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Specialist Economy - are you guys really buying this?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by bassist2119, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. bassist2119

    bassist2119 Warlord

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    I have found the SE to be an interesting alternative to the CE. I agree that it is fun and provides a different feel to the game. I also would like to disclaim that I hold several of it's supporters/adapors/creators in very high regard (Futurehermit, iamdanthemanstan, Wodan... I think Sisiutil hinted towards it a time or two (We're not worthy!! Gosh, I hope you're not too young for that reference), and I know I'm forgetting a lot of others).

    That being said, I think anyone who supports the idea that the SE can hold a candle to the CE is letting the alternative fun blind them... severely.

    Reasons:
    1.) It has been often stated that the SE is highly dependant on getting the Pyramids. Any strategy that is dependant on getting the most sought after and expensive early wonder is flawed. Period. The argument could stop here.
    2.) In the event that you DO acquire the pyramids, there's quite a few viable options that apply to the CE, most notably US - an extra hammer per town means that commerce based cities make their buildings faster, then can either a.) help support the military cities' production or b.) "produce" coins or beakers, plus the option to use the incredible amount of cottage-based $ to buy buildings, units, etc. is a powerful tool as well).
    3a.) There have been thorough articles explaining that SE scientists (under rep) produce more beakers than a town produces coins. This is false; the math has been tailored to optimal SE development vs. incompetant CE dev. Scientists under rep produce six beakers and super scientists produce 9. The often-assumed number of coins by a Financial civ's town is 5, but think a little harder here:
    4 Town
    +1 Financial
    +1 Printing Press
    +2 Free speech
    +1/3 assume 1 out of 3 towns is next to rivers, which is underestimating
    ------------------
    =8 1/3

    So, each fully developed town equals slightly less than a Rep SS and significantly more than a Rep Scientist. And there's that extra hammer from US that more than compensates for the extra 2/3 of a beaker that the SS provides.
    3b.) Also usually left out of SE justifications is that for all but two free specialists you have up there (which the CE, under the same parameters has as well, -6 beakers for Rep) there has to be an irrigated grassland farm to feed it which could have been a town. So now it's not 8 1/3 vs. 6, it's 16 2/3 vs. 6, 277% more beaker production.
    3c.) As hinted at in 3c, SE justifications often imply that the SE player has wonder or resource advantages and then compares it to a CE player who doesn't. This is merely trying to defend a losing proposition. If both acquire pyramids, then the CE is actually MORE likely to get consequent wonders due to that extra hammer in all those tiles that would have been farmed for specialists.
    4.) Another proposed stance is that food resources can help the SE get more specialists. This has the same impact (-3 beakers) on a CE. Yes, the CE player does run specialists in these cities as well. They may not outperform the SE rep specialists, but the cottages have already done so. These CE specialists are added AFTER the cottages are already outperforming the SE specialists for further icing on the cake.
    5.) Another SE justification is that the CE often has difficulties with its finances. While this is true, the case is usually simply dropping the research slider to 80 or 70% (on monarch for me, at least) which covers the cost. Note that 70% of the 277% research increase of CE vs. SE (noted in 3b) is still slightly less than 200%, so at 70% the CE research is still just shy of doubling the SE research. Another option/reinforcer: the ability to acquire the pyramids is probably about the same difficulty as picking up a two-headed hydra, which can support an empire almost excusively (Yes, the SE could do this as well, but the basis of this support is in response to the SE justifier's claim that the CE has difficulty paying for it's empire.)
    6.) As there is no way to start the SE until you can acquire the specialists to do so (minimally writing), there would seem to be a case of workers having to go back to cities to reorganize the empire to accomodate the SE. This is wasted worker turns, which could have been much better spent getting new cities up and running or, better yet, getting cities acquired through hostile takeover to start paying for themselves. This case actually holds much more weight than would seem immediately apparent on paper - On prince/monarch, I find that I usually only have to raze the bottom fifth or sixth junkiest cities as the new acquisitions start to work 2-3 cottages from the very turn they are overturned.
    7.) Civics: SE justifiers seldom look past the two categories that address Rep and Caste when comparing to CE, and usually digress that once the CE gets Liberalism, the SE is a lost cause. They forgot a very major element in the equation that occurs much sooner than Lib: Bureaucracy. This civic (obtainable very early through a CS slingshot) adds 50% to (hammers and) coins in the capitol, but not to SE beakers. The capital very likely has more coins than any other city in the empire as the cottages have had time to become towns by this point. The only SE compensation that even chips away at this advantage is the GL, which comes much later. Regarding this, it is again necessary to assume that the CE player has acquired teh GL as well, so the difference between a CE and an SE is not 12 beakers, it's 6 (rep differential). Those six beakers equals the bureaucracy differential of >2 1/2 towns, and the CE at this point has quite a few more than 3 towns in its capital.
    8.) Another CE strategy (that I have yet to post or see posted, sorry for introducing it here) is quick and major defensive bonus not applicable to SE. The largest war losses occur when someone declares a war that you are not prepared for. With the CE under FS (and to a lesser degree before FS), bringing the culture slider to 100% the very turn such a war is declared will provide a significant defensive bonus as a cities' culture adds to the cities' defensive modifier (bring it back after 2-3 turns, of course). 5 or 6 towns each producing 8-9 coins adds another 50 or so culture per turn, which means in the two turns it takes for the aggressor to move into position, the city defenders have significantly increased odds - this is just icing on the CE cake.

