How to Build a Successful Rimworld Base

rimworld base

Anyone looking for tips when it comes to making a functional RimWorld base has probably already tried and failed a few times. If that sounds like you, you’re in good company. Much of the enjoyment to be had playing RimWorld can be found by failing more and more spectacularly as your game knowledge progresses.

It’s tough to reach the point where failure is fun before you get the basics down though. Once you’ve got a working strategy to get the ball rolling, you can experiment from there. RimWorld isn’t an easy game, but once you understand the importance of a few early decisions it becomes manageable and seriously addictive.

Read on to find out more!

Choosing the Right Starting Scenario

Every decision in RimWorld is important, especially before you know what you’re doing. These decisions begin before you’re even in the game world, and will greatly affect the course of your playthrough. Your first decision is to choose from a selection of starting scenarios, which might seem dull but if you get this wrong you’re doomed before you even begin.

Three of the four starting options ought to be ignored for new players and are designed to give the initiated different challenges. All of these challenges are less than ideal for a new player, although this fact doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere on the selection screen. There is of course an option to play a tutorial beforehand, but there’s something to be said for actually getting your feet wet.

If the tutorial is the baby pool, following the advice of this article will take you to something like the shallow end of an Olympic pool. Choose the Crashlanded option for the authentic RimWorld experience, and ignore the others for now. Since you’re getting to grips with the game, starting naked and alone or as a tribe of Neanderthals will only lengthen the learning process and potentially stunt your enjoyment as you watch your characters die of privation over and over.

This option also provides your starting group with a significant leg up concerning provisions, materials, and even a rifle and revolver. It might not sound like much, but the Crashlanded option sets the scene for getting to grips with the early game.

Choosing an AI Storyteller

The AI storyteller you choose is equally important to get right. Depending on your choice, your game will either be a walk in the park or a hellish disaster. While it might seem funny to pick Randy Random, you have been warned. You can also ignore Phoebe Chillax, as there’s no point trying to learn without a little danger to keep things interesting.

RimWorld base

You’re here to learn how to play the game, which means dealing with a little adversity now and then. The guns mentioned earlier will come in handy, you can be sure of it. Pick Cassandra Classic for a fairly robust and well-rounded experience, along with the Adventure Story option.

It’s also worth choosing the Reload Anytime mode, which means you can save and reload at your convenience. This will make your inevitable mistakes a lot less punishing and speed things along by allowing you as many attempts as you need to get things right without having to start over.

Choosing a Start Site

Picking a site shouldn’t be agonized over too much at this point, but it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the world. By clicking around you’ll be able to see what other groups and notable sites there are, as well as the average low and high temperatures, elevation, forgeability scores, etc. Pick somewhere temperate that won’t get too hot or cold, and isn’t directly next to a hostile faction.

Later on in the game, it’s possible to trade and attack other factions, but that’s for you to figure out on your own. Just knowing there are other factions out there adds a certain level of intrigue to the game and you might be meeting them sooner than you might like.

Character Creation

This part of the game is very important to get right, mostly because of how easy it is to get wrong. RimWorld has a unique system in terms of character creation, in that you can’t change starting character attributes manually. Instead, you’re forced to roll the dice and pick from three randomly generated characters, and do your best to ensure they won’t hate each other from the get-go.

RimWorld base
Image: Reddit

Each character has a selection of traits, some positive, some negative, and some a bit of both depending on the situation. For example, a character might be particularly tough and talented in ranged combat, but also be a pyromaniac and a misogynist with a chemical fascination. You have to weigh up these attributes and figure out a group that can work together, otherwise, you’re in for a headache.

Aim to get three characters who have compatible traits. Make sure none of them are incapable of skilled labor, too. Also ensuring two of your characters have a decent Shooting score will enable them to fend off the first few encounters with berserk fauna or unwelcome guests with the guns you landed with.

Otherwise, cooking, mining, and construction should take priority over other available skills. If you’re lacking a character with a particular skill later, you can always set someone to do the work poorly and learn how to do it in the process. Failing that, more characters will eventually join your faction and hopefully have the skills you’re looking for.

Entering the Game

When you enter the game for the first time you’re met with a top-down view of the characters you chose falling from the sky in escape pods. The pods explode, and you’re left with a pile of items and materials to sort through. First things first, locate which characters have the highest shooting skill and tell them to equip a gun each.

The last thing you want is to be caught flat-footed by a berserk Raccoon. Best equip yourself with the worst-case scenario in mind, as in most survival-centric base-building games you can never tell what’s lurking over the horizon. Your only guarantee is it’s only a matter of time before you’re forced to violence, so it pays to be prepared. 

Next up is getting some raw material to work with, as you can’t start building a base out of thin air. Select a few trees to cut down to supplement the wood scattered around where you landed, and take care not to cut down any trees that aren’t fully grown. You’ll thank yourself for your restraint later.

Gaining a Foothold

Save the game, and name it something appropriate for when you feel like you’d do better starting over than trying to salvage the mess you’ve made. This could happen in five minutes or five hours, but when it does you can begin again armed with your newfound knowledge and understanding. This is already a firm foundation for getting to grips with RimWorld and is the beginning of every attempt to manage a colony successfully.

Create a general stockpile and your colonists will start moving everything you’ve unforbidden to it, including the wood that’s being cut. Once you’ve got some wood stored, instruct them to build a single room for them to sleep in. They don’t require anything fancier than four walls, a decent floor, and a roof to begin with.

A roof collapse in RimWorld is no big deal either, just make sure there’s always at least one support within a six-tile radius. The same goes for the ceilings of caves in RimWorld tunnels, don’t dig too greedily or your miners won’t make it out alive.

As the game progresses you’ll need to accommodate their needs in various ways. Getting their basic needs met as soon as possible will allow you to build on a firm foundation and safely branch out into new technologies without leaving your characters destitute. It’s worth mentioning air conditioning research is vital for keeping your characters warm/cool and also for the refrigeration of perishable foodstuffs, for example.

Basic Tech for Your RimWorld Base

Everything requiring electricity to run requires a power source. The start of the game is essentially a race against time to get secure battery storage construction and some basic solar panels. Then hooking everything up to some RimWorld turrets so you can relax a little!

RimWorld base

The user interface is intuitive enough even for new players to understand after a few minutes of explorative clicking, so finding what you want isn’t usually an issue.

Make sure you don’t leave your batteries outside, or they’ll explode at the first sign of rain. Even better, make the room you put them in out of stone so the whole place doesn’t burn down when they inevitably explode anyway. This ought to be just enough information to get you started in RimWorld without spoiling any of the enjoyment of figuring out what to do for yourself.

Remember, Losing Is Fun!

If your first RimWorld base fails catastrophically, you’re getting an authentic experience. Much of the enjoyment of playing the game comes from taking different approaches and experimentation. You can’t go wrong really, so long as you’ve got the basics down.

Let us know if this article was helpful, we’d love to hear from you!

Avatar for Calvin Swanton

An avid gamer since the early '90s with a love of strategy & RPG games..... Big fan of all things Bethesda, Total War & FromSoftware.

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