Quickstart Guides

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As its name suggests, this is a quick guide for starting a game.

For a more detailed basic introduction see Basics.

Setup

Choosing a scenario

The first thing you'll be able to pick is picking a story scenario, there are 4 prebuilt scenarios to choose from. This guide assumes that you're choosing the classic "three crashlanded survivors" scenario.

Choosing a storyteller

You can pick a storyteller and a difficulty level. The AI Storytellers only determine the random events that occur during your game. You can do your own research in the previous link if you wish, but it is recommended to choose Cassandra Classic on Strive to Survive to get a feel for how the game is designed to play out.

Creating a world

You can play with the seed and map size of the world, but it isn't anything that will make a big difference to you yet. The default dimensions is a good size that won't cause too much lag. You should pick a temperate forest biome to start. Now, look in the info tab. You want a map with a growing season that lasts from at least spring to fall, if not all year. You will also want to pay attention to the terrain type. Flat terrain lack ores to mine and is difficult to defend - only some raiders will mine allowing you to funnel most to your prepared defenses, and if they do attempt it, rock walls are free and give you time to prepare on the other side. Small hills have more ores but the hills still do not provide much protection. Large hills have plenty of ores and hills to build against. A mountain base is also a good option, it's easy to defend and will give you plenty of stone chunks, but takes longer to dig in the beginning and tend to suffer from bug infestations later on.

Choosing your characters

You can click randomize on your colonists as many times as you want. You want a good mix of skills. Remember, your characters can only do one thing at a time and they need time to eat and sleep. Stay away from colonists incapable of many tasks, especially ones with "incapable of skilled labour". Have at least two pawns capable of dumb labour. Rolling for passions (one or two flames) is just as important as rolling for a high skill, because they will level up faster.

The most important skills to have in the beginning are: medical, plants, and shooting. Try to have at least one colonist covering those skills as lacking them can lead to game-over. It also helps to have someone at least halfway decent at cooking, Intellectual, social, construction, and mining (if you have a mountain base). Lacking these skills are much less likely to lead to game-over but will significantly hasten your advancement in the early game.

Traits do not matter too much - you can try to roll for good traits, but that can be very tedious. The traits that you should avoid are ones that give a permanent mood penalty, speed penalty, or some other miscellaneous traits: Lazy, Slothful, Slowpoke, Pessimist, Pyromaniac, Gourmand, and Depressive. Try not to roll characters who have a lot of health ailments such as cataracts and bad back, or are already addicted to drugs.

Getting off on the right foot

Landing

  • PAUSE THE GAME! - wait for the colonists to emerge from their pods, then press spacebar.
  • Arm Yourselves: You'll start with a bolt-action rifle, a revolver, and a plasteel knife. Select the pawn with the best Shooting skill and then right-click the bolt-action rifle and select Equip. Equip the next best shooter with a pistol, then equip the knife on the last pawn or the brawler.
  • Prioritize: Go into your "Work" tab, and turn on manual priorities. Firefight, Patient, Basic, and Bed rest should be set to priority 1 on everyone. Set doctoring, warden, growing, construction, and cooking to 1 on the colonist with the highest skill and disable them for everyone else. Set priority 2 on anything else they're passionate or interested in, set 4 on everything else. Temporarily set hauling to 1 until they are done hauling sensitive equipment (explained later).
  • Recon: Take a look around and get a feel for the terrain. Where are the steam geysers for potential geothermal power later? Where are natural choke points to create kill zones? Where are there veins of steel, silver, and gold? Where are standing structures that you can make use of? You should also unforbid any of your starting resources lying around by selecting them, double clicking to select all nearby items. and hitting the F key.
  • Prepare: Decide on a site for your initial base camp. You need to get a single wooden building up ASAP so your colonists can sleep under a roof, and you can haul materials inside to stop them from deteriorating. Don't use steel if avoidable - trees are common place in the suggested biome and steel is a valuble resource throughout the entire game. Even if you plan on digging a mountain base, throwing up some walls is much faster to get settled in quickly. Find a spot on the map relatively close to the landing site where you feel you can set up in a reasonably short period of time. If there are abandoned buildings or a hill nearby, consider taking advantage of them by building against them. Then set up a chop wood order to gather more wood.

Go into the Architect menu to start to get familiar with it. You can change the material of a building by right clicking on it in the menu and selecting the desired material. Wood will be a sufficient building material for now. Construct a decent sized room 9 by 9 or larger, and place 3 wooden beds inside. Walls and doors are in the "Structure" submenu, and beds are in "Furniture". Remember to unforbid the wood lying on the ground, or your colonists will not use them to build.

  • Unpause the game: Enjoy watching your colonists working on the building. Remember you can always pause or change the speed by pressing 1, 2, or 3.