    All in all, the SE is a great idea, Kudos to it's developers for increasing the replay value of the game. It's fun and different. In these strategy forums, however, there is a strong emphasis on min/maxing. To enjoy the SE is great, I partake in it. But arriving at the conclusion that the SE is even in the same league as the CE is a conclusion that can only be arrived at by either letting the fun of it impair your judgement, or assuming that the CE alternative wouldn't have or utilize some aspects acquired by the SE alternative.
     
  2. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    I find that a Hybrid economy works quite well. Farm what you can to support that specialist or two to get a little extra of what you need (engineers for production cities, beakers for Science cities, coins for commers cities, Culture for cities that need that too). and still run cottages and mines where you can get them.

    This way Pyramids, Parthenon and Sistine Chapel are nice boni, but not imperative.
     
  3. yavoon

    yavoon King

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    if ur running SE u best win w/ maces.
     
  4. Qwack

    Qwack The Poopman

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    Actually, SE economy can work full force until rifleman/grenadiars(with nationalism).

    The only reason I would use an specialist economy by itself is if I was playing a variant or felt like doing something different. In the long run, cottages will produce more research than specialists, however I have found that a combo of early specialists/war and later cottages leads to the best economy in the long run.
     
  5. yavoon

    yavoon King

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    once liberalism is around CE's shoot through the roof. also SE's can't pull off the mass mace to rifle upgrade that CE's can. so if u really wanted to beat a CE, I think it only makes sense to complete the game before liberalism.

    and if ur gna build the pyramids, just to have a little spurt and THEN have to build a bunch of cottages to switch? no.
     
  6. Cookie Crumbs

    Cookie Crumbs Emperor

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    A CE/SE mix is good during late-game conquests, when you already have Biology and access to Representation (either Constitution or Pyramids). Start with a CE, then all you need to do is farm the newly-conquered land and run specialists off it. This is far more efficient the cottaging for two reasons: for each grassland tile you''ll get 6 research off the bat, and two, so late in the game (industrial/modern eras) if the cottages even get to mature into towns most of the time they'll be under 6 comemrce (assuming no Financial). This is what I did in a game with Louis XIV, and it managed to get me a 1914 space race victory, only 8 years later than my victory with financial.
     
  7. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    Like Gnarfflinger, I've become a big fan of the hybrid economy, which is very flexible and takes full advantage of the game's many features.

    ALC 8 (Alexander), which is almost over, used a hybrid economy and I've been ridiculously far ahead for the entire game. I've been able to leave the science slider at 20-40% and still research most techs, while in the red, in 5 turns or less. I leaned more towards specialists than cottages because I managed to build the Pyramids; if I hadn't, I would have relied more on cottages. Like I said... flexible.

    It should be pointed out that a Philosophical leader will leverage a SE more than any other type thanks to all the additional Great People that will be produced. And if you're playing with a Financial leader, you're nuts not to go the CE route.
     
  8. Eqqman

    Eqqman Walrus

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    I'm not sure what you were reading that left you with this impression. Nobody ever made an argument that specialists were better than towns. Specialists are better than not-fully-matured cottages, and you get a specialist's full benefit without waiting, so they provide a big boost to your early game. There are plenty of additional arguments as to whether or not specialists can keep up with actual towns in the late game, and if not, then what is the best point to switch your economy. All of these arguments involve cooking up situations that happen to favor the side you are supporting.
     
