RimWorld is a good example of snazzy graphics not being needed to modernize games like Dwarf Fortress.

User Rating: 7 | RimWorld PC


More often than not, it is difficult to pair great graphics with complex gameplay within a game, especially if the developer does not have tremendous resources to carry this out. Although great graphics is not really a necessity, there are levels of palatability that players would demand. Otherwise, the playing experience would be difficult to stomach.

To cite an example that also happens to be a personal experience, I have tried to play Dwarf Fortress. Dwarf Fortress is a game that is much praised for its complexity, and it is also notable for using ASCII characters for its visual presentation. I have tried to play it, and was cross-eyed within ten minutes. Associating text characters with in-game things was very foreign to me.

Hence, it is fortunate that there are games like RimWorld, which attempt to package the complex gameplay of settlement building and survival with serviceably simple but high-contrast visuals.

On the other hand, its long development time has allowed other indie-developed titles to eclipse it.

Oh, the worst is not behind you yet.
Oh, the worst is not behind you yet.


The developers intended the game to have a more free-form story, but there are still some elements of the setting that have to be established so as to affirm the gameplay.

Firstly, the game takes place in a sci-fi universe where humanity appears to have taken to the stars – with varying results in its further development. Some societies regressed to Neolithic, some to imperious dictatorship and some humans are still in the colonization ships. The regression is particularly notable in the fringes of known space, on planets colloquially called the “rimworlds”.

The game takes place on one of these planets; the game generates one for each playthrough. The player takes on the role of a group of humans on this world. The circumstances as to how and why the humans happen to be on this world depend on the playstyle that the player took; incidentally, these playstyles also determine the short-term and long-term challenges of the playthrough. These will be described later.

Regardless of their origins, the humans still have one end-goal: getting off the planet to somewhere else. This can take a long, long time, because they start with almost no resources and knowledge base. However, even the least of them can still build a settlement and through that, amass the necessary resources to enact their escape.


As implied earlier already, this is a colony-building game. The colony can have as many people as current infrastructure and available resources allow. For players who want to micromanage things, it is possible to have the colony get by with around half a dozen people, though any loss would be severe. Having dozens of colonists is possible too, thanks to the mostly reliable scripting that has been designed for the colonists.

As for the aforementioned infrastructure and resources, the colonists need places to rest, food to satisfy their hunger, creature comforts and recreation to stay sane. Providing for each and everyone of them can be difficult early on, especially if the player chose fickle gameplay settings.

That said, it is possible for the colony to die – simply through having all colonists either die or desert it. This can happen through fickle events that go out of the player’s control, such as encroaching firestorms caused by lightning flashes during a dry season in a forest full of grass. Of course, it can also happen due to the player’s sheer incompetence.

There is a handholding tutorial, for players who are really new to colony-building games.
There is a handholding tutorial, for players who are really new to colony-building games.


For whatever reason, the developers of the game insist on calling their game a “story generator”, despite the complexity of its gameplay and the lack of any aesthetic designs or systems to aid the presentation of a story. The player will see this in the menus for playthrough creation, as well as some of the loading screens. The game can pose some odd production/design direction at times, but fortunately, these are not too spastic as to detract from the playing experience for jaded and cynical players.


Although the gameplay mainly takes place in a large patch of land, this patch of land occurs on the titular RimWorld, which as mentioned earlier is procedurally generated for every playthrough.

Although the landmass of each planet may be different from one playthrough to the next, there are still similarities that make each planet recognizable as being geographically similar to Earth. There are two poles and an equatorial line, for example. However, climes away from these regions can differ wildly. For example, a region near the equatorial can have cold climes anyway if it contains high mountains.

The planet contains more than just natural terrains. There may be ancient road networks, for example. More importantly, they also contain the enclaves of other factions on the planet. These will be described later.


Each patch of land occurs on one hex tile in the world map. Even though it is represented as a hexagon in the world map, it is actually square during actual gameplay. For ease of reference, this piece of land will be referred to as a “landmass”; there are no actual in-game terms.

Characters – be they human, animal or robotic – appear at the edges of the landmass, before sauntering into the rest of the landmass to do whatever that they want to do. Likewise, characters that want to leave the landmass would move towards one of the four edges before disappearing.

The terrain in this patch of land greatly depends on the location of the landmass in the world map. For example, landmasses that occur at mountains have a lot more rock formations, as well as mountainous terrain (more on this later). This also determines the presence of plants, which are needed as sources of wood and other plant-derived materials.

Generally, the player will want to have the colony begin at jungles or forests, because these have the resources that are necessary for quickly establishing colonies with.


The area of the landmass is measured in terms of “tiles”. These are squares, not unlike those used in Dwarf Fortress (and so many other management-oriented 2D games). Ranges will be measured in terms of tiles, and areas are often measured in bigger squares or rectangles that are composed of these tiles.


The game happens in real-time, but with time compression gimmicks to hurry things along. Each minute in real life under the default game speed is one hour in-game. Each in-game year is in turn composed of 60 in-game days, meaning that things can change significantly over several real hours of playtime.

There are day/night cycles too. These are important to observe, due to things like outdoors plant growth requiring light and darkness stymieing activities.

The day/night hours are dependent on the longitudinal and latitudinal location of the landmass. For example, a landmass closer to the poles may have unequal day and night hours.

It is unfortunate that the developers could not optimize their game for large maps, but there is really no need to play with large maps. Indeed, large maps are not conducive to smooth gameplay.
It is unfortunate that the developers could not optimize their game for large maps, but there is really no need to play with large maps. Indeed, large maps are not conducive to smooth gameplay.


The colonists are the main assets of the colony. If the colony runs out of colonists for whatever reason, the colony has met its demise.

Getting colonists is not easy. Indeed, opportunities to get them are rare. The player begins with a few, maybe just one if the player picked the most difficult starting scenario. The player will want to carefully manage their development, so that each can be as productive as they can be and not cause too many problems.

Speaking of them causing problems, every one of them comes with innate problems, setbacks or shortfalls. Even if the player manages to get a colonist that does not have any health or personality issues, chances are that this person has mediocre performance at any skill and lack of interest in any.

Those that do have talent and passion for certain skills may have counter-productive problems too. For example, a person that has great skill at shooting things may have a missing eye, which impairs his ability at shooting.

Of course, every colonist is a mortal. He/She needs food to survive, rest to recuperate and recreation to stay sane. There are things that can stress them out, such as darkness. Injuries debilitate them, and wounds to their vitals are likely to kill them outright. Finally, there is death, of which none of them is immune to.

It is up to the player to have them build a settlement that can keep them safe, fed, well-rested and productive, because they certainly are incapable of planning.

The colonists that can be had later have varying levels of interests, skills and personality traits. Generally, the variations become greater the further the playthrough has gone. There will be more on interests, skills and traits later.


The colonists’ needs are represented in the form of meters. In turn, each meter has a set of notches that indicate when problems might occur. Therefore, the player will want to keep the meters as full as possible. In fact, there are incentives to keep them full, especially the meter for “mood”; the colonists may get a sudden inspiration that improves their performance in one thing or another.

The gameplay element behind each of those meters will be described later, after the other major components of a colony have been described.

The aforementioned notches indicate when penalties activate; if the meter’s fullness falls below those notches, the penalties trigger. They accumulate as the meter empties further.

For example, as the Hunger meter empties, the colonist’s performance at just about anything falls, and the colonist eventually prioritizes feeding himself/herself over everything else. Furthermore, if the meter stays empty for too long, the temporary but severe de-buff that is malnourishment is applied.

Stone flats are great places to build colonies on, if only to maximize the amount of available land for farming.
Stone flats are great places to build colonies on, if only to maximize the amount of available land for farming.


All except one of the meters feed into the one that is the exception: Mood. This is practically the meter that tracks the sanity of a colonist. Obviously, the player will want this to be as full as possible.

After a colonist’s mood has fallen below the second notch, the colonist has a chance of breaking. When a colonist breaks, his/her behaviour becomes erratic, though it is usually an expression of his/her personality. For example, psychopathic colonists become murderously berserk after they break. Depending on the severity of their breakdown, they may or may not be able to come back from this.

Maintaining a colonist’s mood above the first notch gives a chance for the colonist to gain a day-long buff to one of his/her statistics. For example, a colonist may gain a boost to his/her movement speed, which is a significant benefit because every colonist will need to move here and there to do anything.


There are skills that colonists have access to. These skills are needed in order to develop the colony and harness the resources that are necessary for the well-being and improvement of its members.

However, a colonist’s performance at one skill can be very different from those at other skils. This variation is one of the means for the game to differentiate the colonists.

Colonists improve their skills by practising them first-hand; there are very, very few other means of teaching them in risk-free circumstances. Therefore, colonists who start as klutz in a skill would mess things up when they attempt actions that require those skills, but would eventually get better if the player can tolerate their terrible beginnings.

Most players though would want to have multiple colonists. The different colonists that are already good at certain skills are then directed to specialize in jobs that require those skills. Therefore, they can become better than they already are. Yet, this also means that having even one colonist knocked out would imperil the functions of the colony.

Hence, the player would need to have redundancy, i.e. colonists with overlapping roles, and then divvy tasks among them so that everyone gets a chance at learning.

If it is not obvious already, micromanagement is a major part of the gameplay.

In the first few days, the player should look for any dead prey that predators did not entirely consume. There is less meat from them, but the hard work has already been done.
In the first few days, the player should look for any dead prey that predators did not entirely consume. There is less meat from them, but the hard work has already been done.


There are few games nowadays that do not have progression systems, and those that do often use the ages-old experience meter/counter. This is the case for the matter of improving skills in RimWorld.

The player can see the progress that a colonist is making towards earning the next level of a skill through a tooltip that appears when examining that skill in the colonist’s biography. Until earning the next level, the colonist’s performance at that skill is not any better than when the colonist achieved the previous level, regardless of how many experience points have been banked in.

Gaining levels at a skill makes the colonist perform acts that are related to that skill at a faster pace and with better reliability, i.e. less chance of botching it. Furthermore, having greater skill means that the tangible output of their performance would have better quality. Conversely, if a colonist attempts to perform something that he/she has low skill in, he/she does it slowly and has a chance of botching the job.

Furthermore, levels determine the diversity of jobs that he/she can perform. Level 10 is the level that the player would want them to achieve, because the most challenging jobs require that level of skill before they can even be attempted. For example, taming the most dangerous beasts require level 10 in the Animals skill.


Having no particular interest in a skill has the colonist gaining only 35% of the usual experience points when or after performing a job that involves that skill. Having interests in skills provide optimal experience gains.

Every individual colonist has different interests. These interests are expressed as modifiers to their capability at gaining experience points in certain skills from performing jobs that are associated with those skills.

There are two grades of interest: “regular” passion, and “burning” passion. Having regular passion gives a 100% gain rate, whereas having burning passion grants a 150% gain rate, effectively giving the colonist bonus experience.

Furthermore, doing a job that involves skills that he/she is passionate in would give a mood boost to the colonist. Jobs involving skills that he/she has a burning passion in gives even greater boosts.


Although there are no “disinterest” traits, colonists can have traits that completely disable the use of certain skills. For example, the “psychopath” trait disables the job of caring, meaning that the colonist is incapable of anything medical and is also incapable of animal husbandry.

These exclusions are one of the main reasons for the player to have multiple colonists. They are also the reason for the player to closely examine the characteristics of potential recruits.


Atrophy from lack of use actually applies in this game. RimWorld is not a game where characters retain whatever they have learned or practised.

To be specific, colonists begin to lose experience points in a skill that they have developed beyond level 10. This will happen until their skill level has dropped below level 10. Having levels higher than 10 cause even greater drops over time. These losses occur automatically every day as long as the colonist is active; there is no way to stall them.

Thus, the player needs to have colonists perform jobs that use their greatest skills. This is easy for certain jobs like cooking, which is needed throughout the entire game. However, jobs that the player might not want to have performed too frequently, like dressing wounds and treating diseases, can pose conundrums.

(This article does have screenshots of how to work around this – though they involve macabre solutions that may seem unpleasant to those who cannot disregard any occurrence in this game as completely fictitious.)

Harvesting berry bushes is tedious micromanagement, so make use of queued tasks.
Harvesting berry bushes is tedious micromanagement, so make use of queued tasks.


Jobs are the tasks that the colonists perform for the everyday running and improvement of their colony. Generally, it is in the player’s interest to keep them busy while they are not pursuing recreation or resting.

Most jobs require the use of certain skills. When these are performed, the colonist’s level of skill determines the speed at which the job is performed; greater skill means faster performance. The skills also determine the outcome. For example, if a skilled colonist has been crafting a piece of gear, the quality of that gear will be determined by the skill of that colonist, albeit with an RNG roll against his/her skill rating when the job is finished.

Some jobs do not require the use of any skills. This includes any job that is categorized as “dumb labour” and “commoner work”. Examples are hauling things around, cleaning and flicking switches. These jobs do not grant any experience points, but these are among the most essential jobs, however.


Certain jobs require more than one skill. For example, hunting animals require the use of the Animals and Shooting skill, the latter being more important.

Of course, the player could just draft colonists and have them manually attack animals. (There will be more on drafting later.) However, doing this only uses their Shooting skills. A colonist that has been set on a hunting job uses the Animal skill to determine how well-placed the shot on the prey is, e.g. the Animals skill determine how much additional damage is inflicted.

In such cases, the colonists gain experience points for the multiple skills that are involved when they perform the jobs.


For better or worse, the exact mechanism for experience gains from performing jobs is not uniform.

For certain jobs, the experience points are awarded only after the jobs have been completed. This is the case for jobs like harvesting crops, which raises the “Plants” skill after each piece of crop has been cut.

For certain others, the experience points are awarded as the jobs are performed. Doing research is one such job. Usually, these jobs involve mid- to long-term outcomes. Again, research is an example, because any progress that is gained immediately goes to the meters that determine how close the colony is to unlocking a node in the tech tree (more on this later). Another example is carving a sculpture; the unfinished sculpture appears as an amorphous rock that can be stowed away to be finished later, if the player so wishes.

