10 Tips to Rule Effectively in Tropico 4

5. Criminals and Rebels – Rebels have been present in Tropico since Tropico 1. Criminals are a new addition. Rebels appears when your people are very unhappy with your government, and they choose to fight you, rather than protest against you. If their numbers are high enough they will attempt to target your key structures, and if your defenses are too weak, the Palace itself. Even when not attacking they can plant bombs, attempt assassinations and more. Criminals appear when there is unemployment. Criminals do not earn wages, but steal from Tropicans and Tourists alike. Both groups sabotage your island, and both can be dealt with in a number of ways. If you choose the Iron Hand method you can issue Edicts and Orders to kill off all Criminals and Rebels. The more peaceful approach is to offer Amnesties and build Prisons together with Police Stations. If the situation on your Island improved sufficiently with the Amnesty Edict the Rebels might abandon their cause and rejoin you. In turn a competent Police Force will arrest Criminals and lock them up in Prisons, where they will be rehabilitated.  The simplest way to evade such problems? Stick to point 3, and expand your economy so that there are always some free jobs available.

6. People are picky – You are bound to notice that certain buildings will be very popular amongst certain people. On the other end of the spectrum there will be buildings that will be left empty, no matter how attractive they might seem. Tourists tend to turn around an Empty Casino into a profit making monstrosity, but the problem remains that it is very hard for a Casino to earn money. Certain buildings simply appear to be unpopular, and people will visit them if there is no other choice. On one hand you might refuse to invest in buildings that do not make a profit, but on the other upkeeping them is usually not that expensive, and it is better to have a wider choice for your Tourists and People than not.

7. Power to the People! – Despite what this sub-heading might suggest I am relating to the need of electricity. Eventually you will want to invest in efficiency or quality upgrades in your Factories and other buildings. These might need electricity, and some more complex buildings will need a steady energy supply anyway. There is a number of different types of Power Plants you can invest in. You have a choice between Ecological power sources (Windmills and Solar Power), Dirty (Coal Power Plant) and Nuclear. Overall though, I found that in terms of costs and overall efficiency the Windmills and Solar Power Plants are your prime choice for a number of reasons: they do not need fuel, they do not need workers and they do not produce pollution. When I tried running a Nuclear Power Plant the cost of Uranium was unbearable for my economy, and instead I invested in far cheaper, yet no less efficient, windmills. Just make sure to place them on higher ground. In the best possible case a Windmill can produce over 40 MW, which is enough to power a few factories with ease (without upgrades) while costing only 6,000 dollars.

8. Urgh… Politics – Unfortunately, you cannot ignore your nation’s internal affairs, nor the Cold War. Why should you? Keeping your factions happy is easy, because they will ask you to complete  easy tasks that will maximize their respect for you thus making your People happy, minimalising the chance of any problems they might otherwise cause. The same goes for other Minor and Greater International Powers. Staying on their good side will bring in plenty of benefits, and their quests are usually undemanding and sometimes even highly beneficial to your economy. In the end, you can keep everybody happy, unlike in real life, which means World Peace, or at least prosperity for Tropico.

9. Short Controlled Boosts – Your Edicts are a way to increase your popularity with the People, but also to improve your Tourism and Exports. Some Edicts will be sought after by some factions, while other edicts will result in one faction being unhappy. For example, the Same Sex Marriage Edict will make the Intellectuals Happy, while the Religious faction will be unhappy. Considering the fact that you just need a High School and College, with some Media buildings to make the Intellectuals happy, why bother? Of course, if you plan on managing your Island in a specific way you will reach for those stranger edicts, but if you aim at just being successful you will only use the ones you know are beneficial (even if a bit expensive).

10. Roads and Garages – Whether a Tourist Paradise or Industrial Center, you will need plenty of roads connecting your attractions and industrial sectors, as well as Garages. Many buildings have small garages of their own, allowing Teamsters and workers to arrive and leave by car, without the need to travel long distances on foot. Other buildings, like Farms and Oil Refineries do not have Garages of their own, and you have to place a separate Garage nearby. Garages are inexpensive and cheap to upkeep, while their benefits are big. If you do not want your Economy to clog up you will end up having numerous garages and roads leading to every corner of your island, unless you prefer walking for miles on end to and from work.

General Summary

Your success in Tropico 4 depends on your ability to exploit a situation economically, while also being capable of investing in your labor force, thus ensuring your economy keeps running. Everything revolves around making sure you have money. Whether you plan on making a Communist or Capitalist paradise, Military Dictatorship, or Religious Center, you need money. Without money all your other plans simply fall apart. Once you have a strong enough economy you can design your island in any way you want. So, just like mentioned in point 1, exploit the island at the beginning. Obtain any resources you can sell them or turn them into finished goods, then sell them. It is simply uneconomic to leave all that gold for whoever comes to rule the island after you!

Alex “WriterX” Bielski


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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