Kenshi Guide Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Kenshi Guide RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network How to Become a Competent Fighter in Kenshi Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:22:56 -0500 Tim White

The first time you get into a fight in Kenshi, you'll notice one thing in a matter of seconds: you just got served, and it was bad.

This isn't a case of bad game design, so give Kenshi a chance to show you how it works. Haul your bloody carcass up out of the dust, hobble to town, and buy some bandages to patch yourself up. Once you're feeling better, we'll show you how to do ever so slightly better next time.

There are (Almost) No Shortcuts

There's only one way to skip a buttload of hard training, and that's with about 10,000 Cats. You can hire a Warrior with 20 ranks in every melee combat skill (they show up randomly in bars), but if you can't spare that kind of cash, you'll have to learn the hard way.

First of all, you will get pummeled dozens of times before you even begin to be able to hold your own in a fight. You (the player) don't suck, I promise. Every time you get knocked out, but not killed, your toughness and your KO modifier both increase.

What does that mean? Well, when you take a beating and survive, you'll be a little bit harder to knock out next time (after you've fully recovered). Resist the temptation to hammer that F9 key every time you get your clock cleaned; it's all part of the learning process, and you'll be stronger for it in the long run.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Much like real life, wailing on a mannequin won't turn you into a heavyweight champion overnight, but it's a good place to start. Training dummies can increase your melee attack skill (but not individual weapon skills) to about rank 5, and they're useless once your skills rise higher than that, so you might as well take advantage of them while you can.

Once you've built your first settlement, set aside a few iron plates to make a training dummy (which you first need to unlock at a research bench). Go to town on the dummy for a few minutes until you hit rank 5, at which point you'll be kinda, sorta effective against a real opponent.

Picking a Real Fight

Once the training dummies have done all they can do for you, roam around near a major city until you find hungry or scrawny bandits. By now, your odds against a single one of them are about 50/50, but these thugs roam in huge packs. I don't need to explain what will happen if you start swinging your rusty iron bar at ten of them.

Instead, play it smart. Get close enough to make them mad, then hightail it for the town gates. The guards don't take kindly to bandit scum, and will lay waste to them in short order, giving you an opportunity to circle around and practice on one or two bandits once they get split off from the main horde.

Again, don't get too discouraged if you're still losing fights at this point. You are getting tougher, and provided you're giving yourself ample time, food, medicine, and rest to heal between fights, your combat stats will steadily improve.

Know When to Block (and When Not to)

In the lower-right corner of your screen, where all the toggle boxes are for various behaviors, you'll see options like "passive," "block," and "ranged." These options tell your characters to behave in certain ways whenever possible.

Passive characters will avoid combat at all costs, and are less likely to be targeted by criminals when they come into range. Ranged characters (if they have a ranged weapon) will always try to stay at a distance equal to its maximum effective range; this setting is obviously more effective if you have melee fighters to pull aggro.

Taunting enemies will make them mad, and encourage them to gang up on you (use with extreme caution). Finally, blocking is a great way to not die. While in block mode, a character will gain +20 melee defense, but will never attack. This is a good way to buy time if help is on the way, or if you need to drop stuff so you can run away faster.

However, not eating dirt is not always the optimal outcome (weirdly enough). Recall that your toughness and KO resistance increase when you take damage. Well, they increase faster the more damage you take. So blocking keeps you alive longer, but doesn't train your abilities as well. If you really need serious amounts of combat XP, consider dropping your guard and taking it on the chin (as long as you're pretty sure you'll just be knocked out and not utterly vaporized).

Make Some Friends (or Buy Them)

Before too long, you'll come to realize that there are other ways to even the odds a little. If you've been gaining some sage wisdom from our money-making guide, before too long you should have enough cash rattling around in your bag to enlist some help.

Workers and Warriors hang out in bars in every major town, and most of them are for hire. Workers tend to be request a one-time payment of about 3,000 Cats, but all their skills start at rank 0. Warriors will demand roughly three times as much, but they come with well-developed battle skills; it's up to you to decide whether fighting or crafting and farm labor is more important to you in the beginning.

For detailed information on building and managing a squad of wasteland wanderers (which can eventually grow up to 30 members), be sure to check out our guide on that very topic.

In the beginning, though, think very carefully about your needs and your resources, and don't go too crazy with hiring several helpers at once. Each person you recruit needs to eat and needs to be healed after combat, and bigger groups draw more attention outside the city walls. Build your squad slowly over time and train each member thoroughly in a few select skills for the best long-term results.

Finally, you can also hire mercenaries (also found in bars) as bodyguards to accompany you, or to guard your settlements. You get 8-10 of them for the same price as a permanent party member, precisely because they're not permanent; their contracts will expire in a day or two.

Mercenaries are especially useful as defense against bandit raids, which can utterly devastate your camp and kill your whole party. (The guys circled in red are really, really bad news.) Fortunately, the game gives you a generous heads-up when a raid is closing on your property—usually long enough to run back to town and bring back some mercenaries, if need be.

If you ever see that message after a bandit raid, pat yourself on the back and go have a beer. Surviving your first raid is enormously difficult, and it's a sure sign that you're on the right path.

Live Today, Fight Tomorrow

There's no shame in running. Sometimes, a battle will clearly be unwinnable. If enemies are strong enough to outright kill you, make a break for it. Even if only one squad member manages to escape, they can return to the area and revive everyone else once the enemies have dispersed.

Above all else, be conservative. Don't engage in fights you're not reasonably sure you can win, or at least survive. With patience and regular training, you'll eventually be able to go toe to toe with the wasteland's worst outlaws.


There you have it! Check out our other Kenshi guides here at GameSkinny!

