City of Wonder

Mar 13 2011

Playdom’s other big city builder was City of Wonder. It was built on a modified version of the Social City engine, so you’ll see the same isometric view and the same sort of charming animations as in that game. And I played it quite a bit last year, and rather enjoyed it.

Its main difference is that it throws in Civilization-style elements: a tech tree and light combat. I liked the former, and didn’t care much for the latter, but fortunately the combat was entirely optional, so it didn’t end up affecting how I played the game. The tech tree did mean, however, that I couldn’t grow my city in the same way that I did in Social City: the buildings from the different eras had a noticeably different art style, so it didn’t make sense to either intermingle them or to keep the very oldest buildings in the center of the city. What I ended up doing was playing for a while, then doing a huge reorganization where I moved the oldest buildings out to the fringe: this meant that the ages represented a rural-to-urban transition from the fringe to the core of my city, which I rather liked!

Now, some pictures of the various bits:

The oldest stone-age huts, along with some farms and mines

The stone age culture buildings, along with farms

Here are some of the oldest buildings. You can see the dirt road, transitioning to gravel. I also put most of my production buildings out here.

Bronze age, moving into the classical age

Now the buildings and roads are getting decidedly less primitive.

Embassy row

You have embassies representing your friends who also play the game; like most people, I clustered those together, because otherwise they’d look out of place. Eventually this got out of hand for people who really liked the game, so they provided a way to combine multiple friends’ embassies into a single building, but I never did that.

The main square, with classical and enlightened age buildings

This was going to be the center part of town, though I never played much into the modern age, so my buildings ended up mostly ending here. Note that the streets are versatile enough that you can construct a nice plaza out of street tiles if you want: I did so, trying to ring it with some of the more impressive buildings I had.

The aqueduct and the magic corner

I built an aqueduct into town, though I didn’t end up doing as much with it as I liked. (Though it did provide a good location for my Colossus, if nothing else.) Also, you can see above that my buildings from the “Age of Alchemy”: one way in which the game tried to expand was by offering a couple of technology trees that you could only get by premium currency. I did the first of those, but not the second. More recently, they’ve added a sea colony, which I’ll show below.

Pyramids in the desert

You can build various wonders in the game; one of them, the Pyramids, I had a hard time fitting into my decor, until I realized that I could surround it with dirt roads that looked enough like sand to be a plausible match. (And then it proved to be a suitable location for an oil rig, too.) The “sand” still functioned as roads, however, which rather amused me when I had a parade (complete with sousaphone) marching through the desert at some point in the game. (That’s why there’s a cow wandering through the desert in this picture.)

The whole city

Here’s how it looks when you put it all together.

My sea colony

And here’s the sea colony that’s recently been introduced. I haven’t done much with it, but I rather like the idea of having separate land and water tiles with their own distinct sets of buildings (or ships or octopi) that you can place on them. And you can convert land tiles into water or vice-versa, so it doesn’t have to stay as blocky as the default, I’ve just been lazy so far.

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