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A Great Person is a unit representing a uniquely talented individual. Great People (GPs) have many powerful abilities. All GPs can be settled in a city, becoming a super Specialist of their respective type. All GPs except Great Generals can also start a Golden Age, while all except Great Generals or Great Spies can help discover a technology. In addition, some Great People have a special building that only they can build in a city, and most kinds of Great People have a special operation which they can perform in a city.

Types and Abilities[]

Here is a table of Great People, showing their type, their production as a superspecialist, their special building (if any) and its effects, and their special operation on a city.

Type Superspecialist Building City operation
Great Artist +3 Coins (Civ4), +12 Culture (Civ4) - Great work (+4000 culture)
Great Engineer +3 Hammer (Civ4), +3 Beaker (Civ4) - Hurry production (500+ hammers to item in queue)
Great General +2 exp for new units Military Academy -
Great Merchant +1 Bread (Civ4), +6 Coins (Civ4) - Trade mission (2000+ gold from distant foreign city)
Great Prophet +2 Hammer (Civ4), +5 Coins (Civ4) Religious shrine(s) -
Great Scientist +1 Hammer (Civ4), +6 Beaker (Civ4) Academy -
Great Spy +3 Beaker (Civ4), +12 Espionage (Civ4) Scotland Yard Infiltration (+3000 EPs, must be in foreign city)

Generation of Great People[]

There are three independent mechanisms by which Great People are generated in the game: via combat (for Great Generals only), teching, and in cities via Great Person points. Generation of Great Generals is described on their page.


The first civilization to complete the research of certain technologies will get a free Great Person. The techs and their type of Great Person are:

Great People Points[]

Most Great People in the game are generated by a mechanism called Great People points (GPPs) GreatPerson4. Each city has a GPP counter that tracks how many GPPs have been produced in that city. The GPP counter is displayed in the lower right corner of the city screen. In addition, the BUG mod displays the GPP counter for the city which is currently projected with the soonest completion of a Great Person on the main screen.

Each civilization has a threshold for the generation of its next Great Person, which increases when (and only when) a new GP is born via the GPP mechanism. (That is, the GP threshold is not affected when you get Great People via tech.)

GPPs are generated in a city in two ways. Primarily they come from non-citizen specialists in a city; you get 3 GPPs per specialist per turn. However, wonders also generate GPPs: world wonders generate 2 GPPs/turn; national wonders generate 1 GPP/turn.

When any city reaches the GP threshold, it creates a new Great Person. When this happens, that city's GPP counter has the threshold amount subtracted (that is, it goes to zero, or just above zero if there is overflow). The threshold is then increased, making it harder to generate the next Great Person.

The GP threshold starts at 100 GPPs, then goes up by 100 (Normal game speed) for each of the first 10 GPs born. After that it rises by 200 points per GP. On Epic speed, the GP threshold is 150% of that on Normal; on Marathon, 300%; on Quick, just 67%. This information is summarized in the following table:

Great Person Threshold
Speed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Quick 67 134 200 267 334 400 467 534 600 667 800 934 1067
Normal 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1200 1400 1600
Epic 150 300 450 600 750 900 1050 1200 1350 1500 1800 2100 2400
Marathon 300 600 900 1200 1500 1800 2100 2400 2700 3000 3600 4200 4800

All GPPs have a "flavor." When a Great Person is born via the GPP mechanism, the type of Great Person is randomly determined using the percentage of each kind of GPP that was accumulated in that city. For example, if you have built the Great Library in a city, then you get 2 Scientist GPPs from it, and an additional 6 Scientist GPPs from its two free Scientist specialists. If you also have the Pyramids in that city (2 Engineer GPPs), and you have just generated your first GP there and zeroed out the GP counter, then the next GP will be born in 20 turns (10 GPPs/turn, 200 needed). The next GP will likely be a Great Scientist (80%), but may also be a Great Engineer (20%).

If espionage is disabled, spy GPPs from wonders instead become generic GPPs, but you can still obtain a Great Spy from Communism. Generic GPPs count towards the total without contributing to any specific Great Person. For example, if a city has 150 generic Great Person points and 2 Great Prophet points it has 100% odds to get a Great Prophet. If the city is due for a Great Person and has only generic GPPs, it won't get a Great Person until it gets a specific GPP, in which case the pent up Great Person becomes whatever non-generic person is received first. The overflow of points carries over to the next Great Person.

Note than in Civilization IV prior to Beyond the Sword, GPPs worked the same way, but there was a second mechanism which slightly changed the odds for which type of GP was generated. See the article on the forums (below) for information on that if you have an old version of Civilization IV.

See also[]

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