Cleared main story survivor difficulty on first try :D

As title says, I came here to brag 😀 To be honest, after some horror stories I’ve heard about survivor mode I was expecting something worse. Or something unbeatable on first try. Still was challenging and had several moments when I nearly lost. I figured I can summarize my experience for somebody wishing to try. Btw English is not my main language and I am too lazy to look for typos so bear with me.

So far I played main story twice and arc once (all on normal). Then I gave it a try for survivalist on main story. In short, key things were discontent reduction, iron fist rule and automatons (and no wall drill).

So here goes a story of my horrible gulag:

1) Early game

I was quickly surprised by healthcare problems. The temperature drops low quickly, and I had no means to keep people warm. Tech taking too long, not enough coal production for it etc. With exception of heaters. That’s a must or medical posts and cookhouse stop working (or you can go for steamhubs but it costs too much steel for my taste). I build about four medical posts and let it go its way. Many people were constantly sick, production halted, and resources were scarce.

My law to go to were child shelters with engineering apprentices, soup (I had many people constantly starving). Cemetery and burials and of course emergency shifts. Also, anything to lower discontent as fighting arenas and duelling law. Cemetery and burials were really important for me, because I had many people dying and hope wasn’t hit that hard thanks to those laws.

Also, they are going to cry a lot about cold demanding you to heat up homes. Don’t even try. You are going to fail that quest and discontent will skyrocket.

As tech goes I went for scouts asap. Resource gathering is painfully slow on survivalist and scouts can bring up fortune from expeditions. Also, I was in need of new people in the churn since former started to die off because a lack of healthcare.

I also tried to rush for bridge to get that automaton and made an effort to build steelworks asap since steel is hard to get. I was slowly trying to build an industry with research, better housing and hothouse being a priority. I just let the healthcare be.

I tried to time Winterhome scouting so when survivor came to inform me of demise of that city, I had scout team about 4 hours away from it.

Largest problems in early game were healthcare, food and discontent. Hope was fine. It wasn’t dropping too much when people died because laws I took. However I had problems with discontent. Tried to go for public house. Also using overcharge to heat up time to time. During early game I got my first discontent riot and ultimatum which I managed to clear by building some bunkhouses and overdrive to heat up homes a bit.

2) Londoners

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By far the most challenging part of my playthrough. Food got a bit more stable, but I started to have coal problems since the temperature got worse and I had to heat up more stuff.

I went for order laws since I am more familiar with them and didn’t wish to take any chances. My idea was to quickly go for execution platform to be my saving grace as discontent goes.

Also… race for Tesla City started 😀 During my last play on normal I learned the hard way that outposts are bugged if you have more than one. I figured I have means to get other things but steamcores I need to get from tesla and as much as I can before the city freezes. My whole idea was to go automaton heavy.

Few notes to automatons – Get them, upgrade them and love them 😀 They work nonstop, you can make them almost as effective as full crew, they don’t need heat and can’t get sick (unlike full crew).

I was slowly building up to my automaton dream and I got to coal crisis. All piles depleted and coal mines way too delayed. At one moment I had three basic coal mines with three automatons working there and was constantly turning off steamhubs in different parts of the city to make it. I was almost constantly on 10-30 coal in storage. Here I also failed automaton quest because engineer wanted to borrow one and that would mean shutdown.

During the time I was struggling with coal I got very close to the edge of losing. I failed the timer to build propaganda centre (already was building it but couldn’t make it in time).

Discontent went off charts and angry mobs started. I send the guards to disperse them. Also, lower temperature hinted, making it even worse since cookhouse froze and I couldn’t make food and pay guards to patrol and lower discontent. During my second riot, I was on 128% of discontent. I couldn’t use guards again because they were also protesting. I got two days to get them down to 75%. During that time my people started to die off on bad healthcare on mass. This was really the point where I thought I am done. Only one thing going for me was that better coal mines upgrade finally finished.

I upgraded coal mines so suddenly I had surplus of coal and could even send automatons to do other stuff. I did long awaited generator upgrade to unfreeze my hothouses and cookhouse and started to work on discontent. I made moonshine and brothels legal, I was sending guards on patrol, printed propagation newspaper, turning on overdrive to heat up etc. Meanwhile people were still dying on mass. Every event was only about discontent, so I was banishing people to frozen waste, keep beating them up, denying them extra rations etc. as it won’t lower discontent that much as other options.

