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Colonist's Handbook (Updated for Alpha 16)
By Hieronymous Alloy
Rimworld is very complex and very open, and you can easily make a lot of big mistakes without even realizing you're doing so: much like your colonists, the game just drops you onto the planet's surface, and you have to figure it all out as you're going.

This guide is an attempt at drafting up the handbook your colonists wish they had. It will hopefully serve as a reasonably in-depth guide to most of the things you need to know to build, maintain, and defend a basic colony. We'll cover every aspect of the game in detail, from colonist traits to military strategy, beauty and happiness, efficient colony design to crafting and trading. It won't tell you the "best" way to play Rimworld -- there is no "best" way -- but it will tell you what the choices are and what the tradeoffs are for each of those choices.

This guide assumes you are playing the vanilla game with no mods (although I may reference some mods here and there, if only for cosmetic or ease-of-play features).

This Guide is unfortunately rather long already (emphasis on Handbook), but even so, it's still a work in progress. Parts are still in the drafting stage and some sections have yet to be added (especially those relating to features wholly new in A16). Everything that *is* in here is correct and updated for A16, however, at least as far as I can verify. Comments and feedback are not only welcome but deeply appreciated.
Initial start: Choose your Map
Selecting a Start

Ok, starting at the game's main menu:

First, click "Options". Check "Pause on Load" and "Pause on Urgent Letter," so the game will auto-pause whenever anything important happens.

Go back to the main menu and click "New Colony" (the Tutorial is worth playing, especially for learning the basic controls, but this guide is going to veer off-course from it a bit -- I'm mostly assuming you've tried the tutorial, gotten confused, and then decided to look for a guide).

So go ahead and click "New Colony." You'll get a choice of "scenarios"; click "crashlanded".

Next screen is "Choose AI storyteller". You can change your Storyteller later in-game via the Esc menu, so don't sweat this too much.

Cassandra and Phoebe aren't that different -- you're picking whether you want to face two raids per game month, or just one -- and will give you a more consistently easy start. Randy doesn't have a fixed number of raids per month, but when you do face a raid or event, its difficulty will be much more randomized, and there's greater chance for multiple events to happen simultaneously.

Because you're facing raids more consistently, Cassandra and Phoebe will give you more opportunities to capture enemies, so your fort will have a chance to grow more initially, but they will also make it harder to recruit and capture enemies after you have about 12-18 colonists, whereas Randy won't start penalizing recruitment until you have about fifty colonists.

The net result is that Randy is sometimes harder at the start, but much easier over the long term, and often more interesting.

Where Can We Land This Thing?

Click "next" and move to the "Generate World" screen. I like to set "globe coverage" to 100%, but that's optional. Click "generate" and let it grind out your new world.

You can zoom in or out on the world map using mousewheel, and move the selector around using the wasd keys or the mouse. For this guide, look for a spot that is

  • "Temperate Forest" or "Arid Shrubland"
  • has a "year-round" growing period
  • has both granite and marble stone

The stone type listed first will be the most common on the map. It will be easier to find an "Arid Shrubland" with year-round growing season, but "Temperate Forest" is an easier biome if you can find it, mostly due to better soil and more trees & vegetation. Swathes of "Temperate Forest" adjacent to "Arid Shrubland" will be more likely to have year-round growing seasons. Granite and marble we'll discuss later in the guide (short version: granite is hard, marble is pretty).

Less important, but wortwhile if you don't mind searching a bit, is a site that also has a

  • "Flat" terrain type
  • On a coastline (next to a water tile)
  • Not on an island and not surrounded by mountains.

Terrain type can influence the type of defenses you set up, but for this guide, we'll be building an open plan fort, so I'll suggest somewhere with "flat" terrain. A site on the coast wil limit the enemy to approaching from only three directions, which can help defensively. A site on an island or surrounded by mountains may make it more difficult to send out caravans later.

Before you click "select site," though, click the "Advanced" tab and bump the map size up to the largest you think your PC can handle -- larger map sizes give very real advantages both in terms of available resources and reaction time, as invaders will take longer to reach your base.

Once you have a spot picked out, click "next" and we'll create some colonists.

Initial Start: Choose your Colonists
Selecting your Colonists

Next screen you'll get presented with some randomly-generated colonists, or “pawns.” I recommend rerolling a few times until you get a set of pawns that have, between them, the following characteristics:

  • One pawn with a "Growing" skill of eight or higher, plus passion (big flames) for Growing. You need this for planting Healroot and a few other very helpful crops, and for generally keeping everyone fed.

  • One pawn with a high "Medicine" skill (10+ minimum). This skill is very hard to raise during play without a lot of botched surgeries and dismembered limbs, and will make a HUGE difference in your pawns's survivability overall. A pawn with both "Medical" and "Crafting" skill is especially useful, for making medicine later on.

  • at least one pawn with a high "social" skill (10+ minimum, higher is better). Whoever has this will be your primary recruiter and trade negotiator; without someone with high social, your colony won't grow. You'll also get better prices from trade caravans if they do the talking.

  • One pawn with a passion (big flames) for "Construction" skill (to build your fort) and one pawn with a passion for Crafting (to make your gear, clothing, etc.) High #'s help,but these will raise with play.

  • One pawn with a decent research stat so you don't fall hopelessly behind the curve and have to fight off charge rifles with wooden logs.
It is also helpful, but not as necessary, to have a pawn with at least a six in Cooking (to make "fine" quality meals for a happiness boost), a pawn with at least 6 or better in Shooting (for defense and hunting; Shooting above 6-10 is mostly unnecessary). A little mining skill doesn't hurt either.

Pay particularly close attention to the little "flames" beside each skill. They indicate a pawn's "passion" for that skill, and are in some ways more important than the skill numbers. They show that the pawn has an enhanced learning rate for that skill. This game has skill decay for any skill above 10, so an enhanced learning rate makes a big difference; without the big double flames, a pawn will probably never be able to max out the skill, and will have a much harder time staying at high skill. Pawns also get increased Joy from working on tasks they're passionate about (more on that later).

Ideally, you want these skills spread among your pawns -- one dude won't have time to do everything. Some jobs (growing, construction, crafting) tend to be full-time, while others (medicine, warden) are more part-time, so try to get an appropriate spread; if one colonist has all the growing, building, and crafting duties, none of it will get done.


You'll also notice that each of your pawns has a few "traits" in the bottom left corner. There are a *lot* of these, and they vary from very helpful to very situational to very harmful. You can look them up in detail on the official wiki[rimworldwiki.com], but briefly:

Look For:

  • "Jogger" and "Fast Walker" make them move faster.

  • "Sanguine," "Optimist," "Iron willed," and "Steadfast" help your pawns stay happy or fight off mental breaks.

  • "Industrious" and "Hard Worker" mean they work faster.

  • "Green Thumb" is extremely useful if it is on your character with Growing skill.

  • "Bloodlust" and "Masochist" can be good for soldiers (and almost everyone in your colony except possibly your primary doctor will be a soldier at some point).

  • "Kind" will spread some joy through your colony but doesn't seem to have a big effect overall.


  • "Slowpoke" means they walk slow.

  • "lazy" or "slothful" mean they work slow.

  • "Depressive", "Nervous, or "Volatile" mean they'll have more mental breaks.

  • A pawn with "Abrasive" will piss off everyone in your colony. One with "Dislikes Men" or "Dislikes Women" will piss off half your colony.

  • "Greedy" and "Jealous traits also cause mood problems (especially if you have two pawns with Jealous and they start fighting each other for best bedroom).

  • "Annoying Voice" ,"Creepy Breathing", "Ugly", or "Staggeringly Ugly" will make that individual pawn be unliked, which isn't good but may not be as big a deal as generalized conflict.

  • "Pyromaniac" will randomly start fires. Don't.
Think About:

  • "Careful Shooter" and "Trigger Happy" are situational; in the early game, with long range weapons especially, Careful Shooter is remarkably effective, but it can be harmful in the late game once your pawns are skilled up, using high-quality weapons, and have bionic implants (and thus no longer need the aim bonus it gives). In contrast, Trigger Happy renders a pawn functionally worthless for gun combat in the early game, but can be extremely effective in certain specific late-game situations.

  • "Brawler" isn't bad by itself, but it's bad to have too many pawns with it, because most of the game's combat, and definitely the combat strategies I'll be describing in this guide, focus on ranged combat.

  • "Too Smart," "Neurotic," and "Very Neurotic" can turn pawns into great crafters but you'll have to put more work in to keep them happy. These stack with the "Industrious" and "Hard Worker' bonuses.

  • ""Beautiful" and "Pretty" require special consideration. On your character with high "Social" skill, they will help build rapport (capped at 100) with captured raiders faster; they'll also get along better with other pawns. However, downside especially with female pawns: everyone of the opposite gender in your colony will try to romance them, and most or all of them will get rejected, which will then spread negative thoughts throughout the colony. Overall bad trade.

  • "Psychopath" can be good for soldiers who are not your socializer, and also (much like the "Cannibal" trait) can be useful on your cook -- human leather is surprisingly valuable, though the rest of the colony will still suffer a mood hit.

  • "Chemical Seeking / Fascination" can be a problem in the later game once and if you have drug production going. If your fort is drug free, though, this won't be an issue.

  • "Prosthophobe/Phile": "-Phobe" isn't a problem unless they get maimed and need a replacement limb; if so, and you give them bionics, they'll get a severe mood penalty. (You can avoid the penalty by using non-"bionic" simple prosthetic limbs, but those are less efficient). "-Phile" will be a small initial mood penalty until you can get them augmented, but a significant mood boost (+14, better than Sanguine!) once they get an upgrade. (For more details, see Surgery & Bionics).

Final Check

Pay attention to injuries. Reroll anyone with a drug dependence or old age symptoms (bad heart, frail, cataracts, bad back). Scars cause pain and missing limbs cause inefficiency but you can replace arms, legs, and eyes with bionics later.

Finally, make sure your starting pawns can do all the tasks -- pawns incapable of violence or hauling/cleaning especially are a lability in a new fort.

If you have a hard time rolling pawns you like, consider looking up a mod called "Prepare Carefully" (more on mods in a later section).

Once you've got folks you like, click start, and we'll crash into the planet.
Base Planning 101: Site Selection & Setup
Planning Your Base

First thing you do: Pause and Save, ideally before your colonist pods have even hit the ground.

Rather than diving in and building at random, I recommend taking a few moments (or more) to plan out your overall base design right now, before you even hit the ground.

Site Selection

Start by looking for a good spot to start building. You want somewhere roughly in the middle of the map, so you have time to react to hostiles entering from the map edges (the only exception is coastline; feel free to build right slap against the beach, as attackers won't come from the ocean).

Moving your mouse over the terrain will tell you a lot about the location. If you see any patches of "rich soil," they may be good places to lay out crop zones; conversely, you won't be able to grow anything in desert or rock, so don't plan on trying. You won't be able to build on tiles of "mud," so don't plan on it, but mud or desert zones can be good places to set up a defensive perimeter as they will slow attackers. Steam vents are good sources of heat (and, later on, geothermal power See Power).

It's never too early to start thinking about defense. Rock walls can help you shelter; a "U" shaped cubby can be an especially strong defensive position -- slap a wall and a door across the mouth and you have a basic safe harbor. However, it's a mistake to rely too much on this kind of safety, as enemies can breach rock and sometimes even spawn within it -- I would strongly suggest, at least for now, that you avoid digging out an underground base.