Early in the playthrough, these are manna from the heavens. Later in the game, they can crash through the colony’s roofs.
Early in the playthrough, these are manna from the heavens. Later in the game, they can crash through the colony’s roofs.


Speaking of which, the progress of a job is displayed as a small yellow bar underneath the sprite of whatever or whomever that is being worked on. The bar gets longer as the job gets closer to completion.

For most jobs, interruption would mean that all progress is lost. The raw materials or ingredients that are needed for that job are not lost, fortunately.

For some jobs, like the aforementioned creation of sculptures or research endeavours, progress is not entirely lost. However, in the case of the sculptures, they can only be continued by those who started them. If their would-be creators are lost for whatever reason, the sculptures are rendered useless.


When colonists have no jobs lined up, they revert to activities that replenish their meters. Firstly, they pursue recreation. After that meter is full and there are still no jobs that they can do, they go to sleep to refill their Rest meter. They cycle between these two endeavours, because both meters go down automatically as long as they do not pursue whichever activity that fills either meter.

The game has more than a few on-screen indicators to show which colonists are idling. Having them return to work is a bit finicky, because they only make a check for unfulfilled jobs only after whichever is completely filled.

To force them to make that check, the player needs to manually direct them to do the job. Alternatively, and this is more convenient, the player could draft them and then release them, which causes them to make that check. (There will be more on drafting later.)


As mentioned earlier, the player could manually command colonists to do certain jobs with the mouse’s control inputs. However, this act is considered as having them prioritize that job.

To elaborate, colonists who have been directed to prioritize a job will focus on that job until one of their need meters is severely depleted. For example, a colonist that has been directed to prioritize sculpting will work on his/her sculpture and disregard his/her schedule until a need meter has been nearly drained.

Therefore, this command is not to be taken lightly.


Every colonist has a schedule, which determines his/her priorities when the player is not micromanaging them. This has been included for the sake of players who do not like to micromanage.

By marking their schedules with categories of activities, e.g. working, resting and meditating, the player can ensure that certain needs can be met without too much minding from the player. For example, by default, the hours of the night are set as resting time, which has them prioritize sleeping to restore their Rest meter. This also prevents them from spending too much time in the darkness, which most colonists find unpleasant (more on this later).

This random event would not be the only psychic phenomena in a certain expansion for Rimworld.
This random event would not be the only psychic phenomena in a certain expansion for Rimworld.


When a colonist’s recreation meter has depleted significantly, they are burning out and are desperate for time away from jobs. De-buffs from burnout can be severe.

There are many ways for them to get recreation, though their personalities also determine which methods that they prefer. There are also certain circumstances that affect the effective of certain recreation methods. For example, socialization has little benefit for colonists that are sociopaths.

The cheapest ways are wandering about and lying down in the outdoors to look at the sky. They cannot do this during thunderstorms, however (more on weather later).

Then, there are the furniture and fixtures that can be built to provide entertainment. Hoop-stones, billiard tables and the likes are there for able-bodied colonists. Colonists who are in medical rest cannot peruse these of course. Speaking of whom, television sets can be unlocked to entertain these colonists, as long as the TVs are placed in the same room that they are in. They can refill their recreation meter as they rest in bed.

The different recreation methods all work equally well; they do not appear to have any difference in the efficiency between time spent and the refilling of the recreation meter. Besides, the player cannot exactly direct colonists to peruse whichever method; they must make these decisions on their own. Only when they make these decisions on their own, the recreation meter would refill.


The colonists do acknowledge each other’s presence. Unless a colonist has the trait of being a loner, any colonist appreciates that there are others around. However, they will not automatically hang out with each other, especially if they have jobs that separate them from each other.

Colonists that find themselves in the same place will eventually talk to each other. The likelihood of this happening increases as they spend more time close to each other doing whatever. Such acts while doing jobs count as socializing; socializing makes their recreation meter deplete slower, unless the colonists have sociopathic tendencies.

Having a dining room helps a lot in having colonists socialize with each other. Indeed, some colonists will choose to sit in the dining room, in which case they will automatically talk to each other or anyone that is passing by. Even if there is nobody else around, they will still refill their recreation meter anyway.

In most cases, colonists that have spent enough time knowing each other and had positive interactions would build rapport with each other. This is measured through their relationship counters, which the player can see under the Social tab.

Most of the pertinent details about a quest are shown to the player, so check them carefully.
Most of the pertinent details about a quest are shown to the player, so check them carefully.


Not all socialization attempts have positive outcomes. Insults can be thrown about, especially between colonists with opposing personality traits. For example, Teetotalers have a low opinion of Chemically Dependent individuals and vice versa. Abrasive persons are also likely to throw insults. Typically, insults cause a mood de-buff to whoever received them.

The worst outcome is that the thrown insult triggers a “social fight”. Both colonists become uncontrollable and will engage in a fist-fight; they will not use any of their weapons. They will trade blows for a while, until one of them is close to being incapacitated.

Such fights are generally not desirable, but they are opportunities for the player to have the colony’s designated doctors gain some experience points from treating wounds that should be quick to heal. (Of course, if one of them is a melee powerhouse, the fight can turn out ugly.)


In addition to their moods and needs, there is the health of the colonists. Obviously, the colonists are all too mortal. Furthermore, the trope of “critical existence failure” in video games do not apply here: even bruises can have significant effects as long as they remain on a colonist’s body, to cite an example.

Thus, it is in the player’s interest to keep them out of harm’s way. If this is not possible – and inevitably so more often than not – the player needs to minimize the wounds that they would suffer.


The health system for every character is based on a set of body parts. This is nothing new in video games; this system is not unlike that seen in the first Deus Ex. However, few developers would opt for this system because it is not convenient to implement. It is also much more daunting to any player than mere life-bars or hit-point counters.

In Rimworld’s system, there are several major body parts: head, torso, and the limbs. The number of limbs depend on the species of the creature involved, e.g. cobras do not have any limbs. Each major body part has a hit-point meter. This meter determines how much damage the body part has taken; the emptier the meter gets, the worse the pain and adverse effects are. (Pain and other effects will be described later.) If the meter is reduced to zero, that body part is destroyed together with whatever function that it has provided.

Among the major body parts, the head and torso are the most important. If either is destroyed, the character is dead.

Each major body part has organs or sub-parts that have their own hit-point meters. Likewise, having these meters emptied impairs the bodily functions that are associated with them. Certain critical organs must not have their meters emptied, lest death occurs. For example, having the meter for one’s heart reduced to zero means certain and immediate death.

Of course, if their associated major body parts are destroyed, the organs and/or sub-parts there are destroyed too.

Exterior sub-parts can be damaged separately from their associated major body parts. For example, a shot to the head of a character may not land squarely on the head, but can take off one of his/her/its ears.

Interior organs can only be damaged if an attack with significant armor penetration has punched through a character’s armor and hit a body part that has organs. Which organs are damaged are randomly determined, however. For example, a penetrating hit on the torso can harm livers, kidneys, lungs or the heart.

The first of many converts – captured prisoners will be most players’ main sources of recruits.
The first of many converts – captured prisoners will be most players’ main sources of recruits.


In addition to the body parts, each character has bodily functions that have their own percentage counters. By default, they are at 100% and the player should strive to make sure that they stay at least that.

For example, most injuries would result in penalties to either the Manipulation or Moving function. Having the Moving function diminished means that the character moves about slower. Having diminished Manipulation affects the speed at which tasks that involve hands are carried out.

Any drop below 100% is generally due to the results of wounds, diseases or permanent injuries. Until the causes are removed, these decreases remain.

It is possible for bodily functions to be reduced to 0%. In the case of functions that are not critical to survival, the character may be rendered helpless. For example, if Moving is reduced to 0%, the character is hobbled and is an easy target for shooting. In the case of functions that are indeed critical, like Breathing, having them reduced to zero means outright death.


Perhaps the most important bodily function is consciousness. This meter goes down as the character accumulates pain and worse conditions like brain damage. If this meter falls to below 50%, there is the chance that the next wound or de-buff infliction would knock them out. They go down and become helpless until they regain consciousness.

While losing consciousness is not fatal, it guarantees doom if the character fainted where there is no readily available help. An unconscious character can also be outright executed by hostile characters.

Regaining consciousness requires that the character restore the meter to over 50%, which means removing any negative statuses that reduce consciousness. Even so, there are RNG rolls made every few hours or so to determine whether the character wakes up or not.

Being unconscious will not replenish the Rest meter. In fact, it goes down unless the character is specifically ‘performing’ the Resting activity.


If a character goes unconscious while not at a resting spot (e.g. a bed), the character is considered as being downed. A downed character can be captured, rescued or executed. Capturing is the default action for downed enemy humans. Rescuing is the action for downed colonists, or downed wild animals. Execution is for downed enemies and wild animals.

Rescuing involves having a resting spot available. As for which resting spot it is, it depends on the character that is being rescued. Rescued animals will be carried to the nearest resting spot for animals. Rescued colonists are brought to the nearest bed that has been assigned for medical recovery (and only if there are such beds around).

Downed and captured prisoners will always be brought to the nearest bed that has been assigned for prisoners, but treating their wounds is only possible if the beds have been assigned for medical recovery too.

Predators do kill each other, if they run out of nearby prey.
Predators do kill each other, if they run out of nearby prey.


Each infliction of damage is recorded as an injury under the “health” tab in a character’s datasheet. More causes of damage means more injuries. In turn, each injury has a rating that is equal to the amount of hit points that is lost due to the injury. All injuries to each body part accumulate to sum up the amount of damage that the body part has taken.

This peculiar amount of information is of importance to recovery efforts, as will be described later. However, the number of injuries does not matter with regards to the character’s functions or well-being; only the cumulative sum of damage does.


Flesh and blood characters can bleed. Bleeding typically results from injuries that are caused by blunt trauma, penetration or laceration. Wounds that are causing bleeding are shown in the health tab.

Bleeding has its own meter, albeit not entirely shown to the player; it appears as a nasty de-buff in a character’s health tab. The de-buff gets progressively worse; at “extreme”, the character is close to being dead.

Treating the bleeding wounds is the only way to remove the bleeding de-buff from the wounds. Meanwhile, any still-bleeding wounds will still accumulate blood loss, meaning that a patient can still die while being treated. Therefore, the player will need to consider how to get triage to a bleeding character as soon as possible – like setting up a temporary high-priority stockpile for medicine and a medical resting spot next to where the patient was downed.


With injuries come pain. There are certain traits that can have a colonist shrug off cumulative pain, but there are few means of completely nullifying it.

Significant cumulative pain from multiple injuries will inflict severe de-buffs, the most notable of which is reduction in consciousness. Therefore, a somewhat reliable way of knocking out enemy characters is to just hurt them some more – though of course they might just die instead.

Speaking of which, there is a chance that sudden death can occur if a character’s pain meter has reached 100%.


Bleeding wounds cannot heal. Non-bleeding wounds can heal, but treated ones heal faster. The quality of the treatment is also shown; higher quality treatments decrease the cycle of time to the next recovery of hitpoints.

As mentioned earlier, each wound carries its own rating; the rating goes down as it heals. Each wound heals separately and independently of the others. This means that many shallow wounds can recover much faster than a few deep wounds that dealt the same total amounts of damage.

Wounds only go away if the wounded character is in medical rest, or resting to restore the Rest meter. If the character is out and about, healing will not happen unless that character has some kind of regenerative capability (which is not in the official build of the game).

It is usually a good idea to concentrate the placement of bedrooms within the same location. This can optimize temperature regulation later.
It is usually a good idea to concentrate the placement of bedrooms within the same location. This can optimize temperature regulation later.

By default, colonists will prioritize medical rest over everything else. This is just as well, because wounded colonists have poor productivity. They will rest at rooms that have been designated as hospitals, but if there are no such designated facilities, they will rest at their bedrooms instead. Initially, there would be no statistical difference between either case, but there are technologies that can improve the efficacy of rooms that have been designated as hospitals.

(There will be more on room designations later.)


Medical beds will not be used for resting, at least until the player designates them as not for medical recovery. This is of particular importance in managing prison cells. Prisoners are likely to be wounded when they are incarcerated, so their beds have to be medical beds in addition to being prison beds. After they have fully recovered, they cannot use the beds for resting until the beds are reassigned away from medical use.


Deep wounds have a chance of also inflicting permanent injuries, such as scarring and itchy scabbing. These permanently reduce hit points of the affected body parts or sub-parts, while also diminishing functions. Of course, missing non-critical body parts, such as missing limbs, also cannot be restored.

Some colonists come with these when the game generates them. Until the player gains the means to replace these body parts, there are no means to solve these problems.


The means to solve the aforementioned problems are none other than replacement body parts, at least in the official version of the game.

The first variant of replacement body parts are prosthetics, which can only replace limbs. Prosthetics do not restore functionality to full, but they do re-enable otherwise disabled functionality, e.g. characters with missing legs can walk again after they have enough prosthetics installed on them.

Cybernetic parts restore functionality, and more. For example, a robotic arm has the same function as a regular arm, but also increases the Manipulation statistic.

Cybernetic body parts can be obtained as quest rewards, trade with merchants or researching the tech for them and having colonists manufacture these themselves. The last option requires the expenditure of rare resources, but is perhaps the most reliable one.

Anyway, replacement of body parts with cybernetic ones can be performed on anyone, including even otherwise healthy people. Statistically, this is an overall improvement for them.

However, some colonists have the “body purist” trait, which causes them to suffer permanent mood penalties if any part of them has been replaced with prosthetics or cybernetics. Conversely, there are transhumanist characters, who are actually happy with becoming more machine than human.

In the official build of the game, there does not appear to be any other limitation to cybernetic enhancements, e.g. there is nothing like the “cyber-psychosis” seen in Cyberpunk or Shadowrun.

Wargs are better dead than alive. They have a very narrow diet: just raw meat or corpses.
Wargs are better dead than alive. They have a very narrow diet: just raw meat or corpses.


The colony may also include animals among its members. Indeed, for certain starting scenarios, the colonists come with animal companions that are already bonded to them and may even already have some training.

Speaking of which, the animals do nothing much if they do not have training. Not all of them have the capacity to be trained either. For example, squirrels cannot be trained to do anything.

