One of the first steps to getting an efficient settlement started is the creation of sleeping accommodations so your gnomes can sleep and be well rested for all of the work ahead of them. Food and drink resources are a necessity, but you have some stockpiles to work with as you get things up and running. Be sure to keep an eye on these supplies and forage from wild apple or orange trees and strawberry plants as necessary. If enemies are enabled, getting some defenses ready before summer is vital as well.
A Good Night's Sleep
As of version 8.25, proper beds (with nice mattresses) are far out of reach when you start. You will need half the economy up and running for soft, comfy beds. You do, however, start with 16 units of straw which can be used to build beds. These are also needed to feed your yaks (they need straw after 10-12 days to prevent them from leaving). You therefore want to get a wheat farm up and running as soon as possible if you use the straw for straw beds.
Designate an area as a Dormitory (at least 8 squares large) and build eight straw beds within. It's all that's needed initially, and your gnomes will thank you for it by not collapsing all over the place in the first few days. Don't forget to build proper beds after your Carpenter, Loom, and Tailor are up and running.
While you're doing this, designate a Pasture (at least size 36 to contain three yaks) somewhere nearby. Your rancher will move the two yaks who came with you to the pasture, and they'll breed and provide another in twelve days.
Check Animals for current animal gestation periods and sizes.
Raw Material Gathering
You'll need wood and stone to get crafting going.
Wood is easy to get:trees are probably nearby awaiting your woodcutters. To get logs, right click a non-designated area, choose Agriculture, then Fell Trees. Click and drag to select a chunk of the map with trees. You'll see that each tree is highlighted in yellow in the highlighted selection. Generally speaking, it's best to avoid felling fruit trees: if you Forage the trees, the fruit will grow back but if you fell it instead, you lose any future fruit it may produce. Chopping down around fifty trees should hold you over for a while. A large chunk of your log needs will be taken of as you clear land to build on, so it is unnecessary to instruct your gnomes to clear the whole map right off the bat. You'll have other tasks for them so it's better to do it in portions as needed.
Stone isn't usually visible on the map so you'll need to dig down to level -7 to hit rock. With Metal Depth set to Shallow during map generation, you can expect metal ores and raw gems to show up within the first few levels of stone. You can also find stone within larger hills and mountains by mining their walls although digging down is still required to acquire ores and raw gems.
Now you have everything needed to build your first Crude Workshops. Since they are cheap to make (one stone and one log), it's a good idea to build a few. Three seem work well - two for cutting planks (on repeat) and one for making workbenches, chairs and chisels (all crafted to two). Make sure you have one worker with Carpentry enabled per crude workshop. Keep in mind you may need to adjust the priority of Carpentry within the profession the gnome is assigned to.
Mining is a key element of Gnomoria and allows you to gather stone, metals and gems. To do this in an efficient and safe way there are some things to consider:
- Stone can be found at -7 or inside a large hill or mountain.
- Below -7 you will encounter various enemies that will spawn if Torches are not used to lighten up the dark deeps.
- Assign a key to the Show Darkness command in the game controls; it will provide an overlay showing any dark areas in red; ensure none exist by placing torches to illuminate these areas. Torches illuminate a certain radius around themselves.
- Torches are made at a Carpenter's workshop and require one stick and coal. If you find natural deposits of Coal underground or buy any from Mining Colony kingdoms via merchants you can use these, or else you will first need to construct a Furnace to turn logs into Coal.
- Once you discover a cave you should wall it off by using the Build>Terrain>Wall command in your right-click menu.
- More details can be found on the Hostile Creatures page.
- Mining is the hardest work your gnomes can do (besides combat) so they get tired and thirsty quite easily and then they fall on the floor to sleep. To prevent this your miners should be the first gnomes that get personal quarters with a bed. Proper food helps them even more to do their work. Once you have a wheat and meat industry running you should produce Sandwiches on repeat.
- Never mine everything on a level as this will overwhelm your miners in the beginning. Using a grid is the best technique to find valuable stuff very easily. Consult the Metal page to find out on what level you can expect to find certain ores.
Digging down into the vast depths of a map should be properly planned. Don't dig down to -25 at the start for example; you likely do not have torches and enemies WILL spawn and attack your gnomes. It is recommended that you dig down to -10, then mine a small area (6x6) around it and set up torches on each level. Once you're done you can start searching for ores and gems using a grid. If you find something mine the area around it, use the Clean Floor command to instruct your gnomes to gather the stuff, and then move on to another location.
In order to collect all the stuff you need Stockpiles; each Stockpile square can store one unit of ore, but with Crates built at a Carpenter's workshop they can store up to 32. After you collect everything of value you should build a wall around the stairs to seal off that level. Repeat the process by digging another 10 levels down, mining a small area, setting up torches, using the grid and so on. Once you are at -40 or deeper you should set up new personal quarters for your miners and food stockpiles to reduce their travel time for these necessities.
Keep in mind that your Kingdom Worth will increase quickly if you find a lot of metals and gems, resulting in greater numbers of goblins, goblins with better equipment and possibly newer enemy types (Mants, Ogres) on the surface unless you are playing on Peaceful. As a result, your mining activities should take into consideration the capabilities of your military in dealing with the increased threat. This however does not affect the strength of enemies underground, which are determined by depth.
