At its core, RimWorld is a survival, strategy and role-playing game, with each save offering a completely different experience. There are many kinds of game modes known as Storytellers, each with a distinct personality to generate new gameplay events, along with a difficulty modifier and reload / Ironman options. Then there are the infinitely-generated maps to settle your colonies on. One of our tips for new and returning player is to play with Cassandra Classic, as she is the most balanced Storyteller available.
After selecting the save’s settings, you’ll begin randomly-generating your starting colonist(s). If you have the EDB Prepare Carefully mod, you can even adapt your RimWorld colonists with extreme precision. Spend some time getting the colonist(s) ready to a good fit before dropping into the actual meat and potatoes of RimWorld.
Whenever a new game is locked in, your generated colonist(s) will spawn or crash land (depending on the playthrough’s settings). Every save starts with some starting currency, wood, medicine and food so you don’t immediately die. The quantity of the starting resources depends on the default settings or custom starting inventories.
As for completing a save, it is a far-flung dream for many players. You can get a radio transmission at the start of a save, informing you of a ship that can take you off the planet. The challenge of moving a colony to the other end of the planet is rarely achieved. Instead, RimWorld players tend to make their own content and storylines. Our top RimWorld tip is to have fun with the game, mess around with mods and survive and experience an unfolding narrative that differs every time. To help you get there, here is our RimWorld guide to surviving your first day.
When you get into the game, immediately pause it, using either the space bar or the pause button towards the bottom right corner of your screen. Find all the starting resources that spawned with you and press “F”, which ‘Allow’ them to be moved and used by your colonists.
After you have found all your items, you’ll need to prioritize your colonists for specific jobs. You can find this information by clicking on your colonists and selecting the ‘Bio’ menu. Click on every single one of your colonists and take note of their skills. If one of them is the best at Construction, have them prioritize building tasks, so on and so forth. You can enter the Prioritization menu by clicking on the Work tab in the bottom left of the screen, then the manual priorities tick box at the top of the new pane.
Next, you’ll need to get your colony self-sufficient as soon as possible. Use the wood you’ve been given to begin building some form of house, bedrooms or barracks. Accompany those new builds with a few sleeping spots, so your colonists have some form of protection from the elements.
While your builders are working away at the new shelter, you want to get your best ‘Plants’ colonist assigned to a farm. To build a farm, press the Architect tab in the bottom left and then the Zones button. A new menu will appear showing several zones; you want to select “Growing Zone” and click+drag your mouse over the area you want to turn into a farm. We recommend having a 10×10 Rice Paddy so you can guarantee lots of food in three days time. After the farmer has finished sowing the seeds, have them forage for berries around the map for additional meals. Once you have some basic food keeping the colony fed, you can sit pretty and wait for the Rice to grow, allowing you to create new fields for even higher yield.
These are the very basics you need to do on day one. Afterwards, it’s a matter of what you as a player want to make as your focus. The next part of the RimWorld guide for beginners will focus on the need-to-know information on other basic elements of RimWorld’s gameplay.
Skills and Tasks
Skills are the core measure of character efficiency in RimWorld. If a colonist has a poor rating in particular skills, they’ll do a poor job until they skill up. It isn’t too bad for most skills, such as Construction, Crafting, Art, etc, but for gathering skills like Harvesting or Mining, colonists will be slow or cannot do certain tasks properly. For example, a Chef with poor cooking skills has a higher chance to give their entire colony food poisoning. To avoid this and other pitfalls, start a colony with just a few colonists with a broad range of skills between them.
Another important aspect to note is Passion. You can easily see how passionate a colonist is about a particular skill via the number of flames assigned to it. One flame against a skill means that the colonist gets a 100% boost to experience, while two flames grant a 150% exp buff. It is one way to indicate what job you want a colonist to do on the rim. Lastly, don’t rely on one colonist to do one job. RimWorld is a brutal game, and death is always around the corner. If your only good cook dies, and the next best has a Cooking skill of 2, then it means you might be dealing with a nasty case of colony-wide food poisoning until they improve.
