Cultures – Northland – Tips and Tricks and Useful Information

Useful Information for Both Northland and 8th Wonder + Tips and Tricks

A guide I put together from personal extensive play-testing to get new or returning enjoyers of this rough gem of a game a better playing experience.

I wrote this guide because one can’t really find jack sh*t information on this game, if there is a wiki I ain’t found it; All I came across were some ?modding/mapping websites in German, and I sure as hell am not watching youtube footage of people struggling to introduce the game and explain things to me when they themselves can’t figure it out. All information was gathered and strategies were crafted by yours truly, and if someone else claims otherwise, I’m sorry, but I separately came up with what I got here through more than 100+ hours of play and experimentation.

Most of my experience is from Cultures – Northland, but information should be valid for 8th Wonder too. I play that less because I couldn’t get the alt-tab fix to work.

Especially useful for those who are curious about how certain mechanics work, or want to optimize and improve their play-style(but then again, since I haven’t personally seen how others do things, someone might have better strats than me, so keep an open mind please and don’t judge if you think something is inefficient to do. Just point it out in a comment with a potential better way to do it for others to see). If I get questions in comments about certain interactions, I might update it to cover them as well after some testing.

The Logistics strategy is not necessary to win most maps, but it makes resource gathering and settling objectives easier to achieve, and should help massively with completing missions like “have 800x of certain goods in your warehouses” or have 2k inhabitants with high happiness(yes it’s a thing you can check in statistics tab) which basically force you to expand beyond your initial starting location and have multiple settlements to complete.

Sorry about the formatting though, guide might look a bit dodgy, I drafted the whole thing in VSCodium and didn’t do anything fancy there… couldn’t be arsed either after spending more than half a day putting everything together and organizing it. Hope it’s serviceable though.

About Extractors

Most extractors start to one-tap resources at 15 experience with iron tools. I’ll add more precise information when I update this…

The first 15 levels of an extractor skill are always the slowest and least efficient, even with iron tools: Iron tooled woodcutter takes 5 swings to bring down his first tree, 4 swings for his next 2-3 trees, 3 on his 5th and eventually oneshots trees at 15 and stops excessively wasting tool durability. For this reason, new extractors are probably better off assigned wood tools and assigned to work in a “training area” ’till they “graduate”, get iron tools and get sent to real workplaces.

Try not to overlap multiple same-resource extractors’ work areas and especially experienced extractors with inexperienced ones. You can click the “eye”/”question” button to check their registered work area to doublecheck. The experienced ones will potentially one-tap resources(provided they use iron tools) and the inexperienced ones will stop whatever they were doing(potentially having wasted tool durability and not finishing their extraction) and then go “extract” the readily felled tree/dug clay/smashed rock/mined ore from the ground, but gaining no experience in the process.

*The exception to this is if you intentionally mix a “master extractor” with iron tools equipped with ~2 “lackeys” with no tools, essentially the 0 experience guys will act as “outdoors carriers” and keep the master at higher working speed/efficiency. Say he cuts 1 tree, and then picks up 1 out of the 3 logs, the other 2 guys will do the rest, and the main guy goes cut another tree instead. Piggybacking off of his experience you can more than double the rate resources are collected this way, with minimal investment, however you will have to consider that the 2 aides will realistically never gain any extraction experience themselves…

Extractors assigned to buildings(yes, you can press A and then right click building) will need to have their desired resource re-selected, especially if building gets upgraded later on. These extractors act more like carriers, where they act to replenish the resource they’re tasked on, prioritizing picking readily-available resources off the ground before ever actually extracting, and they can be potentially better than carriers as they do not haul finished goods out of the workplace(you want merchant with cart for that anyway) so they ensure better raw resource availability in workshop(ex: assuming carpenter/smithy with carrier, carrier will haul wood/wood+iron until workshop’s stock is full, after which he’ll waste time hauling finished goods to the warehouse, no longer supplying the workshop. Suppose you then send a group of 20 fresh civilians to get their tools from the workshop, it’ll take longer ’till the workshop stocks get back to full than if it was an extractor working on it, but you can have both carrier AND extractor for particularly hectic assembly lines).

*You can have 1 of these per regular workshop and up to 3 per warehouse. If you assign their flag area to be further from the workplace(but they remain assigned to the building), they’ll try to target the resources more closely surrounding that area(shame you can’t assign them too far however) and still store them inside.

*You still want outdoors extractors because otherwise your builders might not be able to find the wood/clay/stone they need, provided you don’t already store them in warehouses somewhere else.

You can quickly assign outdoor extractors’ exact drop-off locations by pressing Shift+A then right clicking. this is better than right clicking the raw resource, particularly with trees, as the dropped off wood won’t prevent the trees from slowly regrowing on the stumps(stumps would be blocked by dropped wood otherwise). This is the case with mushrooms too. With metal ore, it makes it available potentially closer to the smithy.

*Mushroom extractors don’t use up tools and are already “max efficiency” at lvl 0, but every shroom they pick costs them 5 food energy so you don’t want them early.

Other Natural Resources

Mushrooms and trees have a chance to regrow (very slowly) in tiles they were originally growing in, so make sure your extractors have their resource drop-off points OFF the actual resource growing area if you don’t want to prevent their regrowth. Alternatively build or pave roads on-top to make sure they fk off for good…

Fish is a limited “extractable” resource, albeit every school of fish has about 25 food in it (you can see them in the water). You can use this to ensure food supplies in new settlements early on, and after bakery is unlocked, you’ll still want to send your fisherman(yes, for most games only 1 is enough, usually) to extract in other locations you predict you’ll want to expand into, instead of just letting his accumulated skills go to waste.

Hunters are a wild bunch. You shouldn’t see hunting as a food source, but rather a source of leather: Whenever they shoot their bows, they spend 1 extra energy per shot, and afterwards when they harvest the carcass they also spend total of 10 more energy, 5 for every “gather” action. If we include the time they spend chasing prey and delivering the goods, they barely break even on food(potentially eating their own delivered meat if not close to berry bushes).

*Since leather for shoes and armor is better off sourced from cattle farms, they should only be used early game, with their gather points assigned somewhere where you’ll expect to have the tailor’s workshop/cattle farm nearby.