Base Planning 101: What Buildings Should I Build?

Once you have your site picked, start using the "plan" tool to lay out your base. You can just start slapping stuff down wherever if you want, but the more planning you do now, the more payoff you'll see down the road.

You will need to get a few types of shelter up ASAP. Initially, I would suggest prioritizing:
  • A growing zone. Lay out a large (12x12 or so) field of Corn and a similar large field of Berries, and smaller (5x5 to 8x8) fields of Cotton and Healroot. Corn is nutritious but slow growing and must be cooked to avoid a mood penalty; Berries are less nutritious but grow faster and do not need to be cooked; cotton is good for clothes, and you need to start stocking up on healroot as early as possible.

  • A roofed stockpile. For now, set it to hold everything except human corpses and rock chunks (you can make a separate dumping zone for those, somewhere out of sight of your colonists). Nice and big; you don't have to wall it in completely (though it won't hurt) but you do have to make sure it's roofed over. Without a roof, everything in the stockpile (apart from metal, stone, raw leather, and raw hyperweave) will deteriorate and eventually vanish. Roof tiles can extend six squares out from a support, so the largest you can make a single room is 12 squares on one side.

    Set this to "low" priority and as you establish more specialized stockpiles, most things will flow out of this stockpile into more optimized locations. Eventually, this will end up just holding raw materials and goods you intend to trade away.

  • A power source and battery. One wind turbine, one solar panel, and one battery should be enough for now. The wind turbine's "empty" zones can overlap with solar panels or crop zones, but walls will block energy draw, as will trees. Make sure the battery is covered over with a roof, or it will all short out in the rain.

  • A walk-in deep freezer. Make this nice and big. Meat will go bad fairly quickly even if in your roofed stockpile, so you have to keep it frozen. You can do this by building a completely walled-in and roofed-over room, putting a cooler unit in one of the walls (under the Temperature menu), connecting the cooler to power, and then setting the cooler to keep the room at a frozen temperature. Depending on the size of the room you may need more than one cooler, especially in hot environments. Putting a double-thickness wall around the room will help it stay cool during solar flares or if your power otherwise goes out (it will); you can also put in an "airlock" style entrance using two doors separated by a single walled-in tile, but in most environments that isn't absolutely necessary. Put a stockpile zone inside it and set it to hold all food (except possibly corn, which has a very long shelf life so doesn't really need freezing).

  • Kitchen and workshops. You can slap these down next to or even inside the stockpiles for now -- you'll need a butcher table, electric stove, and electric tailoring bench. You'll want to add a stonecutter's bench and sculptor's table fairly soon. Do Not put your stove inside the fridge -- that was good advice in prior alphas but will give a work penalty as of A16. Later you'll want to get these indoors, as there's a slight penalty for working outside.

  • A dining hall/rec room. Build this *directly* adjacent to your fridge. It can be one room for now, although later you may want two separate rooms. Build a table (small is fine for now), four chairs around the dining table (only four can eat at once at a small table), a chess table with two chairs, a horseshoe, and a billiards table. The billiards table won't finish building till your first cloth crop comes in and will need a walkable tile all around it; the horseshoe pole will need a clear space where people can stand to throw at it. You should be able to fit all of that in a 12x12 block with some space left over.

  • If you have a shortage of food or a shortage of cooks, consider building a nutrient paste dispenser. Nutrient paste meals are the most efficient food source in the game and give only a small mood penalty, smaller than raw food. The paste dispenser takes up a 3x4 block of tiles, and six of those tiles are impassable and act effectively as a wall (at least for temperature spread), so you can tear down the wall between your fridge zone and your dining room, put the hoppers in the fridge and the dispenser's prong in your dining room, and your pawns will never lack for a (crappy) prepared meal.

  • Barracks or Bedrooms
    By this time your colonists have started to complain about not having beds of their own.You can either build each colonist an individual bedroom, or build one large barracks with a bunch of beds for everyone. Barracks are the quick & dirty option; individual rooms will take a little longer but, with some planning, will give better results ( see "Planning for Happiness," below). Make sure all the beds are built by your highest "Construction" skill colonist (a mod called "QualityBuilder" can help automate that).

  • Perhaps a prison. If you want to capture some raiders, build second wing on your barracks, or throw up some extra bedrooms; make sure the beds are fully enclosed. If you manage to incapacitate any raiders, designate the enclosed beds as "for prisoners' and your colonists will take captured pawns to those cells.

  • A perimeter wall. If you're digging into a mountain, this is easy; if not, this is why we plan our whole layout in advance. Put a perimeter wall around the outer edge of your base, and limit it to one or two openings. This won't provide absolute safety but it's better than nothing.

  • Basic research. Build a bench and have someone start hitting the books. I'd suggest "microelectronics basics" and "improvised turrets" as research priorities for defense, then devilstrand.

That covers the short-term basics; do all that and you'll have everything a basic colony needs. But it won't be efficient, your colonists will be miserable, and you'll still be vulnerable to weather, disasters, and attacks. Preparing for those will take more planning.

Planning for Happiness :Spaciousness, Beauty, Comfort, and Room Bonuses
Optimizing for Happiness

A happy colony is an effective colony. If you don't keep your colonists in a pleasant mood, they will eventually start having mental breaks, stop listening to your commands, and potentially even start fighting each other. Even before things deteriorate that far, though, unhappy colonists will suffer an efficiency hit and start working more slowly, because happy colonists can get a global work speed bonus of up to +20%, so it's worth it to keep them actually happy, not just functional.


Colonists who are indoors will get a mood boost of +5 if they are in a "spacious environment." This is relatively easy to ensure since it just requires a big fort, so you might as well plan for it.
You can find a detailed (but slightly outdated) guide on designing for spaciousness here[imgur.com]. The short version, updated for A16, is that you want at least 42 open tiles around your colonists; This means a minimum room size of 6x7 or so, more if you have furniture (walkable furniture like beds & chairs counts as a half tile). Putting furniture in the center of rooms helps but is not as important as in prior alphas due to an expanded 7-tile radius for "seeing" spaciousness.


Colonists get a mood boost for being in a beautiful environment, and a mood penalty for being in an ugly one. "Ugly" generally means "Dirty," so you will want to have at least one colonist on clean-up duty most of the time (and it may be worthwhile to have Cleaning Days every so often if the base gets filthy anyway). The other major source of ugliness is stuff lying around on the floor, so keep your stockpiles organized and, where you can, out of sight.

Past basic cleanliness, beauty bonuses mostly come from floors, well-crafted furniture, and artwork (sculptures).

Each colonist "sees" beauty in an eight-tile radius from their present location. Since this is slightly larger than the radius for "seeing" "spaciousness", you can pack the edges of even an extremely large (up to 17x17 tiles!) room with sculptures or beautiful furniture and pawns will usually still get both bonuses.

For furniture, material type makes a significant difference: wood, for example, multiplies the beauty value of an item by 125%, while silver multiplies it by 300% and gold by 600%. Most stone types have a 120% beauty modifier, but marble has a 135% bonus. Steel has a flat modifier of 100% (1). This means that, all else being equal, precious metal furniture is prettiest, marble furniture is prettier than wood furniture, and wood furniture is prettier than any other common material.

The other big modifier is "quality". To steal from the wiki[http//http]:

Beauty Modifier

So a "Good" quality steel bed will be prettier than a "normal" quality marble one, etc. You can game this a bit by having a skilled craftsman make a lot of extra furniture until you get some that is sufficiently high-quality (i.e., a Legendary marble dining table, etc.) and deconstructing all the extras to re-use the materials.

In practical terms, all this means that you want your colonists to skill up using wood for crafting furniture and sculptures, then once at max skill, shift over and use marble for everything (with the possible exception of beds and chairs -- see Comfort, below).


Floors don't have a quality, just a set value based on materials. Wood tiles have a beauty of 0, Concrete of -1, silver 3, gold 4. All stone has a multiple of 2 (marble's just as good as other stone here). Smoothed natural stone floor tiles have a beauty of 3 regardless of the type of stone, thus generally the prettiest floor short of silver/gold.

In practical terms, smooth out any natural stone in your fort, put down stone tile everywhere else (except for rooms with special requirements like hospitals), and in areas where beauty doesn't matter, put down wood or concrete.

Special Rules

There are also a few special case rules. Rough stone walls have a beauty of -1. Constructed Wall blocks do not have a beauty statistic, so there's no point in building them out of beautiful materials -- you're multiplying zero. Mechanical devices like turrets or power generators tend to be very ugly, so they're best placed out of direct line of sight. Trees (planted or natural) have a beauty of 4, and planted daylilies have a beauty of 24(!) so it can sometimes be worth it to plant some just for scenery. Power conduits are ugly unless concealed in walls, which hide them.


Colonists have a "comfort" meter that changes depending on their circumstances. A highly comfortable pawn will gain a mood bonus and will also have some slight efficiency gains (they'll need less sleep, etc.).

The main trick is put chairs at all the work spots for your workbenches, so your colonists are sitting down (and thus gaining comfort from a chair) while working their production tasks. Material makes a slight difference also (wooden beds give more "rest effectiveness" than marble, but not by much). Armchairs made of leather have a very slight comfort gain over dining chairs, but with a high-skilled craftsman a high quality dining chair can be just as good, as there's functionally a cap on how comfortable it's possible to be.

Double beds don't have a comfort bonus over single beds, but Royal beds do, so may be worth building late-game when you have gold to burn.

Specific Room Bonuses

Colonists also can get additional mood bonuses for individual rooms -- specifically, there is a mood bonus for an "impressive" dining room, "impressive" rec room, and "impressive" bedroom, and these bonuses stack. The dining and rec room bonuses are activity-dependent, not room-name-dependent -- i.e., a pawn who eats in a hospital room will get a bonus based on the hospital room's "impressiveness", not the dining hall's. Each bonus is on a sliding scale based on the beauty of the room and the cap is fairly high, so can be worth splurging on your dining hall and rec room -- make them huge, fill them with statues, masterwork furniture, etc.

Bedrooms are a little more finicky though. Colonists get a bonus (or penalty) based on the bedroom they are assigned. Some colonists may have traits that will make them get upset if they don't have a fancy enough bedroom, or if other colonists have bedrooms that are fancier than theirs, etc. This can all take a bit of micromanagement; the short version is that a 3x3 room with wood floors and a "normal" bed will avoid a penalty, and an 7x7 room with a normal bed and stone floors will give a colonist a slight bonus (in addition to the spaciousness bonus) so long as the room is kept clean.

If the pawn is sharing a bedroom with more than one bed, they can get an "impressive barracks" bonus. This generally isn't enough to make up for the mood penalty from sharing a bedroom, but it can mitigate it a bit, so building an extremely upscale barracks instead of individual bedrooms can be a viable if non-optimal strategy.

There's a separate bonus for an impressive hospital, but folks hopefully won't spend much time there. Keeping the hospital clean matters more (and will prevent infection).

Finally, a nice Tomb can serve as a joy source, but you may want to build it fairly close to your base, or colonists will waste a lot of time walking over to it to commune with the dead.
Planning for Efficiency: Crops, Workshops, and Stockpiles
Optimizing for Efficiency


Food Crops
Every food crop has a growth rate, a nutrition factor, and a "fertilityfactorgrowthrate", which governs how much soil quality matters. You can find the details on the wiki[rimworldwiki.com], but in short, Corn grows slowly but has high nutrition and long shelf life; rice has the quickest grow time, but relatively low nutrition, while potatoes are in the middle. Strawberries grow quickly and give low nutrition but do not have to be cooked.

