Clanfolk is the latest survival colony builder sim out there, and it already is garnering a bit of a following for its simple design but complex gameplay. A lot of it boils down to a ton of symbols and items that, upon first glance, might turn off players from actually diving deep into the game's deeper mechanics. Thankfully, this Clanfolk Starter guide will help you get a leg up by explaining the basics of the game for you, as well as providing some tips and tricks to get as good of a start as possible for your clan.
Getting Started in Clanfolk - Map Seeds and Quickstart
The first thing you do in Clanfolk is generate a map. You can also customize the map as you wish, not only with the random numbers on the bottom but with sliders offering an increase or decrease in the number of lakes, forests, grasslands, mountains, and wildlife will be available.
The default for each of these sliders is 0, and you are given 3 points to raise them as you see fit. If you lower a slider, you gain an extra point to put it elsewhere. This in effect allows you to further customize your maps to your advantage.
If I was to make any recommendation for those sliders, mountains and wildlife will provide resources that will be extremely useful for the latter stages of survival, while grasslands, forests, and lakes are used at every stage to some degree. One strategy I liked was putting a single point in grasslands and forests, and the last point in either lakes or double up on grasslands or forests. Your map will still have each resource you need regardless of the sliders; it's just how much of each resource will be available for you at the start.
Clanfolk starts with a few modes of play, but for the purposes of this guide, we will assume the recommended mode (A Fresh Start) is being used. You can select the other two starting modes as well for an extra challenge, or customize your own clan if you wish. The guides below assume A Fresh Start was selected.
The Jobs Command - Put Your Clanfolk to Work
Jobs are the backbone of Clanfolk. Simply put, giving your Clanfolk jobs will allow them to perform needed tasks to keep your clan alive.
Jobs are programmed based on the priority of a character's skills; so a character who is given a high priority to gather materials over hunting will be more likely to gather food and items for your clan. This is done through an individual's character menu, you simply pick the skill you want to prioritize, and move it to the top of the list. Thankfully Clanfolk is very visual, making the re-arrangement of skill priorities easier to understand.
At the start of the game, your clan folk will have four jobs they can perform, Gather Stones, Gather Branches, Gather Berries, and Pick Mushrooms. As you do these tasks, you will slowly unlock a multitude of other jobs that can take priority based on the ideas that members of the clan unlock. Jobs can also be pushed by characters; meaning they will sometimes overwork at a loss of their happiness, but you will see quickly how necessary that is for general survival. This typically happens at night, when members of the clan go to sleep primarily to recover their attributes.
Understanding The Idea Chart - Clanfolk Unlocks
Clanfolk doesn't follow the traditional progression of items found in most strategy games. What you have instead is a tiered system of 'ideas', different ideas that each clan member can think up on their own while playing the game.
For example, players start with the four basic jobs mentioned previously. As they gather sticks, stones, berries, and mushrooms, however, new ideas are unlocked on what to do with them. Gathering enough stones and branches for example unlocks the ability to create a Work Zone, an area where members of your clan can construct tools and other objects based on your gathered resources. Unlocking the work zone also unlocks the idea for a stone sickle, which requires stones and branches to build, and then using the sickle to clear grass can unlock new items based on the materials gained from that action.
It is possible to have multiple items locked in the lower tiers for a while, simply because the requirements to unlock them haven't been made yet. You can also be deep into a later tier because you followed a string of ideas that led to progress being made on more advanced items. Some ideas can bottleneck progress and are marked with a + accordingly on the idea list, meaning that they need to be discovered or thought of before progression continues.
There are 30 tiers total in Clanfolk, with a lot of different ideas ranging from simple things like resources (stones, branches, flax sheaf, and raw eels) to objects (straw doors, cooking fire) to even actions ( gather clay, clear bushes, mine mountains). As to what unlocks what, a lot of this is based more on experimentation and trial and error. For the most part, you will need to gather enough of a resource to unlock an idea to craft or act on, which in turn can unlock new ideas.
