Mayor Bucky Builder talks SimCity BuildIt
Hello all! I'm Mayor Bucky from SimCity BuildIt. My city is named Ghipaland. You can call me Buck the Builder, Bucky, or heck even just plain ol' Buck.
In this article I hope to help guide some of the newer players away from things that harm them, or are unproductive. And you veterans will likely nod and smile, and maybe have input to share. I'm not going to dig deep into any one aspect, maybe that comes later. This article is more a general overview of the game. There are a lot of "nuts and bolts" articles on Reddit, by the way,
My SimCity BuildIt City Name
Ghipaland isn't some weird foreign language thing. It's not English either. Nor is it a really a real word. Yet, it is. Ghipa is what my granddaughter started calling me when she was just a little bitty thing. And the name stuck.
Soft G,-long E followed by Pa. It is short for Grandpa. Ghipa probably means something weird in some obscure language. Like booger eater, dufus, or something.
When my granddaughter called and told me SimCity could be played on my phone, via the google play store, I was a little afraid to see for myself. Eventually I did take a peek, and found it! I was happy, she heard me, listened, and proud, she took the initiative to search out the game for me. What a great little lady!
Talking about video games
My granddaughter, we'll call her Z here, loves to play video games! Those video games are not like they were when I was a kid. Shoot, they aren't even like they were a just few years ago!
Z loves playing games on phones and computers. In fact she loves it so much that she's on them constantly, and clicks on anything at all, including viruses. One day while driving somewhere I was talking about my game addiction back in, like 1993 or 1994. That game was the classic SimCity on Nintendo. I had that and, like Tetris, and that's it!
I described how I loved that game, save for a few things. It was...
- Addictive and time consuming
- Things would get destroyed
- It was horrible slow paced
- At the end of the day all my accomplishments were imaginary
The addictive aspect of SimCity is as true today as it was some 30 years ago. The game has changed a lot, a topic mostly for a later blog, but the addictive aspect, the incentive to grow your city, the music (which I shut off) are very much addictive as they were.
Sometimes I would play for a couple days straight with little or no sleep. Now the game can be more addictive, as a matter of fact, because now you can play the same game, anywhere, from multiple devices. Unlike the classic, SimCity BuildIt does not tie you to a game console. It is a real temptation to play it at work, but I do not.
The game is also very time consuming. I used to spend quite a bit of downtime on Facebook. Now, hardly at all, SimCity has eaten that downtime up whole.
With the classic Nintendo SimCity, played through my TV set, there was a major temptation to leave the game running when I went out. That outing could be to the store, or maybe to work for a 12 hour shift. More often than not I'd return to maybe half my hard worked city in flames, or destroyed. Plane crash, start all over. Earthquake, yeah, it could happen. And more often than not, it did happen. What I learned from this was to make the one time investments in fire and police stations. Guys, it's a one-time cost. You pay nothing for an existing station in taxes like you would IRL (in real life) stations! In the BuildIt version it's the same. Just do it!
A Snails Pace
SimCity BuildIt and the classic game have many things in common, and one is that each is hideously slow paced! Yeah, sure, there are speed up tokens with today's game, but you know what? After using speed up tokens I have come to realize that THIS is the speed the game should run at! Speed up tokens add needed zip to the game!
Coders, come on, speed the danged thing up!
At Days End
At the end of the day, week, month, whatever, remember that all you accomplish on any iteration of SimCity is for naught. You win no real prizes, you earn no money, none of it pays the bills, and literally no one cares what level you are on. No one cares how many sims live in your city and regions. Near the end of this article I will add my current numbers, and guaranteed, no one will give hoot nor holler.
Also, the original SimCity you bought and paid for once. In buildIt you download for free, but you can spend a ton of real money growing your cities. Those folks who run up 200,000 scores in the weekly challenges every week? Buying or hacking the scores, a topic for another time.
I was showing Z my scores (we occasionally play the game together) and she saw the Skim Cash I had on hand (the bills, not Simoleans). Wow, she exclaimed. I fessed up that I had bought 4000 Sim Cash to fund a project. "You know it's not real money, right?" I had to laugh, and run that thought through my brain.
Why did I stop playing? And, why start again?
