Monday, September 13, 2010

Real Estate in City of Wonder

City of Wonder
CoW is a very simple game but hits a number of what I view as keys to success in the gaming world: chance, competition, and aesthetics.  If you are playing this game purely to make a pretty kingdom, leave now.  This site will only frustrate you.  While they could be doing a lot more to generate revenues, that is not the primary purpose of this blog, so I will focus only on game play for this post.  I am also not writing this as a full walkthrough of the game, and instead focusing on fine-tuning the competition and advancement aspects.

Competition, and indeed play overall is divided into three segments: culture, trade and military.  To be successful and maintain a high win/loss ratio the player should have a good balance of these three aspects.  Despite making a number of mistakes in the beginning, my current ratio is 214 wins to 17 losses – fairly strong.  The way to maintain this advantage is difficult; you must maintain a competitive advantage with resources while you advance in level (doing so quickly if you are like me).

Here comes the first mathy part of this site…  You can approach upgrades and purchases two ways: what gives me the best return on my investment and what is the best to purchase for later game play.  Put simpler, what gives me an immediate advantage for my investment and what can I purchase which I do not have to replace too quickly? The math looks like this: Cost to Purchase / (Happiness + Culture or Trade or Attack + Defense) = Return on Investment (the lower the number the better)

Two examples:
Name – Cost to Purchase / (Happiness + Culture) = Return on Investment
Starting object Monolith – 800/(90+8)= 8.16
One of the current items I am purchasing: Roman Gate – 20000/(1050+88)=17.58

So the lower number suggests you are getting more resources for your money buying the smaller item.  TRUE.  However, your most finite resource is squares on your map.  Do you really want to waste each square getting less than 100 points per square?  Maybe at first, but not long-term.  Here is the second way to view this.

Name – (Happiness + Culture) / Squares taken
Monolith – (90 + 8) / 1 = 98 HC for that one square… vs.
Roman Gate – (1050 + 88) / 1 = 1138 HC

The second one is MUCH higher, and therefore less likely to be upgraded in the long run.

Let’s explore each area individually.

Culture upgrades are found in two sections of your building tab, Cultural and Decorations.  Both types of purchases accomplish the same goal of increasing both the happiness and culture of your kingdom allowing for more population and making you more competitive in cultural exchanges.  As pointed out earlier, you either want to select properties with a high ROI or a high HC/square ratio.  Please download and view the Excel Spreadsheet I have created to aid with this decision. Yellow indicates gold purchases, Pink is the current best I am purchasing and Green is best purchase in my eyes for that category.

The best way to do this is to purchase one item at a time until there is a logical upgrade to purchase and then change your buying habits and only purchase that item.  For me, it went like this: Story Teller > Granary > Roman Gate.  My next purchases will be either of the types of swings which has a HC/Square of 1100.  Eventually I will purchase Hospitals.

Trade is upgraded through goods and market purchases.  Again these categories both serve to increase the Trade level of your society and make you more competitive in Trade excursions.  While there are differences in your return on the time you put into goods… it tends to be minute, and you should focus on the trade you get per plot of land instead.  HINT: The more it costs, the more Trade you get.  I buy “Markets” properties for the same reason, though I take into account the amount of silver I make per hour.  I started out purchasing 3 Grocers > 2 Kilns > 1 Food Market and now I am purchasing only Potters, which should last me for a long time.  Please view my spreadsheet for reasons

The math is more simple since you cannot really manage your silver per hour yields.  Instead focus on the Trade / Square formula:

Property – Trade / Squares
Potter – 176 / 1 = 176 is what I am purchasing…

By contrast…

Bank – 140 / 4 = 35 … This is a huge difference, and the price is very similar.

Trade is one of the most overlooked upgrades in the game, according to my explorations.  If you have a strong trade, you can make a ton of money early on and advance quicker.  This was my #1 priority.

Military is tough to prioritize.  The starting properties are so lame, it makes sense to put these off until later in the game when you unlock Cavalry or Cannons.  The higher your Attack and Defense, the better you will do against opponents.  Unfortunately also, these are the ones that will most make you want to play the game and make your base pretty.  HINT: there is no reason to build a wall.  Build Forges and Gates early game.


Property – ( Attack + Defense ) / Squares
Barracks – ( 16 + 8 ) / 1 = 24
Gate – ( 25 + 50 ) / 1 = 75

Later on you will purchase these…
Cannons – ( 100 + 50 ) / 1 = 150 and then…
Artillery – (140 + 60 ) / 1 = 200

I hope this has been an informative overview of the game as well as a guide to buying real estate… Please leave comments and questions and I will respond to them.  Up next, I will talk about the value of Gold and why you don’t need to purchase it…  I will also talk about which structures you should purchase with the Gold you earn from leveling and the value of Legends.


  1. woweee, amazing!thank you.(apologies for post i deleted in City post, thought u were selling silver or something lol,perhaps you should word your link post differently)

  2. I see a lot of people using monoliths to create happiness and ask why? They pack in as much as they can giving no consideration to the fact that they only get a small a mount of happiness, any intelligent being can see that the largest amount of happiness for one square should be used. My county if you wish to call it is pleasing on the eye, and also has a high amount of trade/happiness and military items.