  9. bitplayer

    bitplayer Warlord

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    Who knows? Who cares? When I play Im like a roach, after the light goes on, scrambling all over and doing my best to annoy some others.
     
  10. xifeng

    xifeng Chieftain

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    Actually, SE is very powerful.

    Under higher levels, the maintainent costs increase so fast that you will soon be running 0% research. Only SE can help you.

    You can always switch back to CE after you have democracy and printing press. Although in most of my games enemies usually die in the maceman era.
     
  11. Hey Joni

    Hey Joni Warlord

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    How come? Cottages need time to grow. Even if it is doubled by emancipation, it will still be too costly to do.
     
  12. Shillen

    Shillen Deity

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    Preach on OP! I don't buy the "hybrid" economy either. Most games one great person farm is all you need and everything else should be cottaged. For a cultural victory you might want a second great person farm. But more than two is never a good idea.

    edit: If you're winning with macemen then go up in difficulty.
     
  13. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    3a)I'm not sure who's quoting that specialists are better than towns, and that towns only give 5 commerce. Even for a non-financial civ in competant hands a town gives 7 to a specialist's 6. ncidentally, you shouldn't include the commerce from rivers. Any commerce from rivers will remain whether the square is farmed or cottaged, and hence will be present for both SE and CE.

    3b) This is only true prior to the invention of biology, and it's not quite as clear cut as one specialist to 2 towns due to the presence of food resources that it would be stupid to cottage. It is true however that Se supporters have a tendency to assume one specilist to 1 cottage for the whole game, which is nowhere near true.

    7)The assumption in a properly run SE is that the capital is set up with cottages and run as a gold city (hence gold slider at 100%). Similar to the CE Gp farm, you have one city that goes against the trend to make maximum use of national wonders, and in this case bureaucracy.
     
  14. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    Sorry for the long post. Can't sleep. :sad:

    Well thanks. :)

    People think that Pyramids are required. However, I've tried it w/o many times and a SE has done quite well for me. In my book, a SE is easily competitive w/o Pyramids. Pyramids makes a SE blow out a CE. That's before Liberalism/Democracy. After, the waters start to muddy. Much after, a hybrid or pure CE is best.

    I think your point here is based partly upon public opinion, rather than fact. No offense. :)

    If we want to talk facts, by all means, let's go into detail on this point.

    Early on, you don't have any Towns. An early CE w/Pyramids will surely run Representation or Hereditary Rule, for the happy benefit.

    By the time you have Towns in any numbers, you will be close to getting Democracy anyway.

    So I think #2 is a moot point, literally. ;)

    Eggman gave an excellent reply to this already.

    Only one thing to add... you complain about people using Pyramids to support the SE side, yet use Financial to support the CE side. Not trying to pick a fight... just pointing it out.

    Personally, I think SE is competitive for non-Pyramids, and CE is competitive for non-Financial. No hard feelings either way. :D

    I agree... a food resource helps both city types pretty much equally.

    I'm not sure I want to go here. Any example, for either side, is going to be contrived to some extent. I think we won't be able to get a conclusive result no matter what we do. Besides, my gut feeling is that it's going to come out about even. You're exactly right that a CE can drop the slider and make more money. But, the CE has more commerce income in the first place.

    To me, the benefit of a SE is that you divorce your beakers from your money. This gives you more control.

    I'm not saying you have more money, or that CE has less research, or any such nonsense.

    Say X + Y = Z, and let's call that the CE model.
    Now, let's say X = A and Y = Z, and let's call that the SE model.

    See what I mean... with SE, X is no longer tied to Z, and Y can get as big as it wants but X will keep chugging along at the exact same number.

    Agreed. A Hydra could whip any number of early units. Not until gunpowder would your opponent really have a honest shot at killing the beast.

    Whew, a lot to talk about here.

    First off, I would put forward that a CE city benefits from a farm or two to get its population up at the same time as allowing it to work a mine, switching to working cottages only as it starts to get to size 4+ and approaches early happy/health limits. There was a thread last month where someone ran the numbers and found that a city with 2 farms or so got to towns faster than with no farms. Say you get to size 4 and then you work 4 cottages... the alternative being working 1 cottage, then 2 cottages, basically working fewer cottages. Yes, this costs worker time.

    Let's go back and say we aren't doing that... just going straight to cottages.

    I don't see at all why your workers need to "go back and reorganize the empire". A SE wants farms. You start making farms with your workers, and your citizens work the farms. The city grows in population. By the time you get Writing (which is quite easy, by the way, much easier than Horseback riding or Iron Working), you'll be exactly at the point where you can crank in probably 2 scientists, which is perfect.

