh water, either lakes or rivers. Anywhere you don't have fresh water = production city. If you have too many production cities, then SE simply isn't a good choice.

Wodan

Martinus
Apr 11, 2007, 04:45 AM
Thanks for answering about SC.

I have another question, this time about technologies - it seems to me that there is a lot of stress put on tech trading to stay ahead of other players in game. Does it mean that in a game with tech trading disabled SE is inferior, or you just need to adjust your gameplay somehow (e.g. by settling great scientists rather than light-bulbing them for unique techs)?

Wodan
Apr 11, 2007, 10:44 AM
I'm not sure I would say that tech trading allows you to "stay ahead of other players".

What does trading do? It gives one of your techs to (hopefully) multiple other players, in exchange for a different tech from each of them. They have almost certainly traded amongst themselves, so they have rough parity already. What trading does is brings YOU into rough parity. So, tech trading allows you to keep up. It does NOT allow you to get ahead.

And that's how trading works in a SE. You lightbulb a tech nobody else has, and then you trade it around to get other techs which you now don't have to bother to research.

If trading is turned off, then you can't do this. However, neither can the other players. What lightbulbing does here is gets you expensive techs (or the techs that unlock religions or other benefits), which are the hard ones to research and/or the ones you want to research before anybody else gets it. You spend your beakers to research the "easy" ones.

To this end, SE with tech trading turned off does indeed allow you to get ahead and stay ahead.

A CE meanwhile is going to have to do everything the hard way. A CE is at its strongest only after Paper (etc.) So, a CE is going to have to research all the techs when it is at its weakest (with slowly-maturing cottages, before Emancipation), which means much less chance to found religions, and it will probably lag behind (at best it will keep parity) some of the other players. (Some AIs focus a lot on early military, and you'll probably keep up with or beat those guys... it's the Mansas and Huyanas that are going to beat you in the tech race.)

This means that with TT turned off, a CE is going to be struggling to keep up with the other players, while a SE is going to be easily able to stay ahead. And, the Shrines (etc) will give the SE a financial boost all game, while the early Universities will give the SE an earlier research bonus (if a SE gets Universities in 100AD while the CE gets them in 900AD, then the SE has an extra 800 years of +25% research).

I've been playing with TT turned off quite a bit lately. One thing I often do is a SE -> CE switch midgame, if I feel like going for a Space or other victory. Domination/Conquest it's often better to stay SE.

A SE -> CE switch is pretty easy to pull off, and gives you the best of both worlds, to a large extent. We can talk about how it's done (how I do it, anyway) if you're interested.

Wodan

Martinus
Apr 11, 2007, 11:12 AM
Thanks, very good points and I'd like to hear about the switch.

On an unrelated topic, I believe I saw a thread recently about Cultural Victory achieved with SE (as opposed to the standard CE method of "rush to liberalism/democracy/rifling and switch to 100% culture). Do you guys happen to remember whose thread it was?

Wodan
Apr 11, 2007, 12:17 PM
I don't remember the thread, but you can use the thread search tools up top.

SE cultural is much easier (and faster) than CE cultural, IMO. "lightbulb code of laws, assign 6+ artists in each of 3 food heavy cities; switch to 100% culture; crank maces out of most other cities; settle Great Artists as they appear"

Anyway, here's how I do a switch. Basically, the power of SE is producing GP in parallel in multiple cities, before you have an effective GP farm (which eliminates the possibility of parallel output). What you're likely to have is 2-3 cities with a wonder and 0-3 scientists each, and a 0-3 more cities with 2-3 scientists each, plus a few other cities (no food for scientists). This results in 6-9 GPP each city. If you have one city that you built a handful of wonders, you screwed up. The point is to spread things out.

As each city generates a GP, turn off the specialists and send in the workers to start cottaging (you can send the workers in a few turns in advance if you are paying attention). That city is not going to produce another GP for the rest of the game. It's that simple.

Kind of elegant how the timing works, though. The cities turn out a GP at staggered times, because they were built and made a Library at different times, and it takes additional GPP each time. So, your workers just gravitate from city to city making cottages. You have time inbetween to keep up with other improvements you need to make. I often run Serfdom during this period.

Also, very shortly after (and during) this time, you are able to get Emancipation. Remember: most of your GP are used to lightbulb Philosophy, Education, etc. Often you can use Liberalism to get Nationalism for free, which helps a lot. (If you're cocky you can use Liberalism to lightbulb Democracy.) Emancipation then speeds up your cottages maturing.

Wodan

JackOfClubs
May 10, 2007, 10:26 PM
Sorry for dropping out of this discussion for so long everyone. I have revised the guide to include some of Wodan's criticisms and also to acknowledge more explicitely the controversy between settling scientists and using them to lightbulb. I stand by my recommendations here since it provides a framework for using the SE throughout the game, but it would be irresponsible not to mention the other side of the story. Especially since futurehermit did most of the original analysis on which I based this guide and has now changed his mind.

Also, it is worth noting that the guys who disagree with me are much better players. But for that very reason, I think a beginner's guide might need to take a different tack, even if it is not the best strategy at higher levels.

@Wodan: Thanks for all your detailed analysis. I took some of your advice but I feel the need to explain why I left out the big section on tech preferences. Most of what you say is true, but I think it is too detailed for this guide. I would much rather have people read your comments in this thread than try to complicate the basic guide with so many qualifications. As noted before, I assume that the reader is not a novice player of Civ IV but might in fact have quite a bit of experience. So the considerations that you mention, while valid, are things that hopefully will occur to them as they play through their games. If not, they will still have your post to bring them to their senses. ;)

Hold The Onion
May 11, 2007, 02:01 AM
Unless the plan is to rush the Great Library with a Great General?



This might be the best line ever.

ccccc
May 11, 2007, 02:06 AM
I just wanted to say this thread is awesome. I played my first-ever SE game today (well, the beginning of it anyway), and no way would I have found the courage to try it without this. I always played the "newbie" Financial trait before, but right now I'm enjoying me some Philosophical/Creative action.

Anyway, the main things I had trouble with were this: How do I know if I'm over-expanding? With a CE, it's clear -- my research slider is dropping, therefore I am in trouble. But with my newfangled SE, I find it hard to tell -- obviously if my gold is in the negative, I have to change something, but ... is there perhaps a target for "percentage of GNP devoted to city maintenance"? Or do you just go crazy with expansion, doubting that you will ever expand too fast?
Do I start converting my cities to cottages or something someday? Or is it reasonable to stick in this specialist-mode forever, stuck with renaissaince civics? At this point, I'm going to find it difficult to force myself to switch all those civics and specialists. I like them.Thanks so much for the guide though! :goodjob: I sort of feel like I am cheating, having all these cities, leaving everyone in the dust tech-wise and having Statue of Liberty / Caste System / Mercantilism / Representation with "free" scientists all over the place. :lol:

Silly Frenchies with their special building though, I keep popping great artists. :p

-- thanks!"]http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k138/Cchhrriissppyy/Civ4ScreenShot0001-1.jpg
http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k138/Cchhrriissppyy/Civ4ScreenShot0003-1.jpg

Wodan
May 11, 2007, 07:27 AM
I have revised the guide to include some of Wodan's criticisms...
:cringe: Not criticisms... reasoned alternative viewpoints.

@Wodan: Thanks for all your detailed analysis. I took some of your advice but I feel the need to explain why I left out the big section on tech preferences. Most of what you say is true, but I think it is too detailed for this guide. I would much rather have people read your comments in this thread than try to complicate the basic guide with so many qualifications. As noted before, I assume that the reader is not a novice player of Civ IV but might in fact have quite a bit of experience. So the considerations that you mention, while valid, are things that hopefully will occur to them as they play through their games. If not, they will still have your post to bring them to their senses. ;)
:lol: No problem. Glad to be of service. :)

* How do I know if I'm over-expanding? With a CE, it's clear -- my research slider is dropping, therefore I am in trouble. But with my newfangled SE, I find it hard to tell -- obviously if my gold is in the negative, I have to change something, but ... is there perhaps a target for "percentage of GNP devoted to city maintenance"? Or do you just go crazy with expansion, doubting that you will ever expand too fast?
First off, one big difference between running a SE versus a CE is that you can pretty much ignore what the research slider is at. Since the majority of your research is independent of the slider, the slider % is in fact probably giving you disinformation.

The way to tell is to look at how many beakers you are teching each turn and/or how many turns it takes to get a tech. As long as the beakers are pouring in and you are researching fairly quickly, that's what matters.

As far as how far can you go with expansion, generally you can expand until your slider is at 0/0/100, with all commerce going to gold for maintenance. (Though, generally I stop at 10/0/90 to give myself some room for slightly sloppy gameplay, which allows me to have fun rather than be an anal git and micromanage every last detail.)

As with a CE, you should prioritize Code of Laws and Currency. This will cut down on your maintenance and allow you to expand more.

*Do I start converting my cities to cottages or something someday? Or is it reasonable to stick in this specialist-mode forever, stuck with renaissaince civics? At this point, I'm going to find it difficult to force myself to switch all those civics and specialists. I like them.
Heh heh. Good for you and welcome to the club. SE is quite fun.

As stated above, it's quite possible to do a SE->CE switch. Frankly I think that is the strongest gameplay over any other kind. But that's just my opinion.

You can stay SE all game if you like, and you'll do quite well. The CE players will start to catch up unless you keep them trimmed down to size by carefully chosen wars. Pillaging raids are your friend.

And, regardless, if you plan to win the game by domination or conquest, then SE is a much better choice than CE, no matter how you look at it. Definitely don't switch over.

Wodan

DaveMcW
May 11, 2007, 12:07 PM
SE is not a beginner strategy.

wmtrexler
May 11, 2007, 12:48 PM
SE is not a beginner strategy.

I do not think anyone has said that it is.

However it appears to me that Jack is trying to write a guide for those beginning to explore the Specialist Economy.

@JackOfClubs
Thank you for this guide. I have learned much from it.

JackOfClubs
May 14, 2007, 03:36 PM
@ccccc & wmtrexler: Glad you both found it helpful. Actually, I learned a lot as well. As I mentioned in the first post, this all started because I was trying to teach myself how to play this way.

@DaveMcW: As noted, this isn't a guide for inexperienced Civ IV players, but for people who are new to SE. But I have kind of a funny story about this. When I first started playing, I didn't realize the benefits of creating cottages since they didn't exist in Civ III and I didn't realize that they improved over time: the measly little 1 gold seemed a waste of time. So I played my early games the way I had played Civ III, mining hills and farming grasslands and generally avoiding plains and deserts. For research, I used specialists since they did exist in Civ III. So I sort of defaulted into a Specialist Economy (though you have to be somewhat loose calling what I did an "economy") simply because I was a beginner and didn't know any better! :cool:

popejubal
May 14, 2007, 11:09 PM
I'm not sure I would say that tech trading allows you to "stay ahead of other players".

What does trading do? It gives one of your techs to (hopefully) multiple other players, in exchange for a different tech from each of them. They have almost certainly traded amongst themselves, so they have rough parity already. What trading does is brings YOU into rough parity. So, tech trading allows you to keep up. It does NOT allow you to get ahead.


Here's some math that I use as an analogy to understand the idea myself.

Everyone starts with 100 "points" of research
I lightbulb a tech worth 20 points.
A few AI civs get 20 points worth of techs.

I now give my 20 points to each of 5 AI civs.

They now each have 140 (100 + 20 that they researched + 20 that I gave them).

I now have 220 points of tech (100 + 20 that I lightbulbed + 5*20 that they traded me).

I fail to see how I am just keeping up and not getting ahead. Your analysis is generally good, so this might just be a failure of understanding and imagination on my part. Any suggestions on where my understanding is failing here?

Wodan
May 15, 2007, 08:38 AM
Here's some math that I use as an analogy to understand the idea myself.

Everyone starts with 100 "points" of research
I lightbulb a tech worth 20 points.
A few AI civs get 20 points worth of techs.

I now give my 20 points to each of 5 AI civs.

They now each have 140 (100 + 20 that they researched + 20 that I gave them).

I now have 220 points of tech (100 + 20 that I lightbulbed + 5*20 that they traded me).

