Game Info

  • Developer: Ludeon Studios
  • Reviews: 96% Steam, 86 PC Gamer
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

RimWorld is a fantastic game, but it can be quite challenging for new players to pick up.

RimWorld is one of those games where you learn from failure but to help you avoid some of that failure, we put together this guide.

In the RimWorld Starting Guide we’re going to cover:

  1. Picking your spot and planning your base
  2. Assigning jobs and creating bills
  3. Defending your base
  4. Growing your colony and making money

Let’s jump in.

1. Picking Your Spot and Planning Your Base

When your colonist first land, you begin by equipping the guns you and allowing them to pick up the nearby resources.

Then you have to start thinking about how to layout your base.

Pause the game and take a moment to pick the right base spot.

Ideally, your base should:

  • Be close to the center to allow for the most time when raiders attack.
  • Have ample space for expansion
  • Have some natural protection like rocks or a river.

Personally, I often choose a mountainous area with lots of rocks that create choke points. It can create some challenges when expanding, but the defense benefits are worth it.

Be careful building into the rocks as you will eventually spawn bug infestation. We’ll cover the basic of dealing with those later.

Planning

Once you’ve picked a spot, use the Plan tool to start planning a base design.

To start, you’ll want to plan out bedrooms, storage/fridge, growing, production, recreation, and defense – you can work on building a hospital and other expansions later.

All rooms have stats like wealth, space and cleanliness which have various effects on your colonists so make sure your most important rooms are adequately sized.

Bedrooms

In general, there are three basic bedroom designs:

  • Barracks
  • Individual small
  • Individual large

Bedroom quality has a continuous effect on a colonist’s mood, so you need to consider how much space you’ll want to give them.

Small minimalist rooms are very efficient on space, and since a mood freezes during sleep having a cramped room won’t bother them too much.

The downside with small rooms is that they cause a small mood debuff for having an unimpressive bedroom.

On the other hand, a large bedroom with some art or furniture will have a positive effect on a colonist’s mood. Larger bedrooms will take up more space, but it also requires more power to maintain light and heat levels.

For instance, a room with an internal dimension of 6×5 will leave some room to add improvements.

Regardless of which building style you choose, never put your bed’s pillow in the corner of the room – this will cause the cramped room debuff regardless of room size.

Lastly, you could cram everyone into one massive, beautiful barracks.

It’s just ahs to be large and impressive enough to counter the sharing bedroom debuff. An extra benefit is that shared bedrooms are much easier to maintain, especially as your base expands.

Storage/Fridge

I like to create one large storage room early on, and later add storage areas for specific items.

Most items in the game will deteriorate without a roof, so you’ll want to make sure you gather things like meds and weapons and keep them safe. Other things like bricks and steel won’t deteriorate outside.

Setting a storage area is easy, you go to the Zones button and select Storage Zone, and then simply drag to the size you want. You can edit your storage zones to allow/disallow items in the game as well as set a priority level. The priority level enables you to have a preferred storage spot, but also an overflow into your regular storage.

RimWorld starts you off with the tech to build coolers, so if you build a closed room and drop the temperature it becomes a walk-in fridge (or freezer).

The bigger your fridge, the move coolers you’ll need to keep it at temp. A 10 x 10 room would need three coolers to keep temperatures below freezing, so you should build a smaller freezer early on and expand as you gain more colonists.

Be sure to fill your freezer before winter, because you won’t be able to grow anything once it drops below zero. Which bring us to the next section, growing zones.

Growing Zones

Growing zones are an essential part of your base.

You want these to be close to the colony since they require work to sow and harvest, but also to quickly put out crop fires. Growing zones are placed just like other zones and can be changed to plant several useful crops.

Corn yields the most food but takes the longest to grow, whereas rice grows much faster but only generates a small amount.

The best crop to grow will depend on the length of your growing season and the quality of the soil. I generally go with a mixture of plants, but always start with rice for the early harvest.

You can also grow cotton to make clothes, herbal medicine for wounds and disease, or even psychoid leaves for a variety of drugs!

Power

Before your fridge or standing lamps can work, you’ll need to get a bit of energy going. The wood burning power generator is great for the early game, and you can add it build more as your demand for power increases.