*Great care should be taken as they love wandering off and potentially running into wolves. you should scout the forest/vicinities of your hunting area with a scout/hero first, as they have greater line of sight and can spot wolves early, potentially being able to run away(as wolves have a limited aggro radius and stop chasing afterwards, even though they’re faster usually) or fight them off(1 pack of wolves is only 5-6 wolves, Bjarni or most melee heroes will reliably survive with about 30-50% hp from full, but there are times when there can be multiple “packs” in close proximity, in which case you’ll have to try to bait and isolate them. All wolves of a “pack” aggro at once if you get close enough, but the other wolf packs will remain there)

*One could also assign a hunter to work near carpenter’s workshop 4, to more easily supply it with the little leather it needs for ships.

*You can assign hunters to “attack animals” manually if you feel like micromanaging them, and they’ll keep shooting ’till there’s at least 1 carcass nearby, at which point you’ll need to order them to attack the other animals after every shot fired (and potentially missed) To facilitate your hunting early on, you can preemptively position your “soon to be hunters” civilians and your 2-3 starting builders in close proximity(about 2 tiles away) of animal herds and then turn them all into hunters. They should all get off 1-2 shots on the animals and potentially down ~3-4 creatures at once. Then you turn the hunter-builders back into builders and let the real hunter “harvest”, potentially having him move on the spot to drop off the food on the floor and save him a trip back to the drop point.

Berry bushes are a naturally occurring static source of food, most areas have ’em in spades, but they might not all be ripe initially. That said, you don’t usually want to rely on them for food, and when you have small groups of people near them, you should manually order them to eat, up to 2-3 times depending on their energy bar. All “need” bars can go up to 150% maximum, and berries, like most foods, restore 40. Forcing people(especially early builders) to eat from the bushes will allow them to bank energy, increasing their work efficiency and reducing their food trip frequency for a while. This also allows you to ensure workers eat berries and not the food in the storehouse, which early on will be needed to create new villagers.

Ore is found bountifully on mountains, but can be particularly tricky to extract because it can be clogged up/surrounded by regular rocks, AND the rocky mountain terrain type actually reduces the extractors’ work radius/line of sight >>>see roads section for more details


Most crafters seem to produce about 3 goods per craft at 15 experience with iron tools, and they reach a maximum 3.6? at 150 crafts.(more accurate information later when I update)

Cattle farmers for some reason don’t seem? to benefit from/utilize tools.

*Cattle farming might be weird for new players. Basically the way it works, your scout needs to get very close to cows or sheep. Once your scout manages to secure 2 of these animals, they head back near your headquarters. Usually, you will be able to get multiple cows and sheep, but they’re functionally an infinite renewable resource, so there is no real need to go out of your way to claim more, if only to give yourself more of a boost and possibly prevent enemies from getting them.

Your cattle farmer, after assignment to building, checks his initial herd of desired animals. If it starts large enough, he immediately culls some. Then he attempts to “create” multiple new animals by expending wheat and water in storage, 1 new animal per 1 wheat and 1 water. Once he manages to multiply them to a number greater than ~6? I think, and he runs out of stored fodder, he waits for a bit and then begins the culling process, where he brings in each animal one by one and producing large quantities of meat and leather/wool. During culling, animals outside have their hp drop, probably because the noises from inside are scaring them shtless. After the herd is reduced back to 2 specimens, the breeding process begins anew, but only IF the meat and leather stores are cleared properly.

*The cattle farm production speed relies HEAVILY on your logistics, and a good supply chain can lead you to have herds as big as 15-20+ animals before culling. If you manage to resupply water and wheat fast enough during the breeding phase, you will have an insane number of cows in your herd.

*You will want a separate well with assigned carrier to bring water to the cattle farm from nearby, and later on you’ll want a merchant to bring in wheat and take out the leather. Meat should be a non-issue as your housewives will clean that stock out better than any other merchant ever could, provided you halt bread production and switch to cake.

Carpenters(carts or ships) and builders shred though tools insanely quickly if building anything, so they should be using only wooden tools at best. They seem to reduce building times by about 20%, thus being ~25% faster at hammering, but if you factor in their walking times, it drops to about 10-15% realistically, even worse for builders who don’t have supply depots and gotta walk half across the map for some random tile or brick, all the while the other builders congregate and idle away collectively

*For carpenters, you will want a separate carpenter who works all day making oxcarts and carts on loop. You will need LOTS of them for the next strategies discussed in the logistics section…

Additional Info On Consumables

Tools improve the speed of harvesters and the output of craftsmen, wood tools add an extra ~20% output and iron ~70%. You ideally use iron for most experienced, “real” extractors and all regular goods producers. Wood tools can serve as a stepping stone if there’s no iron near your starting area, and should then be mostly assigned to “beginner” extractors, builders and the cart/ship carpenter(yes, you want a separate carpenter to keep pumping out carts, it’s vital for logistics, 3-5 won’t cut it in the long run)

*In the situation where you start the game with tools, always give the best tool to your clay extractor, as him reaching level 10 unlocks pottery, and thus the school. The other extractors can be given wood. >>>see school section for vital information!

Mead is a 2-dose 50 energy 50 stamina potion. A full inventory of meads on a unit ensures 400 units of energy and stamina and they’re automatically used when troops are on the march. Really important to set up the brewery in the same areas where you train your civilians into either troops or advanced workers, close to shoes and other equipment workshops. Meads are essentially the only way to keep workers actually productive when they don’t have a house. It’s also useful for your troops before you can source or produce potions, but even then, home-defense troops and garrisoned archers, along with your builders group and your merchants will need to stock up on meads to keep productivity at max.

Cake is superior food. Food normally restores 40, cake does 60. Cake obsoletes regular bread production(you might still want to keep producing bread in case mission requires food for trade/tribute though).

Shoes: Speed buff for your villagers. You eventually want this on every villager. Not sure how much speed, might be 25% or so but it’s hella worth it, and it scales impressively with roads. It’s best assigned en-masse via the extras menu. Leather should become a non-issue once you build the cattle-farm. In missions where you start out with a small initial stock, you should assign this to your clay gatherer and the other people you want to have marry and settle, so they get home faster. Alternatively you want them on your military units if it’s a map where you don’t turn all your starting troops into workers(possibly builders to replace the starting builders into other jobs) for that extra economic power.

