Playing tips for new and not so new players

Made notes for myself, maybe it will be of use to some of you. Contains spoilers, if you’re just starting to play and want to discover everything on your own. Feel free to add some of your own to it.

My personal 3-Step Invincibility plan (at least for 1st half of the game):

  1. Raid Museum or Mansion for weapons and armour (Bashing Weapon + Kabuto/Barbute Helm + Plate/Chainmail Armour does wonders). I usually go for a raid in the first week, if I find a spot. Totally doable while wielding a cudgel and wearing jeans.
  2. If the armour you found is ‘poor fit’ - wear it anyway, but modify it ASAP to get lowered encumbrance; If your Tailoring skill permits it - enhance (++) that armour piece.
  3. Get your dodge, melee and bashing weapons high (at least 6); When melee is 3+ - you can pick Brawling for martial art, if you want

Now almost all non-‘red’ zombies are just for background noise and decoration

Items of interest and where to find them:

Armour and Melee Weapons = Museum (beware of alarm), Mansion
Jackhammer (gasoline), Electric Kiln = Subway Maintenance Room, Hardware Store
Tools (cordless drill, etc) = Hardware Store
Basic Tools (hammer, screwdriver, etc.) = Kitchen, Hardware Store
Martial Arts Books = Dojo, Boxing Ring, Sometimes Recycling Center
Welder, Welding goggles, Acetylene torch and tanks, Portable Crane, Air filter = Garage
7.5kW Generator, Blacksmithing Tools (Anvil, Drift, Crucible, etc.) = Craft Shop
Portable Vehicle Welding Rig, Portable Crane = Small Junkyard (4x4 overmap)
Light Amplification Goggles, Infrared Goggles = Firefighter Station, sometimes Hunting Supply Store, very rarely Firefighters/Soldiers/Bio-Operators
Gas Masks, Gas Mask Filters = Firefighter Station (from Firefighter bodies), Medical Zombie
Gasoline, Diesel = Mine, Gas Station
JP8 fuel, Avgas = Helicopter/Military Outpost (beware of turrets), Airport
Gunsmith Repair kit, Firearm Repair kit = Gun Shop
Chemicals, Hydrogen Peroxide (concentrated), Antiseptic = Subway Labs
Computers, Tablets, HackerPRO USB, MediSoft USB, Math USB, Booze = Subway Ticket booth
Plastic, Copper, Crowbar, Storage Batteries (depleted), Crafting Supplies = Recycling Center
Guns, Grenades, Military ID cards, MREs (food) = Soldier Body Sites
.223 Ammo = Kill turrets (at night, from 5 squares away, with Shotgun, BUT if you miss… = you are dead), Humvee
.50 Ammo, .50 Gun = Armoured Personnel Carrier vans
Tailoring Supplies and Books = Mansion Basement, Clothing Stores
Kevlar, Synthetic Fibre = Butcher clothing off of soldiers, then wash the pieces for crafting
Prying equipment (Crowbar, Fire Axe, Halligan Bar) = Feral Humans, Firefighters, Recycling Center
Science ID cards = Scientist Body Site, and later - Scientist’s wallets in labs
Rags (for bandages) = Smash Couches, Beds
Springs (for vehicle shock absorbers) = Bed dismantle → mattress dismantle
Medical Supplies (Antibiotics, Painkillers, etc.) = Pharmacy back rooms (beware of alarm)
Clean Water = House Basement boiler tank (beware of infested basements)
Books = Library, Book Store, Mansion, Dollar Store, Pharmacy, Doctor’s Office, Houses, Gas Station
Solar Panels = Tall Office towers, Tall Apartment towers, Electric Vehicles
Rubber hose (for fuel siphon) = Fridge
High capacity Storage Batteries = Recycling Center, Electric Vehicles, Street Sweepers
Survivor Telescope, Sniper Rifle = Radio Tower (beware of Wasps)

To find Museums on overmap = read Tourist Map

To find Subway Labs = Subway maintenance room has a map (guaranteed); After reading the map,
SOMETIMES you can find ventilation access from the surface - it’s an easy and fast
way into Subway Lab

To get into Gun Shops (or any barred window) = Hacksaw… Or Jackhammer/Pickaxe the wall;
Acetylene torch also works, it’s quiet but expensive

If you are into CBMs:
- set your game to auto-pickup Doctor’s Badge
- nurse will want your CBMs back, no matter how friendly she looks
- get your healthcare WAY UP

If you are into Mutations
- keep an eye out on Slime Pits (only ‘small’ slimes will give you what you need)
- tainted meat spoils fast, unless you start crafting with it
- Keep an eye out for salt if you need to craft Bleach; Some water pools near swamp have unlimited Salt Water in them.

