Author Topic: Difficulty Setting  (Read 7066 times)

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Offline Demonocracy

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Difficulty Setting
« on: May 25, 2014, 03:08:34 AM »
Okay, fine.  I admit it.

I've been playing on Easy mode and have still struggle to make ends meet.

I thought about going up to normal, but I decided that if I'm going to ramp up... I'm going all out.  Now I'm playing my new town of Leight on Hard mode.  And goodness is the start of hard mode rough!

My first winter, I lost half of my population from starvation because I was too focused on housing, firewood, and clothing to survive the winter.  This was followed by a number of gatherers who seemed to like eating poisonous berries--which was quite the new development from Easy mode.

I know many of you play on Hard mode as a standard, and for that I commend you.  Well done.

I'm still trying to move forward and also focus a bit more on aesthetics along the way (which has been largely unsuccessful so far).  I could use a bit of luck and also some tips if anyone has any "build X, Y, Z first thing" advice or additional differences between Easy and Hard modes.

Thanks again guys.  You're awesome.  : )

Offline Demonocracy

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 03:23:53 AM »
Here's what I've got so far in year 18.  The population is 24/9/4.

http://worldofbanished.com/gallery/24_25_05_14_3_21_29.jpeg
Difficulty Setting


I've got the basic components, but I'm going to have to expand soon to another area and build another market.  I'm in need of livestock at this point.  That would be helpful!  Since I've just built the Trading Post moments ago, I'm playing the waiting game.

Offline rkelly17

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 05:36:47 AM »
@Demonocracy, when I first started playing on hard I killed everybody. If they didn't just outright starve, they ran out of tools and THEN starved. Sometimes they just froze to death. I killed even more people in Banished than I did first playing Kerbal Space Program (still kill the odd Kerbal astronaut when an experiement goes horribly wrong). What got me going on hard was a series of videos by someone called pinstar on YouTube. (
&index=1) These have been criticized by some, who may well be correct, but they got me to the point where I now normally start on hard because it gives me more freedom in layout. It won't work on every map; you need to start near enough flat land for overlapping hunter/gatherer/forester circles. It really helps to be close enough to the main river that you can start trading within three years or so. BUT: It can get you rolling on hard and you may never look back.

Offline solarscreen

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 05:54:14 AM »
Livestock is going to be expensive.  Each animal costs about 600, chickens less, cattle more, and you will need to buy several to be sure they will propagate.  Stock your trading post with a lot of firewood to make the purchase possible. Also, have a pasture ready to use before you buy. If you buy first then build your pasture, the animals may die before the pasture is ready. 
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Offline slink

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2014, 05:54:32 AM »
I have always found Medium more easy than Easy.  On Easy you have livestock for which to clear an area, many births during the very first year because everyone starts in a house, and therefore more mouths to feed in the first year.  On Hard most of the original children grow up ignorant before you can build a school, because you have to cut stuff before you can build anything at all.  Medium is for me a happy compromise because I can immediately build two farm plots in the open area, and then clear a spot for a school.  After that, I start building houses but usually only oe of them before the first harvest.  That way there is enough food left in the barn for all of the homeless.  Also, I have time and materials to instead build the first forest group or the first fishing dock, or both, before completing all of the houses required for the original people.  Population growth starts out a little slower, but I'm happier that way.

Offline solarscreen

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2014, 05:57:01 AM »
I like medium because I start with more people.  Hard takes a few more years to get your population moving along!
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Offline rkelly17

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2014, 09:12:31 AM »
I've never actually played on medium. The problem I have with both easy and medium is that the location selected for the initial buildings isn't always where I want them. I am picky. How dare some algorithm interfere with my plans! Easy does make for a rapid start and it is easy to make a mistake that costs later. Hard makes for a slow first 10-15 years, but population will pick up from there. I'm always over-building houses, so I've had to learn to accept the slow growth of the early years. Until about year 15-20 I keep "houses" and "families" more or less equal to encourage maximum babies. After that "families" gets ahead of "houses" and you can control growth through measured house-building.

Playing on hard I notice that the first few food merchants will only give you 3 credits per unit  of firewood but that all other merchants will give you 4. So, 1 seed = 625 firewood. Cows are 800 per cow, so 1200 firewood gives you 6 cows. My recollection is that sheep are 600, so 900 firewood gives you 6 sheep. I usually go for 8, so 1200 firewood. Chickens are, I think, 400, so 100 firewood per chicken. This is from memory, which may not be correct. In the beginning I use @slink's trick of saving before the merchant lands and replaying from the save if I don't like the selection. Farming is what sends the food numbers up and the citizens need grain, so I go for corn or wheat. That plus a fruit tree because they are pretty.

