Rebuild cities are made up of up to 1000 buildings of 50 different types. Each type has different properties and functions, and holds different amounts of food and other supplies that you can scavenge. Some types are more likely than others to contain survivors.
Once it's been reclaimed, most buildings have a natural defense value of 1, which means it can repel 1 zombies before they might get through. Some perks and tech can increase this. Posting survivors on guard duty on or beside a building increases this defense. If more zombies mass beside a building than the building has defense, they may break through the walls during an attack and you'll either lose the building, or someone may die.
Buildable Building Types
These buildings can be both reclaimed or built.
"Home sweet home for 2 survivors, if they don't mind the 70's decor and olive-green appliances."
"Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Or settle for any place with alcohol left. Increases happiness when a leader bar tends here."
The Bar is used in some events.
"Big farms produce [between 4.5 and 1.5 based on difficulty, and further modified by technology] rations every day of healthy crops like chard and turnip.
Posting full-time farmers here increases the yield."
Note: Big Farms can be built only on pre-existent 2x1 buildings like the Mall and the Pharmacy.
"Our churches are multi-faith spiritual centers. Now offering over two dozen afterlives to go to when you die."
Increases happiness when a leader preaches, which has increased effect on survivors with the devout perk.
Note: zed normally avoid churches. Unless unit movement (and zed bait?) causes them to enter it, thus church will always be zed-free and usually shelter for survivors.
Note: Also having churches can affect Last Judgement events.
The glorious center of our new government. Civic pride.
Having City hall enables meaningful meetings with other factions and trading without caravan units. The city hall takes significantly more time and manpower to build. This is also the place your character and up to 3 (4 with the politician perk) other survivors can embark to rebuild a new city from once all victory conditions are met.
"Farms produce [between 3 and 1 based on difficulty, and further modified by technology] rations a day and provide valuable vitamins you can't get from canned SPAM.
Farming here increases the yield."
"Survivors heal faster in hospitals, either due to the placebo effect or because once in one you'll do anything to get out."
Reduces recovering time from 5 days to 3 days.
Having a hospital reduces negative random events and brings them to neutral outcomes.
"Huge farms produce [between 6 and 2 based on difficulty, and further modified by technology] food rations every day, and make quite an impressive corn maze in the autumn."
Note: the Huge Farm can only be built over pre-existent 2x2 buildings like the Mega Mall and the Huge Park.
"Here our engineers can research everything from zombie behavior to how they used to get the caramel into all those Caramilk bars."
While in the first cities having more than one is useless, later in game Laboratories will never cease to be useful, as the top-tier research is repeatable.
"Survivors can train here to increase their skills. It's faster and much safer than the usual way."
Schools can train skills and change a survivors' active skill. Training mission will continue until all survivors on the same mission reaches the maximum skill level.
"A place to make things, fix things, and take things apart."
Note: a workshop is necessary in certain missions, one is to activate the Power Plant.
Useful Building Types
These buildings once reclaimed can provide housing, defense or bonuses. Once destroyed cannot be rebuilt.
"Thick bank walls can hold out zombies for a long time.
It adds +10 defense, and +5 to the buildings surrounding it."
"This is the only place zombies can cross the river. Or humans for that matter."
This building is indestructible, either by bombing or building.
You can send survivors to fish here.
"I wonder if the new Bond movie's is out yet? Oh wait... right. Increases happiness if we have electricity to run it."
"The deer are thriving in the city's green spaces. They may be faster than the zombies, but they can't outrun a hunter's bullet.
Note: AFAIK redecorator perk counts this as a useless building, which, frankly, isn't a far fetch.
"The pond's covered with scum now that the filtration stopped working, but the fish are fatter and happier than ever."
Survivors can cut trees to obtain materials or catch fish.
"I've heard bed bugs can survive for ages without food but I wonder just how long? 2 lucky survivors can live here and find out."
"The squirrels, pigeons and rabbits have been multiplying like crazy. Good eating if you know how to trap them."
Survivors can cut trees in the park to obtain materials. Some cities are surrounded by natural forest, which renders this building useless. In other cities, however, be sure to keep several parks in case building materials run out. (Developer's website seems to state that parks grant +3 materials per week. Need testing.)
"I haven't seen a pig in years, but chickens survived and like all birds they're immune to the disease. Produces [between 4.5 and 1.5 based on difficulty, and further modified by technology] rations per day."
Game Description: Police stations are the heart of our protection against the outside world.
They have +10 defense, and +5 to neighboring buildings.
"A small natural gas plant that might be simple enough for a few engineers to operate."
Provides a side-mission to return functional, this mission require a Workshop.
- A new policy becomes available (not immediately) regarding generator usage.
- If it hasn't been researched beforehand, Generator Power will automatically be researched upon activation.
- Eliminates some negative events from occurring.
- Electricity recruitment event requirement is considered fulfilled.
"Cookie cutter houses for 2 survivors to live in, assuming you can tell them apart to know which one is yours."
"Subdivisions were named after the thing that was destroyed to make room for it. "Pinewood Grove" has homes for 3 survivors."
"This place looked like a disaster zone even before the disease hit. There's room for 2 survivors to live here."
