the exiles of kimberon – year 1

Howdy – I’ve been wanting to record a game of Banished for a while now, and have had 6 or 7 false starts doing it on video. For whatever reason, I can’t make a YouTube style let’s play of this really work out. Tutorial videos are fine, but nothing actually showing gameplay.

So… I’ve given up on that idea. And since the blog-style DF thing has been moderately well received, I’m going to see if I can do the same here – but with a lot more full screenshots since Banished is just a bit nicer to look at 🙂

Banished is a one-man project by a game industry veteran who rolled everything on his own. The devlog is some serious stuff. Since it came out a year ago, I’ve probably sunk 90+ hours into it. It fits into a critical niche in the city building/simulation genre that I’m very happy to see filled… and I could just gush about the game for hours. But instead, I’m going to play.

But as I just mentioned, I’ve played a LOT of Banished. So it’s time for a challenge (which I will explain momentarily).

The Mods

In what was the final real patch to the game (it is technically feature complete), he finalized the modding api. It’s not perfect – modders can’t script new behaviors/etc… but they have full control over the game’s data files, and can do a lot within the established framework.

So, we’re also going to play with some mods, because I’m a fan of modding games 🙂

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You’ll also notice that this was an OSX screenshot. The game currently only officially works on windows, but after a bit of fiddling, I’m able to run it through wine on my mac just fine 🙂

Okay, so this is a list of the small mods we will be using:

  • Colorful 2 Floor Little Houses, by Redketchup – This provides a nice looking house that can be “stacked” to give the illusion of two a two story building. In reality, it is just a pair of narrow houses that render the one on top of the other. But I’ve played with it a good bit, I think it’s well balanced, and it looks great.
  • Mountain Fields, by Owlchemist – This should allow me to plant low-yield crops on normally unbuildable mountain tiles. I’ve never played with it, but I’ve used some of Owlchemist’s other content before so think it might work out nicely.
  • Time is Money, by Darkbibou – IIRC, Darkbibou is the authorized French translator of Redketchup’s mods and has done a number of other general quality of life things. This is the first time I’ve used anything of his, and it simply moves the time controls out of a submenu onto the main button bar. So just quality of life, nothing actually affecting gameplay.
  • Buildable Storage Carts, by Elfecutioner – This mod provides the ability to build two inexpensive and small storage buildings. One holds food and herbs and one holds tools and clothes. They will be very important for my bootstrap process, and are nice for ramping up worker productivity.
  • Fish Farm, by Dio Jodianto – This mod provides a small building that allows inland fish production. I’ve only used it a few times, but like the Mountain Fields mod, it is here in case I have problems filling the food warehouses mid-game.

Additionally (and perhaps most importantly), we will be running Colonial Charter. As of this writing, I have the latest version, 1.32 (codename Excellent Adventure). CC is a massive mod that comes as close to total conversion as is really possible in this game without doing something really horrible. It really one of the only mods in the game big enough to warrant its own website. The wiki over there is important 🙂

All of these are available on the Steam Workshop – with the exception of Redketchup’s mods (unless you want them in French). Like any modding community, the Banished community has drama. Bootleg versions of his mods (as well as those of several other authors) are posted to Steam by the dozens. I am using the official download of his mod from World of Banished. I also think I have the WoB version of BSC because there are a number of bootlegs of it as well on Steam (but I believe the legit one is still out there).

The Challenge

Enough about the modlist, what about the challenge?

I will be creating my world with the following settings:
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The name and seed are random.

A harsh climate is colder than default. People need more clothing and fuel to survive and crops may have problems.

“Hard” starting conditions mean that I begin the game with four families (8 adults plus a few children). I will have no seeds or livestock, no building materials, and will only have a minimal supply of clothing, food, firewood, and tools to bootstrap with.

I’ve played on CC’s Adam and Eve setting before, which is basically just Hard minus the extra people. And I’ve found it easier than Hard – because you don’t have as many mouths to feed off the bat. Adam and Eve is also kind of annoying with all of the waiting you have to do for the first couple of years.

I will also be making a Very Large map with the default Valley terrain type. I’m choosing this because in my experience, the larger map tends to be a bit more annoying to navigate, even with the default terrain.

And then there are the rules I will be imposing on myself:

  • No schools. Everyone other than the initial colonists will be uneducated.
  • No birth control. Everyone needs to move out of their parents’ basement and start breeding within a calendar year of reaching “adulthood”.
  • No immigration requirements. Once I can afford a town hall, any nomads who show up must be admitted to the colony.

I won’t be rushing to a town hall (convenient as it may be), but I will have one eventually. This also means that I’ll need to have a bunk house to accept new arrivals before the town hall goes up.

Otherwise, that’s it. I’m going to declare a “winning” condition at reaching a population of 500 and a “losing” condition of ever letting my population drop to half of whatever maximum it has ever reached. Thus, if my population ever hits 25 only to have some disease subsequently kill off 13 people, I lose.

Enough mumbling, let’s begin.

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Year 1

So, it’s an interesting spawn point. I’ve had much better and much worse. We’re next to a good sized mountain – so that will eventually be a field I guess. The large lake next to spawn does not connect to the main river. We will want to extend northward toward that before too long, because no big river means no seeds or livestock.

The really worrying thing is the relative dearth of resources nearby. It’s a lot of open space and rocks, not a lot of forests. There’s a good bit of forest to the east, but that takes me away from the river…

So, my first priority is a gatherer in the forest north of spawn, and a road leading to it from the spawn field.

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I’m putting 6 people on building duty, leaving two to dedicated resource gathering. We will be cutting down most of the trees immediately surrounding the spawn point and gathering most of the rocks nearby. The rocks in the forest will be gathered later as we start planting trees in their stead.

