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Planting a Great Person

martindo

Warlord
Joined
Nov 20, 2023
Messages
172
This refers to the "science-based" set: Engineer, Merchant, Scientist. I confess that I played Civ 5 (vanilla) for years before I realized that an Engineer I was expecting to spawn soon was delayed significantly by the spawning of a Merchant or Scientist. Now, I will micro-manage the Great Person generation in top cities (e.g., empty a Market or Public School slot) in order to maximize their overall number and sequence.

Note: In Civ 6 (which I've played only a little), you manage all the Great Persons as a set by shifting "points" among them, but you're also competing with spawns by other players. If someone else spawns an Engineer before you do, yours will require more points, etc. One more reason to avoid Civ 6.

A critical question that arises in most versions is: expend the GP or plant (settle) it on a tile? Generally, in all game versions, I only plant Scientists because I prefer to save Engineers for wonder construction and dump Merchants for CS reputation and quick cash.

The calculation is fairly straightforward: Hover your mouse over the icon for expending the Scientist and see how many beakers you'd get. Compare that to the amount per turn x # turns you think the game will last before you win. Planting on a tile before turn 200 is an obvious choice if you expect another 200 turns. Even at turn 300, the multipliers (e.g., discovering Scientific Theory) will often make Academy the best choice: click on a city and hover your mouse over the Science production to see the various components of the total at present.

I prefer to plant on Grasslands to avoid slowing city growth, so generally I reserve 2 or 3 of those for Academy by keeping them undeveloped. I also avoid putting GP on tiles along the coast because they are easy for an invader to land on.
 
I usually play for domination victories on Deity, standard speed. My general strategy is to generate great scientists and avoid engineers. Typically go 1-2 Liberty - finish Honor, Commerce, Autocracy. I'll faith buy great merchants late in the game for the cash to buy CityState allies or mass buy units on the front.
First GS, is an obvious plant. Agree on planting with food in mind (planting on horses is a good strat I think, as I believe you lose less yields vs planting on open terrain).
Seconds GS though plant vs keep is a decision that needs to be made based on progress made in conquest to that point in the game. If it looks like you can win the game before the furthest AI get Flight (around 50-52 techs), then you'd keep the GS for bulbing, otherwise it makes sense to plant.
Third GS, I am keeping for key tech bulbs when the time comes: dynamite, flight, combustion or ballistics.
 
Keeping a Great Person alive costs money for maintenance each turn, though. I don't see the advantage of saving a GS for bulbing -- accelerating now seems better than accelerating later -- you'll get to Flight faster either way, unless you're worried about spying.
 
Keeping a Great Person alive costs money for maintenance each turn, though. I don't see the advantage of saving a GS for bulbing -- accelerating now seems better than accelerating later -- you'll get to Flight faster either way, unless you're worried about spying.
The level at which you are playing probably makes a difference. Aside from that, the amount of Science you get from bulbing a Great Scientist is not fixed. I can't remember (if I ever knew) what the calculations are, but clever players are able to use the overflow to get more Science. Similarly, the amount of Culture you can get from bulbing a Great Writer or Great Artist seems to be proportional to the amount of Culture you generated in the preceding turns. (Don't quote me on that -- it is complex and I've never fully understood it.) In short, I almost never plant a Great Person, but always save them (this is playing on Deity). I check most turns to see if the amount of Science I am going to get from bulbing (which increases each turn) is going to be enough to give me the next Tech. Typically, bulbing about six or seven turns before the next Tech will give it to you. I should probably read about how the Science overflow works, but I'm not a numbers man. The maintenance cost of a Great Person is negligible.

There is a very full explanation in this video:

 
I scanned via the scroll bar and didn't see any formulas or images! I can't believe a guy of his generation is doing Talking Heads (like legacy TV news) with all verbal explanations, and long like a TLDR.

I've noticed that GE generated in different eras end up being equal in value if I have 2 or 3: I saved before expending on a wonder and restarted to test which one gave more hammers, but all the same. So era isn't a factor in "value" of the GP. I also noticed that a GE will typically zap a 1250 wonder in a single turn. However, for Neuschwanstein, it's often not one of my top cities and might take as many as 10 turns after the GE -- so is the GE value determined by CITY production as well as your entire Civ's production?

I'd love to hear more about Immortal and Deity games that are played through with victory other than Dom. It seems that most of the aces who post are doing blitzkrieg wins, some even admitting that they'll get overwhelmed by AI tech if they wait until turn 200.
 
