Dawn of Man is a type of game that I typically play intensively for a short period and then let rest for å very long time. Writing down some key point is mainly for my own benefit but it might also be useful for others.
This is probably where most run in to problems in their settlement. Balancing tasks to the number of people available is generally most difficult in spring and autumn after entering the agriculture era. Gradually going for larger fields, making sure that walking distance is as short as possible, producing the best tools (sickles) and introducing sledges and carts are important factors. Equally important is to avoid starting new construction projects in the busy seasons.
One rule of thumb might be that if your people manage to finalize planting before mid spring you have a good balance.
Weapons & Tools
The stats for different tools and weapons do often not change all that much when new technology and materials are available. To a large extent you can choose what type you manufacture based on which resources that is available. I have not seen anything mentioned about durability of the different materials so if we assume that they last the same amount of time before needing replacement you are free to choose. You would naturally expect a steel sickle to last a very long time compared to a flint version so even if there is no differentiation of durability today it will probably come later.
The only reason for producing i.e. copper spears is to get knowledge points.
When resources are scarce you might need to compromise and keep the old model and/or limit the numbers even if the stats are slightly lower. Spears are a good example. Early on this is the primary hunting tool and fighting weapon. Making sure that everyone can have their own is a good idea but in later eras the need for spears decline. Axes are good both as tool and close combat weapon so upgrading this rather than spears are a good idea. Bows and later composite bows are excellent ranged weapons. If metals are very scarce the production of swords should be considered a luxury.
As many tools and weapons include the use of non renewable resources it is important not to overproduce. This is also important when considering the use of manpower and production capacity.
New weapons are nice but to always upgrade sickles should have the highest priority. More efficient equipment will ease workload problems.
*As these are built from renewable materials, and are highly effective, it is OK to go for 100% even if you do not need that. (selling price is good) Slings are useful for hunt early on but generally bows get available so early that slings are a bit surplus to requirement unless you are turtling the early ages.
**For me their mainly flavor in the game. For maps with limited resources axes will do fine for close combat.
Moving Through the Ages
You can push through the ages quite fast, but unless there is an achievement in the end for that there is not much point to it. There are several risks as i.e. that the raiders have the newest weapons and are much more aggressive later on while you might be far behind with limited population and poor armament. Why not upgrade your tools / weapons and build proper defenses first. Actually you do not need the defenses so desperately if you have good weapons but it gives the game flavor and it will decide from where the raiders attack.
Rather than jumping to the next age as soon as you might find it interesting to save up points to activate several new technologies when entering a new age. If I do use a “wait strategy” I would normally does it like this:
- Paleolithic & Mesolithic – Opens new technologies as soon as I can
- Neolithic – Wait with entering this age until I can open thatching simultaneously.
- Copper age – Wait with entering this age until I can open netting simultaneously.
- Bronze age – Wait with entering this age until I can open masonry and brewing simultaneously.
- Iron age – Well in to the Bronze Age I often stop and start a new game but for entering iron age I would generally wait until I can open hydropower and baking simultaneously.
Hunter Gatherer Phase
Big and slow game is best as soon as you have enough people and reasonably good weapons. But do not go hunting mammoth with fishing spears and biface.
Fruit and berries go bad very fast. Do not waste time on gathering this far away from camp. Nuts last a bit longer.
Fish is a very limited resource, but it is renewable.
Sending out hunting parties in the autumn before everyone has changed to winter clothes is a sure way to kill your people.
Agriculture and Forestry
It is not a good strategy to clear cut everything close to your settlement. You do need Tannin throughout the game and as this is gathered in spring when the workload is at its peak long treks to get tannin are a waste of valuable manpower. You will also need sticks and logs throughout the game so leaving some close by is useful for periods when it is in very short supply. Well in to the agriculture era and population has reached about 50 you will most likely have a huge surplus of food so a super efficient field system is not really necessary. Combining trees of high value with fields and orchards is generally a good idea. If it’s a dense forest you may need to thin out a little to get a reasonable agriculture output.
When you are to combine agriculture with forestry in the same area it is useful to know what is most valuable to keep.
*To get a harvest of fruit/nuts is generally better to plant your own fruit trees.
** Oak and Fir can be harvested for tannin which makes them valuable. In the “north” there is no oak.
Field size can be anything from one square to 5×5. Space is at a premium in most locations so as your population grows you should use max field size (5×5) for important crop wherever possible. You “waste” one row between each field.
You can generally divide the area around your settlement in two zones.
