A building game can refer to many different types of games, where each game contains something to do with construction, and might also include aspects of town development, architecture, and design. Often these games will contain elements of strategy, where the player must design a fort to protect a town, or construct protective buildings to defend a village and save certain items from being taken by the armies of other players. But for the purpose of this genre description, we will focus solely on city building games, where players construct vast cities which they then have to control, turning deserted lands into a thriving metropolis.
Mostly, building games require players to save in-game currency in order to develop their territory. In order to do that, you are expected to create a functional settlement with residents and buildings that can perform certain tasks. More often than not, players are gifted a town hall which serves as the center of their soon-to-be city. Here players can buy more houses and buildings that they can use to develop their land. It is up to you to decide which buildings to purchase, paying attention to how each one functions, how much it costs, and what purpose it will serve. It is beneficial to buy the cheaper properties to begin with, which normally give you a nice return in profit.
The types of buildings that will be available in a city building game can differ hugely. Below are a few examples of the types of structures that you are likely to see in building games:
It is also not uncommon to stumble into to one-off buildings, such a strip clubs, donut factories, and fast food chains. Moreover, building games can include other quirks and unique forms of gameplay, including UFOs which fly over the city and blow everything up, which is pretty cool to watch but devastating for the player.
The properties and gameplay that are available in most free building games will usually change according to the season, adapting the buildings and the scenery to suit the period. Take Christmas for example: Most games will be updated each and every year with buildings that are covered in decorations and laden in snow. It is also common to see buildings that don’t have any purpose and are purely to improve the aesthetic of your town, like water fountains and sculptures for example. While it is tempting to cover your territory entirely in decorations, it is not practical and each decoration usually costs a pretty penny, so you better place them strategically if at all!
Lastly, building games often require the player to trade using the goods and materials that they have manufactured. This might include oil, steel, wood, or coal that can be produced by building mines and constructing oil rigs. Properties can usually be removed if they are no longer needed, and this may or may not cost in-game currency to do. Sometimes tearing down a building will actually return a profit!