In this Timberborn Guide for Beginners, I'll tell you what you need to know to get started playing Mechanistry's survival colony sim that first launched for PC on Steam Early Access.
What is Timberborn?
Timberborn is a new survival colony sim from Mechanistry that got its start on Steam Early Access. Mankind is long gone and it's the beaver's turn to reign supreme. Unfortunately, we haven't left them a whole lot to work with.
As with most colony sims, you'll have to build up your town, populate it with beavers, and put them to work erecting structures, producing goods, and growing food. However, you'll have to combat a never-ending enemy: droughts. That means that saving up water is highly important.
There are all sorts of strategies to play the long game, but this Timberborn Guide for Beginners will focus on setting you up with basic techniques and strategies that will give you a foundation for later gameplay. Accept the fact that you will probably lose quite a few times -- take your time to experiment, learn, and improve in the next game!
Timberborn Guide for Beginners - Getting Started and Completing the Tutorial
The first part of this Timberborn Guide for Beginners is going to quickly cover the Tutorial. Unfortunately, the Tutorial isn't as robust as it ought to be -- it's only going to give you the very, very basics you need to keep your Beavers from immediately dying. Surviving beyond that, however, is up to you.
The Tutorial has you build two Lumberjack flags, a Gatherer Flag, a Warehouse, and a Water Pump. These will get you started off with gathering Wood, Berries, and Water, but you're going to need to rapidly expand if you want to survive your first Drought.
Expanding Your Town and Surviving Your First Timberborn Drought
With the Tutorial completed, our next step is to increase the comfort of your Beavers and get them to work. Start by setting the Warehouse to store 100 Berries and 100 Carrots and nothing else -- this building will serve as your food storage for now.
Next, we're going to build our first Farm. Plant at least 40 plots of Carrots next to 1 Farm Building. Leave a little room to expand it later; two Farmers alone will not be enough to sustain your early population for a lengthy amount of time. Set the Prioritized action in the Farm to "Planting."
You should see a stone Slope slightly to the left of your town. Expand a Path in that direction -- that will give you the option to add a second Gatherer Flag and get access to more Berries.
We're going to need to store Water to survive your first Drought. This should be your first round of building after the Tutorial
- 1 Log Pile
- 4 Lodges
- 3 Small Water Tanks
- 1 Campfire
- 1 Inventor
It may be a good idea to add another Small Warehouse for additional food storage. Once you feel comfortable, build another two Lodges. Take note that your population does not appear to expand without extra vacant housing!
The Campfire is key for meeting the "Social Life" stat of your Beavers. The Inventor is also quite important as it allows you to generate Science, a resource that can be used to unlock new buildings.
Once you have all of this set up, you should be able to survive your first Drought with minimal losses. Surviving beyond that, however, is going to require learning how to work with Water.
Working with Water in Timberborn
Water is life in Timberborn. Fail to manage your Water correctly and you'll be lucky if you only lose a few Beavers. If you screw things up really badly, everyone will die.
Managing your Water starts with storage. You should always have more Water than you need on hand to survive Droughts, especially because successive Droughts will get longer and tougher. Losing the game is likely an inevitability due to this mechanic -- it's only a matter of when.
On the more advanced side of things, you'll note that there is a lot of non-arable land on the map. This is where the ingenuity of the Beavers comes into play: you can use dams, levees, Irrigation Towers, Water Pumps, and more to move Water around and set up your civilization for long-term survival. Heck, you can even use Dynamite to blast holes in the ground to create canals or reservoirs!
Working with all of these tools is going to take time and experimentation that goes beyond the scope of the Timberborn Guide for Beginners. Keep in mind that you can make a hard save at any time, so don't be afraid to dam up a river or try to blast a hole in the ground and see what happens -- you can always load an older save game.
After Your First Drought: The Key to Long-Term Survival
If you've followed my advice, you should have been able to survive your first Drought with minimal losses. Your next step is to figure out the best way to expand and maintain enough resources to keep everyone alive.
Even on Normal difficulty, Droughts will get increasingly severe. That means that you have to go beyond being "good enough" when it comes to food and Water. If you're just barely surviving one Drought, you won't survive the next one unless you step up your game.
Don't forget to expand your capabilities, too. I built a Lumber Mill and a Water Wheel after my first Drought to start producing Planks; these items are key for building more advanced structures and making the most out of my town.
Focus on making the most out of your land by diverting Water to where it's needed. Store up plenty of Food and Water and you should be fine. Before you know it, you'll have a grasp of the game's basic mechanics and you can further challenge yourself by aiming to make more creative structures or tackling a higher difficulty setting.