Zone 1 is everything just outside the walls of your settlement should be used for grain crops, flax and perhaps nut orchards that are planted in spring and/or harvested in autumn should be kept here
Zone2 a bit further from the settlement are best used for secondary crops like peas and fruit orchards that is planted in winter and/or harvested during summer when workload is lighter.
Plant diseases are the main reason for growing several types of grain and “pulses”.
Having storage for the food and straw close to the fields is very important to ease the burden on the working population.
Flax is an important crop for the production of summer clothes, fishing equipment and composite bows. But even in large settlements (>150) you probably will not need more than a 5×5 field
The most efficient method to get wood is to clear cut areas, move on and eventually start on the first area again when everything has grown back. The greater the distance the more working areas you need to have opened simultaneously.
If resources and space for building stables are at a premium I would normally wait until sheep can be domesticated and start with that. Wool production for warm clothing replacing raw skins is very useful. Next will typically be goats. Late in the game you can add on with pigs and cows.
How many you need is a question of how many you have to feed and clothe. Generally I start with a limit of 30 for each. You will probably never need more than 30 sheep. Wool is a great renewable export item but traders generally sell very little of interest so overproduction is a real problem. Goat population can be increased when you notice that you need more food for the population.
Pigs and cows are really not needed but as a flavor to the game you could go for pigs and cows instead of increasing the number of goats when you need more food.
Do not worry if you early in the game are close to the limit of straw and sometimes run dry for a short period. Animals are happy to eat grain and very often you will have a huge surplus of that.
When you have stable animal numbers you generally do not have to go out domesticating more. But it might be a good idea anyway when you do not have to walk very far to get them. It will rejuvenate the stock as the old ones get culled first.
Sledges should be built as soon as possible. They will give a huge boost to efficiency compared to what a person can transport when carrying everything. I often get up to approx 10-15 before carts start to take over.
Choosing donkeys or horses as primary beasts of burden do not matter much even if horses are supposed to be slightly faster. To get a reasonable number breading you should aim at least for 30 of the species you rely on. Animals pulling carts does not need stable space so it’s a good idea to grow the number more or less in tune with your production of carts. People does not use carts for every operation so it is difficult to say how many you will need. Probably you will find that 20 are enough, but as mentioned it is not only the transportation need that should be considered. To save the space in stables you should have every adult animal in front of a cart. If you aim at 30 animal limit you could at least have 25 carts so that no adult need room in the stable.
From time to time disease will kill off some of your animals but if you generally have 20 or more of each you probably never have to go looking for more to domesticate.
In general traders rarely bring many items you really need or want so there is not much point in overproducing products for sale. Discontinued tools, weapons and clothes should be the first you get rid of, then anything you have a surplus of. You can of course buy new technology when this is offered. This is expensive but may be worthwhile if you can spare the goods.
Late game there is a small shift as traders generally are quite good at offering iron ore. This way you can manage quite well even if you do not have a lot of possible mines close by.
Raiders and Warfare
At present this is more or less a joke but I do not really miss more fighting.
What’s annoying is that you cannot move your armed force to places where they can meet the attackers in a prepared “defensive line”. If you try moving them they will all run back to the closest gate, which often may be far away from where the attackers are. The nearest gate functionality also forces you to build many more gates than you would like. The only way to get this to work satisfactory is to completely enclose the settlement and have a lot of gates.
The next odd thing is that when your defenders are to attack the bulk of the army moves at a snail’s pace. Why on earth they move so slowly is a mystery. The raiders can run rings around them.
Walls and towers are obviously made of cardboard. One raider armed with a pocket knife will get through in matter of seconds.
Raiders will normally pathfind to attack the weakest point. Leaving a weak spot (close to a gate) where you want them to attack is recommended the way it works today. Including a tower close by is also wise as this is too much of a temptation for the raiders. Raiders only need to throw a rock at it and it will collapse but losing the tower does not matter as long as they attack where you want them to.
Game Play – Some Hints
Gaining knowledge points early is important. Points are given for each new type of animal hunted .Targeting the young individually is preferable to setting up a hunting area for this purpose. They are easier to kill for one hunter with your rather inefficient wooden spears. Each new building/construction also gives points.
Upgrade to new better tools as soon as possible – sell everything old to avoid wasting storage space
Remember to set production and resource limits. It is a waste of resources and manpower to manufacture huge numbers of items you really just need a few of. Fishing equipment and picks are good examples. Set an absolute number instead of a percentage. It will be a very long time in to the game before you need more than 4-5 harpoons, roods or traps.
In most maps you can easily build a walled settlement that can accommodate 100 villagers. Want to see how big you can make a settlement – use Forest River or a mod map.