As I start building the trading post I ramp up the firewood max to 500-700. This produces a surplus by the time the post is finished. 4 foresters in a cabin on plant+cut (I start on plant only and get logs from labourers clear cutting) can keep a woodcutter supplied with enough for fuel and trading. Usually the surplus shows up in Summer (be careful pulling production into the trading post in Late Winter and Early Spring) when no one is using fuel. I have no idea whether this is a good idea or not, but my goal is always to have 200 firewood available to the citizens and then increment that number as the population grows. It is my goal; I'm only rarely successful.

I find that I can trade for livestock and then build the pasture, which works IF (big "if') you have sufficient builders and labourers at that moment. Otherwise it might be wise to pre-build. You can get a splittable flock of chickens with a much smaller pasture, so probably no need to panic there. With cows and sheep I try to build at least one 20X20 pasture for each to give me my splitting herd and then build smaller (capacity of 11-15) pastures around the map to spread the supplies. If you do the "squares of 9X9" style farm, two squares (so 9X18 or 18X9) give a nice chicken pasture. No point paying for any of the livestock after you have a herd/flock you can split.

All this comes with a caution: I am not a big trader. For that you need to ask someone like @nmid. I am primarily a farmer and I trade in order to start farming. I really do need to figure out trading better.

Offline slink

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2014, 09:22:38 AM »
Food merchants never give more than three for firewood.  General merchants give four for firewood, and sell everything but livestock.

Oh, and on Medium the game only places a barn and a stockpile, at roughly the middle of the map.  The stockpile is easily moved, and the barn can be moved later, too, if you want.  It's nothing like the campfire house arrangement on Easy.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 09:25:13 AM by slink »

Offline nmid

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2014, 12:35:16 PM »
Hi @Demonocracy ,

I'm sure you've read the differences between easy, med and hard.. but it's basically varying amounts of seeds, starting animals and starting buildings.

General observations looking at your screenshot

There is no hurry to build a 2nd market till you get 100+ citizens. Looking at your screenshot, you have no need to do that.
Just build more houses below the market.
Fill up the market circle with houses and buildings before you start building another market.
Do note that you need markets only in maps where you have scattered production or have expanded quite a lot. Ask me for more details if you want me to go into more details about this.

What's important is that you get your forest circles optimized.
Looking at your map, you could build another forester in your middle forest zone to the east.
Clear out the stones/iron using your labourers. Build stockpiles in the circle initially so they clear faster and then remove the stockpiles so they take it to a final destination. (leave only 1 stockpile next to the forester).
Each forest circle should have 4 houses at least, 1 gatherer, 1 forester, 1 stockpile 5x5 at least, 1 hunter (2 employees), 1 barn and 1 woodcutter (towards the city edge if you like)
This makes sure you have enough leather coming in + venison for trade.. + 2k food for eating (about 15-20 ppl) + enough wood for the woodcutter.. (i don't recall, but I think it's about 170-220 wood per year, in a stone/iron clear zone?.. that gives you a top line of 750-800 firewood when your woodcutter is educated). Takes time to get those figures as it depends on education, housing nearby etc.. but you'll get those numbers even in a forest circle with all these buildings.

---------------
Edit - Ah, you are playing hard. Not easy. Mis-read your starting post.
Hmmmm... different strategy then.
In a nutshell, push out from your storage barn quickly.

Pause the game.
Plan out where you want your forest circles. Plan out atleast 3, but use only the nearest one for now.
This doesn't need to be very far from the start.

Clear out a small area in the middle of the 1st zone. Put a stockpile there.
Build a house + set 2 to builders.

Clear out a slightly bigger area. While it's being cleared out, your 1st house has finished building.
Start building a gatherer + storage barn
Set 4 to builders.

Build a hunter.. this is around autumn/winter.
Your homeless will get their warmth from the starting house + stocks.

(In spring of year 2.........

Throw in a forester.

then build a woodcutter.

(or here.... In spring of year 2, build a fishing hut as well near your starting area along with 1 house for now + 1 planned out for later. This will require some finesse and micromanaging the stone/logs.)

Use any idle laborers to gather more stone/iron from the zone. Clears up the area + gets stocks ready to use.

Build 3 more huts.

You'll be around year 2 autumn/winter at the latest, with everyone housed.

Build a blacksmith in your starting area + plant out a tailor.
Never let your tools run low. Don't care about clothes for now.

Once this circle is up with 4 houses, repeat for the 2nd zone.

You now have 2 forest circles (2 gatherers, 2 foresters, 2 woodcutters, 2 hunters, 2 barns, 8 houses + 2 for fishing + 1 fishing hut + the starting cart iirc) and your BS.
Finish building the tailor.

Decide if you want to build a 3rd circle or instead build the 1st trade port.
I prefer the trade port first, but if you have enough stone/logs/iron go for the 3rd forest circle and then the trade port.

