Reus
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60-Minute Challenge Guide
By anarka
An advanced guide with specific strategies and tips for tackling the 60-minute challenges which limite you to mostly one biome and set of ambassadors.
 
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Introduction
I love this game, and in my own quest to 100% Reus by successfully completing the challenges, I scoured the internet for advanced guides and strategy tips. Sadly, they are few and far between as the vast majority of the ones I've been able to find are beginner guides, or, at best, guides based on the 2-hour era. Well, the 60-minute challenges are a different beast altogether and require their own approaches and strategies. So since there was nothing out there to help me along, I've decided to create my first ever guide/walkthrough, with tips and suggestions on how to tackle Reus' four types of 60-minute challenges: Desert, Forest, Swamp, and the 5000-prosperity Gold.

A disclaimer: even though I've 100%ed I don't feel an expert at this game. I've played nearly a hundred hours but don't feel like I've hit the ceiling for growth in skill with this one. As such, consider this guide a walkthrough based on my own experience of what works best to get these achievements -- there may be other strategies (although options are limited for these ones) and I'd love to hear about them in the comments if you made it through these challenges via a different path.

Thanks for reading and hope it helps!
Strategy Overview
The 60-minute challenges impose severe restrictions on how you can develop (unless you're doing the basic Bronze-Silver-Gold ones, in which case it's a simple race against time). This means that the strategy you've been using to plough your way through 120-minute eras isn't worth a dime. You're going to need to learn a few different ways of doing things, but 60-minute games have a rhythm of their own. And here are some things to consider for all challenges:

Before you begin

Make sure you have every single development unlocked before you try these. You can't afford to be locked out of a development tree because you don't have a specific mineral or animal. There are some resources you definitely won't have access to with these challenges, based on the ambassador requirements, but you'll still want options.

Go into your game knowing exactly which ambassadors you want on which giants, and what development trees they'll unlock. I'll be giving an overview of a recommended build for each biome challenge in the below sections. If you decide to shake things up or try something else, make sure you've thought it through beforehand and know where it will get you or your challenge run may be fruitless.

Like with any other aspect of this game, there is some element of luck based on what bonuses your projects offer. Some of them an be super helpful and some totally useless. In the 60-minute era, however, you have to be really cautious about destroying useless projects. Even if they don't double -- or even contribute to -- your town's prosperity, you might still be able to get a quick ambassador from it. If you destroy it in hopes of a better one, you may have to wait at least 5 minutes and lose precious time without that ambassador. So choose carefully -- and realize that some challenge runs might fail -- or succeed -- entirely depending on what bonuses the projects give you.

Pause every time you need to think through a new plan. Pause as much as you can without drawing things out too long. And don't forget to save often.

The first 10 minutes: Ambassador Farming

No matter which challenge you're attempting, the first ten minutes should should be more or less the same. Ambassador farming so that you have your six Level 1 ambassadors. If you haven't learned to do this yet, you'll need to practice more. Take a look for guides or explanations for how to efficiently farm ambassadors. You NEED all six of these ambassadors before the clock hits T minus 50. Failure to do so means you will almost certainly progress too slowly through the rest of the stages required to reach Gold. Of course, if you want to aim for Bronze or Silver you can waffle on the 10-minute mark a bit, but try to aim for close to that even still.

An additional suggestions for the biome-specific challenges: it's strongly advisable to get all 4 <other biome>* ambassadors at this stage of your challenge run. This will allow you to go wild throughout the rest of the era without worrying about getting stuck with X ambassador waiting for Y giant to be able to pick him up. Once you have the 4 <other> ambassadors you replace all biomes with the one you're aiming for, and go from there.

Sometimes the farming doesn't work out and just takes longer -- if you have a particularly fast early-game farming run I'd recommend saving it in case something goes awry later in the era. That way you can start with your best early-game run.

*<other biome> refers to whichever ones are not named in the challenge. For example, if you're doing a Forest Challenge run, you are allowed a maximum for 4 non-Forest -- that is, 4 of Desert OR Swamp, but no more.

The Midgame

You'll want to develop at least 5 cities, 6 if you can. This allows you to get all four Level 2 from Level 2 projects without having to demolish to speed things up. Once your villages been built to a certain size it would be devasatating to your prosperity to lose any, so don't demolish them and don't let them kill each other off. By the time you hit 30-minutes you'll want a prosperity of between 1500-2000. A little lower would be fine if you're only aiming for Bronze or Silver on a particular run.