Potions: I bundle them all here because they’re functionally similar; all come in 2 varieties, Small (2 dose) and Large (5).

*The large ones cost double the materials to make = 2x(shroom,water,herb,coin) However both small and large potions of a variety share the druid’s experience pool, so for example: in order to get the druid to produce a decent quantity of Large healing potions more material-efficiently, you probably want to set the druid to make 15-30 crafts of the small variety first, for training.

*The small potions are very good too, and can be assigned to archers, as they tend to take less chip damage because they run away in melee, so they’re not “dead stock”

*Healing potions – the most important potion if you value your soldiers’ lives, as the other 2 have similar(more potent) effects as mead. Give every soldier ~ 2 small ones if archer or 1-2 large ones if melee.

*Stamina potions: restore 100 stamina per dose. The worst of the bunch, they just prevent the soldiers from getting sleepy… but even without them, before taking a long fight or a siege, you can select your army and force them to sleep 2-3 times to max their stamina at 150, which should last for the entire razing of an enemy city. Don’t produce these, but if you find or get them early, have your homeless workers get them I guess.

*Nourishment potions: The superior “mead” for the warrior on the go, restores 100 energy per dose. This is your go-to food ration pack for military troops, provided you decide to not cheap out and just give them mead instead. Warriors consume lots of energy, especially when playing out their respective fighting animations(for this reason give the large doses to archers and melee units the small ones, since your archers will be constantly fighting while your melee units will just try to hold the line as a meatshield with the occasional swing or two). If you produce enough of these, you can give some to the builders too, so they use their meads only to restore sleep instead.

Will do some more testing on oil, crockery and furniture later, although they seem to have ~20 uses and increase food/sleep efficacy. Oil is not really worth producing as it wastes shrooms and you can build temples instead, they have large radius around them and arms/armor craftsmen regenerate religion during crafting if within range.

Weapons And Armor

Weapons: I haven’t fully properly tested them yet, will update later, but from what I could see from playing experience:

*Spears are more useful for your melee troops to prevent moving enemies from harassing your archers, as their animation doesn’t flop if enemies rush past them. They’re tricky to craft but worth it, my go-to weapon for massed melee meat sponge. They’re also, according to game lore, good for dealing with everything up to chainmail, but enemies very rarely use armor anyway. In missions where you get “Frank/European” mercenaries, those can’t equip spears.

Longswords are only necessary for “suicide chargers”, you give them lots of healing potions(2-3 large, depending if they have any amulet equipped too, last slot a L. nourishing) and send them to rush down enemy catapults(fck those, seriously) and defense towers. First you try to thin out their garrison by baiting them outside with archers, and then you send in these boys. Their attack animation is, although very strong, too slow to catch regular enemy troops that rush past them, and since you want them equipped in plate armor… yea feels bad as general purpose weapon.

*Shortswords – didn’t use these much, since I, like most other plebs, go for the more expensive options, usually… Their melee attack is both faster and weaker than longswords, so they’re serviceable, they can at least wound a passing enemy a bit before they reach your archers.

**Maces – Just kidding, there are no maces in the game, but “byzantine” unit types equipped with shortswords will look like they’re using them…

Longbows – my default ranged weapon. Rarely hits with untrained units, but when it does, it almost Iskai’s a m*fo. A group of 5 archers might seem insufficient, 10 can usually volley-kill something if focus-firing, but a group of 25-40+ archers can act as a massive ball of death that skewers anything trying to get remotely close to them, and can even take down buildings and fortified positions, provided there are no catapults(seriously, fk AI using those)

*Shortbows – A good training weapon to equip on archers if trying to train them on chicken pens. Good for defense towers garrisons, as you can have 3/4 garrisoned IN ADDITION to the 3/4 longbows.

Catapults – these are vehicles, not items, and in my use experience they’re not even a weapon, they’re a woodcutting/area clearing tool first and foremost. They’re insane in the hands of the AI, for defensive positions, but they’re an absolute btch to get them from point A to point B, slow as all shts, get stuck in all sorts of terrain, highly inaccurate and can friendly fire(and tough sht if your armourer decides to start building it in an inadequate spot). Best use for them is to create a rock waterfall by setting 2-3 to attack-ground (Shift+A) a choke-point and watch the enemy eat sh*t.

**Even Better however, since in single player maps you get handed catapults from chests on a daily occurrence, is to use these to try to snipe enemy catapults from range using attack ground, attack enemy fortifications earlier on before you can fully outfit a good army, OR CHOP TREES.

**If you want, you can mix the two uses and use the catapult to quickly cut down trees, then turn some soldier blokes into extractors to get the wood “extracted”, then turn them builders to build stockades with said wood, and then change them back to soliders and re-equip them. Voila, quickly deployed remote stockade chokepoint and thus fortified position.

**If you attack ground in a forest, you can clear out a decent area for building structures that normally wouldn’t fit, in less time than an inexperienced no-tool bunch of wood extractors would. It can be manned by heroes too, so you can have Bjarni do it. Afterwards, and only after you flatten stuff, you send your wood extractors to turn the fallen trees into a huge pile of logs quickly, and then build whatever you needed(because putting the building on top of “un-extracted” logs deletes them, which might be a waste…). Don’t send your guys to do this while the catapult’s still firing though, as it’s highly inaccurate and can randomly one-shot your unsuspecting worker.

Armors: More testing is required, but from personal experience:

*Leather/tunics: good on archers I guess. They rarely get hit, and when they do, it’s either melee chip damage, enemy catapults or archer fire. If melee, the aggressors are about to be put down with great prejudice in the next volley. In catapults’ case, they help avoid oneshots sometimes, but the game lore states that “tunics” are better for arrow-fire resistance, so there… Also if tunics aren’t better than leather, sheep lose all their purpose of existence. I really hope this is not the case…

**These armor types don’t have high movement penalties, so troops can march quickly.

**The tailor also has no issues creating them in large quantities quickly, and although it “uses up” their religion bar, they aren’t “compelled” to go pray like others, so it’s fast to produce in that regard.

