The City Must Grow – Definitive Growth Guide (with Tips)

My findings so far on how to make your city thrive.

Guide to Growth

Take a Turn

The game is turn-based and here is a collection of notes about that.

  • At each turn, you will get a chance to place a zone/road, this is selected randomly.
  • There is no time-limit to your turn so take that time to assess your situation fully before making a decision.
  • The turn only ends when you hit the big yellow arrow button or hit [Space].
  • You can always undo your actions during a turn with the other button next to the end turn button.
  • At the end of the turn, the game calculates if your decision has contributed to growth or if other active effects are affecting the end of the turn.
  • Resources usage will also be calculated at the end of the turn.
  • Your city growth bar goes down one point each turn if nothing gets built/zoned.
  • The game ends when the bar is depleted and your score will be calculated based on your total growth and turns survived.
  • Knowing this, in the end-game, try to combine negative effects at the same turn to mitigate the drop of growth (eg bulldoze a structure at the same time you expect another effect to be added at the end of your turn)

About Growth Points

Here are the things I took note of to manage my growth bar and stay alive for more than 2000 turns.

Growth point mechanics

  • The game will always remove a growth point at the end of your turn if there is nothing that would otherwise affect the growth positively.
  • Your Growth bar will only move at most 1 point either up or down, effects are not cumulative, hence don’t rushing it.
  • If you have a negative and a positive effect at the same turn, the growth will be counted as negative (to be double-checked).
  • Knowing this, in the end-game, try to combine negative effects at the same turn to mitigate the drop of growth (eg bulldoze a structure at the same time you expect another effect to be added at the end of your turn)

Neutral effects

  • Placing roads don’t give growth points, so the growth will go down no matter what.

Positive effects

  • Placing a field, forestry or mine will directly yield a point at the end of the turn if they can be built with resources available.
  • Placing a field is one the cheapest way in terms of employment and resources required to get a city growth point.
  • Residential homes will yield 2 city growth points: 1 once building starts/ is built (?) and one once people settle in.
  • Some structures don’t yield points right away and require to have a structure fully built on it first.
  • Most buildings take at least one or two turns to get built, that delay increases with higher tier structures.

Negative effects

  • Unemployed people leaving town.
  • Homeless people leaving town.
  • Unhappy people (aka starving) leaving town.
  • Collapsed buildings (when they remained unoccupied for too long).

Collection of Other Tips

Below is a mish-mash of remaining tips and findings, I’ll give a more structured shape when I get my head around everything I’ve written in it.

  • You always start in the middle of the map.
  • The map is about 57×57 squares tall.
  • The map is square except if a body of water is cutting through the edges.
  • The most important thing to keep in mind is to never rush placing a certain zone if there is not a very good reason to do so.
  • Always place as much roads as possible in early game to explore your map as fact as possible.
  • Roads are good for exploring and uncover 5 squares deep, so space your roads accordingly for efficient exploration.
  • All roads should make a single circuit, if a piece gets disconnected, buildings over there will get in trouble or your didn’t need the road to start with.
  • At the beginning, concentrate on exploring in straight lines from your starting point while maintaining development as balanced as possible until you unlock the resources view
  • As soon as you have resources view, start to locate the best 30% of your map where you’ll start you build your city centre.
  • Don’t rush the next objective either as this will give you another building.
  • City should as much as possible be installed only on plains or mid lands (except if you have an abundance of any other resource blocks).
  • Stone and coal resources blocks will be unusable once mined.
  • Because the mines can get depleted, stone and coal reserves are the only non-renewable resources on your map, so don’t go sell them.
  • Farm tiles develop depending on following conditions: on plain, next to water, very low ground. If none of those conditions are met you will get an orchard.
  • Farm tiles have 4 development types: dark green, light green, yellow and orchard with following respective yields per square: 48,36,24,24). This means placing a field tile on a plain does not guarantee maximum yield.
  • Maximise your farm yield by only placing them on plains + near water bodies.
  • There is always a 2 square wide strip of wet/low plains all around the edges of the map, optimise their usage for fields!
  • You start with a small set of resources (2.5k wood and 1.0k of crops).
  • Early buildings will need wood, hence don’t wait using your first reserve of wood to build at least one forestry to keep your budding city sustainable.
  • Forestries built on high Lands in the resource map yield 14 wood each turn, 10 on Mid Lands and on Plains it even falls to 8 and that makes sense because what the hell are you building it there after reading my notes on fields.
  • fields, forestries and mines don’t need roads adjacent, so remove them to squeeze out anything in the ground except if you need to keep a building connected.
  • Residences will start consuming food, as there are 3 people living in a 2-square house.
  • Each person consumes 12 food per turn.
  • Higher tier residents will also require dairy products and processed foods.
  • You can earn money through office buildings.
  • Seaports can also yield some money if you sell your resources there.
  • You can only sell/buy as many batches of resources at a seaport as there are workers available for it.
  • Seaports make for a good reserve of spare workers if you are not selling/buying much resources, use the worker slider when needed to manage employment demand.

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