A beginners' guide to Zynga's freemium build-'em-up CityVille Hometown

Climbing the property ladder

A beginners' guide to Zynga's freemium build-'em-up CityVille Hometown
| CityVille Hometown

CityVille is the most popular game on Facebook, attracting over 87 million players every month, so it's no surprise that the build-'em-up eventually made its way to other platforms.

CityVille Hometown is a condensed version of Zynga's social offering built specifically for the iPhone and iPad. It allows you to create your own paradise, attract residents by building a range of homes, grow crops and stock businesses, and decorate your town to your heart's content.

Running your own town isn't as easy as it sounds, though, with multiple currencies, different varieties of buildings, and business supplies often proving confusing.

Follow our guide, however, and you'll soon be the proud owner of a city that rivals Milan, Paris, San Francisco, Dubai, and other real-world hotspots.

Off we go.

The basics cityville-guide-1

As with all freemium games, CityVille Hometown contains two different types of currency: run-of-the-mill coins and premium cash.

Coins are earned in droves as you play, and can be spent on houses, decorations, businesses, farms, crops, and a range of other goodies.

Cash, on the other hand, is obtainable through in-app purchases and is used to buy extra energy, construct exclusive buildings for your town, and to complete community buildings without the help of your friends.

Experience points (XP) allow you to level-up and unlock new items for your town. XP is earned from building new homes and businesses, planting and harvesting crops, and completing goals.

Another thing to keep your eye on is energy, which is required to complete various tasks around your town.

Constructing a building, for example, will cost energy, with rent collection, tree chopping, crop harvesting, and a host of other chores also sapping your strength.

Your energy will be replenished slowly over time and when you level-up, but if you're impatient you can also purchase packs of energy for cash.

Finally, population and population cap should also be monitored. You can increase the former by building homes, and the latter by constructing community buildings.

Homes, businesses, community buildings cityville-guide-2

CityVille Hometown features a variety of different buildings, each with their own use and importance.

Houses, for example, are used to increase your population by attracting residents to your city, which can then be put to work in a number of local businesses.

Houses can hold one, two, or three inhabitants, and gift coins and experience points at regular intervals. An icon will appear over a house when the tenant's rent is ready to be collected.

Businesses also give coins and experience points at regular intervals, but first need to be stocked using produce from your farms and trees.

They also need to be staffed by one or more employees, which you recruit from the homes you've built. Again, icons above your stores will alert you if your attention is needed.

Community buildings increase your population cap, giving you license to build more homes and also provide revenue from time to time.

Unlike homes and businesses, you can't build community buildings on your own (unless you're willing to splash some premium cash), and have to collect special items from your friends to progress.

All three building types are constructed in stages which are completed with simple taps of your screen, with each stage rewarding you with experience points.

Farms, decorations


Farms allow you to grow strawberries, carrots, corn, watermelons, and a host of other produce, which is used to stock your local businesses.

Fortunately, once harvested, each crop is converted into generic 'goods' so you don't need to worry about planting specific crops.

Naturally, the longer a crop takes to grow the greater the number of coins and goods it gives, but multiple 30-second crops will give more reward than a single three-hour crop.
Keep this in mind, but remember to plant crops around your lifestyle.

A crop with an eight-hour grow cycle will also take eight hours to wither, meaning you have 16 hours from the time of planting to return and harvest it.

You can increase the amount of goods you can store for later use by building silos and barns.

As with buildings, agricultural hobbies require energy to complete.

Unlike most games of this nature, decorations actually have a purpose, offering a boost to the payout of your local businesses.

Slap a decoration in the right place and it can boost multiple businesses at the same time.

Goals, social


As you play through CityVille Hometown your city's inhabitants will ask you to complete set goals, such as planting specific trees, sending gifts, and collecting revenue.

Successfully accomplishing these tasks will reward you with coins, experience, and even new crops and items for your town.

You can check out your goals by hitting the 'goals' button in the bottom-right of the screen, or by tapping on your citizens as they wander your city's streets.

Being a Zynga game, CityVille Hometown contains several social elements, such as the ability to add your Facebook friends to the game.

From there, you can send them daily gifts like energy and items required to construct community buildings, or visit their cities and earn a small amount of energy.

Send gifts to your friends and they'll likely return the favour.

Expansions, other tips cityville-guide-5

As you construct more and more buildings you'll quickly run out of space, so it's essential that you expand your land.

You can do this by meeting minimum population specifications and spending some of your hard-earned coins, or spending cash to skip the constraints.

Be careful, though, as expansions increase in price after every use.

If you're running low on goods for your stores and your crops aren't ready to be harvested, chop down some trees for a small amount of supplies.

They won't keep you going for long, and you can only chop down the trees in your city's perimeter, but they're handy in a tight situation.