    As for cities through hostile takeover... the best thing to do is leave them as whatever they are.

    If you're SE and conquer a CE city, leave it that way because money is good and will support your expanding empire, but if you really want you can change to farms without harm.

    If you're CE and conquer a SE city, leave it that way and become a hybrid. As soon as it comes out of civil unrest, you can immediately assign 2-3 specialists and you're good to go. Switching a SE city to CE is problematic because you have to wait on cottages to improve. If you're going for a conquest win right now, this isn't an option. If you're simply taking a bit of territory, this might be a good option for you. Regardless, leaving it as a SE city certainly won't hurt, and it will enable that city to immediately become self-sufficient.

    When running a SE you need at least SOME money. It's to your benefit to have 1 or 2 commerce cities. (Just as it is to the benefit of a CE to have a GP farm.)

    Knowing Bureaucracy is coming, it's to the advantage of either a SE or CE to make your capitol to be a commerce city. A production city is nice too, under either economy, but that option won't affect our discussion here.

    A commerce city in your capitol, running Bureaucracy, will make a TON of money under either economy. In fact, this single city will usually generate all the money a SE will ever need.

    So, when running a SE, I almost always do Bureaucracy. It's quite simply the best option in most games. This means that I plant 1-2 farms, and then cottages in my capitol.

    Hmm, interesting point. This relies on having Towns in your border cities, which means this is a strategy usable only after your CE is really chugging. There would be an advantage of 50 years or so to the CE over a SE which is switching over (because it'll take 50 years to make cottages into towns).

    I'm usually cautious of making my CE border cities to have towns, because of pillage risks. Making the production cities usually seems a better bet. Regardless, this is an excellent example of a tactic which really makes Civ a wonderful game. There are all kinds of little "tricks" you can do that really make alternative "paths to victory" viable.

    Despite all that I like SE and try to point out its benefits, I really enjoy and play CE a lot. It's the variety of Civ that I like most of all.

    I do get annoyed with people who state unequivocably that strategy X is always the best and only way to play and that I'm a moron for thinking otherwise. Not talking about you, Bassist. :)

    Nice concluding paragraph. Let's talk about the supporting evidence (above) first, before we get here, though.

    Agreed. In almost all maps, I find myself with at least some areas without the requisite water but with some grass or coast, making them viable cities. Thus, before windmills the options are: work grass-forests (if they're even there) and wait for civil service to irrigate, work the coast (if there), or cottage. Usually I do a mix of these, depending on what I want the city to "look like" later on in the game.

    I don't usually mix specialists like it sounds you do. Almost always I put scientists, even in production cities and commerce cities. Cities that need culture I add religious buildings or theatres. Sometimes I go the priest route... if I get 3-4 religions and/or angkor wat etc.

    Pyramids and Parthenon are both quite useful. Sistine is a waste of time almost always.

    All bets are off when going for culture victory of course. Gameplay is significantly different from many many respects.

    Hmm. Most games don't have a "long run". Unless you want to relax and go for spaceship or diplo, it's easily possible to conquer before a CE has any significant number of fully developed Towns.

    In my opinion, a SE with Pyramids outperforms a CE up until that point. A SE w/o Pyramids is comparable to a CE up until that point.

    A SE could run past that point easily and without bother, if you're near to a conquest win or something. In fact, it would be easy to switch all scientists to engineers and all cities to pump out trebuchets.

    If you are going for a long-term game, with Emancipation it's easily possible to switch over. Add in Hagia Sophia and Serfdom, and towns pop up lightning fast. It's in interesting how the designers made Emancipation and Hagia available exactly at the time that you would seriously want to consider switching over.

    Yes, but it takes a while. A CE won't have any significant number of towns when you get Liberalism. Unless you take your time getting it? I usually get it as soon as feasible so I get the free tech, which is huge because it's upwards of 4000 free beakers.

    Do you have evidence for this claim that you would like to present?

    You mean before your opponents get Liberalism, I take it. Since a SE with Pyramids can get Liberalism before most opponents (particularly AI opponents), this is an important distinction.

    If you're running a pure SE, it doesn't really matter when YOU get Liberalism. If you're running a hybrid SE/CE, then it matters somewhat. If you're running CE, then it matters more... you'll probably have Towns in your capitol by then and you'll start to get one or two here and there in other cities pretty soon.