I stopped playing the classic SimCity when I discovered that it was, well, changing me. My regular job performance began to suffer. My sleep habits were disrupted. "I'm stopping for health and hygiene reasons" I told myself. I would smoke 4 or 5 packs of cigarettes while playing that game non-stop from the time I got off work before a day off, until I had to go back to work 36 hours later. Yuk.
Starting back up was, perhaps, a poor decision. I went in knowing that I could, if needed, walk away from the game again. I remember a buddy getting SimCity 2000 on the computer, and looking at the marvelous graphics. Clearly I did not understand this new version, and had no interest in learning it. Too weird. I thought SimCity BuildIt may be similarly weird, but it wasn't. Oh, sure there are weird elements I initially tried to stay away from.
Weird Elements of SimCity BuildIt
Okay, what gives with the buildings that poop? Out their heads? Poop that has the magical ability to make production lines move faster?
Thank goodness for the Epic Buildings, without those tokens one would be old and gray and STILL have accomplished nearly nothing.
On the flip side, sliding 1,000 Simoleans into the abyss to start Epic Projects is tantamount to Storage Suicide. Whatever you have built up in your storage yard, it's going away! you will find Epic Projects will almost always target the hard to produce (that is, time consuming) items. so be well stocked, and have more in the pipeline!
On Epic Building Tokens
I plan on expanding more on all these items on later articles, so pardon the brevity.
Speed up tokens run for only an hour, and are not concurrent. They speed up only whatever item is in production at the time, then the next items in line in that factory, until 1 hour runs out.
Bronze tokens are called Turtle Tokens, and speed up your manufacturing by a factor of 2. So in that hour you get 2 hours of production.
Silver tokens are called Llama token (what is this games obsession with llamas about anyway?!?) and speed up your factory's production by a factor of 4 for one hour. So, in that hour, you get 4 hours worth of goods.
Gold Tokens, AKA Cheetah tokens (cheater tokens?) increase your production by a factor of 12, so you get 12 hours of goods for one hour.
Do know that certain activities yield these token too, like weekly contests, but only if you participate. And if you do, you must place higher than 50th place in your league to gain anything. I'm playing in the Megalopolis league, and for 1st place you get the...
Top League Prizes on SimCity BuildIt
Grand Prize - 250 Platinum Keys, 2000 SimCash and 10 Cheetah tokens.
Big Prize is placed 2 and 3, there you get 100 platinum keys, 1000 SimCash and 7 Cheetah tokens.
Medium prize: for places 4, 5, and 6, 50 platinum keys, 500 SimCash, and 5 Cheetah tokens.
After that is the small prize, places 7 through 50, 5 platinum keys, 25 SimCash and 3 Cheetah Keys.
I've been in the Megalopolis league, the highest, since before I had even 1 million population, and have never placed higher than the small prize in the Megalopolis league. Right now I may not make a prize for the first time ever! I made it once to the medium prize once for about 12 seconds when I got passed by. Another player was working harder than me. I won the big prize and medium prize a couple times in lower leagues, and the grand prize once, I think.
Importance of Epic Projects
It took me a while to figure out how people were scoring so dangedblasted high in the league contests. It finally dawned on me that these folks were utilizing an amazing number of tokens, and that had to be coming from the Epic Buildings that I had avoided. Word to the wise: Don't Do That!
See, the first time I gave 1000 Simoleans to an epic project, all these requests for items popped up all over my screen. I'm the kind of person to take action. Something is in front of me that needs doing, I do it. So I have 7 buildings that need upgrading, a contest in progress, and not enough stuff to fulfill the Epic demands. I panicked. And only recently have I figured out that, hey, the stupid thing runs for 24 hours, pace yourself, dummy!
Downside to Epic Tokens
You longer term veterans may scoff at me, but here is what I have found with SimCity BuildIt Epic Project tokens:
After you've hit, or fought to get, the 40 points required to earn a bronze Turtle Token, the game will target your storage even harder on the time consuming items. I found that once I earn a silver Llama Token, and start for the gold, forget it. The game just starts beating me up, trying to force me to spend SimCash. Now, if I were "Bucky the Oil Magnate Sheik," no problem. But I'm a working man, I ain't got hundreds of dollars to throw at a game! Yes, the programmers have to eat, I get it, but I can't feed them directly. No sir.
