Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Stardew Valley starting strategies

This is my notepad of Stardew Valley starting strategies. Comments are welcome.

Contents:

Spring 2 Bridge

This four-day walk-through prioritizes repairing the beach bridge on Spring 2 (gives early foraging experience, which is important to have Tappers for Oak Resin for Kegs ready for Summer Pale Ale income, and ongoing income) and fishing the Beach on Spring 2-4 (levels up to 2-4 for reliable present and future income). It levels you up in Foraging so you can get Tappers on Oak Trees, but not in Mining. So you won't have the Cherry Bomb or Staircase recipes ready on Spring 5 when The Mines opens. Assumes the 13 Parsnip, 1 Cauliflower, and 1 Green Bean start or the 15 Parsnip start.
Pros:
  1. Dedicating a day and minimizing travel is a good thing, and this dedicates Spring 1 and the early morning of Spring 2 to chopping wood. 
  2. This frees you from chopping for a few days so you can fish.
  3. This gets you to fishing level 3 or 4 before starting mining.
  4. This repairs the beach bridge, which opens foraging experience and income that is convenient to the beach fishing of week 1.
  5. Leaves you poor so you can fall asleep at 2 a.m. nightly without much penalty
Cons:
  1. Assumes player doesn't give up and farmer doesn't run out of energy fishing on their first attempt on Spring 2. As of version 4.1, success is not too hard with the Training Rod and Trout Soup. As long as you don't give up or run out of energy, you will level up on Spring 2.
Steps:
  • Spring 1
    • Hoe and water 15 crop tiles (only). Plant 13 Parsnips.
    • Chop tree tops (only) and clear Weeds as necessary from the east edge of your farm until you are low on energy. Leave stumps. Do not clear rocks or logs.
    • Craft and place 1 Chest convenient to house, field, and exit. Leave all but scythe, hoe, weeds, and Mixed Seeds in it. From now on, carry your hoe to dig artifact spots.
    • Forage on the way to the store using the in-game screenshot tool every time you enter a new map to find all the forage there before proceeding. Eat any 1) Spring Onion, 2) Dandelion, and 3) Leek. Always eat these three in that order when you need backpack space or energy.
    • At Pierre's, sell  Daffodil and Wild Horseradish. Buy 1 Cauliflower and 1 Green Bean Starter
    • At Saloon, buy all the Salad you can afford at 220gp each (hopefully 2).
    • Go home and plant your Cauliflower and Green Bean. Put the Bean most distant from water and house so you don't try to walk through it.
    • Chop tree tops in clear columns moving from east westward until you are out of energy. Clear Weeds as convenient and necessary.
    • Ship Fiber before going to bed before 2am (you always lose gold when you pass out at work) at Foraging Level 1 (you always recover full energy overnight when you level up).
  • Spring 2 Tue
    • Water, then chop tree tops until you have 350 wood. If you have energy left, break a few rocks.
    • Take 300 wood, an empty chest, and hoe to beach and get rod.
    • Repair the bridge and forage the beach.
    • Put chest next to bench under Fish Shop window.
    • Use your Fiber and forage money to buy the 25gp training rod and Trout Soup unless you know you don't need either one. Fish with the training rod until you can 1) afford more Trout Soup and 2) mostly succeed with Trout Soup and the bamboo rod. Ignore treasure chests until fishing is too easy for you or until you get an Iridium Rod and Trap Bobber.
    • Stop at 4:30 to sell the bare minimum of fish to buy more Trout Soup as desired. Stay cash poor and keep leveling up.
    • Fall asleep poor (you will lose 10% of your gold) while fishing at Level 1+ (you will get a full night's rest).
  • Spring 3 Wed
    • Keep watering always (unless it's raining like today). Chop more tree tops to level up Foraging until around 9am or until you are low on energy.
    • Take fish, rod, and hoe fishing at the Beach again. If you need food, eat Trout Soup instead of fish. Also eat it if it makes a difference in your success.
    • Stop at 4:30 and go into the Fish Shop to see if you can afford a Fiberglass Rod and Bait to level up faster (money will come later).
    • Fall asleep poor (you will lose 10% of your gold) with fish in your pack at Fishing Level 2+ (you will get a full night's rest).
  • Spring 4 Thu
    • Ship barely enough fish to afford 890gp for 1 Potato and 12 Kale tomorrow. Calculate fish value by making your own copy of this spreadsheet.
    • Put scythe, axe, pick, and wood in your pack. Chop tree tops until you can make another 50-wood Chest for the Mines. Break a few more of the fastest and easiest rocks on your farm. Clear weeds only as necessary. 
    • Reduce your pack to hoe, rod, and fish. Forage on the way to the Beach.
    • If you couldn't get a Fiberglass rod and bait yesterday, sell fish and buy them as soon as you can.
    • Fish at the Beach. Eat Trout Soup instead of fish if you need energy, and also if it makes a difference in your success.
    • Stop at 4:30 and go into the Fish Shop to check the value of your fish or copy this. If you are sure you will fall asleep with much more than 1750gp in fish (for seeds), sell some fish and buy Trout Soup for tomorrow's mining. (This is more expensive than Salad, but running to the Saloon is expensive. Keep fishing! And it's less expensive than eating fish.)
    • Fall asleep poor with fish in your pack at Level 4+ (Choose Fisher profession and later Pirate to have fun getting valuable cool prizes when player and farmer are good at catching fish and treasures.)

