Many players have posted frustration with their cities collapsing in upon themselves once they reach certain population marks. Several of these players have posted screenshots of their towns and I have seen a lot of the same issues with them. I am here to explain a few things that make this so. I am not a dev, but I have played for many hour and have quickly come to discover many of these things while playing on stream.
This guide is going to take a few things for granted. We are going to assume that you know most of the basics of the game, and instead we are going to focus on players who are having issues with expanding their economies.
***Needs: I have suspicion that villagers will also leave work when certain needs exceed a certain level. With needs slowly rising over time, this means a wheat farmer that takes several minutes to get to his job is likely to plant one bushel of wheat before leaving work to go back home.
The good news is your market tenders do not need to be at their stall to sell their goods. The bad news, is like everything else, distance matters. Try building several market stalls all over your city. It is kind of a pain, but very doable. In the screen shots, you can see I have a market set up in about a 1-1 ratio. (hex-market) This enables me to play the game where markets make sense from a city building point of view, but they are efficient enough for buyers to come buy their merchandise without ruining my economy. Since market tenders do not need to be at their stall to sell, I do not worry too much about them having to travel long distances to retrieve their goods from food places. It is still a good idea to make sure a food production facility is not too far away.
In its current state, the game is garbage at placing villagers into jobs. Note that if you click a job place it has an ellipses button in the top right hand corner of the job’s window. If you click that button, it will display the closest villagers to that job, as well as the villager’s current job. If you click a villager here, it instantly assigns them to that workplace. While also not perfect, this will give you a very quick way to see if there are any unemployed villagers nearby. If not, I recommend prioritizing. Most people complain that food is impossible to maintain at a high level, so maybe you take some of those stonecutters or woodcutters off their jobs and turn them into foragers? Try to remember that the further away a villager lives from their job, the longer they spend doing nothing for themselves or your economy.
I have already touched a bit on houses being far away from jobs, but as you may guess it is a little more complex than just that. Housing districts need to be close to jobs, but jobs that require other jobs (Wheat farm – mill – baker) should ideally be close to each other as well. This is for the same reason as why houses should be close to jobs: The more your villagers walk, the less they get done. You can see examples of this in my screenshots. Note how my farms are in the middle of a cluster of mills and bakeries and my sheep farms are next to weavers which are next to tailors. This allows your workers who are processing or finishing goods to walk 5 meters from their job to get the resources they need to do their own part of the process. Mind you, villagers also need to walk to their work site (Lumberjack-Trees) So try to place work buildings for primary resources as close to the gather point as possible. You should also make every hex as self sufficient as possible. For some resources (like clothes and luxuries) it is not as important to have every single hex capable of making them, but as far as primary villager needs (like food) ALWAYS make sure that hex has some capability of providing that. On a water map, this means probably berries (if available) bread and fish. Of course not all resources are available in all hexes, but always minimize the amount of hexes between any given resource. This is especially true for food.
How to Expand
Late Game – Excess
Basic Things to Never Forget
Make sure you assign your berry bushes as an extraction zone. I know it sounds stupid, but I forget to assign it all the time and then honestly wonder why nobody is gathering from the bushes.
On maps with rivers or small lakes, if you build on both sides of the water, build plenty of bridges. The pathing in this game is not too terrible, so give your villagers options so they can be more efficient.
Some buildings can be built to be taller. I actually had a viewer on my stream tell me this, it never occured to me that when I placed a building, the up and down arrows meant I could actually increase it’s height. In some cases doing this will increase a building’s splendor contribution, and in other cases it increases capacity. In ALL cases though, it does increase the upkeep cost
Get at least one bailiff. You can have more than one, but I have not tested to see if the effects stack. Some effects are different from each other, so to be safe I usually get 2 bailiffs, a market and a happiness bailiff.
Build a tax office in every housing district. You do not have to actually build a proper manor to place a tax office (or most other “Lord’s Manor” add ons). Like any other job, try to make sure the tax collector lives close by.