A quick guide with some miscellaneous tips, tricks, and mechanics that aren’t explained in the game!
Tips and Tricks
Terminology and Legend
- Plot: a hexagon that you can place Seeds, Upgrades, or Buildings on (after preparing it if it isn’t already prepared). Outposts also expand to prepared plots, whether they’re occupied or not, as their population grows.
- Seed: a crop that you can plant to feed the Outpost.
- Upgrade: a defensive mechanism to help the Seeds cope with the hazards of the Red Planet.
- Building: a structure that can provide resources to the Outpost or adjacent Plots.
- Power: a unit of measure for the number of Upgrades or Buildings that you can sustain. Special buildings belonging to the Outpost (mansions, hospitals, parks, etc.) do not consume any of your Power.
- Earnings: how many coins a crop produces for you in one Year.
- Sustenance: how many units of population a crop can feed in one Year.
- Year: a Year is equal to one turn in the game.
- Scenario names are italicised. There are four scenarios: Gale Crater, Valles Marineris, Utopia Planitia, and Medusae Fossae.
- Hazards and Upgrades are bolded.
- Unconfirmed claims of mine are bolded.
- The cost of preparing new Plots slowly increases with each one that is prepared, eventually costing 20 – 25 to prepare some of the later Plots in a scenario (depending on how many Plots there are total in the scenario).
- Outposts generally expand to adjacent Plots with preference going towards those which are unoccupied before taking over a Plot that has a Seed, Upgrade, or Building on it. Sometimes you will see them occupy a Plot in the middle of nowhere though. As far as I’ve seen, this is unique to mansions.
- Demolishing a Seed, Upgrade, or Building only gives you 50% of the original cost (rounded down).
- You can’t demolish a Building that is providing Power if your remaining Power is less than what the Building can produce.
- Coins max out at 999.
- Perennial Seeds give the most benefit when they are acquired and planted as early as possible in a scenario. This increases the number of Years that they have to give you a return on their Earnings and Sustenance after they’ve paid for themselves.
- Beware when planting a massive amount of Perennial Seeds because they effectively tie up that Plot indefinitely (unless you demolish the Seed) and generally aren’t the most lucrative or nourishing Seeds.
- Sometimes it’s worth it to demolish Seeds and Upgrades to replace them with different Seeds but I don’t recommend doing this every Year because it isn’t sustainable unless you have a huge influx of Earnings or a healthy bank of coins.
- Installing an Upgrade beside another of the same kind grants a discount of 25%. This discount does not apply if there are four adjacent Upgrades of the same kind to the one you are installing. This means that you require five adjacent Upgrades of the same kind to be able to install an Upgrade for free.
- For example:
– If you have an Irrigation and build another adjacent to it, the cost of the second one is reduced to 3 coins.
– If you have two and build another adjacent to both, the cost of the third one is reduced to 2 coins.
– If you have three and build another adjacent to all three, the cost of the fourth is reduced to 1 coin.
– However, if you have four and build another adjacent to all four then the cost will remain at 1 coin.
– But, if you have five (or six) and build another adjacent all five (or six) then the cost will be 0 coins.
- The one exception to this is the Radiation Shield whose coins don’t divide nicely into quarters. Its coin progression is as follows: 6, 4, 3, 1, 1, 0.
- Don’t build Upgrades for your Seeds if they don’t need the protection that Year. The coins can be better spent unlocking new Plots, planting more Seeds to gain a bigger profit. If the hazard doesn’t pop up or you have to demolish the Seed the next Year then the Upgrade won’t have gotten any use and will have been a waste of coins.
- Don’t be afraid to demolish unused Upgrades to free up Power. Power is an expensive resource and is just as important as Earnings and Sustenance (especially when expanding).
- All hazards damage Seeds except for Marsquakes (Valles Marineris) and Meteor Showers (Utopia Planitia and Medusae Fossae) which only damage Upgrades.
- Marsquakes and Meteor Showers damage Upgrades.
- Unconfirmed: if a Seed requires Irrigation but doesn’t have the Upgrade then Solar Flares might damage them more than they normally would be without Irrigation by itself.
- If there is only one short or medium-duration instance of a hazard that Year, don’t be afraid to plant Seeds without their protective Upgrades. They will still grow and you will be able to harvest them for a portion of the Earnings and Sustenance. Unconfirmed: they might give full Earnings but only a portion of the Sustenance. If there are multiple instances of a hazard, or one long-duration hazard, then your Seeds will likely wilt and die which produces nothing.
- In the first few Years, try to prioritize Seeds which have high Earnings but lower Sustenance. This will slow the growth of your Outpost but allow you to build up a huge reserve of coins which you can use to snowball into a massive coin reserve and set yourself up for the remainder of the scenario. I put this strategy to great use on Medusae Fossae and had a yearly income of 300-400 after the first few turns, eventually maxing out on coins.
- You can even choose to miss your Sustenance requirements by a very small amount in exchange for even more Earnings (but I recommend no more than five units of Sustenance otherwise you might be at risk of getting fired). This will cause you to lose anywhere from 3-5 population but will give you an even more secure economy to start with.
- Fun fact: you can’t be fired from your job in Gale Crater, no matter how many Years pass without you feeding anyone. Your population will be stuck at two forever which begs the question – what do you eat if you aren’t even feeding yourselves?
- Always try to produce Seeds that are in demand unless the cost of their Upgrades will outweigh the extra coins they will make. Sometimes it’s better to ignore whatever’s in demand, especially if it’s a Seed with low Earnings to begin with.
- Valles Marineris: try to place your Bulidings on Plots which are at risk of Landslides so you don’t have to worry about the hazard on that plot.
- Valles Marineris: since Marsquakes only affect Upgrades, you can safely ignore this hazard if it’s affecting a Plot with no Upgrades. Alternatively, you can choose to demolish the Upgrades beforehand in order to gain some coins from them since they’ll be destroyed anyways (assuming you don’t need them to protect any Seeds that are there that Year).
A number of these tips and tricks are things that I was curious about when playing the game and had to figure out for myself because the tutorial didn’t mention anything about them and the resources for this game are sparse. Having something like this would’ve been nice for me to read before playing the game so I hope this guide helps someone.
If you have any tips or tricks of your own, can provide some numbers for various mechanics (the cost formula for preparing Plots, the ratio of Earnings and Sustenance for partially-wilted Seeds, etc.), or can confirm any unconfirmed claims of mine then post a comment with your proof and I’ll add it!
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