Quickstart Guides

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As its name suggests, this is a quick guide for starting quickly - when you want to play now. Detailed analysis, tips and tricks, and "best practices" will be skipped in this guide, excepting only to avoid "game over" level pitfalls.


For a more detailed basic introduction see Basics.

Setup

Choosing a scenario

The first thing you'll be able to pick is a story scenario. There are 4 prebuilt scenarios to choose from. This guide assumes that you're choosing the classic "three crashlanded survivors" scenario; it's a good "first game" start, and many veteran players prefer it.

Choosing a storyteller

You can pick one of the 3 AI Storytellers, and a difficulty level. The 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. (Note that these can be changed later as often as you wish, as you play the game, so don't worry too much about which one now.)

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.

(* The "seed" is just a random word, lower/upper case sensitive. Write it down for reference if you might want to duplicate your map later, once you know the game better.)

Once the world is created, pick a temperate forest biome to start, hopefully not too far from friendly(ish) tribes - the yellows and purples. Bonus points for a river/creek, but hardly necessary.

Now, look in the info tab (lower left on the screen). You want a map with a growing season that lasts from at least spring to fall, but probably not "all year" (that's very hot). Try between latitude 30 and 40 or so - too far south, near the equator, will be brutally hot very soon (summer), and too far north will have unforgiving winters. You will also want to pay attention to the terrain type - try for "small hills" or "large hills". Small hills have some ores but the hills still do not provide much protection. Large hills have plenty of ores and hills to build against, but less open land to build on and farm. (Flat terrain lack ores to mine and is difficult to defend, and a mountain base has advantages but is more "advanced", taking longer to dig in the beginning and tending to suffer from bug infestations later on.)

Choosing your characters

This can take some time*, but with only 3 starting characters, you may want to get a good starting trio. You can click randomize on your colonists as many times as you want, without penalty. You can also move them down to "save" them while you randomize a different character, if you find one you're not sure about.

(* Or, if you're really impatient, forget it and just go with the first random 3 - they'll probably be flawed somehow, perhaps comically so, but also probably(?) be able to muddle through. Good luck if you choose this!)

Bottom line, you want a good mix of skills (see below) that are not crippled by disadvantages that will threaten them or your colony as a whole. 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 labor. Rolling for passions (one or two flames) is just as important as rolling for a high skill, because they will level up faster.

There are only 12 skills in Rimworld; most important skills to have in the beginning are:

  • shooting (hunting, self defense)
  • plants (feeding your colony)
  • medical (healing the injuries you know are coming)

Try to have someone (or more than one), covering those skills, as lacking them can lead to game-over.

It also helps to have someone at least halfway decent (score 6-9+ or so) at:

  • construction
  • cooking (preferably at least 6, for Fine meals)
  • Intellectual (Research)
  • social (Prisoner recruitment & Trade; not ~as~ important, just a little slower/slightly more expensive without a good score)
  • (mining if you want a mountain base. Faster, and more stuff from each tile mined out)

Lacking these skills won't mean game-over, but having all of them covered will significantly hasten your advancement in the early game.

(That leaves 4 skills not covered; if you get them, great! But none are needed at the start, nor should be worried about for a quick start...
  • Melee: How to club someone/something with your gun when you missed too many times. Can be brutal.
  • Animals: Taming and training, need high score (near 10 or higher) for exotic animals.
  • Crafting: Making high quality gear, clothing, weapons. "good enough" is good enough to start.
  • Art: Beauty can wait until survival is covered.)

Good traits do not matter too much - there are some great ones, and you can try to roll for good traits, but that can be very tedious. However, there are some really bad traits that you should just avoid, mostly ones that give a permanent mood penalty, speed penalty, or could be damaging to the colonist or colony, such as:

Also, try not to accept characters who have a lot of health ailments, old painful wounds, or are addicted to drugs. A bad heart can be a killer, of that character and the colony that depended on them. Look under the Health tab to see how problems affect their overall Movement, Consciousness, Manipulation, etc.

Lastly, be conscious of potential problems with characters "Incapable of..." Dumb Labor (hauling, cleaning), Firefighting, or Violence (both hunting and self-defense). In a starting group of only three, having 1/3 less in one or more of these categories is noticeable, and being 2/3 down may be a deal breaker.

That said, some combinations of {good traits + skills} can balance out otherwise unacceptable bad traits. If you have a great Researcher, who has piles of movement penalties and no violence - well, he's not going to be moving very much while sitting at his desk doing research, is he? No character is perfect, find ones you can live with, and a group of 3 that covers most of the bases.