Bashing weapons are your friends, IF you have good armour.
Mace is one of the best - because it’s quick and very bash-y
Cudgel → Quarterstaff → Baseball Bat → Ironshod Quarterstaff → Mace
There are better but Slower bashing weapons

Best way to maintain charge in your storage batteries on a Mobile Base (car that you use as a ‘base’) =>
Find and Dismantle 7.5kW generator → remove alternator from vehicle → install 7.5kW generator in it’s place.
It eats more fuel (I think), but batteries are ALWAYS full if you drive on occasion.

If you want to step it up a notch:

  1. Get Mechanics to 8, so you can install 2nd motor on you vehicle.
  2. Find electric vehicle with Large Electrical Motor or Enhanced Electrical Motor or some such.
    Install Electric Motor as 2nd motor on your car along side of your Diesel/Gas motor
  3. Find hybrid vehicle - remove Smart Engine Controller (allows to switch
    between electric and fuel motors/engines) - Install Smart Engine Controller and set it up
    from Vehicle Control Menu to turn on Gasoline engine when batteries are at <20%.
    OR - I think you might be able to just craft Smart Engine Controller from ‘processor board’ (dismantle laptop?)
  4. Now - Your 7.5kW generator will charge your batteries VERY fast, and then switch to Electric
    motor automatically with Smart Engine Controller; Which saves Fuel, lets your drive silently,
    WHILE your electric engine is on (and LOUDLY, when it switches automatically to Fuelled engine)

Misc Tips:

Fastest way to Fabricate Clean Water = make/find Water Purifier. Keep an eye for Toasters to get heating elements from them.

Drink BEFORE eating

Get Throwing to at least 1 before throwing grenades

Shooting grenade launchers does NOT go OVER the obstacles, like nearby cars - it goes straight INTO the obstacles (possibly killing you)

If confronting Brute/Hulk - make sure there are no walls/cars behind you for 10 tiles or so.
Hitting wall hurts you more than the punch

It takes 400 points for zombies to step on motorcycle tile - you can whack them at least a few times
before they can act again

Zombies don’t run towards the light at night… unless you are standing IN the light

Make antiseptic soaked cotton balls or rags to extend antiseptic charges (at the cost of effectiveness)

If you find Chainmail Horse Armour in the Museum - Dismantle it. It’s all the chain mail sheets you ever gonna need for crafting

Military Surplus stores are useless, for the most part

Vehicle-mounted turrets seem to be A LOT more accurate than hand-wielded guns

Spiked bumper on the vehicle makes zombie splatter real good!

Solar panels on a moving vehicle = busted solar panels = waste of effort

It does not matter if you go gasoline or diesel, if you know where to get your fuel from. Gasoline is more common.

Rollerblades are fun!.. on hard flat surface… will get you killed otherwise

Electrohack - make one

Low foot encumbrance is nice

ZERO eye encumbrance at night, unless you are wearing light amp. goggles; just 5 encumbrance can reduce vision by 1 grid

Full moon at night is your friend

In a lot of cases, Acid infused zombies are worse than Hulks and Brutes (rubber boots might help with acid)

Don’t even think about Melee fighting electrical zombies unless you have Faraday suit on (except for Zappers, they are ok to whack)

If you shoot a gun or trigger an alarm - immediately run/walk/drive in the direction where you already cleared the area to avoid getting swarmed

Gun Shops, Hunting Supply Stores DON’T have the guns or ammo you need or want

Turrets usually shoot your Torso. To survive a shot you might want to stack lots of armour on Torso.

DON’T get shot! After getting show - stop Heavy Bleeding ASAP with Hemostatic Powder (bandages are not always effective)

Some bandits ARE walking turrets - stay away from bandits

Store everything you carry in backpack; Drop backpack before fighting (remember that it takes several turns to drop it - dropping it when you are already swarmed is a bad idea)

Kill 1st, loot 2nd, smash corpses 3rd. Smashing corpses eats up stamina.

Make sure Muffler on your vehicle is in good shape to keep noise down; More than 1 muffler will NOT make it less noisy.

Use whistle, yell (Shift+c) or car/bicycle/air horn to nudge zombies where you want them to be. Make sure you can run faster than zombies.

Headless Horror can only HEAR you. You can get as close as 6 tiles to it, and it won’t know that you are there.