In terms of space, ten tiles of planted corn will support one colonist, eleven tiles of potatoes, 12 tiles of rice, and thirteen tiles of strawberries (presuming normal soil, no blights, no spoilage, and a constant growing season).

This all changes though depending on soil type. Corn and rice respond very well to high quality soil but will grow very poorly in marshy soil or gravel. Potatoes, on the other hand, are largely immune to soil quality, so grow relatively well in poor soil that can't support corn or rice.

Hydroponic tables take considerable effort to set up, so is only really worth it once you've run out of cropland or in unusual biomes, but have an even higher "fertility" factor than rich soil; corn can't be grown hydroponically however, so you'll get best results with rice.

Long and short of it is, plant strawberries if you don't have a cook or are dying of hunger and need food fast; otherwise, plant corn in good soil, potatoes in bad soil, and in hydroponic tables, plant rice.

Other Crops

For non-food crops, you will want to grow at least a small patch of Cotton and of Healroot. Any remaining crop area you have, I would suggest filling with Devilstrand -- it's the best textile by far for colonist clothing, it takes forever to grow, and devlistrand clothing has a high trading value if you end up with any extra.

You can plant trees but you don't have to: colonists will automatically harvest any wild full-grown trees in a growing zone set to disallow sowing.

Hay can be very useful if your colony has a large population of animals (which I'll cover separately); it grows very well in rich soil.

Hops, Psychoid, and Smokeleaf can be useful also but I'll cover them under Drugs.

I planted all these crops but I don't have any food? What's going on?

First, make sure your crop zones are surrounded by walls and that any domestic animals you have are zoned out of your crop areas. If you don't, wild animals or your own domesticated animals may gobble your half-grown crops, which dramatically reduces the food gain per tile and food gain over time rates. This is especially a danger with Devilstrand, which must be the tastiest plant on the planet if the way animals beeline to it is any guide. (Note: this is more of a problem in arid maps with less vegetation, and less of a problem in forest maps where there are plenty of wild plants to nibble).

The other thing to check is to make sure you have enough haulers and that your crops aren't rotting in the fields after you harvest them. Crops grown outdoors will decay from exposure just like anything else (independently of their rotting rate, which is different). You can't use trained animals for this without micromanagement (the animal haulers will gobble the half-grown crops, as above); sometimes, it may be useful to turn your work priorities to "manual" and set everyone in your colony to Hauling as a "priority 1" task for a bit, just to get all the food safely stockpiled. Think of it as a harvest festival.

Workshops and Stockpiles

Your workshops need to be enclosed (not "outdoors"), well lit, and temperature-controlled, or pawns will suffer a few different types of penalties.

The number one killer of colonist efficiency, though, is travel time; your colonists will often spend much more time traveling to gather the components for something than actually building it. Even a short few steps across a hallway can add up dramatically. Flooring wil dramatically increase walk speed everywhere it's down, so it's worth putting down early.
While big, spacious rooms are great for colonist mood, they can be an efficiency killer. If the food is too far away from the dining room, colonists will never bother to walk to the tables and eat; if bedrooms are too far from the workshops, they will never sleep in those nice beds you had them make.

So consider putting the rooms used by all your colonists (refrigerator, dining hall, rec room) as close to the center of your colony as you can, so that most of your folks are close enough to use them most of the time. Make sure the fridge and dining hall are immediately adjacent to one another so colonists with food don't have to go far for a table.

Past that, there are as many different ways to plot out workshops and stockpiles as there are bases. A few general tips:

  • A central "catchall" stockpile is fine at first, but as your fort grows, it pays to specialize. Put your raw stone chunk stockpile near your stonecutter's workshop room and you'll churn out stone blocks much faster.

  • In fact, nothing says you can't put the workbench directly on top of a stockpile, or a stockpile directly in your workshop (although don't put your stove or butcher table in your freezer, as there's a temperature penalty).

  • Think about supply chains. For example, the tailor's shop is going to be drawing leather from the butcher's table and cloth and devilstrand from your crop areas, so put it close to both. Your machining table will be using a lot of components and metals, so put it close to your metal stockpile and your component assembly table (if you build one). Any workshop that uses a lot of materials will benefit from being in an accessible location that the haulers will find it easy to get to.

  • Rooms or areas that few colonists need to travel to, such as individual bedrooms, power generators, your comms console, etc, can be in odd or distant locations; you aren't losing much efficiency if it's just one colonist going there. On the other hand, if you know a particular colonist will be using one workshop exclusively, it can be useful to give them a bedroom close at hand, so they spend less time travelling and more crafting.

  • Use the work priorities menu and the "bills" menu carefully to make sure that you have specialized crafters who craft and haulers who haul. Proper allocation of work will make a HUGE difference in your fort efficiency. Something as simple as setting your cook to "drop on floor" rather than "haul to stockpile" while making animal kibble can mean the difference between mass animal starvation and endless kibble supplies; setting the skill cutoff so only your most skilled craftsman tailors clothes and weapons will ensure high quality gear for all.

  • Similarly, learn to set stockpile priorities. Haulers will carry to the highest-priority stockpile unless it's full. Setting a "critical" stockpile for "meat" and another "critical" stockpile for "vegetarian", the two components of a fine or lavish meal, on either side of the cook's workshop seat will produce fine & lavish meals much faster, because the cook will focus on cooking while the haulers bring her what she needs, rather than wasting the cook's time running around grabbing ingredients. (On the other hand, this will keep your haulers very very busy!)

  • Doors. Doors and "autodoors" have an opening speed that's dependent on material type -- wood doors open fast, stone doors open slow; autodoors open much faster, but a wooden autodoor will still open much faster than a stone autodoor. While I still would advise stone doors for building exteriors for defensive reasons, you may want to consider wooden internal doors between rooms that many colonists use frequently (such as the doors between your kitchen and fridge).

  • Don't forget to build those toolboxes. They help!

Planning for the Environment: Power, Weather, and Disasters
You'll also find you need to plan for the environment. Colonists will get bad thoughts if they are at an uncomfortable temperature, in darkness, or are cooped up inside for too long at a stretch. More extreme heat or cold can cause your colonists to get heatstroke or hypothermia. Your colony will also occassionally get hit with disasters -- power shortages, lightning strikes, eclipses, fires, and sometimes even prolonged dangers like toxic fallout or a volcanic winter.

A big part of preparing for these events is making sure your colony has a well-configured power grid.

Managing Power

Turbines and Panels

Most of your power will come from wind turbines and solar panels. They'll need to be outside, obviously. The periphery of your base is generally better than the center -- your pawns won't need to visit this area often unless there's a breakdown -- but as power generators are a target for enemies, you don't want them near your entrance: at the rear or sides, not the front. Far edge of your crop zone can be a good location, as both crops and solar panels need sunlight, and you can overlap the wind turbines with your crop fields.

You want both panels and turbines; the turbines will help with power at night, and the panels will help with power during low wind. Batteries should be roofed over, or the rain will short them out; make sure each battery can be reached by your workers.

Geothermal Vents

Geothermal vents are worth developing -- in fact, they're often worth planning your entire base around. The basic vent by itself will generate a great deal of heat (very useful in the early days of an arctic fort). To draw electric power from a vent, you'll need to research geothermal power at the research bench and then build a Geothermal Generator, which takes up a 6x6 block of tiles centered around the 2x2 vent. The generator is not pretty, so put it behind a door or wall, out of sight.

Generator in place or not, the heat from the vent can generate fires or explosions if you enclose the space too tightly, so it's usually best to leave your geothermal generator room unroofed so excess heat can vent off (unless you are in a very cold environment and need the heat to warm your base).

Laying Out your Grid

Once you have your generators built, you'll want to lay out your power grid. A few things to keep in mind as you do so:

  • Workshops need power for workbenches, light, and temp control. Colonists will get a small mood hit for being "in darkness," but more importantly, lack of light or inappropriate temperatures will penalize your crafter's work.

  • It's generally better to lay power conduits in walls, to avoid a minor Beauty hit, but doing so makes them a little more cumbersome to deconstruct, as you'll have to select each cable section individually.

  • Because you will sometimes get breaks in your power conduits, I suggest using a looped setup. With a single long conduit, a break in the conduit will cut off half your colony's power; a loop must be broken in two places before the severed section loses power.

  • Improvised turrets don't need to be turned on all the time. Set up a power switch so you can turn off the whole array when it's safe, and that way your turrets won't draw any more power than they have to.

  • Don't stack up too many batteries at once. Your power lines will sometimes get a "short circuit," and all stored battery power connected to that conduit will immediately discharge, starting a fire. The amount of fire is proportional to the number of connected batteries; a large array shorting out in the wrong place can kill colonists or start huge fires. Defend against this by isolating extra batteries behind switches; turn them on during the day to charge, off at night, and then once charged, keep them switched off until you have need of the reserve power.

  • Alternatively, try dividing your grid into a few independently powered circuits, split by switches; if one section loses power, flick and reconnect.

  • If you do use switches, make sure your colonists all have "flicking" enabled.

  • You can pack a lot of hydroponic tables in a small space (colonists will climb on top of tables to plant) but the power demands are intense, so it's usually only worth it if you can't grow enough crops outside.

  • Mods such as PowerSwitch can help automate the management of switches, allowing for automatic turn-on when enemies are nearby, at specific times of day, etc.

Heat and Cold

You've already figured out the basics of this in building your freezer, but the rest of the base needs heating and cooling too. Colonists will get a negative thought if they sleep "in the cold" (temperature below 12 C) or "in th heat" (above 32 C), regardless of clothing worn; neglect temperature completely and colonists can even die of heatstroke or hypothermia.

Heat spreads from room to room according to some surprisingly complex equations; the simple version, however, is that heat spreads between adjoining (i.e., single-block-thickness walls) rooms at a fairly slow but constant rate. This rate can be sped up by putting doorways or vents in the wall and cut short by building the wall double-thickness (worth doing for your refrigerator, usually not anywhere else). Temperature transfer within a single room is instantaneous, however.

You can use this to your advantage by connecting your rooms with roofed, enclosed hallways and then heating and cooling the hallways (rather than the individual rooms themselves). The hallway will adjust temperature quickly and all the rooms adjoining the hallway will moderate towards the hallway's temperature, greatly simplifying the process of setting up AC and heat for your colony.



Fires are pretty frequent. Most loose material can burn, as will wild grass and trees, crops, and furniture and walls made of wood, steel, or plasteel. Stone won't burn, though, and neither will floor tiles (not even tiles made out of wood). Fires burn much hotter in enclosed spaces. To stop fires spreading:

  • Build with stone
  • Extend your roof out a few extra tiles so grass won't grow, for a firebreak
  • Consider firefoam poppers in flammable areas.

Toxic Fallout

When Toxic Fallout hits, your map will turn green. After that point, any colonists or animals who are not under a roof for too long will slowly sicken and die.

The sickness will accrue in five stages and eventually kill; you don't want any of your colonists to move past the second phase ("minor") or they'll start accruing permanent brain damage. That gives you a little time, though:
  • The first thing to do is throw up a roof over as much of your base as you can, including any walkways. Outdoor, roofed walkways are especially useful as they'll help your folks avoid cabin fever.
  • If you have animals, zone-restrict them to a roofed barn. Plant as many long-growing crops as you can.
  • You can let your colonists wander but watch their health like a hawk; if you see any of them at "minor" toxic buildup, zone-restrict them to only areas under a roof. You can rotate them out again once they drop down to "initial," but watch them carefully as they'll likely sicken again soon.
  • The plume will last a few weeks. All the animals on the map will die; you can grab and butcher the meat if you are fast.

