SimCity 2013 Disasters Guide – How To Unlock and Manage

A true leader isn’t one that can run a region under normal circumstances, but one that can get his people and state out of a major disaster.

SimCity 2013 gives you chance to test your skills as a city owner in the form of Disasters.

Disasters are mishaps that can occur randomly or be triggered by the player. Some of the disasters are believable (such as earthquakes, tornadoes), while other a plain fictional, but very entertaining (giant fire-breathing lizard, anyone?).

Disasters have the tendency to cause major destruction of the city, which can actually offer you with great benefits if you attempt to recreate and/or repair the effected areas. This is why the developers have given an option to players to manually trigger disasters themselves.

But that doesn’t mean that they won’t occur without your command; natural disasters can take place based on the conditions of your city. If your city happens to be in a seismic zone, then you can expect some pretty devastating earthquakes to occur once in a while. Similarly, if your city is in an open area, expect to encounter some tornadoes.

In such a way, one can categorize disasters in two categories: major disasters that are rare, but do a huge amount of damage, and minor disasters that are common but can be treated easily.

For more help on SimCity, read our Great Works, Mining and Drilling Specialization Guide.

Major Disasters

There are a total of six major disasters in SimCity. None of them are available in the start, but they can be unlocked by completing achievements. Once unlocked, a disaster can be triggered manually through the Disasters menu, or will occur by itself under specific city conditions.

First off, let’s have a look at some of the more believable disasters:

Earthquakes are devastating disasters with a fairly big radius, so you can expect them to cause a good amount of damage, provided they have a large scale. It’s important to have a good amount of fire coverage in your city, because the main earthquake will lead on to plenty of fires, which may spread far and wide to cause a secondary disaster.

Naturally occurring earthquakes tend to take place in mountainous areas, so make sure you plan ahead if such terrain exists nearby.

How To Unlock: You can unlock Earthquakes by mining 100 tons of coal or raw ore in your city.

Tornado is probably the first major disaster you’ll unlock. A tornado can be spawned at an arbitrary location if you trigger it manually, but its direction from there onwards is pretty random. Unlike earthquakes, the tornado disaster is pretty hard to control because of the uncertainty it creates.

Generally, tornadoes will destroy buildings and fields that come in its way. Thankfully, it won’t cause too many fires, but the unpredictable damage it can do can really exhaust your resources.

Tornadoes tend to naturally simulate in plain areas.

How To Unlock: You can unlock Tornado by installing 24 Wind Turbines at Wind Power Planets.

Meteor Strike
This exaggerated meteor strike isn’t your everyday shooting star. The insane disaster is probably one of the finest visual effects in the game, making it a spectacularly entertaining method to destroy your city.

You’ll be seeing a torrent of hellfire as if its Armageddon time and you can expect plenty of fires, making a secondary fire spread disaster more likely.

Meteor Strikes may also have long-term disastrous effects. They have a good chance of leaving behind ground pollution and radiation, making the effected zone almost unlivable. Good luck!

How To Unlock: You can unlock Meteor Strike by having 200 tourists arrive on flights at Municipal Airport in a day.

Now, let’s check out some of the crazier disasters:

Big Lizard
If you think hellfire isn’t enough of a spectacular sight, then perhaps Mr. Godzilla can satisfy you here. This humorous disaster will see your city raided by a giant red fire-breathing lizard, which will burn up everything in its way.

The lizard is a specific path which it follows; it emerges from the ground of your city (creepy…), and makes its way towards the closest Garbage Dump, devouring a bit of garbage and disappearing, eventually leaving behind a trail of burning buildings and destroyed structures.

It’s actually a great (and much more entertaining) way to clear some unwanted buildings. Just make sure you know where the Garbage Dump is, and where you spawn the beast.

How To Unlock: You unlock Big Lizard disaster by burning 100 tons of garbage in an Incinerator at the Garbage Dump.

UFO Encounter
It’s hard to actually identify a UFO Encounter as a major disaster. Sometimes these mysterious buggers can actually prove useful!

Firstly, a UFO Encounter gives a massive boost to skill, similar to a University, allowing you to develop high-tech Tier 3 buildings in industrial zones. Secondly, when abducting, UFOs have a high chance of targeting the criminals of your city, which is a nice way to clean up the Police Precinct.

The real problem though, is that UFOs are extremely unpredictable. Once they arrive, there’s no telling what they’ll do. Sometimes they’ll just abduct some Sims, while other times they’ll destroy a building (which could be an all important 1 million credit international airport). You can even expect a UFO to steal resources from your industry.

Thus, it’s really a gamble to trigger a UFO Encounter, but the unpredictability of the results itself is a pretty entertaining thing.

How To Unlock: You can unlock UFO Encounter by shipping any resource to a Space Center Great Work.

Zombie Attack
A zombie outbreak can occur at night time, with the green-eyed undead emerging from hospitals and devouring unfortunate Sims’ brains. Thankfully, zombies don’t really destroy buildings, but the death toll can get really high.

Furthermore, the Sims they attack become infected as well, and your police force will likely have their hands full dealing with this trouble.

Fortunately, zombies can’t survive in the sun, so you’ll probably see them dead as dawn arises. But you should expect the death toll to be quite high when the infestation occurs (or when you make it occur).

How To Unlock: You can unlock Zombie Attack disaster by adding a Diagnostic Lab to a Hospital and have 15 Sims die in a day.

Minor Disasters

Minor disasters are more frequent disasters that you cannot trigger, but may be seen in the game.

Nuclear Meltdown
In real-life, a Nuclear Meltdown is actually considered a major disaster. But in SimCity, it’s not as big an issue as having a giant lizard take a walk in your city.

If your nuclear plants are staffed with uneducated workers, there’s a chance you’ll have a meltdown, leading to radioactive leakage and waste, which will make a generous portion of your city unlivable for a certain amount of time.

Mass Transit can be pretty effective, but it has its disadvantages. One of them is the increased likelihood of a plague outbreak. This will seriously stress your Hospitals and Clinics, and the lack of ambulances will increase the likelihood of Sims dying with the plague. It’s important to contain this, and look for other alternatives of Mass Transit.

How To Manage Disasters

So, you called up a disaster and watched a large part of your city perish. What now? Well, it’s not that simple actually. Disasters have lots of bad effects, and one of them is leeching your resources in every way.

Thus, it’s important to reach out to neighboring cities and request ambulances and fire brigades to assist in the aftermath of a disaster. It’s thus a good idea to plan ahead. You should try to volunteer your own vehicles to other cities and the other mayors will probably do the same.

Once the destruction and rescue processes are carried out, it’s important you clean up the remaining mess. Have bulldozers get rid of rubble, as it reduces land value, and make sure you calculate the total loss in resources if damage was done to power plants, roads, water sources, etc.

Make sure you resupply the needs of the city, and then you can slowly work your way to rebuilding the essential structures that you may have lost.

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...