Cartel Tycoon Survival Guide

Cartel tycoon survival guide. This guide provides all the necessary information for survival.

Cartel Tycoon Survival Guide

There are some necessary unlocks that is required in this guide (very easily obtainable using sandbox mode :

  • Pathos residence (Launder 1 mil of dirty money into legal in sandbox mode)
    Survival Guide
  • Set starting money to max, construction duration and time at min, money laundering time at min.
    Start the game, build some money laundering building for free, set the game to max speed and wait until it’s unlocked.
  • Wilfredo Arias as starting Capo
    Survival Guide
  • Set starting neutral region to 0, starting gang allegiance at 100% (you can also set gang allegiance decrease on capture and subjugation to 0 to easily get other starting capo)
    Set Hire slots and opened hire slots to 3, set Hire delay to 0
    Start the game, Hire all the gang leader you want, look for lieutenants with burn building ability to kill of your capo quickly (make some random building to burn your capo at)

Pathos residence is used to reduce buildings upkeep by HALF. This means that you will only need 15000 dirty money to turn it into 30000 legal money at the bank in pathos residence’s area

Wilfredo Arias is necessary because he can start with farm III and dryer I. This means that we can immediately jump into cannabis business and skip the unrewarding opium

Starting the survival mode

For the starting Capo, choose Wilfredo Arias aka Bootstrapper with below skill set
Survival Guide

For starting region, choose Los grandes.
The requirement for the starting region is cannabis fertile area (Soledoso, Puerto Roja and Los grandes)
I really like Los grandes as a starting region because it’s right there in the middle of the map so you can use minimal trading point while not having your residence to travel too far to get money.

Immediately after the Game start, pause it and go talk to all your cartel’s competitor so they see you favourably. Getting their allegiance to zealous and hiring those capo is by far easier than battling and subjugating them. Below is the option recommendation for each capo to get them to love you
Survival Guide

Miscellaneous building tips, prison, military base, and indigenous territory are not that important to unlock based on my experience.

Prison : I’d rather buy money laundry building ASAP than making area depot to buy TVs and Consoles, and that 3 day waiting for each buy is really annoying

Military base : the unlock condition is very easy so you can unlock it if you want, but the benefit of getting it is just not that useful. The military tech and support sounds good on paper but I’ve never got problem battling police so far (you only need 10 power total). I also prefer researching things that can increase my profit output than the military tech. If you want to unlock it, it’s fine too. Just make 1 opium farm with 100% fertility somewhere and set a warehouse + transport company to deliver here

Indigenous territory : Decent place to get coca industry going, but the position is too south. The spot in foscani is way superior in my opinion

Airport : unlock condition is also not that hard, the position is also good (right in the middle of the map). But is only useful somewhat later when you have the lieutenants to spare as it won’t trade anything if you don’t let your lieutenants sit there

Guerrillas : I really like this one for the kidnap and robbery ability. Getting Foscani will need kidnap ability and getting Tensaca will need robbery ability but sometimes you may not have the correct lieutenants for it yet. This is where it will come in handy.

Note: For some reason those abilities don’t work for the lieutenant quests, maybe a bug?

  1. Upgrade river pier to tier 1
  2. Take a 30k loan from the mayor and disable hotel-los grandes connection because we don’t want to pay the mayor yet
  3. Research Tier 2 unlock upgrade
  4. Hire 3 of your starting liutenants, it doesn’t matter what lieutenant you got but here’s a few notes.
  5. If 2 out of three of the starting lieutenants require high terror to be happy, it’s better to just reset
  6. If you got a lieutenants with halcon starting rank, wait a bit to recruit him until later when you upgraded river pier to tier 2 and you need someone stationed there for additional terminal (set wage to dirty money)
  7. Keep an eye out for lieutenants that have burn building, demolish building, and truck supplier ability by halcon rank at the latest. Which is Hector Alejandro Vijo, Arvin Mosquera, Gabriela Soto, Lutheroth Mascaras, Paulina Hernandez, Quito Suarez, Roberto Montano, Bartolome Torregrosa and Sofia Cavalli. You don’t have to get these lieutenants from the start, but keep an eye on them

Burn building is useful later on when you’re trying to get new territory (better outright burn the building rather than doing battle to take it and ignoring said building, way quicker and less terror this way, but remember to check first in case the building has nice loot inside)

Demolish building is useful in case you’re hard pressed to get legal money to meet the payments or research (make some expensive buildings using dirty money and demolish it to get 90% of the cost in legal money.

