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A few tips and tricks to get many points and your island big and pretty!
Land Above Sea Below Challenge Mode Tips and Tricks
This guide is not a walkthrough, but just a simple collection of tips and tricks I found out with friends while playing this game.
Given the game’s RNG, there’s no set path on how to build your island correctly or a real surefire way to rack up very large amounts of points and big islands. It might not seem obvious at first but all the elements of the game work very well with each other!
A recap on Synergies
Land Above Sea Below is all about synergies. You have a very limited amount of moves every season so getting the most out of every move is paramount. The number of matching adjacent tiles next to the one you place matter a lot. Here’s a small breakdown (I don’t know the entire math behind the 3+ synergies, but the more matching tiles affected the more points you get):
- 5 points
- 10 points
- raises the height of the connected tiles of the same kind and provides some points based on their amount
- raises the height of the connected tiles of the same kind and provides some points based on their amount and gives you 1 bonus day
- raises the height of the connected tiles of the same kind and provides more points based on their amount and gives you 2 bonus days
- raises the height of the connected tiles of the same kind and provides even more points based on their amount and gives you 2 bonus days
Therefore, keep in mind that 4+ synergies will extend the duration of your season and you should always aim for 4 or more matching tiles!
These are organized based in my experience of “how soon you’ll deal with them”:
- You can only place regular land around the Tree of Fall tiles. This means no rivers, lakes, walls, special buildings or anything! Keep this in mind so you don’t accidentally point your river towards the tree and make the space next to the tree permanently unusable!
- Keep an eye out on the score milestones on the right side of the screen! Even though you might not have complete prediction of how many points you’ll be getting in your next move, its important to know how close you are to getting a new milestone to get a card that will help you sooner rather than later, or even an extra clutch day!
- The last tile you place on the season will never sink. Keep this in mind along with the synergies and score milestones. Placing a 5 synergy on the last day will give you two extra days and you might not have the right tiles to keep everything from sinking, therefore if you’re trying to get the “Higher and Higher” achievements this will be a very important factor to not screw up!
- Special buildings aren’t just for decoration! They work just like walls and rivers as in they don’t let the neighboring tiles sink. If you get one, consider your options for expansion and place it so it can hold everything up for big combos!
- Mini Objectives comes in 2 types: Height and Colors. Height objectives are just tiles that need to be raised to a certain height above sea level, try to place them wherever you’re raising the land more aggressively. Color objectives are trickier, but you can always work around them. Overall, try not to let these distract you too much from making big tile synergies, which will always be your main source of points and days.
- Rivers and walls will either make or break your plans. Always keep in mind that the longer they are, the more points you get, and tiles don’t sink around them. But also, they divide the land masses. The easiest way to deal with them is to try and make them follow a straight line around your island and building around them as you need, instead of trying to make them fit the inside of your island layout
- Card colors matter. Getting a Brown Sprout Card will give you specifically a Brown Tree of Fall, regardless of the color of the tile you’re currently holding. If you don’t have any brown tiles to sustain it, you should not use that card until you can make good use of it.
- Similarly, the Purple Special card will give you ANY kind of special building (but only of the colors you’ve unlocked so far). Its good that the special tile will never sink, but keep this in mind to know when to play and mitigate your risks.
- As the seasons pass, new islands will show up around. There will be two kinds: the dark ones are reefs, and they just exist to block your progression. Meanwhile the white ones can be connected and you can build towards them to nab some extra land tiles, along with a special building or a Tree of Fall!
- Double tiles (half green half orange, or any kind of mix) are EXTREMELY powerful. If placed correctly between corresponding land masses it will greatly amplify your land height and score because whenever you place a 3+ synergistic tile on either connected land color, it will contribute to the other one! Keep this in mind and leave a gap between different colored land masses in order to get this bonus. Its an extremely rare tile spawn as well, so keep an eye out for it!
Event Cards and when to use them
There’s currently 7 different Event Cards in the game. Here’s how they work and tips on when to use them:
What it does: Gives you one extra day before the end of the season
When to use: As tempting as it is to use this card as soon as it shows up in your hand, you might want to save it for when you really need it.
- Say you’re on your last move and the last tile you can place won’t save your other tiles from sinking. It might be worth a shot to use this card and if anything good comes up you can still salvage the situation!
- On the other hand, you might be seeing an opportunity to do a 5+ Synergy placement but you’re missing a single tile to complete it all or make it safe to go all in. New Dawn can and should be used to help you with that last tile that ties everything together, or a new tool to help you figure out a different way to go about your current season!
What it does: Decrease the sea level by one unit.
When to use: Keep it in your hand for high risk and reward plays: you can set up great 5 tile synergies without worrying about them sinking on the next season, just lower the sea level and reap the rewards! Just keep in mind that the next season might not come with the exact right tiles for the perfect play, so manage your risk accordingly.
What it does: Skips the current tile in hand, it also gives you an extra day at the end to compensate, so don’t worry about losing moves when using this!
When to use: Whenever you just don’t have a good way to place your current tile without messing up all your planning, use this card. For example, you just got a 4 way river tile and placing it at the end of your current river will mess up your entire game. Just throw away this tile, especially if the next tile is something safer like regular land that you know where and how to use best!
What it does: Replace your current tile with a specific Tree of Fall (specific means it will match the card’s color!)
When to use: The Tree of Fall is a special tile that gives you lots of points but is very hard to place: The Tree of Fall can only be placed next to regular land tiles, never next to rivers, walls or special buildings! Fortunately, since the card is color coded, you can just keep it in your hand for when you have the ideal situation which is place it in a 5+ synergy move!
What it does: Replace your current tile with a random special tile (random tile, random color)
When to use: Treat this as an alternative and slightly less reliable Skip card. It will give you a special tile, which never sinks and holds up the tiles around it above the sea level, but it will be of a random color you already have in play. If your current tile is very bad for your planned synergies and you don’t have any skips, use this card. It might be the perfect fit for an even better play, or open up a very nice path elsewhere on your island!
What it does: Raise all Tree of Fall tiles by one unit
When to use: I never actually ran into a situation in which this card did anything useful. It might be a good thing to use if you have a second Tree of Fall that is under risk of sinking, this card can help it stay afloat for another season, but that’s it. The card only affects Tree of Fall tiles, nothing else!
What it does: Undo the previously placed tile
When to use: This card is weird, all things considered. By all means its just a regular undo move and does exactly as it says on the card, but it doesn’t take away the score or the days you’ve earned on your last move. This means you can place a tile on a 5-tile synergy, gain 2 days, undo the move, place it again and gain another 2 days. I’m aware this sounds like a cheat and exploit, but I checked the discord and the devs seem to be aware of this and are monitoring the impact on the game before tweaking it. I’ll leave this here anyway as a tip.
Easy start: The Line
This is a small guide on how to do an easy start on a funny island shape that greatly extends the first season, giving you a few cards so you have a few extra resources for the upcoming ones.
You might notice you get a few extra days out of nowhere, that’s because some of the tiles will come with a Height Mini Objective, which awards you more days and points. Given how you’re aggressively raising the land every 3 moves, you’re bound to place and complete 2-3 of these just like that.
Finishing the first season with 1-2 Drought or Skip cards helps a lot on the next seasons!