As the title suggests, this is not a guide in the proper sense, but more of a list of tips meant to set you going for the early game. The game is in Alpha-stage and, as it undergoes heavy development—new features are constantly added, along with rebalancing of prices etc.—, some of my findings may not be accurate in the future. Still, my aim is to organise the data I collected from two years of in-game play and make it available to you.
To that end, I’ve put together a spreadsheet with info related to crops (growth, profitability), stores and their services, cooking recipes, and a few other bits of information. It is a work in progress and it might not prove feasible to continually update it as the game further develops in the future; but, for now, it should aid you in setting up a strategy. My mini guide and spreadsheet reflect the changes up to and including Build Version 0.4.5.4.
Verdant Village Spreadsheet [docs.google.com]
(Note: Steam no longer allows links to Google sheets and by default marks them as malicious. You can still open the spreadsheet by copying the link and pasting it in your browser.)
I’ll start with a few general remarks about the game play.
Time and Stamina
There are 4 seasons per year, 28 days for each.
Though almost everything the player does consumes stamina (yellow bar in the left upper corner UI) with a few exceptions (such as picking up forage or harvesting that don’t take stamina), there is no risk of fainting or fatigue. Stamina can be recovered through either sleeping or food/drinks consumption. Sleeping in bed will also save the game; in effect, it is the only way to save the game.
Once you have reliable sources of food, there is no need to sleep other than saving the game or passing time.
And now let’s jump straightaway into strategising. What should you do and in what order to ensure success? But, first, does the game pressure you to be successful? No, you can play casually, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, ignoring the quests for as long as you require to get your bearings.
But if you do want to come up with the best strategy, then here are my findings. There are many sources of a steady income, from pretty early on.
→ Foraging for mushrooms in the swamp and shells on the beach.
→ And then there is farming; the problem is that you might want to keep in storage some of your crops for quests and cooking; hence, diminished returns for the first year at least.
→ Fishing and hunting. Probably not so profitable: fishing requires a lot of time and stamina, but it can be made into easily accessible food for other activities. Hunting will become more profitable once you unlock the drying rack, marinade pan and smoker.
→ Animal Husbandry. Building the coop and barn (and their upgrades) is very costly both in term of resources and building time. But Beekeeping is quite profitable and you should focus on it as soon as possible.
→ And lastly, but most importantly, mining. Mining is the biggest source of money (at least for this version of the game), though not from very early on. In fact, you need to get to the bottom of the mine (which is levels 110 to 124) and reach the adamantium ore. But once you do it, you may come home, on average, with about 30,000g or more worth of ores and gems after 10 or 12 hours of mine diving. Compare that with a few thousands that you might throw in the selling bin from everything else (farming, ranching, fishing, etc.) at the end of the day.
And now I’m going to go into more detail for each of these activities, starting with:
The first few days
Take the wood with you and leave everything else behind and go to town (East path from your farm) and continue East to the town square and further to Lylah’s “Ashby’s Sundries.” Talk to Lylah behind the counter to accept the quest for wood and fulfil it immediately.
Next, go South and a bit West until a bridge let’s you cross South to the swamp. Search the entire area picking up all the mushrooms (interact with the signs and pick up the bridge construction quest). Somewhere South-East there is an opening that lets you cross to the beach. Pick up all the shells you can find (and have inventory for) return to Lylah’s store by 5 PM. Sell everything but the dove shells (you’ll need 4 for a future quest).Buy whatever seeds you fancy but keep in mind the following:
- Kumquat at 12g/day and Artichoke at 8.9g/day are the most profitable crops for spring.
And then there is Sugarcane which grows in spring, summer and fall and keeps producing. If it were to be planted on spring 1st, it would make 11.3g/day by the end of fall if sold raw. Take it to the Mill instead (further South-East from the town) and mill it into sugar at the ratio of 1 sugarcane to 3 sugar and the profit is 87.6g/day by the end of fall. The caveat is that it requires a lot of work as it keeps producing every other day and many trips to the mill.
- It may be beneficial to aim and plant every crop available for spring (that includes thyme but excludes the 15 types of flowers). There is a perk you can get for planting all available crops in all seasons that you might be interested to get. There are quests that require particular crops (some crops, but not all, can also be bought from Remi’s stall on non-rainy Mondays and Fridays; or her home store on rainy days). Also, flax can be turned into cloth at a loom and wheat can be turned into either flour at the mill or animal feed at the kitchen table.