Truck supplier is basically a tier upgrade for your warehouse/transport company/residence

Cartel Tycoon Survival Guide
Cartel Tycoon Survival Guide
  1. Make a cannabis production site to the left of los grandes. Below is the setup I like the most. don’t forget to set the top warehouse to accept cannabis only and the bottom warehouse to accept dried cannabis only
  2. Pause the hotel activity, then make a circus (first) and jewelry store(second). Turn off the hotel-circus connection, and turn the hotel on again. This step is just to make the circus as the 2nd building in the city without actually building or spending money on it (yet). This step is necessary because that 2nd building will be positioned at the rightmost position in the city and will be out of pathos residence. Which is why we place the worst laundry building there. A bit of an exploit…I know….but every bit help early in the survival mode…..Survival Guide
    1. Make this “teleportation device” from your warehouse to the port and to the aerodome because two your lieutenant will have to be a dedicated porter as we have to rush getting river pier tier 2 upgrade at the moment so we can export a lot of cannabis. Don’t forget to set your hotel to ignore these buildingsSurvival Guide

Early Game

After all that preparations, we can finally unpause….whew….at last….

  1. Use your lieutenants to deliver some money to the farms so it get built first, if some of your buildings are outside the hotel’s range (one of my farm is), it’s ok, just use your lieutenant to bring some 2k extra money for the upkeep cost also. it should be enough to cover them until we can build a residence. Or you could set them as extra connection also….but I’d advise against that as your hotel will be very busy getting money from aerodrome and river pier already with it’s measly 3 trucks
  2. For now, put our capo in the farm to boost it’s production (later we’ll change those farms into plantations and we won’t need this Bootstrapper anymore (evil grin)
  3. At some points, you will get some random event. Choose the option that can net you some dirty money or legal money if it’s available. I got an event offering me a free lab or 10k legal money at this point when making this guide. If you get it also, lucky you, make pathos residence immediately!!
    I’m not making it yet because this random event is….random…..and for the guide’s sake I’ll just act like I didn’t get it and save the legal cash as I’m going to need a lot soon
  4. Continue the game while getting your research going like this :
    Tier 2 unlock—>River Pier II—> Stowed away II —> River Pier II Additional Terminal
  5. Upgrade river Pier to tier 2 immediately once it’s available (should be around the same time viper shows up to extort 7k from you). Place two (later 3 after additional terminal) of your lieutenant there to boost the export capacity and use the last lieutenant as a porter.
    You can also stop using aerodrome and just focus on our river pier now
  6. With River pier 2 operational, we have two tasks now:
  7. We’ll soon be swimming in cash, so now is also a good time to pay our loan (and get a new one) to buy bank and later pathos residence
  8. We need to boost our production capacity to meet our new export capacity. So now is a good time to add another section at our cannabis factory site. Like the first time, we let our lieutenants bring the money directly from River Pier/Hotel to the farms. Some setup is required for this to work well. The new farms should only supply to the adjacent warehouse and the warehouse should only supply to one of the designated drying racks. Streamlining the production like this and shortening the trucks’ travel time are the keys to improve logistics. Below is a picture of what I meant
    Survival Guide
  9. At the point where you’ve finished researched River Pier additional terminal will be around 2 days left (Apr 21st in my game) before you can get new lieutenants…. so you have to get those three lieutenants at the river pier to bring the dried cannabis themselves…..tiring i know…..but survival isn’t easy man… should stop your research also for now as we’ll need all the legal money we can get to get our bank and pathos residence up and running because viper’s extort amount will increase very fast very soon
  10. This is how my game looks like in Apr 27th. After bank is up and running, our next plan with our legal money is to make pathos residence and continue our research progress. the plan with dirty money is to make a casino and repay our debt
    Research priority now is : Warehouse II—> Transport company II—> Gravel road—> Plantation III—> Drying Rack II—> workshop II
    Survival Guide
  11. Right after getting the first bank payout in may 7th, I can now finally make that pathos residence (still keeping faith to not using that 10k legal money from the random event). Make sure that the residence cover all laundry building except the circus (hotel spot will be replaced by cathedral later when we have money)
    Survival Guide

At this Point of the game, make sure to check viper’s extortion due time and laundry building’s payout before spending your legal money to avoid payment failure…which will result in our capo’s death.
Also be careful when upgrading your warehouse/transport company to avoid waiting for a long queue before it can be upgraded because the building’s operation will be stopped when it is waiting for its turn


This part is for expanding the region you control.

