In this thread Id like to discuss at what point it is accurate to call an economy a Specialist Economy (SE) as opposed to another type. Most often people talk about specialist versus cottages as though it was a simple distinction. I suppose if you contrast the two extremes of cottage spammer and a fanatical extreme specialist (see below) then the distinction is clear but there is a lot of room for less extreme use of specialists and cottages that make very good strategic sense in many situations. And I feel that in general a mixed form of economy blending commerce with specialists and their GPPs is a more robust solution in most games, depending on your starting traits, the map and your AI neighbours. Lets describe what I think is the most obvious and extreme form of specialist economy and use that as a strawman In the Industrial age you can have all the technologies to run the following civics, tile improvements and wonders. Biology, farms give +1 food (if irrigated) so grassland farm becomes a viable way to run one specialist. Floodplains can now support 1.5 specialists. Caste System, allows a city to run any number specialist Artists, Scientists or Merchants. Pacificism, adds +100% GP points from specialists and wonders Merchantilism, gives one free specialist in each city (equivalent to +2 food, + 1 happy and + 1 health) Representation, adds happiness in largest cities and +3 base beakers for every specialist Ankor Wat, priest specialists gain +1 hammer Statue of Liberty, gives one free special in all cities on that continent (equivalent to +2 food, + 1 happy and + 1 health) Drama, can adjust the culture rate to give more happiness. Other technologies give bonuses to health and happiness which help build a bigger economy with larger cities but they dont affect the essential character and I want to keep the scope of the discussion as small as practical. Most people will agree that any economy with the above improvements and wonders and who is running the Civics is a Specialist Economy. Further if the culture slider is being used to boost happiness to high levels (turning much commerce to culture) you might call it an extreme Specialist Economy. But for a Cultural Victory that might be just what is needed to finish fast. Having set the scene, my question is this, How many of the above features are necessary for it to be a Specialist Economy (SE) as far as you are concerned? I expect several different opinions so lets take some examples. For instance: a) Would merely running Mercantilism and Representation before Biology and without the Caste System or Pacifism be a SE? There might be many cottages used but GP points are being generated in many cities. b) Would running, Universal Suffrage (to buy stuff), Free Speech (100% Culture), Caste System, Environmentalism (health and happiness), and Pacifism be a SE? c) Would running, Universal Suffrage, Free Speech, Emancipation, Mercantilism, Pacifism with many towns and many specialists and great people be a SE? Or is this a mixed economy? d) Would running, Representation, Caste System, Mercantilism, Pacifism, and having the Statue of Liberty, Ankor Wat and keeping the cultural slider at 50% or more (for happiness) for 100 turns be an extreme SE? Please feel free to add your own examples of what you consider a SE and perhaps what you consider is not a SE despite having some specialists. Where would you draw the line? My own favourite at present is the use of specialist based economy to support a domination victory. Im using Alexander for his aggressive trait for conquest and philosophical trait to help with research and to fund the expansion. I have my doubts whether some people would consider that I am using is really a SE but I certainly do have many of the characteristics. In 1850 Im running Representation, Free Speech, Slavery, Mercantilism and Organised Religion and I am on my way to the 17th great person. Pacifism makes little sense as I have a huge army and the costs would be too high. What do you think?