Although it takes a few thousand research points to unlock, the geothermal power generator is the best and most effective form of power in the vanilla game (there are a ton of power mods available).

2. Assigning Jobs and Creating Bills

Jobs and Skills

The next big section of the RimWorld Beginner’s Guide focuses on assigning jobs and setting up bills.

Every character in RimWorld has a set of skills which determine their effectiveness in the relevant jobs. A character’s backstory will impact these skills and may restrict certain job types.

For example, you could have an engineer who is skilled at crafting and research, but incapable of social skills. Or you could have a genetically engineered assassin who has incredible shooting and melee stats but is only capable of killing people and feeding himself.

Colonist’s skills will automatically improve as they perform the relevant jobs, but once their skill passes level 10, it will slowly degrade if not worked on consistently. Make sure you start with at least one capable doctor, grower, and builder as those will be some of the critical jobs to fill early on.

Working with Bills

Crafting in RimWorld work on bills which are work orders at a particular production station. You can set up bills for cooking meals, crafting stone blocks, making guns, cremating corpses, and a vast variety of other things. The main things to keep in mind when setting up bills are priority, ingredients, and logic.

Priority

Priority is an easy one. If you have multiple bills on the same workstation, then the colonist will work on the bill in order. Higher in the list = higher priority.

Ingredients

Ingredients are another big factor. For example, you can forbid your tailor from using cloth to help you save it for things like pool tables and medicine. Or create art out of a specific material or stone type by toggling on or off the various material types.

Logic

How you set up the bill logic is essential for how the bill is carried out. Do you want your colonist to craft a certain amount, maintain a certain amount, or carry out the bill forever? Do you want them to haul what they craft right away or drop it on the floor? They’re small differences but can have a big impact. In practice, this is easy to set up and can help make crafting and production more efficient.

For example:

  • Tell yours cooks to “produce until you have” X amount, so they keep the fridges stocked with meals (usually 10 to 20 meals will sustain your colony early on)
  • Set butcher creature to “forever” so that any hunted animals are cut in meat
  • For stone blocks, smoke leaf joints and other basic crafting to “drop on the floor” rather than “haul to best stockpile.” This way your colonist can focus on crafting and let an animal or hauler carry the finished goods to storage.

3. Defending Your Base

Defending your base is one of the most critical parts of the game. While you can get away with just a few sandbags for the first raid or two, that won’t cut it for very long. This has the potential to be a massive topic so for the sake of this post we’re focusing on just some of the main highlights and starting tips.

Kill Boxes

One of the primary and easiest ways to defend your base is by building a “kill box.” The idea here is to create a structure that funnels the raiders into a walled area where you have armed colonists and turrets waiting.

To do this, you’ll need to not only build the kill box itself but also walls around the rest of your base. I typically start with two layered walls around the entire base and add from there.

One pro-tip for your kill box is to build a walled, roofed area with spaces in the wall to fire out of. If you stand your colonists behind the wall, they will peek out to shoot and dug back to reload.

Adding a roof means they’re standing in the shadows making them even more difficult to hit.

4. Growing Your RimWorld Colony

Once you’re happy with your base and food production, it’s time to start expanding your colony.

There are a few main ways to recruit new colonist:

  • The “Wanderer Joins” event
  • The “Escaped Prisoner” event
  • Recruiting prisoners

These events that give you another colonist only happen every once in a while, so if you want to expand faster, then you’ll need to recruit prisoners.

When you down colonists from a rival faction, they can be taken as prisoners (as long as you have beds assigned to prisoners). Once in prison, a colonist can attempt to recruit them.

How difficult it is to recruit a specific person will depend on a few things, including your colonist’s Warden score and your relationship level with the faction.

One of the best parts about recruiting prisoners is that you can review their stats before choosing to try and recruit them. This means you can only recruit colonists with the right skill sets (unlike the random events where your new colonist might be awful).

One drawback to having prisoners is that they need to be feed. This means they cost both food and productivity time. That said, once you get rolling it doesn’t take too long before you find yourself building a 10-person prison.

Over to You

Now it’s up to you! Go out and build the super-colony of your dreams.

Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Find the RimWorld Beginner’s Guide helpful? Send us a screenshot of your latest RimWorld base.