Your first day

  • Stocking Up: Materials (except for metals) will deteriorate when left outside, so you need to put them under a roof. Items marked with a red X are forbidden; be sure to un-forbid them so they can be hauled. In the architect menu, select "Zone/Area", "Stockpile zone", and make a stockpile that covers the entire floor of your building. You can specify exactly what is allowed in the stockpile by selecting it and then clicking "Storage", but for now this is not necessary. Selecting a character, then right-clicking on something that needs doing, then pressing the "prioritize" button will make them prioritize the task.
  • Farming: You now need to start farming. If there is rich soil nearby, which has a darker colour and is labeled "rich soil" on the bottom left corner of your screen when you mouse over it, use that. If rich soil is too far away, then just plant on regular soil. Use "Architect -> Zone/Area -> Growing zone" and create two or three plots at least 5 by 7 each. Potatoes are planted by default, but you can change the crop by clicking on the plot, then "Growing". Rice is a good starting crop as it grows fast and provides a lot of food if grown in soil with decent fertility, but you can also plant healroot (if you have a colonist with a growing skill of 8 or higher) in one of the plots. If there is only stony soil nearby, plant potatoes instead. Corn provides more food for the amount of work that goes into planting it, but it requires longer to grow which can cause difficulties in the early game when you have no food stored. If your planter has extra time, planting corn along side rice or potatoes is worthwhile but subsistance farming is the priority.
  • Sowing/Hauling: Your colonists will go about the business of planting and hauling things on their own, seeds are in infinite supply in this game. Take a moment to observe them so you get a feel for how fast they move around. For now you want to keep everything fairly close by, so your colonists don't waste a whole day walking across the entire map and back again because they got hungry.
  • Food: Your characters will need to eat, but for now they can survive on packaged survival meals.

Your first night

Not much happens at night time, so you can pass the time by letting the game fast forward while you familiarize yourself with the controls and check up on your colonists.

  • Reviewing colonists: You can check out a colonist's mood in their Needs tab. There's nothing you can do about the "Awful-Decent Barracks" mood debuff for now, but see if there are any easily addressable debuffs, like a nudist wearing clothes or a brawler with a ranged weapon. Try not to give them commands right now or they will get the "disturbed sleep" debuff. Allow them to wake up naturally.
  • Reviewing schedules: By default, your characters are all set to go to bed at the same time every evening. You can change it under the Restrictions tab, but you don't need to change it for now unless you have a character with the Night Owl trait. If you have a colonist with the Abrasive trait you may also consider putting them on a night shift so they don't interact with other colonists as much. You don't need to schedule their recreation and work hours, they will engage in recreation when they need to. When the base gets bigger, a suggested schedule is 7 hours of sleep, 2 hours of recreation after they wake up and 2 hours before they go to sleep. Make big stretches of one activity to minimize travel time.

