A short list of tips that should let you win on the easier difficulties. Use this if you don’t want to read a full blown guide on the game and just want to get a few pointers on what you might do differently.
This is just a short list of things that I noticed newcomers don’t seem to know about which hinders them winning games on the easier difficulties and which might give them a proper first grasp on the game. Some tips could be vastly expended or be more detailled, but I wanted to keep the text short. For a proper guide check the other ones.
Basic Strategies That Will Improve Your Game
Don’t cut wood during the storm
During the storm, the hostility of the forest severely decreases the resolve of your villagers and woodcutters raise the hostility significantly. So, woodcutters are a main reason why people leave during the storm, so if resolve gets low, give the woodcutters another job during the storm.
Open the glades!
You will run out of food sooner or later, so make haste to explore the land. As long as you don’t need more space to build, focus your woodcutters on opening the nearby small glades as soon aspossible so you get an overview what resources you have at hand. Build two woodcutter camps at the start to speed up the process.
Cut small ways through the forest
Don’t waste too much time cutting vast amounts of wood (unless you need the wood as a resource). Use the woodcutting tool to designate only a small “tunnel” to the next glade for your woodcutters to work on. One or two squares is wide enough to open the glade and see what’s in there. This makes opening new glades much faster.
Focus on processed food
When you make processed food out of raw food, you roughly double the amount of food in the process, depending on the recipe. If you can you should always process your food. If you want to make sure you will produce food as early as possible, look into the first small glades around you before you choose the first blueprint. That way you have an idea what raw food you have at hand and can choose the processing building accordingly (there is no sense in choosing a jerky producer without insects or meat). But that is only needed when food is usually your main problem.
Use different ingredients for your recipes
Most recipes in buildings can use different materials. You can make bricks out of stone instead of clay. You can make jerky out of insects instead of meat. If you seem to be unable to produce something, check if you can produce it with different ingredients.
You can set production limits in buildings and you should use them. You don’t need 100 bricks in your inventory, that is just wasted worker time and clay that you might need for other recipes like pottery.
Don’t be irritated by fertile soil you can’t use
Often you find resources you cannot use, like huge meat chunks without a trapper camp or fertile soil without a farm. Don’t spend too many thoughts on that, you usually won’t use up all resources on the map anyway if you don’t draw out the game’s length on purpose. Just move on and open another glade.
Choose orders that are easy to complete
Don’t let yourself blend by shiny rewards for difficult orders – it is small use to you when it takes you more than half the game to actually get it. The reputation point alone is often worth it, so just take orders you can do easily.
Choose blueprints that you can use right away
Don’t be tempted to get the tavern blueprint early because at some point you might brew beer, or the bakery if you don’t have a farm or mill. Choose blueprints that help you turn raw resources that you already have produce into processed goods that you need (like building materials or stuff for queen’s orders and glade events). It is better to inefficiently produce something that you need than to be theoretically able to efficiently produce something for which you lack the resources (like flour).
Fight Impatience with Dangerous Glades
If you tend to lose games because of the Queen’s Impatience or due to running out of food, you have to play at a faster pace and explore Dangerous Glades. Don’t be afraid: In 90% of them you will be able to solve the problem without much hassle. When a Dangerous Glade opens, pause the game and look what the dangerous event in it is and what you need to solve it. Sometimes it makes sense to wait until you solve it (e.g. until the current storm is over), but don’t waste much time as the negative effects can be harsh if you don’t do it quickly.
Remember that you can change the resources the problem needs. If you have none of the possible resources in your inventory, look in the recipe book (upper right corner) if you have a building that produces any of them and make that task your priority. If you cannot produce any of the resources the problem accepts (which should be a rare case), call the trader early in the Trade Depot and just buy what you need for the glade. The reward for solving it makes up for paying the trader.
Villager are leaving? Sacrifice resources
If villagers are leaving it is most often due to low resolve from hostility during the storm. If you already fired all your woodcutters and are still suffering from high hostility, select your Hearth and sacrifice some extra resources, preferably wood. This will lower the hostility, raise the resolve and should bring you through the storm without people leaving. Don’t forget to stop sacrificing when the crisis is over, or you will burn all your wood.