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LOGIstiCAL Newbie's Guide
By rbr
Here's a spoiler-free, detailed description of the elements of the game, and how to use them.
LOGIstiCAL newbie’s guide
Here’s what I wish I’d known when I started playing this outstanding but tricky game. I think this guide is free of spoilers, and I hope it’s accurate. Please comment if not.
Contracts pop up all the time, so they’re the first thing the game tells you that you need to think about.

And you don’t need to think about them. Don’t worry about them. They’re mostly not things you have to do now, they’re things you want to do as you figure out how

The exception is the contracts that unlock new trucks. Those you want to do as soon as you can. But you can’t do them until you find Woolahara or Kelso, and those towns aren't on your map. This isn’t a bug!

You’ll find industries that require inputs that aren’t on your map. This isn’t a bug either! Here’s why...
Explore the map! If you zoom in on the map, you’ll see towns that are on the map that aren’t connected by roads. They are connected by roads, though. You just haven’t gotten a truck close enough to see them yet, so the roads aren’t on your map.

Click and drag on a truck to send it to the town at the end of the road. As it gets there, more roads will appear.

One of the simpler achievements to get is “discover 100% of towns in a region.” You want to get those achievements as soon as you can, because until you know where all the towns are, you’re playing blindfolded.

As your trucks explore the map, you’ll instantly gain knowledge of every town they can see. Mouse over a town newly connected to a road and, if it has a factory, you’ll see what it requires and produces.

Since discovering new towns happens all the time, whether you notice it or not, it may well be that one of your trucks has discovered, say, an iron mine while you weren’t looking. Click on the “industries” button to see all the industries that you’ve discovered so far. You may find that all of a sudden iron mines are something you know about. You found an iron mine! But where is it? Click and hold on the iron mine icon and you’ll see all the iron mines you know about highlighted in purple.

You’ll find, before long, that not knowing where fibreglass, coffee, or bananas are produced is really cramping your style. This is not a bug! Keep exploring!
Buying trucks
You can only buy trucks at specific towns, the ones whose names appear in tan. Once you’ve finished the tutorial, the game moves you to southern Sydney, where you can buy tuk-tuks and utes at Gymea.

You want to find Woolahara as quickly as you can, because dump trucks are strictly better than tuk-tuks and utes. Finding Kelso is harder (and requires road repair), and it opens up the problem of big slow trucks that can’t go everywhere on the map, so you can play for quite a while before you need to go there.

Then there’s the town in the north that sells mining trucks. Let’s just say that by the time you find that, you will be well past the need for a newbie’s guide.
Controlling your trucks
There are six things that you can control about a truck:
  1. if it’s operating at all,
  2. where it picks up from,
  3. where it delivers to,
  4. what it will carry,
  5. what it should do when reaching its destination, and
  6. how it should behave if it tries to drop cargo off when a destination fills up.

Always be sure that you’ve selected a truck in the truck list before changing any of this! It’s very easy to assign orders to the wrong truck, and while the game can often prevent you from doing anything stupid, there are plenty of times when it can’t.

Usually, you set the first four parameters by dragging a product icon from one town to another. It normally doesn’t matter what direction you drag: hold down on a good in a town that produces it, and all the places that consume it are highlighted; hold down on a good in a town that consumes it, and all the places that you can ship it from are highlighted. Either way, the truck will power up, go to the place that makes the good, load up, and drop it off at the place that consumes it.

Repeat behavior

There are two things a truck can do when it reaches its destination. It can stop and wait for more orders, or it can go back to its starting point and pick up more cargo.

Usually, you want to keep delivering as much as you can, so repeating is what the game defaults to. But if you want it to stop after the next delivery, click the circular arrow next to the speedometer. When you turn off “repeat,” the truck will reach its destination, unload, and stop.

Why you’d do this: You can get twice as much done, at a cost of more clicking, if you make trucks go one-way and stop, because then you can assign them orders for the return trip. This is especially useful when upgrading factories (see below).

Unloading behavior

By default, when a truck reaches its destination, it dumps off cargo until the destination is full. If the destination is full, the truck then powers off.

