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Specialist Economy: How many Specialists to run, and how to assign them?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by alcaras, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    Hi,

    I'm still new to running a Specialist Economy (SE) and have learned a lot thanks to the helpful advice available on this very form (a great starting point is http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=197818 and the threads it links).

    I do have one question, however: how do you assign specialists and how do you know how many to assign?

    I know that there are two ways of assigning specialists:
    1. The +/- buttons on the City screen
    2. The City Governor (e.g. emphasis science, gpp, avoid growth)

    Which do you use and why?

    If you assign them manually, how do you know many to assign (e.g. when running Caste System and there's no limit). What point do you 'stop' assigning them?

    A few of my own thoughts:
    Regarding manual assignment, I find that there are a few breakpoints, in order:
    - Assign until production starts dropping precariously
    - Assign until food and production are both minimal

    I'm not sure which of these to use, as I'm worried about sacrificing long-term viability for short-term results.

    I've also tried using the City Governor, for example with the Science and Promote GPP buttons checked. This has the advantage of being dynamic and auto-adjusting as population changes, which is nice since I run the SE mostly in Blazing MP games where time can sometimes be short. However, I did notice some curious behavior that I didn't understand (probably because of my own ignorance).

    An example:
    Under Hereditary Rule, Caste System, Bureaucracy, Decentralization, and Pacifism I set my capital to emphasize GPP and emphasize Science, and the Governor ran ... 3 MERCHANT specialists, along with a Priest? I was at 50% science, with a library and a academy in city, along with a market. Manually assigning 4 scientists specialists instead gave me a higher science production for that city. So why then did the Governor assign merchant specialists? Does it know something I don't?

    Thanks!

    Not sure if it matters, but I typically play at Noble level (standard for MP, since it's human vs. human vs. human) on Small maps at Quick speed (which is _very_ different timing-wise from the Epic walkthroughs so plentiful on these forums). Does anyone know of any Quick-speed SE walkthroughs on these forums?
     
  2. slobberinbear

    slobberinbear Ursine Skald

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    I assume you were in Caste System. Can't be in both CS and Slavery. :p

    Your questions are essentially: Which specialists to use, when to use them, and how many?

    Which Specialists? When assigning specialists, I try to have a goal.

    If my goal is to generate a certain kind of Great Person, then that dictates which specialists. Of course, engineer and priest specialists can't be placed early without the required buildings and/or wonders.

    If my goal is to generate money (let's say maintenance is killing me, or I will be in Universal Suffrage and want to rush-buy stuff), I use merchants.

    If my goal is to generate research, I use merchants or scientists, depending on the position of the research slider and the buildings in the city.

    When to use them?

    Generally I won't use them unless my city is close to its happy cap. I want to grow my cities as large as possible, and that growth is hindered by running multiple specialists.

    Unless you have a few high-food cities near their happy caps, Caste System is not necessary for running specialists, as usually your big cities have the necessary buildings to run specialists even while running Slavery. Obviously there are other good reasons to run Caste System, but don't fall into the trap of switching into it just because you want to run a few specialists.

    It's ok to be in Slavery while running specialists, but not a good idea to use the whip in the cities where you are running them. Using the whip in such a scenario means removing the specialists or stifiling the (now-smaller) city. Use Slavery for your smaller, less-developed, or newly-conquered cities that need buildings quickly and don't have the production to build them normally.

    How many?

    When you run specialists, it's usually best to run the most you can of the kind you want. Compare that with what happens when you tell the city governor to emphasize great people while running slavery in your big city -- what you get is a merchant here, a spy there, a priest around the corner. Yes, you generate GPPs, but your production is not specialized and your Great People will be unpredictable. That said, all Great People are useful, and if running a hodgepodge of specialists gets you more Great People, go for it. Caste System just lets you specialize them more.

    You want to run as many of the same kind of specialist as possible while still growing (if not at the happy cap) or stagnating (if at the happy cap).
     
  3. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    So I should wait until my city is at the happy cap before assigning Specialists?
     
  4. Diamondeye

    Diamondeye So Happy I Could Die

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    ... Or atleast have specialist enough at the happy cap to stop growth. You gain nothing from overpopulation, except food getting eaten.

    A good idea is to run specialists so that your city grows with +2:food:, until you hit the happy cap, then just take one guy off a grassland and make him something else. Scientist. Artist. Merchant. Whatever.
     