That one cannabis production site is enough for now. When those 7 farms are changed into 3 plantation, and the buildings are upgraded to tier III, that one site can supply even 2 dried cannabis deal in a row. It can also push the dried cannabis value into ~115 when you’re not doing any deals
The income you can get even with that low price is also enough to support 3 cities full of money laundry building

Try to get rid of the cartel controlling your immediate surrounding first, after that, try to get the capo that have dried cannabis deal ability (Amanta Parra, Carlos Gimenez Morales, and Julio Ochoa). I usually get two of them for my sicario. This ensures we can still get good selling price for dried cannabis even though we’re flooding the market with it

Which part to expand is really up to you now, but I’ll give you some of my opinions :

  • From Los grandes, the best region to expand into first is Amado so your residence can serve multiple function (Serve new city, serve avocado plantation (already built), and access to new river pier.
    When upgraded, those two avocado plantation can support both your cannabis production site and cocaine production site (later on)
    Workshop’s main function is to boost your selling capacity even further because you can pake 5 illegal goods inside 1 legal goods. With Tier 3 river pier, you can sell 32 avocadoes (160 illegal goods) per terminal slot. that means 800 dried cannabis per trip……and if it’s during a dried cannabis deal, then it’s 800 x $315 = $215k in just 2 days selling trip. You’ll even spend more time waiting for the laundry buildings to convert it to legal. And that’s not mentioning goods from your other production site
  • 2nd best would be to Foscani because it’s near our los grandes the river pier and also open up to a new cocaine production site. The difficulty would be to get a lieutenant with kidnapping ability
  • 3rd best would be Tensaca because it’s near los grandes and also open up to a new meth production site. the difficulty would be to get a lieutenant with robbery ability
  • Soledoso and Cerro Tacarina will be the next because it’s not that far from los grandes
  • Puerto Roja is next in line but you’ll have to setup a selling point in Amado so the residence don’t have to travel too far

Depending on your situation, you might want to purposely fail the payment due date to kill of your capo after you have researched plantation III. This serves two purpose :

  • To get rid of a capo that’s outlived his usefulness (evil grin) and change it to something that have more value like kidnap/robbery/truck supplier but only unlocks at higher rank
  • To get more time for the payments

Survival GuideThis is how my game looks like in May 19th. just finished researching transport company II and starting on plantation III. the most important thing is that I just got my 5th lieutenant which brought my total power to 16 so i can now start poaching enemy capos. You should also start to have spare legal money now (*hint* take another loan *hint*). Use it to do event in casino twice to get your loyalty to idolatry or buy some opium at a village if you so prefer

Survival Guide
This will vary greatly between gameplays, so you can refer to my previous informations about regions. In this gameplay.
I decide to take three capos immediately, Tensaca, Amado, and Puerto Roja. Reason being Tensaca is easy to take and opens my access to cerro tacarina. Amado is easy to take also and the capo there have dried cannabis deal. I took Puerto roja also because coincidentally the capo there have dried cannabis deal.
Edit : After getting those three, I realized I can still get other capos to have zealous allegiance…so I take took molino and soledoso also….
Survival Guide
Note: Throw unwanted capos in jail because their wages are expensive this early in the game….This also means that the police stars will be freezed. Which means a good time to do the quest to take cities

This is how my game looks like in Jul 18th. I setup another transport company near cannabis production site to send to a warehouse near amado river pier so I can sell there also. Amado’s and later on Puerto roja’s residence will get the dirty money from here. I’m short around 17k legal money to meet the next demand (I can still get a loan in amado) but I decided to just kill of my capo and replace it with one that have cannabis deal. Even though there will be a lot of destruction, but the legal money request went back to 7k….and the game just got a whole lot easier…..
Survival GuideSurvival Guide


I won’t go into much detail after expansion because it’ll all come down to intuition when playing.

The goal after getting your cannabis production site up is just to find more city to launder money. That tier one building production site can only support one city and supply 1 river pier but it will go higher real fast when you get the research upgrade :

  1. Change the drying rack to tier II and research paste to powder II
  2. Change the farms into three plantations III
  3. Research workshops II and add 4 workshops around the warehouse and setup another warehouse to get the goods in containers
  4. Later on when you have some spare legal money, buy university and research aerodrome III>Residence III>Chemical Plant II>Warehouse III>Drying rack III>Workshops III>Transport Company III in that order

After that, just do the quest to claim regions and win the game. GOOD LUCK!

Below are favourite production site for reference :

  • Cannabis, left of Los Grandes
    Survival Guide
  • Cocaine, left of Foscani
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  • Meth, right of Tensaca
    Survival Guide
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