First off, tapping your gold bar at the top left of the screen will reveal your financial breakdown shown in the image below. The bottom coin with a red arrow indicates your total expenses. The coin above it with a green arrow indicates your income. The big coin at the top is your net cashflow (income minus expenses). If it is positive, you are making money overall, negative means you’ re losing money. All cashflows in the game are every 30 seconds.
You make money whenever residents are in range of and have a road connection to a market. The more residents you have, the more money you make so you need to ensure that not only do you have as many houses as possible, but that your houses are fully populated. In order for your houses to be fully populated, all their needs must be satisfied. Let’s start by explaining the difference between your population’s needs and their demands.
If you tap any residence it will open the information screen for that building as shown in the image below. The info screen tells you the following:
- How many residents are in the house out of the maximum capacity it can hold
- Income currently generated from that house
- The Green arrow at the top is where you go to ascend a building when applicable
- The Pickaxe at the left of the info will destroy the building if you tap it twice in a row and will return to you a part of its construction resources.
- If there is any message relevant to the building it’ll show up in a text bubble to the right
- Two rows of needs/demands category icons. If you tap any category it’ll show you specifically what they are asking for. A green icon box means the category is completely satisfied. A grey icon box means something is completely lacking. An orange or yellow icon box means something they want is available but not in enough quantity, or one or more (but not all) of the needs in a category is missing.
- The top row shows you their demands. From left to right the demands categories are: Food, Drink, Clothes, Property
- The bottom row shows you their needs. From left to right the needs categories are: Community, Services, Faith, Entertainment
It is important to distinguish between needs and demands. Fulfilling needs ensures residents will move in to the houses thus increasing the population. While fulfilling demands will generate more income from homes for each demand satisfied.
Needs = population; demands = income. More satisfied population = more income The strategic importance of understanding needs vs demands will become clear in later parts of this series.
On a most basic level, to improve your income build as many residents as you can keep fully satisfied. Try not to build more service and production buildings than you need to satisfy them because they cost money to maintain. The key to doing this is to use your land space efficiently. A nice strategy is to use central land areas for housing and use the edges, especially around mines and fishing spots for production. The harbour provides free collection wagon(s) so it makes sense to utilize them by placing production sites near it.
Be sure to group production buildings around distribution houses as efficiently as possible so that a single distribution house can serve as many production buildings as possible. An efficient setup can satisfy around 13 or so production buildings using a single disthouse and with stone roads (which increase the speed of collection carts) even up to around 20 production buildings, depending on the combination of buildings.
Try having service buildings like the Market, Chapel, Carpenter, and Tavern grouped together and build houses in a circle around them. One very efficient early-game setup is the 7x8 town center I used. It is highly efficient in the early game, but becomes less useful after you unlock the large market and move on to Merchants and beyond. Here’s the setup if you wish to use it:
It groups a Medium Market, Chapel, Carpenter's Hut, and Tavern in a perfect 7x8 rectangle. At first you don't need a tavern for pioneers but just leave space for it. You could even have a house in its place and move it later. Then when you're ready to upgrade to Vassals you build the tavern. Firehouses cover a very large area, so just make sure you make space nearby for it, maybe on the other side of the road.
You can see from this final image how efficiently I'm using the range of my buildings. The shown range is that of the Carpenter since it has lower range than Chapel, and Tavern.
This is the most basic, essential information you will need to get started and have good economics for your empire. However, different stages of the game will present different challenges and knowing certain information and strategies in advance will help you significantly in maintaining good financials as you advance. Therefore the next posts in this series will cover first some basic troubleshooting advice for improving your income and then phase by phase tips and strategies to help in the journey forward as far as I have learned from my own progress and experience. I hope you will benefit from these posts and stay tuned for more to come.
Last edited by Tea on Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:56 am; edited 1 time in total