The Endgame

No matter which biome you're playing, the last 15-minutes requires blitzing with your best combinations and ending wars by massacring attacking armies -- mostly with the Swamp Giant's mud bomb ability, as the Desert Giant's earthquake is too damaging to your resources. In my games, I always needed to watch for greedy villages too, as I didn't focus on slowing them down with awe or danger. A strong enough village can take out a giant, especially during that last minute when they go to sleep -- which got me many times on these challenges, because of how crucial it is to exponentially expand in the last few minutes. So unless you're really gifted with awe and danger, be prepared for that.

It is almost impossible to get an upgraded great project in a 60-minute era, which means you will be limited to 14 ambassadors total. Getting the 14th can be tough too, so expect to have only 13 and choose where to put your 13th wisely, as that one will the deciding factor in closing the gap.
Desert Guide
Ideal ambassador breakdown

Desert: DDDD
Forest: FFDF
Swamp: DDD
Ocean: SDD

Productions & Aspects

Desert: Superior Precious Minerals, Lesser Advanced Minerals, Sublime Noble
Forest: Superior Plants, Lesser Leaf, Sublime Fruit, Lesser Hunt
Swamp: Lesser Herbs, Great Exotic Animals, Great Predator
Ocean: Great Domestic Animals, Great Growth, Lesser Herd, Great Monsoon

Key resources & combinations

Diamond & Cardon Cactus (Wealth+Food), Great Javelinas & Date Palms (so much Food!), Great Javelinas & Aloe Vera (Food+Tech), Great Kiwifruit (Tech+Food), Superior Pear & Orange Trees, Gold, Coyotes.

Comments

Given that many of the best desert combinations require strong plants, Desert Challengers should prioritize Forest ambassadors on the Forest Giant to make sure you get Superior Plants and Sublime Fruit Aspect. Ideally you pair this up with the Desert Giant's ability to get Diamond (or Ruby) through Noble Aspect, at which point you're set. But if you only expect to reach 13 ambassadors, definitely prioritize Forest, as the Fruit Aspect combines well with animals and other minerals better than Diamonds -- which need 500 Wealth to activate anyway.

Best setup: Diamond - Cardon Cactus - Diamond - Cardon Cactus - Diamond/Ruby, etc

Swamp & Ocean shouldn't be prioritized as much, but I recommend choosing a swamp ambassador as your 4th non-Desert ambassador and placing it on Ocean. This unlocks Herd Aspect, which in turn allows you to make use of Javelinas. Great Javelinas are a great way to spam food production and also the quickest way to overload your villages with danger and stop their greed in its tracks. Which can be great if you are trying to rapidly expand the prosperity of a village, but just be sure you aren't putting your village in so much danger that they kill your animals or the animals kill the town. Javelinas also pair REALLY WELL with Date Palm trees or Aloe Vera plants, significantly boosting each plant's food or tech productions respectively. If you can't reach the Diamond & Cardon Cactus combination, then Javelinas & Date Palms are your best bet for massive food production and quick mid-late game growth.

Best setup: Date Palm - Javelina - Javelina - Date Palm - Javelina - Javelina - etc.

As Deserts are strongest in Wealth, and you don't have access to Seismic or Reaction aspects, Tech can be really hard to come by in this challenge. My best solution for Tech production was to create an orchard of Great Kiwifruit on mountains when needed. If you put three of these together you get 50+ Tech per tree; like Pear Trees or White Willows, they boost each other. Other than that, your only Tech options are Aloe Vera plants or, to a much less useful degree, Parrotfish (as you will likely have a few ocean tiles from your early game forest+swamp ambassador farming).

If you don't reach diamonds, you can still work wonders with gold mines. A few well placed ones go a long way.

Lastly, although my advice in the above section said to get all your non-Desert ambassadors at the start and then build only deserts, in this case it may be worthwhile to try something different. Since you need 3 Forest ambassadors for this strategy, get the first one from a Level 1 forest village, demolish it, get your second ambassador, and then instead of demolishing it, keep the forest village with you. Get the 3rd Forest ambassador as Forest Giant's last ambassador, from a Level 3/great project. If you keep one forest biome around until the late game, you then have the opportunity to create an orchard Superior Pear Trees and Orange Trees. Being careful not to get a 4th Forest ambassador, you can get nearly 1000 Food from this orchard alone, which really helps.

