Prison Empire Tycoon is the latest mobile title from Codigames, a Spanish indie studio which specializes in tycoon games and is behind popular titles in the genre such as Hotel Empire Tycoon and Idle Supermarket Tycoon. According to the developer, its mobile games have been downloaded by more than 70 million players from across the world.
This brand new title follows the same recipe you’d expect from any tycoon game, only this time around the player will be in charge of a prison and it will be their job to ensure that operations run smoothly, prisoners are kept happy and cash keeps flowing in.
As the manager of the prison, you will have to oversee everything from the providing humane lock-up conditions through upgrading of prison cells, building showers or an infirmary to supplying enough entertainment options to keep inmates on their best behavior.
In the game prisoners boast 6 main basic needs that have to be fulfilled. Each will affect their stress levels, so monitoring them carefully will have to be the manager’s highest priority from the very start. Here’s the complete list of them:
But try as you might to keep everyone happy, there will be times when riots are bound to break out in your prison regardless of your efforts. To counter these bouts of disobedience, you will need to have a good strategy in place to deal with them. If you fail to do so, the state will be forced to step in and take things over.
In addition, as the manager you should always do your best to remember that your main role is to help rehabilitate prisoners. This is important because rehabilitated prisoners bring money to your prison. More money means better living standards, utilities and entertainment areas for your remaining prisoners. All efforts come back full circle in this game – so make a solid commitment to attend to your inmates needs to the best of your abilities and the funds will keep pouring in enabling you to continue making things better for them.
This the basic premise of Prison Empire Tycoon, and while it doesn’t take much to get started with the game, ensuring that your prison thrives will prove to be a bit tricky to achieve. This is why we have compiled a detailed Prison Empire Tycoon beginner’s guide which is filled with tips, tricks and strategies, that will hopefully help you become a more effective prison manager and expand your business in no time.
1. Collect As Much Cash As Possible – You Will Need It
Cash is what makes the Prison Empire Tycoon world go round. There’s no way around it, so you will need to do your best to ensure cash is flowing in abundance within your prison empire.
Doing anything in your prison from modernizing your inmates’ cells and building new cell blocks, to hiring staff like janitors, guards, doctors, costs money. The good news is that you don’t start the game empty-handed. The base of your daily income is made up from a state subsidy (for each prisoner who arrives at your prison), a cell bonus and a prisoner subsidy.
Wages are subtracted from this total with your employees getting paid on an hourly basis (which in game amounts to a few minutes). The resulting amount is your balance per hour which, at least at first, is not very high. So how do you supplement your cash reserve?
Prison Empire Tycoon is a game which relies a lot on ads, so if you’re opposed to spending any real world money in the game, you will be forced to watch a lot of them to be able to gather the resources needed.
While it’s not impossible to play Prison Empire Tycoon without swiping your card left and right, in F2P you will require a good game plan in order to be able to secure a steady flow of cash to your purse. Fortunately, this being an idle game, every time you log on back into the game, you will get some consistent rewards.
Our advice is that once you’ve decided to put the game aside for a while, make sure you have your Earnings Multiplier meter full (located in the lower left part of the screen). You do that by watching a series of ads, and yes, the whole thing might be a little annoying, but trust us when we say it is well worth getting over your displeasure.
Having this bonus activated comes extremely in-handy if you tend to log in and out of the game various times throughout the game. Once you come back, you’ll be able to cash in quite a nice sum. Besides, you can double it, lest you need to watch another pesky ad.
An additional way to earn cash in Prison Empire Tycoon is to take advantage of the prison loan offers (which are interest free). They randomly pop up on your screen, and you’ll need to watch an ad (yet again!) to grab double the amount initially on offer.
Perhaps the best strategy when you’re looking to build new utility rooms or prison cell blocks would be to stay away from the game for an hour and let the resources accumulate, so you can reap the benefits and start building and upgrading once you’re back.
We should also note that it’s possible to win cash by completing some of the Missions the game serves up. We’re going to discuss this issue in detail in the next section, so continue reading.
2. Keep Completing Missions
The Missions list is hidden in the upper right part of the screen (the middle icon), and you should remember to click on it as often as possible. Unlike other games, Missions in Prison Empire Tycoon aren’t displayed in full view, so at times you might lose track of them, or even forget about them being there, which is not advised.
Completing Missions enable players to earn some awesome rewards in return for completing certain tasks. These vary based on the complexity of the Mission. For example, buying 12 cell toilets for your prison will get you 3 gems, while building a second module in your prison comes with a reward of 8 gems.
