Worker Housing



I use two different types of worker housing blocks:

  • A large highly structured block designed to house 1000 + people. The main goal here is to provide housing for large numbers of workers. These blocks will be located outside of, and separated from any industrial or farming areas.

  • Small settlements of 6-12 houses. These are placed inside, or next to, farming or industrial areas. They are designed to provide immediate labor access to these areas. Normally, I only provide the following services to these settlements.

    • Water Supply
    • Firehouse
    • Architect
    • Bazaar
    • Temple and perhaps a couple of shrines.
    • Apothecary
    • Physician
    • Juggler (maybe)

The relationship of these blocks to each other and to the industrial or farming areas is as follows:

Industrial Area

Housing Block > Road Block >(Industry + Housing settlement)

Floodplain Farming

Housing Block > Road Block > Housing Settlement > Work Camp > Road Block > Farms

Screenshot - This is a small settlement designed to provide workers for a ferry terminal and some breweries. The main housing block is at the top. Part of another settlement can be seen on the left.

In addition to providing a stable labor supply to industry and farming, these settlements help you meet the city-wide cultural and religious requirements. Here's why:

Take religion - To keep a Patron God happy you have to provide a temple or two shrines for every 350 residents. You also need (fewer) temples and shrines for the lessor Gods. If you tried to put all this stuff in a housing block, you wouldn't have room for any houses! This is where the small settlements help. Providing them with a temple and 2 shrines is far more than you need for that amount of housing, but it counts city-wide and reduces the need to clutter up your main housing blocks. It also makes it unecessary to create (shudder!!) culture parks.

Other considerations are crime and disease. In Pharaoh, the hungary, unwashed wretch in the crude hut at the end of the road is not going to put up with that crap for very long. He is either going to get sick and spread malaria, plague, or disease among your populance, or he is going to put on a ski mask and take down your tax collector. Either way, it's going to cost more than it would to provide basic services

I do not have any standard method of putting these small settlements together. Each one is different. I do try to standardize the large blocks, and the rest of this guide (or whatever it is) will deal with them.


Housing Blocks - General

In Pharaoh there are fourteen levels of worker housing. These range from a Crude Hut which can house five people to a Fancy Residence which can hold 92. Getting the housing to improve to the next higher levels is called evolvement. There are three factors that determine if your housing will evolve or not, these are:

  • Desirability - This is the sum of all the influences that the neighboring tiles have upon your house. This is expressed as a number and can range from a low of -99 (Living next to the intake pool of sewage treatment plant) to a high of 100 (Yountville, California). Each level of housing requires a higher desirability rating than the one preceeding it. You can improve desirability by placing parks, plazas, statues, etc. You can decrease desirability by placing forts or slaughterhouses across the street from your housing. Most of the non-housing structures in the game have some effect upon the surrounding tiles. You can find out what these are by going here
  • Entertainment - There are four types of entertainment in Pharaoh and each of these provide a certain number of entertainment "points" to the houses which have access to them. These types and their point values are:

    • Working Jugglers ---------------------------- 10 points
    • Musicians -------------------------------------- 20 "
    • Dancers------------------------------------------30 "
    • Senet Houses-----------------------------------40"
    • Some extra points (0-10) are added to the above to reflect city -wide coverage. I haven't a clue how that works..
  • Goods and Services - Some levels of housing require that specific goods or services be provided before they will evolve.

A list of all the housing levels and what they need to evolve can be found here . I would suggest that you print this out and keep it handy as you play the game. You should strive to get to the point where you can look at a house and know what level it is, and what it needs without having to click on it. You don't have to know this to play the game, but life is going be much simpler if you do. Until you get to that point, here is how you find out where your housing is at, and what it needs to evolve:

Select the house you want info on and right-click on it, you will get a panel like this:

Pretty neat huh? Not only tells you why the house can't evolve, but also gives you some useful info about this house.


Housing and Services

It's important to understand how housing obtains services (fire, food, etc). In C2 and some other games, if you built a a theater or some other facility, that structure itself would service a defined area around it. This is not true in Pharaoh. For example, if you build a firehouse in the middle of a housing area, that area is not automatically protected from fire. The firehouse will send out a sprite (walker) who will randomly patrol the area. At every intersection a separate decision will be made as to the future route. As the walker passes structures, those buildings are given a certain level of immunity from fire.This immunity will erode as time passes. If the walker does not pass the building again before the immunity expires it will catch fire. This process is, more or less, what happens with all the game's services. To see this in action turn on any of the overlays, watch your selected walker, and see what happens as he (she) passes structures. A lot of the strategy of this game concerns trying to place services so that walkers will be forced to pass selected buildings. If you can get this you will save yourself an huge amount of grief in future play.

Some Recommendations

Get familiar with the keyboard shortcuts. Some that are especially useful are:

  • "W" =Water Overlay. This also has a neat grid which you can use for city layout.
  • "F" = Fire Overlay.
  • "D" = Damage Overlay
  • "T" = Trouble
  • "~" = Opens the Overseer of Workers. You can use this to keep track of the number of unemployed workers you have available.
  • "9" = Opens the Overseer of Temples

As a general rule, do not build anything that you do not NEED to have at the moment. Also do not build anything unless you have enough unemployed workers to staff it immediately.

Do not, at the beginning of the game, pay any attention to any of the Overseers except for the Overseer of the Workers, and the Overseer of the Temples. At the end of the game some of the others are useful, but at the start, they are just whining distractions.

If you want to amuse yourself by right-clicking on walkers to see what they have to say, do so, but don't pay attention to any of the sniveling little weasels. Like the Overseers, they will just want stuff that you either can not, or should not provide until later in the game.

Keep in mind that the main reason you are building housing is to get workers. Whether or not your people adore you is immaterial as long as you are getting the workers you need to get on with the game.

Unemployment is a GOOD, GOOD, GOOD thing. . Sooner or later you are going to need every body you can get, so always try to have some unemployment. I like to have at least 20% - 40% is better. I would far rather have 500 unemployed than be 10 workers short. Don't worry about riots or crime. Get your folks up to Ordinary Cottage level, and they will sit there fat, dumb, and happy, until you need them.

OK! - Let's go

Step 1 - Crude Huts