You control this behavior by clicking on the little light under the E on the cargo meter. If this light is on, a truck will dump all of its cargo even if the destination is full. Even if a destination demands only 1t of goods, a dump truck with the green light on will deliver all 20t that it's carrying. (Note that the goods it delivers don't disappear! You can deliberately overfill a destination with this behavior. I believe that this is a feature, not a bug.)

The first mode is very useful for things like delivering 8 tons of fertilizer to three nearby farms that each need 2 tons. When the truck stops dumping at the first farm, it shuts off. You can zoom in and drag it (either from the map or the truck list) to the next farm, and it’ll turn on, deliver the fertilizer, and shut down again. You can keep doing this as long as you have fertilizer in the truck.

You’ll find that most of your trucks, most of the time, will have the light on, and here’s why: When a truck stops delivering because its destination is full, pretty much the only way to free it up for more work is to make it dump the rest of its load. Turn the light on, power the truck up, and it will dump its cargo.

Other truck control tips

Watch the truck list. If a truck has a green light next to it, it means that it’s reached its destination, it’s empty, and it has no orders. If it has a grey light next to it, it means that it’s been turned off, either because you turned it off explicitly or because you’ve done the trick described above and it’s sitting at the destination waiting for a new order.

There are four other buttons that you care about. The POWER button lets you explicitly turn a truck off. I’ll let you discover for yourself why you would want to do this. The “...” button reveals SKIP, CANCEL LOAD, and SELL TRUCK. The last one’s obvious. Here’s what the other two are for.

SKIP tells a truck that is presently loading cargo to head off to its destination immediately. If a town only needs 2t of cargo, there’s no need to load 8t into a dump truck and then throw 6t away when it gets there. You can watch the cargo gauge and click SKIP when it’s carrying what the destination needs.

CANCEL LOAD tells a truck that’s presently loading cargo to stop loading the cargo and throw it away. You’ll be fined for doing this, but the cost is usually negligible. You can also click CANCEL LOAD on a truck that’s full and on the road, to assign it a new order.
Industries, and how to upgrade them
Industries consume inputs and produce outputs. Each industry produces a type of good (coffee, say, or bread), has a size from 1 to 4 (which governs the maximum production and consumption at each level of its development), and a level from 0 to 3.

The industries all start at level 0. Low-level industries can’t store much of their inputs, produce very few outputs before filling up, and they use up all of their inputs rapidly. They’re a pain, and they require constant management.

The good news is that as you use an industry, it “levels up.” The industry icon in the town panel has a little white circle (when you mouse over it) that gradually shrinks as you deliver inputs and ship outputs. When it reaches 0, two things happen: a red star appears on the industry (indicating that it’s ready to upgrade), and a demand icon appears, indicating what good it needs to upgrade.

That icon is draggable. Click on a truck, drag the icon to a town that produces the good (chemicals, say, or brick, or steel), and the upgrading begins. Once the required upgrade good has been delivered to the industry, the red star turns yellow and ding, the industry is at level 1. It’s now just better.

Keep using it, and the little white circle will appear again, and start counting down to zero again. You can eventually upgrade any industry three times.

You want to do this! Fully upgraded industries produce a lot of goods, and they don’t require a lot of inputs. A large level 3 machinery factory will produce all the machinery you need to build tons of cars and trucks and upgrade many of your factories, and will only occasionally require that you top off its inputs.

Also, there are achievements for upgrading all the industries in a region.
Storage facilities
Storage facilities are like industries that don’t consume the goods that you drop off.

They aren’t that useful early in the game, when you’re using trucks that can go anywhere. But once you start using bigger trucks, you’ll need places on the main roads that they can load goods from. You’ll transport goods from the hinterlands to storage facilities on the trunk roads, and then use big trucks to transport them across the map.

Storage facilities are also useful because they let you produce goods without figuring out where to consume them. You want to upgrade your stone fruit farms? Ship stone fruit to a fruit market. Eventually you’ll find a canned-goods factory, which consumes stone fruit, or a town that wants 500t of stone fruit. But you can upgrade that farm now, if you can ship enough goods from it, and a nearby fruit market is just the thing.