Volcanic Winter

Everything's Gone Dark!
This will mean low solar power and low crop growth rates for a long time (at least a season if not longer). Build extra wind turbines to make up the difference, and think about setting up hydroponics. If you're short of food and have trade goods, go ahead and order a bulk supplier trading caravan now, before you need it.
Planning for Defense: Cover, Flanking, Turrets & Killboxes
Rimworld has a surprisingly robust combat system. The basics are easy to grasp -- cover and flanking -- but they have complex implications, and a successful defense can turn on understanding these mechanics and building your base to take advantage of them.

Basic mechanics: cover, flanking, and lines of fire

The core mechanic is that it's harder to hit people who are hiding behind things. You want your guys hiding behind things and you want the enemy not doing that.

You can look at the shot chances against any particular target with mouseover.
The bigger the cover, the better; rubble gives 40% protection, a tree gives better protection. Sandbags give the best cover you can move and shoot over (65%), and walls give the best cover (75%).

Cover only protects from a specific angle, so you can negate cover (and often force enemies to move, abandoning their cover) by flanking them. In the screenshot to the right, you can see three different shot chances against the same Centipede: the Centipede has full (75%) cover against Oahnip, partial (60%) cover against Coyote, and no cover at all against Abeneiro.

If you flank an opponent at an odd or partial angle, they will have partial cover. Below, Lovegood has partial 15% cover against Coyote, but no cover against Taylor, because Taylor is farther away and thus has a better angle on the target. (Taylor still has a lower chance to hit, because he's farther away, but that works both ways).

Cover actually absorbs the damage it blocks, and thus can be destroyed if it takes too much damage. It can even catch fire if hit by explosions or the right kind of weapon.

Friendly fire does exist in this game, and missed shots have a chance to strike anything near the target, including friendlies. It's therefore useful to think about lines of fire: flanking fire is good, but friendlies shooting at an enemy directly between them can end up hitting each other.

Melee: Bashin'

A melee pawn will generally beat a pawn equipped with a ranged weapon, if at close range, but most often if you're in melee something has gone badly wrong. If you must melee, charging into gunfire is usually suicidal, so either use cover to get close, or wait for late game protective gear (personal shields, power armor, etc.) High quality plasteel longswords do the most damage, but wooden maces are best for incapacitating & capturing.

Bunkers and Perimeters

The most basic defense strategy is therefore to build yourself a few decent pillbox bunkers where your colonists can take cover from hostiles. Build your bunker out of the strongest material you have that won't burn; steel and plasteel can burn, so that means stone (Granite is the toughest stone if it's available on your map). For the front wall of your bunker, alternate blocks of granite and sandbags; stand your colonists behind the granite, and they'll lean out and shoot over the sandbags. 2 blocks of granite alternating with 1 sandbag will give the best defensive ratio, but will limit your lines of fire from each position.

A bunker can give a strong defensive advantage, but it's subject to a major drawback: your position can be overwhelmed. If hostiles get inside your bunker, your defenders will turn and fire at the intruder, often hitting each other with friendly fire. If you're facing melee attackers (you likely will be), it can be a good idea to position a melee defender behind each sandbag.

In the screenshot to the right, you can see a basic bunker design, complete with drawback. In the first shot, one hostile is trying to climb over the sandbags directly into the line of fire and a melee defender, while a second is moving around the defensive line. In the second, the first hostile has been brought down, but the second has crossed into the bunker, and the defenders have all turned to shoot at him -- hitting each other in the process.

Two more sophisticated bunker designs are shown below. On the left, note the internal partitions to block friendly lines of fire, while still allowing for reinforcement; on the right, note how the defenders can retreat behind stone doors if overwhelmed.

Turrets and Killboxes

The second major strategy is to set up a "killbox" and lure the enemies into it. They are extremely effective -- even game-winning -- if set up properly, but doing so takes a little understanding of enemy AI behavior.

The first principle is that the AI raiders will take the "easiest" path towards their goal -- i.e., the one with the fewest obstacles. The second is that their goal is usually your colony's wealth more than it is attacking your colonists.

If you build your colony doors out of granite, they'll have a very high difficulty value in the AI calculator, and enemies will generally avoid beating on them for very long. So one viable tactic is to put a strong perimeter around everywhere you don't want the enemy to go, and then leave a nice clear open path that runs between the outside and your primary stockpile . . . but make sure that at some point, that path turns a blind corner into a killing field covered by multiple banks of turrets (and/or bunkers, if you want your colonists to participate). You can even (as below) put the killbox around your primary stockpile, though that entails some minor risk of having your things stolen.

You can see an example killbox in the screenshots below. In the first, the colonists have retreated behind closed doors in the face of the tribal onslaught; in the second, the tribals have blundered forward into the killbox and been slaughtered.

A few rules to remember when setting up killboxes:

  • The blind corner is important. Turrets have a range of 25 tiles; hostiles will bring weapons that have a longer range than that. Even if you don't use a full 90-degree blind turn, just off-setting the turrets from enemy line of sight, as in the example killbox above, is often enough to bring them in range.

  • Hostiles partially ignore collision, so more than one of them can stack in a single tile. Still, they don't like doing it, so a narrow opening into your killbox will slow them down a bit.

  • Killboxes in older alphas were often filled with rubble and sandbags to slow down invaders. That doesn't work as well now -- they're slowed down when they climb up, but once up, they stay up, so a big square of rubble or sandbags won't slow them down appreciably. You can maximize the delay by using thin strips of rubble alternated with strips of clear ground, so they have to keep climbing up and down, but be careful, as this will give opponents partial cover to shoot back from if it isn't flanked by some other firing position.

  • Turrets do not appear to recieve a cover bonus, so the only benefit of surrounding them with sandbags is the slowing effect as per above.

  • Turrets consume a massive amount of power. It's often a good idea to use a separate power circuit for your turrets, and lock that circuit off with a power switch, so that it only becomes active when you need it.

  • Turrets will explode when destroyed and do significant damage to everything in a three tile radius, unless that explosion is contained. Putting granite walls between turrets will therefore let you stack them much more densely than you could otherwise, as the granite will absorb the force of the explosion.

  • Consider building turrets closest to the enemy "entrance point" out of plasteel; they'll be more durable.
Planning for Defense: Urban Warfare
Designing for Defense

Note: ideas in this section inspired by this thread on the official Ludeon forums: https://ludeon.com/forums/index.php?topic=3310.0

Once you understand how the game's combat calculations work and how the raider's AI works, you can build your entire base so that any part of it is defensible. A grid of rooms and walkways presents a surprisingly strong defense: at any given point in time, any doorway perpendicular to the enemy's line of attack will provide high cover (usually "in darkness," too). The hallways then become your killzones; as enemies try to advance into the intersections to take cover, they expose themselves to flanking fire from defenders in your side hallways. If the attackers try to approach into melee range, your defenders can fade back to safety behind closed doors, then take new positions in new doorways further back, continually leading the hostiles on.

This approach takes some micromanagement, so it's best shown with examples. First, let's look at a simple tribal raid:

Example 1: putting it all together:

This first image shows the base and the approaching tribal raiders.

They're coming from the east, but the base is set up for a similar defense from any direction. Colonist defenders (highlighted in white) have taken up positions in doorways, with longer-range weapons in the rear positions; note that the doorways provide cover against fire both from in front and behind. The central killing plaza can be seen on the left but the turrets have not yet been turned on.

The tribals are trying to spread out, but the base presents a flat wall and a funnel.

As the tribals approach our colonist's positions, the ones close to danger fade back behind closed doors. One lone pet Megatherium foolishly wanders the halls (too slow to follow orders). In the upper left, you can see colonist Ape moving to switch on the ring of death.

The defenders, in danger of being overwhelmed, have all retreated behind closed doors. A lone juvenile elephant defends itself in a side hallway. The tribals rush forward toward the treasures that wait them in the central plaza -- treasures of DEATH!

Mopping up. Once the tribals break and begin to flee, the defenders return to doorway positions and cut apart the enemy's escape. A few get treated for minor wounds in the hospital. The laborers begin to mop up all the blood.

Example 2: What if the Attackers Don't Follow the Plan?

One major reason for using this strategy instead of more conventional ones (perimeter wall, killbox in front, etc.) is that it works even if the attackers do something unexpected, like show up with explosives and come in through a side wall, or pod-drop right into the center of your base, or spawn a giant insect hive inside your underground refridgerator. Some base setups have a very hard time dealing with that because they aren't set up for internal defense. This approach doesn't -- you just reposition in a different set of doorways and defend as normal.

In the screenshot below, raiders have opted not to funnel themselves into the hallway killing zone, and have instead tried to blow up the exterior wall at multiple points and enter the base that way. That has kinda worked for them -- they've managed to kill one of my prisoners -- but as soon as they enter the main hallway, they face a barrage of fire from positioned defenders, just as if they'd come into the base the normal way.

Example 3: Oh Crap, I'm Not Ready

What if they attack and you haven't finished your base? Not a problem! If you have even a few rooms or buildings built, the same general principles apply.

Here are screenshots from two raids against an unfinished base. It's not all there yet, but a few rooms and hallways are enough. Willis can move internally, sheltered by walls, to take up flanking positions and deny the enemy cover, while always himself remaining either behind high cover or completely sheltered by walls.

Example 4: Infestation -- They're Coming Outta The ♥♥♥♥♥♥ Walls!

I told you not to build underground but you didn't listen. The lure of those smoothed rock floors was just too strong. Well, now you're paying the price.

Infestations happen in areas mined out under "thick rock" roofs (ie., if rocks fall down when it's unsupported, and you can't remove the roof with the roof removal tool). Very small and crowded rooms, very bright light (i.e., sun lamps everywhere), and very low temperatures can discourage or even sometimes prevent[/url] infestations from happening even under thick rock, but none of those are things you want in your base (crowded rooms hurt mood, bright light drains power, low temperatures have many bad effects). The more rock you have mined out, the better the odds the breakout will happen there instead of inside your base, so if part of your base is underground, you can try to mine out rock outcroppings in other parts of the map, in the hope the bugs will spawn there instead.

But if you've decided to build underground anyway, and an infestation happens, there are some ways to cope. It's very difficult to get out of infestations without some losses, but if you can escape the initial spawn, the same general principles will apply -- move out from the infestation spot, plink away at range using the hallways as your killzones. You can set doors to "hold open" to get a better field of view. Long-range weapons work especially well as sniper rifles can shoot farther than most of the bugs can "see".

If you do get an insect spawn somewhere that's "safe," you don't necessarily need to wipe it out -- it may be better to "farm" it every so often for jelly and insect meat (see Jelly Farms, below, under Secondary Bases).
Active Defense: Alien Ships, Seige Attacks, and Mortar Fire
Active Defense: Stepping Out

Sometimes the game will throw a challenge that forces you to move out from your base and mount an attack. The two main instances of this are alien ship crashes and enemy seiges.

Alien Ships

Alien ships can crash anywhere on the map that doesn't have a roof. They come in two varieties: a poison ship that kills vegetation, and a psychic ship that emits a drone which will upset your colonists.

You generally have a fair bit of time before responding to either is critical, but if the poison ship lands near your crops, you might have to move quickly.

