The Horse Economy: what is it? Selling (disbanding) units provides you a lot of money, far more than it did in previous games in the series. While I fully expect this to be patched out in the near future, for now, you can have a bit of fun selling horses. All you need to do is research Military Tradition in order to take the Maneuver policy (or a more modern equivalent): +100% production toward Ancient and Classical era heavy and light cavalry units Buying a building or unit with gold costs you 4 gold per cog. Selling a unit gives you half that, 2 gold per cog. But if you get a +100% production modifier, each primary cog will get you 2 cogs progress toward the unit. The obvious result: build a horseman or chariot with Maneuver and you can buy a cog for every cog you use. Why is this useful? At first glance, producing horses for a cog and selling them in order to buy a cog elsewhere may not seem all that useful considering it blocks a policy slot. But, as so often happens, such a first impression would be wrong. The key point that one might be missing is the power of flexibility. I'm a big fan of flexibility in any strategy game. The ability to adequately react to any situation that might come your way is powerful in itself, even if it does not provide "raw" resources. By channeling your cogs through gold, you gain flexibility in several different ways: Produce anywhere By channeling your cogs through gold, the city churning out the cogs need not be the same city that is building stuff. If you have a few cities where you otherwise could not be building anything very efficient, using their production to create something in other cities will provide tremendous gains in productivity. Bring new cities online fast This is really a corollary of the above, but it bears mentioning independently. You can buy a monument (and possibly a granary or water wheel) immediately on founding a city, which can start producing a district right now instead of doing something else first. This will allow you to get your new cities up to speed much more quickly. Store of value Cogs can't be saved up, but gold can. This allows you to keep an emergency buffer to buy a few units in a pinch if you have to, and, more importantly, you can save up some money so that you can immediately buy a bunch of buildings once a key tech rolls around (Factories, I'm looking at you). Smoother production By pooling your cities' resources rather than each city working on its own, you get a smoother production output, aka you when building expensive things like settlers, you get them much earlier. For example, imagine you had 4 cities each producing a settler that currently costs 200 cogs at 10 cogs per turn. Assume the cities don't change their cog output during the build period. You get your first settler after 20 turns (in one of the cities), then another one on turn 22, another on turn 24 and another on turn 26, for an average of 23 turns. In contrast, if you pool the cities' resources, you get the first settler after 5 turns, the next after 10.5, then 16.5, then 23, for an average of 14 turns (in reality, this will be a little slower because settlers take a citizen out of the city). This will allow you to settle more territory faster, hooking up even more cities that can now support production in all your other cities, contribute to science and culture, etc. Free hit points Units always provide the same amount of money, no matter how damaged they are. So if you build a fresh horseman, you can quickly run it to the frontline, attack a unit or absorb a hit, then delete the unit rather than deleting it immediately. This has a surprisingly large effect on your combat power. Multiple attacks You can disband a unit even after it attacks, so you can use your throw-away horsemen to attack through a narrow path multiple times during the same turn, while denying your enemy any xp gain (by deleting your unit before they can counter-attack). Always prepared Since you are constantly churning out units, you will always be ready for barbarians, and even dedicated enemy invasions will have a hard time making headway against all of your horsemen. Never get caught with your pants down again! Scythia Of course, no discussion of the horse economy would be complete without talking about Scythia. I read a post today that ranked Tomyris in the "good" camp, tier 3 of 5 or so. The author of that post could not be more wrong. Scythia is the best civilization in the current build, bar none. She is so way over the top insanely good that she can't even touch the top with a ten-foot pole. And the reason is the horse economy: for, you see, Tomyris gets a second horseman whenever you produce one for free. So if you go for the horse economy, each cog you use for producing horses will give you two cogs towards buildings or units somewhere else. That's right, Tomyris produces twice as much stuff as any other civ. Well, except when building districts and wonders. But still, that is a gigantic boost that easily dwarfs anything that Frederick the so-called great could muster with his Hansa building. Not that Frederick is bad, he is likely #2 on the power scale, but his candle is completely drowned out by the blinding radiant sun that is Tomyris. A safety tip, though: avoid Divine Right until you get cavalry. Once you get Chivalry, the game immediately blocks Maneuver, and Chivalry only works for Medieval units and above. With normal civs, getting Knights is not a big deal, but Scythia's goodness only works for light cavalry. Wrapping it up I hope that if you weren't convinced before, I could give you some reasons why channeling your cogs through horses is a powerful play. Of course, you cannot use it for everything: you still need to build districts the hard way. But considering that building a factory on a new industrial district will cost you 530 cogs, being able to immediately buy that with gold instead, you will get the benefit of +3 production in every city in range of it much more quickly, growing your budding snowball to truly epic proportions.