    As for the opponents, when they get Democracy is when you really need to have your plans (to beat them) in full swing. That's when he's going to start having Towns in significant numbers across his empire, and he'll almost certainly have Liberalism before then. When you opponent has Emancipation + Universal Suffrage = you should be taking his cities away from him, or else have pretty much finished your conversion to CE yourself.

    I think it also matters if and when you're planning on a conquest push. If you're planning on doing it anytime before or near to this time, then it may be a moot point. Switching over anyway would probably be prudent, plus it'll give you more money to support your new empire.

    Civ-wide research x2 is hardly "little".

    Agreed. Most people forget the newly-conquered-cities factor. A lot of the AIs run SE and build tons of farms. It's important to take a hard look at exactly WHAT kind of cities you're going to be absorbing into your empire. Switching from CE to hybrid CE/SE is a very viable option.

    VERY good point, CC.

    Not sure I agree. Creative leverages SE because you need Theatres to support the extra pop, Expansive for the health, etc. All of these are benefits you get when running SE. Which benefit would be better in a certain game? Depends on the map, the resources your civ gets, etc. A Philo leader definitely leverages a SE... does it leverage "more than any other type"? Not that cut & dried to me.

    Agreed. It's silly not to.

    To start off, let's point out that BOTH economies have a number of production cities. If you don't, then you're probably going for a spaceship or late-game win, in which case your early game should be hybrid or full-blown CE. So, to start off with, all your production cities don't need to (and can't) be converted.

    You'll probably have a GP farm, which shouldn't be converted.

    Even a full SE often has one or two commerce cities, especially the capitol. These cities will have Towns already. Instant boost when you switch to Free Speech etc.

    Also, we should note that, just as a "super science" city produces most of a civ's beakers (under any economy), your "super commerce" city can produce most of your gold. We can talk about "super" cities if you want. The point is, because we have these discrete things called "cities" that we can min/max to crank up a specific attribute, these things won't change and don't need to be converted.

    Sounds like you think the benefit of a SE is that you get GPP in a bunch of cities?

    To me, the biggest benefit is that you get science in a bunch of cities, no matter what your slider is set at.

    Actually, more than one GP farm is not a good idea in my book. Even going for cultural, simply having farms and artists does not make that second city a GP farm.

    Wodan
     
  15. UncleJJ

    UncleJJ Deity

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    A properly run SE does not need the Pyramids or any other wonder to do well in the early game or any other time. It is arguable that running HR is better in the early game than Rep since it allows substantially larger cities. The few extra beakers from Rep (since there are few specialists) are outweighed by larger cities producing more food, hammers and commerce and with more infrastructure. Later in the game, when Constitution can be researched by normal means, there will be enough other ways to get happiness and enough specialists to make Rep better than HR. The absolute dependence of the SE on the Pyramids is a myth put about by people that don't understand the true power of the SE. Consider my alternative view :)

    Your analysis is seriously flawed in that you do not take account of the 2 most powerful aspects of a SE. That is;
    a) it is based on farms which produce a lot more food and
    b) it generates lots of GPPs in an early and convenient way and hence Great People.

    Farms and food:
    Food from the large number of farms in a SE allows Slavery to generate considerably more hammers over time than a corresponding CE. Your analysis of raw commerce from cottages / towns versus farms supporting a specialist is correct. Cottages (as they develop into towns) do indeed produce more commerce from a given set of tiles than farms + specialists do. But the city in the SE (and the CE) will also have other commerce from trade, rivers and other tiles e.g. goldmines and for the SE a few cottages / towns (captured or built). The SE has much more food and that is best turned into infrastructure by actively :whipped:.

    Let’s examine the essential difference between the 2 types of economy by looking at how a single grassland tile is treated. For a CE the tile gets a cottage that needs 2 food to run and gives 2 food back plus 1 commerce that eventually grows into 4 commerce for a town (early game). The SE will make that grassland tile into a farm and it will produce 3 food for the cost of 2 food = a net 1 food. That food can be used to run half a specialist but that is not its most important use in my way of running an early SE. Using OR and with a forge each pop :whipped: under slavery gives 45 hammers and at a city size of say 5 it takes only 15 food to regrow. Over a 10 turn period a grassland farm therefore can be thought of as giving 10 food which is turned into 30 hammers (for buildings). Incidentally, this is twice as efficient as mining a grassland hill since it would cost 10 food to give 30 hammers over the same period.
    Farms + Slavery = lots of hammers and fast regrowth. Excess food can be used to run specialists while the unhappiness from slavery wears off.