So era isn't a factor in "value" of the GP.
No, it isn't. As is explained in the video, the amount of Science or Culture generated by bulbing a Great Person is proportional to the amount of Science or Culture generated in the preceding 8 turns. So the amount is affected by various factors, such as whether you have been in a Golden Age for eight turns, have allied a Cultural City State for eight turns, have had a Research Lab or Public School in use for eight turns, and so forth.

In the ten years I've been playing Civ5 I've only had a couple of Great Engineers, so I don't know much about them. I think the ones I have had have been from getting the Pyramids early on. On Deity there are very few Wonders that you are ever going to be able to build (you can be lucky with the Pyramids, but not always), so you tend to try to capture them instead. Great Engineers are normally much less useful than Great Scientists.

I'd love to hear more about Immortal and Deity games that are played through with victory other than Dom.

On the rare occasions I've managed to beat Deity it has usually been by switching from Domination to a Science victory in the late game. It can be easier than trying to wade through the million cities that Montezuma (for example) tends to build all over the map.

I'd highly recommend playing on Deity -- it is a great way to learn about the game, strangely enough.
 
In the ten years I've been playing Civ5 I've only had a couple of Great Engineers, so I don't know much about them. I think the ones I have had have been from getting the Pyramids early on. On Deity there are very few Wonders that you are ever going to be able to build (you can be lucky with the Pyramids, but not always), so you tend to try to capture them instead. Great Engineers are normally much less useful than Great Scientists.
Yes, early Wonders like Stonehenge, Artemis, and Pyramids generate Great Engineers. IMO, getting 2 of these 3 is essential if you want to settle a desert city with Petra in it. By the time you research Currency, you probably have enough GE points to generate one, then you get Petra in a single turn for a city that is otherwise going to be hungry for food the whole game.

I appreciate the encouragement, having tried Deity briefly when I first got the game -- humbling defeat. I ventured into Immortal this week as Egypt and survived past turn 400 with Maya having both Space and Cultural victory imminent, even though warmonger Aztecs had a slightly higher score. I was surprised that money was abundant and happiness overflowing (after building Burial Tombs and choosing Asceticism as a Religion tenet). OTOH, techs were painfully slow, even with several AI Research Agreements. In such case, I think Submarines are a quick way to build a viable modern navy.
 
early Wonders like Stonehenge, Artemis, and Pyramids generate Great Engineers. IMO, getting 2 of these 3 is essential if you want to settle a desert city with Petra in it
Good luck trying to get Stonehenge on Deity! The AI has massive bonuses on Deity and they can build wonders in a fraction of the time that you can. Usually the only early wonder I will try for on Deity is the Pyramids, but I'm not sure it is advisable to do so. Even if you get it, it will set you back quite a way, and your army and/or your capital will not be as strong. The chances of getting Petra on Deity are also not very good, though it depends on the other Civs and how they are placed geographically.

Submarines are good, but the whole game dynamic changes with Flight. That is why the dominators talk about winning before T200 on a Standard map at Standard speed. Somebody is going to get Flight shortly after that, and if it is not you, you are going to get pounded remorselessly.

I would humbly encourage you to continue with the higher levels. I think you will learn a lot. It will probably teach you to be more efficient. I'm a lousy player, but when I go back to Immortal it seems far too easy compared with Deity. Some things are actually easier on Deity. The AIs have a lot more money, so you can sell them loads of stuff, and if you can get friendships you can also get loans from them, as well as lump sums for luxuries and resources. A luxury can be sold for 7 gpt (it will cost you 9 gpt to buy one) or you can get a friend to pay a lump sum of 240 for a lux. I think you can get a lump sum of 240 gold in return for a payment of 10 gpt for 30 turns. This is useful if you want to upgrade units quickly, you want to buy an alliance with a City State, or you want to buy an important building, like a Factory (for example in a city that has poor production, and would take an age to hard build it). On occasion I have drained a friend of money by making multiple trades for loans on the same turn, which also stops them from using the money on something else. Deity AIs are frequently sitting on thousands in gold, but they seem not to be programmed to use it on anything, otherwise they would buy up every City State on the map.
 
Good luck trying to get Stonehenge on Deity! The AI has massive bonuses on Deity and they can build wonders in a fraction of the time that you can. Usually the only early wonder I will try for on Deity is the Pyramids, but I'm not sure it is advisable to do so. Even if you get it, it will set you back quite a way, and your army and/or your capital will not be as strong. The chances of getting Petra on Deity are also not very good, though it depends on the other Civs and how they are placed geographically.

Submarines are good, but the whole game dynamic changes with Flight. That is why the dominators talk about winning before T200 on a Standard map at Standard speed. Somebody is going to get Flight shortly after that, and if it is not you, you are going to get pounded remorselessly.