---------------------------------

@rkelly17 thanks for pointing out this thread to me :)
You are right about food merchants giving you only 3 value for firewood.. thats actually standard for all food merchants throughout the game.

I'll post about my trading in detail if reqd.... but I've summarized my main initial plans here.. Getting wood+stone from resource merchants, one fruit from food merchants for eating + making ale and from general merchants fruit+wood+stone+1 random item from (iron,steel tools, herbs in mid game).
I trade out venison, leather at the initial start, then start trading firewood by year 5-15.. and then add ale to the mix.
I'm not talking about wool for now.

 
@Demonocracy @rkelly17 has a good point about the reloading to get a different merchant. I do that quite often... and almost always for the starting visits to get the custom orders + 1st loads set to my liking.

Ahh.. @slink mentioned about the traders costing.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 12:57:30 PM by nmid »

Offline nmid

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2014, 01:04:31 PM »
My earlier post about playing easy/med
-------------
I recall a map where I built NO houses, only the food gathering and forest circles and even then no one died..
If you build only one house, then all your honeless will get their warmth from there.
If you are indeed playing easy, then you'll have enough starting tools. clothes, firewood and pre-built houses to survive the starting 2 years at least.

Anyways, I'm sure you've read the differences between easy, med and hard.. it's basically varying amounts of seeds, starting animals and starting buildings.


This is what you should do to make life easier in an easy map.
0. Pause the game the moment you start.
1. The empty space between the houses/barn? Throw in a farm there. That should be about 2 farmers there. (Keep this in mind 7 food per cell, 50-70 cells per farmer. 56 cells is the game default.)
2. Build a fishing hut if you have a good spot. 1 fisher can get you about 400-600 fish per year. As each village needs 100-150 to survive on an avg (considering unproductive children), you'll be making a "profit".
3. start with the basics of a forest circle somewhere off from the main start point.
Keep in mind that you can't have it too close, because you want to expand.
4.Build only a gatherer, barn, 2 houses in that order. Then add a hunter and 1 more house. Employ gatherers/hunters accordingly. Build 1 more house if you feel the need to.
5.Build a woodcutter in your main city/starting point, next to your future market. This will be using your freshly cut logs and will later be supplied by your market.
6.Leave space for a blacksmith and a tailor as well.
7.Now Build a forester and a stockpile in the forest zone.
Ignore the tailor building for now.
8.Unpause the blacksmith building anytime your tools fall below 15 tools. That gives you enough time to finish buildint the bsmith and replenish the tools.
9.Build a school and a few more houses (1-2).
This will cause a slowdown for workers as well new babies, but I don't really care, because the educated citizens are productive and I've gotten used to the slowdown.
You could build your 1st school when you get to 35-50 citizens if you like.
10.I keep clearing resources from the ground for logs, stone. I leave the iron on the ground for now.
11.I build the tailor and the port around the same time.
This is the time by which I have to walk a bit further than I'm comfortable for stone.. which could lead to problems, considering I need stone for buildings.. and I need the logs for iron tools + firewood + building.
12.I stop building anything apart from a few houses and I use all my logs to ensure I don't run out of tools... and I wait for the trader to get me stone + logs or I set custom orders for it.
13.This allows me some time to get more hands + start planning another forest circle.
14.This should be around year 5 or at the most year 10. Having 2 forest circles + 2 ports trading out leather and getting in stone + logs helps in making more wood cutters and lets me start using fwood for trade.
15.I build a market and townhall between year 5-10 for the nomads.. and then another port before year 10.

Oh, very important.. if you play easy or medium (keep these figures in mind, 6 cells for chicken, 16 cells for sheep, 20 for cattle), count the number of animals you start with.. add 2-3 extra to that number and build a pasture that can hold that many. It's best if you can build a pasture that can hold AT LEAST 10 animals because that let's you split the herd later on, when you want.
This saves you money as you don't have to buy animals afresh.. + you get some extra wool/meat from the animals at the cost of only 1 herder.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 01:06:17 PM by nmid »

Offline Kaldir

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2014, 02:20:58 PM »
This is an interesting read. When I started on Banished I played on easy a couple of times and failed them all. Then I read a lot of forum posts, and always played on hard afterwards. It's working out okay for me, without any deaths from starvation or freezing. My food reserves are sometimes dangerously low though.

I usually have a gatherer, hunter, barn, and 4 houses (all close together in the middle of that forest circle) up before winter year 1, closely followed by a woodcutter on the edge of the forest circle and a school. In my current game I managed to get the school done with only 2 kids grown up uneducated (one of them became the teacher....). Only problem is surviving 2 more years before getting additional working adults, while everyone starts to pop out children. That can become tricky on gathering enough food.
Since seeing it on some Youtube vid (forgot which one), I now always clear enough wood and stone before building anything, and then build it all in one go (all 8 on builder).

