10 Tips to Rule Effectively in Tropico 4

Tropico. You would think that ruling a Caribbean Paradise is an easy job. All you have to do is sit back in your comfy chair, while soaking some exotic drink, from time to time telling your army to prod the people to work more. It’s far more demanding than that, both in life and in Tropico 4. Tropico 4 is not just about making money, it is also about keeping your people happy, and that is by no means an easy task. Unhappy people mean Revolts and Rebels. A disgruntled Military means a Coup d’etat. A frustrated USA or USSR means invasion. You have to watch out for multiple things, that could mean the difference between your small island’s survival or ultimate downfall.

This short list of tips aims at providing you with some ideas to keep your nation prosperous and happy. It is by no means a full Guide, but if you are stuck, or need the extra push I do hope you will find it here. Looking for something more expansive? We now have a Tropico 4 Guide for Industrialists, as well as one for the Modern Capitalists!

Tropico 4

The fate of your island, at your fingertips.

10 Tips to Rule Effectively in Tropico 4

There are a few things to look at while ruling in Tropico 4. Your Industry/Economy, your People, Internal and International Affairs. Each of these areas will be, at least in part, covered.

1. Exploit the Land – Your island always has some resource that can be used, or even abused. If you have Gold, Iron or Bauxite you should dig it out. If you have Oil, pump it out. Very good land for farming? Place farms everywhere. Incredibly beautiful Island? Build Hotels and expand your Tourism. At the very start of the game you might be even forced to invest in basic material production, rather than finished goods. It is a start, so if you can build a mine to sell gold, do so. You will need the money. Do not be bothered by the Ecologists, at the start at least. Later on you will have to tone down your destructive tendencies or the people themselves will be unhappy as well.

2. Industry without fuel? – You lack natural resources, and you feel you need something bigger than Tourism? There is a simple solution. In Tropico 4 you can now Import goods from abroad, this includes raw materials for your factories. This means that if you ever ran out of Iron for your Weapons Factory you can import it. Although Imported materials cost money the finished goods you sell back will be worth much more. I sometimes ended up with every single possible factory, while not having most of the material producers, and I made a very handsome profit. Sometimes your island will simply not have a resource and then importing is the only solution. In first order focus on the Industry that you do not have to support through imports. Only once your economy is powerful can you both Import and Export freely. Just make sure you set your Port to “No Limit” in terms of amount of possible imports.

3. Bread and Games and Housing and More… – Your people are a picky bunch, but it is perfectly understandable. Would you want to be hungry, under payed, living in a shack, and without any form of entertainment or healthcare? Considering all this, would you be any happier that you could not pray for things to change, because there would be no church? Your people have many needs, and fulfilling all of them will be tough, but not impossible. You can import food, in case you have a shortage. You only need one Clinic at the Start to keep your people healthy (although you might need to Import Experts), there is plenty of cheap housing available, and if you have an agreement with the USSR you can build better housing, cheaper. Different faction leaders will often inform you when the situation in a specific area is critical. You will know when you are doing a good job when Overall Happiness is above 70%. At first it might sound impossible to achieve, but with a powerful economy? Anything is possible.

4. Dictatorship vs Democracy – To Vote, or not to Vote? Democratic Elections keep the people content, and they can also pump up your own Ego. If you manage to fulfill point 3 then you should have no problem winning any election. Problems start if you ever do not get above 70% of the vote. That essentially means you are failing in a big area. You can choose not to go through with elections, but make sure people have access to Media buildings, so that they have a high sense of Liberty (while living in a Dictatorship).


About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

8 Responses to 10 Tips to Rule Effectively in Tropico 4

  1. goldfiction says:

    Same sex marriage is not just to make intellectuals happy. If you see tenements, you will notice there are a lot of 2 person spot with only 1 person filling while the other spot empty. A family of 2 person will use both slots while a single person will use 1 slot and the other slot empty. Same sex marriage allow better usage of the tenement building. It makes more people pair off into ‘family’ and double the efficiency of using houses. Not an extremely big deal, but it is not a bad idea.

    • WriterX says:

      Really? I was never aware of that. I rarely use that Edict because the intellectuals tend to be content when enough Media/Educations buildings are built (unless you have some perks that make you that much less popular with them).

      • bigdogshirt says:

        CIS scum

        • WriterX says:

          Not really. The religious faction is hard to appease in Tropico. I try not to pick Eddicts that could have negative consequences with certain factions, especially if my starting character has a series of negative traits effecting that specific faction. The Religious faction usually remains as one of the largest factions in Tropico, at all times, so getting on their bad side could carry with itself some negative consequences. Besides, this is a game. My decisions in it tend to be for the maximum number of points, or to achieve certain perks/objectives, and not to necessarily trod on some faction or group, because I feel like it.

  2. Kris Almlie says:

    hey! I’m a huge fan of Tropico since number 2 in the series. I do have one question regarding 3 and 4, just how picky are the citizens (relative to their perceived social status) when it comes to the different food options, namely: farm/wharf selfservice, market, restaurant, gourmet restaurant? I had 6 markets, each with an average stock of 800, 4 restaurants and just 1 gourmet rest; “Food for All” edict inacitve; population of 660, and they kept starving yearly (albeit in very small numbers, 4-6).

    • WriterX says:

      That is rather curious.

      During some games I would not produce almost any food, instead importing all of it, and I would have mainly markets and maybe a few restaurants and a gourmet restaurant but I never had problem with starvation.

      Since food is not payed for, at least in Markets, maybe the problem lies elsewhere… If memory serves right you can use a Food Happiness filter to check which areas of your island are affected by starvation. Perhaps that will help you pin-point the exact cause of the starvation, although usually it is just “Lack of Food”. Which means your Markets would have to run dry, but even then your restaurants can serve food. Try un-ticking the Food for All edict to see whether that will solve the problem. Maybe in some areas the food runs out quicker than in others?

      The only other idea I have, as to why people might be starving, is that somebody might be living in shacks, a very long way away from any Markets, but that seems unlikely. I had large cities (in the Industrialist Guide I had a screeny of my city that had almost 900 people in it) and no starvation so there must be some small thing you might had overlooked but I cannot begin to fathom what it might be. You could try building more markets but checking where the starvation appears would be a good start.

  3. anonymous says:

    Museum of modern arts – set the mode to “promote tropican art”. Build as many as you can. Its a bit tricky in the start, as it produces very little, but once a few years pass, each museum produces up to 7600 $ continually, jsut by existing. Within 20 years in the game you will have 5-6 million $ and you can do what you want on the island ^^

  4. Greg Goetz says:

    I have an island population of about 1100, at least one of every factory, maybe a dozen churches and cathedrals, 5-6 police stations, 3 colleges, high schools and elementary schools, and just about every other necessary building. My problem is trying to keep these buildings fully employed. I have imported enough foreign employees that my expenses for collegiate imports is above $30,000 each. For example, I will import a full staff of power station employees. They will all show up, and everything will run ok for about 2-3 months, then they are all gone? How do I get them to stay, and where are they going? Seems like I am just wasting money. Even though the island needs college grads my colleges rally produce them. Same with high school grads. You would think that 3 of each should be able to produce at least part of my requirements. Any suggestions? I’m even having bigger problems keeping priests hired. They’re usually gone after 1 month. Eve after importing all of these workers I still have about 25%of my businesses without any employees.

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