    So if you compared a SE city with a CE one in the early or middle game I would expect to find a good deal more infrastructure buildings in the SE city. These investments in infrastructure provide large multipliers to the production of hammers (forge), beakers (library, monastries, university) and gold (markets, grocer and bank). These buildings will multiply the base beakers and gold produced from the SE city from other commerce (via research slider) and also the base beakers or gold from specialists. So although the SE city might generate less raw commerce than a corresponding CE city it can easily generate as much or even more beakers and gold combined due to better developed economic infrastructure.

    Also there is the important issue of efficiency of the commerce in a CE versus the SE. To meet upkeep costs a CE usually runs its research slider at typically 70%. That means that 30% of the commerce is turned to base gold and 70% to base beakers. To make full use of the base beakers and base gold a CE city needs to build all of the economic infrastructure buildings library, monastries, university AND market, grocer and bank. Of course that is usually not worthwhile since the market only gives a 25% boost to 30% of the commerce. So a large proportion of base commerce in any CE city will have poor economic multipliers and this is unavoidable.

    The same is not as true for a SE. It is possible to get better efficiency by micromangement on the level of cities. If the economy is arranged such that the research slider is at 100% for most turns ((see here)then all the commerce and base beakers from specialists gets the best multipliers. In border cities and newly captured cities it is possible to just build library, monastries etc and wait until later to build markets etc knowing that little is wasted. The gold necessary to run the empire comes from a combination of Holy cities and Merchant cities. Only ocassionally is it necessary to run with research slider at 0% to raise money (usually to upgrade troops with good promotions).

    Great People: Now let’s consider GPPs and their effect on research, which you ignored in your comparison between a CE and SE. A SE generates GPPs as a natural consequence of how its economy runs. Its farms produce excess food in many cities that can be turned into beakers and gold and GPPs in those cities. It can micromanage which type of specialist is run in which city and hence control the type of GP produced. GPPs are an important part of the SE especially for a philosophical leader and they are easy to generate while the rest of the economy (including hammer production) is not disturbed.

    The CE on the other hand usually dedicates an entire city (the so called GP farm) to producing its GPs. This is a valuable high food site that runs just specialists over a long time. To run enough specialists in the GP farm the CE has to run the Caste System which is a much weaker civic than Slavery. Losing Slavery for a long time is a very severe disadvantage to the CE that a properly run SE need never use (although some advocates of the SE say the Caste System is useful, I disagree strongly with them … unless the leader is Spiritual).

    How valuable is a Great Person anyway? It is not always easy to evaluate their worth but a GS can be used to lightbulb a tech (help with researching it) and will generate 1500 beakers plus 3 beakers per population in the empire. Other types of GPs used to lightbulb a tech are worth 1000 beakers plus 2 beakers per population and hence worth 67% of the GS. This can be thought of as their baseline worth although often a better use for the GS is to make an Academy and it will boost base beakers by 50% for the rest of the game and that can greatly exceed the value of the lightbulb use.

    The first GP costs 100 to produce and the next 200, the next 300 and so on. It gets progressively harder to create GPs. In fact the first 10 GPs cost a total of 5500 GPPs but the first 20 cost 26,500 … so nearly 5 times as many GPPs for twice the number of GPs. This is why the CE will usually just generate 10 or so GPs through its GP farm and then switch its use so it can use a stronger civic than the Caste System … both Slavery and Emancipation are much better. The SE on the other hand can merrily continue to produce GPs as a natural consequence of how it functions. It will generally produce more great people, produce them faster and certainly produce them with much less effort and distortion of its economy.

    Summary:
    So where does this leave us? My view of the CE is that it produces an economy that makes a great deal of base commerce but due to poor food and hammer production and the way the research slider divides commerce into beakers and gold it is inefficient at turning the base commerce into final beakers and final gold. The low hammer production means that the necessary infrastructure can’t be installed quickly and the slider means that all types of economic infrastructure buildings are needed for the highest efficiency. The CE needs to dedicate a whole city to producing GPs and to run the Caste System civic which is weaker than its alternatives. Consequentially the CE is a less efficient economy that compensates for losses by producing more commerce.

    In contrast the SE is a weak producer of base commerce and the equivalent commerce from specialists and the Representation bonus. But hammers are easily produced through food and Slavery and so economic infrastructure can easily be installed where it is best used. Furthermore, it is possible to avoid most of the commerce losses through an unmatched research slider and buildings in the city. GPs come naturally in several cities as a consequence of running specialists.