So take your time and prepare. The easy way is just to surround the ship with IED's, but that's no fun, and the explosion may destroy loot, so we're taking a slightly more difficult approach.

Position your colonists around the ship, taking advantage of whatever cover is available (you can even build some cover if you want -- see Bunkers, above). Don't bunch up, though; spread out. This is a great time to set up with sniper rifles at max range.

Once you damage the ship, the mechanoids will pop out. They come in two varieties; fast Scythers which carry a long-range Charge Lance, and slow-moving Centipedes which will carry either a Minigun, which sprays bullets in an arc, or an Inferno Cannon that launches blobs of fire that can drive your colonists out of cover.

The secret technique for acing these encounters is EMP weapons -- grenades or mortars. If a raider drops an EMP grenade, save it, don't sell it. When the alien ship event shows up, give it to a (disposable) colonist. Have a colonist with a slow weapon (sniper rifle, say) take the first shot to crack open the ship, and while that colonist is aiming, set the EMP grenadier to attack also, so his grenade hits right after the mechanoids emerge. With luck, you'll catch them in the EMP blast, and they won't be able to return fire while your colonists cut them down.

Artillery Conquers, Infantry Occupies

That's a high-risk strategy, though, and if you can, it's better to take the ships apart with long-range mortar fire. Here's an example mortar setup, with three EMP mortars, three standard mortars, and three incendiary mortars.

  • A lot of people dismiss mortars because they're inaccurate and slow, but those are both problems you can solve with more mortars.

  • You want to store the artillery shells as close to the mortars as possible, to minimize transit time; the shells need to be stored under a roof, the mortars obviously cannot be under a roof.

  • Each mortar will "reserve" a stack of at least 25 shells for itself, so make sure you have at least 25 shells per mortar you want to bring into operation.

  • Pacifist colonists cannot fire mortars, but brawlers can. Be sure to release them after combat (draft/undraft works), or they'll keep manning the mortar until they pass out or have a mental break.

For this encounter, we want the EMP mortars (you can use standard mortars also, but they may damage your colonists if you've placed them too close to the target and there's an overshoot). You can use "forced attack" to launch some shells directly at the alien ship; once your attackers are in position, do so. Watch the shell in flight; once it's en route, pause, then have one of your colonists open fire, just like with the EMP grenade. Time it right, and the mechanoids will be hit with the EMP mortar shell just as they emerge.

Three mortars are generally enough to stunlock most of the mechanoids. Keep firing until they're all down. Once the mechanoids are down, harvest their parts via the bills menu (see below); Scyther Blade removal is a Construction task, but uses the Medical skill, so it's best performed by high-skill doctors with Construction enabled as a task.

Be sure to destroy the ship and unforbid the loot. Keep an eye out for an "AI persona core" sometimes dropped by the psychic ship, as it's necessary for the spaceship endgame, and for any high-quality miniguns the centipedes sometimes drop (See: Miniguns under Workshops: Machining)

Enemy Seige

Every so often raiders will show up and, instead of charging your base, will start setting up a defensive position with sandbags and mortars, then launch incendiary shells at you. There are a few effective strategies against these encounters.

  • First thing you can try is just shelling them right back. Your mortars can usually take out theirs easily -- they're shooting at your whole base, you're shooting at a small target. Your EMP mortars will disable theirs, but the incendiary and concussion mortars will just destroy them, so that's generally a better tactic.

  • Second thing to try is snipers. If you have a couple colonists with sniper rifles they can usually approach the hostiles, take out the mortars at range, and make their escape without getting caught by the enemy.

  • Third approach is to just rush them with your own colonists. High risk and dangerous, but maybe a good choice if you don't have mortars or snipers already. Be sure to advance and use cover as much as you can.

  • Fourth approach is just wait it out. This is surprisingly viable, especially if you're under a thick rock roof and have a stone base -- the enemy will mostly use incendiary mortars, so just put out the fires.

Once the enemy mortars are destroyed, they will either move to attack your base (like a standard raid; respond with standard tactics) or give up and run away.

Ancient Dangers

Your map will have a few pre-built enclosed rooms that give you an "ancient danger" warning when your colonists pass by them. These generally include a few mechanoids and/or some cryosleep caskets containing potentially capturable and recruitable pawns.

It's harder to use mortars for these, since errant mortar fire can crack open the cryosleep caskets, and you want to at least try to capture the sleepers alive. A better strategy can be to build IED mines near a corner of the enclosure, deconstruct a single block, and then let the imprisoned mechanoids run out onto the bomb(s). Once the mechanoids are dealt with, you can build a similar perimeter of deadfall traps to knock out the sleepers, or just have melee colonists stand next to all the caskets and jump them as they emerge (cryosleep sickness will virtually guarantee safe victory to your brawlers).


Every so often a Rare Thrumbo event will happen and some rare monsters will show up. They're very dangerous if engaged improperly but easy to take down with thought.

First method is kiting; get a pawn with high movement speed (bionic legs, Jogger), shoot the thrumbo, run away, and lead it into your killbox. Thrumbo problem solved.

Second method is the "Cask of Amontillado" approach. Wait till the Thrumbo is asleep; place a large quantity of beer near it; wall it in with double walls. It will feed on the beer, get drunk, pass out, and die in a few days (presuming you've given it enough beer to die happy).

Make sure to butcher the thrumbo as its fur and horn are very valuable.
Recruitment: The Fine Art of Stockholm Syndrome
Taking Prisoners & Recruitment

Once the battle's over, there will be a lot of corpses and, probably, a smaller number of twitching wounded bleeding out all over your nice clean floors. Some of them might be worth recruiting. You can set colonists to capture them with right-click if you have an enclosed prisoner-marked bed or sleeping spot to take them to. Once captured, mark them for recruitment under your "Prisoner" settings, and whoever's set to Warden (ideally a pawn with high Social) will try to chat them up.

Sometimes you'll spot a raider you want to capture before the first shots are fired. If you're trying to knock out a particular raider, it helps to use blunt weapons (See the Gear and Crafting section; I recommend wooden maces).

-- There is a 67% chance any incapacitated enemy raider will simply drop dead, though, regardless (you can savescum this).

-- look for recruits that can clean and haul and have a "passion" for something, ideally something useful (cooking, crafting, artistic). If they aren't useful, don't bother capturing; let them bleed out. (Unless you want to set up a secondary-base work camp: see "Space Siberia," below).

-- traits to look for: as with colonists, but prostophobe/phile may matter more if you've severed a limb capturing them. Similarly, "chemical fascination" may start mattering if you've started up drug production.

-- NPC's each have an individual recruitment base chance. It's partly random and partly based on background (faction leaders are harder to recruit; spacers are easier).

-- there is a 15% recruitment chance penalty for having a different tech level than your colony -- tribals have a hard time recruiting spacemen and vice versa. Tribals, pirates, and outlanders have different traits and background pools, though; tribals tend healthier, etc.

-- It is much harder to recruit more than 12 or so colonists in Cassandra or Phoebe, and this penalty is not shown on the recruitment page (there is a similar limit for Randy, but it's 50).

-- Mood also matters for recruitment; happy prisoners recruit more easily. One good way to get on your prisoner's good side is therefore to make them a fancy barracks and fill it with statues and television sets and other joy devices. The problem is, though, that happy, healthy prisoners together in groups are far more likely to stage a prison break, and then you'll have to cave their skulls in again to recapture them all. Generally therefore it's preferable, as with colonists, to hold your prisoners individually in separate cells, rather than in a centralized barracks. You also want to spread those cells out across your base as much as you can -- prisoners in adjoining cells may try to break out together.

-- There is a minimum recruit chance (something like .5%) so with enough time & patience anyone is recruitable, eventually. Presuming they don't die first.

The Ones You Don't Recruit: a.k.a. "Long Pork"

-- you can sell prisoners and harvest organs from them, but not too much at once, or everyone in your colony will get generally upset; each separate prisoner sale or organ harvest incurs an individual colony-wide mood penalty and those penalties stack (the selling or harvesting pawn will also incur social dislike from your other colonists).

-- dump the bodies somewhere out of sight, but let your dogs have access so they can fill up on raider meat.

--You can butcher the bodies, but generally this is more trouble than it's worth; you can avoid the "consumed human meat" debuff by just using the meat for kibble, but there's still some significant colony-wide mood penalties due to the simple fact of butchering (even if your butcher is a Psychopath or Cannibal and avoids the individual mood hit).

-- you can strip bionic limbs from captured prisoners with no colonist mood penalties

-- You can raise medical skill by putting peg legs and dentures on all the prisoners you don't recruit.

-- can release prisoners of tribal and civilized factions for a faction boost, but won't help with pirate factions.

-- you can harvest a maximum of one lung, one kidney, and one additional organ from any given prisoner (this kills the prisoner).
Colonist Management -- Outfits, Joy, and Social Interactions
You can avoid the "tattered apparel" mood hit, assuming you have enough clothing for everyone, by setting a custom outfit under "assign" and limiting it to only gear over 50% in durability.

Skill decay is a thing past rank 10, so it's better to specialize your pawns in specific skills so they stay sharp rather than have a bunch of generalists.

"Joy" and "Mood" are two separate things: Joy is one way to get a mood boost, but a sick, tired, uncomfortable colonist won't be happy no matter how much TV they watch.

Entertainment (pool, television, chess, horseshoes, etc.) is one way to build joy, but working at something they are "passionate" about will provide far more joy -- think of your joy sources as a backup for the poor saps who have to work crap jobs they don't care about (sometimes, Rimworld is a bit too real).

Other activities you might not expect can also build joy -- for example, if you have a Tomb room set up with sarcophagi holding dead colonists, colonists will sometimes head there and meditate, gaining a joy boost (it can be worth it to place your Tomb nearby just for this). Similarly, art (sculptures) also help colonists build joy. The game actually tracks several different joy "types" -- meditative, substances, etc. -- and colonists build "resistance" to each type, so it's well worth it to have a variety of different joy sources.

If a colonist is particularly joy deprived, try assigning them a specific hour of joy activity on their work schedule -- right before bed or right after bed is usually best, to minimize time walking back and forth to the base.

Assign married couples or lovers to share double beds, so they get a social boost with each other and keep each other happy.

You can use the "restrict" menu to set colonist work schedules. Make sure lovers or married couples are working the same schedule, so they get time together in bed; conversely, if two colonists hate each other, or if one pawn is constantly hitting on another and getting rejected, split their shifts. Make sure night owls work the night shift.

-- don't let colonists wear gear captured from dead raiders, as it will have a special "dead man's gear" debuff. Gear stripped from living raiders seems to be perfectly wearable though. For some reason, probably because they are uncraftable, personal shields do not have this debuff and can be reworn just fine.

Drugs, Hospitals, and Surgery
Medicine & Drugs


Researching the drug lab, penoxycline, and "medicine" is worth doing fairly early on, before your colonists all come down with malaria (especially if you're in a jungle / rainforest biome).

-- Crafting Medicine requires a minimum Medical skill of 6 and a minimum Crafting skill of 3, one of the few items with a specific skill requirement. "Medicine" is significanlty more effective than "herbal medicine" at treating disease and infections, so buy Neutroamine from traders, grow some Cloth and Healroot, and make sure you aren't caught with your pants down when a plague hits.

-- Keep a stock of Penoxcycline and set your doctors to take it regularly (Assign menu), so they aren't hit with the plague right when you need them most. You can administer Penoxy to sick colonists too -- it will boost their immunity against disease up to 61%, but won't instantly cure them.

