Ice Sheet Guide

From RimWorld Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This guide details how to survive in one of the most hostile environments in Rimworld - an ice sheet. We focus on the Lost Tribe start because it is the hardest one to thrive in hostile environments since you got more people to feed and less technology to help you.


Ice sheets are the coldest option of cold maps. They have very little animal life and no plants. In fact, you should not expect to find anything more than five snowhares in your start. You should also not expect to see more than one new snowhare every five days and one new polar bear per month.

In addition to that, they do not have any soil available, if you want to grow something you would be doing it in stony patches around hills and mountains. But you can not, because it is too cold outside. You will struggle a lot until you get a heater and a sun lamp, then you can plant something indoors.

Even the warmest ice sheet is really cold. Their average varies from -20 °C (-4 °F) to -40 °C (-40 °F) and they never have growing periods due to the temperature. You still need to eventually make a freezer though, because the summer temperature is hot enough to spoil your food. You should expect to have problems with hypothermia during fall, winter, spring and during cold snaps in summers.

Landing site[edit]

Example good landing site.

In all worlds, you should carefully choose a landing site with resources as a priority. You want to build a colony in an area with some of the following characteristics:

  • Near to tundra (faster moving around)
  • Near to a friendly faction base (faster trading)
  • Near a road (faster moving around)
  • Without many mountains around (faster moving around)
  • With coast (to turn into large growing areas later)
  • With caves (early food source)

Ice sheets do not have roads or rivers, but that does not mean you can not settle close to a road. While you should not be surrounded by mountains, the landing site itself can be mountainous.

Of course, you do not need to land in an area with all those characteristics, but try to get as many of them as you can.

Starting colonists[edit]

Ice sheet is so harsh that you will have to resort to cannibalism, so you want to have a crew that can tolerate that. That means having one butcher that does not mind butchering people and everyone resistant to mental breaks.

Your butcher should ideally be either Cannibal, Bloodlust or Psychopath.

And all your crew should ideally be either Cannibal, Sanguine, Optimist, Iron-Willed, Steadfast or Masochist with scars. Couples also enjoy extra happiness so try to bring couples instead of bachelors, likewise Beautiful and Pretty colonists are also good since they are more likely to fall in love with someone.

Surely you do not need to have all five starting colonists with those characteristics, but the more resistant colonists you have the better.

Base area[edit]

Once you choose your landing site and colonists you should also choose your base area. It is important to notice that this area does not need to be final, it is just the area where you are more likely to survive the early game.

You want to find an area with the characteristics: near steam geysers, near steel, more growing areas and more easily defendable.

More growing areas mean more stony patches and a more easily defendable area is an area with few entrances where you are going to lay down your traps. Your priority is steam geysers. You have to make the base on top of a steam geyser, otherwise, you will die of hypothermia very fast.

Since you do not have trees, you can not build a big base yet. You can then either take a ruin, make a cave or make a small steel base. It all comes down to what you have near the steam geysers. If you have a ruin, take it. If you have a hill, make a cave. If you have none of these, make a small steel base.

Good starting area near the geyser.

First agenda[edit]

  • Get some easily accessible steel and use it to build your stuff, so you do not have to use wood.
  • Make your starter base on top of a steam geyser. Give people a place to sleep, eat and play.
  • Hunt those snowhares before they leave the map.
  • Kill your starting animals.
  • Only use wood to make campfires, either for cooking or heating up. Make sure your wood is forbidden so they do not refuel it unnecessarily.
  • Get rid of some colonists.


Now you are going to be struggling for food for a long time. If you have caves in your map, it will help a lot. You want to keep the insects alive, so make sure to seal off the caves so that they do not freeze during winter and the hive does not dies due to lack of maintenance. Enjoy while it is warm and go visit your nearby friendly base to trade whatever you can for food. For that, you gotta get something you can trade:

Regardless, you still will not have enough food for five people for so long, you simply have to get rid of some of them. The best way is to put some of them inside the ancient cryptosleep caskets.

Opening the ancient structure is dangerous! Bring them one by one and use your animals as meat shield.

You can also send some people out while it is warm to raid the closest base outside the ice sheet, try to not raid your closest friendly neighbor. Hunt the animals and harvest the plants around the base and run back to your base. You can make peace with them later. You have to bring the colonists back in the beginning of next season before it gets too cold.