Fish Your Finger Off

Fish 'til you drop for three days on Spring 2-4 irrespective of how much money or success you are or aren't making at the start.

Fishing is your best source for a steady income in your first weeks and some rare goodies later on (in Treasure Chests). But fishing can be hard until you level up. Just keep reminding yourself you don't need to make money on your first two days; you just have to fish non-stop for 16 hours. So get to the beach by 10am. Buy a training rod and Trout Soup unless and until you know you don't need them. And fish nearly all day on Spring 2-4 and upgrade your pole if you can without worrying about making a net income. Soon your green bar will be ridiculously long, you will be catching almost all fish, and you may even start to be cocky enough to catch some treasures. For the rest of the month, fishing will be good income on bad luck days (over 1000 gold pieces per day) while you mine on good luck days and build up your farming experience.

Fish on Spring 2-4 from in front of the Fish Shop with a chest under its window. Take your catch into the shop at 4:30 every day to trade for Trout Soup or rod upgrades etc. As always, avoid eating fish, since selling them for Trout Soup or Salad to eat is a good trade.

Stay poor so you can fall asleep on the job without losing more than a few gold pieces. When you level up at night, you always recover full energy, so falling asleep on the job won't likely cost you energy the first week.

Old School Calendaring

Jot down your daily plans on an old school calendar. See these images and these PDF files you can keep open and edit (with your PDF editor or Foxit, PDF-Xchange, etc) or print. Of all strategies, this one made the biggest difference in my Stardew Valley enjoyment and success. Meditation (stopping, pausing, clearing head) works!

20 Free Strawberries

Update: You may be better off to modify this strategy to get an extra week of Ancient Fruit compounding before Winter and Greenhouse by saving any early Ancient Seeds until Spring 13 and saving your Deluxe Speed-Gro for your Ancient Seeds as you get them until Fall.