Best setup: Animal - Mineral - Orange - Pear - Pear - Pear - Orange - Mineral - Animal

With this strategy and a little luck on good project specs, you should have no problem getting the Desert Gold.
Forest Guide
Ideal ambassador breakdown

Desert: SDFF
Forest: FFFF
Swamp: SFF
Ocean: SFF

Productions & Aspects

Desert: Great Precious Minerals, Superior Advanced Minerals, Sublime Exotic, Lesser Noble, Sublime Seismic
Forest: Superior Plants, Lesser Leaf, Sublime Fruit
Swamp: Great Herbs, Lesser Exotic Animals, Lesser Toxic, Great Reaction
Ocean: Great Domestic Animals, Lesser Growth, Lesser Herd -- no Monsoon :(

Key resources & combinations

Superior Pear & Orange Trees, Aluminium, Silver, Great Parrotfish, Great Nighthsade/Dandelion/Peppermint.

Comments & Explanation

Forest Giant is your priority here too, Pear & Orange Tree orchards are your staple here. Every village should hopefully have an orchard, as these will almost definitely be your strongest producer, unless you have project bonuses that realy, REALLY make minerals or animals worth it. Ideally you'll end up with project bonuses that feed off Pears & Oranges -- if that happens you're set.

Tech and Wealth are both very difficult with this setup, which is why it's important to make sure Swamp and Deert giants get those swamp ambassadors. Desert gets two non-Forest ambassadors to ensure that it at least has access to Level 2 minerals for both Wealth & Tech. Swamp ambassador on Swamp allows you to unlock Nightshade and Marsh Mallow, which is just about your best option for Tech produciton, behind Aluminium. An Aluminium mine placed between two plants -- and nigthshade combines really well -- is what you need to get a decent production of Tech in this challenge. Copper is a runner-up to Aluminium, especially on a mountain beside an animal nest.

Wealth is much harder to come by, and will really squeeze you throughout this challenge, as you can't even get a Gold mine with this build. Your best bets -- which aren't great -- are Great Topaz beside a plant, or Great Parrotfish. If you've only got one or two tiles into an ocean, this is what I'd suggest:

Best setup: LAND - Parrotfish - Parroftish - Clownfish - Mackerel/Seabass

If you can pull it off, you can also get a Silver mine embedded in a Topaz/plant nest, but it's unlikely you'll have the space to pull this off, and if you don't need to Wealth, a Pear orchard is better.

Setup: Plant - Topaz - Silver - Topaz - Plant

The truth is, with this build & strategy you'll have to rely strongest on the projects to see you through the Gold challenge. Good luck.
Swamp Guide
Ideal ambassador breakdown

Desert: DSS
Forest: FFSS
Swamp: FSS
Ocean: SSSS

Productions & Aspects

Desert: Great Precious Minerals, Great Advanced Minerals, Lesser Noble, Lesser Seismic
Forest: Superior Plants, Sublime Leaf, Great Fruit
Swamp: Great Herbs, Lesser Exotic Animals, Great Toxic, Lesser Reaction
Ocean: Superior Domestic Animals, Lesser Growth, Sublime Herd -- no Monsoon :(

Key resources & combinations

Superior White Willows & Oraguntan = game over; White Willows, Phosphorus & Hemp, Zinc & Great Copper & Great Yak, Ginkgo Tree, Silver & Topaz

Comments & Explanation

Well, given that Tech is the name of the game in Swamp, you'd expect to be building up your Desert Giant's Tech Minerals. But you'd be wrong. Unfortunately, the many swamp ambassadors imposed on you don't allow you to access higher levels of Seismic or Reaction, meaning your Tech production from minerals will only be at average capacity. No Rubber Tree/Uranium combinations here. Instead, and unintuitively, your best bet may be to develop the Forest and Ocean Giants to their fullest, allowing you to plant an Orangutan in the midst of a White Willow orchard and watch your Tech prosperity skyrocket. If you can't get all 14 ambassadors, focus on the Ocean Giant as you can still build Great White Willows without all 4 ambassadors on the Forest Giant, but won't be able to access Orangutan without all four swamp ambassadors on Ocean. If you do manage to get Forest's 4th ambassador, this is by far the strongest combination I've seen given the limitations the swamp challenge forces us into -- which in fact is not as narrow a set or options as the Forest Challenge outlined above -- there is a lot more variety available to you in the swamp challenge, but most of it is medium-strong. Aim for the Orangutan/White Willow explosion. Looks like this:

Best setup: White Willow - White Willow - Orangutan - White Willow - White Willow.