Like industries, storage facilities can be upgraded as you use them, and boy do you want to do this.

Before long you will find that Merrylands, Paramatta, Glenfield, Liverpool, and Giraween are the most useful cities on the map (as long as you’re working on Sydney, that is).

Important safety tip: Transporting goods from one storage facility to another is tricky. Here’s why: Ordinarily, the game knows which town is the source and which town is the destination, so you can just click on the icon in one town and drag to the other. But with storage facilities, either town can be the destination. It’s really easy to accidentally transfer goods away from the facility you’re trying to fill up.

When you’re setting up a shipment between two storage facilities, watch the animation of the goods on the path as you drag it. That will tell you which direction the shipment will go in. If it's going in the wrong direction, move the keep the mouse button held, move the mouse off the goods icon, and move it back on, and the animation will reverse. (Thanks to Pod for this.)
Completing towns
This is the actual explicit objective of the game: solve each of the 1200+ towns on the map. (Of course, the real objective is to get 100% of the achievements. Good luck with that.) Completing towns gets you money, achievements, and, in some towns, the ability to build industries.

Lots of the towns are simple: just get a couple tons of goods to the town and collect your money.

Where it starts to gets tricky is where a town demands a lot of goods, or many types of different goods. Until you have satisfied 50% of the demand (and the bar for the group of goods turns yellow), the town will start eating up all the delicious oranges you have dropped off. If you’re not filling the town up fast enough - you’re using a ute to bring oranges from a far-off farm, say - you’ll find that by the time the truck arrives with its second load the town has consumed the first.

Figuring out how to work around this and solve the town anyway, well, that’s the game.

The game gives you all the tools you need to solve all of the towns, even freaking Sydney with its demand for 422t of coffee. You just have to figure out how to deploy those tools.

Some other tips:
  • Towns keep eating goods even after the bar turns yellow, just more slowly. They consume even more slowly once the bar turns green at 90%. They’ll keep consuming until the town is solved.

  • A town is solved when all of its bars are green, not when you’ve satisfied 100% of its demand. You only need to fill a town up to 90%.

  • A town's demand for goods uses the same mechanism as a factory's or storage facilities: If the town's demand has been met, trucks won't unload, but if there's any demand remaining, a truck will dump off all its goods. This lets a big truck stock a town with far more goods than it asked for.

  • Some towns demand a good that's also an input for one of its factories. In such towns, you have to be careful to set the route by dragging the demand that you want to satisfy to the supply, rather than dragging the supply to the town.
Buying industries (and storage facilities)
If you’ve leveled a type of industry all the way up, then you can build it. Once you’ve gotten an industry up to level 3, when you click and hold on its icon in the industries panel you’ll see not just purple cities but light blue ones. These are towns where it’s legal to build that industry.

The actual rules for where you can build an industry are complicated and opaque. The town must be completed. A town can have one industry per 5,000 population, so even though it’s complete, it may not have any industry slots. And not all industries can be built in all places. There are very few places where you can build coffee plantations, for instance.
To build an industry, call up the town panel for a blue-dot town, click on the industry button, and pick the type and size of the industry from the really nasty panel that will display.

Once you’ve bought an industry, you will of course need to level it up to make it useful. But your industries don’t count against the “100% of industries in a region” achievement, so there’s that.

You can sell an industry you’ve built if you don’t need it anymore. There is a tiny $ icon on the industry that you can click to sell it.
Repairing roads
Road repair is pretty simple: you just need to deliver goods to one of the two endpoints of the broken road until the demand is satisfied, and then hooray, the road isn’t broken anymore and you can get into new areas of the map. The hard part is producing enough concrete, asphalt, or (for ferry lines) boats, and getting them delivered.

The only actually tricky part of this is when you have a town that has two broken roads coming out of it and you want to fix them in a specific order. I have never figured out how to determine which demand icon corresponds to which road.
The achievements grid is conveniently hidden as a second tab on the Contracts panel. This becomes an invaluable tool, so it’s important to know about it.

