The Hybrid Economy

Overview
The Hybrid Economy is a type of economy that combines the best elements of the Specialist Economy and the Cottage Economy, while minimizing the disadvantages of both types of economies. This article assumes use of the Beyond the Sword expansion, but it should be easily adapted to both Warlords and Vanilla Civilization IV. Like a Specialist Economy, a Hybrid Economy’s cities are highly specialised. Like a Cottage Economy, a Hybrid Economy relies on cottages as it’s primary source of beakers. Unlike either a Cottage or Specialist economy, the goal of a Hybrid Economy is to keep the science slider at 100%.

Characteristics
Attributes[LIST]
[*]most common improvements: farms and cottages
[*]beaker source: primarily commerce, some specialists
[*]espionage source: specialists
[*]gold source: specialists
[*]optimal slider position: 100% science
[*]best civics: Representation, Free Speech, Caste System
[*]best traits: Financial, Philosophical[/LIST]

Advantages[LIST]
[*]high degree of city specialization
[*]no economic crash with switch to Emancipation
[*]high GPP production
[*]not as much micromanaging as a Specialist Economy
[*]high degree of predictability in Great People produced[/LIST]

Disadvantages[LIST]
[*]using the culture for happiness causes research to slow down, but not as much as a Cottage Economy
[*]more micromanaging than a Cottage Economy
[*]unable to use Slavery Civic after Caste System to boost production[/LIST]

Cities in a Hybrid Economy

Cities in a Hybrid Economy are heavily specialized, just as in a Specialist Economy. Few buildings are constructed beyond the necessary ones, allowing the greatest number of specialists or cottages to be worked for the longest period of time. The city types are:

Capital

This city tends to become a “Jack 0f All Trades” city, usually having ample commerce as well as production, additional happiness, which often makes Bureaucracy attractive mid-game. Of course, if you start with Mysticism and you have a lot of extra food in your capital, you might want to consider founding an early religion, making it your Wall Street city, and running some other legal civic instead. Or moving your Palace to better location.

Production Cities
Production Cities produce your military and construct most of the wonders your empire needs. Most empires need only two or three. Improvements are mines and other hammer producers, plus the necessary farms to support the citizens to work the hammer tiles. Buildings are, naturally, hammer multipliers. National Wonders are Heroic Epic, West Point, and Ironworks.

Wealth Cities
Wealth cities produce the gold necessary to pay for costs of your empire, whether it is maintenance for your cities, civics upkeep, or pay for your military. Small empires only need one. Improvements are farms to support merchants. Buildings are, naturally, gold multipliers. The city with the highest food output gets Wall-Street. Ideally, this should also be a Shrine city. These cities produce a lot of Great Merchants, which should be settled in the Wall-Street city so you can keep that science slider at 100% for most of the game.

Science Cities
Science cities produce the beakers your empire needs to research new technologies. These cities make up the majority of your empire. Improvements are cottages and other commerce producers. Buildings are, naturally, beaker multipliers. The city with the second highest food production will eventually get Oxford University, and gets farms to support scientist specialists.

Espionage Cities
Espionage cities produce the espionage points your empire needs to conduct espionage missions, both active and passive. You really only need one in your empire. Improvements are farms to support spy specialists. Buildings are, naturally, espionage buildings. Due to the lateness of most espionage buildings, this is a good candidate for a late game forested tundra/National Park city.

Strategy by Age

Classical Age
The classical age is when you’ll be getting your core cities established. By the end of this era, your HE city will be churning out units, your future Wall-Street city will be churning out gold and Great Merchants, and the rest of your cities will producing beakers, primarily through cottages. Civics would be slavery and organized religion, and Hereditary Rule, or perhaps Representation if you snagged the Pyramids. Hopefully, you’ll be able to snag The Great Library in your future Oxford University city.

Middle Ages
Congratulations, you’ve just made the switch to Caste System. Get used to it, because you’ll be sticking with it for a while. By now, you’ll have enough improved tiles to switch citizens to hammer tiles while building infrastructure, and back to cottages or specialists the rest of the time.

During this age, your science cities should be slowly building banks after they’ve finished their Universities, so you’ll be able to build Wall-Street as soon as possible. Needless to say, you probably won’t have to build any unnecessary Universities in your wealth cities.

Renaissance
With Liberalism comes Free Speech, and with Democracy comes Emancipation, so it’s time to start prepping your Wall-Street and Oxford University cities for the post-Caste System era. Start building cottages until one-turn from completion over your farms, and do the same with windmills over any mines. Once another Empire switches to Emancipation, it’s time to do likewise, before unhappiness cripples your Empire. Switch as many farms to cottages as possible, and mines as windmills, until your city is growing while still running seven specialists.

Industrial Age
With Caste System no longer viable, you’re going to get some beakers in your wealth cities, so it’s time to build some libraries and observatories in your wealth cities. If you’ve been expanding aggressively, you might want to build some grocers in your science cities as well, since your science slider might have to drop below 100%. Fortunately, you already built all those banks.

This is also the Era of the Corporation, and you’ve been producing a lot of Great Merchants, so you should save one to found one of the Food Corporations in your Wall Street city. Spread it to your Oxford University, your production cities, and your capital. If you’re lucky, you’ve saved a Great Engineer to found Mining Inc. in Wall Street, which you can then spread to your production cities and capital as well.