-- make sure your colonists are set to NOT use "glitterworld medicine" by default, always buy it from traders, and "forbid" it in the stockpile until it's time for surgery.

-- Wake-Up and Go-Juice can dramatically increase colonist performance across the board, even at things like crafting or surgery, but they are addictive so use sparingly.

--Beer can be used to get animals drunk (see: Cask of Amontillado thrumbo tactic) but this has a downside as you have to keep your own pets out of the beer fridge.

Beer and Smokeleaf are relatively safe for most colonists in small amounts. Smokeleaf is not particularly addictive or harmful, but hurts work performance; beer is easy to make in large quantities, easy to stockpile as it has an indefinite shelf life even without refrigeration, and is not particularly harmful in moderation. A pawn set to "social drugs" will generally drink and smoke fairly sparingly, and they can help you keep a happy fort buzzing merrily along.

If a pawn drowns their sorrows too often, though, they can develop a "tolerance", which is a warning sign they may soon develop significant health issues (liver cirrhosis, cancer, etc.).

It therefore is not a good idea to use beer as your primary joy source; if your colonists have no other sources of joy in their lives,they may drink hemselves into oblivion just to dull the pain. It is also probably worth setting up a custom drug policy that limits your colonists to only drinking (or smoking) every other day at most, and/or only when they are on the verge of a mood break. Keep an eye on colonist health, and if anyone develops a tolerance, cut them off.

I still think it's worth running a beer operation, though -- in moderation it won't hurt anyone, and it's a great trade good.

But be sure that any colonists with "seeking" or "fascination" are set to never drink at all, not even "socially" -- they'll still binge sometimes, but it helps to make them abstain as much as possible.

All drugs are *very* dangerous for animals, especially small animals (puppies, etc.) -- I've lost more than one young pup because he stuck his nose into a pile of flake I'd left lying out. So make sure your animals are zone-restricted from access to wherever your drugs are kept.

For harder drugs, Yayo is less addictive and harmful, while Flake makes more money when sold.

Hospitals and Recovery

-- Clean, sterile floors reduce infection chance; use sterile tile in your hospital, and keep it clean.

-- standard beds don't have a quality bonus for healing, but "hospital bed" quality does -- a masterwork hospital bed will give healing benefits relative to a normal quality bed or a bed that isn't a "hospital bed".

-- To the left you can see a sample hospital setup, with eight beds spiraled around a single vitals monitor. You can only connect a bed to one vitals monitor, but you can connect a vitals monitor to up to eight beds, as shown; corners count. Overall room size shown is 9x9, and all eight beds can get the "spaciousness" bonus. Note that the floor is dirty -- you wouldn't want to be operated on in here unless they cleaned it up first. You could also improve this setup by putting in televisions, so folks have something to do while they rest.

-- Successful bandaging isn't too demanding of your Medical skill, but higher skill will give better results.

Surgery & Bionics

-- Stomachs, spines, and brains can't be replaced, but if your colonists lose limbs or an eye, don't despair; you can rebuild them. Livers, lungs and hearts can be transplanted, while bionic arms, legs, and eyes can dramatically enhance your colonist's performance at many tasks. Problem is trasplants require surgery.

-- Surgery in A16 is fairly high risk and not something to be done casually unless you don't mind savescumming & reloading failures. Even a high-skill doctor operating in a clean hospital can have a significant [rimworldwiki.com]chance of a dangerous failure that could end up maiming or even killing the patient. Herbal medicine reduces the chance of success by 60%; normal medicine by 30%; i.e., a surgeon with a 96% chance of success has a 67% chance with normal medicine and a 38% chance with herbal meds. if your prisoners all die in during organ extractions, this is probably why.

-- "Glitterworld" medicine gives a +30 bonus to surgery success chance, though, which is enough of a boost that it will give a 100% success chance if your doctor is healthy (all his eyes, all his fingers, etc.), has a minimum level of medical skill (6+ or so), and nothing else is severely wrong.

-- You can also boost your surgeon's effectiveness by giving him Wake-Up or Go-Juice drugs, although use those sparingly as they're addictive. Bionic arms will also help your surgeon's effectiveness rate (though who installs the arms on your surgeon?).

-- Once you have a stock of glitterworld medicine, a skilled surgeon, and a stock of spare bionic limbs, you can start augmenting your colonists with bionic parts.

Almost any colonist with a permanent injury will strongly benefit from bionics. Healthy colonists can be worth augmenting too, but it's complicated and depends on what sort of work the colonist does. Briefly, bionic eyes help shooting, melee DPS, medical bandaging and disease care (but not surgery or most crafting, due to caps). Bionic arms help crafting, surgery, and most other physical tasks (constructing, etc.). Bionic legs help with movement speed primarily (but that helps everything).

If you want a more precise answer as to which colonists will be improved most by which augmentations, go into their individual "i" menus and look task-by-task for a breakdown of what their skills and abilities are already. The bonuses from bionics use a weighted formula and have some weird caps, so you have to check skill by skill. To the right you can see a breakdown of all the work speed bonuses to Tailoring for a "maxed out" colonist with perfect traits, maxed-out Crafting skill, good mood, and, importantly, two bionic arms. The "Manipulation" of "140%" is because she's getting a +20% boost from each arm. For this pawn, her base rate of 100% crafting speed gains +75% from traits; that total, 175% global work speed, is multiplied by 120% due to mood, giving a work speed of 210%; that total is then multiplied by "health factors" -- the bionic arms* -- , giving a final tally of 286% work speed -- in other words, the two bionic arms gave this colonist a +76% boost in work speed.

* (Though "sight" here is capped at 100%; no boost to Tailoring from bionic eyes!).

-- Power claws and scyther blades are generally bad ideas as they have downsides and are outdamaged by high-quality plasteel melee weapons (plus melee is deprecated anyway).
Workshops in Detail: Crafting, Gear, and the Bills Menu
In this section, we'll cover each of the major workshops in turn, and discuss what's worth crafting, what isn't, and how to configure everything for optimal results.

Top "bill" on the menu has priority, then next one down, etc.


I'd suggest placing your stoves in a separate kitchen room directly adjacent to the freezer room, not in the freezer, as stoves produce heat now, and freezing temperatures give a penalty to work speed. The kitchen needs enough AC to stay at "refrigerated," which means between 33 and 49 degrees Fahrenheit / 1-9 degrees Celsius (so your food is less likely to spoil while the cook cooks it). Keep your kitchen clean to reduce chance of food poisoning; sterile tile flooring will help, as will partitioning off your butcher in a separate room -- butchers produce filth.

Fine meals give a +5 mood boost. Lavish meals give a +10 mood boost but are "lossy" in terms of nutrional value so are a bad choice if you're low on food.

Later, you can set half your cooks to work the night shift via the "restrict" menu, for constant meal production. If you put a one-tile, "critical" stockpile for meat on one side of the cooks' chair, and a similar two-tile for veggies on the other, it will greatly speed meal production (but will also keep your haulers very busy assisting the cook).


What you make clothes out of matters. Every textile has a slightly different color (you can see a table of which textiles are which colors here[imgur.com]).

Most materials use standard values (a "yorkieskin" leather jacket has the same stats as one made out of "muffalo hide"), but some materials have unique stats that can give strong bonuses. Details are on the wiki here[rimworldwiki.com] and here[rimworldwiki.com], but to focus on the highlights,

  • Devilstrand, Hyperweave, and Synthread are especially resistant to cutting and bludgeoning (i.e., most combat) damage, as are Rhinohide and Thrumbofur to a lesser extent.

  • Pigskin and Synthread, and to a slightly lesser extent Thrumbofur and Hyperweave, are extremely resistant to fire damage (explosions, inferno cannon, etc.)

  • Button-down shirts and dusters give the most coverage; shirts and pants protect well vs. blunt and sharp damage, but not very well against heat or electric damage, while dusters protect decently against all damage types

  • Environmentally, dusters protect against heat and cold, while parkas protect against extreme cold very well. Cowboy hats protect against the heat and give a Social bonus, while tuque caps protect against the cold.

Since Synthread, Hyperweave, and Thrumbofur are relatively scarce, if you're in a warm environment, you want to make button-down shirts and pants out of Devilstrand, dusters out of pigskin (rhino hide as a second choice; wool if temperature is a priority), and cowboy hats out of whatever wool you have available.

To the right, you can see how to configure your tailor "bill" settings to make high-quality shirts, pants, hats, and dusters as described. Note that the bills are set to "drop on floor" so your crafters don't waste time hauling. I've set "allowed crafting skill" to 20 to make sure only my best crafter makes these -- you'll want to make clothes before you skill up quite that high, though, so set that range to include your highest skill crafter, whatever skill level they're at. (If you don't have a good crafter yet, maybe practice first on less valuable materials).

If you follow this setup, you will want to plant a LOT of devilstrand, as it grows very slowly.


Only real use I've found in the standard scenario is to make up a set of high-quality wood maces to give my brawlers, so they can capture more effectively. Blunt weapons are less likely to maim, and wood hits faster but for less damage, so together they make a weapon that inflicts a lot of pain but relatively less permanent damage. (If you want permanent damage and maiming, make plasteel longswords).


Make some custom guns. Rimworld has a lot of different guns, and they have a suprising degree of variation -- some are better at short range, some at long, etc. Each gun's accuracy declines with range until it hits a maximum range limit, past which it cannot hit. You can find a (slightly outdated) gun calculator[cityofthesky.com] here, but the important takeaway points are, briefly:

  • The Charge Rifle dominates out to 25 tiles, but the assault and sniper rifles have longer ranges (32 and 45 tiles respectively).

  • If you don't have Charge Rifles yet, the Heavy SMG is roughly the best at short range (under 20 tiles), Assault Rifle roughly the best at medium range (20-32 tiles).

  • The Sniper Rifle has a lower DPS overall than most weapons, but has by far the longest range, and a high "alpha strike" -- it hits slow but it hits hard. Good to have a few lying around, but you don't want everyone using 'em.

  • The Minigun is a special case; normally useless, but against massed enemies or structures, can be very effective, especially with Trigger Happy. Aim past the target, and rely on the game's shot-blocking math to spread your damage.

  • Gun skill doesn't matter that much so long as you have a basic competency (6-ish). Going from rank 10 to rank 20 only moves your accuracy from 98% to 99.7%.

  • Gun quality makes a huge difference in DPS.

  • Low skill characters are best off using guns that spew a lot of bullets -- more chances to hit, and more chances to skill up.

So make yourself a couple of high-quality sniper rifles for your top shooters, and assault rifles or SMG's for everyone else, then Charge Rifles once you have those researched.

You can also make power armor, armored vests, etc., here; I generally don't bother, as armored vests give a move penalty, & power armor penalizes movement & work speed. Power helmets do not though, and can be a good protection agains disfigurement.

Finally, it's worth setting up a bill at the bottom of the list here to make artillery shells. Set it to skill 0-19 and enable 'smithing" on your crafter and they'll skill up making artillery shells before making high-quality gear.

Sculptor's Table

It's easy to neglect the sculptor's table but doing so is a mistake; even low quality sculptures can be sold to the Exotic Trader, and high-quality ones make a big difference in colonist mood. Train up your artists sculpting wood sculptures as wood is renewable and gives good value, then shift to marble. Sell everything below "excellent" quality, keep excellent / masterwork / legendary.


I like to set up three "forever" bills at the smelter: one to melt down slag, one to melt down any "awful" or "poor" quality weapons, and one to melt down any weapons with under 50% durability.


