This is a guide for both new and experienced players. It contains build orders, tips, and other information on how to beat vanilla Rimworld version 1.2 on "Strive to survive" and "commitment" mode (or possibly harder).
This guide is targeted for the following settings:
Strive to Survive or harder
Default world settings
I play with no mods that change the game balance
Starting site choice
The difficulty of the game can be greatly augmented by which tile you choose.
The main factors that determine the difficulty of a certain tile are shown in the "Terrain" tab. You should carefully examine this tab before starting your game, as it greatly affects each playthrough. I have listed below the most important factors that affect difficulty. I will discuss recommended biomes at the end of this section so feel free to skip ahead.
This is denoted as a fraction (e.g. 20/60) of the days of the year that provide optimal growing conditions in a tile. Having a short growing season can greatly limit the amount of food and medicine your colony can produce in a given year. As your colony attains more technology, the growing period becomes less relevant.
Having a high disease frequency can cripple your colony and cause you to run out of medicine quickly. IF you choose a tile with high disease frequency make sure to have a pawn who can grow healroot early on.
This may not seem that important at first glance, but it can greatly affect the productivity of your colony. It also makes rescues much more likely to fail. If you are playing in a tile with high movement difficulty, you will need to micromanage where your colonists go much more.
This will decide what type of base you are going to build. If you want to build a mountain base obviously pick mountainous. Terrain with hills will provide plenty of resources to main. With flat terrain you may have a more difficult time acquiring minerals.
This will decide what building materials are available to you. I recommend choosing a site with Granite and Marble. Granite is the strongest stone, and Marble is the most beautiful.
Tiles can also include features like rivers, roads, and caves. Rivers can provide a great source of power. Roads can be great if you want to send out lots of trade caravans, or for doing quests quickly. Caves are good for doing strip mining, but usually contain insects.
What biome should you choose?
The easiest tile to choose would have the following attributes:
Terrain: Small Hills or Large Hills
Movement difficulty: 1-2
Stone types: Granite and marble
Growing Period: Year-round
Average disease frequency: ~1 per year
At most 2-3 tiles from a road
I prefer to build "super structure" bases, but if you prefer mountain bases, choose mountainous. I just don't like dealing with infestations.
Here is a list of the biomes and their pros and cons
Temperate forest: The easiest biome. Lots of places to grow food, low movement difficulty and disease frequency, and the seasons are not too harsh. Lots of animals come to graze.
Boreal forest: not too much different than some of the colder temperate forest tiles. Plenty of hunting and low disease frequency. Winters can be very rough though, early game will be focused on stockpiling food and making clothes.
Rainforest/Swamp: On the more difficult side. High disease frequency, high movement difficulty. It's extremely hard to keep plants from taking over your base so it's worth it to put concrete around the perimeter. This also helps protect your base from forest fires, which can be hard to control. Early game it might be worth it to rush medicine production. So drug production --> penoxycycline production --> microelectronics --> medicine production. Make sure you have a pawn who can make medicine (needs 4 crafting and 4 intellectual). Also watch out for predatory animals
Arid shrubland: Food is a bit scarcer than usual but movement difficulty is low, making it easy to gather resources. These biomes usually contain some rich soil pockets where you can farm. The biggest difficulty is finding building materials. Wood is scarce so early on you will be forced to cut lots of stone blocks and build stone walls. Therefore it's useful to bring pawns with good crafting and construction skills.
Desert: Similar to arid shrubland but with no fertile soil. Food will be harder to come by. It's probably worth it to invest in hydroponics early. Also keeping your food from spoiling can be difficult.
Tundra: Like arid shrubland, but colder.
Ice sheet: Hardest biome... haven't played it and don't plan on it :D
Your colonist choice is dependant on your biome choice. Read above anecdotes to decide which skills are important for each biome. If you're using my recommended biome, then my suggested pawns should have the following skills.
Combat: 2 shooters, 1 melee
Other skills: Construction, Medical, Intellectual, Plants
A cook is nice to have but isn't necassary due to nutrient paste dispensers. I highly recommend using a nutrient paste dispenser in the early game unless you have a cook with high skill level or burning passion. It will free up a colonist to do useful work and you won't get any food poisoning. Mining is not needed unless you are doing a mountain base, in which case you should have a pawn with a burning passion for mining and at least 7-8 skill level. Crafting is nice to have but not needed for the first couple seasons usually.
If you want a bit of an extra challenge, don't reroll the pawns you get with your map seed. I usually try to use the ones I roll unless they are really bad.
This section will cover how to start your early game base and how expand it into late game. Your base can be the deciding factor of whether you succeed or fail in rimworld. It dictates how happy your colonists are, how fast they work, and how safe they are. I recommend building a "super structure" base. Infestations in mountain bases are annoying for two reasons: 1. they can come at random, e.g. in the middle of a mechanoid raid. 2. They make a huge mess of your base, sometimes taking days of cleanup time.
If you don't want to read the whole base building tutorial, here are some quick tips that have helped me build my base. See the screenshot below for examples.
Use stone walls and steel doors. Wood doors are too flimsy and stone doors are too slow
Be responsible with flamable items. In my base I have seperate storage units for wood and fuel
Put turrets in important rooms. Sappers have x-ray vision and will try to break into places that don't have defenses. In my base they would try to break in near my bedrooms or farm. This was intentional, since those are the lower value areas of my base.
Don't put equipment or defenses outside your base. It might seem tempting to put some turrets outside your main entrances or whatever. They will get destroyed by raiders. Just put them inside.