I fail to see how I am just keeping up and not getting ahead. Your analysis is generally good, so this might just be a failure of understanding and imagination on my part. Any suggestions on where my understanding is failing here?
Sure.

Each of the 5 AI civs give their 20 points to each other.

They now each have 220 (100 + 20 they researched + 20 you gave them + 20 x 4 they got from each other)

Wodan

nullspace
May 15, 2007, 11:32 AM
Sure.

Each of the 5 AI civs give their 20 points to each other.

They now each have 220 (100 + 20 they researched + 20 you gave them + 20 x 4 they got from each other)

I think a smart player can generally benefit more from tech trading than the AI can. If the player is carefully cultivating relations and lightbulbing techs so that he can trade to five AIs, each AI is may be only getting techs from 3 other AIs. So by popejubal's math, this is a net advantage for the player. And I think that this net advantage is what Martinus meant by "stay ahead," that the player is getting as much tech as the AI at a lower cost.

Tech trading is a major advantage of lightbulbing because it creates a lot of beakers immediately. You can do things like lightbulb paper on the same turn you got civil service because you know that no one has paper. But if tech trading was off, what would you do? A lot of the techs that scientists can lightbulb are quite weak by themselves. Paper only allows map trading, printing press is useless to a SE, compass is poor on certain maps, and liberalism itself is only important for the free tech. With tech trading off, it might be a better idea to use CE or settle the scientists so that you can research techs you actually want to use, rather than follow the path that lightbulbs force you down. Also, since the tech pace will be slower overall, that allows more time for cottages to grow and for settled scientists to pay off.

Wodan
May 15, 2007, 12:53 PM
I think a smart player can generally benefit more from tech trading than the AI can. If the player is carefully cultivating relations and lightbulbing techs so that he can trade to five AIs, each AI is may be only getting techs from 3 other AIs. So by popejubal's math, this is a net advantage for the player. And I think that this net advantage is what Martinus meant by "stay ahead," that the player is getting as much tech as the AI at a lower cost.
And this is where an analogy leads to the wrong conclusion.

Just one example: AIs will trade with each other on parity level, whereas they require more from the human. e.g., you lightbulb an expensive tech (expensive compared to the other available techs). Say, Philosophy. The AIs will trade 2000 beaker techs with each other for 2000 beaker techs. Meanwhile, they will ask the human for a 2800 beaker tech. I'm sure your own experience will bear this out.

Tech trading is a major advantage of lightbulbing because it creates a lot of beakers immediately.
I don't disagree.

My point, and the thing that most people don't recognize when they tout the benefits of lightbulbing / tech trading, is that we need to take into account the relative benefit, as well as the absolute benefit.

So, when you say, "Tech trading is a major advantage of lightbulbing because it creates a lot of beakers immediately," I say yes I agree, but how much does the AI benefit at the same time?

The question isn't how much the human gains, but what is the relative increase in relation to the AIs. If the AIs gain at the same time as the human, it stands to reason that we need to "subtract" the AI's gain from the human's benefit, in order to get anything even close to a real perspective on the situation.

But if tech trading was off, what would you do? A lot of the techs that scientists can lightbulb are quite weak by themselves. Paper only allows map trading, printing press is useless to a SE, compass is poor on certain maps, and liberalism itself is only important for the free tech. With tech trading off, it might be a better idea to use CE or settle the scientists so that you can research techs you actually want to use, rather than follow the path that lightbulbs force you down. Also, since the tech pace will be slower overall, that allows more time for cottages to grow and for settled scientists to pay off.
Tech trading off totally changes things.

Your point is a good one, but keep in mind that those "useless" techs lead to other, definitely useful techs.

Also keep in mind that the AI will be researching those expensive "useless" techs the hard way. (The AI occasionally lightbulbs, especially BetterAI, but not nearly as intelligently as a human can.) So, look at the long-term situation. Over the course of the game, the human might lightbulb 15,000 beakers. Meanwhile, an AI might lightbulb 2,000 beakers. Given that tech trading is off, this can be a huge advantage.

The human lightbulbs Philosophy and researches Guilds. Meanwhile, the AI researches Philosophy the hard way and does not get Knights until much, much later.

Wodan

Murky
May 16, 2007, 08:55 AM
Nice guide.

I do feel strongly that the Pryamids are a must for the SE. I always go for them if I know they are attainable. Fastest way to get them with is the Metal Casting slingshot and using the GE to rush them. The Great Library can be chopped rushed after mathematics. The forges from MC increases production enough that you can produce more than enough units for war. I like to build my main GP farm then my production city. I know it's in reverse from the guide but it does help you get a GE & GS out sooner.

nullspace
May 16, 2007, 11:05 AM
The only thing I'm trying to say here is that a SE and lightbulbing is better when tech trading is on than when it is off. With tech trading on, lightbulbing often to get good trades is a powerful strategy. When tech trading is off, lightbulbing loses this advantage, and is less good compared to regular research. Whether tech trading is on or off is something to consider when deciding between SE or CE or where to put the emphasis in a HE.
And this is where an analogy leads to the wrong conclusion.

Just one example: AIs will trade with each other on parity level, whereas they require more from the human. e.g., you lightbulb an expensive tech (expensive compared to the other available techs). Say, Philosophy. The AIs will trade 2000 beaker techs with each other for 2000 beaker techs. Meanwhile, they will ask the human for a 2800 beaker tech. I'm sure your own experience will bear this out.
I don't think this changes the conclusion. I suggested that a good player could probably trade one tech for five in a situation where an AI could trade one tech for three, and you didn't disagree. Even if the player has to give a 2800 beaker tech to get five 2000 beaker techs, that's still about 3.6 beakers gained in trade for each beaker researched. But the AI that evenly traded three for one only got 3 beakers for each beaker researched. So I think that a good player gains a relative advantage over the AI when tech trading is on.

So, when you say, "Tech trading is a major advantage of lightbulbing because it creates a lot of beakers immediately," I say yes I agree, but how much does the AI benefit at the same time?

The question isn't how much the human gains, but what is the relative increase in relation to the AIs. If the AIs gain at the same time as the human, it stands to reason that we need to "subtract" the AI's gain from the human's benefit, in order to get anything even close to a real perspective on the situation.

I am assuming that you are making those five tech trades with civs that you are not directly competing with. If you are making disadvantageous trades with a civ that might win the space race, that is hurting your relative advantage versus that civ only, but is helping your relative advantage versus all the others. Likewise, you do not want to make a disadvantageous trade of military techs with a civ that you will fight soon.
Tech trading off totally changes things.

Your point is a good one, but keep in mind that those "useless" techs lead to other, definitely useful techs.It's usually a better thing to have a good tech soon than to have a better tech later. Scientist lightbulbs will get you to chemistry and grenadiers quickly compared to researching, but it still takes time and money. What if I need macemen or trebuchets ASAP and can't wait for grenadiers? Scientist lightbulbs won't help me get machinery or engineering.

With tech trading on, I can lightbulb whatever and trade for what I want. With tech trading off, I'm stuck with what it gives me even if I need something else right away.

In other words, if I'm using a great scientist to lightbulb paper in order to get to chemistry, I'm using up a great person now for a payoff later. The best thing about the lightbulb is the immediate payoff, and I'm not getting any. I might as well settle the scientist or work cottages in the first place and use the additional research on something I do want soon.
Also keep in mind that the AI will be researching those expensive "useless" techs the hard way. (The AI occasionally lightbulbs, especially BetterAI, but not nearly as intelligently as a human can.) So, look at the long-term situation. Over the course of the game, the human might lightbulb 15,000 beakers. Meanwhile, an AI might lightbulb 2,000 beakers. Given that tech trading is off, this can be a huge advantage.

The human lightbulbs Philosophy and researches Guilds. Meanwhile, the AI researches Philosophy the hard way and does not get Knights until much, much later.
"The hard way" is just an expression. Those 15,000 lightbulb beakers were not free; you paid for them by running scientists instead of working tiles. It's certainly worth it much of the time, but it does depend on the increased cost of each subsequent GP, getting a city's GPP bar to fill up and actually finish a GP, and lightbulbing useful techs.

And what does philosophy have to do with guilds? If I want to found Shintoism or run pacifism right away, then lightbulbing philosophy is a great idea. But if knights are what's important, then philosophy is quite pointless, and I can skip it until much later. I could have used the GS for an academy or settled him, either of which would cause me to get to guilds earlier and will help my science rate for the rest of the game. Or I could have developed cottages instead of generating the GS at this time.

There are valid alternatives to lightbulbing, and I think lightbulbing is at its weakest when it doesn't help with tech trading. Definitely an interesting discussion, though.

Wodan
May 16, 2007, 06:05 PM
The only thing I'm trying to say here is that a SE and lightbulbing is better when tech trading is on than when it is off.
And, the only thing I'm trying to say is that a SE and lightbulbing is better when tech trading is off than when it is on.

(ps that's not the only thing you're trying to say. It sure seems like you're also trying to say that a CE is always a better choice when trading is off.)

I don't think this changes the conclusion.
It definitely changes the situation. Whether it changes the situation enough to affect the conclusion, that's the question.

I suggested that a good player could probably trade one tech for five in a situation where an AI could trade one tech for three, and you didn't disagree.
Ok, I disagree. Why don't you present some evidence for this theory, and we can try to see whether it has any merit.

I am assuming that you are making those five tech trades with civs that you are not directly competing with. If you are making disadvantageous trades with a civ that might win the space race, that is hurting your relative advantage versus that civ only, but is helping your relative advantage versus all the others. Likewise, you do not want to make a disadvantageous trade of military techs with a civ that you will fight soon.
Hunh. That's a fine argument, on the face of it. But look deeper... lightbulbing to get techs to trade only works and only is valid up through the midgame. It only works early because later, you are (1) getting only ~3k beakers per GP, techs cost many times that, and your regular research income will be such that the lightbulb won't have much impact at all. In addition, you're getting fewer and fewer GP because each one costs more and more GPP.

So, let's restrict ourselves to talking about up through the early midgame. Who is going to be rivals for the space race? Kind of hard to tell. Trading techs to any AI is going to make them a potential rival. As for military, easy enough to say "don't trade a military tech to Monty". In reality, any AI will attack you if the military disparity is in their favor.

To top it all off, the AIs pass techs around like the clap. Trade to one, pretty soon they'll all have it. We have no control over that process and it will happen. I simply don't buy the "selective trading" argument.

It's usually a better thing to have a good tech soon than to have a better tech later. Scientist lightbulbs will get you to chemistry and grenadiers quickly compared to researching, but it still takes time and money. What if I need macemen or trebuchets ASAP and can't wait for grenadiers? Scientist lightbulbs won't help me get machinery or engineering.

With tech trading on, I can lightbulb whatever and trade for what I want. With tech trading off, I'm stuck with what it gives me even if I need something else right away.

In other words, if I'm using a great scientist to lightbulb paper in order to get to chemistry, I'm using up a great person now for a payoff later. The best thing about the lightbulb is the immediate payoff, and I'm not getting any. I might as well settle the scientist or work cottages in the first place and use the additional research on something I do want soon.
You're simply talking about the difference between tech trading on and tech trading off. Yes, those are differences. That doesn't make them better.

Say you lightbulb X (with tech trading off). That allows you to get Y earlier than you would if you had to research the hard way. Meanwhile, you can spend your specialist beakers to get Z, or you can spend them to get Y. If Z is your goal, then I agree the lightbulb didn't help you. Does that mean the lightbulb won't be of use when you want to get Y? Hardly. Does that mean the lightbulb didn't help you win the game? Again, hardly. Also, keep in mind that if you know you want Z, you have the option of prioritizing other GPP than scientists. (Your example was Machinery or Engineering, which Great Engineers can lightbulb.)

Bottom line, your assumption is that when no lightbulbs are available, a CE can research Z faster than a SE can research Z. That is not necessarily true. In fact, it is frequently not true, especially in the early game (which is when we're talking about).

