It's been a long, strange trip to level 34 on Breakdown in State of Decay. I've greatly slowed down my progress on breakdown levels though in order to experiment with the perfect base setup. Basically, I want to never run out of resources and stay on the same Breakdown level forever. The more I experiment, the closer I get.
I'm going to impart the information I've learned and continue to learn over to you through this blog, starting with a post on how to never run out of resources in State of Decay. That's right, how to keep your resources maxed out while remaining on the same level of Breakdown. This is how I got a high score of 280,000 points over the course of two weeks without even coming close to running out of resources. I quit because of a few mission bugs that prevented more from spawning, which created a play experience so boring that I couldn't continue on the same level. That's neither here nor there, so let's dive into my strategy.
NOTE: I tried very hard to restrict myself from giving EVERY piece of advice possible here. I'll focus on the general strategy and not how to physically play every aspect of the game better. A lot is learned from experience that would take forever to explain.
Set Your Home Base: Trucking Warehouse
Remember that it will take 50 materials to use this base. Since you will slowly lose materials beyond 30 in your RV, make sure that you get 60 before starting. By calling in a runner before taking up materials you will be able to achieve this. Be sure to help the runner go back to the base before you dump off your materials. Then you'll have 60 (which will become 58 within a minute) as you find a car and head off to your home base. This location is ideal for my strategy because it has two vital components already in play:
1. Food storage. This will enable you to create all the fuel you need to play. Since it only takes one fuel every few hours for your outposts, the 3 you can create every 1.5 hours is in excess of what's required. So that's one resource down, four to go! Sometimes you will get lucky and the Alamo Storage will spawn instead of the trucking one. This has the added bonus of being a maxed out refrigerated storage which helps against spoilage automatically!
2. Machine Shop and Munition Shop in One. Somehow the warehouse has a workshop that has all the powers of two separately upgraded ones! So you get your cars repaired every night and you can create explosives. You could get unlucky and get a basic workshop, if so you'll want to upgrade it to a machine shop. I don't actually create any items from my workshop when I'm going for a high score. Instead, I simply create all my items in a previous play through. Especially firecrackers... which we'll discuss later on in the strategy.
In addition to the built in stuff, you will want to build the following:
Infirmary - This is the level 2 medical facility, don't build the level 3.
Greenhouse - 9 Food Every Day
Watch Tower - 3 Ammo 1.5 Hours. DO NOT SPEND 1 Ammo to snipe. Ever.
Dojo - 3 Ammo 1.5 Hours
Bunkhouse - Sleep deprivation prevention
The last spot is up to you and I'm heavily experimenting with this. I prefer a Library (3 Ammo 1.5 Hours) or second Greenhouse (9 Food Every Day). Think of it in terms of outposts... The library is 1-2 ammo outpost depending on how often you create ammo and the greenhouse is three food outposts. Also, more food means bigger population of gatherers!
I have also tried an additional storage facility which was actually pretty good when it let me create 5 food (rarely). Plus the extra storage space helps when you would have gone over from gathers during the simulation. Lastly, an extra storage facility gave me more of a buffer when the simulation ran and my gatherers sucked at their jobs.
The kitchen only helps your survival, which eventually is a non issue once you're a skilled player. The food spoilage prevention is accomplished by your storage facility.
You don't need the dining room, it just means doing more missions to keep people happy.
In the end, I tend to go with a second greenhouse. It took a lot of research to decide that, but experiment as you wish!
Choosing Your Outposts
How you set up your outposts is up to you, except when it comes to what resources work within them. You will want to get enough food outposts combined with your greenhouse(s) that you gain or come close to 0 food every day. The rest of your outposts should be materials if possible. Try to get your materials as far below 20 as you can. The less you lose every day the less you need your little foragers to find for you. If you need ammo, empty the location of resources and build on it.
DO NOT create fuel or medicine outposts. They do nothing.