First off, mouse over the tiny cells in the grid to find out what the achievements actually are. That’s good to know. You’ve probably already completed some of them. Can you complete all of them? That, too, is the game.

If you bring up the achievements tab and click on the region that you’re working on - southern Sydney, at first - it will highlight every town in the region. Just knowing which towns are in southern Sydney and which aren’t is incredibly useful, but the color coding is good too.

White towns are towns you haven’t completed. Green towns are towns that have industries that need to be upgraded. Yellow towns are the ones you’re done with. When all those towns are yellow, you’ve gotten 100% of the achievements for a region.

(The town names on the regular map are color-coded to give you this information too, but there are so many colors that I’ve never figured out what’s what. I use the achievements tab to figure out what I need to do.)

There are plenty of achievements in the game that aren’t in the achievements grid. (The game has nearly 5,000 achievements.) For instance, every time you buy an industry for the first time, that’s an achievement. Every road you repair, that’s an achievement.

Good luck!
Quarantines, Boosts, Aging, and Beyond
The game has a number of features that won't become relevant to you until you're not a newbie anymore. You'll find that once you understand how to play the game, a look through the manual will be much more informative than it was when you were starting out.
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Kenira Jul 24 @ 3:13am 
So, what do you do against a quarantine? I'm on a map where glass is restricted over a waterway, and i have no ability to create glass industry in the cut off part. Can you remove the quarantine somehow?

Also, i have a city that produces nails, and at the same time wants them, but i can't drag the nails to the city itself. And i can't build nail industry anywhere else either. What can i do here?

I'm on ABC Islands.
rbr  [author] Mar 2 @ 3:00pm 
metthew, sounds good to me.
metthew Feb 12 @ 12:19pm 
Hi rbr, great guide - really helped me get going with Australia!
To help other German speaking newbies (who cannot read English that well), I have translated your piece to German. Is it ok for you that I post it here, under LOGIstiCAL guides? Of course including link to this, acknowledgements etc.
Techhead7890 Jan 31 @ 10:47pm 
Ah, found the solution, the build icon is separated into "slices" that show the different sizes of industry - this is what the "mouse up/down" tooltip means. Large sizes are on the bottom, and the size seems to multiplies the amount of stuff that can be held there. And finally, low population towns can only support small sizes, it seems!
Techhead7890 Jan 29 @ 2:02am 
Hey, do you know anything about industry size? In Australia, I unlocked Orange Orchard industries which are legal to build in heaps of places, but they keep saying they're the wrong size for the towns I've already completed :(
rbr  [author] May 6, 2018 @ 12:05pm 
I've only played Australia, the British Isles, and Wisconsin, so I don't have the first clue about aircraft.
[SQRL] Enceladus42 Apr 1, 2018 @ 2:57am 
in my opinion (as a n00b!), once you have finished the tutorial island, DO NOT go to Australia!
Instead go to the Isle of Man (between England and Ireland). Small island with 28 (?) towns, but a good variety of industries. enough to get you used to the game without making you panic at the size of Oz!
MeatClown Dec 28, 2017 @ 8:41pm 
I learned all of this over about 30+ hours of trial and error. I wish I'd read this first. Great guide for starting players.
rbr  [author] Jul 11, 2017 @ 9:26am 
I've added overfilling to the truck behaviors section, to round out the discussion of what the green light does. I've also noted the technique in the section on completing towns.

Boosts and aging are, like quarantines, beyond the newbie fringe, but I updated the guide to at least mention them.
lilcoffeebean Jul 1, 2017 @ 4:16am 
Awesome guide. One aspect that you might consider adding, as it plays a major role in many of the dlc, is overfilling industries. That is to say that while there is no visual indicator, if you continue to fill an industries green bar, it still tracks those goods giving you much more time before said bar falls back to yellow. For many cities outside of Australia this tactic will be required. The boosts are covered in the manual, but perhaps they would be fitting here as well. At any rate, great job!