11 bit Studios’ grueling keep-‘em-alive game, This War of Mine, isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you’re new to the party thanks to its recent release on NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, check out our essential tips to staying alive.

Shiny Happy People

  • Make a mental note of each individual’s vices, and if they’re hungry and/or ill, make sure you cater to them. Otherwise they have the potential to go suicidal.
  • A book is an excellent way of cheering people up. All you need is one lying around near a chair.
  • Guitar music is another excellent mood booster, especially when Zlata’s plucking the strings.
  • Depression is a real problem when it’s cold or you’ve suffered a string of bandit attacks. Avoid anything that might tip people over the edge, like killing an innocent.

Building a Better Home

  • When placing furniture and workshops, think carefully and try to avoid group members having to walk too far. For example, we kept barter master Katia resting up in a bed by the door, so she could respond quicker to trader visits.
  • You start with a work bench that can be upgraded twice, enabling you to build better and more useful items. But you still need to decide exactly what to make. Here are our recommendations for the critical first two Tiers:

Tier 1: Household

  • Bed – Although your group can sleep on the ground, they’ll be happier and more rested in a bed. Aim to get three beds as soon as possible, so everyone can get a good night’s rest if needs be.
  • Chair – Slightly more rest for the wicked. Don’t waste resources on these.
  • Radio – Be sure to build this quickly (although not necessarily on your first or second day), then check it once daily for news about bandit activity and the weather. When you’re done, switch it to the music channel – it’ll help boost morale.
  • Simple Heater – Keep an eye on the temperature. If it starts to drop (or you have the misfortune to start the game in winter), make sure you have at least two heaters on the go, ideally three. You’ll need fuel to keep the home fires burning, but provided you’ve got a hatchet that shouldn’t be problematic.

Tier 1: Workshops

  • Crude Stove – This is a Day 1 essential, as it allows you to cook hot nutritious meals. Upgrade it to make food faster.
  • Metal Workshop – Another Day 1 essential. Make sure you craft a hatchet so you can chop up cabinets and convert them into Fuel. It’ll save you losing precious inventory space to wood on your initial scavenges.
  • Moonshine Still – Used to create alcohol. We recommend one of these after the other workshops are out of the way, as you can trade booze for more essential items.
  • Rainwater Collector – Aim to build this by the end of Day 2. Water is, needless to say, essential, especially for cooking and alcohol making. Bear in mind the water collected will need to be run through a Filter before it’s usable.

Tier 2: Household

  • Board Up – Helps prevent bandits invading at night. This is probably one of the wisest investments you can make, as bandit attacks lead to loss of items and potentially severe group injuries, so get that place locked up tight as a drum as soon as possible. Make sure you get the Reinforced Door too, which becomes available at Tier 3.
  • Guitar – Worth crafting if someone’s deeply depressed.
  • Seat – A much improved Chair, basically, but hardly vital provided you’ve invested in Beds.

Tier 2: Workshops

  • Herbal Garden & Herbal Workshop – These two are crafted separately but are largely dependent upon each other. Useful for making tradable cigarettes and medicines, but focus on building all the Tier 1 essentials first.
  • Small Animal Traps - Traps are a valuable, reliable source of fresh meat. Eating rat may not sound very appetizing, but it’ll keep your group alive. 

Scavenging to Success

  • Before embarking on a raid, use a good old-fashioned pen and paper to note down exactly what you require to build the next items on your crafting list. Then, when scavenging, focus on grabbing only what you need and leaving everything else.
  • One good albeit initially time consuming tactic is to methodically collect items and dump them near the location entrance in one huge pile. You can then return on subsequent nights and take what you need without having to explore again, though there is a risk bandits might stumble across your little treasure trove and steal it.
  • If dawn is approaching, fill empty inventory slots with whatever you can and make sure you’re out by 5am. If you don’t leave in time, your lone raider risks being wounded or even killed.

This War of Mine is now available for NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV on Google Play for $14.99.

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