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How to use specialists effectively.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by salty mud, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. salty mud

    salty mud Deity

    Feb 21, 2006
    die Schweiz
    How do you use your specialists effectively? It seems to be that to gain a bonus from a specialist you must sacrifice either some food, hammers or commerce to gain the specialist, and this is only worthwhile in certain situations. For example, is it better to let a cottage grow to town, or to sacrifice that worker and instead get a scientist specialist? Downside is you lose a fair bit of commerce from the town, but the upside being the get a nice supply of beakers... doubled if you run representation, and with a Great Scientist coming along eventually to build an academy.

    So should specialists be micromanaged carefully, or left to the AI? And what about other specialists? Engineers I never seem to use, and the game has an obsession with placing the, in my opinion, rather useless priest specialist in many cities. A good reason not to let the AI automatically pick, I suppose.
  2. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

    Jan 15, 2009
    Bristol, England
    Part of ther decision is going to be made from your mid-long term goals, like are you going to run Universal Suffrage and Free Speech? If not then the value of cottages drops a lot as they will never reach their peak.
    Others will be smaller scale decisions varying from city specialisation (i.e. Production vs GP farm vs whipping/drafting), to what the city needs at that moment, hammers or GPP or yield from specs. The latter being something you will gain from experience.
    The yield of non rep specs is actually pretty poor and will be beaten by other tile improvments (mines/cottages) rather quickly. Unless of course those specialists lead to great people, and if they do they tend to completely overwhelm the yieldds of other improvements until GPs become expensive and less useful.

    With Rep however specs are a better alternative to other improvements until other improvements start maturing in the midgame, at least if you can feed them.
    Priests actually have the strongest yield of any specialist if you have Ankore Wat (2:hammers:, 1:gold:), which is why the AI likes assigning them when you have it, otherwise spies get picked first.....
    Engineers I use when I want a GE (duh!), or when I run out of tiles worth working and want some extra hammers and don't have AW Priest slots.

    Avoid letting the AI pick your specialists unless you are very comfortable with managing the city govenors. While they do compare yields in a reasonable way in most cases, when it comes to espionage, culture, city specialisation and the relative strengths of great people its completely clueless without guidance.
  3. Cheps

    Cheps Chieftain

    Oct 8, 2008
    Depends on the map, your economy, if you can run representation, Philosophical or not, etc. I usually run a lot of scientists from libraries early game, giving good early science, plus great scientists are very strong early game (bulb and academies). Then if most of my commerce comes from cottages I'll just have a single GP farm to generate all my GP. Later that GP farm will mostly run merchants, since gold generated + great merchant trade missions will help rising science slider for cottage cities. Of course if I don't use cottage and run specialist economy instead, it's a different story.

    And yes you should avoid any automation (worker, city, etc) if you want optimal results.
  4. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

    Sep 23, 2007
    Exiled from Fribbulus Xax
    I like to run specialists if I have surplus food or to generate Great People, the towns versus non-rep specialists is an unfair scenario although in general the specialists win if Great People are generated.

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