※ This post has been modified significantly. Please read through again before further commenting.
Social policies is a great improvement in Civ V, replacing government forms in previous Civs. However, "social policies" in the game are just "benefits of accumulated culture points." They are nice buffs, but really helpful in the overall gaming.
Policies are different from pure benefits. Generally, policies turns one types of yield in other ones. Right now, there are not many ways we can do that. For examples, please see post #15.
By turning on and off policies, we can manage and adjust all types of yield according to the current situation. When you are invaded by other civs, you can turn on all the defensive policies to make sure you can survive. When you are behind in technologies, you can adopt all the science policies so that you can catch up.
Policies will have benefits and costs. Here are some examples:
- Benefits: +1 production, +1 gold, and +1 happiness per city
- Cost: 3 gold per turn for maintenance
- Benefits: +2 production from Solar and Hydro Plants
- Cost: +2 maintenance per Solar and Hydro Plants
Organized Religion (This one is directly from the current "social policies"):
- Benefits: +1 faith from Shrines and Temples
- Cost: +1 maintenance per Shine and Temple
Public Health Care:
- Benefits: 20% of food is reserved when a new citizen is born
- Cost: +1 maintenance per hospital
- Benefits: +20% science from Research Labs
- Cost: +2 maintenance per Research Lab
- Benefits: +1 food per farm
- Cost: 1 gold per 2 farm tiles upon adopting; all future farms will need one more turn to build
- Benefits: +1 science for every 2 citizen from Public Schools
- Cost: +1 maintenance per Public Schools
- Benefits: +1 happiness from Opera Houses
- Cost: +1 maintenance per Opera House
- Benefits: +15% production from factories
- Cost: +1 maintenance per factory
- Benefits: +1 happiness in 5 citizens
- Cost: 1 gold per turn per 5 citizens
Each policy also comes with an "ideology points." For example, "Social Welfare" will produce one Socialism point. The total ideology will determine the government type of a civ, which will have a great impact in diplomacy in late eras.
What about culture points? I think it can be treated similarly as faith points. Culture points can be used to buy culture buildings such as Opera Houses, and be used to buy great artists.
Please discuss! More suggestions are welcomed.