Subsistence – Beginners Guide

This guide uses crass language and concepts to needlessly drive home self explanatory points. This guide is intended to provide an optimal path for progression. This guide may contain spoilers and mechanic manipulation. This guide will alter your game play experience.

Subsistence Made Easy

Note: Credit goes to [B&E] Killer Pineapple

Early Game

Make a bow. Chase chickens. Pick berries. Build a 1 x 3 box base with a stairwell to the second level. Don’t rush to build your Base Control Unit (BCU) on the first day. Stockpile feathers, nails and wood in order to build your arrow stockpile. Early game your arrow stockpile equals your meat stockpile.

The first winter will be tough. Stockpile 2-3 stacks of wood for your wood stove. You will spend a lot of time huddled by your wood stove just wishing you could be out (god forbid) cutting wood. You will die early game. Your stats will return around 75% and some use this as a tactic to refill the veg meter.


  • Build a wood stove.
  • Build four vege patches.
  • Build a workbench.

Build an Animal Housing – Luxury, not essential. Fertiliser can be obtained via faeces and ash but is not essential to grow crops. In fact animals use crops as upkeep and thus offset time saved over the crops grow cycle. The feathers, fat and quality meat is a nice boon. I don’t bother with rabbits. I did switch to rabbits late game however once I stopped using bandages every time I cut my finger my cloth requirements dropped dramatically.

Build a stove – Luxury, not essential. Tomato soup (pot) adds a whopping 42 to the food value in the Animal Housing which is handy however 2 x tomatoes is not so far off. Judge for yourself whether the power and resources are worth it.


  • Aquire small game at every opportunity. Feathers and cloth are valuable!
  • Pick medicinal herbs and stockpile early game. They are used in cooking and med packs.
  • Save burned meat for the Recycler and spoiled food for fish traps.
  • Save protein bars and bottles of water for the cave. Add blueberries to bottled water.
  • Make a couple of Antidotes.

Early to Mid Game Transition

Gun Powder, Shell Casings and Armed Combat

Only ever build 7.62mm rounds for the glorious Lever Action Rifle (LAR).

That said don’t engage in armed combat early game. Hide behind your base walls when attacked and avoid outdoor engagements. You will find if you do engage you will run out of ammo often and quickly. Mid to late game you will acquire stocks of ammo, your aim and technique will improve and you will be in a position to make combat sustainable and even profitable.

The M9 and the Revolver are fantastic for mid to late game base defence when you have acquired hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Upgrade the magazine, damage and reload to the first level and enjoy raining hot lead down on your foes.

Shotgun vs Double Barrel

Once you have softened up a ranged enemy with your LAR or your bow nothing will withstand the devastating power of the Double Barrel Shotgun. The double tap ability of this weapon will turn even a charging moose into red mist. I tried using the pump early game. There is a small delay between shots for the pump action. Its OK. Just OK.

Rifle vs Lever Action Rifle

I tried to love the Rifle early game. I could not hit anything with it. This is probably because I am terrible at the game. Anywho I’m not going to lie. It gets lonely on the long cold nights in Subsistence. I have had sex with the Lever Action Rifle. Often and with vigour. And you will too! This weapon is absolutely sexy. Standing on the second level of your base and one-shotting the three assailants before the “Base Under Attack” image has faded will leave you rock hard. Once you start upgrading this rifle it’s basically a cheat. Never spend a single round of ammunition on the regular Rifle early game. In fact don’t even build it. Use the blueprint for kindling.

Big Game

OK so there are two methods to take down that coveted cougar or moose you’ve been stalking.

One – Build a Wood Foundation. Make sure it’s low enough that you can jump on it but not so low that it provides no clipping (impediment) to the prey (predator..). Attack from off the platform. The prey will charge you. Jump on the platform and unload one more round. The prey will attack the platform once then flee. Chase the prey and rinse and repeat. Deconstruct your basesupport once finished. (Disclaimer one – The foundation will only survive 2-3 attacks. Disclaimer two – I’m not sure the platform technique works with moose. They may mount your platform, then you, and not in the good way. I have not repeat tested as I moved on to the DBS double tap method.)

Two – Using your bow you can hit any animal from a significant range. At long range you may need to aim your bow as much as an inch and a half (4cm) or so above the target. When you hit the target run! You will hear the prey’s panting increase briefly as it catches up and then the panting will drop off surprising quickly as it gives up the chase (this mechanic is distance dependant. The chase will be more determined if attacked from close range.) Rinse and repeat. Later in the game this method can be used once or twice on moose / cougar then switch to the double barrel to make short work of them.


  • AIMING – I cut a tiny little circle from the sticky portion of a postit note and stuck it to the centre of my screen. I never need to aim now. I just use that tiny little dot to aim. Absolute game changer.
  • BLEEDING? – Bleeding is a Damage Over Time (DOT) debuff. It does not require a bandage. It will disappear in time. Use a bandage if you are in a heated battle if you wish.
  • REFRGERATOR – Don’t bother. I find power is infinitely more valuable than fresh meat, especially early game. By late game you will probably have killed the pesky wolf and bear on your doorstep before breakfast and then come home to a juicy level 10 hen in the evening. The copious amounts of extra meat can be burned and stored for recycling.
  • BASE DEFENCE – I like using empty doorways as defensive positions. They are handy for strafing side to side and avoiding fire. I build a 3 x 3 on the second level as the main portion of my base with an empty doorway in each direction.
  • FEATHERS – Found in eagle nests on large rocky outcrops at the foot of the mountains. The eagle nests are not found at the very top of mountains.
  • MED PACKS – FISH TRAPS – Build 6 – 10 fish traps to farm small fish for fish oil. Dump 10 – 15 spoiled food in the trap and it will be self sufficient for a long time. Outside of the semi frequent repairs…
  • CAVE (There is an awesome little Rough Map):
  • One tank of air should get you in and out plus a few pearls. Take two or three if you want to go sight seeing. Take 3-4 picks or (preferably) the materials to make them.
  • If you intend to traverse the entire cave from one end to the other budget about 8 bottles of water, preferably the stackable kind. The central lava chamber will take around 6 bottles give or take sight seeing. If you take one canteen with you, you can fill it in the pools at either end of the cave and use pirate fires to purify it.
  • Take protein bars for food. Bats can be butchered to supplement protein and gain cloth. Hands can be washed in streams.
  • Oh my god take chutney i’m so clever, but seriously one pot of soup plus mushrooms found within gets me through the cave and home.
  • Take a full stack of bandaids, med packs and ammunition for LAR and DBS. Take wood to supplement pirate fires and make splints. Don’t take your bow. There are no rabbits down there.

Devious Deeds

Cheating is an abhorrent practice where one deletes the most recent save file and edits the number of the second most recent save file to the deleted one. It is utilised only by those who are base of character and bereft of skill.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3207 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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