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Strategic Tips

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While each of the missions has its own set of objectives there are general tips that allow you to really reap the benefits of your efforts - so we thought we would share them with you here...

Use It or Lose It

As you progress through each Mission your success will generate a large treasury balance - the thing is that balance does not transfer forward to the next mission or the next mission for that island! So if you allow the mission to end with a large balance, you basically lose that money.

To get the most out of it you should build as many of the expensive structures as you can or at least pay for them and get the building started BEFORE the Mission ends - that way you get to reap the benefits of your hard work when you return for the next mission.

Exploration at First

When you are nearing the end of the first Mission on each island be sure to spend some of the extra money you have on exploration. Your objective should be to end the first mission for each island with the full island explored and revealed.

Transportation Challenges

Probably the most annoying and disturbing symbol to appear above your industry and raw resource supply is the no resources and full storage icons. Both are actually caused by the lack of Teamsters to move the resources one way in order to create the finished goods and, if you fail to address the situation, an inability to move the finished goods once created.

Simply creating a Teamsters Office once these icons appear is not enough - where you create it and how many you create can have a significant impact on the game. Generally speaking though, if you see two full storage icons your problem is too big to be solved by one new Teamsters Office. The most effective solution is to place a Teamsters Office on the road between supplier and consumer, and then one additional office in the area where the largest concentration of suppliers is located.

Enough Supply

In preparation to launch a new industry you should ensure that the supply side will be larger than the manufacture side so that there is always more produced than the industry can use. Why? Simple really.

When the resources is food, what the industry does not use is used by the people as a food source. When it is material what does not get manufactured is sold as a raw goods export. Either way your industry is fully supplied and you are gaining extra value from the resource.

Be Wary of Upgrades

The upgrade button is awesome - it appears to allow the near instant upgrade of, say, an Apartment to a Modern Apartment which, in theory anyway, should be a good thing, right? There is a price to that convenience though...

When you use the Upgrade - or for that matter the Change Crop - buttons you basically empty out the existing building - which means throwing all those families out of their home and all those workers out of a job - before they can re-enter or re-hire.

While doing that to one building is not going to cause trouble, doing it to multiple buildings will massively damage your approval rating. NEVER do it to an entire group of buildings at one time, especially when those are housing. At least never do that when an election is coming.

The Critical Issue of Trade

One of the remarks that was made by a mate was how I made the game look way easier than it was. I did not quite get what they were saying until they explained that, in their game, unlike mine, the economy often experienced downturns in which they did not make money or worse, went into the red.

"An otherwise excellent ecinomy just suddenly goes south!) they said.

My response to that was that what they did not realize is that their trade routes had ended. Trade routes are critical to a healthy and even flow of income. If you miss the notice that a route has been completed and you fail to put a new one in play, of course your income will suffer.

A Mind is A Terrible Thing to Waste

One of the first issues that will cause undue pressure on you and your economy is that of maintaining an adequate labor pool. You will quickly find that there are NEVER enough High School educated workers in your population, and there are NEVER enough College Educated workers.

The best way for you to ensure that this is not a crippling issue for you is to observe the following formula for your nation: If I have one College I should have TWO High Schools. Every Industry that requires College Educated employees should be supported by a College.

What that means - in simple terms - is that BEFORE you contemplate creating an industry or support business (TV is an example) you should already have the education supply line built. So if you plan to add to your nation any sort of business that requires educated workers, make sure that the supply source FOR those workers already exists. Otherwise you are asking for trouble.

Minding the Environment

Have you ever wondered what causes the Environmental Faction to grow more and more angry with you? Do you think it might be something you did? I bet it was! But I know something you do not - you had NO idea that you were harming the environment when you did what you did, and the game is not going to tell you or warn you!

What you did wrong? Ranching.

If you look at your island where the Environmental Faction is upset, chances are 100% that you built a lot of Ranches, close together. Why, you might be wondering, is that a bad thing to do? After all it makes them easier to keep track of, and you can build Teamsters to carry their production so that, by placing them close together the supply-side is more uniform!

All of that is true. But it is also the worse thing you can possibly do for the environment.

The reason for this is simple: Ranches (ALL of them) have a significantly negative impact on the soil near them. As long as you have not built them too close together this is eased by the other activities around them and by nature - but if you did build a bunch of ranches right next to each other, nature cannot fix the problems that creates. Only YOU can.

The accepted wisdom in this case is to build Waste Processing plants to offset the negative impact of the ranches. While you CAN do that, it does NOT work 100%.

You are much better off spreading the ranches out over distance. Keep them AWAY from other soil-damaging operations too. Ranches should NEVER be placed near mines, or near Tobacco Plantations, because both of those industries ALSO damage soil.

It should go without saying that you also do not place ranches near Power Plants, right?

Not Too Many Ships

Failing to add new Trade Routes is almost as bad a move as assigning too many ships to a single Trade Route. Unless you actually mean to complete that Trade Route as fast as possible - that is to say you are working n the China Achievement - it is actually in your best interest to have just a few ships assigned so that they are both going out FULL.

Plus it allows you to engage in more Routes, which translates to building better relations with more governments. In the Modern Era just exactly how do you suppose you are meant to get all of your relations with the five governments above 90 for that Achievement WITHOUT using Trade?!