Modern Age
😮 You haven’t won yet? 😮 Then what are you waiting for? Build whatever you need to reach whatever victory condition you’ve been aiming for. :mischief:

Other Issues

The National Epic
Unlike a Specialist Economy, which relies on Great Scientists to suppliment your beaker production, or a Cottage Economy, which uses this National Wonder to create a GP farm, you get to decide which Great People you want the most of. If you want a lot of Great Merchants, build it in your future Wall Street city. If you want a lot of Great Scientists, build it in your future Oxford University city. Maybe you’d like a lot of Great Spies late in the game, so hold onto it until your Espionage city is up and running, or Ironworks to get some Great Engineers to found Mining Inc. and rush some late-game wonders. Or pair it with National Park and get a super GP farm up and running. The choice is yours!

The Caste System -> Emancipation Switch
If your game runs long enough, sooner or later you’ll have to switch out of Caste System and start running Emancipation simply to deal with all the happiness caused by other Empires running that civic. In a Specialist Economy, this causes your research to crash, because there are no mature cottages to take up the slack for all those out of work scientists. It takes 35 turns (normal, Emancipation) to mature a cottage into a town, and since you’ve been relying on cottages to produce most of your gold, you probably won’t be able to run your science slider at anything over 60% until they’re fully mature. That means 35 turns before your economy recovers back to its pre-Caste System state… and those cottages need to be built first.

Since a hybrid economy means you’re getting most of your science from mature towns anyways, this switch doesn’t cause your research to crash. Only two cities are primarily affected: Your Wall Street City, and your Oxford City. These are the only two cities that need to be cottaged, which can be done very quickly if you prebuilt them before the switch. Furthermore, since your science slider is set at 90-100%, your Oxford city recovers after only fifteen turns.

The Care and Feeding of your Wall Street and Oxford Cities

These two cities are your primary Great People producers throughout the game. So the name of the game is to run as many specialists as possible, for as many turns as possible, while working as few tiles as possible. Because these are the cities most similar to a Specialist Economy’s normal city, they also require the most micromanagement in the game.

The Wall Street City

Early game, this city is quite simple. You want to build this city in an area that can produce a lot of food early, which means a lot of food resources and hopefully a lot of rivers or flood plains. Having a shrine in this city is a bonus, but not absolutely necessary. An enemy’s capital that holds the shrine to Buddhism or Hinduism is ideal, allowing you to cottage your capital to take advantage of Bureaucracy’s bonuses later.

Focus on building farms to support more merchants later, and build or whip the necessary infrastructure, including granaries and courthouses. Build some mines or workshops so you can build more infrastructure later. Settle any Great Merchants that emerge from this city back into the city. They’ll help keep your tech rate at 100% plus produce extra food.

During the Middle Ages, with the switch to Caste System, you’re going to want to keep an eye on this city. You want to grow the city as large as the happiness cap allows, while running as many merchant specialists as possible. When you get more happiness, send a few your merchants into the fields to grow the population. There are also two important buildings that will need to be built: a grocer and a bank. Immediately when grocers become available, set all those merchants to work in the mines and the workshops to build those buildings ASAP. Repeat this procedure with the bank. Don’t be afraid to starve your citizens a little in order to do so, you can always produce more food later. Plus they’re getting fat from laying around and counting money. Great Merchants still get settled back into the city.

The Renaissance signals the approach of the end of the Caste System Era. Sooner or later, you’ll have to make the switch to Emancipation, so it’s time to start pre-building some cottages. Don’t complete them, simply build them until one turn from completion. It’ll save time later.

The Industrial Age will likely see the end of Caste System. It also signals the approach of Corporations and Biology, so it’s time to consider the Switch. After the Emancipation Switch, your city needs, at most, a population of 27, so it’s time to consider slowing or halting its growth. During this age, you’ll stop settling Great Merchants in this city. You need one to found one of the food corporations, after all. Check how many turns it is until the next Great Merchant (don’t forget to check your Oxford city… it may produce a Great Scientist before Wall Street does) and compare it to how many turns it’ll take to get the tech for your chosen Food Corporation. If one will emerge before you research the tech, then settle that Great Merchant. Otherwise, save it to found the corporation. After that, send those Great Merchants on Trade Missions.

The Industrial Age also gives you levees, so if you placed your Wall Street city in an area with a lot of rivers (which seems likely), then you might want to send a few of those farmers to the mines and workshops to build them whenever you need to stunt your growth due to the happiness cap. The Industrial Age is also when you give your Wall Street city finally lives up to its name, and you build Wall Street. Building Levees will help you with that.

Hopefully, Wall Street will be complete before you have to switch to Emancipation. But after the switch, you’ll need to cottage as many farms as possible until you’re running food neutral while running seven merchants. With the extra hammers, you can start building science infrastructure. When you found a Food Corporation in this city, you’ll be able to cottage even more farms. Build about four so you can spread the Corporation to your Oxford city, your production cities, and your capital.

If you make it this far, the modern age is pretty much the same as a Cottage Economy.

The Oxford University City

The same strategy used with the Wall Street city works well with the Oxford University City… only you build science infrastructure buildings rather than wealth infrastructure. The main difference with this city is what you do with the Great Scientists the city produces. Settling a Great Scientist in Oxford rarely produces as much a benefit as building an academy in one of your science city, or rushing a tech.

In addition, unlike Wall Street, Oxford usually doesn’t need wealth infrastructure late in the game… though building a bank in the city makes sense, since you need a few of them to build Wall Street.

edited to expand upon the idea behind Oxford and Wall Street, especially post Caste System. Discuss this article on the forum