There are intrinsic categorizations of the animals, according to how wild or pet-like they are. The pet-like ones are easier to train and have lower maintenance, but have low physical performance compared to the wilder and more dangerous ones.

As with the colonists that the player would recruit, the player would have to decide carefully on the choice of animal members of the colony. Indeed, the wilder animals would eventually have their tameness diminished and revert to feral status if they are not minded.

As for the act of getting animal friends, the player can get them by buying them from visiting merchants; this is the only way to get animals that are indeed domestic pets. These animals are already tame, though their level of training may vary tremendously. Alternatively, the player can attempt to tame the various wild animals that may move into the settlement’s surroundings, but these come with the risk of them responding poorly to the taming attempt.


Being non-sapient, animals have far fewer needs than the humans do. In fact, they do not have a mood meter at all. They only have two meters: Hunger and Rest. They do not even have any statistic that is related to temperatures, e.g. a cat would not have any problem staying outside in the cold during winter and a polar bear has no issue enduring a heatwave.

As long as either is fulfilled, they are okay – even if they should have major concerns, like having a lot of wounds. However, they do have some complexities that the player has to deal with.

However, their baseness also comes with a major disadvantage: they cannot be directly controlled in many occasions. The most that the player could do is to set the zones that they can stay in; this is the only thing that they will respond to immediately.


Different animals have different diets. To categorize them as carnivorous, omnivorous and such is difficult, because each species has its diet specified directly. Anything that is not listed in its diet cannot be fed to it, nor would it seek these out. For example, the Labrador retriever can eat kibble, prepared meals, berries, and raw meat, but it cannot eat plants.

(Obviously, these diets are not based on real-world veterinary knowledge.)

In addition, the animals may have certain proclivities to certain foods in their diets. For example, a donkey can eat either kibble, hay or grass, but it will always go for grass where possible.

Healthy animals that can move about must feed themselves; colonists cannot be directed to feed them. This means that the zone that they are moving about in must have food that they can eat, or they will starve.

Animals that are in medical rest and/or immobilized have to be fed by colonists; only colonists that have been set to be doctors or handlers can do so. However, the colonists do not gain any experience points for doing so.

This might seem like a quest that gives you a recruit, but be wary: he/she might not be worthwhile. In Josh’s case, he turned out to have poor eyesight.
This might seem like a quest that gives you a recruit, but be wary: he/she might not be worthwhile. In Josh’s case, he turned out to have poor eyesight.


Animals that become too hungry will eventually turn berserk and attempt to attack the nearest possible food source. In the case of animals that can eat raw meat, this usually means that they turn on the nearest member of the colony. In the case of herbivorous animals, they attack the nearest plant or even wood-based structure or furniture, if they can eat wood.


Wargs are tiger-sized wolves. They would not have been more notable than other large predators, if not for their very limited diet.

Wargs can only eat raw meat and corpses – they like corpses, in particular. This complicates having them as members of the colony. Corpses are not great to have around because they look macabre to most colonists, and raw meat does not last long without refrigeration.


A handler tames or trains animals by enticing them with snacks; these snacks are foodstuffs that the handlers carry on their persons for the purpose of feeding them to animals that they intend to train. During the taming or training of the animals, their handlers may produce the snacks; this immediately gets the animals’ attention.

This phase must happen in any taming or training session, meaning that there must be suitable food before any animal can be subjected to taming or training. This feeding does not fill their hunger meter much, by the way.


Unless the animal already comes tamed, e.g. the ones who follow merchant caravans, the colony’s handlers must put in the effort to tame an animal. Wilder animals are more difficult and take longer to tame. Moreover, there is a small chance that the animal might respond poorly to the taming attempt; in such a case, the animal goes berserk and attacks the nearest human – likely the handler.

An animal that has been tamed will make its way over to the colony. Tamed animals that have been given unrestricted movement will linger about the colony anyway, which is just as well because this makes them easier to interact with and keep out of harm’s way.


As mentioned earlier, area restrictions are the player’s only reliable means of controlling the behaviour of animals. The animals will mill about the areas that they have been designated to, and somehow never stray from these. If there is any food within these areas, they will eat them whenever hunger sets in.

This method of controlling them is most effective for the husbandry of herbivorous animals, if the colony is situated on a landmass with grass plains. The player will need to monitor grass coverage from time to time, but having them eat grass and bushes that are within their designated areas is the cheapest means of maintaining their presence.

Thrumbos are dangerous, but they are worthwhile kills.
Thrumbos are dangerous, but they are worthwhile kills.


Some animals can be trained. The most trainable of them is the Labrador Retriever, which can be trained in just about any possible task.

Speaking of tasks, these include guarding their current owners, attacking enemies that they discovered, hauling things around and rescuing other members of the colony. Most animals do not have these capabilities trained already, so the colony’s handlers have to invest effort into giving them these.

Each training session also consists of some interactive actions, in which the handler tries to build rapport with the animal using techniques that are taken from DIY animal training manuals. One of these actions must be an act of feeding them, so the handler will need to have suitable food on hand. (Berries are usually the best choice.) The last action will always be an attempt to improve the training level of the animal.


Some tamed animals would be just there as sources of meat and fur/leather. This includes small and untrainable animals, like chickens and hares. In such cases, the player may leave pairs of males and females around so that they can breed and multiply, and thus sustain a convenient long-term source of meat. (There will be on reproduction later.)

Slaughtering tamed animals is easy; the animals will not resist the attempt to slay them, as unbelievable as this sounds. Only animal handlers can do this, however.


Animals that have snouts or are otherwise petite and cute regularly nuzzle with colonists that they come across. More pet-like animals have higher nuzzling frequencies, such as Yorkshire terriers. Colonists that have been nuzzled receive a day-long mood boost, so it might be worthwhile having cute pets around.


For the purpose of controlling combat-capable animals, colonists can be assigned as their “masters”. If they have been trained to be guards, the animals will stay close to their masters and attack any enemy that gets too close. This is most useful for colonists who use slow-aiming ranged weapons, because they can interdict enemies that are trying to come to grips with the colonist.

Ruins are convenient sources of stone blocks, more so than stone chunks or rock formations.
Ruins are convenient sources of stone blocks, more so than stone chunks or rock formations.


If a tamed animal has been spending enough time within the vicinity of a colonist, there is a chance that the animal would bond with the colonist. When this happens, the colonist gains a mood buff as long as the animal is around and assigned to him/her as a follower.

However, assigning a bonded animal to another colonist causes the bonded colonist to suffer a mood de-buff; this can pose a problem in the organization of the player’s combat force. More importantly, if the bonded animals die, the bonded colonist would be hit with significant mood de-buffs for a long time.


Only tamed animals can attempt to reproduce, for whatever reason. It takes a male and a female for reproduction, of course, and the female is the one that carries the next generation. It might take a while for a couple to copulate; mating is a random occurrence.

However, success at reproduction is not guaranteed. Success is only clear if the female has a pregnancy or egg production statistic. Certain animals have much more consistent success at reproduction than others. For example, chickens have the best chances, and better than muffaloes, to cite another example.

Gestation rates also vary considerably. Generally, animals that have low success rates at reproduction also have long gestation times.

Animals that produce eggs can have their eggs cooked and eaten, fertilized or not. However, if the player wishes the fertilized eggs to be viable, they have to be kept away from extreme temperatures, e.g. below freezing and above boiling of water.


Since wild animals do not reproduce, the game resorts to a near-random migration system to maintain their presence in the landmass around the colony. To put it simply, animals wander into the landmass from the edges. They drift about, but will eventually make their ways towards another edge of the landmass. Then they move out and away. This can take a long time, however, apparently depending on how much food there is.

Predatory animals almost always come alone. These drift about the most, which is just as well because they are looking for prey. Grazing animals usually come in herds, and they generally outnumber the predators.


The job of hunting can only be performed with ranged weapons. When set to hunting, the colonist will relentless track down the animal and shoot at it. If the animal is downed, the colonist will finish it off with a slaughter action.

Most animals try to run away when shot at with ranged weapons. However, there is a chance that getting shot will enrage them, in which case they go after the hunter. The player is notified whenever this happens, so the player has the chance to micromanage the colonist in order to mitigate risks of injury for the colonist.

A work-around for hunting wild animals for food can be had by drafting colonists and having them attack wild animals with their weapons. This is also the only way to have more than one colonist take down an animal. However, as mentioned already, their Animals skill will not be used when doing this.

Attacking wild animals with melee weapons immediately provoke retaliation, regardless of how docile the animals are. This may not result in the usual “man-hunter” rage, but the animal will continue attacking whichever colonist is attacking it until it or its assailant goes down.

Buried sci-fi tombs may have dangerous guardians, but there are plenty of goodies to be had from them – including stripping them for materials.
Buried sci-fi tombs may have dangerous guardians, but there are plenty of goodies to be had from them – including stripping them for materials.


In the case of hunting an animal that is part of a herd, there is a chance that an angry response to being shot would be worsened into the entire herd being angered. This is not likely to turn out well for the hunter.


As mentioned already, an animal that is enraged by attempts to kill it will go after its aggressor. Rarely, an animal can just go bonkers at random.

Anyway, the animal gains the “man-hunter” status, which causes it to go after the nearest human, be it a colonist or some other human that happen to be around for whatever reason. The player is notified when this happens.

Usually, such an occurrence means trouble for the player. However, in the case of creatures that are guaranteed to be enraged when attacked, such as the rare but powerful Thrumbos, the player might be able to provoke enragement while an attack by human enemies are about to commence. Luring the enraged animal into enemies can be entertaining, assuming that the player can mitigate the risks for whichever colonist that is acting as the lure.


A colony-building game would not be one if there is not a range of resources to juggle. More sophisticated titles also pose complications due to their physical, chemical and biological complexities. Rimworld has a lot of resource types, and variables for each of them too.

Some of said variables are transferred into the objects that are made from those resources. This statement will be elaborated further when gear and equipment are described.


The first thing to consider about resources are their weights. Heavier resources will slow down whoever is carrying them, unless the carrier is physically strong enough to compensate.

However, in the case of very heavy resources, the implausibility of a human being able to carry them is waived. For example, certain animals can weigh a lot, so hauling their corpses for butchering might seem impossible for a single human. This is waived, so a colonist can still haul the carcass of an elephant back to the colony, albeit slowly.

There is some initially confusing notations in the user interface for trading.
There is some initially confusing notations in the user interface for trading.


For better or worse (worse, in my opinion), resources must be stored and moved about in stacks of limited size. Most resources have a stack size limit of 75 units, but some others have different stack sizes. For example, silver and gold can be stacked up to 300 units, but Components can only be stacked up to 25 units.

When moving stackable resources, any character can only ever hold just one stack. The character may try to include more units of resources into that stack, but could only do so up to the limit of that stack. This is a major limitation, as will be elaborated further later.


The resources that the colony can accrue and expend can be broadly categorized according to two sorts: perishables and non-perishables.

Perishable resources actually have hit-point meters for their stacks. If the meter for a stack is completely drained, the stack is completely destroyed; there is nothing left to salvage. Some perishable resources also have other means of being destroyed, as will be described later.

Non-perishable resources are practically indestructible until they are expended. These include all stone blocks and metal ores and bits. The player can store these anywhere without the risk of them being lost. However, these resources are very ugly and can ruin Beauty ratings (more on this and other ratings later).


Perishable resources are physically fragile goods. Examples include all foodstuffs, cooked or raw, and cut lumber. They can be damaged by fires, gunshots and simply being exposed to the outdoors.

There is no way to restore the damage. However, this does not appear to affect the quality of the items that are made from them. They do not affect the conversion process in any way either.


Certain perishables eventually expire, regardless of their hit-point meter. This is the case for all foodstuffs and organic materials, with the exception of wood.

The player is shown the time to expiry for each stack of such resources. If the countdown reaches zero, the stack disappears and turns into a pile of dirt. There is no way to reverse this countdown.

However, the player can stall this countdown by introducing fresher units of resources into the stack. On the other hand, splitting that stack causes the countdown timer to be duplicated across the resulting stacks. If these stacks are added to other stacks of the same resources with longer timers, they reduce the timers of those stacks.


At the start of any playthrough, the player would have to rely on wood for most things. Wood is primarily gained from trees, meaning that the colony would have to be situated in places where there are trees if it is to have a reliable supply of wood.

Fortunately, just about any clime has trees that can be harvested. Forests and jungles offer the most trees; beaches and coasts offer the least. (Indeed, beaches and coasts are the least worthwhile landmasses to start colonies on, at least in the official build of the game.)

Trees appear to grow spontaneously. Even if the player has previously denuded an area of trees, new trees eventually grow back there. Indeed, in temperate forests, supplies of wood are not an issue; there are always some trees nearby that can be harvested, unless a serious forest fire has gone through the landmass.

Of course, if the landmass that the player has chosen does not have many trees, the player would have to be judicious in the use of any available wood. This is easier said than done, because many things, especially when the colony is still low-tech, require the expenditure of wood. For example, the colony’s first few shelters would be using wooden walls.

Lovers get a mood boost from being with each other, but death doing them part also deals them a heavy blow.
Lovers get a mood boost from being with each other, but death doing them part also deals them a heavy blow.


Stone blocks are the player’s most-used construction material, including even in the late-game portions of a playthrough.

Stone blocks are not readily available, however. They have to be cut from “stone chunks”, which are practically large pieces of rock that can be found lying about in the landmass. They can also be mined out of the rock formations that occur across the landmass. Stone blocks can also be obtained by deconstructing the pre-existing ruins on the landmass.

All of these require considerable time, especially in transporting them to the colony’s site. Therefore, if the player wants to ensure that the colonists have shelter as soon as possible in their first few days, using wood would be wiser than using stone.

Furthermore, stone blocks are among the finite resources on the landmass. After the player has exhausted all of them, there would be no more unless the colony packs up and leave for other places (more on this later).

Stone formations do not always yield stone chunks when they are mined. More often than not, they merely leave behind rubble. The factors for appearance of stone chunks are unclear, but perhaps the Mining skill of the mining colonist is a major factor.


There is no colony-building game that does not have metal resources. After all, these are there mainly as a prerequisite that needs to be achieved in order to reach the next level of technology beyond mere wood- or stone-working.

