Virtual Villagers: The Secret City

There’s this game I used to play with my mom called Virtual Villagers. She wouldn’t let me play hers much, because she’d have all that progress and her way of doing things, but she’d let me make a player on it for my own. I wouldn’t complete a lot of the puzzles, however, because I wouldn’t get to play if often. Nevertheless, it was still fun.

Several years later, I’m playing one of those games again. It’s hard, though. I downloaded all but one of the Virtual Villagers saga, but I only purchased The Secret City, which is the third one, because of a few reasons:

  1. Virtual Villagers is too easy… I played that one a lot as a kid, and I wanted a challenge.
  2. Virtual Villagers: The Lost Children never really interested me.
  3. While I admire the way the interface in Virtual Villagers: The Tree of Life was made (more space to view the island and everything), I disliked the puzzles and a lot of the setup. It’s not that it was more challenging, it was just a total ‘I’m-gonna-confuse-you-watch-me-do-my-thang’ scenario, and I didn’t want that. I also couldn’t change the speed of the game in the options, so that was obviously a no-go.

I really love the Virtual Villagers games because they can continue to play on their own whilst you do whatever you do.


This game is really difficult if you don’t start things in a particular order. The first time around, my villagers just up and died. They died for no reason. I had food, a ton of tech points and more, and they died.

Puzzles without tech point advancements

You can complete 8 of 16 puzzles without purchasing advancements with your tech points. The sooner you accomplish them, the quicker you’ll be able to progress and worry about the things that matter more.

  • Puzzle 1: Chief
  • Puzzle 2: Honey
  • Puzzle 3: Alchemy Lab
  • Puzzle 4: Roster of the Dead
  • Puzzle 8: Bath
  • Puzzle 10: Orchard
  • Puzzle 13: Ash Key
  • Puzzle 14: Pink Key

More things without tech advancements

Aside from the puzzles, you can make a fire, build the nearly completed hut, harvest honey and your tree, and procreate. I recommend procreating only after you’ve harvested all the honey, built more shelter and started harvesting the tree.

Tech advancements in order I buy

This is what works for me, but I have two games going using this — one with the Nature faction, the other with Magic.

  1. Level 2 Alchemy
  2. Level 2 Restoration
  3. Level 1 Faction
  4. Level 2 Leadership/Level 2 Medicine
  5. Level 2 Science
  6. Level 2 Faction
  7. Level 3 Medicine
  8. Level 3 Leadership/Level 3 Restoration
  9. Level 3 Faction

Miscellaneous tips

  • Have your chief direct work, create magic food, lecture, lecture children (Level 2 Leadership), make the fire, etc. so your other villagers can continue what they’re doing and you don’t delay any progress on their end (and yours) in the long run.
  • Try to give your villagers multiple skills so they’re never “unsure what to do”. For example, I have a Master Farmer who is also a Master Scientist and an Adept Builder. I have a Master Doctor who is a Master Builder and an Adept Farmer. Thus, if they ever “worry about food” again, they know how to farm, and they’re not just standing around worrying.
  • Your villagers can go several hours without food. However, aim to accomplish the sharks task. The ocean provides an everlasting food source.
  • One farmer can provide for 12-13 villagers. After completing the sharks puzzle, I assigned another villager to the farming skill. Now, she’s a Master Farmer and an Adept Builder. The elder Master Farmer is also a Trainee Doctor, and sometimes he heals the others.
  • Speaking of healing, children can heal! When they do this, they’ll earn skill. It’s a great way to make apprentices and, if you have Level 2 Leadership, they can learn skills more quickly from the chief’s student lectures, which will allow them to master the skill faster (if they’ve not already) when they turn 14.
  • Pay attention to villagers’ interests when assigning skills. If they dislike alchemy, don’t make them a scientist.
  • If villagers keep shaking their heads and saying “nuh uh” or “no” to a particular skill, don’t waste your time by trying to force them to do it anyway; find something they’ll stick to. Bear in mind that villagers will shake their heads at you when you assign them to something. I usually try out a five-minute period with the “Untrained” villagers to see what happens. If they go back to working on that skill on their own, they’re fine. If they’re walking away, however, find something else for now and try again later.
  • Have the children gather herbs. Don’t stop the adults from making progress just to gather herbs. Ugh, so pointless and time consuming. Children usually run.
  • …I did have one child who disliked running. He was assigned to be a Doctor, and that was his only skill, because they don’t have to move around a lot.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is getting long, my hands are cramping, and I’m growing bored.

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Comments on this post

Kya’s gravatar

I hadn’t heard of that before and just checked it out. I may just have to do a trial play of it. >.< Your tips could come in very handy. ;D

Liz’s gravatar

It’s very fun! /frog