Once you’ve won a game on the Temperate map in Urbek City Builder, more advanced biomes begin to unlock. The first of these is the Desert, where food is scarce and construction can be impeded by large stone formations. To build a prosperous city here, you’ll need to create a water grid from the river and use modern irrigation techniques to grow enough food.
The Desert map plays very differently from the Temperate biome, so if you find yourself getting lost in the sand this guide will help you get started. Soon enough you’ll have a city to rival Las Vegas or Dubai!
Water And Irrigation
The most important difference between the Desert map and the others is the need for water. All agriculture in this biome requires a source of water, as do all but the most basic residences. At the start of the game, your only source of water is simple Wells, which provides just enough hydration to survive in a six-tile radius. Place Wells as densely as you can in your starting neighborhood to ensure that all of your Housing and Farms have access to water.
Wells can eventually be upgraded to Deep Wells, which provide the three units of water required to bring your Desert Housing onto the usual advanced upgrade track. What you really need to make your city successful, though, are Water Pumps and Water Towers. Once you have access to Steel and Highly Skilled Work, you can build a Water Pump adjacent to the map’s river. The pump and the necessary Steel industry to maintain your water network require a large amount of powerso you’ll probably need to invest in Coal Plants to get sufficient electricity early on.
Water Towers deliver all the water your city could ever need to a seven-tile radius, but need to be placed within seven tiles of a Pump or another functioning Water Tower. Getting coverage to the entire map is expensive and time-consuming, so prioritize agriculture when building your grid; your residential districts can survive off the Deep Wells you’ve already built.
The map’s river has an area of flood plains along its banks where you can normal build Housing and Farms. Everywhere else on the map, though, you’ll be required to build special Desert Farms and desert housing, which require a source of water and are less efficient. Basic Desert Housing only consumes eight units of Food per month, but Desert Farms only produces six Food per tile. This means that a much greater percentage of the map will need to be dedicated to agriculture.
Since Desert Farms, Greenhouses, and Center-Pivot Irrigation don’t technically count as “Farms,” their production is not affected by the Better-Quality Food Policy. This effectively means that if you don’t rely on the flood plains for your agriculture, you can enact the Policy as soon as it’s available for a free Happiness bonus!
As your city grows, you’ll unlock Greenhouses and Center-Pivot Irrigation, which are expensive in terms of monthly upkeep but will be your only means of producing industrial quantities of Food. Greenhouses need at least four Warehouses nearby, so build them in your industrial districts and try to keep them away from housing whenever possible. On the bright side, Greenhouses don’t cause any additional Pollution on their own.
Center-Pivot Irrigation needs to be build within the radius of a functioning Water Tower but has no other requirements, including distance from roads. This makes it the best source of Food in the Desert biome, but you’ll need lots of Skilled Work to maintain production. For this reason, it’s best to build tallgetting a minimum of Downtown Houses in all your residential areas.
Desert Housing requires a nearby Green Areas value of at least ten to reach its middle upgrade levels. This means you’ll need to dedicate plenty of space and work to parks throughout your city. This can be put to your advantage! Parks provide Leisure as well, letting you satisfy two upgrade conditions at once. Better yet, by placing plentiful parks throughout your city you will eventually be able to convert five-story residences to green residential buildingssignificantly reducing their electricity consumption!
Try using the Markets In Football Pitches Policy. This allows pitches to double the Food Service buildings, and with a nearby park they produce additional Sport and Leisure at the same time!
Markets In Parks is also an option, but in all likelihood the number of parks you need will cause the Policy to get unnecessarily expensive as the game wears on.
Stone And Quarries
Instead of forests to chop for Wood, the Desert map has large deposits of granite seeded throughout which can be quarried for Stone. Any buildings that required Wood on the Temperate map have that requirement replaced with Stone here. Naturally, this also means that the Logging Camp, Sawmilland their related buildings are not present in the Desert.
Docks and Watermills in the Desert require Stone to build, but unlike their Wood-dependent counterparts do not incur a monthly upkeep of Stone.
Quarries take up more space than Logging Camps, but are the only way to extract Stone from the granite deposits. The process is extremely slow, so even with aggressive quarrying it will still take decades to clear even a small area of granite.
Since granite can’t be bulldozed like forests, large deposits are effectively there to stay, which can hamper your mining operations if Iron or Coal are stuck inside them. Try using Open Pit Coal Mines and Iron Logistics Modules to make up the difference once they’re unlocked.
When a granite tile is cleared, it leaves a Wasteland tile behind. Desert Farms and Housing can’t be built on Wasteland, so it’s best to use these tiles for industry or service buildings – even adding another park is a better use of the space than leaving it empty!
Next: Urbek City Builder: Best Layouts