As you get better at the game, you'll learn that outpost locations really don't matter much (except for calling runners). I sometimes leave no outposts by my base so that all the "Too Many Hordes" missions are easier to do (and thus raise the happiness of my members). That being said, when you continue the game, hold off on extending your outposts for 1 fuel until after you complete too many hordes with your unhappy members. This saves a lot of time making everyone happy.
One more point on outposts: leave one material or food within them when possible. This will enable you to switch between outposts later on as needed. Like if you want to switch 2 food outposts today but change your mind tomorrow. This gives you great flexibility.
Game Play Goals: Happiness and Points
Once your base and outposts are established, there are only two things left to do: get your people happy and earn lots of points!
To get my peeps happy, I follow this list of methods:
1. Call in for support and pick up a resource. Do something else while you wait for the runner, like find more resources, and then start the runner assistance mission. This will improve your happiness and the runner's happiness. Be careful with runners and try to create lines of outposts to prevent runners in trouble missions.
2. Kill hordes during Too Many Hordes.
3. Kill infestations at any time.
4. Help enclaves (do all missions) and recruit new members.
5. As soon as someone has a smiley face next to their mood (regardless of what it is) then stop playing as them and pick up someone else who is unhappy.
6. Only play as the characters who are not sick, not tired, and not injured.
Remember that some people have stupid mood issues even when happy. Like overbearing. So pay attention to the little person icon next to their mood. A smile is all you need to see.
Keeping everyone happy can be like a full time job, but eventually you'll be done and looking for ways to get more points...
So how do you get lots of points? Before the breakdown level when you are going for a high score (any level beyond one that gives x11 on scorecard), go to the warehouse and create one infirmary, watchtower, and all workshops. From those workshops mass produce firecrackers. That's 20 per 5 minutes from 4 workshops. You'll need to work hard to keep the ammo coming in fast enough ;)
Fast forward to your high score level where you have your base all set up and missions have slowed to a crawl. What do you do with the fireworks? You drive around propane tanks where you have no outposts for starters. I like to use the one at the southwest section of Marshall a few houses left of the Alamo as well as the one on the right side of the football field. Throw a firecracker near the propane tank (but not on top or you'll have trouble shooting through the zombies). Wait a bit, then shoot for 200-600 points depending on specials and zombie spawn rates. Get in the car and drive between those two. You can also pick out further away propane tanks to ensure larger spawns. Your boredom is the only real restriction haha, but this is the best points per hour you're going to get.
Keep growing your population until you're no longer gaining food each day. Sometimes I go just a bit over knowing that there's enough food on the map to last me a very long time even at -3 food per day. Be careful though, you will lose food for hunger when the simulation runs. It can take a big chunk of food away if you have a large population.
You need to get as big as possible in order to guarantee lots of resources during the simulation. You'll be shocked how much you gather once your whole population is happy.
Resource Breakdown for Infinite Resources
Ammo is taken care of by your library, dojo, and watch tower. If you chose a second greenhouse over the library, then you'll want to create 1-3 ammo outposts to make up for it. Try to create ammo twice with all your buildings. That's 12-18 ammo per day. Also, kill infestations to reduce the amount of ammo needed. If you get low on ammo do not panic. Your population will ease off using it while you build your resources back up. Just create more ammo outposts and take a hit to food or materials when needed.
So seeing a big fat -18 for ammo every day is the same as a 0 if you have 3 buildings creating it. If you're playing a crazy amount, like an 8 hour weekend, you're going to produce quite a bit of ammo.
Each greenhouse is 9 food and each outpost is 3 more.
Your outposts will reduce how much you lose per simulation, but the key to getting more is your gatherers. A happy population will find a lot of materials.
All of your medicine will need to be collected by gatherers once the map is clear. The better you play the less injuries and sicknesses you'll need to waste medicine on.
Your food storage can build 3 oil every 1.5 hours. That's like 6 hours of play time worth of oil. Good to go!
Just from writing this basic guide I have come up with numerous follow up articles you probably are interested in reading.... like transitioning between breakdown levels, getting around ammo/snack/pain killer stack size bugs, keeping influence crazy high, improving fame, etc.
All in good time! Please leave a comment and let me know if you like the blog so far!