Adequate and Managed Housing is Key

The single most often stated complaint that I have fielded while working on this guide was from players who were looking to better understand why ALL of their farms, ranches, and many of their Industry was simply not fully staffed even when they had loads of unemployed??

The answer to that has everything to do with both WHERE You build the housing, and HOW you build the housing!

Where you Build: Believe it or not, unless you have created a very extensive urban AND rural Metro network, your employees are only willing to work so far from where they live. Look at the rural area where you build your farms for a moment - see all those shacks that have been errected near and along the side of the fields? THAT is your workforce!

Now try this as an alternative: build housing - housing that they can afford 0 in clumps nearby the farms, and you will quickly discover that you have no trouble attracting a full workforce!

Price them INTO the Market: When you build, and this is especially true for support of your farms and ranches - make sure that you lower the quality levels of the housing for some so that the field hands can actually afford to live there. Otherwise you are just building housing that will not get used.

Here is a clue: if there are still Shacks near the housing and farms, you need to lower costs. If you have opted to go with Tenements over Country Houses, you are going to have trouble getting them to lower to the Broke level because generally they don't do that.

To get a Tenement to drop to Broke Level - which is where you NEED it to be for farm hand housing - simply lower its quality funding to the bottom then wait at least a month for that to take effect and issue the Mortgage Edict. THAT will cause the Tenements that you lowered to drop to Broke Level!

Call the Cops Jim!

Police in Tropico play a far more impressive and larger role than you may think, and so too does the Police Station. In addition to serving as the general crime fighting element in your society, the Police ALSO serve as your Internal Intelligence agency - keeping track of Factions, their Heads, and what passes for Mafia on your island as well as keeping track of the Rebel threat.

More significant still, in the world of Tropico the Police serve ALL elements of Public Safety. That means that when and if a building catches fire, as long as you have activated the capability, the Police Station is where the Fire Trucks will roll from.

Whenever you are planning an urban and inner-city environment you should ALWAYS be sure to reserve room for the following buildings: Police Station, Church, and Market/Supermarket.

The reason for this is not as clear as you may think - even though there is nothing in the game to indicate this, a Police Station will actually function better when there is a Market/Supermarket AND a Church nearby it.

When placing Police Stations always bear in mind that they are far more effective when placed on the edges of housing clusters rather than in the midst of them.

Managing Foreign Relations

It may sound odd to you but even though your nation is an island, and it is largely independent in means and resources, the relations you have with the rest of the world are strategically and economically crucial to your success.

The better the terms are between you and other nations, the more favorable the trade situation is. In point of fact, the better your relations, the more likely you are to not only find good and favorable trade routes, but trade routes at all!

Once you get relations above 70 you should find that you can export to that nation a quality of resource or finished goods that is very valuable to your economy.

For that reason when you CAN have an Embassy for a given foreign power, you SHOULD. What I mean by that is simple - during the Cold War the only nations you can build relations with are the US and USSR. That means you only need to (or can) have two Embassies.

But during the Modern Era you can have relations with all five of them and you should. By building all five of the embassies and then tending to your relations with each, you basically ensure that at any given moment at least three trade routes are available that can literally mean the difference between a struggling economy and a prosperous one.

Enough said on that. Tend your global fences mates.

Corn is King - Sort of

One final tip that it far more important than you might think relates to Corn Farms.

Among the Plantations the Corn Plantation is the most productive of them all, with a relatively short growing time and a large production, it can easily overwhelm the capacity of your Teamsters early in a game.

While Corn is a valuable resource in terms of feeding the population, it is not until the Modern Era when it becomes important for the economy - since that is when you will start to create Factory Farms that require a large influx of Corn.

That being so, until you reach the Modern Era you should consider ONE Corn Plantation to have the value of any THREE others. What we mean by that is simple: when you are contemplating, for example, creating the Cloth Industry, you will want to have Three (3) Cotton Plantations and perhaps three (3) Llama Ranches for your Textile Mill. The same goes for Sugar and Rum. But that does NOT apply to Corn!

Remember that ONE (1) Corn Plantation generally equals the output of THREE (3) of any other type, and build your Teamsters with that formula in mind.


This wraps up nicely the Strategic Tips for game play. If you take each and every one of the above to heart, you will find that success simply falls in your lap while playing this game.

The only remaining issue that needs to be covered is that of higher education, and only in so far as the Constitution applies. Remember that any changes you make via the Constitution will have instant impact on your work force and nation.

If/when you require the military to be educated, make damn sure you have the High Schools and Colleges in place to support that decision. That lesson is a significant one that applies to practically everything you do in this game. Remember to always build the supply side BEFORE you activate the manufacturing or industry side. Always.

If we think of anything else to add we will add it - if you think of anything we missed, please add it as a comment using the comment system below!

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4 comments, latest first.
Oct 2nd 2015 Guest
wonder when they will add cheat codes?
ID #613352
Jul 4th 2015 Guest
Well done. Bookmarked for future reference!
ID #579662
May 31st 2015 Guest
Direct and correct. Big thumbs up!
ID #563606
Apr 28th 2015 Guest
Nice thanks for the tips 👍
ID #549062
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