*Chain and Plate: Gotta admit, since both slow your troops almost? equally, I tend to go for plate usually since I think it offers more protection (however ~5 well placed enemy longbow shots will still kill an unsupplied dude, so ~2 healing potions are indispensable). Plate also has the side effect of making your vikings look like they’re wearing “bling drip”, so there’s that. I use chain when I find it in chests or if I have a way to easily get it from trading, easier than kitting my guys with plate myself.

Schools – How They Work, How They Can Be Abused

Schools allow your villagers to get experience insanely fast in any profession, by sending them inside and selecting their training regimen. The training can last anywhere from 10 to 30 training “ticks”, depending on complexity of selected job. This is info most people know and assume this is all to it…

Very Important: The training is counted as “temporary experience” for the current villager’s selected job field when sent inside. What this means:

*If you send in a fresh Civilian to become a merchant(which might usually be the case), he will train to 10 units(that’s how long Merchant takes) and then… well… become a merchant, unlocking only that, because the “Civilian” Job doesn’t have follow-up professions. This is intended behavior.

*If you select the same Civilian, turn him into an “Extractor” first, send him in to become a “Merchant”, he will train the same 10 units, but then something AMAZING happens: Because he’s technically an extractor in the school and gained 10 units of experience in the extracting field(even though temporary), he suddenly unlocks Pottery(Brick), Masonry(Stone), Smithing(Iron Tools), Carpenter(Wooden Tools) Extractor(Iron), Extractor(Gold), Herb Gatherer, AND THEN he turns into a merchant…

**Because of unlocking all of these new professions, all the related buildings and structures dependent on the materials from them become available too.

**Selecting this new “Merchant” and turning him into a potter(brick), and then sending him to learn Pottery(Brick) will have him train to 10 units, and then he’ll come out a potter who’s unlocked TILES and CROCKERY! without having to wait for him to craft the initial 10 brick crafts. This also unlocks buildings that require Tiles to be built.

**Selecting this villager again and changing him to Mason(stone) and training him to be a “Mason-stone” will unlock marble, and buildings that require marble. Suddenly, you’re now able to use your “Build anything” papers to plonk down dwelling 5’s and focus your builders on actually setting up workshops instead of wasting time building low-tier houses so you can start creating more villagers.

**Select and change him to herb gatherer, make him train in herb gathering and he unlocks Druid, but not just Druid(oil), he actually somehow unlocks all druid stuff except L Healing potions (and you don’t want to begin with crafting those until your druid crafts ~15-30 sets of s.Healing potions anyway, to not waste double the gold on low-yields)

**Select and change to Smith and train him as a Smith, and he’ll unlock everything, including plate armor, BUT ALSO he will now unlock Coin Minting.

**Select and change to Hunter and train… something else, it doesn’t matter, just remember you trained him for 10 units from hunter, and he’ll unlock tailor and cattle/stock farmer.

**The Only caveat I found is that this somehow doesn’t work with the carpenter, or at least in order to get carpentry unlocked fast, you turn him into a carpenter, and then you gotta train him in something that takes at least 20 seconds, like training him to be a Mason(Marble). After this he’ll unlock carts and carpenter’s 3 (and also Armourer II’s-Catapult), and if you order him to build 1-2 handcarts, he’ll rapidly accumulate the carpentry experience to build ox carts and ships too.

Do with this information as you will. If it appeals to you to spend more time every game slowly tech-ing up and eventually being able to find out whether can fit that Cattle farm where you wanted, near the farm and the tailor’s, go ahead (you might also not like this for immersion reasons). If, on the other hand you’re like me and start a new map, and are fed up with not knowing what you can build where and being able to properly plan your base, want a leg up setting up production chains from the get-go, go ahead, you now know how. You’ll still need to get the building materials required though somehow, knowing how to build cattle farm won’t help if you have none of the required tiles.

*On some maps, you start with advanced materials like tiles and marble but they’re useless ’till you unlock their crafting, and by then it would’ve been better if you just started with more raw wood/stone/clay in your storage instead.

*This makes the “build anything” papers a heck of a lot more useful though, since you can only place buildings you know of, and once you know of them, usually you got ample materials stocked already and it only ends up saving you the building time. You can place dwelling 5s or an early cattle farm, or maybe even an armourer’s II to make longbows asap to speedrun certain adventure map objectives.

Using Control Groups I

The game gives you 10 control groups at your disposal, of which most people end up using only 1, if at all, and that one ends up being a military group or possibly the hero. In order to have a smoother experience when playing, I highly encourage to form your own preferred control group “squads”, to better keep track of your villagers.

*First of all, you can select or cycle between your heroes by pressing the F key, so if it’s only for sending Bjarni in the forest to look for chests and kill wolves, you don’t need to waste a group on that.

*Secondly, control groups place visible number markers in the corner of your subjects, enabling you to more easily identify certain individuals and what they are supposed to be. If nothing else, you should be at least using control groups as a form of labelling and not necessarily a way to issue orders to large groups of people.

*Use SHIFT+number to add new people to existing groups. ALWAYS. EVEN when creating new groups, you select the new joiners, and do shift+number, and then press the number key if you want to select the group, you need to learn this habit for this game.

*CTRL+number should be used ONLY when you previously selected a group, and then did CTRL+click on the people on the right side of the screen to exclude them from selection. Doing CTRL+number on the new selection would kick the previous members of the group out(since it “re-creates”/overrides the group), and is mostly used to keep heavily wounded/depleted soldiers behind and out of your fights ’till they regen, otherwise they’d end up dying needlessly.

*From my personal usage/experience and habits I can recommend:

**Control group 1 for your building-builders/scouts and 2 for the road-layer builder/scouts. Select the individuals you want to shift from one group(or no group) to another, and do SHIFT+number.