That said, metal in RimWorld is mainly obtained from the landmass on which the colony is founded. There are seams of metal in ore formations, and there are also deposits in the ground that can be extracted with the appropriate technologies. Metal is also obtained from recycling items that are made from them.

Like stone, metal sources are finite on the landmass. Although the player can gain metal from bulk traders (more on these later) or from recycling captured gear, mining the earth is more cost-effective and time-efficient. Thus, if the player has exhausted all metal sources on the current landmass, the player might want to consider migrating to another location and starting the next colony, if the next major endeavour requires a lot of metal.

Ore formations always yield metal when they are mined, and there is a minimum amount of 30. The mining skill of the colonist that broke into them increases the amounts.

The animals won’t mind if you bring them to back heal after filling them with holes. They have very short memories.
The animals won’t mind if you bring them to back heal after filling them with holes. They have very short memories.


Sometimes, meteors may fall onto the landmass. The meteors outright obliterate anything that they land on, so their appearance can be a stroke of bad luck.

However, meteors always come with metal elements. When they land, they form ore formations of that metal. The player only needs to direct colonists to mine them.


Components are mid-game resources. They are needed in order to make products using the mid-game techs (more on the tech tree later).

Originally, the components are supposed to be products that have to be made at one of the mid-game workstations. However, the workstations themselves require components. Thus, there was a chicken-and-egg conundrum.

This problem is solve through two means. Firstly, there is the convenient thematic setting that the titular planet has derelict space-ships and other space debris orbiting it. Every now and then, chunks of space ships fall onto the landmass that the colony is on.

This happens quite often early in the playthrough, and the chunks always land where they would not do damage. The later ones are less frequent, and may land on things or even cause fires. (There are also nastier forms of space debris, such as ones that still have their robotic defenders.)

Secondly, there are formations of compacted machinery. It is unclear as to why there are geological formations of such clearly manufactured resources, though this could be explained away as parts of asteroids that once had mining bases, or collapsed mines. Digging out these formations yield components.

Components can also be had from breaking down the remains of mechanoids, which are robots that are generally inimical to any human. Of course, the player would need to destroy them first, which is easier said than done considering that many of them are armed with sci-fi guns.


Fabrics are needed in the crafting of most apparel, as well as some furniture. Fabrics will be needed in order to provide comfort and protection from the environment.

The colonists start with the clothes on their persons, but these clothes are not in entirely good condition. Human characters that enter the landmass may have tattered clothes. Indeed, they may even be naked, especially if they come from tribal factions.

Thus, there is a need for replacement clothes, and thus a continuous need for fabrics. Fabrics can be had through one of two ways: growing sources of them, or killing and flaying sources of them.

The colony can grow cotton plants, which yield cotton (of course). Cotton happens to be needed for mid-game gear and other things, so it is wise to grow them early. There is another type of crop that can yield fabrics, called devilstrand, but it takes very long to grow.

The colonists can also extract leather and fur from just about any animal that they kill. The type of leather or fur (never both) that an animal yields is shown in its technical readout.

Unfortunately, the implementation of fabrics reveals some dissatisfying gaps in the official version of the game.

Having at least one cooler dumping waste heat into another room from the larder is helpful in regulating temperatures during winter seasons.
Having at least one cooler dumping waste heat into another room from the larder is helpful in regulating temperatures during winter seasons.


There is no way to tear up unwanted clothes into rags. There has been more than a few survival-oriented games that let the player do this, but this is not the case for this game. This omission occurs despite the presence of means to smelt down pieces of gear that have metal and recover some of the materials that they are made of. The most that the player can do with unwanted clothes is selling them off – if possible – or burning them.

Apparently, this limitation was put in place together with another limitation in order to prevent players from profiting too much from successful defeats of raids. This will be described further later.


There are many different kinds of leather. Apparently, this diversity has been implemented to vary the value of animals. Although this goal was achieved, this also caused the issue of there being many types of leather in the colony’s stockpile but not enough of any type to make any clothes with.

The official work-around for this is the patch-leather. This type of leather can be made by combining different types of leather. The end-result is subpar leather, but good enough to make anything that is not clothes, e.g. animal beds.


Healing can be performed without the use of substances, but the treatment is often subpar and will never achieve impressive results. Using healing substances raises the ceiling of the results, though the person that is administering the treatment needs to be a good doctor in order to get the most out of the healing substances.

For all its fickleness, the titular planet does have a notable abundance of the plant known as the “heal-root”. This plant, as its name suggests, has healing properties. They can grow in the wild, especially in temperate forests and jungles, or they can be cultivated. After they are harvested, they can last a considerable number of in-game years, and they are also used to make more potent healing substances.

Then, there are generic medicines. These are better than heal-roots, but have to be obtained through trade (or pilfering them from fallen enemies) until the player unlocks the tech to make them.

There are more advanced medicines of course, as befitting the sci-fi setting. The most potent of these are “healing serums”, which can be administered by anyone, even those without any medical skill. Furthermore, this miracle drug can restore destroyed body parts outright, including any that has been replaced with cybernetics (provided that the cybernetics are removed first).


Some jobs, such as hunting, have been described already, together with the gameplay fundamentals that are associated with them. The following passages are for important jobs that are worth noting because of their significance in the gameplay.

Dealing with tainted clothing is more of a hassle than one would think, but fortunately, there are options that can be figured to make their disposal easier.
Dealing with tainted clothing is more of a hassle than one would think, but fortunately, there are options that can be figured to make their disposal easier.


Hauling is one of the “dumb labour” jobs, but it is perhaps the most important. There are no means of carrying things from one place to another, other than to have members of the colony do so. Considering that there is technology like fusion reactors and energy weapons, that there is not any automation for this is a glaring omission.

(This is all the more so considering that other 2D indie games with complex gameplay like Factorio and Oxygen Not Included have automated means for doing this.)

Perhaps the greatest dissatisfaction with this gameplay element is the fact that any character can only ever carry just one stack of items. This means that characters with considerable body strength, like a tamed and trained Thrumbo, cannot always fully utilize their physical advantage for the purpose of hauling things around.


When colonists – human or animal – haul things around, they always search their vicinity for any similar material. If they find them and if where they are going to needs more of that material, they will gather more, up to the stack maximum.

This might seem like smart programming. However, the problem here is that this is fully automatic. The player has no means of manually directing colonists to maximize their carried stacks, other than trying to monitor their routes and have them pick up similar materials along the way.


Cleaning is another frequent job that does not require any skill. Dirt and trash can appear all around the colony as long as there are people living in it, though the frequency of their appearance seems random. If animals are moving across living spaces in the colony, they might leave behind animal filth. Fires leave behind ash. Gunshots that hit walls leave behind rubble. Perhaps most distressing of all, wounds and injuries leave behind unsightly blood.

Thus, cleaning has to be done frequently, before all the uncleanliness compound together to be a hideous eye-sore that upsets the colonists that look at them. In addition, unclean living spaces increase the risk of disease and food poisoning (the latter can happen if the uncleanliness occurs in the dining room and/or kitchen).

Cleaning is by default always the least prioritized of jobs, unless it is ramped up to the highest priority. A wise player would likely balance cleaning and other jobs by not loading colonists with too many consecutive non-cleaning tasks. Eventually, colonists that have run out of other tasks focus on cleaning instead. Indeed, if the player knows that their previous jobs would create a lot of garbage, it would be wise to hold off micromanaging them further until they start to idle.

Always have a skilled artist working on a grand sculpture for sale to a passing merchant in the future. Even if they are made of low-value stone, they are still worth a lot, especially if they turn out right.
Always have a skilled artist working on a grand sculpture for sale to a passing merchant in the future. Even if they are made of low-value stone, they are still worth a lot, especially if they turn out right.


Many jobs require colonists to stay next to whatever that they are working on for a significant amount of time. These jobs have the “work to make” variable in their technical readouts. This indicates the amount of in-game time that a task requires when the colonist is working at default speed without any net modifiers from his/her skill and associated circumstances. Bigger numbers mean longer in-game time.

The aforementioned modifiers are applied as multiplicative or divisive factors. For example, the colonist’s level of skill at the job reduces the in-game time needed for the task by dividing the “work to make” variable.


The best pieces of gear are not bought or found. Rather, they are made by colonists who happen to be masterful at crafting them. Therefore, the player will want at least one colonist who specializes in crafting.

Crafting is performed at smithing and machining worktables; the latter are needed to make mid-game gear. Like sculpting, crafting processes always create an object that represents the unfinished product. This product can only ever be worked on by the person who created it in the first place. This limitation was implemented in order to prevent wily players from spreading the experience gains from these projects around by rotating colonists in and out of working on the unfinished product.

It is a good idea to keep both crafting materials and crafting products within the same room as the worktables for ease of access. However, item stockpiles generally look ugly.

Almost every job that involves the Crafting skill – and the Artistic skill – makes use of worktables that need tools. The worktables come with the tools already, but building tool cabinets near the worktables improve the latter’s efficiency. This article includes some screenshots on how to organize workshops, using the tool cabinets as the crux for optimized workshop layouts.


Cooking, as its name suggests already, converts raw foodstuffs into meals. Most colonists do not like eating food raw, even if they could derive nutrition from it. In fact, cooking raw food into simple or fine meals increase the nutrition that can be had from the amount of foodstuffs expended.

The cooking stoves can only produce three types of meals: simple, fine and lavish meals. The differences between these meals are their efficiency at using foodstuffs and how much nutrition that they can eke out of their ingredients.

Simple meals can be made with either meat or vegetables, making them quite versatile at times when either resource is lean or not tenable to accrue. Fine meals require both ingredient types and is slightly less efficient, but gives a mood boost when consumed. Lavish meals are the least efficient, but gives considerable mood boosts when consumed. The player would be juggling between these types of meals as the fortunes of the colony rise and fall.

There are things other than meals that can be prepared. Kibble is mainly meant for animals, but they are among the most efficient at expending ingredients. Pemmican is less nutrition-efficient than meals, but can last for a long time. Nutrient paste is the most efficient food product and can be prepared automatically with the paste dispenser, but nobody likes eating nutrient paste.

If the user interfaces before were not already daunting enough, there is the one for making caravans.
If the user interfaces before were not already daunting enough, there is the one for making caravans.


There are many raw foodstuffs, as is evident from the variety of crops that the colony can grow. There are also many meats. One would think that with such diversity, there are opportunities for the developers to implement recipe systems.

Unfortunately, there is not any. The aforementioned meals always come out the same regardless of the ingredients that are used. The meals do register the ingredients that are used, but this is moot info; there are no complications such as allergies in this game (though there likely had been plans for this). Meals made with plants can be fed to animals that can eat meals but not plants.

For most of playthrough, the most that the player would be doing with food management is juggling ingredient consumption against the moods of the colonists. This is simple and gets old rather quickly.


Throughout the game, the player would be having colonists cut trees, bushes and crops to get plant produce from them.

Cutting trees involves reducing their hit-point counters to zero. Trees that are destroyed in such a manner always yields wood, but trees that have been destroyed in other ways do not. More mature trees yield more wood, but have stiffer resistance to being chopped.

Crops are always easy to harvest at any stage, though obviously the player would want them to be fully grown before harvesting them in order to get the best yields. Crops are not damaged in the harvesting process, even though they have hit-point meters.


The colony’s first rooms must be set up quickly to give colonists shelter; if they sleep outside during the night, they eventually get sick. Later, the buildings have to have their walls replaced from wood to stone in order to prevent fires from being a major hazard. Next, the colonists need furniture in order to give them comfort and more confidence in their homes. Then, the colony’s holdings, amenities and capacity have to be expanded by having more rooms with equipment.

Throughout all that, rooms have to be built, and then filled and furnished with whatever that are needed to give them their purpose. All of this work involves construction. Therefore, construction is among the most important and most frequently performed jobs.

(There will be more on rooms later.)

Incidentally, quite a number of humans have some skill in construction, and interest in construction is perhaps the most common interest. Therefore, unless the player is being really picky, the player should have a handful of colonists that are capable of construction work.

Construction work can take a long time. Like crafting jobs, the player is shown the amount of work that is needed for the job. This is more important than those for crafting jobs, because the colonist is not in front of a worktable and/or sitting on a workbench (unless the player has micromanaged the construction work). For many construction jobs, the colonist would be outdoors – and possibly under bad weather like rainy thunderstorms. (There will be more on weather later.)

To train a colonist’s medical skill, have a tough but badly wounded animal around to continuously torment while it convalesces.
To train a colonist’s medical skill, have a tough but badly wounded animal around to continuously torment while it convalesces.


In addition to building things, there is the job of removing them. This job uses the same skill as construction, and will give experience points to the colonists that perform it.

Deconstruction is a job that is almost as frequent as construction, mainly because the player would need to rework the colony’s layouts in order to make expansions, or to make processes more efficient.

There are also ruins that have structures that can be deconstructed to yield stone blocks and (more rarely) metal. Indeed, getting stone blocks through this method is the most efficient way in the early days of the colony.


Some furniture and equipment can be uninstalled from their previous spots. After this happens, they appear as item packages that can be transported around. This allows them to be reinstalled elsewhere. This is much more efficient than making new furniture or hardware and deconstructing the old ones. Uninstalled furniture and equipment can also be sold to merchants that are willing to buy them.

However, not everything can be uninstalled. For example, the crematorium is a permanent fixture.


Structures, furniture and room equipment are the only inanimate things that can have their hit-points restored. To repair any of these, a colonist stands in front of it and appear to repair it with welding – even if the object is not made of metal.

Repairs are Construction-related jobs. Skilled colonists conduct repairs a lot more efficiently. Botched repair jobs will not cancel the job – the colonist continues the repairs anyway – but every failure from botching will actually damage the object instead.

Conveniently, repairs do not cost any resources, regardless of how damaged the object is.


Rock and ore formations are sources of resources, and they are also in the way of any base expansions. Therefore, they have to be removed. The job of removing them is associated with the skill of mining. As mentioned earlier, anyone can perform mining, but his/her skill determines the productivity of the job.

