Since the dawn of PC gaming (or, well, the late 90s), there’s been an insatiable desire among gamers to settle a tribe of nomads in the wilderness, help it overcome the elements, and grow it out into a prosperous township, city or empire.
Patron is a survival city builder that tightens the scope of this Age-of-Empires-old premise. You build out a 16th century town from nothing. This town will be dramatically affected by the ever-changing seasons, by how you choose to unravel its vast tech tree, and by how well you manage societal tensions that emerge as your burgeoning society grows.
There’s a lot going on in Patron, so we’ve put together a list of essential tips to help you survive the seasons of that tricky first year.
Food and firewood – the foundations to a happy community
The very first thing you should do is set up production of food and lumber. You’ll start the game in the fertile season of spring, so use this opportunity to build up your resources while they’re abundant.
To erect buildings, lumber will need to be transported to construction sites from either the town centre or depots. Logistics are key here, and a good starting point is to build roads and road-signs to speed up the transportation of resources.
You’ll need to keep your town warm in winter, so build a sawmill to turn lumber into firewood, which will be distributed throughout the town. Ideally place the sawmill near your town centre or depots where you store
Prepare for winter
As the seasons get colder, you’ll want to make sure you are well stockpiled. Once it starts snowing, food and firewood deplete faster, and the efficiency of gathering huts goes down.
To get your township winter-ready, start by checking what upgrades you can make to existing buildings.
Upgrading your Hunting Lodge with Trapper training I, for instance, increases production by 15% during Winter, and you can upgrade it even further to boost winter efficiency by 30% and 45%. Installing insulation in houses, meanwhile, will counteract the increased consumption of firewood.
Keep the people happy
As your society evolves, a class structure will form, with each class desiring different luxuries. At the start of Patron, you’ll mostly be dealing with peasants, who desire clothing, pottery, furniture and flowers. Check the tech tree, and make sure you research the requisite techs to unlock the relevant buildings offering those luxuries.
Eventually, your society will become populated with labourers, merchants and gentry. Check which luxuries each class desires, and try having at least two or three of each luxury per class.
Later on, the arrival of immigrants, religion and other social phenomena will create new challenges, so brace yourself for some serious social quandaries.
Watch that jobs board
The job board is one of the most important windows in Patron, letting you assign jobs ranging from humble woodcutters to clerics and perfumists.
Workers are the default role assigned to adults in your village. These grunts will do key jobs like constructing buildings, transporting resources and gathering food. It’s crucial to always have carriers too, who exclusively lug resources around the town.
Each time you create a specialist on the jobs board, they will be taken from the pool of workers, so be sure not to overdo it on specialists and always keep some workers handy.
Build in clusters
As with many management games, there are innumerable benefits to smart town planning. Try not to spread too quickly, instead focusing on small self-contained clusters of buildings gathered around high-yield resource spots.
For instance, placing a Hunter’s lodge, Gatherer’s shelter and Depot close together makes for a nice self-contained unit.
Some research offers adjacency bonuses too – like ‘Cleared path’, which increases the efficiency of a Herbalist’s hut when built near a Gatherer’s shelter. Look for ways to stack these bonuses, and upgrade buildings as much as possible before constructing new ones.
You’re now ready to guide your township through the first year of Patron. You still have a long way to go before it becomes a bustling city-hub of prosperity and trade, and how you carve your path to success is up to you.
You can play the Patron demo on Steam now, and wishlist the game in time for its release on 10 August.