Pay to win is a term often associated with games that were created to simply force consumers into paying for progress. While SimCity BuildIt certainly falls into this category it is playable without using real money. In fact, getting around paying for a game is something that I actually find fun. With SimCity BuildIt you can do this in one of two ways; optimize your layout, or use a bug that essentially allows you to get unlimited money at the beginning of the game.
An alternate method would simply be to setup multiple accounts in order to trade parts and resources with yourself or even give yourself money. Regardless of how you play the game, you’ll want to go with whatever is the most fun for you. For that reason I’m going to start with my “no cheating” recommendations for winning this game which can be helpful even if you choose to go the money route.
Setting Up Your New City
At first you’ll be told to do the basics including build a road, setting up a factory, building a water tower, and getting energy to your Sims. Do what is asked initially but then, for maximum efficiency, set your city up like this.
Don’t worry about where the houses are placed in this picture as these will need to be moved around through the game in order to maximize the territory of your fire, police, and health buildings. The roads are a big part of this setup. Notice how there are no vertical roads at all. Avoiding vertical roads will limit the amount of traffic that the game thinks you have by eliminating stop lights.
Use cheap and dirty buildings and place them away from your Sims. You won’t be able to splurge on clean energy, recycling, or anything else at first. If you do, you’ll regret it when it comes time to service your community with fire, police, and health buildings.
Speaking of houses don’t worry, at least at first, about overextending yourself. Instead, be willing to bulldoze houses later on as necessary.
As you progress through the first couple of levels start setting up your shops like this. Putting your shops nearer to your “offensive to Sims” buildings means you’re using your space more effectively and that you’ll occasionally get more blue bubbles. More blue bubbles means you’ll get more specialty parts for increasing your storage and expanding your city beyond the initial border.
Keep The Economy Simple At First
You’ll continue to do this as you’re able to purchase more shops. That being said, don’t focus on purchasing too many shops at first. The economy of the game itself gets very complicated; however, since you’re able to click the construction hat button and “request new plans” you can get different materials that take less time to build. Overall, building with materials that take a lot of time is not worth it early on.
Nails and Planks Only
A good example of this is nails vs planks. Nails take only 5 minutes to build while planks take 30 minutes. As you continue to level the products you build will continue to consume more time. That being said constantly refreshing the resources buildings take can save you a lot of time. Keep expanding, building, and then destroying houses as necessary. This will allow you to get the Simoleons you need while not focusing simply on expansion.
Building Luxurious Homes in SimCity BuildIt
Initially, the houses that you can build will be standard and maybe even premium homes. In the end, you’ll want luxurious homes because wealthy Sims are charged more taxes. You can see your city’s wealth forecast by clicking on the residential buildings house button and then clicking the construction hat on that page. Land value can also be measured here by clicking the bar graph.
When upgrading your houses try to move them to your wealthiest areas. Standard and premium buildings that you don’t want to be destroyed should be moved from the wealthiest part of your city to allow more luxurious homes to be built – thus increasing your overall tax rate and improving the look of your city.
Avoid 6 Lane Roads As Long As Possible
Eventually you’ll set your city up in blocks and allow your city to grow. From here the game will start asking you to upgrade roads. The 4 lane roads are mostly unavoidable; however; if you build a single vertical road while upgrading them you can limit the distance that you have to pay for – at least at first. If you move your older buildings away from these booming areas you should be able to avoid 6 lane roads until the part of the game that they’re actually affordable.
SimCity Late Game
Even as you get to the middle and later stages of the game you’ll want to keep a similar setup to what we had in the beginning. Coal Plants will be ideal until you really start to get your Simoleons coming in.
Efficient Parks, Transportation, and Gambling Buildings
Getting luxurious buildings early on isn’t that difficult if you know where to spend your hard earned cash. Perhaps the most efficient way to boost population and add land value is by purchasing a “Peaceful Park”. Although costing only 8000 Simoleons it covers a large area and boosts your population 25% in that area. You’ll want many of these throughout your growing city. Keep up the strategy of moving older buildings out of the way of your most valuable land areas and you’ll build bigger and better buildings that generate more tax or income.
Another efficient and easy-to-build population booster is the bus terminal. The population boost is marginal, but with the large area and small building price of “4 golden keys” it’s easy to make a few of these by pushing cargo through the cargo ship.
Even more efficient is the Luxurious Casino. This large, 16 x 16 area, casino gives your population a boost of 50% in the areas it reaches while only costing 10 golden keys.
Earning More Simoleons
Keep in mind that the trade depot is your friend. Use it to sell the excess that your city produces constantly. With taxes and the trade depot the amount of Simoleons you’re earning per day will increase quickly.
You’ll also want to check out the Simoleon popup clouds that appear regularly. These often give you higher prices than you could get from your fellow builders in the trade depot.
Earning Golden Keys
Golden keys are used to build specialty buildings and are a very important part of the late game. The easiest way to do this is by going to Dr. Vu’s tower, building it, and then completing disaster challenges. Where the cargo ship may provide you with a maximum of 3 golden keys a day, Dr. Vu’s tower gives you multiple golden keys for “fixing” your Sim’s housing.
Ways to Cheat in SimCity BuildIt
After all is said and done you may simply want to cheap to get to the endgame faster. While I think this takes away from some of the fun of managing your Simoleons and trading your way up, it also may be satisfying to those who want to start with specialty buildings. As an aside, I wouldn’t suggest downloading any of the hack software out there for the game. Most of these include Malware that can do serious harm to your computer.
The two methods I’m going to mention for cheating in SimCity actually work very well together. Having multiple accounts allows you to hold more inventory, get more specialty parts, and most importantly transfer Simoleons. I also find that the global trade center is especially kind for specialty parts at around level 10-11. If you keep a separate city at this level it’ll be able to find the parts you need to purchase more quickly.
Crush and Bulldoze from the Start:
Another way is to crush and bulldoze your city from the start. Even if you have an established city this is possible. Remove all of your residential zones and place the initial first two buildings. Only build the “metal” required house. While it’s building place a new building. Once the setup is complete simply bulldoze the other metal building. Rinse, wax, and repeat for unlimited Simoleons. Thanks to Kenneth Woodard for his very detailed video below.
Ultimately, SimCity BuildIt can be a fun game without paying if you’re willing to take the time to enjoy it. You can ask me any questions about this post in the comment section below.