There are valid alternatives to lightbulbing, and I think lightbulbing is at its weakest when it doesn't help with tech trading. Definitely an interesting discussion, though.
Respectively: agreed, not agreed, and absolutely agree! :)

Wodan

JackOfClubs
May 17, 2007, 07:22 PM
I suggested that a good player could probably trade one tech for five in a situation where an AI could trade one tech for three, and you didn't disagree.
I think this is a very flawed model. In an ideal situation this might be possible but in most games it will be diametrically opposite. Wodan has pointed out some of the problems but here are a few more things to consider:

Continents: In most cases you may find yourself on a continent with 3 or 4 other civs while 2 or 3 are unreachable before Optics. This doesn't direclty affect your argument but it does reduce the 5:3 ratio you are positing down to 3:2 or 4:3. And if you happen to be on a continent alone with one other civ, you won't be able to trade at all due to monopoly considerations, whereas the AI civs don't seem to suffer from this restriction. (I don't know that for a fact, but my experience does seem to be bear it out.

Worst Enemy: There are two possibilities. If you are someone's worst enemy they will tend not to trade with you. If you are not their worst enemy, someone else is an trading with one of them will piss off the other. You can avoid this scenario for awhile in the early game, but eventually it will break down the trading opportunities. This is true even for skillful players, who tend to take sides early rather than try to keep everyone happy.

Research Preferences: Your scenario assumes that you and your five rivals are all researching different techs but in most cases the AI will tend to follow similar paths. There are slight variations, but getting 5 distinct techs to trade for one is very very rare. In my current game, for instance, I had Metal Casting before anyone, but the only techs I could trade were Preisthood and Polytheism to 3 other civs on my continent. (I was at war with the 4th civ.) There were other techs on the board but none that anyone wanted to trade.


Even if the player has to give a 2800 beaker tech to get five 2000 beaker techs, that's still about 3.6 beakers gained in trade for each beaker researched. But the AI that evenly traded three for one only got 3 beakers for each beaker researched. So I think that a good player gains a relative advantage over the AI when tech trading is on.

Tech Pricing: This assumes that the AI actually has a less expensive tech to trade for a more expensive one. Quite frequently however, the only tech they will have is more expensive than yours or at least is more expensive than the price they are willing to pay for yours. Consider the case where they have a 2000 :science: tech and they want 2800 :science: for it but the only tech you have to trade is 2600 :science:. The trade won't go through even if you are willing to trade down.

I am assuming that you are making those five tech trades with civs that you are not directly competing with. If you are making disadvantageous trades with a civ that might win the space race, that is hurting your relative advantage versus that civ only, but is helping your relative advantage versus all the others. Likewise, you do not want to make a disadvantageous trade of military techs with a civ that you will fight soon.


This is actually a pretty big assumption isn't it? In addition to the factors I have listed above where the AI won't want to trade with you, there are times when you won't want to trade with them, which further reduces your 5:3 ratio.

Wodan
May 18, 2007, 09:08 AM
This doesn't direclty affect your argument but it does reduce the 5:3 ratio you are positing down to 3:2 or 4:3.
I considered this, Jack, but then I said to myself that the absolute number is kind of irrelevant and totally subjective. It depends on world size, # of AIs, map type, etc. For example, say it's Pangaea with 18 civs. You're going to meet them all quite early, so you can easily find 5 to trade with.

Regardless, I like you said it. It's the ratio that's important. Yes, even on Pangaea you can find 5 civs, but now there are 13 that won't trade with you. Excellent point and expressed very well.

Worst Enemy
Another thought that you sparked... players (especially skillful ones) will tend to have at least one early war of conquest. However, we should look at the typical situation. Early religions will spread primarily in their own region of the world. And, the AIs will adopt the majority religion in their cities, every time. So, the AI you decide to have an early war against will almost certainly have buddies of the same religion. Thus, that early war will preclude most if not all of your potential trading partners, because you will get "you attacked my friend" penalties.

Wodan

Carnage04
May 25, 2007, 08:07 PM
Tonight I am going to start my first game ever attempting to run a SE. I will be using your guidelines. I will keep you guys updated on my experience.

Percy
Jun 10, 2007, 08:40 AM
Great guide!

However, being the newbie i am at Civ4, i'm having a hard time putting it to use. I never seem to find the time to build military or to use scientists (i build infrastructure, or i try to build military but end up building too few for it to be useful, or i just plain wait for the city to grow back after whipping some, thus working all the tiles).

I guess most of my problems are from being bad at the game, but regardless, i would love to see a detailed report of a SE game at a decent difficulty level (Noble max). I seem to only find games played at higher levels which, while certainly astounding and very interesting to read, don't help me much in my low-level games, especially when everyone's assuming a lot (when it comes to city placing or tech researching) about what the reader knows.

So, any lowish-level, well-detailed, SE-focused game around somewhere? I asked Google to look on the forum, but he could only find the type of games i mentioned.

Thanks in advance for that, and thanks again for the guide and for all those who wrote on this strategy!

JackOfClubs
Jun 11, 2007, 09:11 PM
Sorry for the misleading title. It should probably have been something like "An Intermediate Player's Guide to Beginning the SE". Generally, if you are new to the game it is better to master basic skills than worry too much about economies and more long-term strategic issues. One reason that there are few, if any, SE games at lower difficulties than Noble is because most people that play SE are already somewhat beyond those skill levels. Also, though and SE can still be effective at lower levels, it is not really necessary since the AI is more forgiving.

But, since you're here, I hope I can give you a few tips on how to build up your skills with a view to being able to intelligently decide which economy to use. As I noted in the first post, I am not really an advocate of the SE but I think it is a good technique to master so that it is available if you need it.

First, you mention that you struggle with building military. Is it possible that you don't have enough cities or that they are not specialized enough? Generally it is better to build 3 cities early on and have at least one of them dedicated to building only military units. I usually build 1 worker while researching Bronze Working, use that worker to chop down forests to rush the second worker and use both workers to chop rush a settler which I use to found the 2nd city near Copper or Horse, if possible. If you do it right, the settler should come out before human barbarians come on the scene (usually around 2500 BC) and you will only need your original scouting warrior to defend the settler from animals. Then build a warrior (or archer if you have the tech) in both cities to defend, while your original warrior scouts more territory. Next build a third military unit in whatever city has better production and a settler in the other one. The military unit should complete first so send it out to the border near the place where you want your 3rd city. When the settler pops, move both units to that spot letting the settler play catch up to the military unit. This should get your 3 cities founded with a minimum of delay and should be fairly safe. If your 2nd city was a good production city, this third city should be as high in food or commerce as possible or vice versa.

Get your 4th and later cities from barbarians or AI enemies unless you see a really good site and have spare time to build a settler. This is probably not necessary on Noble and below, but at higher levels wasting growth opportunities building a settler can be deadly, so it is probably not a good habit to get into.

Now set your production city to cranking out the best military units you have and don't stop until you have won the game. There may be times when you pause to build infrastructure in that city, but you won't need much more than a barracks and granary early on. Your other cities won't need a barracks until much later and can focus on science infrastructure (which will be libraries and monastaries early on). When you capture/build other cities keep this ratio of 1 production to 2 science cities and you should be OK. During wartime it may be advisable to tweak this a bit so that you optimize military output, but don't sacrifice too much science or you will fall behind. That is one of the beauties of the SE: you can produce science efficiently while still fighting wars and getting cash for upgrades.

In the guide I mentioned that you should have at least 6 cities with libraries before the end of the Medieval period. That assumes that you have 3 or 4 production cities around cranking out units and the capital cranking out commerce. Nine to ten cities is a kind of sweet spot because maintenance costs skyrocket after that point and production/science can be too low with fewer. But before you even get to the middle ages, it may be good to play several games just polishing your skills with early settling, growth issues. When you get to the point where you don't find yourself frustrated with low output by the time you get to the begining of the Medieval period, then you know it is time to move on.

This assumes you want to focus on improving your game instead of just relaxing and enjoing it. The latter is a perfectly valid option and don't feel that you need to get up to speed if it is spoiling your enjoyment. Eventually these things will become second nature and that is when you should start worrying about the difference between Specialist and Cottage economies.

Percy
Jun 17, 2007, 01:49 PM
Hadn't noticed your answer, thanks a lot.

I seem to have quite a few left to grasp in general, not pertaining to any economic choice, so i'll try and experiment a bit with cottages, before moving on. Maybe it'll unlock some things in my mind =)

iamnleth
Jun 18, 2007, 01:31 AM
I'm clearly missing something -- I gave up when the AI had riflemen in 1300 while I was still using macemen. Perhaps I should've concentrated more on grenadiers.

Where can I find a guide on whipping/drafting?

JackOfClubs
Jun 18, 2007, 05:30 PM
Whipping (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=193659).

Drafting (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=217566).

iamnleth
Jun 22, 2007, 12:57 AM
Whipping (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=193659).

Drafting (http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=217566).

Many thanks! I apologize, I probably could've found it easily myself.

iamnleth
Jul 05, 2007, 11:22 PM
What's the best possible way to make gold using an SE? Commerce city in capital + bureaucracy? If so, only one (in the capital) or multiple? Any help is appreciated.

Also -- I've seen many instances where expert players are defending their capitals and other cities with warriors (or little more) well into the late game. How is this a good idea... at all?

Wodan
Jul 06, 2007, 08:21 AM
What's the best possible way to make gold using an SE? Commerce city in capital + bureaucracy? If so, only one (in the capital) or multiple? Any help is appreciated.
If your goal is to make buttloads of gold (such as for repeated and wholesale unit upgrading) then SE is not a good choice.

Think of it this way: a CE gives you a lot of commerce, which you can divide into gold/research any percentage you like. Meanwhile, a SE givs you much less commerce, but gives you a steady income of pure research at the same time. So, a SE gives you less of the "raw material" to make gold.

If your goal is to run a SE, but at the same time you're wondering how to make the gold you need, then that's a better question. Early game, your best choice is to make sure you go straight for gold mines or gems, or rivers. Colossus can help on a map with a lot of water. Founding a religion or two, establishing the shrine(s), and aggressively spreading them around with missionaries (it's easier for a SE to spam missionaries).

Midgame, yes, put cottages in your capitol and run Bureaucracy. Continue to spam missionaries. You can adopt a "trade economy" by being friendly with a lot of AIs and if needed for ocean trading getting Astronomy early (maybe spend your free tech from Liberalism on it).

Late game, put cottages in your shrine city and Wall Street there. (Or, you could put Wall Street in your capitol, since it already has cottages.)

Also -- I've seen many instances where expert players are defending their capitals and other cities with warriors (or little more) well into the late game. How is this a good idea... at all?
If there are no borders nearby, then without paratroopers what's the point of having a strong unit way back where there is no threat?

Wodan

iamnleth
Jul 06, 2007, 12:25 PM
Many thanks for an excellent response!

1. I never really aimed at early gold/gems... perhaps this will help a little. Thanks for the excellent suggestions. Perhaps part of my problem is over expansion.

2. I see what you mean concerning the defense. Of course, when paratroopers roll around in BtS (as you mentioned), that all changes!

Wodan
Jul 06, 2007, 12:54 PM
Many thanks for an excellent response!

1. I never really aimed at early gold/gems... perhaps this will help a little. Thanks for the excellent suggestions. Perhaps part of my problem is over expansion.

2. I see what you mean concerning the defense. Of course, when paratroopers roll around in BtS (as you mentioned), that all changes!
My pleasure.

If you think you're overexpanding, then you probably are. ;)

That also clarifies that your reasoning for being concerned about gold is that you're trying to pay your maintenance. Correct? Two ways to fix this: 1) get more gold, 2) reduce expenses. By asking how to do #1 you're missing out on #2....

Ways to do #2, early game: get Code of Laws as soon as possible, build Courthouses. Also, get Commerce asap... it gives extra trade routes, which is free money. Commerce also allows Markets, which you can whip using Slavery.

Midgame, keep in mind that most of your cities you probably don't want to bother building banks etc. The key to a good SE is building Research or building Wealth, or units. Many beginning SE players continue to build markets, banks, temples, etc, in every city. You only need those things for happiness or health, and often not even then. You should either be going on the warpath and conquering happy/health resources, or else you should be peaceful with tons of people (remember you spread your religion like mad) and have lots of good trade routes and can trade for resources.