Mining is also the skill that is used for deep-drilling. Since deep-drilling is a late-game endeavour, there is use for the mining skill throughout the playthrough.


For whatever reason, there is no fishing activity in RimWorld’s official build. This is despite the presence of bodies of water. Many games with survival-oriented gameplay have fishing (or rather, facsimiles of fishing), often as a supplement or means of feeding player characters; this omission is very noticeable in RimWorld, and gives the impression of a wasted opportunity.

Geothermal generators are huge and costly, but they are very worthwhile.
Geothermal generators are huge and costly, but they are very worthwhile.


Prior to any playthrough, the player selects the tech level and starting circumstances of the colony. Most playthroughs begin with most low-tier techs already unlocked, so most colonies start with the means of coping with mid-game concerns.

There is also a setting that has the colony start at Neolithic tech levels. This impose a penalty on research activities throughout the playthrough, but the player begins with more colonists and thus have more manpower to develop the colony right from the start.

That said, all colonies will still have to perform research, in order to unlock the end-game techs that would signal the culmination of a playthrough.

As to be expected of “research” in video games, there is a tech tree that the player has to go through in order to improve the capabilities of the colony. Each node in the tree represents a tech and its associated hardware and resources. When the node is activated, the colony gains access to those.

As for the act of researching, this job is done by having intellectual colonists work at research stations. These are large worktables that come with equipment and books for video-game-style “research”. Colonists perform research in front of these workstations and use their “Intellect” skill for doing so. If they stay on this job long enough, they generate tech points that immediately go into whatever tech that is being unlocked. There is generally no way for progress to be lost, so the colonist can be redirected to other jobs when needed.

However, the player cannot direct colonists to go to the research stations to perform research. They can only do so if they do not have jobs of greater priority. This is a peculiar omission.


As mentioned earlier, the landmass that the colony is situated on has terrains that are determined by its location on the planet. The terrains that the player’s colonists would be moving across can be generally categorized to two overarching types: geological or man-made.

Geological terrains include examples such as soil, water and stone flats. These are usually not conducive to movement, at least until they are improved by the colonists. That said, man-made terrains are usually the results of the colonists’ effort to improve the land for their own benefit. Generally, the improvement includes easier and faster movement across them.

Notable types of terrain will be described shortly.


Soil is the main type of terrain that any colony needs. This is because this terrain is the only one that can support the planting of crops and the growth of wild plants.

There are three grades of soil. Regular soil is the most common, and is generally the player’s default go-to if there are no other places to plant crops. Rich soil is premier for the purpose of farming, because it speeds up the growth of plants that are on them. However, rich soil is much less common than regular soil.

Stony soil is the least fertile; the player is generally better off using other soil for farming where possible. However, if the landmass is located on mountains, stony soil is likely to be more common than other types of soil.

Mining spots eventually get crowded with rubble, which slows down movement and makes for hideous eye-sores. Set the mining spot as a home area to allow for intermittent cleaning of the rubble.
Mining spots eventually get crowded with rubble, which slows down movement and makes for hideous eye-sores. Set the mining spot as a home area to allow for intermittent cleaning of the rubble.


All soils can support any kind of construction, but other terrains might not. Bodies of water will not take anything other than bridges, for one, and neither does mud. (Bridges can be built over mud though; more on bridges shortly.) Sand cannot support heavy structures, for another example.

Unfortunately, checking what type of construction that a piece of terrain can support is not readily easy. This is because technical readouts for terrain types are not just mere mouse-clicks away. The player has to check the in-game documentation for that, or check the game’s wiki.


Bodies of water are nothing more than barriers. In the official build of the game, there is no swimming or boating across them. In fact, no characters can swim. If they fall into water for whatever reason, they die outright. Of course, there is no reason to implement swimming, because there are no resources that can be derived from bodies of water, at least in the official build of the game.


The most that the player can do about bodies of water is to build wooden bridges over bodies of water and mud. The bridges have to be wooden; they cannot be built out of anything else. Anything that can be built on bridges must not be too heavy either, e.g. stone walls cannot be built on bridges. If the bridges are destroyed, anything is on them also is destroyed when they fall into the water.

Bridges cannot be built over deep water, which is practically a no-go zone.


There are curiously a lot of stone flats on the planet, even far away from mountainous locations.

Stone flats may occur naturally. Otherwise, stone flats are the result of mining through rock and ore formations. Either way, stone flats are rough by default, and will slow down anything that tries to move across them.

This can be addressed by smoothing them, which improves their beauty and makes them easy to traverse through. However, smoothing stone flats is a time-consuming job, and interruption means all progress is lost.


In lieu of mining through rock formations, the player can choose to have colonists smooth them instead. This does not remove the rock formation, but instead turns it into a beautiful wall. Doing this means that the player needs to plan the colony’s expansion around rock formations, but the benefits are usually worthwhile. Smoothing walls is economically cheaper than building stone walls, most of which do not provide beauty points anyway (more on the statistic of “beauty” later).

At any time that the player so wishes, the player can have the smoothed walls mined out anyway. Being smoothed does not make them weaker, however, so they still take the same amount of work to be mined as rough formations.

Rainy thunderstorms are the least of the bad weathers, so this quest is actually quite safe to take.
Rainy thunderstorms are the least of the bad weathers, so this quest is actually quite safe to take.


The presence of any item on the ground will make traversal across that spot a bit more difficult; characters visibly slow down when moving across any item or item stack.

This means that the player will want to make sure that there are clear pathways through item and resource stockpiles. Otherwise, the colonists will be wasting time trying to move the stockpile.


Rooms and walls are the main components of the colony’s holdings. When a stretch of walls loops around on itself and its ends is joined with a door, this becomes a room. The colonists will automatically build a roof over this room, practically making it a building. This also makes the room count as being indoors. The same also happens if the player builds a room using smoothed walls.

Floors are the only optional features for rooms. Indeed, the player can have mere soil as the floor in the early parts of the playthrough.


Rooms, on their own, do nothing until furniture or equipment is placed inside them. The room will designated as a practical one, with a name that is associated with the furniture and/or equipment. For example, placing a resting spot in a room turns that room into a bedroom. Placing more than one resting spot in a room turns it into a barracks.

This is not just for aesthetics, because there are gameplay consequences. For example, having colonists sleep in a barracks would annoy them, because they have to share their personal space with others. This mood de-buff does not happen if they are sleeping in a bedroom of their own. Furthermore, colonists will recognize their bedrooms as solitary locations; colonists who crave recuperation in solitude, e.g. praying, will use their bedroom.

A room may have more than one function. For example, a room can be both a dining room and a kitchen, if a table and chairs are installed in the same room as the butchery table and cooking stoves. The colonists will treat the room as two rooms of different functions.

Therefore, with some planning on mergers of rooms, the player could save on space that would have to be reserved for partitioning walls while improving the functions of the combined rooms. Returning to the example of the dining room being merged with the kitchen, the larder for cooked meals and raw foodstuffs can be in the next room for ease of access.


A room has up to six qualities, which depend on its construction and its current state. The player can see the numbers for these qualities in the tooltips that appear when the player examines the room.

For example, there is “Beauty”, which is a trait that is important to all rooms. Furnishings increase the overall beauty of the room at the expense of space, whereas the presence of filth, dirt and blood detracts from its beauty.

The six qualities are tallied together to give the impressiveness of the room. The impressiveness of the room is the variable that colonists care about. However, individual qualities may matter. For example, Beauty is a rating that is important to almost every colonist; they get stressed out by hideous environs, such as the aftermath of a massacre.

After a room has been designated as one with a function, the weights for qualities for the purpose of tallying impressiveness may change. For example, when a room is designated as a bedroom, the “space” quality gains much greater weight, meaning that a bedroom has to be spacious enough or it would dissatisfy the colonist that has been assigned to the room.

Have colonists live long enough with each other, and eventually they will hook up.
Have colonists live long enough with each other, and eventually they will hook up.


Roofs can be built over and outwards from any wall or column. Roofs prevent rain from landing on whatever is underneath them, and they also nullify lightning strikes. Roofs do not require any materials, despite appearing to be made from corrugated galvanized zinc; the colonists appear to have roof materials on-hand all the time, peculiarly.

Roofs cannot be built over any trees, by the way. Any trees that are in a room that is to be built and designated will be chopped down and removed before roofs can be installed for the room.

Roofs will collapse if they are not covering at least one square of wall or column. If they collapse, the central location of the area that the roofs are covering will be hit with debris. Anything in that spot will take damage and there will be a lot of cleaning to do.


Some rock formations occur underneath mountains. Digging out of these rock formations create “underground” rooms. Underground rooms already have ceilings, which is convenient.

However, underground rooms cannot encompass too much space. Any space of more than 5 by 5 squares have a risk of cave-ins occurring, with the probabilities becoming greater if the space is even more expansive. Columns are implemented in the game to address this problem.


Columns were introduced sometime during the development of the game. They deliver one of the functions of walls, which is to prop up any roofs or overhead mountain – the latter being more important.

Unlike walls, however, columns do not impede line of sight and movement. Characters can move through the space in between two adjacent columns, albeit slowly. They can also be used as cover during combat (more on cover and combat later).


Doors are major components of rooms. A room cannot be one unless it has a door.

Opening and closing a door takes time, unless the door is automated. Prior to automation, opening and closing doors can sap a lot of otherwise productive time. Therefore, the player will want automated doors as soon as possible. If they are made of light enough materials, automated doors open and close quickly upon the proximity of the colonists that intend to use them.

Doors can also be used to control access. The player can designate the use of a door to be off-limits to certain colonists. This is useful for controlling access to facilities that only a few colonists can use, if the player so wishes.

Drop pod raids can be unpleasant. If the raiders cannot reach any colonist, they will set fire to any wooden furniture that they can reach.
Drop pod raids can be unpleasant. If the raiders cannot reach any colonist, they will set fire to any wooden furniture that they can reach.


Eventually, the colony would need to have electricity if it is to improve its productivity and expand its capabilities. There are techs that can unlock sources of electricity.

The first few appear to be thermo-chemical generators. The player needs to regularly feed them with fuel, an act that does not give any experience points because it is considered as “commoner” work.

If the colony’s landmass happens to have a geothermal vent, the player will want to invest in making a geothermal power plant. It is practically turned on all the time, effectively providing limitless energy. However, if it is placed inside a room, it heats that room to 500 degrees Celsius very quickly, pretty much setting fire to anything that is flammable.

Eventually, the player would need high-grade power sources. Fusion and nuclear are the only means, but these require very rare resources. (Radioactivity is not an issue in this game, by the way.)


Illumination is a factor in the gameplay. Of course, it should be mentioned first that there is no pitch black darkness and certainly no Gru to worry about. However, most colonists do not like to be in the darkness while they are awake, unless they have the Night Owl or Undergrounder trait.

Otherwise, darkness has little effect on gameplay; they do not affect the performance of jobs either.


Few colonists like to be naked, and even if they are okay with that, they should not be. The planet is not kind to those who are not protected. That said, most of what a colonist would wear would be intended for either survival in the environs, or survival during combat. There are few items that can provide both.

Animal members of the colony can never have any gear, for obvious reasons. Combat-related pieces of gear will be described in later sections.

Rooms gain functions when equipment and/or furniture are installed or built in them. These require resources to be made too, but they have different properties and circumstances than those of gear. For one, they have to be made with the Construction skill instead of the Crafting skill. Further differences will be described in the next several passages.


For the purpose of clothing a colonist, a colonist has an item slot for each of the following: headwear, outerwear, middle-wear, torso-wear and leg-wear. All of the items that go into these slots are categorized as “apparel”. Learning which apparel item goes into which slot can be daunting at first, especially considering that the slots are not visible. However, the game does have technical readouts for each piece of gear.

Headwear is for anything that is worn on top of the head, over the face or around the entire head. In the official build of the game, there are no means to mix headwear together, e.g. a mask could not be worn together with a hat.

Outerwear includes jackets, dusters and parkas. Most of them are intended to provide protection from the environs, with the exception of the flak jacket, which is specifically intended for combat.

Middle-wear apparel are few in variety. The item slot for middle-wear appears to have been made for flak vests, vital pieces of armor that no colonist should be without if they can help it.

Torso-wear are mainly shirts, whereas leg-wear are mainly pants. Having two pieces of clothing provide maximized coverage (more on this shortly). However, colonists can also wear tribal-wear, which covers the torso and legs and are just single-piece apparels.

Muffaloes are worth breeding in preparation for the end-game.
Muffaloes are worth breeding in preparation for the end-game.


Each piece of apparel provides coverage for the body; this information can be seen in its technical read-outs.

For example, tribal-wear covers the legs and torso, but do not cover the arms. In contrast, shirts with sleeves do cover the arms. For another example, dusters cover the arms, torso, and legs.

Different pieces of apparel that cover the same spots combine their effects for that location. The equations that determine the effects of the combination are not clear to the player, however.


Perhaps the most important reason to have colonists wear clothes is that apparel items provide them with temperature tolerance. For example, dusters give good resistance to warm weather, whereas parkas give resistance to cold weather.

Staying too long in environs with temperatures that are beyond their temperature tolerances will eventually sicken colonists. Therefore, the player might want to consider having summer-wear and winter-wear for the colonists if they live in places where there are clear seasonal changes.


Things can catch fire. Although most things catch fire after fire spreads into them, there are items, equipment and furniture that can catch fire if their temperature rises high enough.

For example, rooms that contain geothermal power plants will heat up to over 400 degrees Celsius. This can ignite objects that are made out of wood, including doors.


In addition to the gear that they have on their persons, colonists will also carry around things that are pertinent to their survival and jobs.

Every colonist will carry around some food on their person. They will eat the food at dining tables where possible. However, if they are far enough from the colony’s holdings, they will eat their food while standing wherever they are. This will inflict a minor mood penalty, however.

Animal handlers always carry around food for the purpose of taming and training animals. If they will be training or taming different kinds of animals, the colonists will carry food of different types. The amount of food that they will carry is in small quantities, which they will eventually have to replace by taking it from the larder.

Otherwise, their inventories will not be containing anything else if they are living in a colony and not in a caravan. If they are in a caravan, their inventories will be utilized more, as will be described later.

