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Jon Shafer’s At the Gates: Tips and Tricks for Beginners

At the Gates is an indie strategy game from Jon Shafer, designer of Civilization 5. You are a dark age lord building a kingdom to replace the crumbling Roman Empire. Manage your clans, explore the landscape around you, harvest its resources, and build a mighty economic and military machine.

Tips and Tricks for Beginners

A few tips & tricks to get you to mid-game without dying of hunger.

I plan on building a bigger guide but, here’s my compilation of tips and tricks for now.

Do’s and Don’t.

IMPORTANT: Don’t upgrade your clans until you’ve built your first stone structure and secured your food production

IMPORTANT: Adapt! Sometimes you won’t be able to play exactly as you did last time, you might not be able to focus on livestock and might need to live of farming instead.

Livestock, Rancher + Meat Cutter is the best and easiest way to get food if you are lucky to have cattle/sheep/pigs/horse nearby, go for it.

With the initial 12 clans you need at least, 1x Explorer, 1x Rancher, 1x Meat Cutter, 1x Wood collector, 1x Hunter, 2x Reaper/Gatherer, 1x Digger.

With the rest of the clans and depending on your map and the clans that spawn, you will want to maybe add more wood collectors, more hunters or more diggers.

I recommend Rancher & Meat Cutter above but at the start of the game they will have nothing to do so train them as fisherman if you can spot fish nearby, while you wait for your wood to build up. If there’s no fish, then there’s no need to rush in training them.

Most important job is Explorer (imo) then one of Hunters/Gatherer/Reaper/Fisherman (depending on what’s next to you), one logger then one digger. If you have to switch them around, due to a clan being better at X than Y, you should be fine but those 4 jobs are important to have before training other things.

You can create wooden structures and use them until it warns you. Once it does, destroy them and don’t use anything else there until you can build a stone structure (unless you don’t care about that resource, for example, if you have 2 iron/stone/coal close by, you only really need 1 mine, even in late game!).

Try and use gatherers instead of reapers, initially, especially for berries as you can’t build farms on those. Save the best resources for farms. If you need to reap a normal wheat field that’s acceptable but don’t do that to a large wheat field.

Using the initial digger, you need to find either coal or stone ASAP, and build a wood mine, unless you are lucky enough to find two of them then it might be better to just dig the resource. Depending on what you found next to you, you will train a brickmaker or a blockcutter. You need stone blocks before you need iron as that.

First two wood structures will either be a ranch of a stone or coal mine

Don’t worry about turning your ranch animals until you have ~2-4 left. If you rushed stone then you should have 40 stone at this point to replace the wood ranch so that you don’t drain your animals any longer. As the game progress you will be able to grow the animals back. You can tell your Meat Cutter to stop working so that you don’t kill your last animal.

Make sure you use “Disable Substitution for Food” at least on the animals. 20 meat > 4 food!

If you are next to a wood area and you can fit a logging camp with access to 5/7, might be worth training a logger but I generally tend to rush to stone so I end up not needing that much wood

Caravan: Buy low, sell normal or high. Try to upgrade the caravan as much as your economy allows.

As you start to produce more and more things, try to not send that caravan away with all your gold, it will never come back and makes buying and selling harder

Focus on producing a few items only (normally the most expensive ones and depending what you have next to you) and buy the rest you need.

Hope you find this useful.

Written by Einstein

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