From Before I Play
- Play nice. Ruling through repression is expensive and inefficient, it's good to have a decent army to keep the militarist faction happy but providing for your people as a benevolent ruler will keep you in power in the face of free elections. Not that it isn't fun to be a dictator sometimes
- Use the Russian economic aid edict as early as possible. Tenements are crucial in increasing housing satisfaction and getting rid of those shitty shacks, and 1/2 off is great. They also make apartments cheaper, which is good housing for your better educated/paid workers.
- Don't be afraid to overspend. The Worldbank doesn't cut off your credit until -$10k, so as long as your spending on buildings that will make you money, don't worry about being in debt, because you'll be out of it soon enough.
- On that note, remember that money is pretty easy to make under normal/mildly difficult play settings. Get an industry set up first (secondary production buildings like sawmills and canneries work wonders when placed near logging camps and fisherman's wharves), then plop down tourism buildings in another district, and you've got pretty guaranteed income. This is sandbox mode I'm talking about, the reason there are a lot of scenarios and options available is to increase the challenge.
- You can change the name of building clusters on your island by clicking, you'll see random text floating on the map and that's the name of the "city".
- Watch your international relations, because fighting off an invasion takes one hell of an army. Consider an alliance with one superpower in order to prevent this from happening. Trade delegations have nice bonuses.
- You're going to need two docks within about 10 game years, and at least 3 (with one set to yachts only) by the time you get tourism set up. Don't forget to place your airport by your hotels.
- Many production buildings have upgrades that vastly improve their profitability. Get them. Some require a power plant in the vicinity.
- Power plants' areas of effect can be extended by substations, but these buildings produce no additional power. You'd be surprised how many players have trouble with this concept.
- Also, play the tutorials and easier scenarios, they help a lot.