Tropico 5: Getting Started

Get ahead of your revolution, so the King won't take your head!

Getting past the first part of the Tropico 5 campaign can be a little difficult if you're not ready for it. You have one goal at the start of the game: gain your independence.

There are plenty of ways you can choose to do this, but the easiest is to become financially stable and convince your people that Monarchial rule is out and a Dictatorship is in; or at least a Democracy that happens to keep electing the same guy. To become independent you essentially have three things you will need to focus on: extending your time, making money, and gaining revolutionary support.

Make Money

You'll open up talking to the advisor from the king. He offers you a few different options on how to set up trading for your island. He tries to upsell you on the "platinum" package. It allows you to start with a few extra trade routes. I'm not sure it really pays off. Spending just a little time appeasing a few trading companies will get you plenty of potential shipping contracts.

You should start building docks on a regular basis. Each dock gives you one ship to send out on shipping contracts. This is the simplest and best way to earn money. They also increase the frequency at which you can get newly gained citizens to your island.

Extending Your Time

There is really only one way of doing this. The king's representative, Lord Oaksworth, often gives you missions in the campaign mode. Nearly each one will give you the following options; add to your treasury, put the money in your Swiss Bank account, add time to your mandate, or add several colonists.

You will definitely want to choose "extend your mandate" more often than the other options. This option simply gives you more time to build your revolution before having to declare independence. If you don't choose any extra time, you'll be deposed rather quickly. Adding to your treasury can give you a nice boost if you're starving for cash, but if your docks are working hard, you shouldn't need this option often. Taking it as a personal gift to your Swiss account means you'll be setting yourself up for a sweet retirement, but it won't mean anything if you get kicked out of the Governor's Palace. .

Fresh Colonists are nice because they will help your island grow. The downside is that their opinion will still be in favor of the crown, you'll have more people to give jobs and homes that you probably won't have this early in the game. The above reasons are why I always go with extended time, unless something else has become very high on my radar. If you've been successful enough, you might have six years or more in built up time, then you could afford to take a different prize. Keep in mind, once the king decides he doesn't want a sea palace after all, you won't get many more opportunities to extend your time.

Gain Revolutionaries

If you want a more detailed article on how to gain support, please check this one out that I did after I learned a few things.

One of your assistants, Evita Vasquez will give you quests that will help you recruit citizens more willing to see a revolution in your tiny little island country.

The above picture is typical of Evita's rewards for completing her quests. The first option, Import Revolutionaries, seems to be the best. Not only does it give you Revolutionary citizens, but it also grants you educated citizens that are required to staff certain buildings.

Adding these citizens will start to sway a revolution in your favor. New trade routes will give you more options when sending out your new ships. Unfortunately, dealing with the smugglers tends to have a negative impact on your relations with the crown and don't really help your revolution. If your relations with the crown get too low, your mandate time will start getting reductions.

Lastly, you can just take the cash. $2,000 is a small sum when Lord Oakmont will give you $4-5,000 as one of his rewards. Taking the revolutionaries is the way to go on this one. They are educated and will support your cause.

Research can help

Another significant way to gain revolutionaries in the long-term is to build a Newspaper. It takes plenty of research to get to it, but it will be worth the wait. The Newspaper influences the ideals of people living within a wide reach of the newspaper. Right after getting the Newspaper, you should research Constitution. Just gaining the technology will increase your revolutionary support.

The Order

A mysterious man from the Order named Leon Kane helps you out along the way by giving you money and revolutionary thinking citizens. Some of his quests are simple, but a key one along the way is his quest to have $15,000. Seems simple enough, but you will need to halt production and building on the island for a long period of time in order to complete it. This also means you'll be delaying quests that other advisors give you. The reward is 12 educated citizens that are also revolutionaries. This goes a long way to setting up politics in favor of your revolution.

A Parting Tip

For some reason the game doesn't tell you how to rotate the map so that you can see behind hills and buildings. Either, click your middle mouse button and move the mouse while you have the middle button down or press ALT and move your mouse with the ALT key down. Not sure why it's so complicated. Perhaps an update will allow us to choose our own option for rotating the camera.

Some concepts of this game still elude me, since I just started playing not too long ago. If you have an excellent way to make money, please share it below for others!


While I do play some of the greats like Civilization and X-com, consider me your Tabletop guru here at gameskinny. Want to know about a tabletop game? Just ask!

Games Tropico 5 Genres SimulationStrategy Platforms PC Tags guide
Published May. 31st 2014
  • Scott Broadbent
    Having played both the campaign (first four missions) as well as a sandbox game, I can say that you get plenty of Mandate Extensions, even without choosing Mandate Extension as a reward. Remember that you get a 6 month extension automatically for each task you complete for the Crown. Also, you get a 12 month extension once you hit 5 months. I usually always take the cash as a reward because that extra $5000 enables you to build more stuff to make more money.

    The +10 Colonists are 'crap', if they are Royalists. It just means that you need that many more Revolutionaries in order to gain independence. Also, Tropico 5 just seems to give you plenty of new immigrants to handle your open jobs, so you simply don't need them. Evita's +3 Revolutionaries is definitely worth it.

    Tips? Don't be afraid to go into the negatives, especially if you are putting down money makers. Put down a couple Tobacco plantations early on as your cash crop. Build docks to enable a larger number of potential contracts.

    Overall, I can hit well above 60% Revolutionary support and a Treasury of $60,000 or so by the time my mandate is about to expire. I can get all the necessary services in to have the island ready for the World Wars era.

    The only other Tropico game I've played was the original and I'm definitely enjoying this one.
  • Landon Sommer
    Awesome. After I learned a bit from my first few play throughs, I gave it another go from the start. You are right. You don't need every Extension he offers. It's pretty simple with some taverns and churches to get the popularity you need quickly. I still advise to be generous with your extensions just to make sure you get the percentage you need before the clock runs out.
  • Clay
    Featured Contributor
    Love this game, was a nice continuation of Tropico 4. Dynasty concept makes it really easy to start stacking up bonuses so I -kind of- cheated by creating a sandbox and making an extremely profitable city all the way up to modern times and using my Swiss bank account profits to level up my entire dynasty.

    It also makes multiplayer really easy as I can just get a military victory quickly with a dynasty entirely made up of generals.
  • Landon Sommer
    I noticed that. I've barely played and I already have three significant dynasty members. I've also learned that it is difficult to produce so much that your boats can't ship it all. A simple way to make money is to build plantations and ranches with multiple products and make sure your teamster manager is a solid choice.
  • Clay
    Featured Contributor
    Production is definitely a lot harder in T5 than it's predecessor. I saw my economy switch from producing just raw materials to importing and producing. I think the economy is a bit more balanced in this version.

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