The Wood and Stone Economy
If your Crude Workshops are not crafting what you need, ensure that there are workers with the required skill enabled and increase the priority of Workshops in your gnome's Professions tab. A worker can be specifically assigned to a workshop but that makes it unusable by other gnomes while that gnome is fulfilling his needs or performing other duties. You'll need workbenches, chairs, and chisels to build more advanced workshops. It is recommended to build them in the following order:
- Carpenter: Craft two Workbenches and Chairs.
- Stonecutter: Craft at least ten blocks.
- Stonemason: Craft a stone Sawblade and two Chisels.
- Sawmill: Craft at least ten planks or set production on repeat.
Make sure these are running before you deconstruct any Crude Workshops. If you want to keep them as backups, be sure to adjust their tasks and priority levels to fit with your plans.
NOTE: If you build a Market Stall and host an ambassador from a nearby kingdom using the Diplomacy tab under Kingdom at the top of your screen, you can attract a Merchant. If you can afford buying another female yak (it costs 500 to buy one from a Merchant City-State, 400 from an Agricultural Settlement) this can help you get started faster with full scale yak breeding for meat, milk and hides. You only really need one male yak, so unless you lose him you'll likely never need another.
Food and Drink
Food production should be your next priority, especially if all your gnomes start thinking about food - this is a warning that a famine is in the making. Left hungry long enough, your gnomes will solve your food shortages by dying and becoming edible corpses (via a Butcher Shop).
Your yaks will not warn you when they are about to starve, nor will they leave an edible corpse. Check your straw supply regularly; it may be useful to enable the tracking of straw in the Tracked Items tab under Stocks at the top of your screen. You can build a trough for feeding purposes but keep in mind that once a piece of straw goes into one, it's no longer available for crafting beds unless you deconstruct the trough. Initially, it may be better to leave a stockpile of straw near the yaks.
Food can be acquired through the following means:
- Farms: Requires farmers and seeds (Strawberries, Wheat). Don't forget a small cotton farm at some point, though, as it's used for a fair number of things too.
- Pastures: Requires animal handlers and farm animals (Meat and Eggs).
- Groves: Requires horticulturists and clippings/saplings (Apples and Oranges).
- Hunting wild animals: This is riskier as they can fight back, but they can provide an early and somewhat steady source of small amounts of meat.
Although you can also forage for wild apples, oranges and strawberries, this will not satisfy your long term needs especially if there are too few apple and orange trees around; wild strawberry plants will eventually run out.
Thirst can also kill your gnomes. Three methods exist to deal with it:
- Wells: Can be built over water, allowing passersby to slake their thirst. This will steadily drain water supplies if overused. It is also least efficient at slaking thirst.
- Distilleries: Turns apples, oranges and strawberries into wine. Turns wheat into beer. Make sure to control production so that it doesn't use up your fruit stores since fruit forms a major part of your gnomes' early diet. This is less of a concern once you are able to make Sandwiches and Omelettes consistently.
- Yak pastures: Produces milk faster than you can drink it - makes for a great export.
This can probably be done at the same time as the above since they use gnomes with different skills. Depending on your Metal Depth setting during world generation, mine down to an appropriate depth and mine the level to find ore veins. Veins seem to spread out horizontally more than vertically, so continuing to dig down can be a good way of finding them. When you find one, begin mining it out.
Meanwhile, construct a Furnace and assign one of your gnomes with metalworking jobs. Set the furnace to keep around ten coal stocked, then construct a Forge to process the mined ore. Use the forge to make an anvil and then you can build a Blacksmith for making a ball peen hammer.
You'd normally have to make another anvil to create the Weaponsmith's workshop, but anvils are expensive and the blacksmith won't be needed for awhile, so there's a shortcut. Deconstruct the blacksmith's workshop and you'll get back all the items used in crafting it which you can use for the Weaponsmith. Choose some gnomes with high fighting skills and set their uniforms to 'Platemail' in the Military section at the top of your screen. This will make them equip the copper breastplate and sword you start with as well as any equipment you will make.
Incidentally, you shouldn't make anything (except perhaps the anvil and hammer, which aren't affected by material) out of copper, tin, or the valuable metals (silver, gold, etc) if you can help it. Refining copper and tin bars into bronze bars and using the latter will make your weapons and armor significantly stronger.
By Day 12, a third yak will be born. Don't get too attached to it though, as we need its bones. Set up a Butcher Shop and a Bonecarver (a Kitchen wouldn't go amiss to process the meat, either), and assign someone (the rancher is generally a good choice) the bonecarver job. Butcher one of your yaks, prioritizing males over females (though whatever you do, don't kill your last male or you'll be unable to breed more). Direct the bonecarver to make a bone needle and set up a Loom and Tailor.
You should make a few bandages with these before summer so your gnomes won't bleed to death from any injuries taken from hostile creatures. You can also start improving your straw beds into proper ones and/or set up a Leatherworker and Armorer to begin making armor for your gnomes. At this stage, metal is likely to be easier to come by than leather so you should probably make only metal armor and conserve your leather.
Alternatively, you may butcher wild animals like honey badgers or monitor lizards that occasionally roam into your area. Put your best fighting gnomes into a military squad (using the Way of the Gnome perk if you lack armor and weapons) and try to kill them. This method is somewhat risky as the animals can easily cause bleeding and sometimes even death; bears in particular should be avoided until your gnomes are much better equipped and trained. The upside is that you may not need to kill any of your yaks; additionally, early on there are consistently more wild animals to kill than there are newborn farm animals for slaughter.
From here, it's up to you to explore all the possibilities: jewelry crafting, military pursuits, city beautification, terraforming. The choice is yours!