Guns are for emergencies, even if you sit on a pile of ammo. Gun Noise will most likely kill you.

Unarmed combat is not as useless as you think… if your Unarmed skill is high, melee is high,
dodge is high, encumbrance is low and you’re wearing Impact Knuckles or similar - you can sting like a bee

Things that are not your friend:

Getting swarmed will kill you
Noise (gunfire and explosions) will get you swarmed and killed
Grenades will kill you
Low stamina will get you slow and kill you
Weariness above Light will get you slow and kill you
Dead Tired will get you slow and kill you
Cold will get you slow and kill you
Heat will get you slow and kill you
Pain will get you slow and kill you
Painkillers will get you slow and kill you
Gas and Smoke will get you slow and kill you (unless you have gas mask on with enough charges AND have ACTIVATED those charges)
Acid will kill you (especially if you don’t realise you’re standing in it)
Feral humans, dogs and roaches will kill you in early game
Radiation will kill you (and you won’t know about it until it’s too late to fix or avoid it… and have tentacles while doing it)


I can add a few things to that.

  1. Chainmail pieces are always worth keeping (because you will want to make a Faraday Chainmail Suit, it makes you immune to electric discharges, ie Shockers, Zappers, Skitterbots, Taser Hacks, Shocktraps, etc). It’s also the best equipment for summer (even if you modify it to have Kevlar layers, despite its encumbrance, the warmth increase is negligible.);

  2. if you don’t find chainmail stuff, leather equipment is also pretty good for early Spring and mid-to-late autumn. (Good protection values for early game, moderately low encumbrance and good enough warmth);

  3. Get long sticks and make quarterstaff instead of Cudgel (its durability was nerfed in the current Experimental, so it will break really quick). If you find a Tonfa, an expandable baton or a PR-24 Baton, even better. Combat Knives are also a good shout because you can make more swings with it than with any of the previously mentioned weapons - although bashing is significantly better than cutting/piercing.

Misc stuff.

  • Light Industry is a fantastic place for tools, books and food;

  • Upgraded Solar Panels can be found in solar cars (also known as “Bubble Cars”), often found in the middle of the road, occasionally in Parking Lots (sometimes also found in the new multi-level parking space building);

  • Best Storage Backpacks are the High-Volume Rucksack (occasionally in Houses with stairs-up, Mansions), Golf Bag (Golf Course, occasionally in Pawn Shops);

  • Lockpicking: craft a homewrecker, some walls can be bashed with it, or use a car and ram it against a wall at the expense of the noise it may make. Locksmith Kit and Improvised Lockpicks are worthless;

  • If you see a Collapsed Tower in your overmap, just get away from that town, not worth the nuisance even if you are well equipped.

  • Make sure your vehicles have more than 6 wheels, which makes them much more reliable off-road.

  • Giant Lady Bug is friendly with Zombies, so if you see one from afar, get away from it.

  • Giant Naked Molerats are tough, so are the Giant Mole Crickets and the Frog Mother, avoid them.

  • Sludge Crawlers regen a lot. Avoid them unless you can reliably outpace their regen. Similar to Frog Mother and the Shoggoth.

  • Zombie Bio Operators can and will down you and damage you no matter what your armor rating is. Elite Bio Operators will outpace and kill you easily.

  • Unload all your non-sealed food containers (Plastic Bags, paper wrappers, cardboard boxes) to save on inventory volume and length.

  • Scan all the books you own into an e-Ink Tablet PC after you cannot level up using them,to save on storage space (you can still access the recipes from it if you need them).

  • Once your theoretical knowledge is 3 levels above your practical knowledge, stop reading (your % increase will slow down dramatically, do some crafting to get those levels up, and then resume reading once you caught up);

  • Dragonflies and Mosquitoes are not just an annoyance, they will absolutely shred you. Centipedes too. And wasps.

  • If you see a Mi-Go Camp nearby, move away from there. There will be tons of Mi-Gos scattered around the area, and they do not play around.

  • Anthills are fun to see if you don’t aggro the normal ants. Soldier ants will kill you easily if you aren’t prepared.

  • Black Bears and Cerbearus are not aggro to the player unless you get close to their cubs;

  • Dissect Zomborgs for CBMs, don’t pulp them beforehand though;

  • Avoid open sewers;

  • if you enter a location that has “Irradiated Wanderers”, get out of there, they are far too many, far too annoying and worthless;

  • If you see a random cabin that’s been boarded up, don’t approach it if you are an early player.

