Thursday, February 7, 2013

Surviving Gnomoria: Seal Yourself In

February, 2013 Update: Due to the interest in this post I have turned it into a You Tube video series. Thanks for visiting and be sure to check out my videos!

2013-02-26. ARRRRRRGGGGG. This no longer works the way it is described below. I'm doing a follow up video shortly.

Welcome to my Gnomoria series! I should say 'finally' because I've been wanting to do this one for a while. Since my first post on Gnomoria I have been playing a couple hours daily and have finally managed to make my Kingdom thriving and successful. As Gnomoria is a sandbox success, of course, will be up to you to determine. I no longer have to worry about the basics like food and drink (I have so much food and drink that I have suspended all my farms, slaughtered most of my animals, and usually give 2,000 milk away to the merchant each season just to free up storage space) and it's been ages since my soldiers have taken any casualties from Goblin raiders.

I am currently in my fifth year and my population is around 43. Three of those Gnomes are War Vets who have lost legs to Goblin raiders, so they're productivity isn't as high as the others but, hey, I take care of my vets. I like a bit of role-playing in this game, and it is one of the few I have played that seems to stir my imagination in this way. Normally I'd simply wall the crippled buggers up in their room and wait for them to die of thirst so that at the start of the season some healthy ones would take their place. Not so in Gnomoria!

Overall this is a great little Kingdom Management game that is still in Alpha. Since I paid the paltry sum of $8 to play there has been an update every week but one (usually on Tuesday's). I have also played at least two hours a day so no matter what becomes of it, I have definitely had my money's worth. If you're not familiar with the game, check out my initial post for a brief introduction (note that the corrupt save bug I mentioned in my second post has been fixed).

If you read me regularly you'll know I don't recommend games very often (as they all seem to disappoint me in some way) but this is one that I heartily recommend. In most management games once you find that magical balance between food, storage, production and population, the game loses it's challenge. In Gnomoria the Minecraft like feature to shape the world around you one square at a time, and build anything you like, keeps it fresh. I have no worries at the moment about food, drink, or defense, so I focus on building and exploring the 100 levels beneath me for precious metals, gems, and stone to build with. That's my version of success.

This series is not going to focus on my Kingdom, per se, but rather will offer a few tips and strategies to get you up and running. As I do, I will of course show off my Kingdom, and would love to hear tips from any Grizzled Gnomoria vets who stumble across these posts.You can get the game here.

Surviving Gnomoria #1: Seal Yourself In (With Food and Water).

So you're staring at those nine little Gnomes who have turned to you for guidance in this unfamiliar, hostile place. Two Yaks graze contentedly in the distance but are starting to wander slowly away. You have a couple axes, some picks, and one set of soldier's gear in addition to some cotton and wheat seeds. Now what the hell do you do?

I have found that you have at least a season to get things in order before the Goblin scouts begin to probe your defences so don't panic. You have plenty of time to get things secured. The most important, and basic, thing to know is that if the enemy can't reach you, they can't kill you. Simple as it sounds I've seen several 'let's play' on You Tube where the players are needlessly fighting Goblins early in the game. Trust me, later you'll be farming those Goblins for the iron bars they drop, but for now, you don't need the hassle.

The spot you choose to seal yourself in to is quite important to your survival. You will need access to apple trees to supplement your food for at least the first year. Remember that nothing grows in the winter and the merchant won't visit so you'll be on your own.You should also try to ensure there is an accessible source of water and build a well. I lost my second kingdom to starvation and thirst so I know of what I speak! I always looks for a grove of apple trees on a flat area at the base of a hill or mountain. In this game I didn't choose a towering mountain as my base, and the topography of the area is rather unspectacular. Later you can choose to make a more dramatic, awe-inspiring entrance, but for now worry about the basics.

Eventually you can make things look nicer and claim more of the surrounding land.

You don't need to build a lot of walls to be safe. You will see in the photo below that I only built a short wall. Use the 'remove ramps' action command (in the dig menu) to create a secure compound. Goblins (and Gnomes) can't get down from one level to another unless there is a ramp, or stairs, so by doing this you create a quick and very secure area where you will be safe.

Keep in mind that on the 1st of every season you will have to remove a section of wall (or build a ramp) to let the Gnomads who wish to join your kingdom in. You will also need to let the Merchant in on the 5th, and let him leave on the 7th (except, as I said, in the winter when the merchant doesn't come). After the second season or so I recommend having at least one military squad (even if there is only one soldier) stationed there during this time. You can do this by creating a guard station and assigning them to it.

Here I am sealed in by the water to the left, the wall on the bottom, and the rest of the area (highlighted in red) through the 'remove ramp' command.

Before you close yourself up completely ensure that you have created a pasture and your two yaks are in it. Also ensure you've created a storage area for your seeds, weapons, cotton, etc that you started with so your Gnomes will bring them close. For now don't worry about setting up a place to keep bodies. You shouldn't be losing any Gnomes and if you do, a corpse or two won't matter to the Kingdom's overall morale. By using this strategy (sealing yourself in) all your Goblin enemy's will eventually die of thirst (as they can't get to you to be killed) and when you open your kingdom up to let Gnomads or merchants in, your industrious Gnomes will rush off to get those bodies. It is extremely likely they will be set upon by Goblins in the wild and be killed! Keep it simple, and safe, and your kingdom will be off to a great start.

Next time I will look at how to ensure you have enough food and drink for years to come with proper Yak management and a little pre-planning.