Good luck. :)

Wodan

iamnleth
Jul 06, 2007, 11:15 PM
Awesome! I think I've almost got it down -- one last question -- how best to keep up militarily using an SE (I don't mean by teching, I mean production). I find myself lacking production. I can't bring myself to whip too much, it kills research! If I'm settling cities dedicated to production, how many should I have?

EDIT: I forgot - should I be building military units in my specialist-dedicated cities? I've tried, and it seems virtually impossible given I'm usually only working one hill in those cities (max 2).

Again, thanks for your continued assistance.

Wodan
Jul 07, 2007, 12:30 AM
Depends on what kind of SE you have. People tend to talk about SE as if there's just one way to do it, and all SEs are the same. That's far from the truth.

If you're running Slavery, then you're not running Caste System. That means you're probably running 2 scientists in most cities (even your production cities). Quite a few of your cities will have surplus food even over the 2 scientists. Once you have the essential buildings, you can use the extra food to whip units. Again, avoid the temptation to whip buildings you don't absolutely need.

Master the technique of producing great scientists in parallel. The best way to do this is don't build wonders. That's right, don't build wonders (except Pyramids). Instead build more units and go conquer more cities. Each city can run two scientists, so the more the better. You can let your slider get all the way down to 10% before you have to stop conquering.

Once you get to the midgame, you can have a GP Farm running up to 5 scientists with Oxford in it. By that time, your other cities won't be producing many great scientists anyway. But, remember, if you're not making units, you should be producing Research.

OTOH, you may have a Caste System SE. A Caste System SE allows you to run as many scientists in the city as you have food and happiness for. Bad health will slow you down but not stop you (since it's only -1 each). You can't whip, so your question of how to build military is a good one. Generally you want to pick one city to be your military city. This should be a good production city, lots of hills, on the sea if possible but no more than a few sea tiles (you want mostly land), with enough food to mine the hills. Make your first great general into a warlord and the rest you should settle military instructors (with one military academy) in this city. This city should be constantly cranking out units. You don't want specialists here, you want to be working the mines.

Sorry, running out of steam... it's late here. About out of advice anyway. Maybe someone else has something to offer.

Wodan

Roxlimn
Jul 07, 2007, 03:36 PM
This guide isn't as useful as it could be because there a huge gaps in its discussion in terms of what an SE economy is all about and how you run it. You generally have to play it a few times before you understand this guide, and in that sense it's quite useless, since by the time you understand it, you already know how to do it.

A more concrete definition would be:


A Specialist Economy is a way to run Classical Age game research by using Specialists to fund research and/or production. This is generally inferior to using your population to work the tiles, but makes up the difference by allowing you to instantly research techs by "lightbulbing" them using the Special ability of your Great Person.

Each line of Great People lightbulb particular techs in the order that they appear. Generally, Great Scientists focus on "pure science" techs like Philisophy and such, whereas Great Prophets focus on religion techs and Great Engineers focus on production related techs.


Following that:


In general, the basic architecture of the game strategy is made up of two things: lots of excess food and specialists. You cannot run this economy mode if you can't make specialists. You'll need Temples, Libraries, and Forges, usually available in that order, in order to run specialists. Priests tend to make Great Prophets, Scientists tend to make Great Scientists, and Engineers tend to make Great Engineers.

In addition, you generally need to have a moderately sized city (say at least size 4-7) in order to run the technique efficiently. Anything smaller would stand to gain more from growing, and larger cities can support more even more specialists.

The linchpin of the strategy is Great People. You want to have these to leapfrog across techs to gain access to advanced technology quickly. Thus, you generally also want to trade or research cheaper techs in their lightbulbing line, so you don't waste GPs researching cheap stuff.

You'll also need food. Generally, you'll want to be running the Specialist City (or GP Farm, as it's sometimes called) in a fat cross that's got lots of food. two or three food resources would be ideal, but you can make do with floodplains or farmed riverbeds if that's what you've got.

Generally speaking, you'll want to have libraries, universities, monasteries and anything else that boosts research in a Scientist City. It's typical to make an Academy and shoot for Oxford University as well.

Take note on that. Your Specialist City needs to be rich in food, but it also needs to have access to beefy production when necessary. Plan to overlap a nice hill or two with another city as necessary. Priest Cities and Engineer Cities aren't as picky as Scientist Cities when it comes to production tiles, since they can run Priests and Engineers to boost production, but even those cities will need at least some hammers in their city radius. Heck, any city does! (Slavery notwithstanding).


Using Scientists and Engineers has some unique drawbacks. These citizens produce no gold whatsoever, so while your research may be freed from the slider, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be richer. In fact, you may have to lower the slider just to make ends meet! Some players offset the wealth hit by taking on the Bureaucracy Civic (+50% production and wealth in the Capital) and then spawning cottages and occasionally queuing Wealth in their Capital.

A moderate use of Scientists (no more than the 2 per library) or Gold or Gems within your city radii can also offset the potential costs. If you have the surplus, you can even plan to use Caste System and make as many Scientists as your happiness and health (and food) allow!


The approach to using Specialists can be tailored to suit your needs. Priests are easier to acquire, and they beeline into techs you may want to get in order to get into Caste System or Pacifism ASAP. Caste System allows you to run an unlimited number of specialists in each city (you still need the basic building) and Pacifism doubles the GP points you get from each specialist. Great Scientists are unlocked from the Writing tech by allowing you to build libraries. Engineers can also be acquired somewhat quickly by using the Great Scientist you generate from a Scientist City to beeline Metal Casting, and from thence rushing a Forge and then Caste System into lots of Engineers.

Great Scientists can also be used to build Academies and Super Scientist Specialsits in your Scientist city. Super Citizens cost no food to maintain, and contribute +6 research and +1 production (for the Super Scientist). It's definitely something to think about, especially if your Science City is a bit lacking in production power.

A lot of what goes into making Specialists work for you depends on your start position and leader traits. Great Library is absolutely great in the Classical Age for the 2 free Scientist specialists, but you'll want a decent production in your Science City and/or Marble and the Industrious leader trait. In fact, if you want to shoot for that, it might be better to forgo normal commerce in your Science City altogether, going for a complete focus on food and production only.

If you have Stone instead, you might want to shoot for the Pyramid and the Representation Civic, allowing you to run Representation (+3 Science for EVERY Specialist!) for the massive science boost.


Please bear in mind that aside from the focus on specialists, you'll also have many of the usual concerns you always do. Military is still going to be important, and you'll still want to get your mitts on as many happy and health stuff as you can find.


As you evolve into the Medieval Age, you're going to want to gun for the big tech leaps: Philosophy, Paper, Education, and Liberalism are going to be familiar tech milestones. Depending on your focus, you're going to want to branch off from those as you need. Bear in mind that Great Prophets will not lighbulb any tech beyond Liberalism. Excess Great Prophets from Priest Cities can be settled or used to found holy shrines, if you managed to found any religions.

Depending on your focus, you can actually afford to slow down a bit on research if you're ahead or can trade to stay ahead. Use this to your advantage. If your Science City needs to make an important wonder or building, you can shift your Scientists into Engineers or Priests to make extra production. You can make as many as you need if you're in Caste System, and these Specialists still make Research if you're under Representation.

Your Scientist City might have the Great Library if you've managed to snag it, but it's okay if you didn't. You can make the difference by snagging two or three religions and making Monasteries for an extra 20% research.

If you're running a Priest City from before you got Forges, you may want to look into the Angkor Wat, particularly if you have Stone and managed to get Pyramids (and early Representation). Angkor Wat boosted Priests are like Engineers on cash steroids.

If you're running Priest Cities and/or are using multiple Monasteries to boost your Science City research, you may want to get University of Sankore (from Paper), especially if you have Stone. That's +2 extra research from every State Religion building in every city. It's a palpable boost. If you make this Wonder, make a point of making a State Religion Temple AND Monastery in every city you can afford to do so, even the normally military cities.

Spiral Minaret (+2 gold from every State Religion building) is, of course, a natural tandem to University of Sankore, or a viable alternative, if you're hurting for cash.

As you get into the Renaissance Age, it's time to start planning a shift into Cottages from farms. Biology will eventually allow you to run less farms, and your main cities are probably already big enough that they can afford to run a few cottages anyway (aside from the specialists). Of course, some of your cities will be running cottages from early on, having no access to fresh water.

Once Free Speech becomes available, Towns become MUCH more powerful, so it pays to have some of those set up before the tech comes online. In fact, you could set aside some tiles from the Classical Age as Cottages to control population when you can't run specialists or Slavery to prevent growth once you reach your health/happy limit. Even when you're running seven Scientist Specialists, food in the later ages is so plentiful that you can often run cottages alongside your specialists in the same city.

Mercantilism (from Banking) is a popular tech to run in a Specialist Economy, but bear in mind that it's not without cost. Pay attention to your trade routes. If you're relying on lots of trade routes to pay your way, limiting your trade to local cities can be crippling. On the other hand, one free specialist per city + Representation is pretty strong if your trade routes are limited.

However, once you get Economics and especially if you have lots of coastal cities with Harbors, Free Market is still often the stronger play.


As you play the strategic technique, you'll notice a lot of quirks that you don't normally enjoy using only Cottages (and no or limited Specialists). Jack of Clubs mentions some few of these in his original post. For instance, the focus on food improvements usually means that you regrow lost population much faster than normal. This means that you can potentially leverage an early Gunpowder tech (in the Renaissance era) into a fast draft to overwhelm an nearby opponent. This is particularly excellent for Aggressive Civs, as their cheap barracks grant +2 happy faces in the Nationhood Civic, and their new Musketmen are downright scary with 2 promotions to start.


Well, those are my thoughts on what was on my mind when I first played around with Specialists. I hope this is helpful.

UncleJJ
Jul 07, 2007, 04:26 PM
Roxlimn lots of good advice there but one mistake; the Caste System only allows unlimited numbers of scientists, merchants and artists. It doesn't allow any priests or engineers which can only come from building slots.

So basically a player running a SE has to chose between two methods of getting enough specialists, he can use Caste System and run as many as he wishes of the three types it allows, or he can run only the specialists his buildings allow with a generally more useful civic (usually Slavery early and Emancipation later to counter unhappiness from other players). If building slots limit the specialists then they need to be researched and built. That choice is one of the harder aspects to learn about how to run a SE.

Roxlimn
Jul 08, 2007, 11:18 PM
Good to know! I was wondering a bit why I couldn't run more than one Engineer, even though I was in the Caste System. Gotta learn to look at the fine print.

Personally, I've never noticed the Priest limit, since I rarely want to run more of those than my buildings will allow. I'm also not too fond of Merchant focus, so I confess that I'm completely unaware of how to properly leverage a Great Merchant's Trade Mission ability, or what techs Great Merchants will lightbulb.

What I would like to try out is an SE with Monte and those spiffy Sacrificial Altars. :) Spiritual will make switching Civics a snap, and whipping could offset a low production. I confess that I haven't gone back to Monte since before Warlords.

UncleJJ
Jul 09, 2007, 10:13 AM
Monty can run a special form of SE, one exceptionally high in food. Those Sacrifical Altars means he can afford to whip twice as frequently as other leaders which means he can whip out an army fast and whip the infrastructure into captured cities.

You have to use Monty with a state religion, to get the most out of him, and perhaps have several other religions for more options and more money. Either research a religion yourself or capture one :trouble: He's Spiritual so temples are cheap. But the main reason for a religion is that he can switch between, Organised Religion, Theology and Pacisfism depending on what you need to do right that moment. I tend to be switching every 5 turns or so, and with Monty you can whip twice in that time since the happiness recovers in the other phase of the switching cycle.

I particularly like the switch to Caste System and Pacificism when running a ton of specialists in several cities. I even starve the cities during that phase, converting food to more GPPs (since Pacifism is running), and recover food in the other phase when it's not. That trick sort of means you're running Pacificism and Caste system all the time (at least in some cities) even though you're running Slavery and another Religious civic half the time. :eek:

popejubal
Aug 19, 2007, 02:38 PM
One thing that I would like to see added to the initial post is the impact of city specialization on the SE vs. CE.

Under a CE, if you are running 50% science and 50% cash on your science slider, each of your commerce cities will need science buildings to get the most out of that 50% science (Library, University, Observatory, etc). In order to get the most out of the 50% cash, each of your commerce cities will need to have Marketplaces, Grocers and Banks.