  • If you do Lab Starts, Dissectors are your friends. Maneuvre around them while leading the weak zombies into them, free kills if you do it right.

  • There is a particular type of Office Tower that has a lab complex on the upper floors (it has the same “shape” as the collapsed tower in the overmap;

  • Final and best advice: if you don’t need to fight, do not fight. You can outwalk most of the zombies. If it’s a location you won’t return to or if you are just doing opportunity looting, don’t bother with fighting.


You actually can make good use of solar panels on a vehicle:

  • Reinforce them beforehand. Remove a reinforced windshield from some armored vehicle, then disassemble it for “panes of reinforced glass”. Each pane can reinforce a solar panel, you usually get 4 out of an undamaged windshield.
  • Don’t mount the solar panels on the outermost tiles of your vehicle, where they can be more easily damaged.
  • Have a couple of “empty” tiles behind your vehicle front ram, where you install no equipment, to avoid the damage spread from collisions.
  • Have shock absorbers mounted in the tiles where you mount the panels (honestly, mount them on everything that is an interior tile of the vehicle as soon as you can).
  • Removing destroyed solar panels from vehicles will yeld “solar cells”: stock up on them, they are used to repair solar panels if they get damaged.

One thing I can also add:

  • Most pieces of equipment can be repaired with different Tools. Let’s say you are trying to repair/refit something with a Tailoring / Sewing Kit. Try using a Soldering Iron/Arc Welder on them, or a misc-repair kit. Your chances of repairing can vary as these items may require different skills for different success chances (as well as different materials). This can be particularly useful for things like chainmail armour, as it can make a huge difference.
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My best tip is: Don’t use use explosives or molotove cocktails unless you really know what you are doing and your characters has at least 3 in throwing. Otherwise these things will be far more dangerous to you than to your enemies.

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In general, recycling centers are absolutely worth it to explore. They have loads of stuff and its even pre-sorted for you!

Here are some tips I have to add:

  • Be aware of stuff around your base, especially wasps. They do lay eggs and if they hide some in an underbrush you missed, there will be an unpleasant awakening.
  • In general, be aware of eggs appearing outside of your base.
  • This includes ponds and other bodies of water.
  • Just like in real life, wasps are dicks. If they happen to randomly fly near you, they will become aggressive.
  • If you are wandering around and see some random mounds of dirt in a field, run to the nearest street. Worms are dangerous.
  • Rural houses are usually safe to loot. No zeds at all. This does not apply to farms.
  • Basements are generally dangerous. If you descend, you may be surrounded by enemies getting the first strike.
  • If you are short on good food, eat the disgusting food just before going to sleep. There is a user in the IRC channel who likes to live on cattail rhizomes alone and just eats them before going to sleep so the morale penalty does not matter.
  • A bike is a good first vehicle. Does not need any fuel (except your stamina), it is quiet and can still outrun any zombie.
  • Fields with only a silo attached are usually safe. Climb the silo to reveal more of the map.
  • Do not climb buildings to escape a horde. Zombies will smash the downspout and even the building and make it collapse, especially when there are hulks or brutes among the zombies. No downspout means the only way down is going to hurt. A lot.
  • Do not sleep near windows. Your scent will still get through it and you may awake to a zombie smashing the window. Sleep in the center of the room instead, away from any doors, windows and other openings. Especially if you have the strong scent trait.
  • Ensure the autonote manager is enabled. It really helps. Check your map frequently to be warned of dangers before being near them (although this might change in the future as it is technically an exploit and I already created an issue about that).
  • Take some time to configure autopickup. The game picking up e.g arrows and casings automatically saves some time.


  • Field campsites always have a motorcycle, a few supplies and no monsters.

With the downspout, you can still get off the building without it. Just walk to the edge and examine off the side, gives you the option to climb down no issues. Unless they removed that. Only dilemma is getting the downspout destroyed.

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When climbing off the building with downspout conveniently destroyed (by sweet, kind, caring zombies), you can see if there is a fence or a tree growing right next to the ledge and use that to climb down.
‘Fall off the roof’-% chance still applies. no matter what you use. Some people drop their belongings off the roof before climbing down to reduce that chance.
Ladder (folding or stationary) is the only guarantee you won’t fall, from my experience.


uh, always climb a building to escape horde and regen enough stamina to run to next building, u can just climb back down, also field campsites, are usually trashed and have quite a few zeds chilling around

Climbing down does not work if the downspout is not there anymore since the horde destroyed it.

u can climb down from literally anywhere, im playing stabble 0.F.3