I only build the forester once the school is in session, because I really like the educated workforce and the forest circle usually starts out dense enough for the gatherers to do okay. Blacksmith follows quickly after the forester, usually just too late so the blacksmith her/himself works without a tool. Fishing docks, herbalist (not in forest circle), tailor, then market, with some more houses in between. I'm often a bit late with the trading post, and have never built more than 2 so far. That's why the herbalist gets priority, since I don't have the grain food type.
I always build my houses next to the workplaces. Which also avoids the big clusters of only houses, which I don't really like visually.

Mind you, I've only played 5 towns on hard, and never yet beyond 500 citizens. So not much to go on for statistics (I might have been lucky).


Edit: forgot about the herbalist, added it.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 02:31:15 PM by Kaldir »

Offline Demonocracy

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2014, 02:44:03 PM »
Goodness!

Thank you all for your insightful tips.  There's a lot to work with.  I think my strategy is very similar so far, but I'm seeing some issues I could correct in my current game--namely adding homes closer to the forester circles and building a pasture for when the trader arrives. 

I think I've had a pretty decent start on Hard.  It was a bit of a struggle at first, but it's coming together nicely.

Offline canis39

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2014, 04:55:43 PM »
This is an interesting read. When I started on Banished I played on easy a couple of times and failed them all. Then I read a lot of forum posts, and always played on hard afterwards. It's working out okay for me, without any deaths from starvation or freezing. My food reserves are sometimes dangerously low though.

I usually have a gatherer, hunter, barn, and 4 houses (all close together in the middle of that forest circle) up before winter year 1, closely followed by a woodcutter on the edge of the forest circle and a school.

Kaldir, if you're playing with a mild climate, there is really no need to build 4 houses before the first winter.  I usually only build 2 houses and while it does mean fewer babies being born, it helps because it cuts down on the "food hoarding" that happens every time a new house is completed.

Offline solarscreen

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2014, 05:00:45 PM »
On a hard start, I have found that I only need to build a boarding house and that will work fine for up to 9 years before I need to build another house. By then, I have built out my forest modules, my trading post, and my economy.

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Offline mariesalias

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Re: Difficulty Setting
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2014, 06:47:39 PM »
Am I the only one who does not build housing within the forestry circles?  Funny thing is I initially did this (from watching Let's Plays before the game released) but later decided I got better results placing the houses, barns, stockpile for logs, and woodcutters just outside the circle. Feels to me like it makes it easier to make my markets go farther this way.

I did recently watch some of Pinstar's videos (from a link rkelly17 posted) and I thought he had some good ideas. I disagreed with some though.

Originally I did games on Easy, then when I got a feel for that start, I started games on Medium until I got a feel for those, then moved on to Hard. Now, I almost always start on Hard. Mainly because I never like the position of the barn, so have to destroy it and build a new one at some point. I don't do farming early on though, even with seeds so starting on hard seems easiest to me.


When I start on hard, I set down a stockpile and then build a food production first. Almost always a Gatherer's Hut, but if  there is no good nearby location I will build a fishing dock. Next I build one house and the Woodcutter. I set out my basic layout while paused (and all buildings paused) before I build anything, so my stockpile goes right on the edge of the forestry hub circle and the woodcutter near that. I also place my Market (paused) where I think I will put it and build my first house within that circle and near to the food production building (so a gatherer's Hut would have it right outside the circle). The gatherers will use the storage cart and should not have it filled up yet, but I usually build a barn about here, right outside the forestry hub. This should be enough to get you through the winter. I build a second house during the winter to get another baby born.  When I am not building, my laborers are collecting resources.

Second year, the blacksmith goes up (or when I get to about 5 tools if that happens sooner), the school gets started, the forester's tower goes up (on plant only for a year or two), and a second food production goes up, fishing, usually, but a hunting lodge if no good nearby fishing spots. I usually build 2-3 more houses this year, depending on my food resources.  Even though I build the school here, I may not put a teacher in it right away. I wait until I have enough workers to man the buildings I have and then keep 2 laborers. Once that number is reached though, the teacher gets hired and I just have to wait it out for the kids to be educated. I build any more houses I need, slowly though as I always keep one laborer on so it'll be 1 builder.

I generally tend to put off my first hunter's lodge and tailor's until after I get some educated students graduating. I don't staff the tailor's until I have some leather stockpiled. As long as there are houses, my people never die of cold from lack of clothing, neither does it seem to impact their productivity much as they all generally live close to their work sites. Usually by the time students are graduating, health has started to dip down so I build a herbalist's hut.

I have done the boarding house right away on hard, as @solarscreen suggests, and that works well too because babies will start in there.