I would humbly encourage you to continue with the higher levels. I think you will learn a lot. It will probably teach you to be more efficient. I'm a lousy player, but when I go back to Immortal it seems far too easy compared with Deity. Some things are actually easier on Deity. The AIs have a lot more money, so you can sell them loads of stuff, and if you can get friendships you can also get loans from them, as well as lump sums for luxuries and resources. A luxury can be sold for 7 gpt (it will cost you 9 gpt to buy one) or you can get a friend to pay a lump sum of 240 for a lux. I think you can get a lump sum of 240 gold in return for a payment of 10 gpt for 30 turns. This is useful if you want to upgrade units quickly, you want to buy an alliance with a City State, or you want to buy an important building, like a Factory (for example in a city that has poor production, and would take an age to hard build it). On occasion I have drained a friend of money by making multiple trades for loans on the same turn, which also stops them from using the money on something else. Deity AIs are frequently sitting on thousands in gold, but they seem not to be programmed to use it on anything, otherwise they would buy up every City State on the map.
I haven't seen posts on loans, but I find it a convenient way to boost an AI's treasury enough to start a Research Agreement.

Generally they will be satisfied with 10% margin. So if they are short 29 or 30 for the Agreement, I will give them 33 in exchange for 1 gold per turn. Bigger loans also work, roughly the same margin for them.

Generally, I see 7 per turn + 8 cash for luxury sales at all levels, assuming they are in Friendship and can give cash. This can be readily renegotiated to 6 + 38 or 5 + 68 etc if you need more cash up front.

In fact, I got Stonehenge at Immortal with Egypt (Wonder bonus) but lost Pyramids. Also got Louvre and a few others via GE.

I'm not keen on the blitz game, though I have enjoyed Domination victories occasionally. Although Flight discovered by AI is a risk (assuming they have oil), the real jump occurs when you get Radar -- a Fighter can wipe a Great War Bomber easily.
 
the real jump occurs when you get Radar
Not in the games I play! The AIs will almost always get to Flight before I do -- sometimes seven turns earlier -- and it is then a question of survival. A well-promoted Infantry in a Citadel will take quite a lot of punishment, and even destroy some GW Bombers, but ships usually get wiped out very quickly, as do horse units.

Opinions seem to be divided on Research Agreements. Some say never take them, others think they are OK. I've had AIs ask for an agreement, then denounce me soon afterwards, so having had that experience I rarely take the risk. I'd sooner spend the money on City States, or buy important buildings like Factories. Those give you a large boost to Science if you have the right ideological tenet.
 
Denounce doesn't stop the Research Agreement, but war does. This also means R.A. will make them less likely to attack you.

With all the emphasis on Science I see in these forums, I'm surprised anyone would recommend against this research boost. In particular, if you're still lagging compared to the other AI's tech, you will probably get more beakers from them than they get from you.

It's generally cheaper than giving gold to CS to get bonuses by allying. And it's rare enough that I grab the opportunity.

I still haven't seen anyone comment on something I posted a week or three ago: when you establish a trade route, you can see how many beakers will come in along with the gold. What determines this? I had thought it was # of techs the other civ has which you don't have yet, but I still see incoming beakers when the Spy tells me "no techs to steal, you have surpassed them".
 
Denounce doesn't stop the Research Agreement, but war does. This also means R.A. will make them less likely to attack you.

With all the emphasis on Science I see in these forums, I'm surprised anyone would recommend against this research boost.
It's many years since I took a Research Agreement, so I must have misremembered what broke it, but I do remember I got shafted and have not used them since.

As to opinions about them, see this thread (https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...deity-ai-strategy-part-1.655650/post-15715679) where the poster comments:

"Research agreements are totally wasted gold. Some people might disagree with this but if you choose to believe me, then I say just use the money to do anything other and you will be better off. You don't have to believe me, just test out to see what you are getting. It's a lousy amount of Science and you receive it after 30 turns if you kept peace for 30 turns. Why would I want to force myself to be at peace for 30 turns with anybody and pay for it at the same time? Pay a CS for influence. Buy a Market. Buy a unit/tile, anything is always better than a Research agreement."

Probably my approach is influenced by the fact that I always go to war when I get Crossbows and expect to be at war for much of the rest of the game. My relationship to Civilization is a bit odd in that I only ever play one leader/nation. In Civ4 I only played Russia, and in Civ5 I only play England. With England pretty much your only way to win the game is by exploiting your Unique Units. You don't really have much else to help you apart from an extra spy. It is an odd little challenge that I set myself and it obviously influences the way I play the game. I usually need City State alliances for happiness, culture, votes to stop AIs from banning my luxuries or embargoing me, and for military support. Having an opponent flip a neighbouring City State so that you have to fight on two fronts at a critical moment is a real pain.