Another downside is that the building markers are misleading. When you click on a completed Epic building, it states "1x (type of token) Every 24h." That is not true. For bronze turtle tokens, it is 1/3 of 1 token produced every day. So you earn one token every 3 days for each Bronze Epic Building. For Llama silver tokens, it is 1/5 of a silver token a day, so 5 days to make one 4x speed up token. I have no idea how many fractions of a token a gold Cheetah Epic Building makes, I have never completed one.
I currently have about 10 epic buildings, and try to create a new one every week. That means that in about 6 months I can compete with the bigger kids.
These things were another feature I avoided like the plague. I saw no reason to participate in the Cities of Tomorrow stuff, despite all the teasers. I just wanted a regular old classic SimCity city. Then, mostly out of boredom and curiosity, I slapped down an Omega lot. "Well shoot, I can just bulldoze it if it annoys me" I thought. Well, no, no you can't.
Once you create an Omega Building lot, you're married to it. You cannot erase it. So I embarked on the Omega craze. I already had my Omega Mall, which seemed a little silly, what with odd and mostly overpriced items I could never imagine needing, let alone using. Wrong! While I like the Omega feature, I am limiting it "bigly." It seems like the SimCity Build It folks incorporated some of the features from other iterations of other, older, SimCity games. Most galling of all? While Omega Building do not require health care, or fire, or police protection, they do require parks, To get the most population out of them, you must insert parks nearby, and have their sphere of influence envelope Omega buildings. I guess they have mandatory lounging time in the Cities of Tomorrow.
Last Item I Avoid
Dr. Vu. He really needs to just go away. It's not that I have an irrational fear of mad scientists (OK, I do), but, remember above where I talked about my city being destroyed, and how annoyed it made me? "Ah, time to rebuild, I love it!" said no one ever. Why in the world would I deliberately set myself up for destruction? I just say no to Dr. Vu. Vu Tower can sit there vacant, and dark, forever. The little freak will not be part of my world any time soon.
Yes, I understand that there are items and prizes to be won, some of which I really want, like Maxis Manor, offering combined fire, police, and health coverage all in one. Still, a hard nope,
My Gaming History
Now, I may look like a rube, but I am computer savvy. And game savvy, to a point. Long ago I gave up video games, because I felt it was a waste of time to keep learning new ones, and paying tons of money to play them. This is ironic, because back in the day I spent hundreds of dollars (maybe thousands!) on the old school arcade games. You know, games such as Asteroids, Missile Command, Dig Dug and the like. Oh, and Top Gun (the sit down inside version) ROCKED!
However as I got older, I just did not feel the need. Yes, I price out X box, and Nintendo, as well as PlayStation games at the store. Then I peruse the games section, and it's all Greek to me. "What does this one do?" I think while looking through the glass case. and tjhe consoles, many come bundled with this, that, or the other game. Which should I buy? So, I buy none.
That is why I'm tickled pink that Z turned me on to SimCity Build it, and some of the other games in the Google Play store. The sim lady in the game regularly pushes ads that we all get rewarded for looking at, and almost most of these are ads other HTML games. I don't have a lot of interest in any of them, but some look interesting.
As I said above...
Right off I told you that this is not an in depth article on SimCity BuildIt, but more a possible starting point for further articles that dive deeper.
I did have one last thought though: The Global Trade HQ is a store where you can trade, or buy from, other mayors. But you know what? When you really need something, you Will Not Find It There. See, there is a suppression algorithm that keeps items you need from you, forcing you, as often as not, to buy them, which as Z said, involves Real Money. Couple that with the "gifts" given to other mayors visiting your trade center, making valuable items just disappear, and you have the two main reasons folks stop playing the game.
It's a Family Thing
Anyway, when Z and I both downloaded the game and started playing, she was absolutely offended and horrified when my city blew by hers in population. "Ghipa, I can't believe you're beating me on SimCity Build It!" Well, sweetheart, I have a little more experience at it than you do. And besides, I'm Bucky the Builder, but you can call me Mayor.
She refuses to even play the game now.
The Current Tally
The images were shot yesterday. I almost forgot: My current Tally as of this posting are...
Total population: 2,079,306
Capital city, population as of right now, 1,621,466
The regions are, in order of adding,
Sunny Isles, 225,793
Cactus Canyon, 182,012
Limestone Cliffs, 50,035 (not pictured)
All the other regions will come later, mostly because I want their storage.
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