This two-week strategy outline gives you an extra harvest of 20 of your Strawberries using a 13 Parsnip, 1 Cauliflower, and 1 Green Bean start.
Pros:
  1. 20 Extra Strawberries at no energy or gold cost.
  2. Early Community Center completion leads to early Mine Carts repair.
  3. Leaves lots of time for mining and fishing, but doesn't rely on fishing.
Cons:
  1. It requires that you have perfect daily watering your first 12 days.
Steps:
  • Spring 1
    • Plant 13 Parsnip, 1 Cauliflower, 1 Green Bean
  • Spring 5 Fri
    • Harvest Parsnips
    • Leave field empty one night and repair tomorrow to plant with fertilizer for more money. Or plant 12 Kale and 1 Potato for 15 total crops to hold soil in place overnight.
    • Visit Community Center and Wizard before Spring 13
  • Spring 6 Sat
    • Craft and place Scarecrow and Fertilizer.
    • Plant for a total 37 (approx.) Kale, 1 Potato, 1 Green Bean, and 1 Cauliflower. (Resist temptation to overplant!)
  • Spring 12 Fri
    • Harvest Kale and Potato. Sell Kale now if desired to afford 40 Strawberry tomorrow.
    • Clear area for Strawberry tomorrow.
  • Spring 13 Sat Egg Festival
    • Harvest Cauliflower.
    • Prepare and water spaces for 40 Strawberry.
    • Buy 40 Strawberry at the Egg Festival before starting the Egg Hunt.
    • Take Parsnip, Potato, Green Bean, and Cauliflower (for Deluxe Speed-Gro on Strawberries) and Daffodil, Dandelion, Leek, and Wild Horseradish (for Spring Seeds to sell) to Community Center and donate them. Pick up your rewards.
    • Apply Deluxe Speed-Gro
    • Plant 40 Strawberries.

Two-week walk-through

This walk-through uses Spring 2 Bridge and 20 Free Strawberries and it upgrades your axe and pick. It postpones most socializing (until after Luau?) and does not explicitly include a backpack upgrade, Coop, or Silo, any of which can be entertained starting Spring 14.
  • Spring 1 - 4: Follow the Spring 2 Bridge walk-through
  • Spring 5 Fri
    • Note: A new routine starts today for about a week. Good Luck: Mining and mountain fishing; Bad Luck: Beach fishing and town errands; Rain: Willow Lane fishing. Delay socializing for now except for birthdays and anything convenient (like Dandelion (first choice; less popular) or Daffodil (2nd choice; widely liked) to Pierre when you shop).
    • Ship barely enough fish to afford 1750gp for 25 Kale tomorrow. Calculate fish value by making your own copy of this spreadsheet.
    • Harvest Parsnips and save for gifting or eating. Avoid selling if you have fish, beach forage, and Wild Horseradish.
    • Take a Dandelion gift to Pierre and buy 1 Potato and 12 Kale. On the way, see the Community Center if invited and touch the glowing floor slab.
    • Plant to preserve field. Delay watering until tomorrow if you want to add fertilizer.
    • Take Hoe, Stone, ore, all but 1 Coal, a Chest, rod, and food (Trout Soup, forage, and Parsnips) to The Mines.
    • Mine 5+ floors if you have time and food. Otherwise, fish outside the entrance for income.
    • Quit by midnight and take fish, Sap, and Hoe home. Or fall asleep at 2:00 with fish, Sap, Hoe and anything else you are carrying (fastest level-ups).
  • Spring 6 Sat
    • Note: You have been leveling up every night (1 Fg1, 2 Fs1, 3 Fs2, 4 M1 Fs3, 5 Fm1), so your poor bedtime habits have not cost you any rest. From now on, either keep track of daily leveling up, go to bed near midnight, or make your extra 3 hours of work (1 travel + 2 sleep) worth the energy cost.
    • Place Scarecrow and Basic Fertilizer
    • Take a Dandelion or Daffodil gift to Pierre and buy and plant 25 Kale for 40 total crops (Resist temptation to overplant! This is all you need.)
    • Mine/fish per routine. Stay poor. Fall asleep at work. (Fastest level-ups.)
  • Spring 7 Sun
    • Lewis BD quality Parsnip.
    • Plant any lucky Ancient Seeds today or wait until Spring 13.
    • See the Wizard and the Traveling Cart (if there is anything you must buy, restart the day and sell things to buy it before going)
    • Lewis
    • Mine/fish. Stay poor. Save up fish. Fall asleep at work.
  • Spring 8 Mon
    • Chop wood as needed to have a Chest everywhere you currently need: elevator (The Mines), the Mountain Lake, and the Blacksmith.
    • Stay poor. Save up fish. Fall asleep at work.
  • Spring 9 Tue
    • Ship fish in the morning for geode smashing and a 2,000gp Axe upgrade tomorrow.
    • Bring 5 Copper Bars, artifacts, and geodes home for an Axe upgrade tomorrow.
    • Mine/fish. Stay poor. Save up fish. Fall asleep at work.
  • Spring 10 Wed
    • Vincent BD Daffodil.
    • Take Daffodil, artifacts, geodes, axe, and Copper Bars to Blacksmith (9-4), Museum, and Vincent.
    • Do geodes before axe upgrade.
    • Upgrade axe.
    • Get Museum rewards.
    • Mine/fish. Stay poor. Save up fish. Fall asleep at work.
  • Spring 11 Thu
    • Ship fish in the morning for a 2,000gp Pick upgrade tomorrow.
    • Bring 5 Copper Bars, artifacts, and geodes home for an Pick upgrade tomorrow.
    • Mine/fish. Stay poor. Save up fish. Fall asleep at work.
  • Spring 12 Fri
    • Harvest. Sell Kale if necessary to afford 40 Strawberry tomorrow.
    • Clear area for Strawberry tomorrow.
    • Get axe. Process geodes. 
    • Upgrade Pick. (9-4).
    • Mine/fish. Stay poor. Save up fish. Fall asleep at work.
  • Spring 13 Sat Egg Festival
    • Harvest Cauliflower.
    • Prepare and water spaces for 40 Strawberry and Ancient Seeds.
    • Buy 40 Strawberry at the Egg Festival before starting the Egg Hunt.
    • Take Parsnip, Potato, Green Bean, and Cauliflower (for Deluxe Speed-Gro on Strawberries) and Daffodil, Dandelion, Leek, and Wild Horseradish (for Spring Seeds to sell) to Community Center and donate them. Pick up your rewards.
    • Plant Ancient Fruit on DSG. Save all or some of rest for other Ancient Fruit.
    • Plant 40 Strawberries, possibly partly on DSG.