There is no copper in this game, so silver is used as the antimicrobial lining instead.
There is no copper in this game, so silver is used as the antimicrobial lining instead.


All of the stuff on a character, equipped or otherwise, and anything that they are carrying will have their total weight summed up. The sums are tallied against their bodily strength. The ratio of one to the other is used to determine their movement speeds. Generally, the heavier their load relative to their weight, the slower they move.


Gear pieces, equipment and furniture have hit-point counters too. As mentioned earlier, leaving them exposed to the elements will damage them.

In the case of gear, prolonged use will damage them, though to a lesser extent than from being exposed to the elements.

The deterioration does affect their performance. For example, badly deteriorated guns have poorer accuracy and have a chance of misfiring that is proportional to their level of deterioation. Fortunately, in the case of things that are made with the Construction skill, they can be repaired. However, they also come with a setback.


Equipment that are made using the Construction skill can accumulate age. Greater age means higher probability and greater frequency of breaking down. When they break down, they become non-functional and take considerable damage. They will not have their function restored until they are completely repaired.

Pieces of furniture do not break down, fortunately. After all, they have very simple and passive functions.


Next, there are the quality ratings of gear, equipment and furniture, if any. Not all of them have quality ratings, but those that do will have their performance altered by the quality rating.

Generally, better quality means better performance, e.g. higher-quality guns are more accurate and inflict more damage. In the case of furniture, better quality also means greater beauty, in addition to better function. Better quality also means better prices when sold, e.g. higher quality sculptures sell for much higher prices.

Quality will not affect deterioration rates, unfortunately.

Explosives would be useful as the opening salvo on this mech cluster.
Explosives would be useful as the opening salvo on this mech cluster.


Some pieces of gear, equipment and furniture can be made with different materials. Some properties of the materials are inherited by the products; the latter’s value and performance will be altered accordingly.

For example, making melee weapons out of gold and silver makes a product of considerable monetary value. However, the melee weapons become terrible at their practical function: they have low damage output, due to the use of soft metals.

There are the many types of stone blocks, which are used to create floor tiles, walls and sculptures. Prettier stones like marble lead to higher beauty ratings, in the case of furnishings, and in the case of sculptures, greater value too.

Other pieces of gear and equipment require very specific materials; the player does not get any options. For example, flak jackets always require cotton; no other fabrics can be used, meaning that the player does not get to alter the non-combat-related properties of the jackets.


Last but not least, there are the chemical substances that colonists can consume. These are generally meant to refill their Recreation meters quickly and to provide some short-term benefits, but they also come with side-effects and possibility of addiction.

Beer is perhaps the earliest substance that can be had, and it is apparently the least dangerous. Beer will be of use during caravan travels (more on this later).

There are harder chemicals, with much more potent benefits but also harsher side effects. For the worst example, there is Luciferium, which is a very rare combat drug and also a death sentence. Luciferium gives enhanced combat performance for quite a while, but immediately causes addiction. Withdrawal is inevitably fatal.


Chemical uses also reveal some of the most troublesome gameplay elements.

Colonists can become addicted after they took too much of a chemical. The threshold for this is deterministic and not based on an RNG roll, fortunately, but the player cannot see this threshold so readily, at least not without using the debug mode.

Colonists that have become addicted will frequently need the chemicals that they are addicted to; withdrawal symptoms tend to be serious, with harder drugs causing worse symptoms.

In the official build of the game, going cold turkey is the only way to recover from addition. This is easier said than done, because withdrawal symptoms often include breakdowns where the colonist becomes uncontrollable and attempts to get a fix. The player would have to expend effort and resources to keep the addicts isolated and happy, practically making a rehab facility in the colony.


As mentioned earlier, there are sci-fi medicines that can be applied without any Doctoring skill. These tend to appear only in the end-game segments, though the colonists might break into vaults that contain such treasures (which may be guarded by aggressive killer robots).

One of these serums can heal just about anything, including even restoring lost body parts. One of them can practically bring back a person from the dead, though sometimes with consequences. If the player needs any clear reminder that Rimworld is very much sci-fi, these are it.


The colony is subject to Mother Nature’s and Lady Luck’s whims. Unfortunately, these whims manifest from random events, meaning that their occurrence is little more than a case of bad luck. There are few predictable and/or mitigatable factors that lead to their occurrence.

Conversely, there may be windfalls that accelerate the player’s plans. For example, a meteor that is full of silver lands close to the colony, and a few in-game days later, there may be visiting merchants with things that the player wants.

This part of the gameplay is perhaps the one that saps the most satisfaction that can be had from the complexity of the gameplay. Furthermore, there are few options for the player to customize the occurrence of events.


Speaking of which, the most that the player gets are “storyteller” settings. These are real-time scripts that examine the colony’s circumstances, resources, tech level and most importantly, the number of colonists that the player has.

There are several of these settings. These include the default storyteller, which tries to provide challenges that are appropriate to the colonist’s current circumstance. It might seem to be the fairest. However, this script does not consider the past events that the colony had and how it prevailed through them; in fact, none of the settings do.

Next, there is the generous “chill” setting. This is the most laid-back of them, but nasty events will consider the time in between them and the previous ones. Since the “chill” storyteller puts nasty events far and few in between, the nasty events – especially raids – can be considerably tough, especially for players that have become too complacent.

Finally, there is the completely fickle storyteller. Players who are masochists would go for this one, because it does not consider any factors at all. Events are generated completely randomly.


Weather changes are the most common type of events. The default weather is whichever median clime that is endemic to the region of the world. For example, cold temperatures and snow are the norm in mountainous regions close to the polar caps.

In addition, there are the seasons. Each type of region has its own seasons. Each season provides a median clime that is different from those of the other seasons.

However, the storyteller can still trigger weather changes that are away from the norm. For example, heatwaves are rare in cold regions, but they can still happen. In such a case, the cold-insulating gear that colonists have become a problem because most of these do not insulate against hot weather.

Perhaps the worst and least desirable weather is the dry thunderstorm. This brings down lightning all over the landmass, but does not deliver any rain to put out the fires that the lightning strikes cause. Dry thunderstorms can strip entire landmasses of foliage, unless the player has spent the effort to build firebreaks all over the landmass. (Speaking of which, mitigation of disastrous events like these are often resource-intensive.)


Crop blight can appear randomly on the player’s crops. There is no clear reason or cause that leads to this; it just happens.

Crop blight cannot be cured; it can only be stamped out, typically by cutting up or burning the plants that are afflicted. Otherwise, it just spreads. Blighted crops do not yield anything.


Fires are usually the consequence of random events like thunderstorms (especially dry ones). Fires can also be caused by equipment that overheated. Geothermal power plants are particularly notorious for doing this, though there are ways to trick the game into not activating the code that causes heat build-up. Fires can also be lit by raiders.

Fires can spread; this is displayed as embers being visibly released by existing fires and landing elsewhere that is flammable. Thus, there is a chance that fires can spread to the colony’s holdings, especially its crops (all of which are flammable) and wooden structures.

Fires can be stamped out by colonists (the animals will not help). Small fires can be put out rather quickly, but big ones would require the player to consider having fire-breaks in the first place.


Of all the bad events that can happen, raids pose the most direct threat to the colony.

Raids are carried out by factions that are hostile to the colony; factions and hostilities will be described further later. That said, raids involve the appearance of characters from those factions; they are usually armed and supplied for whatever they intend to do.

As mentioned earlier, colonists are the player’s main assets; the potential severity of nasty events, such as raids, will be proportional to the number of colonists that the player has.


The gear that they have can vary from individual to individual, but they are generally determined by the tech level of the faction that they belong to. (There will be more on factions later.) For example, tribal factions usually wield only bows and primitive melee weapons. (There will be more on weapons later.)

As for their apparel, these can vary wildly. Again, their apparel is dependent on the tech level of the factions that they belong to. Returning to the example of tribal factions, there may be amusingly naked tribespersons among the raiders.

Opportunistic players may think that there could be loot to be gained from defeating raiders. They are not wrong, but there are some limitations put in place to prevent players from profiting too much from beating raids. These will be described later.


Whenever raids occur, the player is warned of their arrival, including their method of arrival and what they would do when they enter the map. It is unclear as to how the colony is able to reliably detect their arrival, but this is likely for the sake of the player.

Most raids appear from the edges of the map. They may or may not attack immediately, though the player is informed of either. (Again, it is unclear as to how the colony can detect this.)

Raiders from technologically advanced factions can arrive by transport pods. If they do, they generally crash through the roofs of the colony. They will take a while to get out of their transport pods, meaning that there is an opportunity to mob them before they come out.

The same kinds of factions can field raiders with siege gear and supplies to last them several days. When they appear on the map, they begin to build fortifications and at least one mortar. They will begin firing shells at the colony afterwards, and will assault after they run out of shells. These raids are the most difficult to deal with, but if the player can beat them down early, the player can pilfer their supplies and mortar shells. The player can also deconstruct their fortifications and mortars for materials.


The raiders are there to kill the colonists and damage the colony, in that order. Indeed, they will prioritize killing the living members of the colony whenever they make checks for what they should do next.

Speaking of checks, the raiders operate according to scripted routines. Firstly, they will always go after any colonist or colony animal in reach. If they are not any within easy reach, they will damage any assets that they come across.

For example, if there are hoop-stones out in the open, they will break these if they come across them early in their attack. Obviously, the raiders are not that great at selecting high-value targets.

Any attack on them will immediately force a re-check of their routines. Usually, the raiders will retaliate against anyone who attacked them.

If they are not attacked, they will always try to destroy their current target, or set fire to it if it is flammable. Both will take time, so the player could use the colony itself to distract and isolate the attackers, especially if the player already has measures in place to quickly restore amenities or put out fires.

The raiders will never attack stone walls, which is wise because stone walls can take a lot of damage. However, they will attack doors, and they will immediately storm any room whose door that they destroyed.


Most raiders are not aware of the automated defences that the colony has. They might walk onto spike traps, or move into the range of automated turrets. However, some raiders are smart enough to avoid these automated defences – or to be more precise, their scripts enable awareness of the presence of these defences.


As smart as any raider would be, all raiders have a major gap in their decision-making: they are terrible at maintaining coherence of formation.

The player might observe that the most lightly-equipped of them reaches the colony first. Upon reaching the colony but not encountering any colonists, they may split up to attack different doors. If they are far enough from each other, they would not respond to attacks on their compatriots.

The shrewd player that has learned about this gap would exploit it in order to isolate and eliminate the raiders, if the player could manoeuvre his/her fighters into flanking positions. Of course, the colony’s holdings are going to take a lot of damage, but being able to kill as many raiders as possible is worthwhile.


Human raiders have the wisdom to know when to quit a fight. This is implemented through “courage” rolls.

With each defeated raider, the remaining raiders have to make a courage roll; the threshold for the roll gets worse with each raider defeated. If they fail the roll, all of the remaining raiders go on the retreat. They might fight back if the player’s colonists continue to attack them while they retreat, but most will not. This is the time for the player to capitalize on getting as much from the raiders as possible, if the player is vicious enough for that.


Combat is perhaps where Rimworld would differentiate itself from other colony-building titles – if it did not depend so much on RNG rolls.

Combat involves characters attacking each other, either in melee or at ranged. Although both can occur simultaneously, either has different mechanics, as will be described shortly.


Melee combat involves at least two opposed characters hitting each other. There may be more combatants, e.g. multiple characters ganging up on just one. However, there must be enough space around the character that is ganged up on for additional attackers to surround the target.

Any characters that are attempting to disengage from a melee will suffer considerable penalties to movement speed. They also remain vulnerable to any incoming attacks until they get at least a few tiles away.

Broken enemies will not disengage from melee combat. However, their rate of attacks is noticeably less than their opponent whose side now has the upper hand.

Ranged combatants can shoot into a melee, but there is a chance of hitting allies instead. Their skill is a major factor in determining whether this happens or not, though ultimately this is still decided through an RNG roll.

There is a way for ranged combatants to help their melee compatriots without accidentally shooting them. They have to be just behind their melee compatriots while the latter is fighting. The game considers this as “shooting over their shoulders”, so the risk of hitting them is nullified. (Of course, in real life, this cannot happen anyway, at least not without having awkward firing postures and no way to reliably aim the firearms according to line of sight.)

There are not many factors for melee combat, other than the melee skills and fitness of the combatants. Darkness is another factor, but it is a minor one.


Ranged combat is where the RNGs are at their most fickle. The developers attempt to mitigate this by implementing multiple factors that can be controlled by the player, but ultimately the outcomes of ranged attacks still depend on RNG rolls.

Anyway, ranged weapons have ranges, of course. There are four sub-ranges: point-blank (called “touch” in-game), short, medium and long. Their actual sub-ranges are measured in terms of tiles, as mentioned much earlier. Each weapon has different thresholds of accuracy across these different sub-ranges; the trends are usually determined by their archetypes.

For example, sniper rifles have great accuracy at further ranges, but poorer accuracy at shorter ranges. Presumably, this is to simulate the difficulty of bringing them to bear against closer targets.

Even if a weapon’s maximum range does not include the further sub-ranges, the thresholds are shown anyway. This can lead to some confusion among new players. For example, shotguns can barely reach up to medium range, but have ratings for long ranges anyway.


There are far more factors for ranged combat than for melee. There are the combatants’ ranged skills and their eye-sights, of course. Then, there are darkness, nearby cover and weather, if the battle is occurring outdoors.

All of these factors stack together to give considerable thresholds for the RNG rolls of ranged attacks. Indeed, the player should not expect characters to reliably land hits with ranged attacks. Even characters with sterling ranged skills could not reliably land shots under optimal conditions.


Most ranged weapons come with unlimited ammunition. However, some weapons do have limited ammunition, like hand grenades, rocket launchers and mortars. For most of these, the weapons disappear as soon as they are spent; they cannot be reloaded. The exception is the mortar, which is actually a defensive structure that can be repaired too.


The act of aiming is still a time-consuming process, brief as it is. During that time, the character cannot do anything other than aim. Even colonists that are under the player’s direct control (more on this later) cannot be forced to cancel their aiming action.

