Here's my opinion of what traits are better than others (within the tiers there's no clear ranking). A-tier, AWESOME to the point where they're game-changing in more than a few circumstances: Financial This one is self-explanatory; an economy is basically half of how you get things done in civ, the other half being production (mainly driven by chops/whips, hence why food is king; unfortunately there is no trait that enhances growth), and financial directly and significantly helps in that regard. A lot. Something to consider about this trait that not many others might have thought about is the fact that its impact is felt predominantly in the early game, and its effect is stronger there than most might regard. +1 commerce on 2-commerce tiles (there will be few tiles giving higher than that except for mining resources until calendar or you grow your cottages) is essentially +50% commerce. Think about that. 50% is a HUGE bonus. If the only tiles your capital worked for commerce was cottages and coast, this would be like having a free academy for 10 turns, with the relative effect staying but diminishing afterwards. And this applies for EVERY city, everywhere. +1 in the context of 2 is why financial is so good. Philosophical Also self-explanatory; GP are how you execute deity-level strategies like bulbing lib to get MT or chem to get steel while everyone's running around with longbows, directly helping you win the game. As well as well-timed golden-ages to churn out a GM or 3, switch civics, etc. Phi directly helps you in reaching those goals in a timely and decisive manner (you don't have to worry as much about GP pollution since "fewer" GP points can be used to obtain a greater effect, meaning you can afford to run "just" scientists and merchants), meaning it is on-par with fin in a lot of cases, if not outright better. Plus cheaper universities are nice for fast space wins, but I know not everyone cares about that . B-tier, GREAT but nothing gamebreaking, can turn losses into wins in quite in a few circumstances, but universally make the game significantly easier: Charismatic You only get 4 happiness in early-game. So +2, again effectively +50%, is a REALLY big deal. This can turn the tide of an isolation game, where otherwise a needed detour to monarchy is so expensive it puts you too behind. The other big deal is cheaper promotions, which shortens several "critical points" - making getting CR2 on siege 1 battle away after barracks, combat 3 on mounted obtainable with barracks + stables + theo + vassalage, and CR3/march/all the good high-level promos much easier. Usually a "quality of life" thing, but sometimes attacking someone who's about to run away with the game or who already has a better or bigger army, this type of thing makes all the difference. This is actually my fave trait on iso, since those two situations - terrible happy cap and being forced to attack stronger opponents, some on the brink of getting the Big Three nasty industrial era units (infantry, machine guns, artillery) - pop up especially often on iso maps. In my experience a 6-happy cap at minimum is needed to reach optics in a timely manner in iso, meaning with cha you don't ever need to go monarchy if you're alone. Industrious I'll admit, this trait IS a bit hard to leverage. However, I consider it really good because it halves the cost of the most expensive of the essential buildings of the game (forge, the others being granary and library), gets you 1.5x more failgold which is huge if you can leverage it right, AND makes going for wonders without the resource viable. Marble-less GLib, GLighthouse, stoneless Mids, and ofc Marble-less Oracle (though the latter's pretty cheap anyways) are the ones that come to mind. This makes the trait hugely versatile, and in fact I'm of the belief that despite the many other things that make HC OP, ind is one of the major contributing factors. And if it DOES help you get that game-changing wonder once in a while where you otherwise wouldn't have, it is gamechanging once in while. Creative Effectively a free border pop early game is HUGELY helpful, and so are cheap libraries. That being said, without cre there are still plenty of ways to reach 10 culture, libraries are still pretty cheap whips compared to, say, forges (2 or 3 pop), and it's rare that you need the extra speed and border pressure to really win. Still, those situations do come up - most notably the recent low sea level Pericles map where we had to muster all our cultural might just to fight back Sally's stupid madrasas and holy city culture. C-tier, GOOD but overwhelmingly just quality-of-life things that are a "win harder" factor; can't really turn a loss into a win on a crappy start all by themselves 99% of the time: Expansive I know, I know @sampsa - this is heresy. But consider this: granaries and workers are already easy 2-pop whips, some of the cheapest things to churn out despite being the most important. And +2 health is, I think you would concur, mostly irrelevant for most of the game. Besides, worker production is only sped up +25%, which means that if you whip those really the only effect is a bit more OF. There's hardly a case where getting a worker or granary out slightly faster tips the balance decisively in our favor, nice as those things may be. So while there's nothing wrong with expansive, it's still not really as impactful as I think a lot of other traits are. Imperialistic Same applies to settlers. 2-pop whip instead of 3-pop whip, horray. Unless you're desperately competing with Justinian for city sites, though, it's hard to see how this would be THAT useful. Sure, snowball effect, but at the same time there's absolutely nothing else here that would increase the output of that second city significantly, like most other traits. And faster GGs - good for turbocharging axes/HAs during an early rush. Otherwise, a slightly faster medic is the only benefit of this, after which all other GGs can be settled or turned into secondary medics/sacrificial steamrollers regardless of how fast they come. Organized The civic upkeep reduction is not insignificant, especially as the game progresses - and the faster building of 3 quite important buildings is definitely really good. But those 3 buildings come into play only situationally (some games I don't build a single courthouse, other games don't even last into the industrial era so definitely no factories). And smaller civic upkeep essentially means reaching key techs 2-3 turns faster, MAX. So, not really a zinger to me. I WILL concede this is the 2nd best trait to have, perhaps, on deity marathon corps space games - an incredibly niche category, though. Spiritual (EDIT: I forgot this) Certainly a handy trait to have, and can make things significantly less painful with the diplo, but that's honestly the main benefit. Civic changes from non-demands are usually timed with golden ages or each other, with the possible exception of quickswitching between caste and slavery to churn out more GP (which again, becomes quickly less useful than it seems because more GP require more GPP, which requires longer time in caste, taking away from precious turns that could be spent whipping. It MIGHT have saved my butt once or twice with demands - but -1 for a bit isn't that much to take, unless you're on the border of pleased and cautious, I guess. Aggressive The much-maligned agg is actually far better than it looks on paper. Fast barracks solidifies early rushes, as does a free promo on some units. And it's GREAT for barb-killing and fogbusting, tipping the odds of a forested warrior vs archer from 44% to 64%-ish (again my numbers may be off). And it's better than cha sometimes, since it saves however much XP is needed for the NEXT promo. Still - this only applies for the less important units of a rush (anything EXCEPT the siege and mounted, go figure), and barracks are cheap anyways. Plus you can always go early AH/archery or just find copper to neutralize barbs. So, again, quality of life thing. D-tier, BAD; offers little to no help the overwhelming majority of the time and in terms of opportunity cost prevents an actually good bonus from being there: Protective You knew this was coming. @Lain demonstrated an instance where it was insanely helpful, and there ARE other cases like China's Chu-ko-spam or Toku's superrifles, but honestly, at the end of the day, how often are you gonna be stuck semi-iso with Genghis? So what do you guys think? Any disagreements? If so, I'd love to hear your opinions. But this is how I think of the traits for now. Change my mind!