The next few days

  • Getting more supplies: Gather some more wood by going to "Orders -> Chop wood" and selecting some nearby trees to chop. Gather steel with "Orders -> Mine" and selecting some veins of compacted steel. Be sure that your colonists have plant cut and mining turned on in the Work tab.
  • Getting more food: Your packaged survival meals will likely run low before your crops are ready to harvest. You can tide yourself over by hunting and gathering in the meantime. If you see berry bushes ready to harvest, you can use "Order -> Harvest" to gather them.
  • Manual hunting: You can select animals and mark them for hunting, and any colonists with hunting enabled will go and hunt them. Do NOT hunt boomrats, boomalopes, animals in packs, or predators! It is a bad idea, don't do it. Predators, which are fast, and whole herds of animals in packs may revenge when a single animal revenges. Boomalopes and boomrats explode, and can create large forest fires. However, hunting has some flaws because your hunter tends to stand too far away from the animal, decreasing their accuracy and making them waste a whole day trying to shoot a turtle. Sometimes they might even accidentally shoot another colonist walking in front of them. If you're willing to micromanage a little, you can hunt manually. Select the colonist with the rifle, draft them, then right click on a spot nearby the prey to make them walk there. Click their weapon, then the animal to make them start shooting. Walk closer to the animal if it moves away. If the animal is downed but not dead (twitching on the ground with exclamation mark), undraft the colonist, right-click the animal and select "prioritize hunting animal". The hunter will slit the animal's neck and haul it to the appropriate stockpile zone.
  • Get cooking: Eating raw food (except for berries and some other foods you won't have access to yet) will give a mood penalty, so you want to build a butcher table and fueled stove (under Production) - switch to wooden to save on steel. If you can wait until you have electricity, an electric stove is future proof and will ultimately save on resources, but sometimes preventing food poisoning and maintining colony mood early on can be more important. It's a good idea to build a separate kitchen close to the freezer so your cook does not have to walk as far. Your cook will not do anything until you add a bill, so click on the butcher table, click Bills -> Add Bill -> Butcher creature, then click Do X Times and change it to Do forever. Add a Cook simple meal bill to the stove, and change it to Do until you have X. 10 to 20 is a decent number. Forget about nutrient paste dispensers, they are not worth the components, electricity, and mood cost. Build floors in the kitchen to avoid food poisoning.
  • Set up electricity: From the Power submenu under Architect, your options of power generation are either Wood-fired generator or Wind turbine. The generator is the preferred choice if wood is abundant on your map, as it provides a steady 1000 watts of electricity, unlike the wind turbine which might provide 3000 watts one second and 150 the next, but the generator takes away your colonists' time as they have to refuel it. A high priority research project for later on would be batteries and solar panels. Once researched, you want to build a small 5x5 room preferably out of stone. To get stone, have stonecutting researched (for this scenario, stonecutting is already researched), build a stonecutting bench, and set up a bill to cut stone blocks until you have around 200. Then build power conduits connecting the battery to the generators and/or turbines. Conduits can be built inside constructed walls, but not through natural mountain stone. One generator or turbine will suffice for now, if you need more electricity later, you can build more, but for now you want to conserve your supply of valuable components.
  • Build a freezer: Build a room about 7x7 with a single gap in the wall. If it's too big, a single cooler will have problems keeping it cold. Under Architect->Temperature, build a cooler in the gap, make sure the cold side (blue) points into the room and the hot side (red) points outwards (rotate with Q and E keys), then connect the cooler to your power grid with conduits. Set the temperature to -5°C/~23°F. Make another stockpile inside, set it to allow fresh food and animal corpses but forbid rotten, and set the stockpile's priority to "important". Your cooler will also use less electricity if you build an airlock - just build a second door and a tiny room in front of the entrance. While it doesn't have to be big at start, you will be expanding it later on, so make sure to leave space in your base. Note: If you're digging a mountain base, make sure the hot side of the cooler points either outside or into a very large room. Otherwise it may overheat, send back heat into the freezer, and even start a fire. In order to freeze and preserve your food, you must also set up a power supply so the coolers can function.
  • Start research: Build a research bench under Production. You can put this in your main room for now. The first research item you want to rush ASAP is the Battery and the Solar Panel to provide a steady power source and to store power from unstable power sources such as the wind turbine or solar panel. Stonecutting is important for tribal runs, this will finally allow you to stop building with flammable wood or flammable AND valuable steel.. It does not take very long, so turn up the researching priority on your researcher. After this, you can research at a more leisurely pace. Microelectronics basics should be the next thing you research. Now you can probably afford to put a standing lamp (under Furniture) inside your main room, so your colonists don't get the "in darkness" mood debuff when they're inside.
  • New colonist: Whenever a new colonist joins, whether through the recruitment of a prisoner, a random person joining, or rescuing an independent survivor of a drop pod crash, remember to set their work priorities and build another bed for them. A sleeping spot will also do in a pinch.

Your first battle

Hopefully, everything has been uneventful so far, but inevitably the first threat will arrive. It will either be a local animal gone mad or a single raider with a crappy shiv or club - it will not be very dangerous and easily handled by your starting weapons.