***USE CASE example: Suppose you have 15 builders, and you intend to build a structure that takes 10 resources somewhere, thus only 10 builders will be able to participate; You can select your control group and move the builders as scouts close to the warehouse/location you’ll source materials from, THEN you select the remaining 5 which won’t be helpful, and do Shift+2 on them. Now they’re in group 2. If you already had scouts/road builders in group 2, they’ll remain in group 2 also, so you can select from among them for easier time assigning road segments. You place an initial building foundation, and you look to see if it’s tall or if the outline of it when finished might cover inconvenient spots. If this is the case, you place roads behind it first, then delete the structure to be able to build them. You count how many road layers you’ll need to cover the area you won’t be able to see behind the building (usually 3-4 tops) and then make sure to add 1-2 more road hexes in the vicinity to keep everyone occupied. You press 2 and have everyone turn builder, and then assign them the center of the hexes. Then you press 1, turn everyone builder, put the building down again and immediately right click it to assign them to it faster. While your road builders are working, keep placing more road hexes around the outline of the building, trying to get maximum coverage. After group 2 is almost done with the roads, start turning them back to scouts so they don’t auto-assign on unintended road spots and mess up the roads for the others. Once Everything including the building is done including a signpost, you press 2, selecting your road builders/scouts, SHIFT+1 and then by pressing 1 you will have all 15 selected and turn them scout, and move them to the next area to develop. >>>For more information, refer to the road building section.

**Control group 3,4 for military units. 3 is melee, 4 is archers, or the other way around, doesn’t really matter. I usually keep the hero in the archer group and set him to ignorant with large armies, so he contributes his line of sight to the battle but doesn’t risk engaging enemies and dying. His movement speed also matches archers with shoes and leather armor/tunics, but is too fast for iron spearmen with shoes and plate/chainmail(unless wind amulets too), thus would move ahead too much, draw aggro, get attacked and die like a moron if I’m not careful to micro him out. Melee units can have L. healing potions to keep them alive reliably, heroes can’t carry healing potions…

Using Control Groups II

(And some talk about population growth management)

**Control group 5 is for “expert extractors” and their wives(so they’re removed from group 9/10 during moving), basically people who move around and decimate forests, empty clay pits, move mountains, the works. Its too big a shame to leave these guys in one place for long, especially after you’ve spent the initial time investment to get them to 15 extracting in a category, new blood can replace them, and on moving, they should have their houses unassigned, and once a new house is ready for them, select their wives, put them back into control group 9/0 and assign them the house. After a forest area is almost completely felled, you can assign beginner extractors there to keep cutting the new trees that pop up, and get experience, this will keep supplying nearby workshops just fine. Clay, stone and ore are deplete-able, however, so you’ll always have to keep them on the move, every ~2-3 in-game hours or earlier (time played at x1 speed) they can move house to be used elsewhere, help set up a new settlement at lightning speed. When moving them, make sure to give them plenty of meads too to keep them working ’till the new area gets developed and they get a house.

**Control group 6 for internal and supply depot merchants >>>See logistics section for more details. Their names would be changed too to act a telling label of where they’re assigned at a glance.

**Control group 7 for Merchants who are fulfilling trade deals with foreign warehouses. You’d be surprised how many merchants can get to operate in the same warehouse, you’ll have 5+ merchants parked at once outside sometimes, with a lot more in the warehouse interface… Allows you to more easily control your trade deals with external factions and stop them when no longer needed.

**Control group 8, 9 and 0(10): 8 for unmarried women, 9 for married women in central hub area for male villagers production(where they’ll be close to the tailor and tool workshops + brewery and school for outfitting, I generally have 20-25 women here) and 0 for married women in remote regions for female villagers production respectively. Not only will this allow you to tell if a female villager is married or not at a glance (or if unmarked, you will see that and can then select the female villagers and do SHIFT+8/9/0 to get it into the right group), but will also more easily allow you to order controlled “spurts” of population growth (and have them occur in areas you specifically want to, to more quickly instruct and equip them), and you’ll be able to quickly select all unmarried women and move them across the map to areas where houses were freshly built to find potential marriage candidates.

***If messages are left on red+orange(I prefer it this way): For all matured male villager messages, hold “.” key pressed, and it’ll quickly cycle through civilians and remove the messages. This will only leave the matured female villager messages at the top, among potential other unrelated but important ones. You then click on each and do right-shift+0 while clicking on them to select them individually, and eventually will have all of them in group 10, at which point, you can send them to walk across the map (hopefully you got signposts between settlements) from the more remote regions to go to areas where new houses are built or being built, to then find them local spouses (they got nothing else better to do anyway). Always assign male villagers who use lots of energy (craftsmen, extractors, carriers on wells/beehives) and are less likely to be relocated in the houses first. When women become available in the area for them to date, click on their house markers and order them to marry. You might have to do this a couple times. Afterwards, if you hover on the house, the outlines of all women living there will be displayed, select the women and add them to group 9/0 accordingly.

***When relocating a family (particularly important for extractors who exhausted resources in an area), you select the person to relocate, and then click on the “married to” symbol to select his wife. With his wife selected, you can then have her move house, and if done like this, the house banner will display the husband and his job, so you can more easily tell who’s meant to be in which house to be closer to their workplaces. If done the other way around, the banner will display his wife, which gives litte information about the family, and it might also take a while as men can be in long crafting animations.

***IMPORTANT: NEVER assign women to a house first and then ask men who have “job site” markers to find marriage candidates, always try to marry men to the women instead and only afterwards assign the women to the households.

****It’s safe to do it with most workshop workers(like bakers, millers, masons, potters etc.), but doing this with other jobs will assign their job sites onto the house, so farmers will bug out and start growing wheat in front of their doorstep and then trek miles back to their farm, fishermen will move food to their doorstep and waste valuable time, where that fish could’ve been delivered by the female villagers, CARPENTERS and ARMOURERS will try to build carts and catapults by their house doorstep, carriers get messed up, etc. and it’s tedious to fix. I find the farmer wheat issue particularly aggravating when trying to pave roads later on.

Using Hotkeys

Similar to Control groups, certain hotkeys make playing the game a more smooth/enjoyable experience. Very useful ones I use a lot include:

“.”, which allows you to cycle through all your civilians. You generally hold this pressed from time to time. This is important because normally people probably get sick of the insane number of messages of new civilians maturing at the top of the screen, especially when you order them in batches of 20-25, so most people turn them to only red messages, but this means you will no longer see when certain craftsmen/extractors cease production due to invalid conditions, or other potentially vital stuff (imagine finding out that you don’t have weapons produced because your smithy stopped working, because your iron extractor stopped working, because he can’t see/reach ore in the mountains, and you needed to slowly stock up those weapons and armor over time to fend off an attacking army. yikes)

“,”, which cycles scouts. I’m going to have 1-2 scouts that are not part of my builder group, these scouts are only for exploring the map, taming cattle and sheep, setting up long distance signposts for new settlements etc.