Health and Moods
Health and Mood are two very important micromanagement aspects in RimWorld. Health relates to how healthy and how close to death a colonist is, although be aware that individual organs and limbs have their own HP. It is very possible to have a character become mute, losing all their social skills, or lose an arm and become unable to perform tasks. Paying attention to health and sickness while adapting to humanitarian crises is an essential aspect of RimWorld.
Likewise, Mood is a feature that you should view as colonists’ mental health. Eating well, being comfortable, being sleep-deprived, witnessing a loved one die, divorce, and many other occurrences will affect Moods. Eventually, you may temporarily lose control of colonists to enraged or sad mood events. Such events can result in mental breakdowns, sad wonders, digging up dead bodies, arson sprees, social tensions, and fighting between fellow colonists, among other things. In some situations, these could spell disaster, such as your doctor going on a sad wonder as the colony is swept away with the plague. Yes, this did happen to me once.
Naturally, this leads us onto medicine in RimWorld. You’ll need to keep a supply of medicine in your base at all times for even the slightest scratch or bruise They can become infected, knocking your character unconscious until they receive the right treatment, or worse, die. Thankfully, you can easily farm Herbal Medicine from Growing Zones, or buy sophisticated medicine from traders. Alternatively, you can produce more advanced medication, prosthetics, or transplants with better technology or mods (more on mods later). Keeping your colonists alive, treated, and fully functioning is the key to success.
Research is one of the main progression paths in RimWorld. You’ll need to research different technologies to achieve various goals. Depending on the start of your save, you’ll either have Modern, Medieval or Tribal technology. Eventually, all saves progress towards more futuristic tech. The trick to managing technology in RimWorld is to plan ahead. Getting access to electricity and batteries as soon as possible for a Tribal or a Medieval colony could make or break a save in winter. If you experience frequent hostile raids, you may want to focus more on defence, weapons, and armor technologies.
So far, our RimWorld guide has only briefly touched upon the use of Zones in RimWorld. While farming zones are very important, there are other activities that require zones. One example is the Dumping Stockpile and Stockpile zones. Dumping Stockpiles need to be your outdoor dumping grounds for rotting corpses from hostiles (bury your fallen colonists for memorial events), chunks of rock and more. Note that stockpiles are highly customizable. You should have one stockpile dedicated to food and perishables, ideally in a freezer. Other stockpiles can feature a clothing room, armory, or medical room. It all depends on your base size and organizational skills.
The other important zone you’ll want to learn are Allowed Zones. These zones establish an area of the map specific groups can move through. While not exactly useful in a RimWorld guide for beginners, this technique kicks in when you have to deal with extreme heat, freezing conditions, nuclear radiation and other disasters.
The more beginner-friendly use for Zones is to keep your tamed animals from walking around the colony’s wilderness areas, where they’ll inevitably get eaten by a Lynx or something silly like that. If your luck is anything like mine, your pet will get eaten, and the pet’s master will get upset and start sad wandering, only to get eaten by the same Lynx. To set an animal enclosure, all you need to do is select the Animals tab, Manage Areas, New Area and make one. With the new area created, select your colony’s animals via the Animal menu (not to be confused with Wildlife) and place them in the new group. Now go back to Architect > Zones > Allowed Areas, click on the new area, and draw it around the desired location to isolate certain characters or animals.
Animals and Wildlife
Animals and Wildlife are an important part of RimWorld. From being humble pets to valuable members of society, Animals are a fun feature worth mentioning in our RimWorld guide for beginners.
Each save’s starting options offers a number of different pets. One save may only offer one pet, while another offers three. Depending on the animal, you can train them to haul (aka carrying materials) from point A to B. Moreover, they can guard your colonists, or be used for hunting or fighting off enemy raiders.
Once you have your food supply locked down, you can use leftover food to begin taming animals. All you need is an appropriate food source for the animal, along with a colonist with a modest level of the Animal skill. Taming animals is a roll of the dice, based on the Animal skill of the colonist responsible for taming and a critter’s resistance level. If your colonist gets lucky with taming, the animal will join the colony. Some animals like Elephants and Muffallo are great caravan animals, as they can carry plenty of weight and travel long distances. On the other hand, Bears, Wolves and Lynx make for interesting security solutions.