I know, i'm late to this party. I just found this game last month. I started working on getting no kills and saving everyone (693 people) on hard about a week or two ago. I went online and looked up others' tips and tricks, and while some of them were good, some weren't and i thought i'd come and give my perspective on things to try to help someone else. Possible spoilers ahead, you've been warned.
- What to do with the children: I see a lot of people suggesting child labor is the way to go, but i really feel like this is a trap. Child labor helps reduce the amount of micromanagement you have to do in the first 10 days or so. But eventually you end up with enough laws, researched tech and extra warm bodies from scouts that those kids end up just sitting at home doing nothing in the mid to late game when you could really use those medic apprentices to speed up recovery rates of the sick. You will see me talk a lot below about how research speed is king in this game, so you might wonder why i don't pick Engineer Apprentices instead. We are going for zero deaths, so if i have to choose between the two i'm going to choose sick recovery. If i didn't care so much about a handful of people dying, i'd probably take Engineer Apprentices.
- Labor Micromanagement: This is something i don't think i've seen anyone talk about, and something i just stumbled across that ended up making a big difference in the early game. Ever notice that percentage bar that sometimes appears over your worker staffed buildings? That's telling you someone in that building is sick. If you click on the building and switch to the workers tab it will tell you exactly who is sick. You can then click those people (shift click to select multiple at once) and remove them from the building. You can then re-assign people to that building and it will select non sick people first. If you have no non sick, pause the game, remove everyone from your less important workforce manned locations, then re-assign workers to your building. It will take the healthy workers from your other buildings. Then assign workers to buildings in order of priority. Your number one priority will always be your workshop engineers (until they are replaced by automatons).
- Hunters Hut Micromanagement: I don't know if they have patched this since i read tips suggesting you could use workers at the Hunters' Huts to work all day every day, but when i try to do it i noticed under the workers tab that they will go rest after hunting (and not do what you just told them to do during the day). That said, this is still somewhat effective as they will work for a few hours at the end of the work day and build things at night before they have to go hunt again. Make sure to always leave at least 1 worker in the huts at all times. If you have 1 hunter INSIDE the hut AT 1800, the entire group will return at 0600, regardless of what time you assigned everyone else to the hut. So you could have all your workers building things all night, slap them in the huts at like 4am and they will all come back with food at 6am. One thing i really like to use these workers for during the day is the cookhouse as when fully staffed it only takes a few hours to cook all the food during the early game. Once all your food is cooked, remove the workers from cookhouse so they can do other things during the rest of the day and night before sticking them back in the hut.
- Emergency Shift: I've seen people say take this first and never use it. While i agree you should definitely take it first, mostly to get to Extended Shift behind it, I've noticed if you use it just once, at the very start of the game it never kills anyone. Not sure if this is intended or not. I will always use it on my Workshop as early game tech is super important. DON'T FORGET (because i've lost count of the times i have forgotten) to switch your workshop to the Extended Shift after the Emergency Shift ends. It won't give you the option to do this until after the 24 hours are over.
- Law Priorities for early game: Emergency Shift > Extended Shift > Radical Treatment > Overcrowding > Child Shelters > Medic Apprentices > Soup > Corpse Disposal > Organ Transplant. Soup can be moved up or down a couple of notches depending on if your running low on food or not. Overcrowding doubles the amount of sick people that can be healed at once, effectively doubling your medics. No other law or Tech gives this large of a bonus to healing. Medic Apprentices and Organ Transplant also give bonus' to healing people faster. The less time people are sick, the more they are actually working and the less likely they are to die. Organ Transplant gives you the bonus to sick recovery even if no one ever actually dies. Also the snow pit is free to build. After these grab the laws that lower discontent and raise hope.
- Tech Priorities for early game: Hunter's Gear > Steam Hub > Heaters > Sawmill > Drawing Boards > Med Post Upgrades > Drafting Machines > Hunters Tactics. Take notice, Beacon is not on that really long list. Beacon is not a priority, stabilizing your current population is. To do this you need laws and tech that maximize your population. Laws like Extended Shift, Medic Apprentices, Soup, Overcrowding, and Organ Transplant, and tech like Hunters Gear, Medical Post Upgrades, and Hunting Tactics. This list when complete will maximize your workforce. The only rule with Beacon is you need to get a scout to Winterhome before day 15 or you'll end up with a dead guy. Also the end game storm is timed on when you get to Winterhome, so the longer you wait, the more time you have before the storm hits.
