- How to Manage Your Economy in the Rainforest Biome
In Builder of the city of Urbek, the Rainforest biome unlocks once you win at least one game on Desert and Archipelago. You’ll need all the tricks you’ve learned on these maps, as the Rainforest combines the challenges of both. You will be faced with thick forests that cannot be easily removed, while food and building space will always be scarce.
As if that wasn’t hard enough, the rainforest has one of the trickiest economies in the game. Wood is becoming a valuable resource despite its positive presence everywhere, and the way forward is not always as clear as it seems.
The main feature of the rainforest biome is, well, the rainforest itself. The map is almost entirely covered with thick wood which cannot be bulldozed, similar to the granite deposits on the desert map. The only way to make more room for construction is to build logging camps and cut the trees tile by tile. It’s a slow process, so expect games on Rainforest to take longer than those played in other biomes.
You can always bulldoze the unique “straggler trees” that spawn in clearings – those are the thick forest tiles you need to worry about.
Once you have built your first school, you will be able to build Slash and burn camps. These buildings destroy the forests within a radius of three tiles around them. They remove trees faster than logging camps or even sawmills, but they provide no timber income. Their goal is to quickly create more spaceand since they have no road requirements, you can place them anywhere on the map to prepare the areas you are expanding into.
Scattered across the Rainforest map are small groves of trees with brightly colored fruits. They can be tricky to reach, as you’ll have to walk through the forest to reach them, but build a seed collector within two tiles of these orchards unlocks extremely useful new buildings.
red seeds are generally the easiest to secure. Once a Red Seed Collector is built, you can start planting red orchards. These consume more unskilled labor than farms, but also produce more food. You can also unlock a special red farm house to improve the production of large Orchard blocks.
Like regular orchards, red orchards must be at least five tiles away from any source of pollution – keep them away from your industrial areas!
yellow seeds unlock a new housing type, the Big wooden house. Wooden huts and village houses evolve into large wooden houses, which consume a little less than twice the food of a village house but produce a little more than twice the unskilled labor. They can be useful in fixing your economy early on if you have an abundance of food, but be warned – your housing will be upgraded immediately once the yellow seed collector is built. Make sure you have enough food production to handle the increased demand!
lilac seeds, sometimes spelled Lila Seeds in-game, combine them with other seeds to create effective ways to connect your road networks. See the next section for more details.
black seeds are essential to your economic growth, but are also the rarest seeds in the rainforest. You need it to build Goods factories and Heavy steel plants, without which you will not be able to access the upper levels of accommodation. Every time you start a new game on Rainforest, plan your route to the Black Seed Grove and make it your long-term goal to reach and exploit it. If the Black Seeds are in a particularly hard-to-reach position, like in a corner with no accessible clearings, consider starting over with a new map.
Watchtowers and boats
Since you cannot raze trees on this map, the clearing you start in will be your only building area for the first few years. Once you’ve built up your population and built seed collectors, you can connect distant clearings before you’ve finished making your way through the trees.
watchtowers have a monthly Labor and Wood maintenance, but serve as road links at any other watchtower within their radius. Use them to fill the wall of trees between two nearby clearings and give yourself more space. The basic watchtower has no seed requirements; the tall watchtower needs two yellow and lilac seed collectors to unlock, while the extra tall watchtower requires a black seed collector.
You can also build boats along the river and the coast, similar to Ferries on the Archipelago map. River boats require two red seed collectors and one yellow seed collector, while sea boats need one lilac seed collector. By getting the full spectrum of seeds, you will have a much easier time getting to usable terrain from your starting position.
How to Manage Your Economy in the Rainforest Biome
The early years of the game will play like any other map as you establish base resources, albeit in somewhat tighter quarters. However, once the time comes to start building iron mines and schools, you will start to see the major differences with the economy of the rainforest. iron mines does not require an ore source, but produce only five irons per month. Iron miner houses are locked to this map, so these low yield mines are your only source of iron.
Since Rainforest Iron Mines undertakes maintenance of twenty-five timbers per month, you can’t support very many. Expect your industrial development to be slow; you’ll need to use a combination of logging camps, sawmills, and the biome’s unique River Logging build to keep up with your city’s growth.
Try to avoid using the overharvest policy, no matter how urgent your need for wood becomes. This dramatically increases the rate at which forest is cleared, meaning you’ll need to replace logging camps more often.
The enigma of the sawmill
Sawmills see their effectiveness drastically reduced in the Rainforest, although this is not obvious at first. Consider their logistical needs; each sawmill requires four nearby warehouses, and the sawmills must be spaced far enough apart that they cannot share warehouses with each other. Each warehouse requires monthly maintenance of an iron, so a single sawmill consumes almost the entire production of a single iron mine. Combined with the wood cost of all energy buildings powering the sawmill, at the end of the day you keep less than half of the production of fifty timber from the sawmill.
try only place sawmills in places where you already have warehouses, or where you plan to use the warehouses later. Sharing with Coal Power Plants, Commodity Mills, and the like is the only way to make Lumber Mills worth the investment on this map.
How to get steel
As you approach the required population for houses in the city center, you will need to set up a steel mill. Steel mills do not consume iron, but instead burn a very painful two hundred wood per month. It’s a necessary expense, so make sure you have lumber camps where they will fit. The steel mill’s high maintenance means you can’t afford more than one. This is a problem because advanced buildings like hospitals and airports cost large amounts of steel, and you’ll need extra storage just to store enough.
Heavy Steelworks require a Blackseed Collector somewhere in town; try to have it ready to go by the time you reach around ten thousand. Upgrading will make managing your resources much easier, as the Heavy Steel Factory stop consuming wood and instead uses twenty irons a month. This also means that in most cases you can’t win without black seed collector. You will still need to ration your resources and outrun your lumber industries for the duration of the campaign.
Next: Urbek City Builder: Desert Biome Guide