Crime City Economy Planning Guide

Crime City Economy Planning Guide by Tramp Stamp

The payout algorithm post has become quite cluttered, and there is ongoing discussion and interest in the area of economy growth, so I would like to start fresh with a new thread. Here I will provide background concepts and clarifications/corrections to things I have said in the past. I will also present a complete-game economy plan. Weekly economy comparisons will be moved to this thread. Note that the payout algorithm thread linked above contains explanations about Type A and Type B money buildings.

I may (silently) update this and subsequent posts, so keep that in mind if replies seem out of context.

The spreadsheet…hl=en_US#gid=2

This money buildings spreadsheet was initially generated by allhaildiscordia via a data dump. From there I added performance metrics such as ROI, $/hr gain, and $/hr/sq.

Previously, TLoord’s spreadsheet(s) was the main source of information. I plan to eventually merge the two, mostly likely using his URL as it still receives more traffic. Work has stalled due to my using available time further enhancing metrics and strategies.

ROI vs $/hr

ROI, an acronym for “return on investment”, is a bit of a misnomer as it pertains to Crime City. What it represents is a figure, in hours, to recoup investment cost, how long one will be “in the hole” before an upgrade action starts paying for itself. ROI says nothing about gain, which is what happens once the ROI figure is reached. For that, another figure is used, $/hr gain, which expresses the incremental value of an upgrade in terms of hourly increase in revenue.

Initially I was gung ho on ROI and planned to track it long term but I changed my mind once on hand cash started piling up. In a way, this is actually a good thing as it means the ROI approach works, at least in the early going, because I had thought it would have taken longer to accumulate greater than break-even income. The problem was that while cash was increasing, it was doing so linearly. Faster growth was needed.

Economy arguments often pit ROI and $/hr directly against each other, but when used alone each has its own set of polar opposite issues. Using ROI long term selects inexpensive and/or quickly completed upgrades and over time leaves the maximum amount of cash on hand. The opportunity cost is slower long term growth. Using $/hr long term selects upgrades that contribute the greatest $/hr contribution but the upgrades may be so expensive that they constitute poor value.

To illustrate, I will use two specific examples. By the time the level 6 Pawn Shop upgrade arrives as the next upgrade on the ROI list the player will have around $10,000 in hourly income. However, the upgrade adds only $36-$40 to hourly income, less than 1%. On the other end of the spectrum, upgrading a Nightclub to level 7 and Casino to level 10 provide the same $/hr increase. However, the Nightclub upgrade costs $867,678,463 while the Casino $6,061,770,511. If we totally ignore ROI both these upgrades are considered equal value despite the Casino having 7x the sticker price.

Build strategy

The ideal building strategy would be to instantly erect two level 10 Nightclubs, follow that up with two level 10 Casinos, follow that up with two level 10 Palm Hotels, and so on, but this is not remotely practical. In fact, just tracking a single one of those is time consuming (in the order of months) and expensive (in the order of billions). But we still want to work our way up to this level as quickly as possible so that we can reap the rewards of massive income, and it seems the best way to do this is to arrive at a list of “best of breed” upgrades. The ROI metric was the first attempt at this, and $/hr gain the second. Using a two dimensional analysis, a trend becomes clear, and the outcome shouldn’t come as a surprise. For each income class:

  • There exists at least one Type A building
  • Type A buildings are always the best value

For the most part, there are a full spread of Type A buildings from cheap upgrades and low payouts to high ticket but high payouts. Within each income range Type A is the best value, offering both the cheapest upgrades and the strongest growth. Arguably there’s an income class missing between the Loft and Nightclub but this technicality is largely mitigated due to Loft upgrades exceeding the Nightclub construction cost so while the Nightclub may be around two levels above the Loft it is still within reach.

This approach dramatically simplifies build strategy while providing the greatest growth acceleration. All that needs to be done is to constantly select the most expensive Type A upgrade affordable. This means ignoring the vast majority of Type B upgrades, except for a handful discussed later. This also means for all intents and purposes the Warehouse is never seeing level 7, and it also means that the Warehouse and other low paying, unupgraded Type B buildings should be the first to go when space is short.

This strategy should hold until/unless one or more of the following occur:

  1. Meaningful Type A upgrades become too expensive
  2. High yield B buildings become available/affordable
  3. There are no more high-ticket Type A upgrades available

I will need a few weeks to find out, but I don’t think #1 will be a problem. If it is, the decision comes down to “saving up” by upgrading some lower ROI Type A buildings or pursuing high value Type B upgrades. #2 becomes an issue in the end game, though I think most players will still want to concentrate on Loft and/or Nightclub upgrades. As for #3, the player has basically won the game by this point.