Getting off on the right foot

Landing

  • PAUSE THE GAME! - wait for the colonists to emerge from their pods, then press spacebar. (Note: "Pause on load" can be set to default in the Options.)
  • Unforbid Everything! At the start, every item is "Forbidden", prohibiting your colonists from using them. The easiest way to unlock everything on the map (at any time) is to simply hit the [Home] key on your keyboard. You can also un/forbid items, one or a few at a time, by selecting them and hitting the [f] key, or you can open the Architect/Orders tab, select "Allow", and left-click-hold and drag an area across your entire map.
  • 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.
(You should decide whether to put on the armor. The flak pants and vest each slow down movement slightly, which is not a great thing, and you probably(?) don't need protection at this point. Put the helmet on someone, that doesn't hurt.)
  • Prioritize: Go into your "Work" tab, and turn on manual priorities.
    • Firefight, Patient, Bed Rest, and Basic, should be set to priority 1 on everyone.
    • Doctor, Warden, Cook, Construct, and Grow should be set to priority 1 on the colonist with the highest skill and disabled for everyone else.
    • Any passions or interests should be set to priority 2, then 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 natural choke points to create kill zones? Where are standing structures that you can make use of?
  • Prepare: Decide on a site for your initial base camp. 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.
You need to get a single wooden building up as soon as possible 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 plentiful in the suggested biome and steel is a valuable resource throughout the entire game, too valuable for walls (for now).Even if you plan on digging a mountain base, throwing up some walls is much faster to get settled in quickly.
Go into the Architect menu to start to get familiar with it. You can change the material of a building by clicking on it in the menu and selecting the desired material. Wood will be a your preferred building material for now - plentiful, and cheap to replace if you make a mistake*. 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.
(* When you tear down things like walls or doors (but not "furniture", including workbenches), you only get 1/2 the resources back. Replacing wood is not a problem on a Temperate Forest biome.)
  • Unpause the game: Enjoy watching your colonists working on the building. Remember you can always un/pause by tapping your [spacebar], or change the speed by pressing 1, 2, or 3.

Your first day

Your goal before nightfall is to get everything under a roof, and your 3 colonists in beds. Light a campfire in the middle of your building (unless it's very hot, then built it outside.) Get your first small crops planted (30-40 tiles or so). If you have extra time, build a 1x2 table and 2 chairs - your colonists will enjoy sitting there to eat.

  • Home: For your first building, make it ~about~ 50 tiles on the inside, so 7x7 or 6x8 or the equivalent. You don't want much bigger yet, but you can use the Architect/Plan graphics to plan for the future. Add a (wooden) door or three, the roof will be built automatically.
  • 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 4 plots that are 5x5 each, using the Architect/Orders menu to "cut plants" and "chop wood" to clear the land first. A newly placed Growing Zone will plant potatoes by default, but you can change the crop by selecting that (single) plot, then clicking on the icon for the type of plant and choosing from a pop-up menu. Plant 2 rice, 1 strawberries, and 1 potatoes (in that order, if you're short on time) . You can easily change them later, but this is a good start.
(* There is also a toggle, located in the bottom right corner of the screen, for "Toggle fertility overlay". This will show rich soil as bright green, normal soil as pale green, poor soil (gravel/etc.) as yellow, and stone (unplantable) as brown. You could use the Architecture/Plan feature to mark it out for later.)
  • 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.

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 berries and Healroot if you find some nearby and it's "Ready to Harvest". Be sure that your colonists have plant cut and mining turned on in the Work tab.
(Keep an eye out for veins of "compacted steel" in the surrounding hills - you start with 450 steel, but that won't last long, and you'll have to mine more sooner than later.)
  • 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.
  • Expand your crops: A few more 5x5 growing zones; one (or two) for cotton (for textiles, later), one for corn (which is slow to grow, but is the best time:food crop), and one for Healroot - you'll want more than just what's growing naturally. (Of the "medicinal" crops, only Smokeleaf can be processed without Research - add a growing zone for that too, if you want to experiment. First one's free, little colonist.)
(After your first or second rice and strawberry harvest, swap one or two fields to potatoes. Once you have a good reserve in cool storage, swap to 2 potatoes and 2 corn. Add more if your colony is growing.)
  • Hunting: To make a fine meal, which gives a +4 mood boost, you need meat as well as vegetables (berries will do fine for now). You can select animals and mark them for hunting (on the map, or under the "Wildlife" tab), 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, simply turning on "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.
Instead, 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 your chosen target to make them walk there. (You can click the rifle icon to see the range.) Click their weapon, then left-click 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. (See next for cooking...)
  • 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 maintaining 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 50 the next. The generator takes away your colonists' time as they have to refuel it, so it's not a permanent fix, but good enough for now until you can Research better options. Conduits are needed to carry electricity, but items that use electricity only need to be 6 tiles from it; you do not need to physically connect the conduit to everything, just get "close". Add some electric lights to your rooms so your colonists do not complain about being "in the dark".
  • Build a freezer: Build a room about 7x7 with a single door in the wall (this can be your starting room if you want, wall up any extra doors). If it's too big (or if you started too close to the equator, where it will be HOT), 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, animal corpses, potatoes* and herbal medicine, but forbid "rotten", and set the stockpile's priority to "important".
(* Rice and corn are very slow to rot so long as they're indoors.)
  • Pro tip: If you're having trouble keeping your freezer at freezing, making the walls double-thick will help insulate it, especially from extreme mid-summer heat. Your cooler will also use less electricity if you build an airlock - halls at least 6 tiles long with doors at each end, which prevent too much hot air from getting in through open doors whenever a pawn enters/leaves. 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 as soon as possible 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. 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.
(* If you're lucky enough to have a river running through your map, you could instead research Watermill Generator. Batteries will still be useful for emergencies and burst-power needs (see turret), and Solar will be handy for the increased power needed with daytime workloads, but with a river those could wait.)
  • 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 do short-term, but they (you) will want a bed as soon as possible.

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 55%, 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 suitably 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 is downed and going to bleed out in ~2 hours, it may be better to treat the pawn where they are rather than attempt to carry them back to a hospital and risk them dying before treatment can be completed. To do this, draft the doctor or nearest pawn with the best Medical Tend Quality. This is usually the one with the highest Medical skill, but can be affected by injury, artificial body parts, drugs and other effects. Once drafted, select the doctor, right-click on the downed pawn, and order them to tend the downed pawn. Ideally, pawns skilled in medicine would be made to carry medicine to use, but if it is not available, tend without medicine to prevent the doctor spending limited time retrieving it.
  • 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: 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


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