Floor 81 on Spring 27

When you get to Floor 80 late in the evening on a late Spring day, don't go home! Relax and mine a bit of gold on Floor 81. If you get to Floor 82+, that's fine too. If there are more days left in Spring, do the same thing again and craft a couple of Quality Sprinklers. This will give you a great attitude when you shop for Summer crops. I see a dusty watering can in your future!

Why so slow

It's possible to get to Floor 80 much sooner than Spring 27. But going at a bit more leisurely pace gives you time to pick up not only copper (for Tappers!) and iron ore (for Quality Sprinklers), but likely some helpful items like food, rings, weapons, and artifacts for the Museum. There's nothing "wrong" with going faster unless you are sacrificing the tree-topping time you need to level up Foraging and start placing Tappers. This strategy just reassures you that all is perfectly fine if you don't happen to rush to Floor 120 at breakneck speed.

Tip: The number of Oak trees you have tapped and Copper Bars you have on hand—not getting dozens of Hops starters under Sprinklers on Summer 1—will likely be the limiting factor on your Summer farming income. See the Pale Ale Power strategy.

Getting to Floor 80

Without any supergamer skills or advanced Stardew knowledge, it's reasonable to unlock 16 elevators (80 Floors) in around 23 days (that's around 2 elevators or 10 floors every 3 days on average) if you
  • keep your farm fields down to 
    • 15 crops Spring 1-5 (to fish!),
    • 40 crops Spring 6-13, and
    • 80 crops Spring 14-28
  • go mining early on days your TV luck is at least neutral
  • postpone socializing (except birthdays) until after the Summer Luau
  • keep your biggest stack of food with you at all times and keep your health up (if your player skills are particularly bad, evade monsters also and use the Fish Your Finger Off strategy)

