Tropico 3 Politics Guide

Tropico 3 Politics Guide
Page content

Tropico 3 Society

Running a successful society in Tropico 3 is a balancing act. There are various factions on the island and internationally the US and the USSR compete for your affections. In order to keep your citizens happy and, more importantly, voting for you, you’ll need to provide a decent standard of living. You can find out more about the game in our Tropico 3 review. In the first part of our guide we examined how to build a successful economy. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at keeping the factions under your thumb, getting the best from the superpowers and winning elections.

Balancing Factions

You can’t please everyone all of the time. In Tropico 3 actions which delight one of your factions are often liable to offend or annoy another. The trick is to focus on a policy without becoming too narrow so that you don’t end up completely alienating opposing factions. Here is a list of the factions in Tropico 3:

  • Capitalists
  • Communists
  • Intellectuals
  • Religious
  • Militarists
  • Environmentalists
  • Nationalists

Some are naturally opposed, Capitalists versus Communists, Intellectuals versus Religious. Some have specific hot issues, Nationalists dislike immigrants, Environmentalists dislike pollution. The Militarists must be kept happy because you will depend on the army to protect you if a coup or rebellion breaks out.

Choosing your Leader

As we saw in the economy guide selecting a background, rise to power and qualities and flaws for your leader can have a big impact on the game. In the campaign mode it is a good idea to tailor your strengths to the specific challenge presented by each level. You’ll also find that specific qualities give you bonuses with specific factions and specific flaws will give you penalties. For example selecting Leftist Author as your background will give you +10 Communist faction respect and +15 Intellectual faction respect (see screenshot).

The Basics

Tropico 3 clinic

Most of your citizens just want a job, a nice place to live, healthcare and something to do with their free time. Always try to ensure you have plenty of housing, shacks cause crime and harm your relations with various factions. You also need clinics to provide healthcare and once you have a power station you should build a hospital. You can then go back to your clinics and change their focus. Obstetrics will boost your population and Gerontology will allow your citizens to live longer. I’d recommend one of each with your hospital offering Preventive Medicine. You also have to get a police station once you reach a decent size or crime will run rampant.


Everyone enjoys a bit of entertainment, well almost everyone, the Religious faction don’t approve of alcohol, gambling or anything sexy. Your general population can however, be kept happy with the right buildings. Make sure you build restaurants and pubs in particular. To cater for religion you’ll need churches and eventually a cathedral. Keep an eye on how full buildings are. If they are constantly packed it is time to get another, you are liable to need several churches, for example.

Once you have electricity the options open up and you can construct movie theaters, night clubs and even a sports complex. Having plenty of things to do will have a big impact on your citizen’s general level of contentment and they’ll service the tourists, too.


You can boost relations with factions by giving them some media control. If you build a newspaper you can set it to cater for a specific faction and this is a good way to repair relations with any faction. You can also build radio and television stations which can be used to aggrandize you as leader, raise cash or increase your citizen’s sense of liberty.

International Relations

Tropico 3 leader on the streets

The US and the USSR will pay you aid once a year and if you build a diplomatic ministry (which you absolutely should) you can pass various edicts to gain benefits or improve relations with one side or the other. The US naturally side with the capitalists and the USSR with the communists. The pop up dilemmas will also challenge you to pick sides. Just remember to put your citizens first and all should be fine. In terms of keeping the population happy the socialist route seems the most effective.


There are lots of edicts you can pass enacting new laws on your island. Food for the people makes everyone happy because it doubles rations but make sure you have enough food to deliver on it. Social security and literacy are also a great idea and they’ll please the communists and the intellectuals. If you prefer to go the other route then the religious faction loves a good book barbecue and prohibition but they’ll freak out if you allow same sex marriage. Experimenting with the edicts is a lot of fun but virtually all of them will please one faction while angering another so be careful what you enact.


The aim of all this is to win elections. Luckily as the election approaches you’ll be given the chance to make a speech. Do not waste the speech praising factions that you already have good relations with, instead select factions with poor relations. Address issues that the majority of people are concerned with, housing is always good. If you make an election promise then you must follow up on it. The easiest to achieve are the promises to build specific buildings, such as a cathedral.

As the time ticks down to Election Day you’ll see a projection of the votes. As long as it looks like you are in the lead you should be ok, the bigger the lead the better. Just before the voting you’ll be offered the option to cheat, I strongly recommend you don’t do this unless you would lose otherwise because it will cause international relations to plummet and alienate several factions.

Be Happy

Tropico 3 sunset

At the end of the day the best way to make your population happy is to pay high wages, give them nice houses to live in and create a bustling, rich society. I inevitably tend towards the left politically because they are more concerned with decent living standards for your whole society, not just a select few. I also tend towards the intellectual faction because it benefits you greatly to have educated workers, you can build factories and other useful buildings without having to hire in expensive foreign experts. The right wing approach can work too but you’ll have to be a bit more oppressive and use your military wisely. The toughest challenge is to keep the Nationalists happy because you need immigrants to man the new jobs you are creating but they hate immigration.

The Happiness % on your HUD can be clicked for more info or you can go to Overview in the almanac and choose Overall Happiness. This screen gives you a complete breakdown of the things in your society that need work.

If you’re hungry for more Tropico 3 then check out the Absolute Power expansion.

This post is part of the series: Tropico 3 Guide

A two part guide for Tropico 3 helping you to build a successful economy, balance the political factions and make your citizens happy.

  1. Tropico 3 Guide: Economy Hints and Tips
  2. Tropico 3 Guide: Politics and Happiness Hints and Tips