If you are running a specialist economy, you can put science buildings in cities A, B and C while putting cash buildings in cities D and E. That lets you build only the buildings you need in the cities where you need them.

The fact that the high food output of your cities allows you to whip the buildings effectively and then regrow quickly means that those low production commerce cities can still get those multiplier buildings in spite of the fact that they have no significant production outside of that one plains forest. :)

Being able to skip buildings in many of your cities is a very nice bonus for the Specialist Economy.

DaveMcW
Aug 20, 2007, 12:29 PM
At 50% science, the optimal buildings for a cottage city are zero! ;)

Having extra food/hammers to build stuff is simply a bonus.

JackOfClubs
Aug 20, 2007, 08:40 PM
One thing that I would like to see added to the initial post is the impact of city specialization on the SE vs. CE.

Under a CE, if you are running 50% science and 50% cash on your science slider, each of your commerce cities will need science buildings to get the most out of that 50% science (Library, University, Observatory, etc). In order to get the most out of the 50% cash, each of your commerce cities will need to have Marketplaces, Grocers and Banks.

If you are running a specialist economy, you can put science buildings in cities A, B and C while putting cash buildings in cities D and E. That lets you build only the buildings you need in the cities where you need them.

Doesn't this sentence (from the General Tips and Advice section) pretty much cover that?
New cities only need Granary, Library and possibly Courthouse. Any other buildings are secondary.

zenspiderz
Sep 22, 2007, 06:15 AM
I haven't read the whole thread so forgive me if i am repeating points already made.

SE is super versatile - there are so many ways to play it that no single guide can encompass the possibilities. I am not knocking the guide; it is a good a place to start as any. But i must debunk the idea that certain traits, tech priorities, wonders etc are necessary or even always useful to a SE.

One game i played recently should show a SE need not be played anything like how it is presented in the guide.

Togu of japan earth map historical starting place running an SE.

Basic strategy - Hardcore in your face, nobodies friend, warmongering pillaging extortionist. Only researched for myself the military techs esp machinery for xbows, civil service for samuri, gunpowder for musketmen (agg/pro gives them 3 free promo), chemistry/military tradition for grenadiers. anything else needed was extorted from my vassals, rivals, and other assorted scum through war or threatened war. Liberalism is for sissies. thus even tho I was running by some estimates a sub-par SE because I had no super-science city (my capital was a coastal bureacratic heroic epic+west point super military naval city), no pyramids or great lib, I was still tech leader where it matters (military tech!) because I didn't waste beakers on uselss techs to get more beakers for more useless techs.

Only wonders built myself were;

- colosos (metal casting was a priority research tech for forges and i had copper so easy build) useful becuase I had lots of coastal cities and a source of extra cash not dependant on foriegn trade routes because during the entire game did i NOT open borders with anyone except vassals.

- thone of zeus (+100% war weariness for opponents made multiple waring easier and extorting from war much more lucrative) sometimes I declared war but make no effort to attack just sit back and let the AI panic themselves into servility just at the thought of a horde of sword weilding maniacs desending upon them at any moment so that in the end they cough up whatever it was I wanted from them without even fighting.

The extra GP from running specialists were mostly burned for golden ages for the cash/prod boost especially when a new military tech was aquired. Other than that one engineer I had rushed the ToZ wonder and the other I bulbed for gunpowder i think. GS made academies in commerce resource rich cities I captured or bulbed if something useful was available. Any sissy fagot great artists that dared appear in MY empire were raped, beaten, beheaded then eaten with a nice chianti hshshhshshhshsp.

Anyone who wants to say 'that's not a SE becuase you didn't build pyramids, or the great lib, you didn't have philosophical trait, didnt' run caste system, blah blah' can just tell me what i was running then! I didn't build a single cottage and all captured cottages were pillaged out of existence and then farmed or workshoped over.

Wodan
Sep 22, 2007, 08:52 AM
Sounds like a fun game, zenspiderz. :)

Wodan

zenspiderz
Oct 05, 2007, 08:06 PM
Sounds like a fun game, zenspiderz. :)

Wodan

Yeah it was and rather different from the games i normally play; I usually play as a peacenik builder type and shoot for culture or space vic. :lol:

- Comment on Article

Great lib is NOT an especially useful wonder for an SE and certainly not 'necessary'. For one big reason - biology is a bee-line priority for an SE and biology has scientific method as a pre-req. Sci-meth OBSOLETES the Great Lib! Biology is FAR FAR more useful to an SE than G Lib so don't want to put it off to save your precious G lib. Look at it this way 2 specialists cost you 4 food. so all the great lib does is save you 4 food per turn (wowee zowee!). In other words it is just an ordinary library that doesn't eat but costs more hammers. biology gives you +1 food per farm for every city in your empire which for farm heavy SE = hordes of 'free specialists', so the only way G lib is better than biology is if in your empire you have ONLY 1 city with less than 4 farms! if that is the case then you have already lost. If you build G Lib and you are running an SE you just have to accept obsoleting it early if you have any sense of proportion. IMHO Glib is a wopping great red herring for an SE. Actually it is better for an CE as CE are GP point poor and need all the help they can get for GS for academies.

Pyramids are much more powerful but you can do without them. BTW does anyone have any ideas for a constitution(representation) tech bee-line in case you don't build the pyrimids but still want representation as early as possible. (I know this venturing into 'advanced' SE strategies but indulge me.)

Wodan
Oct 06, 2007, 08:27 AM
Zenspiderz... the benefit of Great Library is that it is cumulative with the Library. Basically, it is a free city (in terms of research). If you have the Pyramids, you get an extra 18 beakers per turn at no cost to you. This is a significant benefit.

In addition, it's other signicant benefit is the scientist GPP. Since lightbulbing is so important to a SE, and since scientists lightbulb better than other types, putting the Great Library in your budding GP Farm can be a big boon.

That said, I agree with you that it is hardly "necessary". Especially since you now have to get an extra tech to get it, which reduces the argument of the 18 free beakers.

Wodan

zenspiderz
Oct 06, 2007, 09:38 PM
Zenspiderz... the benefit of Great Library is that it is cumulative with the Library. Basically, it is a free city (in terms of research). If you have the Pyramids, you get an extra 18 beakers per turn at no cost to you. This is a significant benefit.

In addition, it's other signicant benefit is the scientist GPP. Since lightbulbing is so important to a SE, and since scientists lightbulb better than other types, putting the Great Library in your budding GP Farm can be a big boon.

That said, I agree with you that it is hardly "necessary". Especially since you now have to get an extra tech to get it, which reduces the argument of the 18 free beakers.

Wodan

Well no wonder or anything in civ is really free. if you think of G lib as a free city you need to consider the hammer cost of G lib and compare it with the cost of making an extra city and putting a library in it. For simplicities sake we can say the hammer cost of a new city is x amout for a settler + y amount for a worker + z amount for a garrison and an optional missionary plus of course the hammer cost of building a library in it to run the 2 scientists. I don't know off hand what the hammer costs are but I am pretty sure the extra real city is MUCH cheaper than the g lib and in the end will do FAR more for your empire and won't obsolete ;) unless it gets razed of course :lol:

Ok the the g lib is nice to have especially if you have marble but it is worth bearing in mind that biology is FAR more important than the G lib. So if you build it do not try and hang on to it for longer by delaying sci meth for biology or you will lose much more than you gain.

Martinus
Oct 17, 2007, 06:29 AM
Well no wonder or anything in civ is really free. if you think of G lib as a free city you need to consider the hammer cost of G lib and compare it with the cost of making an extra city and putting a library in it.
Actually I'd say the new city is cheaper than that because building the library in it is "free" hammer-wise from the perspective of the original (settler or GL-building) city production, so all it costs you is time.

So basically it's a settler + garrison unit cost for the original city if you know what I mean.

Not to mention, you are not guaranteed to build the GL, and it means you need to detour to Aesthetics and Literature to get it.

While I have always tried to build GL when playing SE in the past, I think you convinced me. :)

Roxlimn
Oct 17, 2007, 07:12 AM
New cities cost maintenance. The only real way you can determine the maintenance impact on your economy is to mark the money you make before and the money you make after. This is because new cities appear to boost maintenance costs Civ-wide, so they cost more than simply their own listed maintenance costs on the city tally corner.

A GL is great to build because it doesn't cost maintenance, and the science produced by its two Scientists will automatically get boosted by whatever science booster you already have in place in that city. Moreover, the two Scientists there will actually contribute meaningful GP points, whereas two Scientists in some third rate city probably won't ever see a use for their generated GPPs.

zenspiderz
Oct 17, 2007, 07:20 AM
New cities cost maintenance. The only real way you can determine the maintenance impact on your economy is to mark the money you make before and the money you make after. This is because new cities appear to boost maintenance costs Civ-wide, so they cost more than simply their own listed maintenance costs on the city tally corner.

A GL is great to build because it doesn't cost maintenance, and the science produced by its two Scientists will automatically get boosted by whatever science booster you already have in place in that city. Moreover, the two Scientists there will actually contribute meaningful GP points, whereas two Scientists in some third rate city probably won't ever see a use for their generated GPs.

Yes that is true. But I think my point still stands that the importance of a biology bee-line (in most circumstances) outways the usefulness of glib which is made obsolete by sci-meth. So while building it has its uses the SE in particular should not overemphasise the Glib as a priority build and certainly shouldn't delay sci-meth to keep it.

Wodan
Oct 17, 2007, 09:31 AM
It's definitely true that the BtS tech path changes made the Great Library less useful. You're exactly right zenspiderz that other alternatives exist, and have gained in their relative strength of benefit. Analysis and discussion of them is a good thing.

Wodan

Roxlimn
Oct 17, 2007, 09:42 AM
Personally, I've run SEs with any number of Wonder combinations and they didn't seem to be superior one to the other. While I wouldn't say "you must get Great Library in an SE," I wouldn't go so far as to say that simply building a new city would be equivalent. It's not.

I never delay Scientific Method just to keep two measly Scientists in one city. That's preposterous. You stand to gain so much more from the research of Biology soon after.

CHEESE!
Dec 02, 2007, 04:34 PM
In BtS how would Suleiman with his imp/phi traits? For quick SCs..

hubutz
Feb 25, 2008, 02:09 AM
May i ask a simple but maybe silly question?

What means SSC? Is the starting city meant by that? I'm sorry if that is answered anywhere inbetween, didn't find it and i'm not that andvanced in all that abbreviations and terms.

Thanks a lot and cheers,
hubutz

VoiceOfUnreason
Feb 25, 2008, 08:50 PM
What means SSC?

Super
Science
City

More specifically, it is a city designed for superlative research rates at the expense of everything else. For instance, the sort of place where you would rather have two monasteries than a forge or a courthouse.

For more specifics, search for one of the city specialization guides.

hubutz
Feb 26, 2008, 01:38 AM
Ehm, okay. I'm to dumb *ggg* could have get that abbreviation too. The whole article is about that :)

Thanks for your help!

AZSportsFan
Oct 20, 2008, 04:48 PM
Good guidelines and discussion here. I am late to the party, but at least I made it. :)

My main struggles with erecting a SE is in happiness moreso than anything else. Micromanaging the early happiness gets a little tedious. I guess I could forego a SE unless there are happy resources in abundance, but then that isn't any fun either...

Wodan
Oct 21, 2008, 05:40 AM
Why does getting more happiness require micromanagement?

-- Go conquer a city with a new luxury resource = empire wide happiness boost

-- Alt-click (I think) on a city and you can add a temple or theatre to the queue of all your ciites.

RRRaskolnikov
Oct 23, 2008, 10:08 AM
Hi AZSporstFan,

when going SE, you should try an early push to drama and try using the cultural slider. As the research output is less commerce sensitive in a SE (as opposed to CE), moving up the cultural slider and down the research slider won't affect much your research... but it will allow you to grow your cities a lot (with theaters and coliseums) and then to run a lot of scientists in caste system :goodjob:.

Cheers,

raskolnikov

The Almighty dF
Jan 11, 2009, 03:23 AM
Sorry to bump after so long but...
Wouldn't Charismatic be a great trait in conjuction with Philosophical for an SE?

