Polytopia Wiki
Polytopia Wiki

Terrain is the types of tiles found on the map. The primary terrain types are mountain, forest, field, water, and ocean. Terrain type impacts which resources can be spawned and which buildings can be built. In addition, certain terrain types may hinder movement by requiring a technology for units to move to them and/or preventing units from moving through them altogether.

Every map is randomly generated and unique with different types of terrain in varying proportions and arrangements.

Each tribe has a unique set of spawn rates and unique aesthetics for terrain and resources. During the initial map generation, the land is distributed roughly equally between all tribes in the game.

Tribes that start with a technology allowing them to use a resource (namely Bardur, Imperius, Kickoo, Zebasi, and ∑∫ỹriȱŋ) are guaranteed to spawn with least two of those resources in the territory of their capital.


Map Size[]

There are six map sizes in Polytopia:

  • Tiny: 121 tiles, 11x11
  • Small: 196 tiles, 14x14
  • Normal: 256 tiles, 16x16
  • Large: 324 tiles, 18x18
  • Huge: 400 tiles, 20x20
  • Massive: 900 tiles, 30x30

Map size changes based on the game mode. Perfection games use a normal map. In Domination, the map size changes depending on the number of opponents: Games with one opponent are on a tiny map, two opponents on a 196-tile (14x14) map, three opponents on a normal map, and four or more on a large map.

In multiplayer, map size is set by the host when creating a new game. Tiny maps support a maximum of nine players, while other maps support up to 15.

Water Amount[]

  • Drylands: Entirely land. (Kickoo and Aquarion terrain will include water tiles.)
  • Lakes: A border of land bridges will always generate on the edges of the map. Every player is guaranteed to spawn with land connections to at least two villages.
  • Continents: Large but discrete landmasses. Most similar to pre-Moonrise maps. Every player is guaranteed to spawn with land connections to at least two villages.
  • Archipelago: Misshapen and discontinuous landmasses. Almost every city is coastal.
  • Water World: Small landmasses of one or two villages.

Spawn Rates[]

The standard spawn rates for land tiles are listed in the table below. "Inner city" refers to tiles that are adjacent to a city or village, while "outer city" refers to those that are not.

Inner City Outer City
Field (Total) 46% 46%
Fruit 20% 6%
Crop 20% 6%
Empty Field 8% 34%
Forest (Total) 34% 34%
Animal 17% 6%
Empty Forest 17% 28%
Mountain (Total) 20% 20%
Metal 17% 3%
Empty Mountain 3% 17%

The standard spawn rate for fish is 50% among shallow water tiles. The spawn rate for whales is 33% among ocean tiles; this rate does not vary by tribe, unlike those of other resources.

All resources spawn only within two tiles of cities or villages. This fact can be used to locate villages and enemy cities.

Spawn Rate Modifiers by Tribe[]

This article or section needs to be updated for version 2.0.58.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Reductions to the amount of water are found in the source code but are not translated into the world generation and do not impact water rates.
  2. 2.0 2.1 On continents, Kickoo and Aquarion have 40% and 30%, respectively, of their tiles replaced with water after the initial map generation.
  3. Polaris is unique in that it has neither its own specific resource spawn rates nor any terrain allotted to it during world generation. Instead, other tribes in the game determine the land and resources, and Polaris simply freezes its territory in the same way as the Freeze Area unit ability. (When a Polaris city is captured, the city's terrain will be converted to the capturing tribe's terrain.) If all players play Polaris, Imperius land, which has the standard spawn rates for all resources, is used.
  4. Cymanti has spores in place of crop.

Spawning Rules[]

Spawning rules can be used to predict the locations of ruins, villages, and cities.

  • Villages do not spawn on the edges of the map, and no more than one village will spawn in any 3x3 area. Resources spawn only within a two tile radius from villages.
  • Ruins do not spawn next to a capital city or next to another ruin.
  • Any water tile that shares an edge with a land tile is a shallow water tile. Other water tiles, including those diagonal from land tiles, are Ocean tiles.
  • Crop, metal, and whales are not visible until Organization (or Farming), Climbing, or Fishing are researched, respectively.
  • Bardur, Imperius, Kickoo, Zebasi, ∑∫ỹriȱŋ, and Cymanti are guaranteed to have at least two of the resources they can immediately use in their capital. Resources are force-spawned by replacing tiles with a tile containing the resource if the initial world generation does not provide at least two of the resources. Because of this, Kickoo's capital will always contain at least two water tiles, even on drylands.[1]
  • Whales do not spawn next to a city or next to another whale.[2]

List of Terrain Types[]

Image Name Resources Notes Buildings
Cloud N/A
  • Cover all unexplored tiles. Disappear when in the vision radius of a friendly unit or explorer.
  • Players cannot see the terrain of a tile covered by a cloud, although ∑∫ỹriȱŋ can see ruins through clouds.
  • Units cannot move onto cloud tiles until they have been explored.
Field with Fruit.png
Field with crop.png
Field Fruit, crop
  • The default terrain. Most buildings can only be built on this terrain.
  • The Grow Forest ability can be used on this terrain.
  • Crop is hidden until Organization or Farming has been researched.
Farm (requires crop), Windmill, Forge, Sawmill, Sanctuary, Customs House, Ice Bank, Temple, monuments, roads
Imperius ground with forest.png
Imperius ground with forest with wild animal.png
Forest Wild animal
  • Blocks movement. Units without the creep or fly skills cannot move through this terrain without stopping unless roads are built.
  • The Clear Forest and Burn Forest abilities can be used on this terrain.
  • Provides a defence bonus once Archery has been researched.
Lumber Hut, Sanctuary, Forest Temple, roads
Imperius ground with mountain.png
Imperius ground with mountain and metal.png
Mountain Metal
  • Blocks movement. Units cannot move on this terrain until Climbing has been researched, and units without the creep or fly skills can never move through this terrain without stopping.
  • Units on this terrain have a sight radius of two tiles.
  • Provides a defence bonus once Meditation has been researched.

Mine (requires metal), Sanctuary, Mountain Temple

Shallow water-1.png
Shallow water with fish-0.png
Shallow water (water) Fish
  • Mostly share one or more edges with land tiles.
  • Provides a defence bonus once Aquatism has been researched.
  • Can be frozen (turned into ice).
Port, Water Temple, monuments
Ocean with whale.png
Ocean Whale
  • Do not share any edges with land tiles.
  • Blocks movement. Naval units without the navigate skill cannot move on this terrain until Navigation (or Free Diving) has been researched.
  • Provides a defence bonus once Aquatism has been researched.
  • Can be frozen (turned into ice).
Water Temple
Ice Fish, whale
  • This terrain is unique because it is an alternative form of another type of terrain (water or ocean). Tiles retain any resources, buildings, or structures present when they are frozen or unfrozen.
  • Movement cost is halved for units with the skate skill. If Polarism has been researched, all units without that skill gain an extra move when moving on ice for the first time in a turn.
Outpost, Ice Temple, monuments
Algae N/A (Algae is also a building)
  • This terrain is unique because it is also a building. It can be built at a cost of five stars, but it is also created when a poisoned unit dies or a unit explodes over water. Like other buildings, it does not remove any resources present underneath it when it is created.
  • Blocks movement. Units without the creep or fly skills can never move through this terrain without stopping, even if the Algae is frozen.
N/A (Algae is also a building)


  • The four sounds created by cloud tiles can be used to play part of the Polytopia main theme.[3]