This is an ok place for your low-skill, Passionate crafters to rank up, since blocks don't have a quality, but only for low level skill, as Stonecutting gains XP at 1/4 rate. Set up a bill to make blocks out of marble and granite, limit it to skill 0-10 or so (you don't want your top crafters wasting time making blocks), and then put a stockpile set to recieve either marble or granite chunks right next to the bench. Tweak the "ingredient radius" down so the bench can only draw from the stockpile.

Component Bench

Also a good way to skill up crafters. In a small base, may not be worth the 20-component cost, but in a larger base or one where you're building lots of things, practically a necessity. Uses the "smithing" labor, not the "crafting" labor (but that's still "Crafting" skill).

Drug Lab

See the Drugs section.
Research: Priorities and Thresholds
-- First priority is microelectronics basics. Put up your trade beacons and comms console and install a high tech research bench ASAP once you have this.

-- Next research improvised turrets.

-- For another early priority I'd suggest devilstrand (gotta get this crop in the ground ASAP as it has a long grow time).

-- Researching and building the multi-analyzer early will greatly boost your research speed. You will need 20 Gold and 50 Plasteel to build it.

-- after that I'd suggest smithing and then machining to build your own guns (as soon as you have a high skill crafter) and mortars (for EMP mortars to defend against mechanoids).

-- Drugs, Medicine, hospital beds, and the Vitals Monitor will provide a dramatic boost in colonist survivability, especially if you get hit with a wave of disease (can happen very early, especially in rainforest biomes).

-- Keep an eye on your map's resources; be sure you have "smelting", and ideally "deep drilling" and "ground penetrating scanner" researched and built before your map runs out of steel.

Animals can add a lot to your fort but they're somewhat of a mid-to-late game thing: Once you need wool for clothing, or if your colony population is too big for natural hunting to meet your meat needs, you'll want to move to domestic production.

Some animals you will be able to tame wild on your map, but this ican be a bit risky for the taming colonist. Wait till you capture an otherwise-disposable colonist with decent taming skill (or, if you dont' mind savescumming, just reload on a failed tame attempt).

Once you have mated pairs of animals they'll reproduce, and even untrained animals can be sold to most traders for a decent amount; a chicken farm especially can be a decent cash cow (get it? get it?).

Wool, Eggs, Milk, Meat

Animals that give wool (alpacas, muffalos, dromedaries, and megatheriums) are very useful once you have tailoring set up, because wool is a very high-value material and gives very good temperature protection, so woolen dusters, hats, and parkas are very often worth crafting for your colonists to wear and sell.

Eggs and Milk let you make fine and lavish meals much more easily, especially if you've hunted your map otherwise bare, so are worth setting up in mid to late game. Chickens give the most eggs; cows give the most milk; alpacas give the most wool (though dromedaries give the best); muffalos and dromedaries give both wool and milk but at slower rates. If you slaughter animals for meat, it's generally best to slaugher the males first, as females will give milk and only one male is needed to keep the females reproducing.

Chickens especially reproduce very quickly and will produce scads of eggs, but can be a huge CPU hog for those same reasons, so only pursue if you have a powerful rig. It also helps to have either 1) a map with a lot of grass (i.e., temperate forest) for the chickens to eat, or a very large hayfield and kibble production operation, otherwise all the chickens will starve. (You can think of a chickens as a way to turn haygrass and wild grass into the 'meat" component of fine and lavish meals).

As mentioned in the Trading section, Muffalos and Dromedaries can carry goods in caravans, making them dramatically more useful than other animals (no other animals can). Dromedaries give better quality wool, but reproduce more slowly than muffalos.

Animal Bonding

Animals have a small percentage chance to "bond" with colonists in four circumstances:

  • On successful taming (5% chance)
  • On successful training (1.5% chance)
  • On medical tending (1% chance; insta-tames the animal)
  • Randomly every hour to the animal's assigned master, if they're within 12 squares away (1% chance)

Once "bonded," that colonist can get a +5 mood boost from being set as that animals' "master", and will conversely have a -3 mood penalty if not set as that animal's master. If the animal or the colonist dies, there's a decent chance the other half of the bond will go into berserk rage, too.

This would be a decent little benefit except for three things:

  • Some animals require a minimum Animal skill for a colonist to be their "master", so sometimes colonists with no animal skill will have a permanent mood debuff from getting bonded with animals they don't have the skill for;
  • The mood bonus does not stack, but the debuff on death does, so if a colonist has multiple bonded animals (which is likely if you have a single animal trainer) and multiple animals die at once, that colonist is going to go berserk on you; and
  • Conversely, if the trainer dies, you can get end up with a colony-wide wave of berserking animals.

Net result is that bonded animals are more of a liability than an advantage; sometimes it can be a good idea to wait till the trainer is in a good mood and then slaughter a bonded animal, just so they get the mood hit while they can take it without a freakout.

Training: Combat and Hauling

Generally it isn't worth it to train animals for combat, as animals 1) cannot be micromanaged in combat, and 2) rely on melee attacks; the net effect is that all too often combat animals are more of a liability than anything else, charging in and getting themselves slaughtered (especially a problem if, as above, they're bonded). A kamikaze beast swarm can be useful with caravans on the world map, where you don't have the advantage of pre-built defenses, but if you're in your base, your walls and turrets and colonists will probably be more effective against most things most of the time, and combat animals are more likely to get in the way than anything else.

Labradors, timber wolves, huskies, wargs, pigs, boars, and some other animals can be trained as haulers. Of these, only the labs, huskies, pigs, and boars are really worth it, as they're relatively easy to train, eat relatively little, and will do a decent job of assisting with the hauling.

Wargs are the "best" canine for combat, but have a very high "wildness" statistic, which makes them very difficult to train, to the point that they might die of old age before you finish training them; they also only eat meat (not kibble); if you want a "combat" dog, I'd suggest timber wolves instead, as they're a bit more trainable and will also eat kibble (though they prefer meat). Trained carnivores can eventually "hunt" on their own -- killing animals and hauling them back to the kitchen for butchering -- but it takes a while to train up the hauling part.

Care and Feeding

Hay, and hay made into kibble, is generally food enough, unless you have wargs; if you have a lot of animals (chickens reproduce like, well, rabbits) you will need a correspondingly large amount of hay. Animals eat based on size, so if you're short of food, slaughter the older, fatter ones first (but keep a breeding pair!).

Animal Zones: To the Doghouse

If you do use domesticated animals, be sure to set up zones for them. You'll want one "Barn" zone you can send all the animals to in an emergency, the "home" zone, one zone for "home, except crop fields," and one zone for "everywhere else outside the base".

You can click-drag on the Animals menu when assigning zones, you don't have to click each animal individually.

Chickens and milk or wool animals are usually best restricted to your Barn. If they run low on food, you can set them to "everywhere else outside the base" and they will eat whatever grass is available, but this can denude your map if you rely on it too heavily (some players use this tactic as a meat shield, allowing a bunch of chickens to roam the map to distract raiders). Wargs trained as haulers can be set to "home" and will feed themselves from your fridge (if set to unrestricted, they will hunt independently, which sometimes means they bring back meat on their own and sometimes means they get killed). Other animals trained as haulers should be set to "home, except crop fields" so they can help haul but will not eat your half-grown crops (if allowed outside the base, they'll get themselves killed, and some might be bonded).

You can also use animal zones for combat, especially if you have a large number of animals (enough for a swarm). As this video demonstrates (skip to about 17:00-21:00), setting an animal zone around attackers and then assigning a swarm of beasts to that zone can be an *extremely* effective strategy, especially as it doesn't involve any training.
Domestic Trading
Domestic Trade

--Some things cannot be manufactured in your fort, only obtained from outsiders, so prioritize them. Short list is

  • neutroamine,
  • glitterworld medicine,
  • bionic parts
  • Telescopes
  • Flatscreen & Megascreen televisions.

Neutroamine is the most common of these; it's the base ingredient in most medicines and drugs; most traders have it, but you'll want a sizeable stock on hand.

Glitterworld medicine gives a huge bonus for surgery, which is otherwise very risky; buy this when you see it, and make sure your colonists are set to not use it unless you're about to cut someone open.

Bionic parts can dramatically enhance colonist performance, but wait till you have everything set up to try installing them, as it's a surgical procedure and thus risky (See Hospitals).

Telescopes and Megascreen Televisions are good joy sources you can't produce on your own (don't bother with flatscreens). Not necessary but worth grabbing if available and you have the spare silver.

-- Usually a good idea to buy out each trader's supply of steel and components also.

-- different traders have different sell prices; if it's in red and you can wait for a better price, do so.

-- have a trade good to sell.

  • wooden sculptures sell well to the exotic trader and are a good way to skill up, but other traders won't buy them;

  • Most traders buy clothing. Dusters give the best silver-to-materials cash ratio but take a lot of work to craft; Tuques give the best silver-to-work-time cash ratio if you're long on materials but short on time.

  • Most weapons generally aren't worth crafting as exports, even if you have a max skill crafter, mostly because they take limited resources (steel, components, plasteel). On the other hand, if you are crafting a bunch of weapons to skim off the high-quality ones, no reason not to sell the wastage.

  • Drugs can be a profitable export. All drugs take some management though; for details, see the Drugs section).
--50% durability clothing can often still be sold for a pretty penny

-- animals worth buying: see Animals section

-- Once you have a production chain up and going, call trade caravans early and often. All those cloth caps and all that extra corn isn't doing you any good sitting around, and you can make way more than 600 silver per caravan.

-- Muffalos and Dromedaries can carry goods in caravans; no other animals can. (see Animals section).

Caravans and Raiding: Ice Marines & The Boomalope Drop
(Work in Progress!)


-- Colonists load caravans manually, item by item, and ignoring everything else to do so, driving themselves to exhaustion and collapse. So make sure you have plenty of haulers to load the thing.

-- You don't necessarily have to have enough food for your whole trip, just enough food to reach the next friendly trading post, plus something to trade for food when you get there. Lightweight, high value items like alien artifacts and devilstrand clothing make great trade goods.

-- food doesn't seem to age or rot while you're travelling (though it will during any stops you make), and there doesn't seem to be any mood impact from bad food either. So carry all that raw meat just fine. Some things seem to count as food that shouldn't, and others don't that should -- apparently while in transit your colonists can eat kibble for example.

-- You can have encounters on the world map. Sometimes they're friendly, sometimes they aren't. You won't have your fort's defenses to hide behind, so make sure your caravaneers are well armed. This is one area where an animal swarm really does shine, too -- nothing's going to put up much of a fight if you throw twenty muffalo at it.

-- If you run out of food, pull an Oregon Trail: stop in a temporary base, settle and hunt. You only get to keep what you can pack out, so butcher on-site then move on. Meat won't spoil en-route. (For some reason, gathered berries don't count as food for caravans).


Generally it's going to be easier to pod-drop in and caravan out, rather than the other way around (currently the game doesn't really understand having your whole force pod out again, though that's a known bug that should be fixed soon).

Plan your strategy and load your pods, then blast off. The world map will show you the range of your pods. If you have pawns on the map already, they can target for you, and you can choose *precisely* where you want your pods to land; if not, you'll be give the option to either drop in "on the edge" or "in the center". If you drop "in the center", have some melee guys -- you'll need them. Pods travel *very* fast, so you might want to send in a scout first, then the rest of your force more precisely.

Most enemy bases are fairly simple affairs, and a lot of things are pretty effective against them.

