Rimworld Guides and Walkthroughs
Rimworld is a very open ended game with many different ways to play it - this walkthrough will cover my preferred way of playing the game which is as a base defense/colony management game. This walkthrough will take you through an average game for me step by step explaining everything I am doing and why.
Even if you don't plan on playing Rimworld in the same way as me this guide will cover many different tips and tricks that will help you regardless of how you're going to play the game. With all of that said, every time I play Rimworld I use my own custom settings along with a couple of mods. I try to limit how many mods I use when playing games because I feel that the majority of people play without them and I want to play the same game you do to write the most accurate guide.
I've played about 200 hours of regular Rimworld and 400+ hours of Rimworld with mods and with the Expansions. For those of you who do not use mods because you don't like them and are reading this -- please give them a try. Rimworld is one of those few, few games that is made significantly better from using mods.
All of the mods I use are directly through Steam and they're automatically installed by clicking a single button. It's very easy to do and Rimworld has a very active modding community. To learn more about which mods I use and why check out my Mods List Page.
When playing Rimworld I also use my own custom settings; to change your settings when you're playing the game hit 'Esc' and select 'Storyteller Settings'. At the bottom of the list you will see an option to select 'Custom...' when you check this box you'll be presented with a similar window to what you see below.
Custom Settings for Years 1 and 2. (Click to enlarge)
These settings are only kept for years 1 and 2. Once I get past year 2 I typically ramp up my Threat Scale to 50 or 100% depending on the sort of game I want to play. As I got better at Rimworld I started to increase my threat further -- this game can be very difficult though and I don't recommend you go overboard with Threat until you've actually learned to play.
I find the level of difficulty for this game is the biggest drawback and it takes away from much of its enjoyment. It's a very indepth game with so much to do and if you're constantly spending your time micro managing your colonists or defending your base against threats you have no time to plan a Caravan trip or a raid of an enemy base.
My reasoning for choosing these custom settings is pretty straight forward - I try to make the game as realistic as possible. Here's the logic I use for the changes I made:
1. Threat Scale Changes - My logic here is no one cares about raiding some small community with barely any wealth. If anyone did go out of their way to attack another community it also wouldn't be as frequent as multiple times a year. If it was, you'd get up and move like a normal person. I definitely know some people feel differently than I do about this and they play this game like an RTS where the threat of attack is constant and ever growing. I personally don't like that -- or at least I didn't until I had put well over 500 hours into the game and started to really understand the systems and knew what to do and why. Now I understand why some people would like to ramp up the difficulty, it makes it more fun once you fully understand the game.
2. Harvest Yield - So for this one the reason I chose 150% is because each plant produces about as much food as it does in real life. I've also downloaded a stack size mod which increases the stack size to 750 instead of 75 which goes hand in hand with the increased Harvest Yield. My plants produce as much food as they would in real life and I have the same amount of storage space per block that I would in real life. Without increasing the harvest yield running out of food every winter is a real threat if you don't pay attention. I find this to be unrealistic and worrying about food and micro managing it means you spend less time enjoying the game and learning about other things.
3. Butchering Yield - Ok so this one always makes me laugh a bit. If you butcher a Cow in this game you get enough meat to feed 1 colonist for a half a day or 1 day depending on your difficulty. How absolutely absurd is that? I turn it up to 200% because then you get about 4 meals out of each Cow -- which is still insanely low in comparison to reality but I can't turn it up much further without breaking game balance.
4. Food Poison Chance - No one gets sick IRL as much as you do in this game. I've gotten food poisoning maybe twice in my 32 year life and I have been camping/worked construction so I have eaten food with dirty hands and that was prepared outside over a fire. I lowered the food poisoning chance to 25% because anything higher to me is unreasonable.
5. Friendly Fire Chance - I don't have a good logical explanation for this one. I just don't like friendly fire in games and therefore turn it off completely.
6. Classic Mortars - Turn this 'on' so you don't have to worry about the Reinforced Barrel nonsense.
The 6 aforementioned settings are the only ones I mess with. You don't have to tweak any of the settings if you don't want to but I personally enjoy the game much more when I change these things. Also, like I said earlier, once you reach the 2nd year and beyond I typically start to scale up the threat meter.
Another good reason that I will give you for tweaking the settings is the AI in this game is terrible. Mods like Common Sense and Pick Up And Haul help fix some of the atrocious AI issues in this game. Without these mods you're going to find a lot of your game micro managing colonists and preventing them from doing absolutely stupid things. Even with these mods your colonists are still going to do some really dumb things unless you keep an eye on them...
My favorite is when a colonist goes after a hunting target and decides once they reach the target that they want to go back home and put food in their inventory instead. This still happens even with mods and is something you just learn to deal with. Or you assign them to mine a meteor outside your base and they decide to not carry anything back with them when they return to your base.
Rants aside, I strongly suggest you tweak your settings for this game if you're a new player. This is just my personal opinion but I feel that unless you tweak your settings you spend too much time just trying to survive and grow your colony and not enough time learning all the quirks and mechanics of the game. Who has time to send out Caravans and learn that mechanic if you're just barely able to survive as it is?
Now, as for my walkthrough I have broken it up into multiple parts for you depending on what part of the game you're on. Additionally, I have given each mechanic its own page to make learning and answering your questions easier for all of you. If you don't really care about the walkthrough and you'd rather learn about a handful of topics instead - you can simply go to those specific pages and only learn what you want to learn.
Part 1 (Years 1 - 2)
Part 2 (Years 3 - 6)
Part 3 (Years 7 - 10)
Part 4 (Years 11 - 15 and beyond)