Try this exercise. First sort the list by hourly output or $/hr/gain. Next search multiple levels of multiple high ticket Type A buildings. Examine the Type B neighbors and note the ROI. You should find that Type A upgrades are significantly cheaper at every level while still providing very lucrative income gains.

Notes on specific buildingsĀ 


Because I have degraded the status of ROI, I, too, must degrade my recommendation for Arcade upgrades. I still stand by my original analysis within the context of ROI, however. Arcade upgrades pay themselves off relatively quickly, and it remains the best overall Type B building until the next 1 hour building, the Sports Bar. It’s just that, unfortunately, Type B buildings, especially the early ones, aren’t worth nearly as much as the Type A set.


Psychologically I can certainly see the argument for saving up to buy a Nightclub. It is quite the accomplishment, after all. Economically, however, it is a difficult decision to support. Sitting on cash does not help economy growth, and the longer the player sits on it, the more meaningful ROI becomes. The opportunity cost would be new income had the player invested in upgrades to Lofts and Movie Theaters.

Souvenir Store

This structure has become the martyr of the early Type A buildings due to its aesthetics and perceived poor output for its size. However, per square, a Souvenir Store is still an improvement over Basketball Court, Warehouse, Gas Station, Clothing Store, Pawn Shop, Electronics Store, Gun Shop, Chinese Restaurant, Diner, Deli, Tattoo Parlor, and Arcade.

“Gold equivalent” buildings

On December 14, 2011 Funzio added seven new money buildings to the store: Beach Nightclub, Beachside Inn, Comedy Club, Dominican Restaurant, Gingerbread House, Upscale Club, and Wholesale Warehouse. One of them, Gingerbread House, is a gold building, while the rest are cash. These buildings are special, however, in that their outputs and upgrade costs behave as if they are gold buildings. The end result is an unprecedented value for Type B buildings.

12, 24, and 48 hour buildings

High level players strongly prefer long payout buildings, and it’s for good reason. At higher levels, robberies are more common, long payout buildings become comparatively more powerful, and it becomes difficult to play any game on a regular frequency over long periods of time.

However, many players make the mistake of consolidating to long payout buildings too early. My rival list is living proof of this. Hood after hood of high level Gun Shops, Pawn Shops, and Warehouses, and most of them don’t exceed $3,000/hr and some are under $1,000. What’s funny is I rarely see high level Tattoo Parlors. Even Electronics Stores are more common. Tattoo Parlor is the best available long payout building available early on next to House, but all of these buildings, except House, are literally at the very bottom of the list of $/hr income.

As for advice when to sell off quicker paying buildings, the proposed build strategy heavily favors the Loft and Movie Theater, both of which pay out in 12 hour cycles. Over time lesser buildings will become marginalized. Once they collectively contribute below a certain percentage, then they can be sold.

Full build strategy

Step 1: ROI

To start the game, strictly track ROI. Doing so will produce a varied base yet keep cash available. Always be upgrading and building. There should be enough money to do both at all times. When there is enough spare cash, expand in alternating directions to produce a “square”, which will maximize building area. Proceed in this fashion until there are funds and space to place the second Italian Restaurant, which will be the last built early Type A building.

Step 2: Laundromania

Now upgrade both Laundromats to level 10. I know. You hate that you can’t possibly collect all 288 daily payments and you hate the padded income figure. However Laundromats remain an extreme value even if you’re leaving the majority of the money on the table. The sooner you upgrade them the sooner they will contribute heavily towards your economy.

If you’re still not sold on pushing Laundromats, an alternative is pushing Ice Cream Shop(s). Upgrades are cheap and pay off quickly. Otherwise skip this step and head to #3. If you find yourself chronically cash strapped, spend some more time on the ROI path.

Step 3: Eye on the prize

Whether you’re camping or gaining levels (and, presumably, building the Type Bs as they become available), your mid term goal is to build Movie Theaters and Lofts. Naturally this requires expanding your mafia. A method of reducing exposure to attackers is to build defense via incremental value, and a way of avoiding waste investment is to purchase items that are required in quests. Follow the discussion below for details:

downrange: Here’s my personal cheat-sheet [credit to allhaildiscordia for the raw info]. It represents the eventual total number of each item I would end up having months later anyway after completing all the jobs. I buy up to the number in paranthesis of each item, starting at the low end, until i’ve got enough to fully equip my mafia. Item count is a separate (and important) factor in PVP, at least in my experience, so these low level items are very cost-effective, and my stats get boosted with M4A1 and Night Vision Googles (useful in the later levels, unlike bikes). I took a small detour from my larger economic goals to buy the 120 Junkers on one of my accounts, but not the other. I’d say that was effective, but not necessary. As long as you max out the other four categories, you’ll outclass most Rivals in item count.