“F” for the heroes, in maps where you get them. lets you avoid wasting a control group on the hero alone, and allows you to quickly press the key and right click the hero out of hot waters if he’s focused in fight.

You can press the key and right click the map without looking at him to gradually explore(but quick-save beforehand in case he lands in sh*t and you don’t react in time)

“CTRL+S” or “F9”, creates a quick-save. Enough said. You probably don’t want auto-save on, or might forget to turn it on because it’s map-specific setting from what I noticed, but always hit this before a fight, or doing something potentially stupid like scouting with your hero in a new area without looking.

“A”, allows you to assign a unit to a building. This allows you to assign extractors to workshops or warehouses, so they act more like carriers(you need to also set their production). This also allows you to assign carriers to a workshop provided that they’d be able to job change on right click instead, and you don’t want that. Basically when you notice that hovering on a building with a unit doesn’t produce the desired effect, try this hotkey.

“SHIFT+A”, probably much more useful than the “A” key, this allows you to set the outdoors extraction point of fishermen/hunters/extractors. For some resources like fish you can’t right click it, and for others you don’t want to extract it right on-top of the resource node(trees and shrooms don’t regrow if you clutter gathered goods on-top of the cut forest).

“Spacebar” you probably know this already, but if you’re new to the game, this opens the unit menu and allows you to actually play the game.

“C” – Don’t use this one. It allows you to skip pressing spacebar and clicking on the “change job” button. It also allows you to sometimes press “V” accidentally and temporarily FK up your economy by ringing “town bell” – lots of personal experience.

“S” – Vital for road planning. Just make sure you keep your builders in scout form beforehand or they’ll auto-assign themselves start building them slow/wrong/wastefully. >>>check road section for more info there.

“D” – stockade hotkey… for if you have a choke-point to hold, or if you got an exposed shoreline from where enemies can land( but seriously, prioritize scouting the water if you get a ship instead, uses less wood and gives you more of a heads-up/warning on surprise landings on certain maps). Can be used to surround defensive towers since buildings melt like hot cheese to melee damage. Also useful if map spawns with chickens. You can build a large enclosure for them and try to chase them into it. Afterwards, you can use them for archery target practice (they’re really tanky for some reason, near immortal…)

*Again, you can also create your own choke-points quickly at places in levels where you get catapults from chests, by flattening some nearby trees, putting some soldiers to extract the wood and set up the stockades to funnel enemies for catapults to stone them to death more easily.

“B” Build menu key… also take care when pressing this as it’s too close to “V” for comfort…

Holding CTRL when editing a craftsman’s production queue or increasing/decreasing minimum good stocks for merchants to leave in warehouse/workshop is also a thing.

*By setting “minimum” goods, what you’re doing is basically telling your merchant he’s not supposed to touch certain goods up to that point in the warehouse/workshop. For most workshops, it’s good to set at least 5-10 goods of a type to always remain inside for use locally (except high output buildings like brewery/bakery)

*Workers will still be able to access and take out resources below the minimum, but holding CTRL and clicking on most advanced building materials in follow-up settlements, you ensure there’s always going to be at least 10 of those in there eventually, ready for building stuff.>>>see logistics section for more info.

Advanced Logistics And Merchant Infrastructure

Designate 1 large warehouse(warehouse 2/3/HQ) for mass goods storage in constant production towns and 1 small warehouse right “next door”; This will now be also referred to as a “supply depot” (warehouse 1).

*Supply depot is for designated specialty goods (like iron tools, building materials, crockery etc.) and for advanced building materials, but also for “exporting excessive goods”.

*Goods that are produced infinitely and in large quantities to be assigned merchant to large warehouse(like shoes, wheat, flour, cake, mead, potions etc.).

Internal merchant to be set to extract out of large warehouse into smaller one once certain goods are overflowing, or if production quota is large enough to warrant it. This merchant can start doing his job just fine without cart earlier on(if none are available for him to use), but make sure to pave some road between the 2 warehouses at least…

*Important: Also make sure to rename them something easily identifiable to you, like “Intern HQ” or “Intern Town1” or something, as eventually you’ll have too many merchants to keep track of, and this will allow you to easily identify and select them for further configuring later on.

External merchant(or multiple if just setting out a new expansion, so they temporarily overflow trade goods) to be set to trade between small warehouses of towns. Unless it’s only a resource gathering town (clay pit, tree line etc.), have the merchant “unset” so he freely “balances out goods” between supply depots, and add minimums to building materials and consumables(tools and shoes), say ~5-10 of each, but maybe also furniture, crockery, oil, so they stock them for your workers to not have to walk for miles to supply.

*Try to keep out food/cake and mead out of the supply depots(small warehouses) initially, as they’re goods that tend to be consumed in very large quantities, and might need their own designated merchants

If the main craftsman of a workshop stops crafting and starts shipping to warehouses, he’s slow enough at doing it that in the long term scheme of things, it’s fine: he’ll craft once, and then he’ll have to ship 1-4 excess goods all the way to a warehouse before being able to craft again, during which time his workshop will be resupplied by the “extractor”, and the merchant working at his shop would have loaded whatever goods are REALLY needed into cart, to be sent either to the large or small warehouse. This way you can keep all craftsmen on “produce all goods infinitely” without worries.

*To be safe, if they seem to be dropping off goods in the wrong warehouse, you can set the internal merchant to “correct that” (say miller is sending flour into the small/supply depot warehouse and it’s not wanted).

Designate at least 3 raw resource extractors in vicinity of supply depots. Supply depots to be set up with carriers/extractors to carry goods from resource spots where the real extractors exploit resources, and then have those goods imported into internal warehouse if necessary.

*Each warehouse can only have 3 carriers… but you can “cheat the system” a bit by assigning 3 additional “extractors” and task their working areas and preferred resource near a real extractor’s drop-off point, this will have them behave as carriers specifically for that raw resource.

*Warehouse and workplace carriers/extractors can be essentially un-housed, untrained fresh civilians that are meant to keep things smooth either temporarily or permanently, clean the roads, get raw goods in, etc. and don’t need houses.

*Carriers assigned to wells or beehives however need to be seen as “employed extractors”, and are better off married and housed, as they need to eat a lot – extracting water and honey costs them lots of energy.