- Don’t start a huge farming plot until you can gauge how much time and stamina it requires maintaining. As you upgrade your tools, you can slowly enlarge your plot. It is advisable to start planting near water as you’ll need to frequently refill your watering can. The lake south gives plenty of space above it.
If you go for some sugarcane, I suggest you plant it in vertical rows of 2. Later, you might want to start automating your farm and that means using irrigation pipes which need to be connected with one another and a water tile, and cover 1 dirt tile on each side. In other words, irrigation pipes can be placed in rows starting from a water source, with 2 tiles of dirt in between. (See also Farming below.)
Next on your priority list of things-to-do-in-the-beginning is explore the map and talk to the NPCs.
Quests and map exploration
Most NPCs spend their time in town. Try and enter every house and keep looking in every room. Unlike other games, people in Verdant Village have most unusual schedules. They might be awake at night or wander the surroundings far and wide. Once you find them, talk to them once to introduce yourself and then again to get access to a window with possible quests. If they offer a quest, accept it immediately (there are no restrictions to how many pending quests you have and none are time restricted).
When you go explore the map, leave with an empty bag since there will be plenty of forage you can pick from the ground. You may try and keep a few of each in storage, if you invested enough money and resources into chests (more on that below), or sell them for extra cash. I advise to keep all the airy spice plants and crackling spice plants and not sell them, or not sell them raw. They can be processed at the mill into mild and hot spices, which is much more profitable, or can be used in cooking.
This endeavour should take you about 2 to 3 days. At this point you have a pretty good idea of what are the immediate ‘expectations’ from your fellow villagers and plan accordingly.
Also, you might have already run into the storage problem: too many items and not too much storage. You can order (not craft!) more storage chests by going to the selling bin to the right of your house and select the Catalogue tab. From there, you can order chests, furniture (more items will unlock as you complete quests), and a lot of useful items usually grouped as Industry. The items to be ordered require usually a combination of raw materials and gold and take anywhere between 1 to 3 days to arrive. You might want to order chests as soon as possible. Larger capacity chests can be unlocked by completing certain quests.
Now that you have a list of quests which ones should you tackle first?
→ You’ve already completed you first quest and unlocked the next 5 slots of your backpack. 10 more slots can be unlocked by following Alice’s quests, though they may not be as easy as Lylah’s. Just keep an eye on them and don’t postpone for too long.
→ Ben (who lives way further to the West) will reward you with the ability to order apiaries. Go to the beach as often as you can and look for dove shells (the rarest of the lot in my game experience). Gather some wood and craft some copper bars while you wait to fulfil Ben’s quest.
→ But, in order to smelt copper bars (or any other bars), you first need to repair the Forge. The resources for this quest need to be delivered to Simeon, but the build is instant. Other quests for Simeon that would benefit you greatly are repairing the mine cart/elevator in the Burrowdeep Mine and the old stairway at the north of your farm. The former will unlock the mine elevator (for every 10 levels down the mine). Any levels unlocked prior to repairing the elevator will already be available. The latter quest (the old stairway) will open up a shortcut to the mines; pretty neat as well.
→ Simeon can also unlock another area down the beach which will give you access to pearls: nice, but not that urgent.
→ Upgrading your tools will allow you to open another area to the East of the swamp: more mushrooms and more clay; again, not that urgent. Also in the swamp, there is a bridge that can be repaired… yet more mushrooms and clay!
→ Mattias is the man to look after for fishing rod, fishing traps and fisheries.
→ Caleb will assist with hunting gear and related processors.
The rest of the quests I leave to you to discover.
When you go foraging keep an empty inventory. If archaeology is unlocked, take only the shovel with you.
Each area has its own specific forage, though some overlap. The Bitterlight Bog (the swamp) is the only location for mushrooms; the Wavecrest Beach has shells all year long and coconuts only in summer (don’t forget about them), plus pearls in the Far Cove; the Ardor Foothills (the areas around the mine) and the Blackthistle Forest have specific plants. Every other area shares in the same flowers and berry bushes. Also, there is specific forage for winter only.
Forage spawns for the day exactly at midnight, after the daily report, and keeps adding over time (though I imagine there is a cap for each area). This means that if you want to maximise your findings (especially for the more remote areas), you should go there around 9 PM, forage everything you can, and then retrace your steps after midnight for any other forage that may have respawned.
