Great People (GPs) make a return in Civilization V. They are exceptional historical figures with special abilities, which appear in your civilization when you develop a particular aspect of the gameplay sufficiently. Be wary! All Great People are considered civilian units and, as such, they are defenseless on the battlefield! They are instantly destroyed if an enemy unit enters their tile (with the exclusion of the Great Prophet, who meekly allows himself to be captured by the enemy). Consider well how you position and move them, especially when it comes to the Great Generals and Admirals, as they are always in the heat of battle. Always stack them with a strong military unit.
How to Earn Great People
Most Great People are earned through accumulating a special resource, the Great Person Point (GPP). Each type of Great Person has its own kind of GPP, which accumulates independently of other GPPs. Great Prophets are earned by accumulating Faith, and always appear in your capital. Some wonders make Great People appear when they are completed, and some Social Policies give you free Great People as well. They aren't completely free though, see below for more details.
Great Person Points for Great Artists, Engineers, Merchants, and Scientists accumulate in cities, and when a city accumulates enough points towards a particular Great Person, (s)he is "born" in that city. These points are earned by Specialists, as well as several Wonders and Social Policies. There are also enhancers that will make cities generate GPPs faster, as seen below.
Great Generals and Great Admirals, on the other hand, are generated by engaging your units in combat. Because of the more general nature of the GPP accumulation for these Great People, you can't predict in which city they will appear, except that the Great Admiral will always appear in a coastal city.
|Freedom||+25% Great Person generation in all cities. (only in Vanilla and G&K)|
|Hagia Sophia||+33% Great Person generation in all cities. (only in Vanilla)|
|Leaning Tower of Pisa||+25% Great Person generation in all cities.|
|National Epic||+25% Great Person generation in this city.|
|Garden||+25% Great Person generation in this city.|
|Coffee House (Replaces Windmill)||+25% Great Person generation in this city.|
|Candi (Replaces Garden)||+25% Great Person generation in this city.|
As a rule, after the generation of a particular Great Person, the next one requires double the amount of GPPs. For example, if your first Great Merchant required 100 GPPs, the next one will require 200. On Standard game speed, the first Great Person is generated at 200 for Generals, Admirals, and Prophets, while all other Great People only require 100 for the first one.
Several Great People are "pooled" together, meaning that producing one will elevate the requirements for all of them:
- In Gods & Kings, this was the case for the Great Artist, Great Merchant, Great Scientist, and Great Engineer.
- In Brave New World, the culture-oriented Great People are separated from this pool, leaving only the Great Engineer, Merchant, and Scientist pooled together, while Great Artists, Great Musicians, and Great Writers develop separately.
X + ([N - 1] * 100)
The X above represents the amount of Faith that was required for the last Prophet; the N represents which subsequent number this Great Prophet will be. The initial value of X is 200. Therefore, the first Great Prophet requires a minimum of 200 Faith (200 + ([1 - 1] * 100) = 200), the second requires at least 300 (200 + ([2 - 1] * 100) = 300), the third requires at least 500 (300 + ([3 - 1] * 100) = 500), the fourth requires at least 800, the fifth requires at least 1200, and so on.
In addition, Great Prophets do not spawn automatically upon the accumulation of the aforementioned amounts of Faith - they are given a percentage chance to spawn each turn, as governed by the following formula:
Percentage = 5 + (Faith - Cost)
As an example, if your Great Prophet was to spawn at 200 Faith, you would have a
- 5% chance of a Great Prophet spawning at 200 Faith.
- 55% chance of a Great Prophet spawning at 250 Faith (5 + 250 - 200).
- 100% chance of a Great Prophet spawning at 295 Faith or greater (5 + 295 - 200).
Great People Abilities
Most Great People abilities are one-time-use, which means that the Great Person is expended once an ability is used. Exceptions to this are the "aura" abilities of the Great General and Great Admiral, which work automatically, boosting the Combat Strength of nearby troops at all times; and the Spread Religion of the Great Prophet, which can be used 4 times before the person is expended.
The one-use abilities can roughly be divided into two categories:
- One-time, short-term benefit, which boosts something, for example a one-time boost of Culture (Great Writer), one-time boost of Science (Great Scientist), etc.
- Long-term benefit, in the form of either a Great Tile Improvement, or a Great Work. The net gain of a long-term ability is definitely smaller than the short-term ability gain, but over many turns it may prove to be much more useful.
Most abilities may only be used in your own territory.
Earning GPPs is pretty much straightforward - you assign the relevant Specialists, which will earn GPPs for the Great Person you want. If you fight a lot, you'll earn Great Generals and Admirals; if you have good Faith accumulation, you'll earn lots of Prophets. Because of the pooling of the rest of the Great People, however, some forethought is required.
Different empires follow different paths of development, and have different use of Great People: a scientifically-developed nation needs more Great Scientists; a commercial empire - more Great Merchants. But if you're earning the GPPs for the wrong kind of Great Person, it will pop out, increasing the GPPs required for the Great Person you actually want! Also, any Great People received as bonus from Wonders or Social Policies do count towards the GPP scaling!
In short, when assigning specialists, give some thought as to what sort of Great People your empire needs the most - assign many more Specialists of this type, and few, if any, of the other types. In Brave New World, the artists are all earned separately from the relevant Guild building - they aren't pooled together with other Great People anymore. So, you don't have to worry about them. But pay attention when producing Great Merchants, Engineers and Scientists.
A very important decision, apart from what Great People to try to earn, is how to spend them. In general, it is better to use the long-term benefit ability, especially at the start and middle of the game when the accumulated benefit will really make a difference over time. Short-term abilities, however, can be used to gain a strategic momentary advantage which could also have potential long-term benefits!
For example, you could use the Great Engineer's Hurry Production ability to construct an important World Wonder; the Great Scientist's Hurry Research to discover a critical technology ahead of the competition (which could in itself have many advantages); or the Great Musician's Concert Tour ability to deliver the final tourism blow on a stubborn adversary. Always think carefully before deciding how to spend a single-use ability, because you won't have a chance to reconsider later.
List of Great People
The following table lists the abilities of the various Great People. In addition to those features in the table, all Great People can be used to start a Golden Age in vanilla Civilization V. This ability, however, is unique to the Great Artist in Gods & Kings and Brave New World. Check their individual pages to see all sources for that particular Great Person.
|Great Artist||Landmark (vanilla and ; none in )|
|Great Merchant||Customs House||
|Merchant of Venice||Customs House||
|Great Prophet||Holy Site||
Valid only in the Gods & Kings expansion pack.
Valid only in the Brave New World expansion pack.
|Civilization V |
|Gods & Kings • Brave New World|