"Adds +50 food storage. You never know what you'll find here. Boxes of PVC pipes? A room filled with pillows? Expired dog food? Yum!"
Note: even though warehouses cannot be built and serve a unique function they are still susceptible to random building destruction. When one gets destroyed you don't immediately lose your food that went over the new limit, but the limit itself does decrease.
Water Treatment Plant
"The city's running water is dependent on this plant. Important for health and happiness."
Provides a side-mission to return functional.
- A new policy becomes available (not immediately) that can provide extra happiness at the cost of having a chance of malfunction. Malfunction stops it from working until additional repairs are made.
- "Dirty water" events don't occur.
- Fires can be countered.
- Running water recruitment event requirement is considered fulfilled.
Useless Building Types
These buildings doesn't offer any bonus but sometimes are involved in some random event. They are only good for scavenging or for being demolished to obtain materials.
"A convenient place to buy smokes, junk food, and cola by the bucket. How did we ever survive?"
When reclaimed, there is a chance for an event to obtain a cricket bat (by giving the traveler ice cream), which can be traded to Gustav as one of the prerequisite event for a good ending.
"Everything you could want from guns to decorative candles. Gardening shears big enough to cut a head off? They got 'em."
"Coffee always used to make me jumpy. Now I can get that effect for free just by taking a stroll outside the walls."
"Trashy, revealing clothing for your darling angel teenage daughter."
Game Description: There's an antique biplane on this old farm, I wonder if we could get it flying again.
When a disused farm is reclaimed. There will be a quest to repair a biplane, find a pilot, and you can then leave the city. Up to 6 survivors (including the main character) can move to the next city using a plane instead of 4 survivors allows when leaving the city via a city hall. One seat will be for a pilot, one seat will be for your main character. The remaining 4 seats can be chosen freely by the player. There will be events that some survivors want to get onto the plane; some survivors even have an item. If you decline their offers, their happiness will drop, or they can steal equipment or resources from the fort, but if you allow them to get on a plane, they might take some seat when leaving the city, making some survivors you select not be able to get on the plane. Confiscating the items they offer can lead to their deaths.
Game Description: Karate skills aren't as useful post-apocalypse as you'd think. Going hand-to-hand with Zed is only for the desperate and mad.
"Well I'm not on fire so it must be working."
Eliminates a number of negative events. (AFAIK, is only ever used in one event.
"This store went out of business long before the zombies came. Replaced by digital markets, just like all the book and music stores."
"The dead never crawled out of their graves like in the movies, but zombies do seem strangely drawn to this horrible place."
Unreclaimed graveyards typically have more zombies in them.
When a graveyard is reclaimed and something else is built on it, survivors in the building might be haunted and injured for a few days. (AFAIK, the "Haunted" event can trigger even if nothing else was build on that spot, just demolishing the graveyard is enough to trigger it, need confirmation)
"I never appreciated how we used to get strawberries all year round from markets like this."
"What was that jingle? "You deserve a break today, have some noodles made your way". Makes my mouth water just thinking about it."
Mall / Mega Mall
"People used to spend hours aimlessly shuffling around these temples of commerce. Nothing's changed, eh?"
An unclaimed mall (or mega mall) with resources can be scavanged to trigger an event as a prerequisite for obtaining a good ending of the game.
"We used to spend our lives in offices, chained to desks, drinking cheap watery coffee to keep from falling into a boredom coma."
"Looks like a branch of Incredicorp, that old video game empire. I used to have all their games."
"Other than siphoning fuel from the car's tanks, this parking lot is as useless as it is ugly."
"They've got enough used instruments here to start an orchestra. I call trombone!"
"Land-o-drugs. Also post office, photo services, consumer electronics, groceries, home & garden and so much more."
"A tower like this could broadcast our message a hundred miles away. What should it be: easy listening, or golden oldies?"
"Another one of those hipster eateries whose decor says greasy spoon, and prices say you're better off just eating your money."
"An ex-building. It probably burned down during the early days of panic and mayhem."
Doesn't naturally exist, can be created by helicopter event, bombs, natural disasters or other events. Building useful buildings on rubbles cost more materials.
Game Description: If you can stand the darkness, it's actually safer to travel underground these days. Zed don't seem to like it down there.
Usually this is the home of the Rotten faction.
"Cities ran out of fuel during the early days of the big panic, but you can still find cars with gas in their tanks."
Used in last judgement random event when they show up asking for 5 fuel. Saves you 5 fuel or some L.J. respect.
These can't be made a part of your fort.
Note that while Zombie mobs and hostile raiders/soldiers can not pass through water bodies, they can pass through hills and forests to attack your fort.
"Zed can't swim, they just sort of bob helplessly in place. They can't dance either, but that doesn't come up as often."
Survivors can fish there.
"Zombies mill on the banks here but rarely enter the water. We can't reclaim the river but it makes a great natural barrier."
You can send survivors to fish here.
"The beginning of impassible mountains at the edge of the city. There's nothing out here, not even Zed."
Game Description: Impassible deep forest at the edge of the city. Few zombies come through here so we can safely keep our backs to it. You can send survivors to chop wood here.