Additionally, we will be putting a grocer’s cart right south of the gatherer. These only cost 8 wood but four gatherers can fill one up in about a season if we’re not emptying it out into something larger.

One of our children has already grown to adulthood, but we don’t have houses yet. This just means that our total number of “families” is up to 5 when we do start building housing.

While people build this, I’m going to designate further plans for the city. Placing a market is critical – even if we don’t build it this year (which we won’t). In this case, I’m going to put my market right up inside the edge of the planned forest.

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Colonial Charter adds a new tier of large market building that costs a bit more, has roads through the middle, and services a larger radius. I’ll be making one of these eventually… but we’ll fill out the roads now and plan our other buildings in relation to this.

CC also adds smaller one-resource vendor stalls that will be nice as our population grows and we need to organize things a bit more carefully, but for now, this will do nicely.

East of the market, toward the mountain, will go our woodcutter and blacksmith. Neither of these will be started until after the gatherers are working, but they’re both high priority buildings.

Once they finish the gatherer, we will start building houses. CC introduces a number of new houses, including a terrible entry-level shack that only costs 10 wood and 2 stone. These shacks have very minimal storage capacity and I assume they leak heat like nobody’s business, but they’re the cheapest way to get everyone indoors before the winter. We will plan on replacing them soon.

Two shacks will go on the east side of the woodcutter and blacksmith, with the other three facing the northern edge of the marketplace.

We will only be actively building one or two things at a time, and the order for our first few buildings will be:

  1. gatherer + cart
  2. shack x2
  3. woodcutter
  4. shack x2

It is Late Spring and we have another adult, and have just finished the gatherer’s shop. So, that means 4 people on full-time berry picking duty leaves us with 6 adults for other tasks.

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Right now, we’re losing a lot of time because people are walking so far back to the original cart for food. Houses will fix that shortly.

Early Summer and the grocer’s cart is complete, time to build our first shack and hope the residents don’t steal all of the firewood. We’re also up to 11 adults, which means we’ll need 6 houses eventually.

CC also adds specialized stockpiles – so a small wood stockpile and one for fuel will go next to the woodcutter. A general stockpile will be going on the southern side of the marketplace for now.

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Yeesh. And it figures. 75 of our 100 initial firewood went into the first house. The occupants of the second house spent about 12 trips trying to get the remaining 25… woodcutter is coming online next with maximum urgency.

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We’ll start the fuel limit at 100 (default is 200). This will free the woodcutter to spend a lot of time as a general laborer – and will prevent us from running out of logs while we’re still in heavy build mode.

Early Autumn and another adult. Woodcutter’s house needs to come online next, I think.

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And the other house should come next. This will allow us to get everyone indoors in time for winter at least. We have 12 adults now, so will need to upgrade to 6 houses soon. I think after we get some more food storage built and before the blacksmith starts working. We’re down to 8 tools – so the blacksmith needs to happen before next summer, probably much sooner than that.

One of my favorite things that CC adds is a suite of customized storage buildings. There are meat lockers and root cellars and several other things that I won’t be building just yet.

Root cellars need to be built into a hillside, so it’s a good thing we’re so close to a mountain. Everything that comes out of a gatherer can go into one of them and I’m going to build it behind the woodcutter.

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Late Autumn and nobody is homeless now.

We still need to build two more houses, and can’t afford to go with anything nicer than huts just yet. So two more shacks it is… after they finish the root cellar.

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Clothing is going to be our next concern, and building up a supply of coats takes more time than anything else. This means a tailor needs to happen – but can wait until we have the leather.

For leather, we’ll want to set up a hunting camp. CC adds an extra step of butchers to process meat, so a deer butcher shop and an attached meat locker will also be going online there.

This brings our current build priority queue to something like this:

  1. shack x2
  2. hunter
  3. blacksmith + tool cart
  4. butcher + meat locker
  5. tailor

We’ll want to set up fishing some time soon as well, and fish go in a meat locker along with the venison. This means we’ll want to plan for the meat locker and butcher to go next to the fishery (so fishers can just walk back and forth). But I don’t know whether I like the lake or the river more. I’m leaning toward the big U-bend in the river… so let’s see if we can make that work.
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The hunting lodge doesn’t need to be adjacent to a meat locker, but should still be in the forest. I don’t like the amount of space we have here, but will deal with it. Hunter is going into the “deepest” part of our current forest, and its radius extends to across the river. Some bridges will need to go online soon (after the tailor I think).

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Come to think of it, the trading post will also need to happen along this river. I don’t have a spot I like for it either, so it’s probably going in one of the only spots I can fit it – the river bend.

Early Winter, and we’re up to 13 adults.

Maybe a forester is more important than the tailor. The leather won’t be going anywhere any time soon. I think we need to plot out the forester and herbalist soon – and build the forester (set to plant only for now) once the butcher is ready.

We’ve also emptied all of the food out of the original supply cart, so it’s time to build its replacement – but we won’t tear down the old one until the blacksmith is producing tools.

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Late Winter, the hunters are working. We’re up to 14 adults with 6 houses built. So one more house needs to be built. We’re also starting to run out of the initial wood we gathered from around spawn – but more worryingly, we are down to 3 spare tools. So blacksmith is our immediate priority. Our stock of coats will last the winter, and coat production will be able to start before we run out there. The seventh house can be something nicer than a hut, and can wait until after we have a tailor going.

To build the smithy, we will need to gather a lot more rocks and iron. Thankfully, we have a large supply right nearby that I’ve not been actively collecting.

But it is the end of year one, and I’ll have to resume this later.

Our hunters have bagged a deer though – meat and leather are on hand, which means I need to get the butcher going quickly so people don’t waste the meat 🙂

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