Negative tax income during Anarchy

Osvaldo Manso

Jul 28, 2006
Lisbon, Portugal, Europe
I've recently noticed something I have never seen before: negative income on the Trade advisor display.
It happened when I started a revolution because I needed to start a war to prevent an enemy spaceship to reach Alpha Centauri and the senate would not allow me to declare war.
During those turns of Anarchy before choosing the new form of government, two cities showed negative tax being collected (one was -3 and the other was -5, I think).

The funny thing is that when you checked the city display you could see that all trade was lost to corruption.
So, I was expecting those two cities to collect 0 coins but not showing negative values.
Both cities are located on a different continent (not in my main land).
Did anyone experienced something similar?

Osvaldo Manso

Jul 28, 2006
Lisbon, Portugal, Europe
¿Alguna captura de pantalla?

It happened a second time!
Please check the print screen attached (-4 on two cities).


  • 2022-01-22.png
    19.8 KB · Views: 70


Mar 25, 2010
The truth is that it is the first time that I see this but it is also true that I do not consult the finances much when I see that I lose money.
What version of the game do you have?

pd: I apologize for writing in Spanish, sometimes it happens to me unintentionally.


Apr 23, 2005
What I do notice is that sometimes when I am at zero gold sometimes a building gets sold if a certain city does not produce enough gold to pay for it's own maintenance.

Maybe that is related to this.

So what most likely happens is that civilization processess the cities in a certain order.

Some cities produce lots of gold while other cities produce little gold, but might even be making a loss because they have such expensive buildings.

So it's entirely possible that a city can produce a loss.

Usually this is not an issue because the treasury will cover/mask this.

For example at the beginning of your turn you have 200 gold.

Then zimbabwe is processed -4, 196 gold.

So you don't notice anything strange...

Now granted in anarchy your costs should be zero...

But maybe the game is just showing the cost when it's not in anarchy...

Or it's indeed some strange kind of anomoly.

Anyway... I will be playing some more attention to this.

From the looks of the screenshot this was during a very advanced technology period... and probably the manufacturing and sdi defense were very expensive putting these cities at negative income... hmm...

I ll try it out sometime to see what this screen looks like in such a case hihi.

Would be great to know if a city can pay for itself or not... hmmm... as far as I know... the gold that is shown in this screen is after all costs are payed, that would make sense, but I am not sure !

Also another interesting experiment to do is in which order the cities are processed... to see if it's alphabetically or in order of which was produced first and such... hmmm :)

Or if it's in the order of the screen hihi.

For me this would be interesting to know... because it happens many times to me that my gold is so low that some buildings are sold... even though I have a netto positive income in total of all cities....

This happens when cities are simply too expensive... but I want it anyway...

So if I can figure out in what order the cities are processed I might be able to tell which the minimum ammount of gold I must maintain in my treasury to prevent a sell-off !

So assuming the first city on your screen is processed first a gold treasure of 4 must be maintained to cover the loss of this first city otherwise the first city will sell something off, which is kinda annoying hehe but sometimes usefull anyway if truely low on cash or in war etc... though sometimes it better to pick a city yourself to sell something off !

When this automatic sell off happens I am always happy if it's something or some cities that is not so important, but if it was something important than I am kinda pissed.

No idea how the automatic sell off algorithm works... hmmm... I think it's probably random but not sure ! ;) Not sure which building gets sold first, probably random ! ;) Or maybe the one which covers the costs the best, that would make the most sense to me...

So I think I just figured it out...

If you are down -2 gold, it will probably sell a barracks or something... then again a barracks can also net 40 gold so at least you could survive a few more rounds without a sell off..

But I would guess the sell-off algorithm is probably trying to balance the income and expenditure for the city to prevent future sells off as much as possible.. so maybe avoid annoying nag screens... but it also doesn't want to sell off too much..

So if it was -6 gold maybe it would sell SDI defense or something ! ;)

Hmm interesting hypothesis ! ;)
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