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A New Playthrough Feedback (It's long)

So to start I have been following this game since near it’s inception and backed it way back in 2018 or so.

I have been playing it on and off since it became available on steam but always found the lack of progression and goals to be limiting and stagnating. With the previous updates of learning, migration, and agriculture the game has really improved as a game. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself saying “oh just another (in-game) day or two before I go to bed” and then staying up well past when I should have been playing the game. During my last run through of the game I played for 20 in game years and had lots of ups and downs along the way. I was actually ecstatic when I was finally able to produce bread! I yelled BREAD!!! at my computer screen more than once, to the total confusion of my wife in the next room. I had an excellent time with the game for the first 12 years or so, migrated about 5 times and then decided to settle down on the coast where I could plant my crops and build a proper town. From there I stagnated at about 70 people. 83 population was the highest I could reach without societal collapse due to starvation/departures. I doubled my play time of the game in this run-through and believe I have a good sense of the game to provide some feedback. So without further ado, some feedback and suggestions.

I’ll start with some of what I think would be Quality of Life Improvements

1). A way to know in your population exactly how many people are available to work with your current worker policy. Such as an indicator that says “25 available workers, 18 too young/old to work.”

2). A way to “scout” an area before you settle down. Just to get a general idea of what resources are in the area and a vague idea of how much. (EX: Berries: Scarce, Hazelnuts: Plentiful, Fish: Average) I was specifically having trouble finding beets since I wanted to be able to plant all 3 types of crops. I had to make a save right before I migrated, settle and then reload if there weren’t any beets. This was a bit frustrating and annoying.

3). A way to create mixed storage zones. A pain in the butt of migrating is having to individually create a storage for every single resource once you settle. Having the ability to store more than one thing at a storage zone would fix this and allow a greater deal of control without all the micro management.

4). It would be nice if when a storage building needs repairs that the resources could just stay inside. I lost all of my beet seeds one year because the pit I had set aside for seeds was emptied for repairs and they were all eaten. Also it already seems to take a lot of a person’s day to repair a building as it is, a person who is not producing food or resources for the tribe. By not needing them to dump the contents of the storage before repairs it helps keep that person working on the more important jobs. I understand that this mechanic exists for realism purposes. But, sometimes realism isn’t the best option for a game.

5). A rework of the priority system. The priority system is nice but it can get really messy when you start working with many groups and many different buildings all with different priorities. I would love to be able to have a city of a few hundred people one day. But that would also mean hundreds of buildings and probably dozens of work groups. I often find myself asking why are you gathering rocks when we’re all out of straw, or why is no one hunting? I then have to go through and reset all my priorities to try and find out where the problem is. I also had trouble with the fact that no matter how high I set the hunting groups priority it was difficult to get anyone to hunt unless I had extra people not in work groups. Between priorities on work groups, buildings, and the new communal tasks slider (which I never figured out which direction increases communal task priority) I spend way too much of my time trying to prioritize things just to have them still not work out the way I want them to.

My other suggestions would qualify mainly as AI behavior.

1). Fishermen should spread out more when they fish. They always fish at the closest locations when they fish. This means they’ll fish in 5 fishing spots with only one fish each before they head to a different, slightly further away spot that’s full of fish. This ends up with them spending most of their day walking back and forth between depleted fishing spots instead of going to a plentiful one slightly further away.

2). Don’t have tribe members start a hunting trip all the way across the map right before dark. And don’t have people switch jobs while they are going out to hunt. I can’t even count the number of times a hunter has decided to set out to hunt a horse on the other side of the map when he clearly will never make it in time before bed. Or have a hunter set out and then halfway to their quarry he/she decides that they want to be a gatherer instead. These issues cause hunting to be extremely inefficient as a worker will spend up to half a day walking and returning with absolutely nothing to show for it.

3). Pulses never seem to get eaten until it’s the very last thing left to eat. Many times I’ve had pulses rot away in pits because no one will eat them before they rot. People’s food choices need to be more spread out so they eat things before they rot.

4). Getting and eating food needs to be either more streamlined or a spread out process. I’ve seen tribe members wait in line for half a day long to eat some berries instead of just going over and eating pulses instead. I’ve also seen people wait for another person to get done eating so that they can sit on the exact same rock that another person does. This behavior can also lead into a death spiral for the tribe, because when people wait around for food or a place to sit all day, they don’t work. When they don’t work there isn’t enough food and when there isn’t enough food they wait in line for food that they’ll never even get. So instead of going out and getting food as a gatherer or fisher they just wait in line and starve.

5). People eat my grain when they can make bread and get more food instead. In the harsh times when food is low instead of making flour and then bread to make the grain last longer and go further, people just eat the grain and go through it much faster. It would be nice to have a setting where we don’t allow grain for eating but do allow it for flour production.

Lastly, I have some feedback regarding the new agriculture process. With the new agriculture update I’ve had a blast however I’ve noticed one key problem. Agriculture is just too inefficient! I’ve done a lot of testing and math. For each one square tile of beats you get about 0.45 beats, for pulses it’s 0.67, and wheat is about 0.38. Wheat is actually the best of the crops though because for every 2 wheat you get to make 1 flour and therefore 10 bread. So one wheat tile produces about 1.9 units of bread. Assuming that 1 unit of grain is equal in caloric value to 1 unit of beets or pulses even with the added efforts of threshing, milling, and baking there is no benefit to producing beats or pulses over grain. And even that grain production is quite a lot of work for only 2 units of bread.

To cultivate 0.45 beats a tile must be tiled twice, planted, and then harvested. So one person must act 4 times to get not even half a ration of food. If that same person had been sent to collect berries they would get one food for one action of harvesting. For grain, even though it’s more efficient, one tile of wheat can produce almost 2 units of bread but to get that bread it must also go through the same process as the beats but then it must also be threshed, milled, and baked. A total of 7 actions to produce 2 food. Agriculture is fun but just too inefficient to sustain a large population. I’ve also noticed that during planting and harvesting season it takes so much manpower to plant or harvest that no one can do much else and other resource production falls off a cliff. It may be possible to get more efficient farming by microing work groups and priorities but trying any harder than I already am would make the game extremely tedious.

Once again I must say I’m loving the game and just want to improve it with my feedback. I hope this is helpful and if anyone has any questions feel free to ask. I know this post is really long but it could have been even longer if I explained the process I used to get my numbers. But if anyone wants to know I can tell them.

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Thanks for the comments, in general all these aspects are already taken into account and we will improve them in the future. In relation to the efficiency of agriculture obviously agriculture is necessary when the tribes are large, otherwise the optimum is to take from nature if there is enough resources.