    If I were to compare the way the 2 economies work in practice then the CE is much easier to understand and to run. The SE requires a great deal more understanding of how things like Slavery and GPPs work and also a great deal more micromanagement at the level of each city. New players should in my opinion start with the CE and play a few games to conclusion so they understand the victory conditions, the tech tree, diplomacy and military aspects of the game. The CE is a benign economy that is easy to run by simply adding cottages nearly everywhere they can be built. If these players then want to move onto a more complex type of economy that requires a good deal more effort to run and games that take longer to complete then the SE is a good way to do that. I estimate my SE games take 3 times as long to run (in playing time) than the same CE game would but I get more personal satisfaction (3 times as much ;) ) from understanding how the economy works as well as the other aspects of the game.

    I hope you all enjoyed reading my mighty tome as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)
     
  16. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    Prior to Liberalism, with the Pyramids, an SE is certainly a viable alternative to, and may even be slightly better than, a CE. Without the Pyramids though, it's nowhere near comparable. You're support for that claim is that you tried it without Pyramids and you did quite well. This is irrelevant though. No-one's arguing that it isn't possible to win using an SE without pyramids. The claim is that without pyramids it will always be less effective to do so than using a CE would have been.

    Some numbers. First of all without pyramids you can't get more than 3 effective commerce per specialist. Second, you cannot run anywhere near one specialist per cottage prior to biology. It's not quite 1 specialist per 2 cottages thanks to bonus food resources, but it's close. You can also cottage terrain that you can't farm prior to civil service, and you can cottage grassland hills which you can never farm. Let's call it 1 specialist to 1.5 cottages prior to biology, and frankly I think I'm being over generous there.

    For a financial civ on a river (which again you'd need for much farming for the SE), even a single cottage matches a specialist from turn 1. Even without traits and so on, by the time the cottages have reached hamlets (10 turns) they are generating at least as much commerce as the specialist. Another 20 turns and they're villages, miles out ahead.

    Again I emphasize; you may be capable of winning as an SE without pyramids, you may even appear to be doing well by doing so, but you would always have done better as a CE. The pyramids are essential for the SE to be a sensible alternative (and even then it's debatable).

    This line is trotted out regularly, but it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Firstly your science and gold output are not always completely divorced in an SE. This will only hold if you can pay all your costs from a single city (granted, particularly with small empires and Bureaucracy this is quite possible). Otherwise you're having to swap scientists for merchants, and you begin to reconnect your gold and science output, since both are limited by the food supply of your cities.

    Secondly, why is it an advantage that Y can increase while X stays constant? With a CE Z increases, but you can tune your science slider so that X (your gold output) stays constant. This line seems to be a leftover of an ongoing meme that the position of the science slider has any inate relevance, regardless of the total output. You can make a small argument that the SE desn't need the gold producing buildings everywhere, but that isn't that large a saving (and in any case, for health and happiness reasons you'll probably still need the market and grocer).

    Thirdly, I find the SE inately LESS flexible than the CE. Leaving aside the annoying issue of having to manually switch specialists to go from science to gold production if you need a gold boost, instead of having one handy slider, the SE has a lower maximum gold output. There are times in games where you want as much gold as possible in a very short time span, most commonly around the start of a war, e.g for quick upgrades, unit buying, conquered city maintenance and buying cultural buildings and so on. Because representation specifically gives +3 science per specialist, not commerce, it's impossible to shift your output to more than 3 science and 3 gold per specialist. Granted your overall science+gold output is the same, but your maximum gold output is lower, and I find this undesirable in many games. It's like having a CE where you can't push the science rate below 40%, even if you need the extra gold for some purpose, or indeed you're still losing gold at that level.
     
  17. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    The extra commerce from trade etc. seems to have rather implausibly been claimed as a benefit for the SE. It isn't. Firstly an SE tends to run mercantilism, destroyed mosst of the trade route output. Secondly an SE is likely to need to use the culture slider to support its larger cities, so the commerce that an SE does generate is less likely to be actually going to gold or science output. The comments about commerce from rivers, gold and so on again seem to be forgetting this fact, that a CE is set up to make better use of commerce. You've also argued that not having to build gold boosting buidlings is an advantage of the SE. Well if you don't have these, and run the bureaucracy gold farm as seems common, then your slider is at max gold, and any commerce you are producing isn't being multiplied unless you have those buildings. You can't have it both ways.

