My girlfriend was playing Civ V today, and quite enjoying the experience. I mentioned I preferred IV in some ways, and she decided to try it out. She was quite enjoying things at first, but she ended up having an issue where her Great People started disappearing for seemingly no reason.

After a little while, she figured out they weren't disappearing, as such, so much as being automatically consumed - and in different ways, as well. Usually they were added as specialists, but they were also consumed for Golden Ages.

This suggests that the Great People were being automated in some fashion, for some unknown reason. I've never seen this happen in my own games - I never even realized it was possible. How could this happen? Is this a glitch, or some obscure feature or consequence of a feature that hasn't been documented widely? The frustration killed the game for her, so I'd like to figure this out so we could give it another shot.

  • 3
    For one thing, there is a question: have you seen this with your own eyes, or you know this only from words of your girlfriend? I've never seen this either, and if it was possible to set such option in the settings, the check-box itself would be present near the other automation check-boxes (for workers, missionaries, executives). But there is no such option, so I'm sure, it is not possible. I'm not sure about the production automation, since I don't use it at all, but it is also unlikely.
    – d.k
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 10:31
  • A more probable variant, if you haven't seen this behavior yourself, is that your girlfriend misinterpreted something, since she is new to Civ IV
    – d.k
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 10:31
  • My girlfriend's played Civ V quite a bit, so she's not entirely unfamiliar with the concepts. I trust her implicitly, but the possibility that it's some kind of glitch was fairly high on the list - I was asking in hopes that I might be able to say something other than 'it done broke, I dunno' to her. Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 11:04
  • 1
    Is this happening in every game she plays or just a specific save? Commented Nov 3, 2017 at 11:24
  • Is she running with any mods? Expansions? Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


If it's a glitch, it has never been documented and we would need it documented.

I started up a game and built some wonders. I made a save the turn before my first great person, and played around with settings.

Even with all three related options checked (units auto-promote, workers start automated, and missionaries and executives start automated), I could not get a great person to spawn automated.

Furthermore, when the great person unit is selected, there is no "automate" option.

In conclusion, either your girlfriend clicked a button she didn't know she clicked, or there's some deep glitch.

Have her start a game on easy mode just to build a wonder (Arabians start with mysticism), and see what happens. Maybe send her a save-game, or have her reinstall. I'm having a tough time rationalizing that she has some weird hardware issue that civ4 is suddenly obsolete.


It is possible that the disappearing Great People are being kidnapped by a Spy unit. You may not know there is a Spy in your city gobbling up things without being detected.

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