City Building Games, old and new [ADVICE]

Grand Ages: Rome and Children of the Nile played to exhaustion, what should I pick up? Of these two I mentioned I utterly loved CotN, the setting and economic model were greatly implemented and unlike Grand Ages or the Caesar series CotN, at least for me, feels more realistic in it’s “radius of effect” approach (meaning there isn’t one, but your households take longer to restock if the shop is farther away and the same rule applies to the other buildings).

So, what should I pick up?

Settlers 7… it has that resource generation and support structure of CotN, but the games don’t take 20 hours to “complete.” It’s like the RTS of city building games, really.

Anno 1404

Both of them have DRM that will gently* insert a probe** into your anus, but it’s worth it.

And Simcity 4, with its incredible mod community over at Simtropolis, is a must-have. If you don’t have it, you must.


Whilst it isn’t a city-builder per se, the version 1.0 of Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe has just recently been released and it’s free! Can’t beat that. Awfully different theme from the stuff you’re coming off of but you may find that refreshing.

Settlers sounds nice (and looks nice) but I don’t believe my ageing machine can run it, unfortunately.
Well, was checking the system requirements, if I can run DA and Mass Effect I think I can run Settlers too; I’ll download the demo.

Also, Open Transport Tycoon sounds fun, I’ll get it too.

I’ve been playing Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe every day for almost a week now and I can’t believe I forgot to mention it. Not a city-builder per se, but it’s kinda fun seeing the cities you supply with goods and passengers expanding outward.

Caeasar 3 does not have a radius of effect either. Goods are distributed by strolling providers, making the layout of roads and minimizing distances very important. I recommend it if you haven’t played it. It sounds like you played Caesar 4, in which I would understand why you were not impressed.

Just remember, unless they changed this with Open Transport Deluxe Tycoon 1.0, you need to “acquire” the stock files from a copy of the original TTD to install. Just an FYI if you wonder why it won’t install/run.

Actually, not anymore. You can grab the gfx, sfx and music from the project.

Especially since it’s so cheap on gog!

Caesar 3 ranks up there with my favorite games, much less my favorite city builder. “Your city needs more workers” doesn’t have the charm that the comparable message did in Caesar 2, but I still spent hours optimizing everything and laying out special sections for my population. Never did too much with the battle other than some light defense, but working the trade was great.

For a more modern game, Anno 1404/Dawn of Discovery is great if you like a city builder with a heavy trade aspect.

Yeah, I played Caesar 3 back in the day, 99-2000 if i’m not mistaken.
I’m just surprised that in a sea of FPS’s and the like there are so few city building games and sims like old SimEarth or SimLife.

I believe the DRM for Anno 1404 has been officially patched out.


was patched in again with expansion. unless that too was removed?

I suppose I can remove this thing from my ahhhhh shit, I’m still playing Settlers 7 aren’t I.

I don’t suggest grabbing the music, because it’s terribly annoying, but yes you’re correct. It’s even included in the installer so there’s no reason to download them separately.

Ah, yes, the infamous “plebs are needed!”

The city builders we made at Impressions were essentially puzzle games. You figured out an optimal block and repeated it. You counted tiles. You locked walkers into a loop (in C3, players used an object to do this, which wasn’t intended - in Pharaoh an item was specifically added for that purpose). It was very intentional to move away from that with Children of the Nile. Some hated that, others loved it… and that was carried into Caesar IV.

Oh my god, i’m such a spam bot. Settlers 2 10th anniversary. 90% of settlers wisdom, 50% more cute, and about 15% as much drm.

Rollercoaster tycoon deserves a mention for an application of planning and design with a different scenario to “help * age people flourish”.

I’m a big Tilted Mill fanboy since CotN. Caesar IV is a great blend of old (walker, radius) and new (gatherer, workers) mechanics and very easy to get into if you play a lot of city builders.

If you really want to try something different in city building SimCity Societies has a very interesting take on resources. (I don’t recommend the Destinations expack though). You’ll have to “unlearn” a lot of city builder tropes.

Surprised no one’s mentioned either Zeus or Emperor, two of Impressions’ best city builders, IMHO.

Eh, I tried to like Simcity Societies. I didn’t mind too much giving Tilted Mill my money for it, but I wasn’t compelled to play much farther than one or two scenarios and the tutorial.

SCS as it was released was very sandboxy and without much challenge. After the four or so updates it became (IMO) much more about decisions having short and longer term impact and chances for failure (i.e. much more of a game).