There are some other useful combos to boost Tech production, like pairing Phosphorus mine with Hemp, and putting a White Willow near the Hemp as well. The Swamp Giant's Reaction Aspect lets you access Great Copper, which works reall well in between Zinc and Great Yak on a mountain. This lineup gave me about 400 prosperity in only a few tiles, plus about 500 in project bonuses on either side:

Setup (all mountain tiles): Zinc - Great Copper - Great Yak - Great Copper - Ginkgo Tree

Food and Wealth are harder to come by as expected. You can get Food by using some plants (like Pineapples or Papayas) and Wealth by building Silver mines surrounded by Topazes & plants on ringing them in turn. This is definitely a low-Food and low-Wealth build though.
Gold Challenge: 5000 Prosperity
If you made it through the other challenges - and I recommend you do those first -- then this challenge shouldn't deserve the name anymore. In fact, it's entirely possible to get Gold on one of your biome-specific challenge runs -- I did it with Swamp. If you do a Gold run on its own, you really just have to pick your best early-game spamming strategy from the other challenges. Cardon Cactus & Diamond or White Willow & Orangutan are really your best bet, but you could probably switch Swamp Giant's ambassadors to access Uranium mines for the Rubber Tree/Uranium combo as well.

Either way, I won't really go into a huge amount of detail on this one because if you can do a biome-specific challenge past 4000, then doing one where you have the variety of all biomes and a better selection of ambassadors should be a piece of cake. If anyone has found what they consider to be the best ambassador combination for the 5000+ 60-minute challenge, please post it in the comments.

If you have any questions about any of the challenges, feel free to do the same and leave a question in the comments section.
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22 Comments
jollywoodjuan Dec 15, 2017 @ 9:26pm 
Wish I had found this before I gave myself an aneurysm getting the damn things. Great guide, awesome game.
anarka  [author] Oct 29, 2016 @ 10:25am 
Bolka, I haven't heard of that happening and don't know enough to say if it's bugged or not. Have you checked to make sure the optional game modes are disabled? I don't think you can earn achievements with several of them.
Bolka Oct 14, 2016 @ 7:15pm 
Very nice guide. I have a problem though, I play a 60 mins game, and when it ends the achievements do not unlock, even though I have exceed several of them... I just started a normal 60 mins game... What am I doing wrong?
anarka  [author] Jul 4, 2016 @ 2:52pm 
You're welcome! :)
wolfypagan74 Jul 4, 2016 @ 2:20pm 
I have to agree this is by far one of the better guides out there. Most everything else on youtube for example is intended for newbies! I like reading and watching how other advanced players like to do things and I appreciate the ideas! Thank you!!
andrebads Jun 5, 2016 @ 2:35pm 
Good guide man, it feels so good to see a fellow player who just gets hooked by this kind of neglected games. You make me proud, bro. Good guide ! :steamhappy:
Django Apr 13, 2016 @ 12:20am 
Hi Anarka,
i think there is a small mistake in your swamp guide. If you get 2 swamp abassadors on your desert giant, you can create potent seismic aspects, cant you?! How else should you be able to create zinc an silver? ;)
Great guides anyway. The only challenge I couldnt beat in my first try was the swamp challenge. Will try your guide for that :)
Thx for the effort!

@TAvajigen: Arent the 1-hour-achievments locked for alt-mode?
Shinigami Oct 20, 2015 @ 3:01pm 
Thanks! Great guide, helped me a lot to get Desert Gold, I used javelinas and Date Palm mostly in the end-game to get prosperity to 5000.
secret Jun 30, 2015 @ 7:52am 
Wow this one is nice. I got the forest gold ach at the first try :). It finished with 4950 prosperity so i will go back a bit and make it 5000. Great Guide!
I remember when Ste am used to w Jun 25, 2015 @ 7:09pm 
Finally, a guide that teaches me something. Been banging my head against the wall with all the "basic" guides.

Wish me luck on my Gold attempts.