CC – Equipment Caps

(15) Broken Bottle $50
(38) Baseball Bat $125
(84) Crowbar $300
(110) Street Knife $1500
(95) Mace $3200
(82) Night Stick $6000
(62) Meat Cleaver $11000
(54) Fire Axe $27000
(5) Machete $110000
(4) Taser $190000

(46) Pistol $100
(88) Revolver $250
(75) Shotgun $600
(130) Machine Pistol $1000
(114) Uzi $6700
(90) Combat Shotgun $15000
(70) Assault Rifle $36000
(1) Golden Magnum $70000
(17) Sniper Rifle $150000
(14) Machine Gun $270000

(34) Trench Coat $75
(36) Ski Mask $200
(100) Steel Toed Boots $400
(90) Military Goggles $750
(96) Gas Mask $4000
(56) Stab Vest $9000
(40) Swat Helmet $18000
(48) Riot Shield $32500
(15) Bulletproof Vest $80000

(120) Junker $2000
(76) Motorcycle $6000
(72) Hatchback $10000
(52) Pickup Truck $18000
(18) Cadillac $65000
(7) Town Car $120000
(5) Viper $280000

Remember that mafia can be dismissed as soon as the (last) building is under construction. Refer to Step 4 for a list of upgrades to pursue while waiting on the Movie Theaters and Lofts.

Step 4: Big time

With the highest value buildings in place it is time to target the highest value upgrades. Simply go down this list in order until you find an upgrade you can afford:

  • Nightclub
  • Loft
  • Movie Theater
  • Ice Cream Shop
  • Italian Restaurant
  • Souvenir Store
  • Barbershop
  • Diner
  • House

Targeting House is okay if you plan to phase out short payout buildings, but I would give strong consideration toward the Italian Restaurant and Ice Cream Shop.

Step 4a: Grand Slams at the Dominican

Analysis reveals that the “gold equivalent” buildings are definitely worth working into a player’s build strategy, but given the different growth rates it’s not easy to provide a recipe. Going by upgrade costs and/or build times is a good rule of thumb. Most players will wind up upgrading preferred Type B buildings to 3-4 before sliding back to Movie Theaters and Lofts. Beyond that point upgrade costs ramp up faster than benefits when compared to similarly expensive Type A upgrades.

The same general advice applies to high level (post-Anchor Exports) gold buildings, which behave similarly.

Step 5: The future

For now I have nothing to put here as I don’t see far enough ahead yet. Over time things will become more clear.

Economy comparison 2011-12-11

Syntarias: $25,969, +119.24%
Amber: $81,809, +79.27%
joeycool: $51,561, +62.58%
Syn: $7,648, +60.30%
Tramp Stamp: $12,723, +36.12%
qwikster: $47,534, +24.54%
AppleMacGuy: $158,621, +19.90%
Kaen: $16,567, +19.44%
Mickey: $60,044, +19.12%
popeye: $42,854, +16.91%
duder: $41,025, +16.45%
Barbie Girl: $24,307, +13.94%
TLoord: $27,804, +6.06%

Economy comparison 2011-12-19
Syntarias: $41,861, +61.19%
Syn: $11,847, +54.90%
Dorian: $53,600, +29.10%
Barbie Girl: $30,934, +27.26%
Tramp Stamp: $16,086, +26.43%
Kaen: $20,801, +25.565
qwikster: $55,952, +17.71%
popeye: $49,956, +16.57%
duder: $47,372, +15.47%
Mickey: $68,530, +14.13%
TLoord: $31,708, +14.04%
ShotInTheDark: $61,540, +12.16%
Jiggles: $32,483, +11.81% (about 6.5 days)
Amber: $91,281, +11.58%
joeycool: $57,438, +11.40%
stixx: $82,041, +9.23% (about 4 days)
AppleMacGuy: $165,261, +4.19%

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3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Holy crap.. I have no mafia members only the 30 odd i have won, no defence buildings and no money buildings. i am at level 79 with 9,000,000 in the bank and can beat 75 percent of rivals at my level..

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is your column "Chain Cost" and "Chain ROI"? I thought it might be to determine at what levels each building is worth upgrading to, but I cant tell.

  3. Anonymous says:

    626 167 671

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