8 Tips for the New SimCity

Posted Mon, Mar 11, 2013 by Xerin

SimCity 8 Tips

We’ve gathered eight tips to help you understand the new SimCity and make your way from Mayoral neophyte to Mayor in Chief. So get your officially sanctioned sash and top hat and let’s get to work on making some of the biggest and best cities in the history of the new SimCity.

Try Not to Figure on Biggering and Biggering – Expand Slowly, Upward First then Outward

My largest tip by far for any intrepid mayor is to run to your local library and pick up a copy of The Lorax. This telling book gives you detailed step by step instructions on how to do well in SimCity, starting with avoiding cutting down every Truffula Tree to exposing the dangers of biggering deep within the Grickle-grass. I’m not kidding; SimCity will let you play out the entire book, from the first chop until you’re sitting weeping quietly bankrupt and having to demolish large swaths of your village, returning it to a polluted town full of hovels. The GlassBox engine will push back against you and crumbling your desires to bigger every step of the way, resources become scarce fast, pollution will cause untold sickness and the Brown Bar-ba-loots frown rather quickly. Everything will collapse and you’ll sit desiring fifteen cents.

Stepping back briefly from the confusing word play, you must build slowly and watch out for expanding too quickly. Take your time, watch employment. If you have more jobs than residents, then you need additional housing to expand. Additional housing doesn’t mean to zone more, it’s much better to increase density first, build up then out. Why? Fire, medical, power, and trash coverage are more efficient the smaller the area – a building is a building.

SimCity Income

The faster you expand, the more infrastructure you’ll need to avoid critical failures such as fires, sickness, and crime waves. In addition, infrastructure is insanely costly and inefficient the further any of the services have to travel. If you can’t afford the additional expense of the infrastructure, then you’ll start having bigger and bigger problems later on. In addition, exploiting industry will result in massive pollution and lack of workers (industry requires a lot of people to operate) which results in abandoned villages, a drain on power/water, and tons of pollution.

Basically the quicker you bigger then faster you’ll be sitting under the bad smelling skies in your big empty city, just yourself and some pie. Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, your city and its residents will sit and stagnate in a cycle of anguish. I’ve made over ten cities and in the ones where I took my time I was rewarded greatly with profitability and happy residents.

So, if you want to bigger, take your time, look at the charts, and play strategically. Sometimes it takes a Grinch to see the true magic in Christmas, after all.

Location Location – Plop buildings in the most efficient central locations.

The big difference between SimCity and SimCity 4 is that the service buildings (police, fire, medical) aren’t adjustments on happiness, but actual physical sims that respond to actual physical events. In previous titles you attempted to make sure all sims had coverage and tried to avoid overlap. In SimCity you’re not worried so much about overlap as you are about response times and availability of forces. One police station will attempt to service the entire map; however it will not be able to respond to crimes far away unless the car is patrolling near the incident.

To that extent, think smart about where you place services. Put them in locations that they can access roughly half to a quarter of the map easily. Avoid edges of the map and try to put them as central as possible to your population, close to avenues and away from traffic jams. Remember that you can’t stop every single crime ever, but you want to keep it managed to the point that your sims don’t complain about sickness, fire, or crime.

SimCity Income

The same goes for mass transit. The passenger train station & ferry needs to go near commercial areas and culture (tourist) attractions. Bus stops shouldn’t be spammed everywhere, but spaced out to allow an efficient network of coverage. Trade ports should go near industrial so that the industrial trucks don’t jam up traffic. Again, majority of times, the most central location is the best location, so that everything is about the same distance.

The only exception is trash pickup, which you probably will end up jamming into a corner and that’s fine, the trucks are pretty efficient at rolling out and getting trash. The same thing with schools, bus stops helps alleviate the need of putting them in a central location.

Fossil fuel industry amounts to big money too, especially in the early game. Having a city in the region dedicated to mining and drilling (and later smelting and refining), buying in with bond issues (get the finance department to enable $100k bonds), and attaching these industries to a road and rail network via a trade depot or trade port can easily rake in hundreds of thousands of Simoleans a day. You can then gift that money to your or your friends' other mean, lean, and green cities in the region, or simply use those resources to build great works sites that benefit everyone.

Yes, there's environmental impact with this approach, but upgrade your locally supplied fossil fuel power plant and water plants with filtration, keep ground polluting industries away from the water table, and be careful of what's downwind of your air polluters, and you'll minimize the impact.

Great guide, btw.

Fossil fuel, coal, and ore are all great resources for fast cash, even better if your city is just nothing but that and then you can profit then move to something sustainable, like culture or recycling or importing and making electronics (or importing and smelting / refining works too, I think, but I have yet to do the math).

So nice to share the tips. Very helpful. Thanks a lot!

So nice to share the tips. Very helpful. Thanks a lot!


We’ve gathered eight tips to help you understand the new SimCity and make your way from Mayoral neophyte to Mayor in Chief. So get your officially sanctioned sash and top hat and let’s get to work on making some of the biggest and best cities in the history of the new SimCity.

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