World Building Games

World Building games are my favorite type of computer games. In this type of games, the objective is to build a city or a business. In these kinds of games, the key is resource optimization and effective operations planning – that way this kind of games is linked to my profession. Maybe that is why I like these games. Some of the games I have played of this type are: Railroad Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, Caesar, and Pharaoh. Civilization is a game that is a cross between world building and war strategy but I would put it more in the world building category.

In Railroad Tycoon the objective is to successfully establish and run a railroad company. It is very interesting identifying right location to establish stations based on population density and locations of raw materials and industries, buying the right type of engines, choosing the right goods to transport and manage financing effectively. In Zoo tycoon, the objective is to establish a profitable zoo. This entails procuring various exotic species of animals, establishing right environment for them, providing visitor facilities, maintaining the premises clean and effective ticket pricing.

While the Tycoon Games are about managing businesses, Caesar and Pharaoh are about establishing cities. Caesar is based on ancient Rome and Pharaoh is based on ancient Egypt. In both games, the objective is to establish a city with a growing population and thriving economy. In order to do that the player has to provide various facilities to meet the various needs of the people such as food, water, housing, clothing, religion and entertainment. Then there are also things such as sanitation, fire brigade, and crime prevention. That is on the needs part. On the other hand the people have to be provided employment to keep them occupied. If people are underemployed, there may be crime and rebellion. If people are overemployed, many of the facilities may not be adequately staffed and services will suffer. Then there is the question of economy. The state has to maintain treasury full through taxation and exports. Then there are other aspects such as location of various buildings. For instance people will not go too far to work. So if industry is too far from residential areas, no one will go there to work. On the other hand if an industry is located too close to a residential area, it might make the area an undesirable due to the disturbance. And last but not the least; the city has to be prepared to train garrisons to defend against bandits, wild animals and foreign invasions. Overall the games are very interesting and provide many an hour of entertainment.

Civilization is about managing a civilization over centuries. One starts from Stone Age and keeps developing the nation right up to space age. Through the journey, one has to optimize spending between business, war, culture and science. While doing that one has to fight for land with rival nations. One can choose war or diplomacy with other nations based on need. As one progresses one experiment with various forms of government. Depending on the government the cost to keep people happy will change and some forms of government are more conducive to keeping larger population together. It also has interesting forms of diplomacy varying from request, threats, offers, demanding tributes, asking assistance in war etc.

These types of games don’t really need a storyline as such. But they provide a good insight of how economy works and logistical details that can be crucial in building a credible world in science fiction or fantasy. Also one learns a lot about ancient cultures and various other aspects of a world such as business, technology etc. I would say this type of games is especially good for storytellers in fantasy and science fiction genres as they can simulate imaginary worlds and see.

Coming up next week: Game Books


  1. They seem very interesting. AND, yes, they would open our eyes to some facets of world-building that we may otherwise neglect.

    1. These are as I have mentioned my favorite genre of games.


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