The Average Gamer

Tips for Beginners in Don’t Starve

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I love Don’t Starve. If I’d played it last year I would have probably declared it my Game of the Year over Paper, Please.

I’ve never played a game with such tightly interconnected systems and brilliant pacing before. Even though you learn by dying – something I normally hate doing – every early attempt helps unlock a variety of characters that each twist the mechanics ever so slightly to keep things interesting.

Over on my Twitch channel I’ve been streaming quite a few of my Don’t Starve playthroughs and in the chat, people always ask for tips on how to survive the first few days. Here’s a quick guide on how I play, along with some notes on things I found useful.

Day 1 – Survival

Strip your biome bare. Grab everything. Your top priority is to get twigs from a sapling, some flint to make an axe, some grass and 3 logs so you can have a campfire burning throughout the night.

You’ll find those fairly quickly so just strip every bit of vegetation from that biome. It’s likely that you’ll never be back again so don’t get distracted by thoughts of sustainability or deforestation. You’re likely to starve, you don’t have time for such luxuries.

Make a garland with 12 petals. This should be fairly easy and will slow down any loss of sanity from scary things.

Make a pickaxe.

Find a path and follow it, looking for a rock biome. Your second priority is gold.

Days 2-5 – Preparation

You need 1 gold to make a science machine. You need 10 gold to make a science machine, lightning rod and alchemy engine. Go for about a dozen, so you can also start making gold tools which will last much longer than flint.

Grab as many rocks as possible. You want 12 for a firepit that will serve as the centre of your base camp and another dozen more for the basic machines. You’ll also need stones later to make healing salve and other useful stuff.

While looking for rocks and gold, keep your eyes open for beefalo and pig houses. You’ll need to know where these are soon.

Choosing a base camp

The most important thing I look for is four or more rabbit holes in close proximity. And by close I mean close. Less than 30 seconds to circle around all four of them. Preferably with a few more within easy walking distance.

You also need a source of manure to grow veggies and fertilise transplanted bushes. Ideally you’ll have beefalo. These wonderful poo factories live on the plains and drop manure all day long. If you can’t find beefalo you want a group of pigmen and a good supply of petals.

Finally, you need pigmen and spiders within easy walking distance. Spider webs are absolutely crucial to the game’s economy.

Find all three of these within half a day’s walk of each other and you’re in great shape. Set up camp somewhere between the rabbits and a nearby road.

Dont Starve Map

Setting up camp

Build a fire pit, a lightning rod and a science machine. The lightning rod should catch all lightning strikes across a 40×40 area or about 2 screens’ worth of land. Make sure there’s a clear belt between all your plants and the area not covered. The last thing you want is to build a nice orchard of berry bushes and have it burned down by a nearby forest fire.

Build a Crock Pot. Food cooked in this will heal you, restore some sanity and keep you full for longer than morsels toasted over a fire.

Cut down a load of nearby trees. Use the science machine to prototype rope and make yourself a log suit.

Unless you find Gears to make an ice box, rabbit morsels will be your primary supply of food during winter. Make some traps and place them directly over the rabbit holes. You should be able to get two harvests a day like this.

If you can’t make an ice box, build two or three drying racks. The easiest way to make charcoal is to plant a cluster of pine cones. Wait until they’ve grown into small trees and then set fire to the lot. Dry your rabbit morsels on the racks and you’ll have a good supply of food in case you go mad.

Once all this is set, build yourself a shovel and grab all the nearby saplings and berry bushes you can find. Plant them near your home and fertilise them with rot or manure.

Build at least two chests to hold all your crap.

Congratulations! You now have enough resources to not starve. Try not to get killed by spiders. Or hounds. Or Deerclops.