Villagers in Farthest Frontier are your most valuable resource next to wealth, and the expansion of early settlements can be slowed by too few villagers for the size of the job.
Naturally, an enterprising settlement leader will look to grow their settlement population quickly enough to fill the Professions needed for their starting infrastructure, but the path to get there may not always be clear.
In this explainer, we will cover the key causes of population growth and decline and how to best approach each challenge the player might encounter.
Births[edit | edit source]
Once you have a thriving settlement with access to all essential resources, births are an infrequent happy occurrence throughout the year.
While there is no specific requirement for births to occur, chances for births increase with Villager happiness and sufficient unoccupied housing slots.
Impacts to happiness vary by housing tier, it is recommended to check the happiness report for additional details.
Immigration[edit | edit source]
Immigration provides a significant boost to town population and is crucial in early game to reach sustainable population numbers.
Newly-arrived villagers join your town with some goods from their travels in tow. While this gives some leeway on meeting needs of the recently-immigrated, it can also result in situations where resources the Player is not yet producing show up in annual reports (e.g. bread, cheese)
The likelihood of immigrants (and size of the band of individuals hoping to immigrate) is confirmed to be impacted by a few distinct factors:
- Months of Stockpiled food
- Unoccupied Housing supply
- Desirability of housing areas
- Relative levels of health/disease
- Access to basic goods (Clothing, Shoes, etc.)
- Access to amenities (Market, School, etc.)
- Access to luxury goods (Pottery, Glassware, etc.)
- Overall Villager happiness
NOTE: As more villagers have a basic education, the likelihood that prospective immigrants are educated also increases.
Emigration[edit | edit source]
As the town's population booms, the player may find it difficult meeting the needs of every villager. Perhaps the Root Cellars have emptied with so many new mouths to feed or the Weaver isn't keeping up with clothing demands, or maybe the new Compost Yard went in just a little too close to the neighbors.
Regardless of cause, Villagers who are at maximum unhappiness can and will eventually emigrate from the city.
When emigrating, a villager retains all items on their person, including their weapons and armor if they serve in a guard capacity. They may also take additional resources from Storage buildings ahead of their journey, so this costly situation is to be avoided if possible.
To diagnose root causes for emigration, it is recommended to review the happiness report to identify quick solutions.
Death & Disease[edit | edit source]
Death on the frontier is an eventuality, but that doesn't mean that it can't be avoided!
Some common causes (and solutions) for different deaths:
Raider Attacks[edit | edit source]
When invaders come barreling into town, your villagers may get caught in the crossfire.
The simplest solution when a raid approaches is to garrison civilians at the Town Center. Click on the Bell icon above the Town Center (or in the town center's infopane) to alert all villagers to gather inside. As an added bonus, a garrisoned Town Center acts like a defensive tower, shooting an unlimited supply of arrows at invaders. When the trouble has passed, click the bell icon again to release the garrisoned Villagers
If your villagers are unable to flee in time, they can develop Festering Wounds when attacked. While these injuries will sometimes heal on their own (or via the consumption of Medicinal Roots), a Healer's House or similar can increase the likelihood of success.
Animal Attacks[edit | edit source]
Encountering wolves, bears and the occasional boar is a near-certainty as a town's borders expand further from their starting location. Thankfully, there are a few techniques that can help keep even the least-alert villager survive longer.
- Hunters are very capable in self-defense against predators. Manually directing a hunter to explore new areas can be far safer in early game and minimize villager deaths from exploration
- Dirt and Cobblestone Roads improve travel speed for villagers but don't benefit wildlife, making escape much more likely if they can be reached quickly. Building Dirt roads out into newly-explored wilderness areas can improve the chance of survival during deeper exploration
- The attacking predator will (mostly) follow their initial target until line of sight is lost for an extended period of time. This can be exploited to run the predator past fellow villagers who will come to to the victim's aid.
- Wildlife has difficulty pathing around buildings, directly controlling a villager to make use of this by cutting through alleys and making turns can improve the odds of fellow villagers ending the threat before a villager death.
NOTE: Wolf Dens can also spawn on the map and will produce new wolves at regular intervals. These landmarks should not be approached without significant caution, as nothing less than a full Barracks of soldiers is sufficient to clear these dens. It is recommended to keep villagers clear of these areas until you are sufficiently equipped to deal with them.
