I tried out the Google+ games on Friday. Boy is it a lot easier to pop pigs in Angry Birds at 40 frames per second with fine aiming control than it was on my phone at about 3 frames per second with the precision of finger painting. I also tried out City of Wonder (CoW). It's basically a Civilization copy-cat, but with lots of bonuses for getting your friends to play with you. I was addicted to Civilization and now I'm a bit hooked on CoW. What's a bit interesting about CoW is that everything is wall-clock based. Unlike Civ, you don't have to have the game running to make progress. But, every time you produce something, you have to claim it. The rates of production are very aware of this. You can produce more money from a goods facility by choosing the 5 minute option every time. But, to make that work, you have to check-in and click on the facility every 5-10 minutes. Even if you're at the computer all day, you can't do that while you're sleeping! There are longer options, including 24 hours, but the rate of production drops off quite a bit the longer period you choose. Another trade-off in the game is space. You start with 81 squares and don't automatically get more space as your population grows. You have to pay for more space, either in coin or by accumulating allies.
Anyway, what have I learned after two days of playing? Here you go.
- Population: you are required to have one unit of happiness for each unit of population; if your population count exceeds your happiness count, you can't increase your population. So, make sure to place enough cultural and/or decoration facilities to support your population. Since you can't be at your computer all the time, it's better to buy residential facilities with longer waiting times between generation (especially since the rates don't differ that much).
- Density: After a few levels and a few thousand people, you'll find that your space is a bit tight, especially if you buy the cheaper facilities. It's worth to pay a bit more to get more compact production/happiness even if the benefit per coin is lower.
- Storing/Moving: One bit of flexibility you may not be accustomed to is that saving and moving facilities is free. If you bought some cheap facilities that you don't have space for, you can save them ("Put Away"). When you expand your boundaries, you can bring them back for no charge. Also, moving facilities from one location to another is free, so don't worry to much about optimizing placement.
- Roads: As far as I can tell, roads are useless and merely waste space. I've read that other versions of CoW give you production benefits for placing facilities adjacent to roads, but I don't see any such benefit in the Google+ version.
- Research: Always make sure you are researching something. This is how you unlock advanced facilities. Never spend all of your coin if you will need it to research the next item. Be very aware of how long until your next research item is complete. If you are close to completing some research which will open a more advanced facility, it may be better to wait instead of investing in a less advanced facility.
- Goods: Unlike other production facilities, you get to choose the waiting time for each production batch. When I can check the computer regularly, I've found that a waiting time around half-an-hour is best. When you're away from the computer for longer, choose the waiting time that corresponds to the amount of time you expect to be away. Why? (1) Production rates are structured to be higher for shorter waiting times, and (2) a percentage of the final payout must be paid up-front to initiate production and will be lost if the production is cancelled. So, selecting too long of a production reduces flexibility and often leads to less overall production. But, if you pick a time that's too short, the produced goods may "expire", leaving you with nothing for your investment.