Put a switch between your power lines and batteries. In the early game once you get geothermal power your batteries will always be full. Put a switch in between so you can disconnect them from power and they can naturally discharge. This will reduce the amount of electrical fires
Put your crematorium next to your killbox
If you are routing raiders/sappers towards a section of your base, make sure that part has big hallways or some way for your colonists to fight easily. My bedroom area has two-wide hallways which I found to be plenty of space to maneuver.
Don't go crazy with autodoors. Putting them in places like your freezer and hospital makes sense
Make sure the entrance to your prison leads to the inside of your base, and make sure wherever it leads doesn't have any weapons
Give your prisoners their own nutrient paste dispenser. That way your wardens won't have to spend time giving meals
Put a shelf for herbal medicine near your prison
Put firefoam poppers in most of your rooms, especially ones with expensive stuff
Put orbital trade beacons in any room that has items
Place a caravan loading spot in your main storage area. Otherwise your colonists might choose to meet at some random spot that is very innefficient.
Put statues in places where colonists are going to be working all day. If they work in an ugly environment they get a mood debuff
Make sure rooms are configured so colonists can route efficiently. Storage rooms should be next to workshops. Freezers should be next to kitchens. Dining room should be near bedrooms.
Keep internal doors open if possible. This makes your whole colony more efficient.
Keep rooms that need to be clean or temperature controlled out of main routes. Kitchens, laboratories, freezers, and hospitals should not be frequently walked through.
Cover areas where you don't want plants with cement. E.G. wind turbines and ship landing pads
If you want to recruit prisoners, give them decent living quarters. Giving them seperate rooms is also a good idea if you're worried about prison breaks. If you just want to harvest them, don't bother spending resources on a nice prison.
Use a stone door for your main prison entrance for extra security
Use nice flooring in the bedrooms. It's an easy way to give a mood boost
Make some of your hallways "outdoors". This will eliminate the "stuck inside" mood debuff.
Wall off your farm. Wildlife will come and eat your crops which can be a huge issue in the early game
Be prepared to use sunlamps, heaters and a roof for your farm. If you get an event like toxic fallout or volcanic winter, outdoor farms won't be usable. Keep in mind you will need a couple geothermal generators to support sunlamps.
Colonists can set off their own traps, which can be fatal. Don't put traps near commonly used walkways
When tearing down structures, always remove the roof first. Your colonists can get killed from collapsing roofs.
You need at least 4 mortars to hit enemies. Mortars have terrible accuracy. If you can afford it use 6-8.
Place mortars near your killbox. Usually after taking a mortar strike, raiders will try to rush your base. So you will need to run and defend
Frequently clear vegatation near your external power lines. Fires will be a threat to your infrastructure.
Enclose all your geothermal power vents in walls. Raiders will ignore them.
Use paved tile for workshops. Plain concrete is too ugly and colonists will be unhappy
Don't use wood floors, they are highly flammable. I used wood floors in my rec room for aesthetic reasons
Case study: late game base
The main components this base are as follows, going from left to right, and top to bottom:
Farm with sunlamps, roofed and heated
Workshop/Storage room 1
Secondary Workshop/Storage room 2
Ship landing pad
Storage Room 3
Storage Room 4
Tomb/Secondary Throne room
I didn't leave much room for the courtyard. It's not a huge problem, but I had trouble fitting in a large transport pod group. So this base only has a transport pod group of three (beneath storage room 3). Since my courtyard is filled with equipment it is "ugly" and will drain my colonists "beauty" meter when they walk through it. If I could redesign it, I would have two larger courtyards in my base, one for equipment that they won't usually walk through, and one that is "beautiful" in a central location.
The walkway in my secondary workshop is messed up. If I install chairs for the workbenches, they will block the walkway and cause pawns to route around them. So when I planned the room, I should have added 2 more vertical tiles of space to account for chairs.
Experienced players will probably cringe at my killbox. I'm not a killbox expert but this killbox has been pretty good for me. I've defeated plenty of mech raids including ones with centipedes and inferno cannons. The biggest issue I've had is turret friendly fire. My autocannon turrets have shot a couple of my animals. I realized my killbox is good enough where I don't need animals as a meatshield anymore, so I just put them in a safe spot during raids. Also sometimes I tell the turrets to "hold fire" if necassary.
My hospital is a bit far from any entrance way. When seconds count, having to walk through half of my base to rescue a colonist is not great.
I just realized as I'm writing this tutorial that I forgot to install workbenches in my workshop. D'oh
A common route for colonists is through my kitchen. This can cause it to get dirty quickly. I should have made a seperate hallway to route colonists through.
Choosing where to start building
There are a couple things to consider when you are choosing where to start building.
Available room to expand
The first thing I do when a land on a tile is toggle the "fertility overlay" in the bottom right. This will show you where the best land to grow crops is. If you're playing in a swampy biome, you should also look at the terrain affordance overlay, which will show you where you can build "heavy" structures like stone walls.
If you look in the bottom right of the above screenshot, you can see an abandoned structure with fertile land right outside of it. It also has a geothermal vent nearby. The anima tree is far away so the base won't block its pyschic power. This is a good candidate for a base location. This spot doesn't have great natural barriers, and it's at the edge of the map, so the base will need to expand towards the middle. Alternatively, the structure can be used as a starting base and then colonists can relocate later. If you decide to switch base locations, make sure to do it early on before you build too much infrastructure. Relocating can be a big waste of resources and can cripple your colony.
It's hard to find a tile with a perfect base position, so try to work with what's given to you. Also note that you can cut down the anima tree and it will grow back, but it will cause a -6 mood debuff for everyone, and it grows back in a random spot.
Your first structure will be multipurpose. It should contain:
Table and 3 stools
If you're starting with a natural structure like the one in the screenshot, make sure to "claim" the doors, otherwise wild animals and raiders can freely enter your base.