--Incendiary mortars work well if the base is wooden, which it probably is; but some bases will have firefoam poppers, so that may foil this tactic. Once you have the mortars built, the enemy will probably try to assault your position, so build some impromptu defenses first.

-- Using a psychic animal pulser will almost always wipe out the enemy base, but, well .. . you probably want to bring along a psychic animal soother too. (See right).

-- Try setting up a squadron of Ice Marines. A lot of things that aren't worth it on a normal colonist (Scyther Blades, Power armor, Go-Juice, maybe even Luciferium) start to make a lot more sense if you have a dedicated military squad. Juice 'em up and keep 'em on cryosleep until it's time, then pod-drop them to where they need to go; the drugs will more than counteract the cryosleep penalties (and cryosleep sickness wears off quickly anyway).. Of course, they have to get back, and currently there are some bugs around having your whole force exit the map via pods.

Colonists with "trigger happy" make a great choice for this, as their aim penalty will be counteracted by the drugs.

-- Try the Boomalope Drop. Of course, they won't explode on impact, but they'll be a part of your faction, so if dropped closely enough, the enemy will shoot them, and they'll fight back. With enough of them, this functions kinda like a long-range artillery strike.

-- you can "stealth raid." If the enemy never sees you, combat will never start. Tunnel into their base and move back to the map edge, then leave.

Secondary Forts: Space Siberia
Secondary Bases

-- Instead of setting up a second full base, you can set up "work camps" near your primary base for extra hunting and resource gathering. Pod-blast or caravan the resources back to your main base every so often.

-- Pods are very fast (near-instantaneous over short distances) but expensive to build (80 steel and 1 component per) so you don't want to use them casually.. Conversely, Caravans can carry a LOT more material (and there doesn't seem to be rotting or decay en route) but take much longer and have food costs and risks of attacks en route. Net result, it's probably adviseable, where you can, to preference shipping finished goods (guns/clothing/meals), perishables (food) and colonists by pod, while sending raw resources or high volume supplies by caravan.

-- If you have a lot of less optimal pawns or pawns who don't get along with everyone else (depressive, abrasive, etc.), exile them to the work camp, where it doesn't matter as much if they have a mental break.

Jelly Farming

A secondary fort can be a great place to set up a jelly farm. Jelly is a great food and gives a mood boost that stacks with all other bonuses, so this is worth doing. The problem with bug farms is you have to leave the bugs alive to keep the hives maintained, and bugs are dangerous and eat rock, so are difficult to contain.

The secret is that bugs have a max comfortable temperature of 122 F, so they'll start getting heatstroke around 145F; if your colonists have on good wool cowboy hats and dusters, they should be comfy up to around 170F, so we can exploit that differential. (Very cold temperatures can do the same thing, but they damage the hives and prevent new spawns, plus it's harder to set up large-scale cooling).

  • Dig out a big area underground, but don't build there, and make sure there's only one entrance and there's a LOT of rock between your living quarters and the dug-out area.
  • Don't dig out under any other "thick rock" anywhere else on the map. (If you do, *sunlamps* and/or temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit will stop bugs from spawning, as will filling every square inch with rubble or other furniture, but they actually stop the spawn, which means it will take that much longer to get bugs to spawn elsewhere on the map).
  • Set up a lot of space heaters and put them on the inside of the hollowed out area. Set the heaters to 170F and seal them off from your main base with a door. Keep them turned off for now with a switch.
  • Eventually, insects will spawn in the dug-out area (this may take a long time, though you can insta-spawn an infestation with dev mode tools).
  • Let them grow and reproduce until there are 30 hives in place (the max number of hives on a map).
  • Once there's plenty of jelly spawned, turn on the heaters crank up the heat. If you buit enough heaters, you'll cook all the bugs, and can swoop in and gather up a bunch of jelly while they're all knocked out from heatstroke. Animal haulers are a good choice for this work as the hives will still keep spawning bugs so there's some ongoing danger.
  • Once you've gathered enough jelly, turn the heaters off again and let the bugs recover.

For one example, see below -- the stone blocks keep the bugs from spawning by the heaters, the heaters warm it up, knocking the buggies out. Just like a beehive, but with heat instead of smoke. One thing I did wrong though: Note the open area at the top right -- that was a hidden underground "bubble" of open space that the bugs uncovered by their own digging, and I had to close back off with dev tools to keep the heat from escaping.. If I'd been smart, I'd have carved a long hallway with adjacent small rooms, then just heated the hallway directly and the small rooms passively, so that individual breaches were less damaging.

There are too many good mods to list all of them; a lot will depend on your playstyle.

A few mods you might want to check out:

Ease of Play / Utility
  • "Prepare Carefully". Lets you configure your starting colonists precisely. I'm . . . rather detail oriented, so I appreciate this. Also lets you pick your starting pet, clothing, gear, etc. Very powerful -- you can pop out of the pod in full hyperweave and power armor if you want -- but don't over do it as the Storyteller will take your added oomph into account.

  • "Power Switch" lets you set up automated switches for things like "enemy approaches" (good for turrets) and "time of day" (good for batteries and lighting).

  • "Quality Builder" automatically ensures only your colonist most skilled at Construction builds furniture where "quality" matters (chairs, tables, etc.). If you care about such things it saves a lot of micromanagement.

  • "I Can Fix It" automatically orders your colonists to reconstruct anything that gets destroyed. Very, very useful if you have complex turret or power grid layouts that keep getting blown up; also good for dealing with the inevitable ZZZTs automatically, without micromanagement.

  • "Better Pathfinding" by Zhentar. Makes your colonists a bit more efficient (and the mod author provided a great deal of useful feedback for this guide, and I know how to give a plug. Thanks Zhentar!)

  • "Defensive Positions" helps automate the process of everyone hiding in doorways (if you use the defense strategies I recommend above).

Example Forts: What Worked, What Didn't
This is the part of the guide where I tell fort stories. You can skip this part if you want.

Although I've been playing Rimworld on and off since the initial release (I was a kickstarter backer), much of this guide is based (as you may have been able to guess from the screenshots) from two specific A15 forts.

The first can be seen here:
I was trying for a star fort[en.wikipedia.org] style design but. . it didn't work. I was just trying to defend too huge a perimeter, and hostiles would always end up taking out at least one or two turrets every raid, which adds up; plus my bunkers were poorly designed, so my colonists kept getting injured in crossfire. I also had waaaay too much land devoted to crops, because I didn't realize my crops were all rotting in the fields due to lack of haulers, so I kept planting more and more fields every time I ran out of food.

The positive was I worked out some basic space designs that I was able to adapt into my next fort, which I was much happier with:

This was a pretty solid effort! This design worked much better overall, with few flaws. The biggest were:

  • I lost a fair number of animals due to the "internal" nature of the defenses -- colonists who could be micromanaged always got safe in time, but animals who strayed from the barn could get themselves in trouble.

  • Manhunter packs were mostly meat deliveries . . . except the time it was boomrats, and they blew up a big chunk of my central stockpile. I almost lost a couple bionic limbs due to the fires. After that I learned to move high-value goods I intended to keep out of the central stockpile and into specialized safety stockpiles (i.e., bionics kept in the hospital, etc.

  • Too much room. I ended up with a fair number of big spare rooms that were kinda wasted space.

  • Not enough power. There's not much power generation here, apart from the geothermals. Running the hydroponics, and especially running the colored lights across the whole base, turned out to be too much of a draw; I ended up having to disconnect most of them shortly after this screenshot.

For alpha 16, I've revised that design a little further. I settled in Temperate Forest instead of Arid Shrubland, which made it a lot easier to lay out some nice big crop fields, and the presence of slate on the map in addition to granite and marble gave me a good flooring stone and also meant I could figure out a good central mosaic.

Same basic concept, but Alpha 16's changes to the spaciousness rules allowed me to move to 7x7 bedrooms; not only did this shrink the footprint a bit (107x107) while also letting me fit more bedrooms, it made the corners fit better too -- each corner bedroom is 49 tiles total, the same net size as the others! That change also led me to narrow the entrances to single-tile width -- which worked out really well, as now attackers are functionally forced around a "blind corner" as they come into the base, denying attackers full cover. This also solved the manhunter-boomalope swarm problem: boomalopes are not immune to the explosions of other boomalopes, so crowd them in a choke point and they go off like a string of firecrackers.

The kitchen setup also got a number of changes. The temperature changes regarding workshops meant I had to move the ktichen out of the freezer, but fortunately I had a convenient (if irregular) space to put the kitchen, I did have to pump hot air into my freezer in order to keep the kitchen "refrigerated," but the freezer had enough spare cooling to take it, except in heat waves, and then I could just let the kitchen heat up. i also figured out that cleanliness in the kitchen reduced food poisoning chance, so I separated the kitchen and butcher rooms with a partitioning wall and put down sterile tile (the new more forgiving spaciousness calculations meant I could still get said bonus in the room with the stoves, though not in the butchery).

I had some real problems gathering enough stone to build this -- even on a "ludeonicrous" size map, this took a lot of granite and slate, and I had to build in stages (starting with the top right quadrant).The real weakness of this design though is that it relies heavily on geothermal power, but it's hard to fit geothermal power into a grid design, to the point that I ended up slightly editing the save file to move some of the vents around till they fit where I wanted them. This wasn't necessary for power -- enclosing off-site geothermals with granite works fine -- but was absolutely necessary for aesthetics.

If you want, feel free to post your own fort stories in the comments below -- just try to share 1) what worked about your design and 2) something that didn't work from the design or that you learned how to do better in your next fort!
Congrats, you read the whole thing!

Thanks for sticking with me through all that. Thanks also to the many people who provided comments & feedback for this guide (especially the members of the official Ludeon forums and the SomethingAwful.com forums; your aid was invaluable, thanks again).

Please let me know in the comments below if you have anything to add, think I got something wrong, or just want to share your perspective. Thanks!
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Aggravated Peasant Oct 31, 2019 @ 8:48am 
"A lot of people dismiss mortars because they're inaccurate and slow, but those are both problems you can solve with more mortars."

Wise words :p I love artillery too
illAligned Jul 18, 2019 @ 7:38am 
-- You can also boost your surgeon's effectiveness by giving him Wake-Up or Go-Juice drugs, although use those sparingly as they're addictive. Bionic arms will also help your surgeon's effectiveness rate (though who installs the arms on your surgeon?).

Who installs bionic arms on my surgeon? Why, my other medics of course!
Nurnuru Wafferu Apr 14, 2019 @ 1:03pm 
how long did this take to make?
santa klaus Feb 9, 2019 @ 11:39pm 
we only start with 3 pawns right?
Thuran Jan 11, 2019 @ 9:58am 
Great job dude. Hope you are planning to update it to current version!:steamhappy:
Hieronymous Alloy  [author] Oct 20, 2018 @ 11:58am 
Kodlaken -- good question! I would like to update when I have time, but I'm not sure when I'm going to get to it.
Dangerous Andrew Oct 20, 2018 @ 11:56am 
Now that the game has released are you working on updating this guide?
micky11_h Aug 4, 2018 @ 4:30am 
does anyone know how to cure a mutant before they become one?
Shipastiy Mar 9, 2018 @ 10:57pm 
It is a great guide, but how do I make plasteel?
Hieronymous Alloy  [author] Feb 11, 2018 @ 2:45pm 
It's a *lot* of work to revise something like this, so I probably won't revise it for a few more updates at least; depending on Tynan's release schedule I might wait till 1.0 "release."