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Tropico - It's a good day to be El Presidente

Time to build an empire!

As long as I can remember I’ve been interested in world building simulation style games. The first game I remember really getting into was Sim City (which we had at school, on one computer, and everyone wanted to play so.. the cities weren’t very good when 15 primary school aged kids hovered around one computer were building them) and then more so Sim City 2000. I went back to that game a lot and lost hours of time improving and perfecting my city. I am also one of those people that kept natural disasters turned off because I couldn’t stand to have everything ruined in 30 seconds.

Although.. sometimes I would let the aliens attack and then promptly loaded my pre: alien apocalypse city.

It’s very rare that games like that are made any more, good ones that is. Games that aren’t apps on a tablet/phone and require endless in-app purchases to keep going or make the game incredibly slow and dull.

That being said, there are many good empire building games but their entire point is to build a massive military and go to war with neighbouring towns/villages until you own/rule everything. I prefer the more peaceful route or just looking after my little village or city that lives in a bubble on its own. These games pop up only once every so often and fortunately for me, the most recent one is massively popular. Hopefully that means there will be more to come!

What am I talking about? Cities: Skylines of course. It’s very Sim City-esque but with a modern feel and, if reviews are anything to go by, it’s what everyone hoped Sim City 5 would be like but wasn’t.

Given its popularity I thought I’d discuss some other world building games today that let you build up your cities without having to worry about an invading neighbour taking you out.

  1. Cities: Skylines
    Cities: Skylines - Fire. Exclamation Mark. Fire.
    Cities: Skylines – Fire. Exclamation Mark. Fire. The Police station caught on fire.. it’s right next door to the Fire station.

    When I first heard of this game I instantly looked it up and nearly bought it straight away, but I didn’t. It is $29.99 USD off Steam and I wondered if I waited it out if it would get cheaper. I don’t know why I cared, $29.99 isn’t that expensive, it was more that it made it $38 AUD and that annoyed me. So I waited…

    .. And then I gave up on waiting and bought it. It is pretty amazing. I’ve spent 11 hours on my city and haven’t really touched the surface. There is so much you can do with this game, it really is the Sim City of now. You can control so much or so little, depending on how you want to play and you can also unlock items for when things go poorly.

    I started delving into the Steam Workshop yesterday and people have made some amazing things! They’re so talented and I can’t wait to use their items in my cities! I’d really recommend giving this game a go if simulation games interest you. You’ll probably lose days playing it.

  2. Banished
    Banished - Small village in spring
    Banished – Small village in spring

    Banished sure is beautiful. Banished sure is difficult. Banished is the story of a group of villagers who were banished from their village and went in search of somewhere new to live their lives. You start with basically nothing and have to make them self sufficient and also build up the population enough so they don’t end up just dying out on you. The population issue is very difficult to handle and I lost a few villages to lack of population. It’s lovely to look at, the soundtrack is beautiful but it can be quite hard to be good at.

  3. Tropico
    Tropico - It's a good day to be El Presidente
    Tropico – It’s a good day to be El Presidente

    Tropico is amazing to look at and has a great soundtrack. I actually hunted down one of the songs because I really loved listening to it. It really improves the atmosphere of the game. With Tropico (I own Tropico 3, but they’re up to 5 now) you are the dictator (El Presidente) of a little island called Tropico and the main goal (in the campaigns) is usually just to stay alive during a certain term without being assassinated… and to skim a bit off the top of your towns profits.

    It’s a lot of fun and you can play it whatever you way you like. Be that a ‘nice’ dictator who tries to give the people what they want or you kill anyone that doesn’t agree with you. I usually go with the former but it lets you play how you want.


There are some older games I love in this genre that you can find on GOG and Steam. My favourites being Caesar III¬†(only $3.09 on GOG right now)¬†where you have to build up Roman villages and make them prosperous. There are usually peaceful vs warlike options at the beginning of each campaign so I usually stick to the peaceful and have a small military for when that happens but mostly it’s about building beautiful, prosperous cities for your people to live in.

There’s also Rollercoaster Tycoon, which I’m sure everyone has heard of. I really wish there was a city building game (and let me know if there is) that has the amount of detail that RCT has. The fact that you can click on people and know how much money they have and have spent, whether they’re happy or not and why and can spy on them around the theme park is kind of amazing. Plus you get to design rollercoasters! Sometimes it doesn’t go so well though, like when it crashes and they all die.. oops.

Let me know if there is anything awesome that I haven’t mentioned, I love finding new games like this.


6 thoughts to “Time to build an empire!”

  1. I really love games like this and Cities: Skylies is really cool. I much prefer these games when there is no war involved, or you’re not having to concur or ‘win’ anything. Age of Empires was the first game of this kind that I played outside of Sims, and it built a fascination for me, but I never was good at the war aspect of that. So I am really glad that games like these exist!

    I had not heard of the others, so I will have to have a look.

    The only bummer, was that it wouldn’t play very well on my laptop, so had to use my parents desktop, which it works perfectly on!

  2. I was thinking of getting Banished. It sounds like a cool game. But oh my gosh, I totally forgot about Tropico! I only remembered it because you quoted the “good day to be El Presidente”, hahhaha.

    You may like The Guild. I tried The Guild: Renaissance (single player). You start in a town and work your way up to power while expanding your family (whom you also control). You can run businesses like the assassin’s den, brothels, wizard tower, etc. If you get the right position in the government, you can destroy other people’s buildings to make space for your own (but then people will hate you and try to re-elect someone else). You can also become the emperor or you can become an outlaw. You can go to jail. You can even grab job of being the town’s executioner, hehe. I can spend such hours on this game, haha.

  3. Cities: Skylines is so much fun! I love the soundtrack, it sounds so hopeful. XD I’ve never heard of Banished, but that sounds really interesting too.

  4. I am not really into these types of games (give me stories, give me plots, give me characters! XD), so they aren’t things I’d play, but hey good for those who like it! :D

    And I LOLed when I saw Rollercoaster Tycoon mentioned above. That’s one of the games we have in computer lab, and it’s one where the kids go crazy at it. Some of the stuff they do . . . like run people over with cars and dropping them to their “death” from the sky . . . they crack me up XD

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