The player will want to keep this in mind. For example, having a screening force to intercept any incoming melee enemies while they are aiming is a wise precaution.


That said, any character with a ranged weapon can still fight in melee; they just use their weapon as an improvised club. This is no better than fighting with fists, however, and it is rare indeed for a character to be proficient in both ranged and melee combat.


Some objects count as cover, if characters are very near or on top of them. Cover appears to stack another RNG roll on those for incoming ranged attacks. Different pieces of cover provide different coverages.

For example, columns count as cover that can obscure the entirety of a person’s body. However, columns are not as wide as sandbags or barricades, so columns are less efficient than those at blocking incoming ranged attacks. On the other hand, sandbags and barricades do not obscure the heads of the defenders.

All types of cover has hit-point counters, meaning that cumulative hits on them can eventually destroy them. However, after a successful battle, the player can have the pieces of cover repaired, if they have not been destroyed.

Cover, of course, does not do much of anything in melee combat. However, characters that are moving through cover like sandbags are slowed down tremendously.


There are some items that go into the utility slot. These are usually high-tech gear, so the player would only get them after the mid-game segment.

For example, there are shield generators that can protect whoever is having them. These shield generators prevent the use of ranged weapons, however, so they are actually intended for use by melee fighters in the end-game segments.


Prolonged use of weapons diminishes their durability. Explosive attacks can also damage weapons that are wielded by characters that are caught in the blasts.

The deterioration will diminish the reliability of the weapons, so the player might want to replace over-used weapons regularly.


There is a setting that determines what colonists would do when attacked by enemies or when hostiles are nearby. The default option has them fleeing from enemies. Another option has them doing nothing. The third option has them retaliating, regardless of how outgunned they are.

None of these options are good. Leaving the colonists to their own devices during fights generally gets them killed or badly wounded.

Animal members of the colony, unless directed to follow their masters (which requires them to be trained in Guarding), will respond according to their Wildness rating. Typically, savage ones would attack their aggressors.


“Drafting” is the act of placing colonists under manual control. Wise players would want to use this whenever combat occurs. Drafting can also be used to stall certain tasks outside of combat and direct colonists elsewhere.

There is emphasis on manual control, however. The colonists will not do anything until given commands by the player. Indeed, it is possible to deliberately kill colonists by drafting them and having them starve to death.

Drafted colonists can be controlled in groups or individually. Group control is relatively easy, but could have been easier if there is a way to bind drafted colonists to specific control groups, not unlike what the player could do in competent real-time strategy games.


Animals that have been trained to Guard will follow their currently assigned masters around when their masters are drafted, if their Guard behaviour has been enabled. With Guard alone, they will not attack any faraway enemies, but will intercept any incoming close-combat threats.

Animals can also be trained to “Attack”, after they have been trained to Guard. The player can direct their masters to “release” the animals, in which case they will separate from their masters when their masters are directed to attack an enemy. The animals then proceed to engage said enemy.

This is generally not desirable, but if the animal happens to be a powerful damage sponge, like a rhino, having it surge forward first can be a great way to draw fire.

Eventually though, the player would want colonists to take incoming fire instead, after they have been kitted out with advanced gear. Besides, a lot of end-game weapons can kill even tough animals quite readily.


Typically, battles result in some characters being rendered dead. If the player is skilled at commanding the colonists, most of the dead would be enemies.

Dead characters will drop all of their non-apparel items on the ground. If they are outdoors, these immediately begin to degrade. Therefore, after a battle, the player will want to prioritize looting after more urgent matters have been dealt with. That said, there is no issue with looting these items.

However, the apparel items that the dead are wearing are considered as “tainted”. The player can strip them off and claim them, but merchants will not buy tainted apparel and no colonist will be comfortable wearing them.

There is no way to cleanse tainted apparel in the official vanilla build of the game. The most that the player could do is destroy them or smelt them down to regain some materials. Either job takes a while, and does not grant any experience points.


Some of the player’s colonists can be assigned to perform the role of warden. This enables the designation of rooms as jail cells. Downed enemy characters can be captured and brought to a jail cell.

Alternatively, the player could draft a colonist, and then have that colonist arrest another colonist and incarcerate the latter as a prisoner. Doing this will inflict serious mood de-buffs on the other colonist, due to the broken trust, but will not otherwise cause the colonist to cease to be a member of the colony.

Of course, if the player intends to get anything from a prisoner, the prisoner needs to have his/her injuries tended to. Prisoners also cannot feed themselves, so wardens have to bring food over to them.

Their jail cells can be Spartan, though this is not conducive to deriving benefits from prisoners (more on these later). Indeed, it might be in the player’s interest to have comfortable cells for prisoners, including even TVs for them. After all, prisoners are human characters just like the colonists, and thus have their own needs.


Prisoners generally will not try to break out unless they are being badly mistreated. If they do break due to severely bad mood, their first act is to attempt to break down the doors of their cells.

If there is a breach or hole in the walls of the cell, the cell is considered as compromised; the prisoner will eventually attempt to escape. Well-treated prisoners take longer to decide, but all of them eventually will.


The main reason to have prisoners is to recruit them. Prisoners are the most readily available source of new colonists; other sources are just too rare or too transient.

That said, prisoners generally do not like their current predicament. All of them start with severe negative de-buffs in their relationships. However, wardens can attempt to talk to them, which builds rapport between the prisoners and the wardens.

The player only needs one warden to build rapport. Indeed, having this single warden build extraordinary levels of rapport increase the likelihood of that warden being able to recruit the prisoner. Moreover, the prisoner would carry this level of relationship into his/her new life as a colonist.


Ultimately, the act of recruiting a prisoner is dependent on an RNG roll against a threshold. Still, knowing the factors that contribute to the threshold is important.

Firstly, there is the prisoner’s allegiance to his/her faction. If the faction is already hostile to the colony, this imposes a tremendous hurdle. Secondly, there are the traits of the prisoner. If the prisoner has a personality that opposes that of the recruiter, the recruitment attempt takes a penalty.

Thirdly, there are the conditions of the prisoner’s incarceration. A prisoner that is well-accommodated, e.g. a TV in his/her cell, lavish furnishing and such other perks, is likely to be in a good mood, which helps recruitment.


The most important factor by far, however, is resistance. Resistance accounts for most of the difficulty of the roll threshold.

Initial resistance is also determined by the prisoner’s faction and its regard for the colony; more hostile factions instil higher resistance in its members. Every completed interaction with a warden will reduce the resistance of a prisoner; the amount of the reduction depends on the Social skill of the warden.


Prisoners can also be released. This is the most effective way of reducing hostilities with a faction. However, for this to happen, the prisoner must have his/her injuries fully treated. The prisoner must also survive the trek to the edge of the landmass.

Released prisoners that managed to exit the landmass automatically return to the faction that they came from. They might return in later raids, but they also retain any goodwill that may be helpful if the player manages to capture them again.


In lieu of recruiting a prisoner, the player can choose to commit atrocities against them.

The first option is to harvest organs from the prisoner. Harvesting a kidney and a lung will not kill the prisoner, but leaves the prisoner emaciated and very upset. Harvesting critical organs like the heart and liver or both kidneys and lungs will kill the prisoner. The organs can then be used for transplants (regardless of compatibilities).

The player can also sell prisoners as slave commodities. This pleases the faction that received them as goods. Finally, the player can choose to have prisoners executed outright. There is no explicit benefit from doing this, however.

Maltreatment of prisoners, fatal or otherwise, is not looked upon kindly by anyone except psychopaths; the colonists become demoralized by what has been done to the prisoner. Furthermore, the faction that the prisoner belongs to somehow learns of their member’s ordeal (or death) and relations will worsen.


The colonists are not alone on the planet. There are holdings of other factions that have been around for longer than the colony has been. These factions have members of their own and settlements not unlike those of the player’s colony.

Factions with holdings that are close to the player’s colony are certain to come across the colony sooner or later. The player can see the holdings of these factions during the generation of a playthrough game, but has no way to know which are benevolent or warmongers.

Firstly, there are tribal factions. Most tribal factions are hostile from the start. Secondly, there are factions of middle-tier technology; their people are likely to be armed with guns. Some of these are technologically advanced enough to use transport pods for raids. (There will be more on transport pods later.)

Generally, the player will want a balance of friendly and hostile factions. Friendly factions allow trade with them, whereas hostile factions send raids so that the player can hone the colonists’ skills in battle.

Factions can be hostile to each other, but this has little effect in-game, other than complicating recruitment efforts and generating some quests. The factions do not seem to actively attack each other, much less wipe each other out. That would be the province of the player though – more on this later.


In the narrative, the other factions frequently send out caravans across the planet, usually for the purpose of trade. Random events direct some of these caravans across the player’s colony; friendly factions tend to send caravans more frequently.

The merchants have their pack beasts and guards, and they themselves are armed. They are definitely not easy to rob, if the player is thinking of doing that. That said, the transgressions of harming the caravan’s members compound onto each other; a single caravan that is waylaid is enough to sink relations into hostilities.

That said, wiser players would probably peruse the intended feature of the merchant caravans: trade. The player sends the most sociable colonist to meet the merchant, because the Social skill grants discounts if it is high enough.

Merchant visits are randomized events, however. The player may have the misfortune of having many merchants visits in short order while having nothing for trade, or no merchants come when the player has things that he/she want to sell away.


The user interface for transactions is not exactly the most intuitive. In fact, one of the screenshots in this article shows certain displays that seem counter-intuitive. After the player has figured out the kinks though, transactions can be made with just a few button clicks.

All transactions are still in the favour of the merchant, by the way; selling prices are always lower than buying prices. However, there are still a few things that the player could do in order to empty the merchant’s inventory of anything that the player desires.

Firstly, merchants will buy items of low quality or durability, as long as they accept such goods. This can be used to offload unwanted or degraded gear.

Secondly, all types of merchants will purchase sculptures, as mentioned earlier. Considering that there is a lot of stone in most landmasses, having a full-time sculptor making sculptures for sale is a good way to get the most out of any visits.


Anything that the player sells to the merchants is transferred immediately to their beasts of burden. However, anything that the player purchased is dropped onto the ground in front of the merchant instead. The player has to direct colonists to move them into the colony’s stockpile.

During that time, the goods deteriorate due to being outdoors. Furthermore, characters from the merchant caravan and wild animals might nick any purchased food if they are feeling hungry. This can be very annoying.


Colonists are not the only people with relationships. Other characters, such as visiting merchants and their guards, and even raiders, have relationships too. This can be important when having colonists interact – peacefully or violently – with them.

For example, colonists who happen to have been recruited when they were prisoners are likely to have relationships with other members of their previous faction. In the case of former raiders, the next raid from their former faction may include their good friends or relatives. Killing these raiders can sadden them.

On the other hand, existing good relationships give the player an advantage in recruiting them, if the wardens happen to be related to the prisoners that they are trying to recruit.


As mentioned earlier, the game takes place on a planet. The player can bring up the map for the game world at any time to check where the player’s colony – or colonies – are relative to other places. Places of interest are represented as distinctive icons, and terrain features are shown on the map together with the geographical statistics too. The player can also use the world map to check the progress of any travelling caravans.


Speaking of which, caravans are the most late-game gameplay element, mainly because of the amount of preparation that is needed before the player can utilize it.

The colonists are not just restricted to the landmass that they are living on. By forming caravans, colonists and their animal companions can move themselves, resources and items to other landmasses on the world, though only across land routes. The goals of the caravans may be trade, founding of other colonies, and/or destruction of the holdings of other factions.

Most of the gameplay involving caravans take place in the world map view instead of the landmass view, which is the view mode that the player would have been using prior to partaking in the gameplay feature of caravans.


The player forms caravans through the use of a user interface that has been specifically made for this gameplay feature. The player selects the colonists, animals and goods that they will carry in their travels.

The caravan must have at least one human member. If a caravan loses all of its human members, it is lost, no matter how many animal members that survived.

The caravan can only carry as much stuff as its members’ combined carrying capacity allows. Beasts of burden like muffaloes and donkeys are scripted to carry the most, because they do not appear to be slowed down by heavy loads. Obviously, having such animals for caravans is a great choice; they are very tough anyway, and most of them can eat plants. Of course, the player needs to have already tamed them in the first place.

While a caravan is active on the world map and is not engaged in battle, it can be split into smaller caravans. Usually, there is no reason to do this, unless the player urgently needs to have colonists peel off with resources to get to a colony that needs them. The splinter caravan might be under-defended. (There will be more on caravans engaging in battle later.)


When characters join a caravan, they collect the items and resources that they would bring along on their journey. These items and resources go into their inventories, circumventing any limitations on item slots, spatial volume and, most importantly, the mechanism of carrying item stacks.

What they take into their inventory is automatically set by the game’s allocation scripts. The game will prioritize putting loads on beasts of burden and other characters with considerable strength.

Some players consider this as a good way to move a lot of goods elsewhere on the same landmass, though this requires a lot of micromanagement.

This is not without problems; if they are knocked out or killed during battles that involve the caravan (more on these shortly), they spill all of their items onto the ground. Other caravan members have to collect them, bringing these into their inventory and possibly overloading them.

In the case of beasts of burden, the sudden release of items can be a briefly amusing piñata explosion, just before the frustration of having to deal with the mess sets in.


After all of the members of a caravan has left the colony that is the starting point of their travels, they appear on the world map as a blip. The player can check on their progress as they travel in real-time towards their destination. The travelling speed of the caravan depends on the slowest member, though the game will try to load everyone such that they move at equal speeds.

The caravan will automatically pick the most time-efficient routes to the destination. However, these routes are not always the safest or the most food-efficient. The elaboration for this is to follow.


As long as a caravan is travelling, nobody eats. However, after enough of the caravan’s members have their hunger meters depleted, the caravan stops so that the hungry ones can sate their need. However, the others will not eat if their hunger meters are still okay. After enough members have had their hunger sated, the caravan continues moving.


Human colonists who have skill at Plants can forage while they are members of a travelling caravan. They cannot forage while the caravan is on the move, but can do so if the caravan stops.

However, the effectiveness of foraging depends on the terrain that the caravan is moving through. For example, wintry terrain barely gives any food to any of the animal members, and the human ones can scarcely get any too. For another example, grassland plains can sate the herbivorous animals in the caravan, but give hardly any to anyone else.