1. Early happiness boost (small, but every little bit counts)
2. Late game happiness boost (wards off the :mad: you get for still using caste system.)
3. Great military trait, and as you've already stated, philosophical goes well for warmongering.

QuixotesGhost
Jan 16, 2009, 04:55 PM
I know everyone says OMG, Liberalism! But I've been having success climbing through Guilds for Gunpowder, Bulbing Chemistry, and then massacring the world with my horde of Grenadiers produced from my 4 or 5 hammer workshops.

I understand how ridiculously powerful a lot of the national wonders (like Oxford) become in an SE, but it's hard to pass up the raw hammer advantage that early Guilds and Chemistry give you. Plus boosting your happy cap with Notre Dame (Engineering is required for Chemistry) and your health cap with Grocers are very nice.

Unless I need to start some Irrigation chains, Civil Service starts to look unattractive to me in an SE (Yes, I know I should cottage my capitol but even then I'll probably be running the slider much lower than in a CE and I can get my cash from city taking, also if I touch the culture slider that commerce gets wasted). The other choice for Paper is Theology, and if I ignore Civil Service I can take Vassalage instead of Theocracy for the +2 exps.

Yes, Liberalism gives you a free tech. But Chemistry + Guilds gives me THE WORLD :satan:!

[Ninja Edit]
Whether or not you get the 'mids probably plays a big role. Without the 'mids you have to grab Constitution ASAP, so need Liberalism to grab Nationalism or Constitution. Doubly so, because IIRC neither of those techs are easy bulbs. Whereas if you got the 'mids you only need Biology and everything in the Biology chain bulbs with Great Scientists; Printing Press, Chemistry, Scientific Method, and Biology itself. So if you have the 'mids you can afford to hold off on Liberalism for a period of military dominance.
[/Edit]



Also, on combating late game Emancipation unhappiness - I find parks work a treat, because SEs don't have to chop as much, here's why:

SEs are generally better off hammer-wise than CEs. Early game, they can whip more because they don't have to worry about working cottages and have more food. Mid-game the aforementioned awesome workshops start coming into their own. Plus, SE have less buildings to build because they generally only need either +science or +gold not both like a CE. Additionally, SEs work less tiles and so don't have to clear-cut to make way for cottages. And also you probably want to keep those forests around for the health bonus because your cities are bigger. And finally, more forests mean a better National Park when it comes online.

Also, quick question - is there a guide anywhere which outlines what can be bulbed with what Great People? I'm pretty solid on what I can do with Great Scientists and Prophets, but I'm a bit murkier on the other ones. I just recently found out I can bulb Metal Casting with a GMerchant - very nice if I pop him from the Great Lighthouse.

Wouldn't Charismatic be a great trait in conjuction with Philosophical for an SE?

I agree it would be, but it comes with Lincoln who has a really late UB and UU - I'd prefer earlier ones to magnify the early game advantage of an SE.

Wodan
Jan 17, 2009, 07:15 AM
Hope you don't mind I'm going to nitpick here a bit. ;)

I understand how ridiculously powerful a lot of the national wonders (like Oxford) become in an SE, but it's hard to pass up the raw hammer advantage that early Guilds and Chemistry give you.
You mean if you go the workshop route? Not all types of SE use workshops. The main synergy there would be with Caste System, and of course not all SEs use CS.

Unless I need to start some Irrigation chains, Civil Service starts to look unattractive to me in an SE (Yes, I know I should cottage my capitol but even then I'll probably be running the slider much lower than in a CE
A CE is getting more raw commerce period, so saying the slider is lower (to get cash) is a apples-to-oranges comparison.

and I can get my cash from city taking,
I generally find I can conquer cities MUCH faster than my expenses, so running a deficit economy doesn't work for me. I always have to have some other plan to get the majority of my maintenance.

also if I touch the culture slider that commerce gets wasted).
Agreed. If you're running Bureaucracy with cottages in your capitol to get gold with low research slider, and ALSO choose to use the culture-slider strategy, then this is suboptimal. Generally I would do one or the other, not both at once.

The other choice for Paper is Theology, and if I ignore Civil Service I can take Vassalage instead of Theocracy for the +2 exps.
Vasslage is nicer for the unit support more so than the +2XP, IMO. But the high maintenance tends to make it a wash, unless you're also Organized.

Keep in mind you may need Civil Service for Nationalism, if you didn't get the Pyramids.

Whether or not you get the 'mids probably plays a big role. Without the 'mids you have to grab Constitution ASAP
Depends on if you're doing a SE->CE switch strat. If not, then yes the earlier you get Constitution the better.

so need Liberalism to grab Nationalism or Constitution.
If you go for Liberalism, you get a free tech, valued at either 1800 or 2000, but you have to get Education and Liberalism, at total cost of 3200. Doesn't seem like such of a bargain to me. So, you can go from Philosophy to Nationalism to Constitution, and get Education after your specialists are getting double research.

On the flip side, having earlier Universities is a benefit. Generally there's no problem getting to Liberalism first, especially if you lightbulb Philo and Education. But, this DOES cost you 2 of your GP, and requires you to run scientists rather than another type of SE.

A lot of times I'll make this decision based on whether I get the Pyramids. If I do, then I may go for Liberalism, but I *won't* necessarily use it on Nationalism or Consitution (unless I want to waste time going to get the Statue of Liberty). But, more often than not I'll run a priest SE or, rarely, a merchant SE, engineer SE, or mixed SE.

Otherwise, I'll generally run all scientists, bulb Philo and Education, and yes use Liberalism on Nationalism or Consitution.

Doubly so, because IIRC neither of those techs are easy bulbs. Whereas if you got the 'mids you only need Biology and everything in the Biology chain bulbs with Great Scientists; Printing Press, Chemistry, Scientific Method, and Biology itself. So if you have the 'mids you can afford to hold off on Liberalism for a period of military dominance.
Depends on if you're doing a bulb heavy game I suppose. Bulbing becomes less and less powerful as the techs become more and more expensive. At some point, its often better to either settle Great Scientists in your Oxford city, or else run a mixed SE and save most of your GP for golden ages. 'course, continuing to bulb is just about as good. But I wouldn't go out of my way much.

Also, on combating late game Emancipation unhappiness - I find parks work a treat,
Yep they can be nice, but it's tough to have forests in all your cities even if you leave them there all game, thus you end up with some happy cities and some which are really hurting. An empire-wide solution to happiness is preferable IMO to having half my cities with 2-3 unhappy people.

because SEs don't have to chop as much, here's why:

SEs are generally better off hammer-wise than CEs.
I find it's about the same.

Early game, they can whip more because they don't have to worry about working cottages and have more food.
When I run a CE I usually supplement food resources with a couple of farms. This allows my CE to whip early just as effectively as a SE. Later, when whipping gradually loses its effectiveness, I stop whipping in both my CE and SE (for the same reasons). Two grassland tiles can support either two farms and one specialist OR two cottages.

So generally I find the "SE can whip better" argument to not be true.

If the CE ignores farms then yes. But, this allows the CE to grow faster, work more cottages and get more and earlier Towns, and the CE can still whip when it reaches the cap. So that, too, seems a wash to me. More hammers or more early commerce? Tough decision. Again, I generally resolve that dilemma by doing a couple of early farms in my CE cities. All it costs is worker turns, and getting free workers from my hapless neighbors can help. :lol:

Mid-game the aforementioned awesome workshops start coming into their own.
Agreed, but a CE will get Universal Suffrage about then, which gives hammers plus allows commerce to be exchanged for hammers.

Plus, SE have less buildings to build because they generally only need either +science or +gold not both like a CE.
Agree there. Though it's not always that clear cut because you often need the low end buildings (market & grocer) for happy and health. Also, a SE will usually choose the +science buildings, but you need some money and have to build a half dozen banks to get Wall Street. If you're doing a priest SE you can get tons of shrines, and that's about the only time I find myself skipping banks altogether.

Additionally, SEs work less tiles and so don't have to clear-cut to make way for cottages.
Agreed.

And also you probably want to keep those forests around for the health bonus because your cities are bigger.
Yes, agreed. Though, again, getting an empire-wide solution is preferable. (Such as running Environmentalism or conquering more health resources.)

And finally, more forests mean a better National Park when it comes online.
This is just ONE city... a CE can save a heavy forest city (and use it as an early game production city for units or wonders) just as easily as a SE.

Also, quick question - is there a guide anywhere which outlines what can be bulbed with what Great People?
Yep, several of them. Try this
http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=140952

Bottom line, there are a half dozen good SE tactics. Each game using a SE will use some of these tactics, never all of them. That makes different SE strategies possible.

You describe one such strategy. Pretty well, actually (most people, probably me included, tend to gloss over the details of a strategy). The other strategies are equally as powerful, if not more so, in my experience. Just me. :)

fed1943
Jan 18, 2009, 07:47 AM
One advantage of SE I never found written, is the special rule about culture slider to
happiness: just the % counts, not the final number.
So, one gets the same, cheaper.
Best regards,

QuixotesGhost
Jan 21, 2009, 05:05 AM
I've been thinking about cottaging the capitol with bureaucracy in an SE and the more I think about it the less I like it.

By taking Civil Service you've started your way up the Paper -> Education -> Liberalism path. This means lots of +%science modifers and no gold modifiers.
And with an SE you are devoting more of your slider towards gold. So, in essence you've devoted what is often your best city site to the least efficient part of your economy (for a time).

I'd prefer to run cottages in cities that were founded later or captured (and the AI has helpfully worked for you), save my capitol for Oxford/National Epic (assuming that its the best site, which it often is) and lots of specialists. Plus I've found that because the capitol site is generally awesome, the Great Library/National Epic get built faster there than anywhere else giving you a bit of a jump start on churning out those Great People. Plus considering your early wonders were often built at your capitol, the National Epic gets even more points fed into it.

I won't deny that the +50% hammer bonus is really nice, and making your capitol your Ironworks city could get really nuts. But cottages? I'd prefer to hold off till Liberalism for Free Speech and run cottages (with a workshop or two to make up for the lack of US) in my outer cities while keeping my core cities in workshop or specialist mode. It's generally one of these outer cities that gets selected for Wall Street. Also, If I manipulate the culture slider the culture gets pumped directly to my commerce cities on the border where it gets put to the most use. Free speech is also nice for warmongering to get culture up fast in newly captured cities.

I know the capitol can be moved, but that's often an expensive investment. TBH, I'd rather just wait for Free Speech, save myself the bother and turn of anarchy.

After typing this post out, I read your guide on using a bureaucratic capitol /w Wall Street to support your entire empire. It's interesting and I'll experiment with it the next couple games; but I like capturing enemy cities primarily for the fact they have villages and towns ready to go.

If I'm not mistaken you play on Deity right, Wodan? I play on Emperor myself so I imagine the maintenance costs are a lot more punishing for you. I find that trade routes and the odd commerce city are enough gold-wise, since as long as I can support my culture slider and my army I'm good. I do run into trouble when amassing armies for war in pacifism (I have to normally drop out of it), so I suppose the extra gold could be put to use there.

Wodan
Jan 21, 2009, 08:36 AM
My two cents....

One of the nice things about SE is that there are so many ways to do it. Many different tactics you can use. And all of them are quite powerful. Generally when someone runs a SE they are using 3 or 4 of the tactics which have synergy with each other.

So if you got the impression I was saying something like "you always cottage your capitol in a SE" then I gave you the wrong impression and I apologize.

One big question you don't really address is where is your GP Farm. If it is in your capitol, then I agree the scenario you describe is a good tactic. However, often you want a specialist GP Farm, which probably should be in the city where you have the most food, which may be your capitol, or may be elsewhere. Also, I believe the Palace costs one of your 2 national wonders, so that means you can't put the NE *and* Oxford in your capitol. Which right there is plenty of argument to have it somewhere else.

Having a production GP farm is a strong strategy that a lot of people overlook. Having your capitol be a production city cranking out wonders while you putting Oxford in a high food city will give you a strong science city, but you'll lose on some GPP (because your capitol with NE will surely be making more GPP than your super science city). That can be ok though. Probably compensated by getting your NE running earlier.

