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Banished: Getting Started

Your town will go the way of Jamestown unless you follow these tips to sustaining a new colony.


Banished is a new city builder game made by Shining Rock Software.  The premise of the game is a group of settlers with nothing but some basic supplies go forth into unclaimed territory to start a new life.  The goal is to grow and thrive while combating the elements and managing your resources.  One of the big appeals of the game is its unforgiving nature and difficulty, a throwback to earlier city builders where strategy and game play triumphed over eye-candy (I'm looking at you, SimCity).   

From a handful of villagers and a wagon full of resources, there are some very simple steps that will guarantee a stable starting from which you can grow your town.

Where To Start

Survey the area around your wagon.  Pause the game while you develop a game plan and get a grasp on how you want to build your town out.  You will need a supply of lumber, stone, and iron nearby.  It is also important to protect big forests nearby as they are an excellent source of renewable lumber, wild food supplies, and herbs.  Clear cutting this resource will be detrimental to you later in the game.  

You will need river access for trading, so make sure the body of water you want to build towards is connected to the rest of the map and is not a lake.  Trading is very important early on.

Before starting constructions there are three core things each citizen needs:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Heat

Mother Nature Provides

In a nearby forest, no more than a screen or two away from your starting wagon, we want to use the resources already existing.  All buildings are available immediately, so be careful jumping ahead beyond what you can sustain, as you will quickly take casualties.  In the screenshot above you see three primary early game buildings:

  • The Gatherer's Hut is used to define an area for collection of roots, berries, mushrooms and onions.
  • A Hunting Cabin, used to hunt deer in influence of the building.
  • The Forester's Lodge enables foresters to cut down nearby trees but also to re-plant them.

Pause the Forester's Lodge from construction until after you have built your other core buildings, but place it next to these two other buildings.  

Keep The Commute Short

The next step is to build two houses next to your first set of buildings.  Banished is very good about moving people closer to their place of employment, and families can swap houses.  By keeping two houses next to your Hut, Lodge, and Cabin, you'll make sure that these buildings stay producing instead of having people running across the map.

In the screenshot above, you can see that there are two houses next to this Gatherer's Hut and Forester's Lodge.  When building outposts or industry areas make sure there are some nearby houses enough to keep productivity high.

Centralize Storage

Your next building should be the Storage BarnStockpile, and a Woodcutter. With the threat of food out-of-the-way by hunting and harvesting wild plants you will need to build up a bit of infrastructure.  The barn will collect all materials.  Food is brought here and citizens collect it and take it to their houses.  Another core part of the game are tools, they increase efficiency significantly and citizens while going about their work will break their tools.  They will pick it up from the barn.

Stockpiles will aggregate raw materials such as logs, firewood, stone, and iron and stack them up to be used later on.  In the example screenshot above, the Woodcutter would walk across the street, take a stack of logs, chop it up, and put the firewood back into the stockpile.  Citizens would come by and pick them up as needed to heat their homes through winter.  

At this point, build two more houses around this cluster of buildings. Do not build more houses than you absolutely need.  Controlling rapid growth is very important as you will quickly exhaust your resources.  Your goal is to make it past the first few winters with these core buildings in place.

Keep It Efficient

You will run out of tools within a few years.  You will need a blacksmith to produce tools from iron and logs you harvest.  Keeping your people well supplied is important and you should have a steady supply of tools.  Citizens will have a little pickaxe icon above their heads when they run out of tools and they will work very, very slowly (think punching a tree down).   

You may be tempted to lay down roads as well early on but they take time to build.  You want to pause all buildings except for the one or two you want your builders to focus on and throwing some roads down could delay food gathering or building shelter.   After your core set of buildings are up, lay down some paths to help people move faster.  Lay a road down from your gathering & hunting outpost and into your main stockpile, barn, blacksmith, and woodcutter.  

Start an Economy

Depending on the difficulty which you started out on, you will need a trading post to get seeds and livestock.  These things are very important since they are space efficient and as your city grows you can't possibly sustain your town having to go long distances to different huts and pockets of forests.  I tend to make an extra woodcutter to use firewood for trading of seeds.  You will need 625 firewood to make the trade happen for one set of seeds so plan on having a lot in reserve.  This means you should set your woodcutter limit to 800+ as well as your logs.  When your trader makes a trade he will immediately replenish firewood in the trading supply for the next trade so you will have your available firewood vanish immediately.  This is a lot easier to just over-provision a resource for trading instead of having to micro and fetch resources after the trader arrives (and risk not getting everything you need for the trade before he leaves).


  • Workers who are idle (e.g. builders without any building projects) will automatically turn into laborers.  For example, if your woodcutter is lacking logs in the stock pile he will help your laborers cut down trees before going back to being a woodcutter. 
  • Focus on accomplishing a few tasks and doing what you need to get your economy going.  Do not try to be ambitious early on and plan for the worst (looking at you Jamestown).  
  • Keep your profession window and town summary window up on your screens.  You will need to often adjust job assignments as the game progresses to make sure your town is being as efficient as possible about what the immediate needs of the citizens are.
Originally Published Jan. 30th 2014

Featured Contributor

Clay is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.


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  • 14
    Tai Son 6 months ago
    looks interesting, I'll have to pick a copy up.
  • 1
    lol_1516 8 months ago
    Dumb ideea tu build houses near production places. They should be built near a market or barn to have constant supply of goods. Or else they'll die of starvation and cold. But do what you please. You're the expert:))
  • 13
    Clay 6 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    Time spent walking to work will just offset any savings you get next to a barn. The children in the home can fetch supplies for the home and since they can not work saving time on the adults commute. It's a balance really you will have to use the pathing tool to setup something efficient.

    Later on, when you have >500-1000 pop you will have markets covering all the houses anyways.