  5. slobberinbear

    slobberinbear Ursine Skald

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    I'm really finding that I either use a lot of specialists in a city or none at all, especially pre-Biology, when food production really limits the number of specialists you can run. Occasionally I'll run a engineer (for instance) if I have a forge in a high-food / low-production city, but other than that, it's usually 3+ specialists or none at all.
     
  6. illram

    illram Deity Retired Moderator

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    As many specialists as you can run while still growing as soon as you can run them. And an SE doesn't necessarily require CS either. That's my quick and dirty answer.
     
  7. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    Thanks for the advice thus far.

    One thing I've noticed is that if I assign specialists until 2 food (or 0 food spare), then my production is basically non-existent... Is this intended? And if so, I suppose I shouldn't assign specialists until I get all the buildings I want in that city built?

    And what should I have the city 'produce' with its pathetic hammers when its running specialists? Research? Gold?
     
  8. DarkFyre99

    DarkFyre99 Prince

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    Food tiles, which are necessary to run specialists, rarely produce hammers, which is why if you're maximizing specialists, you're not going to get many hammers, since your citizens are either specialists or working food tiles.

    Usually, you want to build new buildings ASAP, in order to maximize their benefits. So it makes sense to take those specialists and send them to work in the mines and workshops, or sacrifice a few to the :whipped:

    It depends, really. You could have the city slowly produce some useful, but not necessary, buildings... investing a few hammers into the building so you can :whipped: it when you swap from caste system to slavery. For example, you could slowly build a bank in a science city, knowing that you'll need six banks in order to build Wall Street.

    You could also slowly defensive units, freeing up your military production city for offensive troops. Again, you could :whipped: in the event of an unexpected war, ensuring that you have a high-tech unit or two in each city to boost your defenses without having to pay for their upkeep.
     
  9. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    In a SE, I suppose I don't want all specialist cities, right? Just a handful of high-food, but I should have 1 commerce city (with cottages?!) and one or two good production cities to churn out most of my army, right?
     
  10. QuixotesGhost

    QuixotesGhost Warlord

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    The Ankor Wat helps a lot with production when running a SE. Try it out - you generally want Philosophy for Pacifism anyways. Plus you want a lot of religion spread around + their temples (which will enable priest specialists) to raise your happiness because your cities will be pretty big with a SE. Additionally, there's a few civ-specific buildings which increase the amount of priests you can assign.
     
  11. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    Don't. SE is about great people and you need to control your gpp pool. Great prophets aren't that good most of the time, what you want is great scientists.

    For production, whip or improve to workshops temporarily, then revert to irrigations. Be flexible when playing SE.
     
  12. Percy

    Percy Cow who laughs

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    Great Prophets are +2 hammers and +5 Gold, it can help keeping a high science slider, is it that bad?
     
  13. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    They're not awful, but you get more bang for your buck with scientists - settling and lightbulbing them seems to yield more than the equivalent acts do with Prophets.

    I generally just want enough Prophets to build my holy buildings, and even then, if I haven't spread the religion around, I don't bother with the holy building and just settle the GP in my financial city.

    For me, Scientists>Merchants>Engineers>Prophets>Artists, in most cases.
     
  14. QuixotesGhost

    QuixotesGhost Warlord

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    Yes, but even with an SE you'll still be producing most of your Great People in a single city - the one with the National Epic, so you really only need to control your GP pool there. You might get an odd one from another city, but they're generally only coming from that one place.

    I generally only go SE if I can get the pyramids (I play on Monarch and can generally get it if I have the right conditions). With representation and ankor wat that's 2 hammers, 1 gold, and 3 science - can definitely be worth it over working a tile. Plus, you mention versatility - the Ankor Wat makes you ridiculously versatile in that you can throw an engineer and 2 or 3 priests down anywhere in your empire that has the food to support them in order to get stuff built, really helps with jungle cities.

    Also, if I go SE, that means I got the pyramids, which means I had early stone - guess what also takes stone? Yep, the Ankor Wat.

    Plus if you go Slavery you lose Caste System. How do you control your GPPs in your National Epic city without Caste System?

    I've seen strategies that involve spamming Great Prophets in order to get crazy gold production. Which is nice, but when running a SE you are most probably going to favor Representation over Universal Suffrage, so gold is going to be less useful to you than a player that goes CE. One or two though can really help pay for maintainence, so it's not the end of the world if you pop one or two instead of a Great Scientist.
     

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