  • Combat basics: Draft your colonists and put them in cover with a clear view of the direction your enemy seems to be coming from. Your melee colonist is more likely to be injured by friendly fire than by the enemy, so make sure they're not standing in the line of fire. When the enemy approaches, start shooting. If the enemy has made it all the way close up to your shooters, engage with your melee colonist, and move the shooters back.
    • Trees have 25% cover, rock chunks have 50%, sandbags and barricades have 57%, and all walls have up to 75% cover but is reduced when a pawn turns around the corner to shoot. See Cover for more info on cover. While melee attacks ignore cover, you'll have a bad time if you stand in the open.
    • Alternatively, if your shooters suck but you have an amazing melee pawn, just go ahead and stab 'em - unless the melee enemy is also amazing and suitabled armed that is. It's riskier, but it works until you have better shooters.
  • Tending to wounds: If a colonist gets injured in the fight, you want to make them go rest. If they're not resting, then increase their Bed Rest priority. You can check the colonist's injuries in the health tab. If there are just a few bruises and scratches, you don't have to waste precious medicine on them, so select "no medicine" in the Health -> Overview tab. If there are worse injuries and/or moderate blood loss, then you can allow medicine. You don't have to set a medical bed, they can rest in their own beds just fine. Cleaning up any blood and dirt in the room will decrease the chance of infection. The colonist should heal without any complications. If it is an emergency, say one of your colonists are going to bleed out in ~2 hours, set up a sleeping spot near the downed pawn, set to medical, and forbid the door to the barracks, click the closest non-downed pawn, right click the downed pawn, and click rescue (rescuers always prefer beds over sleeping spots). Then, use the pawn that just rescued the downed pawn (no matter their medical skill), click no medicine (don't waste time running back to the stockpile) and tend a few wounds until they will only bleed out in 5-7 hours. Deconstruct the sleeping spot, rescue the pawn, and then tend the wound with healroot (prefered, try to conserve the better meds) or regular medicine with the doctor.
  • Taking a prisoner: If the enemy was downed, you can capture them and either try to recruit them, or tend and release them for faction relationship points (don't bother with raiders from savage tribes or pirate factions, you will not receive any relationship bonuses(you can check their faction in the bio, then open the factions tab to see which faction is their faction. If the label is savage tribe or pirate band, don't release them.). You can make a prison by putting a bed/sleeping spot inside a room and setting the bed for prisoners. Prisoners cannot sleep outside or in the same room with colonists, you may have to put them inside your kitchen temporarily while you build a prison cell. Don't worry about prisons being very nice, but if you want to be nice to them, you can put a bed, table, and chair in the cell. In their prisoner tab you can examine their recruitment difficulty: ~30 is easy, ~70 might take a while, and ~99 is extremely difficult. If you think they are worth recruiting, select "Chat and Recruit". Make sure you have a colonist with Wardening enabled, and they will regularly deliver food and try to recruit them.
    • If you think the prisoner's not worth recruiting (e.g. too difficult, chronic conditions (e.g. Frail or Cataracts), drug addictions etc.), there are several options. The kindest is to wait until they're fully healed, then release them. This will slightly improve your relationship with their faction - unless like mentioned before, they're pirates or savages. Otherwise you can euthanize them (gives less of a mood penalty than execution, and also medical experience), harvest them, or sell them to traders, but this will give every colonist a mood penalty that lasts several days. If you did not capture them you could simply finish them or let them die on their own - preferably the latter as killing them means a higher risk of 'Witnessed Corpse' mood penalty (although you can do the former if you feel you really need to, as it's humane).
  • Burying corpses: You can butcher a mad animal's corpse without worry, diseases in Rimworld are not contagious. However, colonists get a mood penalty if they see a human corpse. If you want to honor the dead, construct a grave somewhere out of the way under Architect -> Misc and bury the corpse in it. Strip the corpse first if you want its clothes, do be warned the dead body's apparel will be tainted and gives a mood penalty. (Additionally, in 1.0+, Tainted items will no longer be bought from you by any trader, so only keep what you might use.) Don't put the grave too far away, because colonists will occasionally visit graves as a joy activity, and you do not want them to waste the whole day walking there. If you want to dispose of them without much work, build a small rock building, then haul the bodies into the building. Later in the game, craft molotov cocktails and throw them in the building to burn the corpses.

Moving forward

  • Stone walls: Once you finish the stonecutting research(for tribal runs) , build a stonecutting bench, set a bill, and start churning out stone blocks made from chunks. General labor speed and Industriousness traits affect stonecutting speed while skills do not, so chose your stonecutter wisely. You should begin to replace your wooden walls with stone walls.

Your first winter

Food - By the beginning of winter you should try to have at least a thousand units of food stored. As winter progresses, your outside crops will die (hydroponics can be used to farm indoors but it is more difficult to sustain a colony this way) and, depending on the local climate, most plants on the map will die. Hunting is still a viable option.

Warmth - Make sure your living areas are heated to around 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). If they are colder than this, your colonists may complain about the cold. Significantly colder, and they will contract hypothermia and/or frostbite if they are exposed for too long. Parkas and tuques will help keep colonists warm in cold weather, but heaters are still necessary for indoor areas.

Joy - When it snows, colonists can build snowmen, providing a joy bonus.

Other tips moving forward

  • Wild and Tamed animals will eat your crops and food if you let them. Kill the wild animals and restrict your animals in a zone that only contains hay or kibble.
  • Visitors will get into your freezer and drink your beer regardless if you forbid doors.
  • The notification when a hungry predator attacks a colonist is easily missed, only manhunters trigger the red flashing envelope notification. Be wary if there's a wild predator hanging around your base.
  • If a person crash lands in an escape pod and you want to recruit them, you must capture them and then recruit them like any other prisoner, even if they're a colonist's family member. If you choose rescue, there's a chance that they'll choose to join you out of gratitude after being fully healed, but they may also simply wander off on their own as soon as they've recovered, especially when your colony is well-populated.

Steamcommunity guides

See also