As for civil service, you surely need civil service for irrigation, so I wouldn't bias yourself on that, if it was me.

You're correct that Liberalism is somewhat useless to a SE, but you can use the free tech to get something such as Nationalism or Chemistry.

Education is lightbulbable by a Great Scientist, while the other techs you are pursuing almost certainly are not. Since Great Scientists are most likely what you have (unless you're doing a priest SE or some other type), then that is the most efficient lightbulb you're going to get (Great Scientists lightbulb give more beakers than any other type of GP). Efficient = more beakers. Which is the issue you're having (that Education/Liberalism are beakers you might spend better elsewhere).

You're correct that you surely don't want to use the cottaged capitol tactic when you are also going to be using the culture slider tactic, so I agree there. That doesn't mean one is necessarily better than the other. For example, if you have a lot of luxury resources, or if you're running a priest SE, then you don't really need the culture slider tactic.

Bravo for being willing to experiment!

I almost always play on Immortal. I experiment too much to play on Diety. Diety you have to be nose-to-the-grindstone focused and I find that not as much fun.

QuixotesGhost
Jan 21, 2009, 11:25 AM
One big question you don't really address is where is your GP Farm. If it is in your capitol, then I agree the scenario you describe is a good tactic. However, often you want a specialist GP Farm, which probably should be in the city where you have the most food, which may be your capitol, or may be elsewhere. Also, I believe the Palace costs one of your 2 national wonders, so that means you can't put the NE *and* Oxford in your capitol.

That might be the case if you move the palace (I think I've only moved it once), but I've built two national wonders in my natural capitol many times before (often Oxford and National Epic). OU is normally paired with National Epic so my science city is my GP farm (wherever it is). Wall Street is normally paired with the National Park if there is a suitable site or a shrine city or a commerce city that's doing well for itself.

One reason I balk at cottaging the capitol is that good commerce cities sites are pretty common, but the capitol is often prime real estate which can be put to better uses. Going SE frees you from the shackle of having to cottage it. If there's more food elsewhere, sure, OU and NE go there, but even still - most capitol sites have the ability run a lot of specialists and/or be great production-wise. One could even use bureaucracy for the +hammer side instead of the +commerce side, build the ankor wat there, use priest specialists to supplement production, and then settle those specialists into the city your prepping for Wall Street. Hell, you could even settle them back into the capitol, and build Wallstreet there for one of the goofiest city setups ever - the Wall Street/Ironworks city.

Education is lightbulbable by a Great Scientist, while the other techs you are pursuing almost certainly are not. Since Great Scientists are most likely what you have (unless you're doing a priest SE or some other type), then that is the most efficient lightbulb you're going to get (Great Scientists lightbulb give more beakers than any other type of GP). Efficient = more beakers. Which is the issue you're having (that Education/Liberalism are beakers you might spend better elsewhere).

Don't get me wrong, Early Liberalism is great - I just see it advertised as the One True Tech Path on these forums too often. Oxford is even more important to a Specialist economy than a Cottage Economy so the focus on that tech path is justified. I was just trying to point out that the hammer bonuses from Guilds and Chemistry can be powerful as well and is worth a consideration for teching. I personally like war around that time, because the Renaissance is around the time that the SE's star is starting to fade in comparison to the CE's. Why transition to a cottage economy when you can just capture your opponents towns?

As for civil service, you surely need civil service for irrigation, so I wouldn't bias yourself on that, if it was me.

Sometimes but not always. Like I mentioned in my first post, if I need irrigation Civil Service starts to look much more attractive. Or alternatively I can just cottage the cities that would otherwise need irrigation for specialists and let them produce gold for me.

I almost always play on Immortal. I experiment too much to play on Diety. Diety you have to be nose-to-the-grindstone focused and I find that not as much fun.

I like to experiment too. In fact, I'm currently trying to make the exact opposite of that bureaucracy tactic work with Elizabeth - nothing but Merchants in the GP farm, and then settle them back in for more merchant specialists to push that slider as high as I can. I think I might be far too addicted to Great Scientists tho.

Also I'm curious about this "priest economy". People keep referencing it, but I haven't seen it described in detail (I apologize if it has and I overlooked it).

Wodan
Jan 21, 2009, 12:29 PM
That might be the case if you move the palace (I think I've only moved it once), but I've built two national wonders in my natural capitol many times before (often Oxford and National Epic). OU is normally paired with National Epic so my science city is my GP farm (wherever it is). Wall Street is normally paired with the National Park if there is a suitable site or a shrine city or a commerce city that's doing well for itself.
Hmm, I'll have to check that out then. Maybe the Palace doesn't count against your 2 per city. Good to know. If so, then sure Oxford + NE in capitol would be a good idea, either with food + scientists or with cottages / Bureaucacy.

Oxford + NP is pretty strong, if you're running Caste.

One reason I balk at cottaging the capitol is that good commerce cities sites are pretty common, but the capitol is often prime real estate which can be put to better uses.
It's not a zero sum game.

What this boils down to is, assuming you're running Bureaucracy in the first place, whether you're going to mine & workshop your capitol, or cottage it. Whether you value the hammers more or the commerce.

Your argument could just as easily be turned around: good production sites are pretty common, and the capitol could be put to better use generating commerce.

Going SE frees you from the shackle of having to cottage it. If there's more food elsewhere, sure, OU and NE go there, but even still - most capitol sites have the ability run a lot of specialists and/or be great production-wise.
If not running Bureaucracy, then sure, farm the capitol, and run tons of specialists with NE. That's strong too.

Don't get me wrong, Early Liberalism is great - I just see it advertised as the One True Tech Path on these forums too often.
Oh I totally agree there!

Not just the Liberalism race... people tend to play the same game every time. To me that's boring as all get out.

Oxford is even more important to a Specialist economy than a Cottage Economy so the focus on that tech path is justified.
I disagree... Oxford is important to some SEs. A distributed SE does not need Oxford so much. Sure, it helps. But you're talking about an essential / key element. Which to me is when you have a super science city with tons of specialists or cottages, driving 50% or more of your total research.

I was just trying to point out that the hammer bonuses from Guilds and Chemistry can be powerful as well and is worth a consideration for teching.
Agreed!

I personally like war around that time, because the Renaissance is around the time that the SE's star is starting to fade in comparison to the CE's.
Also you're probably getting infrastructure to the point where you can support a major war of conquest.

Why transition to a cottage economy when you can just capture your opponents towns?
Well that, too, would be transitioning to a CE or at worst a hybrid, no? ;)

To truly leverage global elements such as civics (Free Speech etc) you get the most benefit out of transitioning. Combined with the decreased value of GP this is a strong option to consider.

Regardless, not all games are conducive to always having a midgame war of conquest. Terrain, or politics, or heck your mood might dictate against it.

Sometimes but not always. Like I mentioned in my first post, if I need irrigation Civil Service starts to look much more attractive. Or alternatively I can just cottage the cities that would otherwise need irrigation for specialists and let them produce gold for me.
Personally I only do that if I know I plan to transition to CE. Otherwise it is a waste because it's simultaneously running cottages at less than optimum benefit as well as running specialists at less than optimum benefit. If you do this across your empire then your total efficiency is going to be worse than your opponent who is running a pure CE or pure SE. I would rather utilize those irrigation-less cities as production cities or run max specialists, until I get Civil Service.

I like to experiment too. In fact, I'm currently trying to make the exact opposite of that bureaucracy tactic work with Elizabeth - nothing but Merchants in the GP farm, and then settle them back in for more merchant specialists to push that slider as high as I can. I think I might be far too addicted to Great Scientists tho.
I've done that... it's a good strat. Good with Elizabeth because of Stock Exchange of course.

Also I'm curious about this "priest economy". People keep referencing it, but I haven't seen it described in detail (I apologize if it has and I overlooked it).
Random thoughts. Best with Egypt. Get Stonehenge if you can, otherwise you will want to build obelisks so you can run priests. Pyramids is essential regardless (because you're not running scientists). So Ramses (Ind) is a good choice, especially if you have stone. Get your War Chariots and then go for religions. Run priests in each city. Oracle + 1 prophet will get you Theo and CL too. (You have to make sure you get Writing at some point because it's a prereq, make sure you get it before Oracle comes in.) So you can probably get the Monothism religion plus Theo and CoL, followed by Divine Right, even though you're likely to miss out on the first two (Meditation and Polytheism). That's 4 shrines. If you spread your missionaries right you have a strong chance of getting at least 3 of them founded in the same city. You're generating tons of Prophets so be sure and found those shrines. Obviously that becomes your money city with Wall Street.

Meanwhile, prioritize Angkor obviously. For kicks switch to your newest religion just before you build the AP, means the AIs won't be able to mooch much of your AP bonuses, though they'll be more antagonistic. (I usually say "bring it on" because the Priest SE is so hammer heavy you can churn out units like there's no tomorrow.)

Build AP monastery + temple in all cities for +4 hammers. Each priest also is +2 hammers. That's tons of free hammers.

End of brain dump. Enjoy :thumbsup:

georgjorge
Apr 20, 2010, 07:13 AM
It's mentioned that a specialist economy should be at war most of the time, but I don't understand why it would profit from pillaging or taking cities any more than another type of economy - I mean, everyone could use some extra gold or cities. What am I missing here?

jm4civ4
Apr 20, 2010, 07:41 AM
my understanding is that the Spec Econ lends itself well to warmongering, if YOU so choose

Wodan
Apr 20, 2010, 08:15 AM
IMO the main advantage is that it's easier to have conquered cities "pay for themselves" (i.e., give you more than they cost in terms of maintenance) because it's easier to get a specialist (whatever the type) than mature Towns. In fact, you usually can immediately run specialists because a Market or whatever will carry over. A single merchant, under Representation, will give you more than the maint. you're incurring from the new city (plus # of cities increases).

The alternative is a crapshoot... sometimes you'll get hamlets or towns in a captured city, sometimes not.

So, from these perspectives, it's not like a CE, trade economy, etc can't warmonger, it's just slightly less harmful to your economy with a SE.

I do agree, "SE should be at war most of the time" is not accurate.

TheWilltoAct
Apr 20, 2010, 01:03 PM
Nice to see a post from you Wodan.

Wodan
Apr 20, 2010, 01:59 PM
thx ;)

georgjorge
Apr 23, 2010, 10:29 AM
IMO the main advantage is that it's easier to have conquered cities "pay for themselves" (i.e., give you more than they cost in terms of maintenance) because it's easier to get a specialist (whatever the type) than mature Towns. In fact, you usually can immediately run specialists because a Market or whatever will carry over. A single merchant, under Representation, will give you more than the maint. you're incurring from the new city (plus # of cities increases).

The alternative is a crapshoot... sometimes you'll get hamlets or towns in a captured city, sometimes not.

So, from these perspectives, it's not like a CE, trade economy, etc can't warmonger, it's just slightly less harmful to your economy with a SE.

I do agree, "SE should be at war most of the time" is not accurate.


Thanks for the explanation! From various posts, it sounded like a SE should consider lengthy low-level wars with lots of pillaging, and I couldn't really understand why that would be...


I'm currently trying something like a "reverse Specialist Economy" around not the Philosophical but the Industrious trait. The idea is not getting a lot of early specialists and getting a quick tech lead, but building a lot of wonders in one city and getting a lot of specialists in the mid-game to beef up a standard cottage economy. This strategy benefits a lot from the Great Wall because you'll often be behind in tech in the medieval era which is where espionage from a Great Spy is the strongest, then with the help of the specialists surge forward in the Rennaisance era and afterwards. So the point where you get ahead in tech is later comes later, and an Infantry war might be more suitable than Rifles/Cannons. I found that with Industrious, wonderspamming is possible even on the highest levels without underexpanding (more precisely, high upkeep doesn't let you expand all that much anyway so might as well build some wonders...). It's been a fun strategy for me so far.

Wodan
Apr 23, 2010, 03:37 PM
Good for you (seriously)...

You're talking about a GP Farm, not a SE.

Most people seem to think "GP Farm" is synonymous with "a bunch of specialists in one high food city" but that's not the case. The high-:hammers: production city chugging out wonders can very well crank out a ton of GPP.