I guess one of the things that makes Civ interesting is that there are so many strategies and approaches to playing the game. One needs to be flexible. So I might think again about Research Agreements, but I'm still doubtful about them.
 
Research Agreement starts at 200 gold. Market costs over 300. IMO, this is a pennywise-poundfoolish argument you're quoting. Like saying "why waste a move stepping onto a goody hut, when you could be attacking instead?" If your strategy is that single-minded, then yeah, I guess every bonus feature of the game seems like a distraction. R.A. are not easy to get even at Prince level, so grab them when you can. I suppose in that sense I do view them as a kind of "goody hut".
 
Not in the games I play! The AIs will almost always get to Flight before I do -- sometimes seven turns earlier -- and it is then a question of survival. A well-promoted Infantry in a Citadel will take quite a lot of punishment, and even destroy some GW Bombers, but ships usually get wiped out very quickly, as do horse units.
So then why do you follow the tech tree to Infantry before Flight? Or do you mean Great War Infantry?
 
So then why do you follow the tech tree to Infantry before Flight?
I don't. I was just making a comment based on general observation regarding the relative durability of various units under air attack. However, some would advocate beelining Radio as a way of getting an Ideology if you haven't got access to coal. But if there is a chance of being attacked, I would prefer to get oil and Flight asap.
 
I've noticed that GE generated in different eras end up being equal in value if I have 2 or 3: I saved before expending on a wonder and restarted to test which one gave more hammers, but all the same. So era isn't a factor in "value" of the GP. I also noticed that a GE will typically zap a 1250 wonder in a single turn. However, for Neuschwanstein, it's often not one of my top cities and might take as many as 10 turns after the GE -- so is the GE value determined by CITY production as well as your entire Civ's production?
Its actually dependent on the city's population: hammers = 300 + 30*pop of city rushed in.

Here's a link to the civfanatics thread talking about it: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/great-engineer-rush-formula.413629/
 
Thanks Raider980 for that 11 year old thread, but it seems to include a Mod (must build UN) and no participant mentions their level of play or map size. I suspect the multiplier might be more than 30 for game play at levels lower then Immortal.

I've actually used 2 GE to build Neusch when I needed it desperately to reduce unrest when my Ideology is badly outnumbered and the only mountain city has low production.
 
Thanks Raider980 for that 11 year old thread, but it seems to include a Mod (must build UN) and no participant mentions their level of play or map size. I suspect the multiplier might be more than 30 for game play at levels lower then Immortal.

I've actually used 2 GE to build Neusch when I needed it desperately to reduce unrest when my Ideology is badly outnumbered and the only mountain city has low production.
Yea, not sure about different levels but other sites have said the same formula. I guess bottom line is try to rush the wonder in a high populated city, not necessarily the most productive.
 
It makes sense to actively manage your Great People generation by emptying slots in high output cities. Maximizing their overall number and timing their spawns strategically provides a significant advantage.
 
The level at which you are playing probably makes a difference. Aside from that, the amount of Science you get from bulbing a Great Scientist is not fixed. I can't remember (if I ever knew) what the calculations are, but clever players are able to use the overflow to get more Science. Similarly, the amount of Culture you can get from bulbing a Great Writer or Great Artist seems to be proportional to the amount of Culture you generated in the preceding turns. (Don't quote me on that -- it is complex and I've never fully understood it.) In short, I almost never plant a Great Person, but always save them (this is playing on Deity). I check most turns to see if the amount of Science I am going to get from bulbing (which increases each turn) is going to be enough to give me the next Tech. Typically, bulbing about six or seven turns before the next Tech will give it to you. I should probably read about how the Science overflow works, but I'm not a numbers man. The maintenance cost of a Great Person is negligible.

There is a very full explanation in this video:

All good advice with one major exception. I play deity and I'm a warmonger most of the time (OK pretty much ALL the time unless I'm in trouble). There are times in the game when I bump up against the military supply limit. Using a great person can mean one extra cavalry unit or some artillery at a key moment. So the cost of hoarding great people is not just the gold cost.

It's a balancing act, but I tend to use merchants and scientists ASAP, use engineers for key military or strategic wonders if any are likely to be available in the next 15 or so turns. I've also become far more strategic when using generals, you never need to have more than 3 at any given moment and with Honour they come along at the frequency of a London double decker bus.
 
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