The Great People Farm

How To Make A Great Person Factory

In the previous article, Civilization IV Cities Part 1, I talked about how to optimize a city’s food production so that resources could be available for production (hammers) or commerce (coins). With the Great People Farm (also known as the Great Person Farm or Great Person Factory) however, you don’t do this!

The Great People Farm is a city that specializes in producing Great People, that you can use to enhance your civilization in many ways. They can start Golden Ages, discover technology, build specialist buildings, or become super-specialists in your cities.

Instead of doing the minimum farming necessary, for a Great People Farm you try to maximize your city’s population so that as many citizens as possible can be used as specialists - engineers, scientists, priests, merchants, and artists, to generate Great People Points (GPP), which your cities use to generate Great People. Ideally, you will be able to plant such a city in a grassy flatland, preferably with some food bonuses like wheat, rice, sheep, pigs and cattle, and optionally with 2-3 hills around for a bit of productive capacity too. You then farm this area like crazy, building farms, pastures or whatever is necessary to maximize the food production of each of the 20 spaces around the city. When you have the necessary surplus citizens (or earlier if your city can still grow), you can click the little plus signs at the lower right of your city display screen to add specialists of the relevant type (double-click on any city to get to its display). The odds of getting one or another type of great person depend on what type of specialists you are using to generate your great people points: a mixture of specialists gives you mixed odds, basically.

You may find it helpful when you can to put the Globe Theater wonder in the city too, since as the city grows keeping the population happy and preventing riots is likely to keep you busy without it. At a minimum, you should stuff the city with temples, and a theater. Probably, you will need a Coliseum too. Health is also important to maintain, as when the balance of health is negative (the sickly green smiley is showing), your citizens eat the food stores so the city will not grow rapidly.

To be able to change your citizens into specialists, you need the relevant buildings where these citizens can work: engineers work in the Forge (one engineer specialist), the Factory (two engineers) and indeed, the Ironworks wonder (allows you to create three engineer specialists). The complete set of buildings is given below, but you only need to build those for the type of specialist you like (unless you are not fussy).

No. of Specialists:







Broadcast Tower







Marketplace, Grocer

Wall Street


each Temple

each Cathedral

each Holy Shrine, Ankgor Wat


Observatory, Laboratory

Library, (Great Library gives 2 free)

Oxford University


In addition to the above, the Statue of Liberty gives one free specialist in each city on the same continent. Other wonders also help, as many of them generate Great People Points, as do the Holy Shrines (your religions’ special buildings).

It is also handy to build the Parthenon somewhere, as it generates +50% Great People Points from all cities. The National Epic generates +100% GPP too, but you should build it in your Great People Farm city as it only affects the city it is built in. All these effects are cumulative, so if everything goes well, your civilization will be churning out great people at a fantastic rate!

There are other tweaks in the system that can help you too. The Caste System civic allows you to place unlimited artist, scientist and merchant specialists in your cities - that is, you don’t have to have their buildings available. You do have to have spare citizens available though: these specialists aren’t free, and you still have to divert citizens away from food or other production to specialize them. Nevertheless, it is probably the easiest way to get Great People Points in the early part of the game. It is worth noting also that the Pacifism civic adds +100% to the great people birth rate as well, which can be handy later in the game.

If your leader is ‘philosophical’ you get another +100% Great People birth rate in all cities. These leaders are:

  • Saladin, Arabian Empire
  • Mao Zedong, Chinese Empire
  • Elizabeth, English Empire
  • Frederick, German Empire
  • Alexander, Greek Empire
  • Peter, Russian Empire
  • Gandhi, Indian Empire

Probably in most games, it will not be feasible to use all of these tweaks: getting the perfect setting in the perfect game hardly ever happens. But you should find with a bit of practice that you can increase your Great People production significantly in many cities, and, occasionally, specialize one city completely and generate a constant stream of Great People to help your civilization to dominance!