Designate an “extractor” carrier to production workshops that allow it, like carpenter, smithy, mint etc. who have the role of acting as carriers, except they only supply that one resource, they don’t send goods to warehouse-that shouldn’t be their job anyway.

Designate at least 2 “professional workers” per production workshop once possible, one can be married and housed nearby and another can be a hobo/married but to be relocated later, just to get experience locally so if you need to set up production elsewhere you can send him readily trained and with experience instead of a newly trained recruit, who would be better off taking their place.

Disable bread production once cake becomes available, and only produce bread as a band-aid if you notice the cattle farm can’t keep up with housewife food demands, prompting them to go to d*cksville to source food (say, in the forest where you previously killed wolves), or if you actually need food for trading or as diplomacy tribute in mission…

*Cake is exactly 50% better (60 energy vs 40 of other foodstuffs) and isn’t really that difficult to make, however if both cake and food is available, villagers generally prefer food (weirdos, I know…)

*Cake can also be used to create new villagers, and it’s more efficient too(only 1 is used up)

When setting up a small resource gathering outpost, you can send cake over for the workers to ensure their food, or if you want to set up a medium sized town, send them flour and assign one of the “apprentice bakers” to the colony, no carriers on beehive/well, nothing, just that guy should be able to fully supply the town. If it’s a temporary resource like a small vein of gold/iron, just send the extractors/carriers fully loaded with mead and forget about food.

When setting out to trade goods with other nations, setting up a small “production workshop” locally for the needed trade goods might be a good idea, as waiting for them to distribute through supply depots will take too long and will make the system less efficient at its’ job.

Roads, Paving The Way To A More Efficient Settlement

It works by paving the tile you assign the builder on and all 6 adjacent tiles in a hex grind around it. This means that if you want good road coverage, you will have to, either on low speed or paused game, assign builders on specific tiles (like a puzzle game). This also means that you shouldn’t be content with the game’s default crappy 1-wide roads you get when you try building them initially.

*1-wide roads are inevitable sometimes in the gap between tightly fit buildings, but otherwise this allows you more easily to see and select your subjects too, as they’ll spread out on the road more and not form a weird pass-through confusing conga-line in densely populated areas(probably your bakery area right now).

To build roads quickly, when game is paused or on x1 speed press the S hotkey to select road placement and repeatedly paint honeycombs of road patches in the “critical paths” of workers. “Mission critical” road tiles are tiles that directly connect a building to its’ drop-off point or natural dependencies, like miller to the farm, or baker to mill and well/beehive.

Very Important: Roads can’t be built on tiles where there are existing signposts, resources bundled on the ground, or natural resources like berry bushes, shrooms, trees, clay etc. so IDEALLY, you want to assign builders to get roads built as early as possible, and have a scout nearby to remove and re-build signposts, if needed ON TOP of shrooms and bushes to destroy them.

*Possibly before assigning new extraction sites, especially in crappy terrain like mountains, try to pave the hexagon centered on where you intend the extractor to bring resources to, and then from time to time place new road hexagons onto the mountain, as roads actively increase their working radius and movement speed(which are heavily debuffed in mountains otherwise).

*This would make extracting mountain resources at least ~50% faster and less laborious, and will assist with getting to those particularly difficult last veins. Carriers working in warehouses/workshops at the base of the mountain will have an easier time “seeing” and reaching the resources if they’re on or near the mountain roads too, so it also boosts productivity there.

If you have more than 1 quarrystone extractor, you should strive to surround any new desired building with roads, all around it, and then try to turn them into honeycombs so you get more road for your quarrystone. This is to ensure your workers don’t derp around it too much, but also because assigning road spots behind readily-built structures is a ♥♥♥♥♥ later on, with larger buildings which cover 150% or more of their foundation with the structure sprite (i’m looking at you, dwelling 5, school, brewery etc.)

*(And you should have more than 1 stone extractor later on, to assist with getting rid of the rubble/rocks in the environment blocking any potential building areas at least, and later on you can have them dig iron/gold since they learn it naturally at 10 extracts and you will have to get stone out of the way when digging for those anyway…)

*Buildings will always, without fail, have at least exactly 1 tile spacing surrounding them on all sides, so it’s impossible to create “impassible building walls” or obstacles that would greatly impede navigation, however this also means you should always strive to pave properly around the building so you can have densely packed and efficient space usage with maximum road coverage.

Don’t be afraid to spend quarrystone on paving. Sure, it’s a “limited resource” as it doesn’t regrow, like clay, but there’s usually metric fktons of it available, especially near mountains. The only other uses of quarrystone is to serve as material for Stone and Marble, and as building material, all 3 of which you need limited amounts in your supply depots only. I’m fully confident in stating that most maps have enough quarrystone on them to pave every single walk-able tile, including areas where you’d eventually build actual buildings, and still have too much stone to not know what to do with.

*There’s bound to be spells of downtime for your builders, during which you might assign each of them to build a hex-cell someplace where you know there’s traffic or plan to assign an extractor. EVEN if you eventually find out you gotta build something on-top there, if your carriers/extractors can do their jobs 5%-10% faster for a while, it’s worth it.

Merchants in carts benefit from road speed-buffs as well, but unlike regular workers who try to follow the roads on short distances, or follow the signposts on long distances, merchants’ paths need to be “observed” and paved accordingly, as it’s difficult to predict (I’ve had many occasions when they’d ride their oxcarts right BESIDE the real road, being slow af d*masses)

To build roads more easily, you should always keep your builders on control group(s). Certainly, you can select all builders by going into the viking management menu and filtering for builders, but having them in one big control group allows you to more easily see idling builders to select for road building projects. Since builders can only start building roads if they’re not assigned to building structures, and since structures can have only as many builders assigned to it as resources it requires, it’s a good idea to strive to have at least (highest cost building material count)/2 builders, which in the early game 2-3 is sufficient but later on you will need at least 7 for dwelling 5’s. When you eventually get enough houses set up, you can probably splurge and turn more civilians to builders, up to maybe ~15 or so.

*When builders are idle or not assigned, or after they delivered their designated material to the building location and just start hammering, you can select them and add them to a new control group(suppose your builders were on 1 and now whoever’s free you SHIFT+2) and start using them for road building. After you’re done you press 2 to select them and Shift+1, this will re-add them back into your builder group.