Setting and Forgetting
The real depth of Clanfolk is the priorities you set for each clan member, and how they interact with the environment around you. Basically, you need to code their A.I to be as efficient as possible, as micromanaging everything in the game will lead to massive issues in the long run. Developer MinMax Games set up a pretty solid, visual A.I system to help you set up your characters for their daily survival.
It starts with skill priorities.
Each member of your clan will have 14 different skills they can level up and grow in. You can actually set the priority for each skill for each individual character. So for example, say you want a character to prioritize hunting over farming, you simply increase the hunting skill priority on their character sheet, which is incredibly easy to do.
Another way you set up your clan is to set up stockpiles of all your resources for crafting through auto supply.
Clanfolk relies heavily on crafting items. It would be a separate article to do an exhaustive list of how to craft everything, but basically, items follow a pattern of X amount of materials, X amount of time, a specific skill, and often require a specific station or object to be present to build on.
Now you can build, cook, or store your resources individually, but your better move is to do them in bulk. You simply need to click on the object and set the amount you want to be done at a time for a resource. Then, clan members with a high priority for that specific skill will also prioritize bulk preparation of resources. You can even tweak priority of auto supplying resources to have multiple items ready to be built at once. Auto supplying resources will make sure a stockpile of a resource is always available, and is necessary for long term survival.
General Tips for Survival in Clanfolk
Since Clanfolk is essentially a survival game, you need four basic things to keep going in the game; food, water, clothing, and shelter. A successful clan is basically prepared for the game's winter season, though each seasonal change brings with it different challenges to deal with.
In terms of priority, the food needs to be the top choice. Early on your options are limited, but the real key is to start small with food; gathering enough berries one day at a time will keep the clan going at the start. Eventually though, through combined hunting, fishing, and foraging, you should always try to hold onto a supply of food that can last for at least 20-30 days, especially when you hit winter.
Water is fairly easy to deal with at first, you need to pick a section to drink from at a nearby lake, but that will eventually grow foul and lead to diseases if you are not careful. Eventually, you will have an idea for water jugs, once you build your first clay jug in the game. Water jugs will of course store water for you, and can be used for crops and combating fires. You will probably want a steady supply of jugs, at least 30 or more, at a given time as you progress through the game.
You can spend a few days sleeping under the stars without much of an issue, but the moment you begin getting ideas for housing, you should at least construct a small place for your clan members to sleep in. I found the best material to use is actually harvested clay for the home's walls. Clay is found along the banks of lakes and easily harvested once you unlock the idea for it on tier 11. It is also less flammable than other early materials save for maybe stones. You can gather clay once you craft a stone hoe.
A note on fire: One of the biggest dangers in Clanfolk is fire and flammable substances. Basically, if something catches fire, it has a chance of burning down your village if you are not careful. The first item you get to give you fire is a cooking fire. I highly recommend placing it in an area with no grass or trees if you can, even preferably close to a lake. You will eventually be given the option to set up blockers, basically, a region where no items will be set on the ground. I highly suggest you start that around the cooking fire first.
One more basic need would be storing your items. Clanfolk has a ton of options for storage space that you can craft and employ, including food stands, rock piles, hay bales, and more. Since you will be churning through resources quickly, having multiple storage locations is not a bad idea, as it allows you to stockpile items without searching for them, and helps preserve items from the elements, like heavy rain.
Early game, the most important storage item would be of course food, so unlocking a serving basket at tier 7 will help you gather all picked berries and mushrooms. Tier 14 will eventually unlock stone piles, rock heaps, haystacks, and a tool rack to store your stone and eventually iron tools. As a general rule, keep all of the storage items away from a fire source if you can.
Finally, when you unlock a clothes zone, you can start making sacks and sack cloth clothing. They are fairly cheap to produce, using up straw as their primary resource. While your clan members will lose some mood wearing them, they do provide extra warmth, which will be needed pretty quickly. Clothes are very important for basic comfort and survival, but are usually the last major necessity to unlock.
And there you have it, some basic starter points on what you need to survive in Clanfolk. All of these tips and information will make the game a lot easier to play, and once you understand the basic mechanics, it becomes pretty straightforward what you have to do.
Hopefully this guide does help you in surviving through the mechanics of Clanfolk a little easier, if it did, check out more below: