In this article I will present to you, dear reader, fun strategies for The Wandering Village. Presently in early access, this game is sure to change a lot in the coming months. Yet be rest assured, for your humble author really quite digs it, and so be sure to check back here as this article will be updated as the game is.
The Wandering Village is unique for a Settlers like (remember that game?) manpower and logistics management game in that game play is combined with a colossal Tamagotchi that you must kindly care after, or mercilessly exploit. Or indeed, you can treat it with a machievellian mix of both naughty and nice.
Onbu, the Tamagotchi in question, is a massive rock dinosaur that carries your village on its back. This massive creature is somewhat reminiscent of Great A’Tuin, the world turtle that carries Terry Pratchett’s Discworld on its back through the cosmos. Onbu, although colossal, is rather more modestly sized than Great A’Tuin, big enough for a village but not a world.
And so the Settlers riding a Tamagotchi game gains a third strategic layer as the nomadic village moves through a dynamic exploitable environment as Onbu moves from one biome to another.
The following are strategies for dealing with Onbu that I will class as “nice”. We will also look at “nasty” strategies later. Nice strategies are about maximising building trust with Onbu. This is ultimately so that Onbu will willingly follow the directions of the Hornblower.
The benefit of earning high trust with Onbu is that the massive creature will allow us to choose its path, the pace of its travel and even when it sleeps and eats. This can allow us to maximise the time we spend in specific environments for which we have specialised.
The price of earning high trust, is avoiding the many ways to exploit Onbu that Onbu does not like, from harvesting his stony spikes to drinking its blood.
To the extent that we can cultivate a biddable onbu, we can direct and pace it to maximise the time we spend in a particular biome. This will allow us to optimise our infrastructure, research and manhours for a particular biome.
Hornblower is the first tech. The next priority is to get to Pet Onbu via Onbu Doctor. Hornblower allows us to begin communicating instructions to the onbu. Petting onbu is good way to build trust when there is no healing or feeding to do for onbu.
Depending on the onbu’s hunger you will also need to research Onbu Kitchen and Feeding Trebuchet early. Although this is true for any strategy.
Once you have Hornblower and Pet Onbu you go for the Sleep Command. This is a useful addition to the lie down, walk and run commands for pacing onbu. However the Sleep Command tech requires a point of Knowledge which can only obtained through scavenging, so the Scavenging Hut tech should come before it.
Now you are all set to train your pet dinosaur to go where you want at the pace you require. The main advantage of this is to maximise your time in particular biomes for which you are adapted and minimise the time spent in biomes you are not.
At present there are only three biomes, Desert, Mountain and Jungle. The developers promise more for the future.
The desert biome has the tremendous advantage of low toxicity. Onbu can lie down or sleep anywhere without either the villagers or the onbu itself becoming poisoned. This makes it the easiest biome to linger in.
However this biome also has the disadvantage of water poverty. Air wells will not work at all in this biome. Also the high temperatures are less than ideal for most crops.
Fortunately there are other sources of water besides air wells. These being farming cactus, scavaging water from oasis and even processing the onbu’s blood.
Unfortunately all these methods are more costly than simply sticking up a few airwells. Cacti must be farmed and that costs manhours and space. Scavaging is a bit hit and miss, hard to scale up and still costs some manhours.
Processing onbu’s blood requires a lot advanced infrastructure, high level technology and will hurt the health and trust of the onbu. There is a also an opportunity cost in sourcing water from blood. Blood is generally better used to make blood pudding and specialist medicines for onbu.
It is almost impossible to stay in one biome permanently because onbu must keep moving, does not always obey and the limited choices in path will often deny a desert destination.
For this reason the desert specialist can still make use of airwells. Indeed you could build a massive storage capacity and substantial airwell infrastructure in order to stack up a water hoard on those occasions when you are forced out of the desert.
Water is needed for farms, herbs and mushroom cultivation. However it is not needed for berries. So another way to deal with water poverty is to maximise berries as a food source.
The villagers crave food variety though so to supplement berry, we can grow grow beets, wheat, tomatoes and corn. Of these corn is the best for the desert because it grows well at the desert temperatures and needs little water.
If you have a strong solution to the water poverty problem then tomatoes do well at desert temperatures.
Cacti, then Corn. Scavenger Hut can be an early take too.
The mountain biome has plenty of water, moderate toxicity but cold temperatures. Only berries and beets grow well here. Wheat for bread can also work.
You can get by on berries and beets so the first priority is dealing with this biome’s toxicity. The Village Doctor and Onbu Doctor are early priorities.
After than you could look at going on down the Wheat, Windmill and Bakery line.
Upgrading your tents to huts early on can help protect your villagers.
Ground toxicity is worse than air toxicity so an early investment in the Sleep Command can help with keeping onbu sleeping in the safe spots.
Much of the game is about dealing with toxicity in the air, ground and invasive weeds. The Jungle biome is the most toxic of the three early access biomes. Given the toxicity of the jungle biome you might wonder why you would ever want to specialise in staying in it.
The answer is the balance of humidity and warm temperatures make the jungle biome ideal for the widest range of crops. It also has ideal growing conditions for herbs and mushrooms. Herbs, of course, are your key resource for dealing with poisoning both of villagers and Onbu.
The jungle specialist will enjoy the most varied diet but at the cost of a constant battle against weeds and poison.
Scavenging is job that can yield a wide array of resources, including many that cannot be sourced any other way. Every strategy must include some scavenging. The Racing Scavenger strategy is about getting scavenging early and going large with it.
The “racing” element is because a limitation with expanded scavenging is exhausting all the possible sites available at a time. To mitigate this limit, we want to keep onbu moving at a fast pace. The “racing” is achieved by using our trust with onbu to get it running periodic to refresh the scavaging opportunities.
The first priority obviously is to get the Scavenger Hut tech. The Kitchen tech is the prerequisite for this. Scavenger Huts are built out of stone slabs and wooden planks. Consequently getting a Stonecutter and Carpenter running from day one is a must.
The next important tech is the Scout Tower. This building greatly increases the line of sight on the scavenging map. This extra visibility reveals more scavenging opportunities, allowing more scavengers to operate simultaneously and also more choice.
The Scout Tower is a high level tech and the building itself requires advanced materials like glass and iron. This implies taking the Iron Furnace and Glassblower techs before getting the Scout Tower. However very rarely scavenging missions can yield decision events that may reward with these exotic materials.
There we go, some fun strategies to try in The Wandering Village. Which will you try?