There are posts labeled as tutorials and others are going to follow now that the 3rd Edition of dCity NFTs releases at the end of April. However, those posts usually offer rewording of the rules with little attempt at tutoring. I would like to offer a post (actually a series) that attempts to demonstrate the game mechanics for new players. Anyone primarily interested in the 3rd Edition upgrades can skip it and refer to the painfully exhaustive manual instead.
Population is usually discussed as a means of getting Hive rewards for placing in the TOP400 list. In my book, it is not an useful piece of information for a new player who probably hasn't bought enough cards yet. It is more of a sales pitch (Hey! Rewards for you!) without mentioning the full costs. So let's forget that and concentrate on a more fundamental aspect.
Population is actually a way to keep the city composition challenging. When you buy a random bunch of cards they probably do not work well. They generate certain amount of population and certain amount of jobs. Too many jobs means not all cards can be triggered to produce SIM. Too few jobs means you have to pay SIM is social support to excess citizens. Matching the two numbers is your prinicpal goal as a dCity owner. If they even out, your profit is maximised.
There is a small number of cards that do not require any workers to operate. These are Basic/Luxury Homes and Apartments from the first Edition and Barracks, Ruins and Construction sites from the third. Construction Site is irrelevant for population. Ruins are somewhat weird so let's just say they are irrelevant for small cities. The other four buildings provide population and that means that it is safe to say that if you buy one of those when in need of workforce, you are going to get it. Obviously, buying any when you are facing social support payments only makes the unemployment bill higher as well.
There is also a wide range of citizen cards that work pretty much the same way. They are, after all, meant to replace the supply as the first Edition is out of print now causing the core of Workforce cards no longer being available to mint. We were talking buildings here but the citizen cards work just fine.
What about Parks? These actually carry one job but at the same time we are guaranteed to get at least two population. The net result is always adding the workforce so Parks are always a Workforce card even if not literally fitting the criteria we started from.
A typical card looks different than that. Most of the deck is "workers required" while the cards give no population, just some popularity. The popularity can even be negative. That is the case for Wind Turbine, Nuclear Plant, Public Restrooms and Military Industrial Complex from the second Edition and Power Line, Prison, Military Base, Court and Graveyard from the third.
Buying one of those works well for cities with unemployment. Not only does the negative popularity decrease the city population. The jobs are created for people that were a liability needing the social support. As a rule of thumb, small cities generally want to avoid those as they tend to struggle with not enough population.
A typical card looks even more different than that. The popularity is usually positive. That means both population and jobs increase when the card is added. Now we are touching the fun part.
Are these Workforce or Employment cards? Most often - they are both! We already know Parks are always Workforce but that is because of having population (one population on the card always grants at least one person worth of total population increase). Most cards do not and the popularity-caused increase can range from literally zero to well beyond the jobs the card can create. When a Restaurant card says "Popularity: +8, Workers: 10" it always adds ten jobs but it can add two population in one city and fifty population in another. The employment situation can shift either way.
My apologies for confusion with the population word. The word on the card (stating "base population") should be different from "total population" (including popularity coefficient) that is compared with the number of jobs (mislabeled "Workers" on the cards). The game uses careless wording here and I am already dissenting when using "jobs" instead of the official "workers" terminology.
If you are lucky, it can even add exactly ten population to your particular city. That is obviously a dream spot as you can add that +10 on SIM income production without having to spend on cards that rectify any employment change you cause. The value of the card to your town is greater than value to any other town so whenever the current marketprice is reasonable (which might at times not be due to supply/demand issues), you are better placed to buy it then anyone else. In practice, you buy a bunch of those which might adjust the numbers a bit and now you are adding eleven population rather than ten and you have to start reassessing. Restaurant is no longer neutral - it has become a Workforce card for your city.
The mechanics can be confusing (and quite frustrating) especially since players do not realise it at first (where all the ambiguous cards work as Employment cards) and they essentially learn it wrong through too-many-misleading-reps experience before their city becomes large enough to have temporary-Employment cards behave as Workforce-now cards.
In my next article, I am going to present a mindset to deal with the confusion. Before you dig into it, the take-away is: There are safe bets. Remember what cards are guaranteed to be Workforce and what cards are always Employment so that you know what to buy when you end up needing a fix. Consider bookmarking the dCity feed to stay in touch with the current news on the game.
Time for more Hive games? How about Rabona soccer management game?