    Without wishing to seem rude, this is utter rubbish, and this should be blatantly obvious after you've spent much of your post extolling the virtues of slavery. No CE should ever run Caste System. You run slavery, so your GP farm can happily whip the buildings it needs to support it's specialists, like any city in an Se, as you've just be going on about the production advantages of. Unlike an SE you only need the specialist buildings in one city, not all of them, so there is far less of a case for caste system in a CE, and you don't seem to even consider it necessary in an SE. Much of your GP arguments seemed to be based on this bizarre idea of a CE running caste system.

    Bear in mind that the slavery exploit was fixed in Warlords, so your food to hammers conversion rate is no longer so favourable. Second you are ignoring the fact that much of a city's net food surplus, especially at small city size when slavery is most effective, comes from a very small number of tiles (your bonus food resources). These will still be present in a CE, so slavery will only be marginally less effective. Say you've got 2 bonus food tiles in the city, for a surplus of 2 or three each, call it a total of five. Add on the two from the city tile which will be present for both SE and CE and you get a surplus of seven. Now the CE would probably have the other three tiles as cottages for a size 5 city. An SE could farm the three of them, giving an extra 3 food to put towards slavery (assuming grassland), but that's not that huge an increase, and you have no specialists at all Or you could run a specialist, and have no additional food over the CE. Or you could have more than 1 speciallists, but then you actually have less food for slavery.

    An SE can either have the abundant food to help slavery, or it can run more specialists. It really is't that much better to run slavery in an SE than a CE, due to the greatest effectiveness at small city size when there is least boost to food ouput from the SE. You seem to have been concealing this with some argument that a CE would have to run caste system, and so couldn't run slavery at all but, as I've said, this is a bizarre concept. It's unnecessary for a GP farm (and if it was necessary it would be more of a problem for the SE than CE), and would be a very damaging and useless civic for the CE to choose. I challenge you to find me one place on this forum where a competant pure CE player has suggested running caste system is a good move.
     
  18. yavoon

    yavoon King

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    wth is this "u can always switch back" thats complete crap. u can't just "switch back" to a CE w/o being eons behind a real CE player.
     
  19. yavoon

    yavoon King

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    its obvious, a CE can drop to 0 research and generate huge cash. an SE can't.

    did u not think about it, cause u really shouldn't ask questions that obvious.

    and also any SE player that "converts to CE" is, like I said, going to be eons behind a real CE player. its basically admitting the strategy has failed.
     
  20. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    Thanks for the thoughts, UncleJJ... great input for sure.

    In addition, the simple fact of having one or more specialists will cause it to generate as much or even more beakers and/or gold.

    Agreed that this is a very viable setup for a SE. IMO it's just as viable to have a GP farm. Your SE will produce more and faster GP. Yes, the cost of business is that you have to avoid Slavery in that one city.


    Actually, that wasn't support. It was an anecdote. I didn't provide any factual support in the slightest.

    Stop. Don't use Financial. Everybody and their mother agrees that it's silly to waste the Financial trait doing anything but a CE.

    So, the whole debate should be limited to non-Financial civs.

    15 and 30, according to civopedia, as I recall from looking earlier. I don't have it open right now so I could be wrong.

    Anyway, you're talking commerce. The whole point is that a SE doesn't have beaker generation affected by commerce generation.

    Quite possible and should be done, even in a CE. This allows the CE to run at 90-100% research.

    Why do we have to swap scientists for merchants? Most cities will generate some commerce, from the odd river, mines, and resource tiles. In a SE, most or all of this commerce goes into your treasury (not research).

    With a SE, Z (commerce) increases also, over time.

    Not sure your point, here, though. The point is that in a SE your X (research) stays constant even if Y (gold) increases (because you had more expenses and had to drop the slider). No-where did we talk about Z increasing.

    I've never had to do this. The only time this would be necessary is if you are running at 0% and have high expenses from a huge empire, in which case you overexpanded. The same thing would happen to a CE who overexpanded, except even worse because your research would tank at the same time.

    Usually a SE will run at 0% but will be pumping the treasury with 100% commerce. This means that (a) you already have a huge treasury and (b) you are already making buttloads of cash without even touching the slider. How "handier" can it get than that?

    Agreed. A CE (even an early one) running at 0% will be able to make more cash than a SE can (unless the SE switches to merchants everywhere or has a great merchant on a trade mission, which by the way isn't hard to come by for a SE).

    The SE already has ready cash. This simply isn't an issue for a SE as it is for a CE.

    Wodan
     

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