Update: Removed the halfing note about tradition, since this was not in my capital. Note that did not effect any of the math or conclusions. Update: Fixed the wrong yields for a forest in example 2. Only made small changes to the conclusions, no real change to the main conclusion. I decided to look at specialist balance based on my actual gameplay. In my current game, Im playing China on a King/Standard Size/Standard Speed. I went Tradition 6/Fealty 6/Artistry 1/Industry 6/Freedom 1 (the 2 new trade routes). Its modern era, Turn 258. I took a look at my 2nd best city (not focusing on the capital just yet). So here are the current specialist yields (without any percentage modifiers) Note: This is not the capital, so the tradition halving of specialists does not apply. SCI: -4 Food, +2 Prod, +5 Science, +1 Culture, +0 Gold MER:-4 Food, +5 Prod, +0 Science, +0 Culture, +5 Gold ENG:-4 Food, +5 Prod, +1 Science, +0 Culture, +2 Gold CivS:-4 Food, +2 Prod, +2 Science, +0 Culture, +3 Gold WRI: -4 Food, +2 Prod, +0 Science, +5 Culture, +0 Gold ART: -4 Food, +4 Prod, +0 Science, +3 Culture, +0 Gold (no typo, artists are generating more hammers than culture) MU: -4 Food, +2 Prod, +0 Science, +5 Culture, +0 Gold This city has a population of 28, and is working all 12 of its specialist slots currently. Let me switch between running all specialists and no specialists to see what happens. Note, this is not a guild city, more of an industrial one. This is encompassing all of the percentage bonuses, growth bonuses etc. Food: -141.36 (dropping my growth rate from 6 turns to 53 turns). I am China with huge growth bonuses so this is about as bad as it gets from a good loss standpoint. Gold: 35.52 GPT Science: 26.62 Culture: 2 Prod: 73.35 Happiness: -1 (note that my happiness at this point is so high this is not important. Further, I have eternal Golden Ages so that doesn't really factor in) Now: When a new citizen is born, I gain the following things (note I have cooperation so this is even stronger than normal): +30 Food instant. +30 Gold instant +66 Science Instant +30 Culture Instant +80 Prod Instant +30 Faith Instant (does help me get more GP, but considering how much faith it takes at this point, ~5k, this is really not an impactful bonus). +1.11 GPT (increase from population, with a 48% boost) +.3025 SPT (21% boost) +0 CPT (no museum just yet) +1.06 PPT (63% bonus) Exercise 1 So as an exercise, lets compare 52 turns. One scenario where specialists were off (and the city grew at turn 6), vs specialists were on (and the city didn't grow). What is the total change: Gold: Specialist Off: 0*6 turns + 1.11 GPT * 48 turns + 30 instant = 83.28 Specialist On: 35.52 GPT * 52 turns = 1,847.04 Difference: 1,763.76 Gold Science: Specialist Off: 0*6 turns + .3025 SPT * 48 turns + 66 Instant = 80.52 Specialist On: 26.62 * 52 turns = 1,384.24 Difference: 1,303.72 Culture: Specialist Off: 0*6 turns + 0 CPT * 48 turns + 30 Instant = 30 Specialist On: 2 * 52 = 104 Difference: 104 Production: Specialist Off: 0*6 + 1.06 PPT * 48 turns + 80 Instant = 130.88 Specialist On: 73.35 * 52 turns = 3,814.2 Difference: 3,683.32 Conclusion: The specialist play was significantly better. I didn't even have to factor in the bonuses for getting fast GP (and I got a LOT of bonuses for birthing a GP right now). Now, having a museum would have made a little difference on the culture side, but even if those were more even all of the other yields were signficantly better. Exercise 2 Ok lets get extreme for a minute to really look at how good specialists are. Lets say that with specialists, I will NEVER GROW. Then lets say without specialists we having population booms. We are able to grow every handful of turns. And remember, I am using those same cooperation numbers as before. To give us some theoretical land to work, lets be very nice and use forests. Lets say we have a large amount of unused forests to work, which give +6 prod, +1 science, +2 gold. This is factoring in various buildings and the Golden Age....which is eternal for me right now. So the question: How fast does my growth rate need to be in order to keep up with a specialist strategy? Gold: You have to grow every single turn to beat out the specialist gold. And it catches up in 4 turns. Science: With a growth rate of every 4 turns, it catches up in 56 turns. Culture: This is the best for growth, because I don't have culture specialist in that city. Even here its a growth every 11 turns, and kick in at turn 22. Production: At a growth rate of every 3 turns it can catch up, at 26 turns. So with the exception of culture (which is the worst yield to look at in this example since I don't have a museum yet and I don't have any guilds), it takes growth rates of every 2-3 to catch up in most yields. That is....a HUGE amount of food at that point in the game. How much food? So I took a look at my city (again with specialist off), and I asked how much more food would I need to get my growth rate down to 3 turns? At the current level, I would need 61.4 more food...again I've already turn my specialists off. And once I get my next pop, I need exponentially more food to maintain that growth rate...which is not sustainable. And remember, I am using cooperation, which boosts growth even more. Overall Conclusion: At this point in the game for a tradition player, specialists are a no-brainer. And adjusting their food at this point in the game doesn't matter all that much....because unless your growth is extremely high specialists will always win out. So if you do wish to weaken specialists at this point in the game (~280) the only viable way is nerfing their yields.