Pale Ale Power

Believe it or not, Hops made into Pale Ale really is the highest income per crop space (See nerd table here) at 12,000 gold pieces per month per plant second only to an infilled mature Peach or Pomegranate tree, which isn't cheap. This doesn't mean Hops is the best crop forever (Starfruit and Ancient Fruit have overriding strengths for later in the game; see same nerd table). But it does mean you can be rather rich in your first Summer on a lowly 60-gold-piece-per-starter investment; can you even imagine 120,000 gold pieces from just 10 Hops trellises? Here are some numbers:
  • Crops needed for 120k gold pieces per month: 10
  • Kegs needed for 120k gold pieces per month: 18

You need Tappers on Oak trees

Suddenly you aren't limited by watering energy. You are limited by Kegs. And to get them, you need Oak Resin. This takes 7-8 days.
  • Prioritize tree-topping over mine-rushing until you get the Tapper recipe
  • Prioritize your Copper Bars to put a few Tappers on Oak trees (they are the trees with a shiny "mop top") as soon as you get the Tapper recipe.
Tip: Due to a Tapper bug, Oak Resin is ready earlier on Day 8 when you harvest it later on Day 1. So no need to rush harvest; it's actually better to wait until evening to harvest.

Easy Early Greenhouse

Choose the Fruit Bats and max out your Coop for Rabbit Wool before going Barn-ey for Large Milk.

A Greenhouse is amazing! With a Seed Maker and a Greenhouse, you can reproduce any crop at any time, including Winter. To get a Greenhouse, all you have to do is fill the Pantry bundles at the Community Center. Of course it's easy with foresight to fill four of the six bundles by Fall 14.
  • Spring Crops: Parsnip, Green Bean, Cauliflower, Potato
  • Summer Crops:Tomato, Hot Pepper, Blueberry, Melon
  • Fall Crops: Corn, Eggplant, Pumpkin, Yam
  • Quality Crops: 5 gold star each of Parsnip, Melon, Corn, and Pumpkin (choose any three)
The two bundles left are the Artisan Bundle and the Animal bundle.

Animal Bundle

The Animal Bundle is easy to fill early if you max out a coop with a couple of rabbits before getting a barn. Fill the bundle's five slots by using your Summer Pale Ale income to max out your Coop with a brown Chicken (1. Large White Egg), a white Chicken (2. Large Brown Egg), a Duck (3. Duck Egg), and a couple of Rabbits (4. Wool). Then put a cow or two (5. Large Milk) in a basic Barn.
  • Animal: Large White Egg, Large Brown Egg, Duck Egg, (Rabbit) Wool, Large Milk
To get large eggs and milk (and even rabbit's feet!) from your animals, pet them daily, let them out to eat grass, and don't shut them out from returning home at night. There's generally no danger but inconvenience and confusion (good luck finding and petting your animals!) to leaving the door open all the time. If you choose to leave the doors open, a fenced barnyard may help you find your animals.

Artisan Bundle

Filling six slots of the Artisan Bundle is easy enough if you choose Fruit Bats. Jelly, Honey, and Cheese are not a challenge, and the fruit bats will bring you a random assortment of tree fruits. If your fruit bats seem slow, the Cloth is easy and cheap to obtain, and if you get desperate, upgrade your barn once for goat cheese. Or decide early to plant Apple and Pomegranate saplings in mid summer.
  • Artisan: Jelly, Honey, Cheese, Cloth, Fruit, Fruit

You Had One Job

  • Travel is expensive in Stardew Valley. Minimizing your travel is a good thing. And dedicating days to one thing saves travel.
  • Backpack space can be tight in Stardew Valley. Dedicating days to one thing saves backpack space.
So do this:
  • Dedicate open days to a single thing. 
  • Use birthdays for misc runarounds, tool upgrades, foraging, etc.
  • Keep chests at your main work areas (Beach, Mines, Blacksmith, and Saloon; use the Wiki Worm Bin article to see where this is safe)
  • Select what you want to have with you or what you want to ship the next morning before you fall asleep on the job.
  • On dedicated days, use the in-game Screenshot tool to preview every new map you enter to decide what you may want to pick up without going too far out of your way. If your backpack is full, either leave forage and artifact spots until Saturday (they reset on Sunday except Spring Onions that reset every day) or pick them up for experience then drop or eat them.

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