Foraging rates are actually tracked separately for each character, in order to differentiate his/her capacity at outdoors survival from those of other members of the caravan.

When a member of the caravan forages, their hunger meter refills according to how much nutrition their foraging is providing them. If a colonist that is particularly skilled at Plants is foraging more than he/she could eat, the benefits of his/her surplus foraging is divvied up among the other members of the caravan. That said, foraging never produces food, if the caravan’s members are somehow able to forage more than they could eat.


In addition to the hunger meters, there are the rest meters of the caravan’s members. As with the hunger meters, when enough members have their rest meters depleted, the caravan stops to rest. Even the ones that do not have their meters depleted will rest too. Resting members, of course, cannot do any foraging, so their hunger meters continue to deplete. Those who have fully rested will awake and forage, if possible.


The other statistics of the members of the caravan are still active, even though they are not shown. The player can see these by checking the Bio pages of the members.

For example, the Recreation meters of the human members are still going down as they travel. The only means to refill that meter while travelling is to drink beer or take drugs, meaning that at least beer is a must-have supply for caravans.


The player could micromanage the caravan by having them make stops to replenish their hunger meters and rest meters. If the caravan makes such stops when their members have not depleted their rest or hunger meters, their hunger meters will still go down, but at a much slower rate. Their rest meters will replenish, but not as quickly when the caravan makes emergency stops to replenish rest meters.


Trading can occur when a caravan reaches the holdings of another faction that is amenable to trade with the player’s colony. This trade is carried out using the world map view, and its interface looks noticeably different from the one that is used for trading with visiting merchants.

Unlike the other trading interface, all goods are immediately shifted to and from inventories, which is convenient.

It should be mentioned here that the caravan will never come across another faction’s caravans, because the latter only appears in random events.


Any of the player’s caravans has a visibility percentage. The percentage is the main factor in determining the likelihood of attacks on the caravan.

Small caravans with very few members and little valuable goods have low visibility. Increasing the number of members greatly increases the visibility of the caravan, while having many goods also does the same, especially if the goods are valuable. The exact equations for the calculations are not revealed to the player, however, at least not without examining the game’s scripts.

The combat power level of the caravan is another major factor. Well-armed and –armored colonists contribute much to the power level, as do animals that are innately ferocious. Again, the equations that determine the combat power of the caravan are unclear (as is the power level itself), but it is noticeable that powerful caravans do not get attacked as often as other caravans with lesser potential but the same visibility. When they are attacked though, the attackers are often well-equipped and numerous.


The player is immediately informed whenever a caravan comes under attack. The caravan immediately stops, and will not go anywhere until the attack is resolved, one way or another.

The game also automatically generates a small landmass for this purpose, populating the caravan’s members at the centre. The attackers appear at the edges of the landmass and will move to engage the caravan. The caravan’s members will be slowed down by their inventory, however, so the player has very few tactical options other than to focus-fire and hope that the caravan can soak the damage without suffering debilitating damage.

The attack happens in real-time, even if the player is looking at something else. Therefore, it is imperative that the player responds immediately.


An attack is resolved successfully if all of the attackers have been killed, downed or have fled. The player is given the option to have the caravan continue on its travel.

The player can choose to delay this, which is a wise choice. The delay only lasts for 24 hours before the caravan automatically reforms. During this time, the player can direct the colonists to build makeshift medical stations and treat whoever is injured, including downed enemies that have been captured after the battle.

Downed enemies will then follow the caravan as captives. If the caravan gets into trouble again, they will, of course, not fight for the player. In fact, they immediately try to escape. (If the attackers are angry man-hunting animals, then they are quite doomed if they run in the wrong direction.)

Captives can be sold as slaves (which inflicts the usual mood de-buffs for having committed slavery), or otherwise returned to a colony to be incarcerated. Injured caravan members will slow down the caravan as a whole, however.


Prior to being able to make caravans, the most that the player could do to stop raids from hostile factions is to make peace with them. Of course, this will not sate bloodthirsty players, and there are some factions that never accept peace.

With caravans, the player can now have his/her battle-hardened colonists attack and annihilate other factions. When a caravan stops at the holding of any faction (including friendly ones), the player can have the caravan assault it. Obviously, this destroys relations with the faction, but if the player already intends the latter’s destruction, this is not an issue.

Like attacks on caravans, the game generates a landmass for this purpose. The game also generates the settlement for the holding, together with characters from that faction. The player’s goal is to have each and every one of these characters killed, downed or forced to flee; casualties among their animal companions are optional.

The player would have to consider how to deal with the defenders’ assets; they can have defences just like the player’s. Furthermore, the player might want to have the bases’ resources and amenities as intact as possible, because they will be useful in the aftermath.


Prior to having caravans and assaulting enemy holdings, the player may have already come across instances of where the player can “claim” structures and other constructions. These are the ruins that are strewn about the landmass of the starting colony. Claiming these place them under the player’s ownership. On the other hand land, it is likely that the player would not bother with these because the player would be tearing them down for materials.

Claiming structures can also happen after a successful assault. However, claiming the enemy’s base does not create a new colony. Rather, the player would just claim them to quickly create some rooms for medical treatment (and incarceration).


As with attacks on the caravan, the player has an in-game day to do whatever that is needed and/or desired. Leaving the enemy holding effectively wipes it from the world map.

That said, this is the means through which factions can be destroyed. After all of their holdings are destroyed – which is easier than done but doable because they are all visible on the world map – the faction is permanently eliminated from the world.


Interestingly, the player can attempt to send other caravans to reinforce a caravan that is already engaging in battle. Of course, the player would be emptying his/her colonies and rendering them vulnerable to attacks.

To have a caravan reinforce another, the player needs to park the reinforcing caravan next to the one that is engaged in battle. Then, the reinforcements join the battle from the appropriate edge of the landmass. This effectively merges the caravans after the battle, so the player has to go through the hassle of splitting them if the player does not want a unified caravan.


One of the transitions to end-game content is the unlocking of the transport pod tech. This allows the player to build pods with disposable rocket thrusters. After they are loaded and launched, they can reach their destination in a short time.

The pods require fuel and quite a bit of metal, and they are only single-use. However, this can be worthwhile, especially if the player has a lot of steel to spare and intends to move an existing colony to another location quickly.

If the player intends to launch pods on a tile on the world map that does not already contain one of the player’s own colonies or caravans, the pods must have colonists among their payload. After they land, the colonists immediately form a caravan and carry whatever things that have been in the pods.

If the intended destination is one of the player’s caravans, the caravan receives the contents of the pods automatically as soon as the pods reach them. Of course, the caravan must stay where it is in order to receive the pods.

If the intended target is one of the player’s colonies, the pods will land somewhere near the colony’s holdings. Its members must still collect the stuff that the pods release.

If the destination is the holdings of a non-pirate faction and the pods contain only goods, the pods are received as gifts. However, if the pods contain colonists, the player can either have them assault the holdings, or trade with the faction, if the latter is possible.

Launching pods into the holdings of pirate factions outright wastes the pods; the pirates happily take them as booty and relations remain hostile – as they prefer.


Perhaps the most enticing goal of having a caravan is the establishment of a new colony elsewhere. This new colony will share the same tech level, and can have its own roster of members. The player will have to build up that colony like the first one, but with the benefits of having already considerable tech level and resources from the first colony – assuming that the player has planned for its supplies, of course.

Building and uninstalling furniture and portable amenities ahead of an expedition is a wise decision, in such cases. Having the colonies within the range of transport pods is smart too – nothing can intercept in-flight pods by the way.

At this time of writing, the official build of the game allows only five colonies, for the sake of code stability in the player’s game-saves. Having more than one colony can inflate game-save sizes, and also increase loading times.


Throughout the playthrough, the player may gain opportunities to undertake “quests”. The quest-givers somehow contact the player, and the offers appear under the tab for quests. The player can choose to accept them or let them lapse. There are no means of rejecting quests outright, and there is no reason to do so because the player can have as many quest offers as they come.

Most of these quests involve something happening to the colony or someone coming to the colony. For example, there are missions in which temporary members join the colony for a number of days, after which they leave and the player receives the reward for keeping them alive.

There is considerable variety in the effects and consequences of quests. One of the amusing ones that I have enjoyed is one in which the reward is given immediately, but the colony is subjected to continuous rainy thunderstorm for many days.

In the case of most quests, after the player accepts them, there are deadlines before which the player must achieve the objectives of the quests. Failure to do so will inflict penalties and/or worsen relations with the quest-givers.

As for the quest-givers, they may be free agents, or they may be one of the factions around. In the case of the latter, helping one faction might complicate relations with other factions that are hostile to that faction.


The end-game segment begins when the player begins efforts to get the colonists off-world. This can be achieved in one of two ways. Either way though, the player must need to have unlocked some of the end-game techs, namely the ones that allow the building of space-ships.

The colony will receive a quest early on. This involves an NPC who has access to a ship. If the NPC survives that quest, the NPC would later contact the player about an offline ship, often located at a location elsewhere on the world that happens to be very far away. The colonists would have to perform an exodus to reach the ship.

The player has to claim the ship, which begins the quest for real. The player has to build a base on the landmass that the ship is on, because this will be a long ordeal.

The ship is intact, but has only the basic amount of components. As soon as the player’s colonists have arrived, the ship begins its launch countdown and also begins to attract hostiles – especially robotic ones. Thus, the player must already have planned for a quick set-up of defences and the supplies to last for the countdown. This is the main drawback for trying to complete a playthrough with this method.

The other method has the player building a space-ship from scratch. This takes a lot of resources. Furthermore, the colony that hosts the space-ship will attract increasing attention from nasty characters, though this is not as severe as the attacks on the ship in the aforementioned quest. Still, the last step is to power-up the completed ship for launching, during which the colony will be attacked a lot.

The playthrough ends when the ship lifts off. The player will be graded according to how many colonists managed to be in the ship’s sleeping caskets, and how many have to be left behind to protect its launch.


As mentioned earlier, Rimworld was designed with the intention of making a Dwarf Fortress with more intuitive graphics. Consequently, the visual assets that the player would see are simple but mostly recognizable.

For example, trees have visible trunks and canopies, and different species of trees have different shapes to differentiate them.

Some of the visuals are also not implemented literally, if they would go against gameplay convenience. For example, 0% illumination is not shown in-game as complete pitch-black darkness.

Unfortunately, there are still a few visual designs that cannot be considered serviceable, even though they are intentionally designed to be simplistic.


For better or worse, some visual designations are only presentable in the form of hues and shading. The most prominent examples are stone resources, which share the same sprite silhouettes. The same complaint goes for fabric resources. This is not a problem for those who do not have colour-blindness, but for those that do, differentiating between the resources can be a chore.


There had been other games that have similar presentation and mechanics, such as Prison Architect. The human characters are represented as collections of circular, oblong or trapezoid shapes, depending on their body builds. These are, of course, simplistic but recognizable as humanoids.

Yet, the main characteristics of humanoids are the presence of limbs. Prison Architect has those for the prisoners and wardens. Oxygen Not Included may have cartoonish looks for its Duplicants, but they still have limbs.

The importance of these limbs, and their animations, is to indicate to the player what the characters are doing at a glance.

Rimworld’s characters do not have any at all. In fact, the only character that can be considered to have a limb is the elephant, because its trunk is visible. Even so, it is not animated. Consequently, characters look the same whenever they are doing anything, be it planting trees or fighting off wild animals. The player has to resort to looking at the characters surroundings in order to recognize what they may be doing at the time.

Thus, there is the observation that the intentionally simplistic designs have slipped into unacceptably cheapskate territory.


Any characters that are armed with ranged weapons have the sprites for those weapons appearing on their persons, seemingly suspended in front of their sprites. The weapons do have facings, and the facing that is designated as its business end is always directed at the characters’ target. This helps a lot in recognizing which target that they are shooting at.


Unfortunately, the same attention to detail is not given to the sprites of melee weapons. Melee weapons are not animated at all. Regardless of whatever a human character is armed with and whatever physiology that an animal has, they all visually appear to fight in the same way: their sprites are shoved towards those of their enemies.


Although there are a lot of visual assets, there are many things that still require the player to check text passages or read-outs for pertinent information.

Some are understandable, such as the exact diets of animals. Some others are not so, such as the read-outs of any complications involving the limbs of characters, because their sprites do not show any limbs when they could have.


There are no voice-overs whatsoever. In fact, only animals get aural sound clips.

Fortunately, there are plenty of audio-based indicators, such as the alarm that sounds whenever animals go stir-crazy. Important occurrences are also accompanied by distinct sound effects, together with the visual cue that appears on-screen.

Every weapon has its own sound effects, which are very much their only differentiators. After all, melee weapons are not animated, and many ranged weapons share the same visual designs for their projectiles. Explosions and lightning hits are discernibly loud, which is just as well because either occurrence can cause quite a lot of problems.

There are several music tracks. Some are used for peaceful moments. However, when the colony is threatened or battle otherwise commences, the game switches to one of a few music tracks that are only ever used for these occasions. They are ominous, as befitting their use for such moments.


As is evident from the not entirely streamlined structuring of this review article and its considerable length, Rimworld has a lot of gameplay elements that are interwoven with each other. Indeed, the complexity is complicated and dense enough that I did not have an easy time determining where to park which passage.

That said, learning how the gameplay elements are interconnected with each other is the main appeal of this game. Obviously, this game serves a niche market, but it would certainly sate the appetites of players who like figuring out how to utilize such dense gameplay to optimal effect.

Unfortunately, an observant player would eventually have the impression that much of the complexity in the gameplay is sourced from fickle luck. Egregious examples include weather events, random proliferation of dirt and the composition of hostile raiders. Of course, having variable “story-teller” settings help mitigate the perfidiousness of the otherwise random occurrences, but these will not allay the aforementioned impression. Furthermore, combat is dependent on RNG rolls.

There had been other colony-building games, designed by indie developers or otherwise, so RimWorld has considerable contemporary contenders like Oxygen Not Included. It may have been a well-designed game, but in hindsight, it does not have much that makes it stand out from the rest.