Starvation[edit | edit source]
Food availability is a common issue until late-game preservation structures and animal products are available. Barring expansion into these areas, here are some consistent tips to help ensure food-on-hand for villagers:
- Forageable locations replenish annually and are tied to seasons, most berries and greens replenish in late spring and do not replenish until the following year. When multiple foragers aren't an option, moving work zones to locate additional forageables can significantly improve food stocks.
- Blueberry bushes can be transplanted on maps where they are present. Relocating far-away bushes into a zone with other forageables can result in an impromptu berry farm that can provide a great baseline annual food production.
- Raw Fish and Meat spoil quickly following harvest. Constructing a Smokehouse can make a big difference with production of Smoked Fish and Smoked Meat
- Smokehouses will try to produce goods in accordance with the ratio set at each building. If a smokehouse is placed near hunters with no nearby Fishing Shack, setting Smoked Fish production to zero will ensure that the Smokehouse worker does not walk across the settlement in search of fish.
- Farming takes a while to initially set up, but crops are a tremendous source of food in early and mid-game. The guide on the Farming page has great tips for new farmers to maximize their yields.
- Root vegetables have a far slower spoilage rate on average than other crop field produce and can prevent wasted labor. More information on base spoilage rates can be found on the Resources page.
- Root Cellars extend the length of a food product's shelf life, but isn't necessarily the default place a food will be stored.
- Check storehouse and the initial Storage wagon to ensure food items are 'unchecked' to prevent faster spoilage in an unsafe location
- Barrels (available as of Town Center - Tier 2) produced by the Cooper can significantly decrease spoilage rate, each barrel stocked at a storage location (Root Cellar or Storehouse) decreases spoilage rate by 5%. While this isn't much individually, the cumulative effect is substantial.
NOTE: Each villager needs roughly 2 units of food monthly/24 units annually, this should provide guidance for where monthly production should be to generate a surplus.
Exposure[edit | edit source]
The Winter season begins with a frigid cold that poses immediate danger to any villagers not able to seek shelter. There are a few steps which can limit these risks...
- Ensure a sufficient supply of Hide Coats to boost Villager's cold resilience
- When placing markers for exploration or manually directing villager movements, check time of year to ensure the villager will have plenty of time to return.
- Situate workplace Buildings and work areas near enough to the settlement to avoid long travel times
- For buildings and tasks a significant distance from the main settlement, Temporary Shelters provide an option for shelter-in-place until the cold snap passes.
NOTE: Details on exact season and weather can be shown by either hovering over the weather icon to the left of the visual calendar or locked on-screen by clicking the the small diamond icon on the visual calendar's marker.
Natural Causes[edit | edit source]
If you're seeing this cause of death start to increase, congratulations!
Your villagers survived the hardships of the wild and lived through the extent of their natural lifespan. Anecdotally, education level may increase a villager's maximum lifespan, but no villager lives forever in the Farthest Frontier.
Diseases[edit | edit source]
When venturing far from established civilization, Maladies are another inevitable occurrence.
As the number of diseases that villagers can contract are numerous, here are some general tips that should cover most situations:
- Avoid taking damage from wildlife, villagers can contract rabies from predator attacks.
- Provide sufficient well access to avoid water-borne illnesses
- Shoes prevent worm-based infections
- Sufficient waste removal with the Composter prevents several food-borne illnesses
- Keeping rat populations under control with use of the Rat Catcher prevents spread of Bubonic Plague
- Access to a variety of foods staves off Scurvy
- Access to Linen Clothes and Hide Coats helps limit spread of the common cold
- Access to Soap helps reduce spread of highly-infectious illnesses
- Access to Medicinal Roots and Herbs allows villagers to cure themselves without access to medical facilities
- Access to advanced Medical buildings can prevent or cure highly-infectious diseases as well.
- Excess dead bodies can lead to unsanitary predators and contamination of drinking water. Build a graveyard to properly dispose of corpses.
Additional Notes[edit | edit source]
- A summary report (button at top left) exists for population trends.
- This is a helpful report for understanding the underlying causes contributing to population shifts.
- The Happiness report can be accessed by clicking the 'happiness' icon in the top bar or as an option in the Town Center's infopane when the building is selected.