- Building Priorities for day 1: 1x Workshop > 2x Hunters' Hut > 1x Medical Post > 1x Cookhouse > 2x Gathering Post. Assign 5 engineers to the coal pile sitting by itself, and the other 10 engineers to the steel wreckage directly behind the stockpiles. Put 10 workers on each wood crates and the last 10 workers on the steel wreckage next to those wood crates. You will want to switch the workers from steel to wood after you have gathered at least 15 steel (5 for the Workshop, and 10 for 2x Gathering Posts). We want to eventually clear up all the gathering locations as efficiently as possible, also the 10 engineers on that specific steel wreckage is really important as it affects the pathing those people take on the map. People have to arrive on the map to a location before they will build something, but will start gathering resources right away before arriving. So when 8am hits you are staring at your wood and steel resources waiting for 15 and and 5 then hitting pause. If you put those engineers on that specific pile, that will put those people exactly next to the stockpiles right where you are building your workshop. Put the workshop next to the stockpiles where those people are standing on the innermost ring. Put 5 of those engineers inside the workshop as soon as its build, but don't re-assign the other 5 to anything. Wait until after the workshop finishes and you assign the engineers to it before starting to build the first Hunters' Hut. If you que up the hut first, the 5 engineers you want to immediately start researching will go build the hut first instead. Place the huts on the second ring right behind the stockpiles. Those 5 extra engineers are for building the huts preferably before 1800 so you can put 1 worker in them. As soon as a hut is done building, take 1 worker off a steel or wood of your choice and assign them to the hut. You want them to physically be inside the hut before 1800 so the group returns on time, so if you are trying to maximize resources i typically like to give him at least 2 hours to walk his butt over there. The other buildings can be built at night after 1800. The only reason we wanted the huts built during the day was so we could assign 1 worker to them during the day so the hunters will return on time the next day. When day 2 arrives you should have 5 engineers in the workshop, 5 engineers in the medical post, 5 engineers on that lone coal pile, 10 workers on that same coal pile, 20 workers in the two gathering posts, and 20 workers in hunting huts. Use the Hunting Hut workers to man the Cookhouse after they return. Make sure to leave 1 worker in each hut all day. Use the rest of the extra Hunting Hut workers (and the workers from the Cookhouse after all the food is cooked) on Wood Crates to speed up wood production a little bit.
- Steam Hubs vs Generator Range: I've read multiple write ups from people who have done the maths, and the conclusion is Generator Range isn't worth it. Use the first ring around the generator for (in this order starting from the Stockpiles and going around clockwise) 1x Workshop, 1x Cookhouse, 1x Child Shelter, and 6x Medical Posts (in the first week you can build 4 Tents in place of Medical Posts since you won't have enough engineers for six of them at the start). Don't spend time researching generator range upgrades, use the Steam Hubs instead. It's also easier to group houses around Fighting Arenas and House of Prayers with Steam Hubs. Don't use Steam Hubs to heat work places on the outer edge of the map. Just use the heaters until you can replace those workers with automatons. Mid game you really only need two Steam Hubs for two groups of houses.
- Order or Faith: I've tried it both ways. Order was my preferred pick on normal as the Forman ability is straight overpowered when combined with automatons, but i found it didn't work on hard. One of the problems i ran into was to make Order work without killing anyone you need to get to Winterhome fast so you can use the Adaptation hope/discontent boosts to help with the Londoners. The reason for this is you can't use Prisons. This one took me probably a week to figure out. No where in its description does it mention Prisons kill people, but they do. Sick people get tossed in Prison and don't receive medical care and die randomly. Without prisons i find it impossible to completely eliminate the Londoners in time unless you get a beacon built on day 1 and head straight to Winterhome first so you can use all the hope and discontent bonus' from the Adaptation laws to help. Since we are waiting so long to get to Winterhome, you won't get those Adaptation laws to help you. The Faith equivalent to Prisons are the Faith Keepers, who don't kill people. This is the number one reason to go Faith over Order for a deathless hard mode game.
- Mid/Late game advice: Don't build a House of Healing. It's another one of those buildings that don't say anything in the description, but definitely kills someone if you build it. On the Purpose laws; if you stop at The Temple and Public Penance and don't get the last option in those two branches, it'll tell you at the end you didn't cross the line (if that's important to you). Don't chase thieves if ever given the option, on occasion it'll cause someone to die. As soon as you research the Beacon research More Scouts and Lighter Scout Sleds. This will ensure you can scout the whole map in time. You can put off the third scout and the last speed upgrade till the refugees start coming in. Save right before exploring the Gloomy Cave and Tesla City, as the game has a 50/50 shot at killing your scouts at these 2 locations. If they die, reload the save, make a few changes to your city, or send the scouts elsewhere for like 10 minutes and then return to explore. Eventually it'll go without killing your scouts. Your two outposts should be the Coal Mine and Tesla City. You can build the Outpost and send it to a location before your scouts get there so they can start collecting as soon as you explore it. Try to have Faster Outpost Teams researched before you get to Tesla City. Tesla City gives you a bunch of steam cores to make lots of automatons. Once you get the Coal Mine up and running, you pretty much don't have to worry about coal ever again for the rest of the game. Before the storm hits have at least 1 coal thumper and 4 gathering posts around it since you won't have the Foreman ability to boost coal mines to compensate for when they collapse. Upgraded Flying Hunters are just as good as the Hothouses, but don't use steam cores. You will eventually want 2x Advanced Steelworks, 2x Advanced Wall Drills and 2x Advanced Coal Mines. Other than that all other steam cores should be used to make automatons. Prioritize getting Engineer Automatons so you can put them in your 3x Workshops so you can research 24 hours a day. Make sure to save 1 steam core till the very end in case the Generator blows (so you don't have to kill a child). Anytime an engineer asks for something, give it to them, the rewards are worth it.
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