Another more undesirable option is to sell some colonists. They are usually worth a lot, but do not expect to see them again.

Likewise, another even worse option is to kill some colonists, but they are not worth many meals.

But you gotta do something, feeding five people will not happen. Three people is about what you can you feed.

Base on top of geyser. Two colonists were sent on a raid mission.

Second agenda[edit]


Now for the cannibalism. You will eat anyone that is not one of your starting colonists or from a friendly faction, unless you manage to lose most of your colonists that is. That includes anyone who tries to join your colony. It also means offering help to refugees just so you can eat them later. You also better be sure you got clothes before fall starts.

You will not have time to make your own clothes, you will have to use the raider's tainted clothes. Try to get some of them alive, drop them near your base, strip them and kill them. That way, their clothes will not be tainted. But you should also buy cloth to ensure everyone has a parka and a tuque.

Early raid. Time to feed!

Since you are going to often offer help to refugees, you better make a proper killbox with lots of spike traps. The fighting starts outside though, with all the ice and snow the raiders are going to be really slow. Shot them while they are approaching because it takes a while for them to move to cover. Then once they are in cover, go back to your killbox.

Remember that human leather is worth a lot and it is better to make something with it first, then sell it. First give your colonists bedrolls to sleep, then make dusters since they are more profitable then anything else. Cannibal and Bloodlust colonists will want to wear human leather clothes, give them human leather button-down shirts and human leather pants, but do not give them human leather parkas. The material is just too bad at insulating.

Colonists sent to raid mission barely came back before freezing.

Third agenda[edit]


Once you have your colonists with parkas and tuques you should take every opportunity available to go to another map. If you placed your colony near tundra, then it is likely that the quests will appear in tundra maps and that they will have much more resources than your frozen home.

Look at all those delicious-looking animals and people.

Whenever you reach a quest location, you want to look for berries, healroot, animals and wood. Animals should be butchered before leaving, if the meat is too heavy and you still have time you can use the local wood to make lots of campfires and turn all into meals to reduce weight.

Winter is coming, it is going to be so cold that not any parka will do. Anything with worse insulation than cloth should be replaced by cloth. Cloth is average in insulation but really cheap to buy.

We are here to rescue you... not.

Fourth agenda[edit]

  • Replace the cloth parkas for better insulating parkas.
  • Use stone to reinforce your walls with a second layer for better insulation.
  • Research electricity.
  • Research battery.


Now it is cold, so cold that even cloth parkas are not enough.

Try to replace your cloth(cold insulation 18) for bearskin(cold insulation 20), bluefur(cold insulation 20), foxfur(cold insulation 20), devilstrand(cold insulation 20), alpaca wool(cold insulation 22), synthread(cold insulation 22), wolfskin(cold insulation 24), muffalo wool(cold insulation 24), megasloth wool(cold insulation 26), hyperweave(cold insulation 26),chinchilla fur(cold insulation 30), heavy fur(cold insulation 30), thrumbofur(cold insulation 34).

Likewise, now you should only send people out on quests if you got a strong insulating parka for them.

Raiders are now more numerous and if you keep doing quests you should have enough food to feed five people.

So so cold... that raiders might freeze before start attacking.

Fifth agenda[edit]


Winter is gone and summer is coming, you should get ready to make a freezer so your food will not spoil.

Finally, you are ready to make a greenhouse and plant potatoes. Ideally, try to connect your greenhouse to your steam geyser.

Since you got a reliable food source, you can now accept more people. You are not free of cannibalism yet, but you can stop offering help to refugees and stop going to quests just to get more food.

First greenhouse.

Sixth agenda[edit]


With hydroponics basins you may make greenhouses without having to stick to stony patches. Getting anything planted here is expensive, so you should make a nutrient paste dispenser to save on food, once you got one you may stop doing cannibalism.

Since the worse is gone, you can now move to a proper area, a more central location where you can build that huge colony you always dreamed of.

Moving out.

Finding a large pond is much easier than finding a large stony patch. If happen to have a large pond in a central location or your map has coast you should focus on moisture pumps, with them you can create larger crop fields so you do not need to stick to stony patches around mountains.

Before a pond (left) and later a greenhouse (right).