MaoTseTung80mil
May 23, 2010, 12:51 PM
Really love this thread. I'm going to do this tonight and crush my enemies. Just one quick correction. Those research icons are flasks, not beakers. Erlenmeyer flasks.

TheMeInTeam
May 26, 2010, 08:58 PM
This guide is definitely incomplete without a link to the games played by Unconquered_Sun...Justinian University (IIRC) and BOTM 10 (definitely). It's one thing to talk about the short-term benefits of specs over cottages. It's completely another to have tanks by 1300 AD without pyramids or any material amount of cottages...

SillyGoat
May 26, 2010, 09:38 PM
Unconquered_Sun's BOTM 10 write up can be found here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=292211&page=3 starting at post #45 for the first part of his game.

The second part can be found here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=294282&page=3 starting at post 50.

His Justinian University Thread can be found here: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=242211

CivilizedTiger
May 27, 2010, 05:11 AM
I wonder... would there be enough demand for a SE game series? I'd like to become good at this strategy, because then I'd be able to best play as one of my two favourite leaders, Pericles. :) But in many games I make a mistake here or there and I usually get discouraged when the research rate is far lower than the one I'd have in a cottage game, so playing the same map along with others going for a SE would definitely help me. :D

And other than that, thank you for the links! :D Example games are always good.

Wodan
May 27, 2010, 05:21 AM
I especially enjoyed the, "You didn't build worker first? I would have thought that was a noob mistake!" ;)

SillyGoat
May 27, 2010, 09:06 AM
I wonder... would there be enough demand for a SE game series? I'd like to become good at this strategy, because then I'd be able to best play as one of my two favourite leaders, Pericles. But in many games I make a mistake here or there and I usually get discouraged when the research rate is far lower than the one I'd have in a cottage game, so playing the same map along with others going for a SE would definitely help me.

Based on the number of "xxx Club" games in the Strat forum, I'd say almost certainly "yes". :) Try starting up a thread there, and see what happens.


And other than that, thank you for the links! Example games are always good

NP. I spent some time last night (re)reading them as well. Highly enjoyable (and educational) reads.

I especially enjoyed the, "You didn't build worker first? I would have thought that was a noob mistake!"

:lol: There's a lot of "out of the box" thinking in US's Deity University thread. When I saw how far his first two settlers went.....wow.

georgjorge
May 27, 2010, 10:44 AM
I'd join for a game of such a series. Maybe set a certain point up to which we play - say, getting to Military Science and making lots of Cuirassiers ;) - to compare different approaches, and check the map to make sure it's somehow usable for a SE (enough food).


I'd love to play as Gandhi, but any Philosophical leader would be good really.

ReligionIsDumb
Mar 02, 2011, 01:53 PM
Ok, somebody help me out here. I can't seem to figure out how an SE can work without pyramids. My problem is primarily that early game, before monarchy, I am severely happiness limited. 5 in my capital, 4 elsewhere. So, I build two grassland farms in secondary cities and run 2 scientist when at max pop for a grand total of 6 beakers, and 6 GP points. I can use slavery to whip out buildings and troops when I need to and quickly grow back. Or I can build 4 cottages and whip back down every 10 turns or build them on plains to limit my growth. My capitol is food rich and I make it my GP factory in a cottage economy. After 10 turns, I am bringing in 8 commerce at max pop from my non-capitol cities and this only grows with time. If I am financial, that is 4 more, and if the squares are river-side I get an additional 2 over the SE because I am working two more of the river squares. With the SE, even if you have a philosophical leader, you are not getting anything over 6 beakers

Early game GP points are very powerful. You get about 5 beakers to the GP point if you lightbulb IF you get a GP from them. But each GP costs more GP points and the benefits of the GPs don't scale linearly with the GP points required to make them. My problem is that most of these cities are never going to produce a GP. I have GP points saved up from all these different cities that are basically wasted. The way I see it, GP points are valuable in the city with National EPIC and lots of food but basically worthless in all the others. On immortal difficulty, I successfully ran an SE with pyramids early using Frederick. By the time any city other than my capitol started getting GPs, it was late game and they were not worth much...paying 6000 GP points for +1500 tech is not worth much. And you have to wait for those GP points you invested in 3000 BC to actually produce a great person in 1440 AD because that is when it finally catches up to your capitol which has National Epic and lots of food.

Without the GP points, the specialists in your satellite cities are far less valuable than simple cottages. So it seems to make more sense to build a SE in your capitol and cottage your satellites, but this doesn't work so well with beuarocracy later on. So maybe cottage your capitol and make your first settler go to a good location for specialist production. Then cottage everything else. If you build GPs everywhere, you will still only get GPs wherever you built the national epic in the early game, and late game, the specialists will be far less valuable and you have to wait a damn long time to reap the benefits of those GP points you invested in 3000BC.

I can't seem to get past 1000 BC running a SE on diety. This is simply because I get my great scientists at the same rate as with the cottage economy (early game, i.e. just the ones from my capitol), but I don't have nearly as many beakers and gold because 6 beakers <<14 commerce. By 1000 BC, I am so far behind on tech that I can't trade my way back in. They have every tech I can research.

Perhaps I am missing something, but I can't get this to work at ALL without pyramids. Even if I have happy resources, I simply don't have the beakers to keep up with a cottage economy or the diety AI.

Wodan
Mar 02, 2011, 04:35 PM
Ok, somebody help me out here. I can't seem to figure out how an SE can work without pyramids.
Misc thoughts.
Trying to get Pyramids and failing is not bad. You get an excellent rate of return from the :gold: payoff, which you can use to run deficit research.
When you lightbulb a tech, critical points are to set up the tech you lightbulb by researching prerequisite techs in time, and then to trade the new tech to multiple AIs.
Tech path (order you choose to research) is kind of critical. You should not research techs in the same order that you do when you're running a CE.
City placement is different than a CE. Fresh water is important and food resources even more important.
The city governor by default will try to work mines. You don't necessarily want cities to do that, and you probably need to go into each city and manually adjust quite often. If you have the latest patch I think if you set it to emphasize food that'll do the trick, but verify.
Don't make stuff in cities that you don't need. For example, try a game making a Library in each city and that's it. It's tempting to make other stuff but until you do without it's easy to give into the temptation. See how the without works and in future games you will be better able to decide what each city really has to have. (And, in case it's not obvious, your city should be making Research after it's done with the library.)
Sounds like you need to recognize the difference between a serial SE and a parallel SE. Much of the techniques you mention are correct, and they are leading you in the direction of a serial SE. That is: One GP farm with NE in it, all other cities are either production cities or are cottage cities. However, that doesn't mean a parallel SE isn't possible. See below.
Perhaps you should experiment and polish your strategy on less than Deity. ;) Once you have it perfected, then go back up in level.

Parallel SE notes.
NE is not your friend in a parallel SE. Use the hammers you would have spent on it, on something else.

A parallel SE also can benefit (but does not have to have) from a single cottage city, usually the capitol running Bureaucracy (though a production city in the capitol with Bureaucracy is good as well).
Doing a SE->CE conversion is sometimes a good strategy. As each city creates a great scientist, "turn off" that city by sending in the workers en masse and cottaging the farms. This is especially powerful if you time it such that you're doing the conversion after you get Emancipation.

Mckertis
Sep 30, 2011, 10:42 AM
I dont know what this is, but what it ISNT is "a beginner's guide". It doesnt explain anything, i have no idea what i'm supposed to get out of this "guide".

Chode
Oct 24, 2011, 05:30 PM
So I'm just not getting anywhere with the SE. I make food heavy cities focus on specialists. I have the pyramids, Parthenon, great library, and angkor wat (and this is on Immortal, I'm really lucky to have gotten all of those.) But after education my tech stagnates and the AI outtechs me so far that I can't even manipulate tech trading to keep up. This has been happening for the past few games and I am losing every time.

I just don't really get when I should say "Oh, this situation would be great for specialists." or "Ah, this city would be perfect to have 8 scientists." How do I decide when not to drop cottages in every single town, and rely on specialists instead?

krikav
Oct 25, 2011, 06:11 AM
So I'm just not getting anywhere with the SE. I make food heavy cities focus on specialists. I have the pyramids, Parthenon, great library, and angkor wat (and this is on Immortal, I'm really lucky to have gotten all of those.) But after education my tech stagnates and the AI outtechs me so far that I can't even manipulate tech trading to keep up. This has been happening for the past few games and I am losing every time.

I just don't really get when I should say "Oh, this situation would be great for specialists." or "Ah, this city would be perfect to have 8 scientists." How do I decide when not to drop cottages in every single town, and rely on specialists instead?

I would suspect, that if you have all those wonders on immortal, you have sacrificed something else, perhaps to few cities?
Try to go down to monarchs, and play a game without building a single wonder, and see how it feels.

OneLeggedRhino
Oct 25, 2011, 07:11 AM
So I'm just not getting anywhere with the SE. I make food heavy cities focus on specialists. I have the pyramids, Parthenon, great library, and angkor wat (and this is on Immortal, I'm really lucky to have gotten all of those.) But after education my tech stagnates and the AI outtechs me so far that I can't even manipulate tech trading to keep up. This has been happening for the past few games and I am losing every time.

I just don't really get when I should say "Oh, this situation would be great for specialists." or "Ah, this city would be perfect to have 8 scientists." How do I decide when not to drop cottages in every single town, and rely on specialists instead?

Short answer: Get to Biology. It makes farms (the backbone of the SE) 2x as good.

Also: One of the main advantages of the SE is your ability to whip infrastructure, but also to specialize infrastructure. If you're going for a beakers-based SE, most cities should entirely skip the gold multipliers. That lets you run more scientists or build more troops. For me, the main advantage of SE isn't that it researches faster (it doesn't), it's that you get a stronger military. (Plus, it lets you run Vassalage for most of the game, which also gives a stronger military).

Long answer: Post a game and people will give you tips. Well, guess that was pretty short, but once you do it, it will become the long answer.

Dazie
Oct 25, 2011, 11:58 AM
An alternative: Utilize the power of the beakers from an SE to fund a slider-based EE, popping Gspys to build Scotland Yards. Maybe? lol I just love the EE.

Chode
Oct 25, 2011, 02:30 PM
I would suspect, that if you have all those wonders on immortal, you have sacrificed something else, perhaps to few cities?
Try to go down to monarchs, and play a game without building a single wonder, and see how it feels.

I have 22 cities. I'm not too worried about losing, but I still want to figure out the specialist economy. Other than that, this immortal game is going unusually well.

Keilah
Oct 27, 2011, 02:12 AM
IMO the SE is supposed to get you to the midgame-ish (education or shortly after) with a good lead, at which point you either make an army and capitulate people until you win, or you switch to cottages (sped up with emancipation).

mtr12
Nov 01, 2011, 10:40 PM
An alternative: Utilize the power of the beakers from an SE to fund a slider-based EE, popping Gspys to build Scotland Yards. Maybe? lol I just love the EE.

I don't see how you would use beakers to fund an EE...

Wodan
Nov 06, 2011, 03:25 AM
So I'm just not getting anywhere with the SE. I make food heavy cities focus on specialists. I have the pyramids, Parthenon, great library, and angkor wat (and this is on Immortal, I'm really lucky to have gotten all of those.) But after education my tech stagnates and the AI outtechs me so far that I can't even manipulate tech trading to keep up. This has been happening for the past few games and I am losing every time.

I just don't really get when I should say "Oh, this situation would be great for specialists." or "Ah, this city would be perfect to have 8 scientists." How do I decide when not to drop cottages in every single town, and rely on specialists instead?

Some questions:
-- are you running Representation?
-- what do you do with your great people?
-- what do you use for gold income?
-- what kind of specialists are you running?
-- what's the order of your first 20 techs?

Dazie
Nov 08, 2011, 08:36 AM
I don't see how you would use beakers to fund an EE...


What I mean is, when you run a SE, you don't need to use the science slider. Instead, you can crank up the espionage slider and steal the techs you avoid while beelining more important things.

mtr12
Nov 17, 2011, 02:36 AM
Also, after you get to Communism, you can replace your farms with SP Watermills and use Workshops to develop superpowered production cities if you want to go that way.