To be able to build roads behind tricky tall buildings, place the building foundation, then you can use a scout to put a signpost right up against it to “lock it in place against a corner or something” (you should have a scout nearby building sites most times, or you can turn your builders into scouts as needed). Then you surround the building with “mission critical” road segments, trying to get the entire outline covered, but especially the tiles directly behind the building that would be hard to spot/pave later on, and then remove the building foundation(yes it’ll create a rubble aesthetic temporarily, but it’s worth it), expand out the roads so you build as much of them as possible with hexes(but be mindful where you placed the signpost initially, remove it and re-place it in same spot after road is paved) and then place the building again.

*You’ll notice that on the 2nd attempt to place building, it’ll somewhat snap to the spot if it’s “cornered” by the signpost.

More On Scouts And Signposts

The only units in this game who don’t need signposts to get from place A to B are scouts and soldiers… except that’s false. Heroes have improved scouting mechanics built in… Then there’s druids, who have a sh*t line of sight but CAN walk very far and in un-signposted territory, and open magic chests. Additionally, carriers, merchants and all people assigned to vehicles, like carts, ships and catapults don’t care about signposts at all(catapults and ships have difficulty path-finding as is though). You still want your settlements to be loosely connected by a string of signposts though, so you can more conveniently move your people about.

It can be a good idea to flick newly acquired civilians/non-military units to scouts to get them across the map long distances, to avoid having to babysit them.

Very Important: You might be tempted, or even used to, like I was, to use your scout to put signposts in your starting area, all over the place, trying to put them around nooks, corners, existing impassable objects like rocks, trees and generally try to achieve 100% “dark” coverage everywhere from the start while maximizing available place for building later down the line, possibly placing some of them as tightly as possible… DON’T. Try as hard as possible to BREAK these habits. It took me way too long to break mine, and after I stopped, my cities were flowing much more smoothly, I was actually impressed how quickly stuff was getting done.

*For starters, having signposts packed too tightly will make it awkward or outright impossible to relocate them later on when you intend to build something. This will also force you to build in the remaining space after their placement(sometimes invalidating entire areas from building specific things), when you could’ve just had a builder swap to scout quickly and place the signpost right besides the building outline.

*After you build this kind of 100% coverage signposts, you’ll also have difficulties with your civilians walking in very awkward spots through crappy terrain and taking highly inefficient routes to get things on the other side of your city, and it will make building roads less effective as well.

*What you want to do instead is make sure your scout erects signposts near where your extractors drop off their goods, and near where you place workshops, and then just make sure they’re connected(they point towards, or there’s a line on the map/minimap) with your main warehouse area. Albeit you don’t need to,but to satisfy your possible OCD, you will just place the remaining signposts to achieve 100% coverage after you build lots of buildings/houses in the area and used the space efficiently, in the remaining spaces which are bound to be paved roads by that time anyway.

**You don’t need near 100% coverage of your starting area, you only need the signposts to cover your workers’ resource drop-off points, your workshops, and to connect to other signposts in the network. (potentially you might also want to cover areas with berry bushes) Builders will still be able to navigate to and find buildings outside of covered areas as long as they’re not 1 extra signposts’ worth away.

**Turn your builders group into scouts and send them on the outskirts of your base, or where you expect you’ll expand into, since you NEED UNITS IN THE AREA to be able to place buildings there in the first place. AFTER THAT, turn all but a few scouts back to builders, and with the remaining scouts place loosely-connecting signposts that you gotta make sure point from one to another(so people can path), and perhaps another signpost in the area you expect your new building will need resources extracted from.

**You can use a scout to place and delete signposts to destroy berry bushes, mushrooms or other crap that’d get in the way of building roads.

**In maps with limited building space, hopefully you’ll have already sent some experienced stone/wood extractor over to make short work of all the stone debris and straggler trees in the area too. Your starting extractors should be tasked with developing and expanding new buildable areas as soon as they’re proficient enough to do it(10-15 experience), as workshops will be able to make do with new novice extractors just fine, since they’ll have a buffer of the already-collected materials. (or you could temporarily assign the mason/potter to go dig materials themselves if you’re short on hands)

More Info On Builders

Apart from the control group trick, you’ll probably want to avoid marrying builders at all costs, same as most carriers & merchants and any permanent scouts and troops. That’s because you’ll likely end up having the same squad of ~15 dudes building stuff all over the map, hopping from town to town.

You’ll want them all militarily trained in “danger maps” where you can be attacked, to be used as “emergency base defense forces”, possibly manning defense towers when you expect them to be idle for a longer time. This is also a good way to get the towers supplied with just enough bows, you equip them at the armourer’s, and then you assign them to towers, and then you turn them back into builders once garrisoned, this will ensure you will always have 3-4 bows at the tower ready to be used.(also note that in particularly violent choke-points/spots, you can have 6/8 bowmen per tower1/tower2 by having half of them equipped with shortbows.)

*Side note, builders don’t “lose” or discard their tools when turned to soldiers, they’re temporarily hidden from the interface, and will re-appear when switched back to builders. Due to the rate they chew through tools however, I could only recommend them being equipped with wood at best, if not outright tool-less, as the majority of building time isn’t caused by them hammering too slowly, it’s having to retrieve the materials.

Have their inventories CRAMMED with meads. (After you get a new batch of civilians, you’ll always want to give them at least shoes – using the extras menu and 1 mead – by selecting them and “change equipment”) I can’t stress enough however how important 4 meads equipped are for builders, as they completely SHRED through their energy stores, every time they hammer something they lose 1 energy per strike and it takes a lot of hammering to build, and yet you don’t want to marry and house them because they’re migrant workers. It’s so important that on certain maps where I start with nourishing/stamina potions, I assign them to my builders instead of troops…

Builders have a tendency to always return and frequent the last spot they’ve had a job at, I suspect the game still sees them as “assigned” a “work” location there, works similarly to outdoors markers/blue flags. To prevent this, flick their profession from builder to scout (and builder again if you must). This should “wipe their memories” and allow you to keep them where you expect you’ll need new buildings set up soon, in a forward base or new settlement.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2992 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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