The most profitable foraging items for early game are definitely mushrooms and/or shells and pearls.
I’ve already touched upon crops farming above. The spreadsheet should give you a pretty good idea about profits, crop distribution etc.
→ Berry bushes (strawberry, blueberry etc.), which keep producing in their season after they’re planted, do not survive the season (not like in Staxel). They need to be taken out with a shovel at the change of seasons.
→ Fruit trees (that can only be purchased from Remi) are a mid-game investment. I was able to buy my first trees (for fall) in mid-summer after I reached the adamantium levels in the mine. Once you can afford them though, they are a great and easy source of money. Just keep in mind that they can grow in any season (including winter, much like in Stardew Valley), but only produce in their specific season. Fruit trees take 28 days to grow (if apple is planted on summer 15th, it will bear fruit for the first time on fall 15th) and have to be planted, using the shovel, 2 tiles apart (again, much like in Stardew Valley).
→ Automation: that is, irrigation pipes. They’re quite resource heavy. Copper is an easy find, but tin is more infrequent, to say nothing of the coal. I was able to automate my farm (around 450 farm tiles) in winter. In the meantime, I upgraded my watering can all the way to titanium and managed the same amount of crops without much hassle (about 2-3 hours of watering and half of my stamina). Each irrigation pipe has to be connected either with a water tile or another pipe connected to water. And each pipe waters 1 tile on each side, plus 1 tile on top (if last in line). Thus, you’ll end up with long lines of pipes set two tiles apart from each other, as in the screenshot below:
Animal Husbandry and Beekeeping
→ Though raising animals might seem a late game endeavour because of its high construction costs (animals aren’t cheap either), it shouldn’t be postponed for too long. (I’ve made this mistake in my own game play.)Even if you can’t afford to buy all the animals to fill your coop and barn, you should start constructing the buildings as soon as possible and leave the animals for later. It takes a very long time to build structures in this town. Simeon can double your house footprint in a jiffy, but slacks off for an entire week tinkering at a barn.There isn’t much (or at least not yet) you can do with animal products other than use them in cooking (only chicken eggs and cow milk), or when purchasing certain items from the Catalogue (chicken feathers are required for buying arrows for hunting). Other than this, sheep wool can be turned into wool cloth (required for decorating your house with rugs), or you can simply sell the rest of the products. Animal feed is probably cheaper to buy (at 20g from Lylah), as wheat takes a long time to grow. Wheat is more feasible as a crop once you’ve automated your farm with irrigation pipes. Still, keep a stack of wheat in storage in case you might run out of feed and are unable to purchase more. If not fed, animals don’t produce anything, and they die after 2 days of no feeding.
Fishing and Hunting
→ Once you get your fishing rod from Mattias, you can fish in any body of water. The game registers a huge pool of fish; it’s part of its intended charm to make the player wonder what fish they’ll catch next. Selling prices range from 10g to 100g (from what I’ve been able to find so far). Fish can be sold as such (the most expensive ones), turned into fish fillet at the kitchen table (the cheaper versions), broken down into alchemic components at the alchemy station (not all of them, try first the fish from the mines), or multiplied in the fisheries.
The fishing mini-game is rather simple. RMB to cast your rod into the water, then wait until the bobber fully submerges in the water and LMB to start the mini game (you have time to click, it doesn’t need to be precise). If you left-click before it submerges, it cancels the cast and you’ve lost stamina for nothing. In the mini game, you only need to follow the fish left or right (keys ‘A’ or ‘D’) for a certain amount of time until the fish is caught. Once in a while there are some bubbles; if you catch them with your cursor, two things can happen: either the fish is slowed down or simply stopped, or your cursor gets much bigger. So, if you can, go for the bubbles ignoring the fish for a little bit.
→ To go hunting, you first need to obtain your bow and arrows from Caleb (more arrows can be ordered from the Catalogue; see my spreadsheet for more details). Then go into the maze that is the Blackthistle Forest. You can hunt for deer, boar, turkey, rabbit, and squirrel. There are usually two animals to start with; as you kill one, another will spawn in its place. Each of the animals have specific drops that will quickly fill up your inventory, so you should probably refrain from picking forage if you plan on a long hunting session and you cannot control which animals will spawn.
