View Full Version : The Wealth of Civilizations

Oct 02, 2007, 08:29 PM
As everyone knows, in Civ 4, the ecomony allows you to do whatever you need to keep an empire running. From paying for matinence and colonial expenses to financing research, culture, and espionage, to paying unit upkeep to paying for civic upkeep, all these things are reliant on having a strong economy, which becomes more and more critical as you move up in level. Therefore, in this article I hope to outline some of the economies which people use and some examples and goals. Kinda like Sisiutil's trait rundown.

The Basic Economy

These 2 economies are the core of almost all of the other economic strategies, except perhaps trade route economy. The Cottage economy(CE) and Specialist Economy(SE) both have many loyal followers, and the battle rages on and on to determine which is superior.
And now, without further ado:

The Cottage Economy

The cottage economy, perhaps the most simple economy, involves laying down cottages, and lots of them, especially on rivers(as river tiles start with 1 :commerce: and gain 1 :hammers: from levees). to acess cottages, one needs to reasearch pottery. any civ can use the CE, but Financial civs gain the greatest benefit from CE, so they are the prefered trait to have when using this economy. CE's greatest strength comes in the late renaissance and early industrial ages, as that is the time when the Cottage related civics(i.e. Free Speech,Emancipation, Universal suffrage) come into play and give your economy a boost, along with printing press, which also gives you more commerce. the economy is usually used for a more peaceful game, aiming for cultural or space-race victory, due to the fast output of either science or culture.

For more info(and for almost all economies), look to the ALC's and EMC/IC for assistance with the execution and strategical level of all economies, as well as some SG's and other games that relate to the economy, which I cite below:

Power of rush buy Mansa Immortal (

The Specialist Economy
The specialist economy is the harder of the two basic economies to use, and the one with the most offshoots and different ways of play. I will get more in depth with that later, but this section will cover the basic SE as is generally understood. This economy is also refered to as the Food Economy(FE) by some, but the basic premise is that food can be used much more effectively to make production and science. Production via food is usually done by slavery, to directly convert food in the guise of population into raw hammers. Science is created via scientists rather than cottages, and the upshot of this is that you have become independent of the research slider(recall that the slider only converts commerce to beakers), and thus in theory can tech at a fairly steady rate with the slider at 0%. The use of Great scientists to bulb techs, generally along the liberalism path(i.e. paper, Philosophy, Education) allows you to spring ahed of your competition, giving you a tech lead that can lead to a lasting initiative that you can trade for the techs you may have skipped, should you need it. For this economy, Philo is often seen as the top trait, due to the faster output of GP, but Spiritual also allows you to switch civics as needed, so you can move into and out of slvery and caste system whenever you need to. SE is best used for early war, as the scientists produce science independent of the slider, therefore allowing your treasury to deal with the upkeep of your newly conquered lands.
By about the early industrial ages; SE will have lost alot of it's power, simply becuase techs are too big to bulb or research. At that point, you can either cottage up, or settle GS's in your super science city, and use that to push your economy through.

For more info:

SE: Surviving The Late Game (
A Beginner's Guide to the Specialist Economy(SE) (
Yet Another Immortal SE Walkthrough (

Oct 02, 2007, 08:30 PM
Reserved for Advanced Economies...

Oct 02, 2007, 08:31 PM
Reserved for off the beaten path economies...

Oct 02, 2007, 08:31 PM
Reserved just in case...

Oct 03, 2007, 03:59 PM
The "Espionage economy" is a new way myself and a few others on these boards have attempted to run an economy - it works really well if you play on a high difficulty level. I would say that the "espionage economy" is proportionately stronger the higher difficulty you play. Basically it involves stealing techs from neighbors for research and money.

Oct 03, 2007, 04:40 PM
Just as a plan for the next few updates, I plan to talk about how one can use a Cottage Espionage Economy, relying on the slider to create EP to use against the enemy. I also plan on a Merchant SE, a Spy SE, and a Religious economy. Most of those will be off the beaten path somewhat, especially espoinage, as that is a new feature that is still being evaluated in depth. More advanced Economies will include the transition economy, the Hybrid economy, Snatty's TE and Obsolete's SSE and WE. Otherwise, I hope that this can be one thread where most, if not all economic thought is encapsulated and presented in easy to read format for newer players.

Oct 03, 2007, 06:23 PM
^^ sounds great. The Trade Route economy should really have a place too because that is a lot more powerful in BtS than it used to be in vanilla.

Darth Meanie
Nov 15, 2007, 02:47 PM
This looks like it will be good, but there needs to be more work done

Nov 15, 2007, 04:24 PM
Yup, It's end of term and I am busy, But I will get back to this, especially when I have BtS.

Jan 14, 2008, 11:54 PM
For more info(and for almost all economies), look to the ALC's and EMC/IC for assistance with the execution and strategical level of all economies, as well as some SG's and other games that relate to the economy

What does this mean in English?



Jan 15, 2008, 12:56 AM
ALC > All Leader Challenge, by Sisiutil
EMC > Emperor something, by Aelf
IC > Immortal Challenge, by Aelf

These 3 are series of games played in the strategy forum; you can find them here. Also check Hackapell's recent thread ( containing a list of those games.

SG > Succession games; games played in succession by the different member of a team, formed for the occasion; see the story and tales's subforum "succession games".

Jan 15, 2008, 01:39 AM
Good thread! I like the reference threads you put up... For Emperor, Immortal and Deity play, I would go with SE economy and switching to slightly hybrid later on.

Jan 15, 2008, 07:10 AM
Thank you folks.


Sep 14, 2008, 02:20 PM
SE aren't FEs. FE's are Trade route economies in effect, or at least the first one was.

EDIT(In response to popst below): fair enough.

Sep 14, 2008, 02:51 PM
True, but remeber, the article isn't finished yet ( I need some more time) and the key word in the sentence is "by some".

Sep 14, 2008, 03:37 PM
Nice writeup on the whole, I'm sure this will become a useful reference.

However, there's a rather nasty and persistent fallacy: Equating the place of the commerce slider with the stress an economy faces, as in

...SE is best used for early war, as the scientists produce science independent of the slider, therefore allowing your treasury to deal with the upkeep of your newly conquered lands.

A specialist economy is actually less robust when it comes to maintenance hell. An empire the same size will have a comparable 'commerce' output but a higher population and consequently higher upkeep costs.
Having to run your research slider below 40% with a CE is equivalent to a SE needing to run 100% gold and needing to change some scientists to merchants.
Strain that reduces a CE to 10% would have crashed a SE entirely (similar output, higher upkeep, and part of the specialist output is always science if you run Representation).

I agree with the general attractiveness of a SE for a warlike approach though. The situation is very different when channeling the slider into culture is considered (e.g. to combat war weariness): In a cottage economy, doing so wrecks trade and cottage output. In a specialist economy, it only wrecks trade while the farms supporting specialists are unaffected.
Also, specialists can be whipped into military units instantly.

Sep 18, 2008, 08:04 AM
Too bad I didn't notice this thread earlier....

Those of you wanting to get this particular topic rolling again, please go to this thread:

It's essentially a strategy article in the fact-finding stage right now.