What are gems? These are secondary resources that can unlock chests which contain cards. Unfortunately, Prison Empire Tycoon seems a game hell-bent on monetization beyond everything else, and therefore, there are no options for you to get free gems or chests. So if you want to play this game in F2P mode, then you will have to complete as many Missions as possible to collect the gems needed to crack open a chest.
While Prison Empire Tycoon is by no means a card game, cards do bring in some extra advantages, so it’s a good idea to try and collect as many as you can. Unfortunately, this is a long process, as you will need to collect a lot of gems since chests are quite expensive. Here’s a few examples of cards and what they can do for you.
– Crooks (Level 0) – Increase the subsidy income from low security prisoners (+2%).
– Solid as a Rock (Level 0) – Increases all prison guards’ health points (+2%)
– Bat-Guard (Level 0) – Although a retired hero, he feels more in his element when surrounded by criminals, so he spends his time watching the prison. The card brings +41 strength and +370 health points to your force, among other things.
Note that not all cards will be available while you are managing your first prison. In Prison Empire Tycoon, players can unlock several other higher-tier prisons with Malamadre (a low security prison with few resources located in a tropical place) being the first level. To work your way to the top you will need to reform a lot of inmates, so keep an eye on their numbers, as it is very important!
3. Reinvest Your Earnings Quickly To Improve Living Conditions
Once you stock up on enough money, you should start upgrading every block and utility room in your facility. Start with the prison cells, as they provide housing to your inmates and should always be kept in a decent state. There are several things you can add to a cell including TV, radio, book case, air conditioning and so on. Some elements can be upgraded a few times over in order to provide improved features.
Then move on to the next step, upgrade the showers, prison yard or install more tables in the cafeteria, so inmates don’t have to wait around to be served when its lunch time. A hungry prisoner almost always means trouble.
Afterwards, do a tour of your prison and see which parts haven’t been built yet and concentrate your best your efforts to unlock them. But keep in mind that building a new block requires quite a large investment from your part, so you might need to gather the resources first.
Besides, at any time you might find that you ran out of power and energy, which will impede your expansion plans further. When that happens you’ll need to head on to the power or energy generator room and upgrade them. This costs a lot of money too, so it might be wise to put the game on hold for an hour or so, so you can acquire the necessary funds.
Follow this advice and you should be able to maintain order while you are away from the game, so you can come back to a well-ordered and stable facility that hasn’t seen any losses while you were gone.
However, prisoners can be dissatisfied for other reasons too, not just the lack of a TV or proper showers. For example, they tend to leave a lot of litter behind, so if you’re not careful your prison will turn into a pig sty in no time. The answer to this problem would be to hire as many janitors as your budget allows. Also be sure to upgrade their cleaning equipment and products so they can work faster and better.
The dirtier the prison, the dirtier and less healthy your inmates will be, so it’s essential that you keep the facility as cleanest as possible. In case inmates do get ill, you will need to have an infirmary and operating room ready for them complete with doctors to attend them. But note that medical staff is quite expensive, so check your finances before you hire a team.
4. When A Riot Ensues Use All The Guards You Can Hire To Fight It Off
It’s pretty safe to say that you’ll experience quite a fair share of riots while playing Prison Empire Tycoon and sometimes pinning down the exact reason why they happened can be quite challenging. For instance, some of these disturbances can be caused by your special prisoners who will bring some instability to your facility thanks to their leadership skills.
The state can assign you special prisoners at random, and you can view the ones who are residing in your facility by going to the Prisoners tab and then tapping on the Skull icon.
What can you do when you’re confronted with such a situation? You can try your best to prevent one, but to be on the safe side, you should also have a strategy if things go south. Here’s our advice.
When a riot starts, quickly hire all the possible guards that you can get or your finances allow (in Malamadre prison the maximum you can hire up to 20, but in other facilities the number is larger). You will probably lose some officers in all the fighting, but that’s alright, since you probably wouldn’t afford to keep all of them onboard afterwards anyway. So once the riot is over, fire the guards who aren’t essential to keeping your prison in good order during times of piece.
If you constantly check your inmates needs from the Prisoners tab you might be able to predict when a riot is about to happen. If the overall stress level meter is high, make sure you inspect prisoners’ needs up close and then be quick to act to improve things for them in that particular direction. If, for example, their Health meter is low, you could try and upgrade the kitchen facilities (stoves, fryers, sinks, fridges) or the cafeteria to improve the quality of their meals.
