Here are a few tips I’ve gradually stumbled across whilst playing one of the newer Zynga games on Facebook, CityVille and all without spending a single actual dollar into Zynga’s pocket =)
This is my city, Prefecture 238. It’s arranged by type of structure and near-maximizes profit. I’m pretty much just shooting for quick-leveling and high profit counts instead of looking pretty like a lovely little town or something. The only reason I will use community buildings is for unlocking higher levels of population, which unlock better businesses — but not at all to look nice, for the most part.
First, probably the biggest factor is advancing quickly is having more space to work with, so focus on getting friends to help you get Zoning Permits. Send Zoning Permits to all of your neighbors and have them send them all back to you in returning the favor.
Second, realize that you don’t need roads. There is one square of road (which crosses the railroad tracks) that can’t be deleted — but delete all other roads on your land. The game claims you need roads to connect business, but that’s not true. All you need is sidewalks that connect them. This makes your land much more spacious and untainted by space-wasting roadways. You also don’t need any of the corporate buildings (which will go back into your inventory if you tear them down), and the community buildings don’t need to be connected to anything at all.
Third, once you can afford it, start placing the higher-percentage decorations between profit-making buildings. If you click on my image above for a higher-resolution pic, you may notice toward the northeast just south of the vegetation line, I’ve got a solid row of playgrounds, followed by a solid row of businesses, followed by a solid row of playgrounds, a row of businesses, playgrounds, houses, etc.
Fourth, after calculating with AblestMath® v1.0, I decided that the Sushi Restaurants (which I named mine, “Susie’s Sushi Five Times Fast”) have the best goods-requirements-to-profit ratio, as do Colonial Chalets as far as taking-up-space-vs-population-growth ratio.
My favorite profit opportunity is from selling harvest goods from farming, into shops that are surrounded by percentage-boosting decorations. I currently get around 1070 coins per Sushi Restaurant cash-in, which only require 110 goods. It only costs 71 coins for 130 goods with wheat, so I more or less get ~1000 coins profit down the line for each square of wheat harvested. With the current setup, I’ve got a max storage capacity of around 18,000 goods, which is about 163 squares worth of harvesting, or 163,000 coins profit. If you time your business cash-ins properly, you can make your bonus meter peak around 4600 coins extra just for collecting the little coin/good icons quickly. It used to be around 8000 for the top bonus, but they took it down a notch for some reason =P
Fifth, there’s not really much incentive to have higher population or higher community favor except to unlock the Sushi Restaurant and the Colonial Chalet, so once you unlock those, it’s safe to stop bothering with those things unless you want to unlock higher (but grossly less efficient) buildings to make your city look *cough* pretty.
Sixth, maximize the space you have on the shipyard docks. Instead of having boats facing end to end with their long side touching the dock, use the rotate function to make each boat point at the dock perpendicularly. You can fit at least 8 boats per dock, with two on the tip end. If you put one of your docks up alongside the very edge of your expansion, as I’ve done on the western dock in the picture, you can still put boats that touch the dock that overlap into space you haven’t expanded into yet.
These are the CityVille fundamentals that have gotten me toward level 60 so far, shooting for the goal of have one of each of the Landmarks and perhaps eventually the Wonders =D