With bit of luck and warmer weather approaching, I managed to clear my second discontent ultimatum about two hours before the game would end (or at least I think, never saw the effect). This was my lowest point, now it was only upwards 😀

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Next thing – Londoners. Originally, I had about 100 Londoners, but many died off with my other people on sickness. Eventually I was facing about 50. Few hours before they left, I signed New order law and that was the end of that chapter.

I was twice surprised. Only six people died during takeover and one of those six people was one of my automatons 😀 But I got my trusty execution platform, so it was worth it. Discontent was never a problem again.

To summarise second arch… I was constantly on brink of defeat. Coal and discontent riots were the worst thing. On the other hand, mass deaths by bad healthcare were blessing in disguise. I was slowly building my automaton army and I didn’t have resources for anything else, so I had many unemployed people anyway. With large portion dying off, many issues as heating and food become much more manageable. I was even tempted to let the Londoners go but I really wished for that execution option since it promised to almost eliminate discontent problems that almost cost me game twice at that point. In total I used it twice.

Btw number of deaths during first arch was about 35, during second one it was horrifying 250.

3) Into the storm

I wouldn’t expect it, but last arch was the easiest of the whole playthrough. I finally manage to research engineering automatons and send them to do research nonstop. Using agitators and foreman to boost efficiency and researching automatons efficiency upgrades to further speed things up.

Then it was only about making more automatons with my steamcores, rushing research and stockpiling resources. At this point I would say it felt like normal difficulty again, just bit slower. Before the storm hited, I got to 18 automatons and they covered pretty much all my trouble. Especially coal, food and research.

Letting them work industrial hothouses and cookhouse is a great combo to stockpile food. Btw I only had one cookhouse entire playthrough. You don’t need more (especially with 280 deaths). I really missed that automaton extra 5% upgrade. Didn’t need it but with 18 automatons it would be a lot of extra resources.

As survivors goes… I only took healthy ones from all three waves. Probably could manage it but I didn’t want any extra trouble before the end. Also, I manage to scout scientists camps for extra upgrades. Namely houses insulation and overdrive bypass. I had enough time to research it but getting it for free was nice.

During the preparations I lost my outpost team to storm, because I forgot to disable it… 10 more to the count. One day before the storm I was ready. All the research I wanted, enough food and about 13K coal.

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When the storm arrived, I dismantled all my industrial hothouses (got 4) and build ton of infirmaries and some more automatons. Automatons manned the infirmaries and I went to wait out the storm. I took my automatons from sawmills and steelworks and research and build coal thumpers and gathering posts for them.

In the end I was so cocky that I wasn’t sending people to fix coal mines since I got enough coal to hold. I also wanted to brag to my friend who pointed me to this game 😀

Storm came and went, nobody died. Well… they would die in a weak because I dismantled all the hothouses for steamcores, but that’s another story 😀

Some thoughts:

1) Was certainly challenging but not as harsh as I thought. I made many bruising mistakes and still recovered. Survivalist isn’t as unforgiving and perfect optimalization demanding as I thought.

2) One cookhouse is enough. Period.

3) No wall drills. I really wanted them, but it would mean six less automatons and lot of research. Also… sawmills do just fine. I managed to build a large industry with 18 automatons and about 5 large resource depos just using scouting and sawmills for wood. Surprisingly enough, on that map is all the wood you need. Of course, no charcoal kilns.

4) People dying on bad healthcare can be beneficial. With half a city dead it can be much more manageable. If you can’t clear this difficulty, consider letting some people in the frozen waste if you can’t feed and shelter them anyway.

5) Automatons are key. Best is that they don’t get sick. On survivalist you are facing a big problem with healthcare and cold. You have no time or resources to heat up good enough and people are getting ill extremely fast. During early game, my whole city was grinding to a halt because of this.

So that’s about it. If you manage to read all the way down here, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂 If you are feeling lucky, give survivalist a try. It’s certainly doable.


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