However, if a riot does break out, make sure to employ the strategy outlined above. If the violence goes unattended or if you fail to contain the disturbance, the state will be forced to intervene. This means, your prisoners will be taken away from your facility and placed into another prison. Which translates into major financial losses for your business.
In conclusion, learning how to effectively manage a riot is an essential skill you need to acquire in the game early on if you are to be able to succeed in Prison Empire Tycoon.
5. Always Check The Statistics Page
The Statistics page is a very useful tool for checking how your prison is doing, so you should make a habit of doing so constantly. You can find it in the top right corner next to the Missions tab. Here you can see how your balance per hour is calculated.
Players will notice that while the state subsidy doesn’t vary greatly in a given prison, the prisoner subsidy and cell bonuses can fluctuate quite a lot. That depends on a number of factors – the security levels of the prisoners, the number of cells which are occupied, how many facilities a cell offers and so on.
While you can’t control the flow of new prisoners (the process has a fixed schedule, more on that in the next section), you can make sure your cells are always updated to offer the best facilities available. This way, players will increase their chances of earning more money and minimize profit losses.
In case the expenses (your employees’ wages) are larger than your daily income (state subsidy + prisoner subsidy + cell bonus) you will stand to lose money every hour (which in game translates to a few minutes). As a last measure, you could try firing some workers until your daily balance goes back on track. Once things get better and you start making profits again, you can re-hire them.
While keeping everything on the ascending curve might prove challenging more often than not, the Statistics page will help you stay up to speed with your prison’s finances, thus allowing you to manage them properly.
6. Keep An Eye On The Prison’s Schedule
Prisoner life in your penitentiary revolves around a strict schedule. You can view the list of activities by tapping on the Info button located in the right upper corner (right underneath your balance).
Everything is laid out neatly here and you will see that, for example, between 8:00 and 10:00, prisoners go to the assigned shower area to wash. So it would be a good idea that you aim to gather enough cash to have the showers and washing areas installed and ready for your prisoners by that time during the day.
If for example, you have a number of 12 inmates housed in your prison, but only 2 or 3 showers installed, chances are that the prisoners who will have to wait their turn for their morning shower will be less happy. Make sure to check what are the upcoming activities on your prisoners’ daily schedules and try to improve those areas as much as possible in advance.
We’re making this suggestion, because, in this particular case, it wouldn’t make sense for you to spend your money to upgrade the kitchen when the next stop on your prisoner’s agenda is the showers. This, of course, if they need upgrading. If they don’t you can move on and invest in the next area that needs improvements.
Sometimes, you might not have the necessary funds to do the upgrades in time, but that’s alright. Spend an hour away from the game, and you will be able to collect a pretty consistent reward you can then use for improvements.
7. Reform, Reform, Reform
The big end goal in Prison Empire Tycoon is to reform as many prisoners as you possibly can. Depending on their security level – which ranges from low to high – it can be easier or harder to rehabilitate them. Rehabilitation means prisoners can be returned to society and are allowed to leave the prison to start new lives beyond its gates.
But how do you reform a prisoner? Well basically you need to hire a guard. The larger your prison is the more guards will be needed to keep the peace as well as help with your rehabilitation efforts. Of course, hiring a guard costs money, so make sure to check your finances before you decide if you can afford to hire more guards or not.
Once you’ve hired them, you will need to take responsibility for your employees as well. You can’t expect them to do their jobs if you don’t look out for their wellbeing, can you? So, as the manager, it’s advised that you redirect some of your funds to upgrading the guards’ locker rooms. You will need to invest in better Lockers, for instance, so that guards can store more security equipment in them.
Make sure to also upgrade things like the Control room and Security cameras to increase surveillance for an improved prison security. This way you also respond to one of the prisoners’ basic needs of Security, and so indirectly contribute to keeping them in good spirits.
On top of landing you more cash and making you feel good about yourself, reforming prisoners also has another positive effect. If you rehabilitate enough inmates, you will be able to unlock a new prison with its own set of specific challenges and goals. For example, you need to reform 640 prisoners in Malamadre prison in order to unlock the next one. Alternatively, to become the manager of Vladistenko Penitentiary you will need 7,2000 reformed prisoners in Williamson Federal Prison.
That would be all for our Prison Empire Tycoon beginners’ guide. We hope that you were able to learn how to efficiently grow your prison business by following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide. If there any relevant tips and strategies that you know of and we haven’t touched upon them in this article, we invite you to share them with us in the comment area below!