The hunting can be a lot of fun, though a bit frustrating. As you move through the maze, a big white circle will alert you when you approach a prey. Start moving slowly, a few steps at a time until you have the prey in view. Position your cursor behind your character and arm the bow with RMB. With RMB pressed, slowly adjust the position of your cursor by moving your mouse to obtain a straight line towards the prey. If you need to cancel the arming of the bow, LMB and then release both LMB and RMB at the same time.
If the prey was hit, it will make a sound; there is no squeaking sound if you miss. The prey will then run away leaving footprints to indicate its flight direction. Follow them and restart the whole hunting game. Some prey will run further afield then others: rabbits and squirrels don’t usually run far, as opposed to all others. Prey will also differ in how many arrows they take: rabbits and squirrels take only two successful hits, while turkeys and boars take 3 or 4 and deer 4 or 5.
Meat can be dried on racks or cured in the marinade pan and then smoked in smokers. Keep the meat until you acquire these processors as you may loose on profits by just selling it raw.
Animal bones can be made into stock; though you may as well sell them as such and buy the stock which is cheaper. Animal fat should never be made into oil; you’re better off buying the oil. Since animal fat cannot be bought and is required for marinades, keep it for this purpose. The rest of the drops have no other use as far as I can tell and can be sold.
Pick up the quest for repairing the cart.Mining requires both the pickaxe (to break nodes, clusters or veins in the wall) and an axe to break obstacles in between rooms. There is also fishing to be done in its body of waters (more expensive fish can be found in deeper levels) and, presumably not far in the future, fighting.
The Wiki can give you details about the ores and gems distribution per mine levels (though the percentage may not be accurate).Each level of the mine is randomly generated upon entrance. You can reset a level by going out and re-entering. Levels comprise of dark rooms which get unlocked in the mini map as you gain access to them. Two of the rooms have arrow symbols on them in the mini map; the up-oriented arrow marks the room with the exit-the-mines ladder, and the down-oriented arrow marks the room with access-to-the-next level which is a hole in the wall.
Sometimes you may encounter a lamp which, when left-click, will illuminate the mine. There are other devices which can be interacted with and give various buffs: Dark Vision, Prospector, Sure Strike, Quickness (see my spreadsheet for Buffs under Cooking).
Also, there are 3 other specific interacting structures (for lack of a better word): a yellow one that partly replenishes your stamina, and a red one that partly replenishes your health. (As there is no combat, hence no way of loosing health, at the moment, you can skip this one.) There is also a stamina drainer. As you approach it (sometimes right as you enter a new level), you’ll hear a ticking sound and a flow of particles above your character going in the direction of the drainer. Your stamina will slowly decrease until you find the drainer and left-click on it, at which point you’ll regain some of the lost stamina. So, when you hear the draining sound, ignore everything else and go straight for the drainer.
Once you reach level 100 in the mines, you’ll gain the Cavern Mapper perk which automatically maps (in your mini map) the level you’re in. Until then, if you only care for rapid advancement rather than ore and gem gathering, you have to blindly move from one room to the next until you identify the hole to the next level (check the mini map for the room with the down-oriented arrow).
In the early game, you’ll need to spend time gathering some ores for tool upgrades and quite a lot of rocks for building. I recommend levels 1-9 for stone gathering as they can also give a lot of coal; you’ll also have greater chances to encounter stamina replenishers. But other than this, your focus should be on reaching the deepest levels of the mines. Adamantium ore is found in abundance starting with level 110 all the way to the bottom, which is level 124.
You should try to unlock the Efficient Smelting perk as soon as possible. To do so, you have to smelt 300 items at the Forge.
If you need any bars other than copper and iron, smelt only the required amount for your project. Copper and iron are found in abundance at their specific levels: 1 to 29 for copper, 20 to 59 for iron with emphasis on 30-39. And copper bars and iron bars are always needed for so many projects. Whenever you have an excess of coal, smelt it into copper and iron bars until you reach the threshold of 300 items. From now on you’ll get 2 bars per smelt. Hence, you can smelt more efficiently all other bars with harder to obtain materials.
What else to do, especially long term projects? Even in Alpha stage, doing everything there is to do, will take you to 2 in-game years and beyond. Here are a few suggestions:
→ Why not fully build up you farm with each and every building? You might find that you want more barns, maybe a few fisheries and silk farms etc. You can also spend some time decorating it. Though the décor selection is not too extensive for now, you can still dedicate a lot of time in gathering resources and creating a place you can call home.
→ You can also spruce up your house.
→ Try to unlock all the perks implemented in the game.