Incidents such as fire, riots and illness, might happen at any moment, endangering the stability and order in a player's empire. The chances and frequency of them happening, depend on several factors. It is not possible to completely turn off incidents but difficulty settings can adjust the probability of them happening. Incidents can die down on their own after a period of time, but players can deal with them faster, prevent the damage done and keep them from spreading by building emergency services.
Almost all buildings can catch fire. Both residential districts and production buildings are vulnerable. Burning buildings slowly lose their hitpoints until the health bar reaches zero and the building collapses into ruins.
Fire can start in residences at any time. Dense city areas are more likely to start burning and fire spreads faster when buildings are very close to each other.
Production buildings have different chances of catching fire depending on the type of the building. The chance increases with high productivity and harsh working conditions as it makes accidents more likely to happen. This problem can be especially severe when using electricity, as this heightens productivity.
Factories which use heavy machinery or chemicals (like Schnapps Distillery or Dynamite Factory) can accidentally blow up. An Explosion turns a building into ruins instantly and can set nearby buildings on fire. Buildings also have a much higher chance of exploding while on fire.
An unhappy population can revolt against a player's leadership and organise riots. Rioting people will stop working and paying taxes. Riots start within buildings, but when they're left unchecked for long enough, the people might start forming into mobs that travel the streets and encourage even more people and buildings to join their strike. During larger strikes, the rioting will start to damage or set fire to structures. Should the amount of riots and mobs in the street manage to get out of control, this can lead to a very destructive situation that greatly decreases the player's available workforce and income.
Riots can affect both residential and production areas. In residential districts riots are caused by the general level of happiness. In production buildings, working conditions have the biggest impact. Continuous use of propaganda can also anger a population into rioting.
It's worth noting that settlements in The Arctic cannot riot. The population there does not have Luxury Needs, a happiness rating, or the ability to change the working conditions on their production buildings. People there are just happy to survive the biting cold and have an awareness that tearing down their own settlement is detrimental to the overriding desire not to freeze to death.
A player's people can sometimes fall ill, with the disease potentially spreading into an epidemic. The chances of getting ill increase when people work hard and live close to polluting industries. Not satisfying the population's demands for all the goods they desire, can also increase the chance of Illness. Illness appears only in residential districts, not in factories. It can spread very quickly and can even jump to other islands by ships carrying it over between Trading Ports.
Illness prevents a residence from paying its taxes and will slowly lower the amount of people living within, rather than damage the building itself. If illnesses are left unchecked and given a chance to ravage the affected residences past a certain threshold however, these houses might be abandoned into dilapidated ruins. Nobody will want to live in a place where the taint of death has managed to seep into the walls and floors.
The Arctic Flu
A special, more contagious type of illness originates from The Arctic, called the Arctic Flu. Arctic settlements don't have Luxury Needs, but a need for Heat - a desire to stay warm - instead. When a player's Arctic settlements are properly governed, the Arctic Flu is an occasional, but manageable incident in this region. Should a player fail to keep their Arctic Settlements warm however, the Arctic Flu quickly becomes a virulent and constant presence, with a potential to grind productivity and growth to a halt.
It is unknown whether the Arctic Flu can travel to Old World or New World.
A player can counter and prevent city incidents with Public Buildings that offer emergency services. These include Fire Stations, Police Stations, Ranger Stations and Hospitals. Each of these will send out specialized units that travel the streets and actively combat an incident wherever one transpires. Fire stations send out firefighters to extinguish burning buildings, police stations send out police officers to pacify protesters and hospitals send out doctors to cure sick people. Arctic Ranger Stations send out units that double as both fire brigade and doctor.
Emergency services also passively lower the chance of an incident happening in buildings nearby them. With enough Fire Stations for example, the chances of fire and explosions happening in the adjacent dynamite factory can be reduced or outright nullified.
A player should build all three emergency services in residential areas, but production districts need only fire and police stations.
Every Emergency Service has its own influence range which spreads out along adjacent streets, depending on the quality of those streets. Paved streets increase the effective range of all emergency services and it's advisable to pave in highly endangered areas. All emergency services have a limited number of units that can be sent out to fight the incidents. If the population is happy, three additional units can be mobilized:
- 1 unit if happiness value is +10 or higher
- 2 units if happiness value is +30 or higher
- 3 units if happiness value is +50 or higher
Players can also use items to change the probability of incidents and the effectiveness of emergency services.