How to Build and Manage a Squad in Kenshi Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:22:37 -0500 Tim White

Kenshi does tell you within its first few minutes that you can hire helpers to join you in the wastes, but it doesn't explicitly clarify how essential building a squad really is. Long story short, you'll want to make some friends sooner than later.

Squad members are a huge boon, but they require a lot of upkeep, too. Be sure you know what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line.

Your Employees are an Investment

Shockingly, nobody in Kenshi is willing to follow you all over a ludicrously dangerous desert for free. If you want strangers to risk their lives for you, be ready to pony up a fair bit of cash.

It costs somewhere around 10,000 Cats to hire a 0-level worker and train them to the point of being halfway competent in a handful of skills. I use the following rule of thumb: if I can't comfortably spare 10k, I'm not ready to hire a new person. They need gear, time and equipment for training, and they need to eat. They'll also soak up piles upon piles of medical supplies when they inevitably get their faces smashed in by enemies.

Fortunately, you can use this guide to teach them to be better at that whole fighting thing. As for scrounging up enough cash to pay their salary in the first place, check out our money-making guide.

Division of Labor

Kenshi becomes a radically different game as soon as you hire your first squadmate. Unless you want to sustain yourselves with crime (which is viable, but difficult), you'll need to build a settlement and gradually turn it into a self-sustaining town.

There are six broad categories of activities in the game: combat, crime, farming, crafting, labor, and engineering. (These are my labels, not Kenshi's.)

  • Fighters hit things until one or both of them dies (obviously)
  • Thieves sneak around, pick locks, steal stuff, and ambush unsuspecting targets
  • Farmers grow various plants for food and for raw crafting materials
  • Crafters turn raw materials into food, weapons, armor, or clothing
  • Laborers dig up ore and operate simple machinery
  • Engineers build and maintain structures and research new technology

As you might suspect, a strong squad is a well-balanced one. Crime is always optional (and you'd better be ready for the very long-term consequences if you go down that road), but every other sort of job is required if you want to be successful within the law.

Once your squad grows to about a half-dozen members, you'll spend most of your time managing their activities and making sure everyone's pulling their weight in an efficient and productive manner.

Give Everyone a Routine

If you had to manually order every squad member to do every little action, Kenshi would be unplayable. Fortunately, it has a crisp and efficient A.I. system that handles a big chunk of the busywork for you, but the game doesn't do a great job of explaining how to use it.

When you right-click on a machine or resource with a squad member selected, he'll go do that thing until you tell him to stop or until he fills his inventory—but after that he'll just sit around like a lump. However, if you hold Shift while right-clicking to give the order, you'll assign that task to that person as a permanent job. This means they'll do that activity forever as long as their "Jobs" tick box is set to "on."

As you can see in the screenshot above, squad leader "Peace" is my designated Iron Guy. He's actually got multiple jobs—four, at the moment. Assign multiple jobs to a squad member, and they will carry them out in priority order.

In this example, Peace is to use the Iron Refinery to create iron plates if he can. If the raw iron ore runs out, he's then to jog up the hill to the right and mine some more. He'll bring it back to the iron ore storage container before finally taking any finished iron plates out of the Refinery and storing them in their appropriate container. Once he's made all those checks, he goes back to the top of the list and starts working the Refinery again.

It's important to note that if a permanent job involves gathering large quantities of something, you also have to tell that person where to put their stuff. If you don't, they'll just stand around with a full inventory. Each resource has its own type of storage container, and assigning a permanent job to it will generate a task that starts with the prefix "Haul." Hauling orders can't be linked to general storage containers (copper has to go in copper storage, water in water tanks, and so on).

In this squad, "Heft" is in charge of both farming and cooking, while "Gecko" is my engineer and backup laborer. As long as bandit raids aren't rolling in to wreck my face, it all runs like clockwork and saves me a ton of clicking.

These routines can get pretty complicated. If you decide to have one person cover tasks spanning different categories, I recommend grouping related tasks together within their job list (e.g. have all the iron smelting activities happen before any farming checks are made).

For best results, consider more concentrated supply chains once you have enough people to make them feasible (for example, rather than having one guy do the entire iron process from mining to smelting, have him just focus on bringing ore to guy #2, who spends all his time smelting).

Bear in mind that squad members will always try to do their jobs if their job selector box is ticked. If you're trying to issue them a manual order and they keep running away, they're probably going back to work. Just tick their job box "off" to make them stop and listen.

Final Thoughts and Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind as your posse starts to grow and become more successful (that is, as they start to become more tempting targets for criminals):

  • At any time, you can left-click and drag to select multiple squad members within a rectangle.
  • Make liberal use of the pause function (space bar). You can issue orders while the game is paused to have them carried out once you unpause. This is especially helpful once you're trying to guide fifteen people through a complex semi-automated production line.
  • If you need to send someone to town for a supply run, send someone who can fight well and run fast (and make sure they're as unencumbered as possible)
  • Never leave workers undefended at your settlement. If you can't spare a fighter or some hired mercenaries to protect them, consider having everyone travel together when you need to leave. Even if a bandit raid steals all your stuff while you're gone, that's better than having them kill your whole party and steal your stuff. People are much harder to replace than supplies.
  • Don't work at night. Most production activities incur major penalties in the dark. Build enough beds for everyone to get a solid 8 hours, especially if they're injured.


There you have it! Just as in real life, if you want to make money and be successful, treat your employees well. Keep their bellies full and protect them from bandits, and they'll give you their best effort in return. Be sure to keep an eye out for our other Kenshi guides here on GameSkinny.

3 Ways to Start Making Money in Kenshi Tue, 11 Dec 2018 12:22:21 -0500 Tim White

Kenshi can be an overwhelming game, especially in the first few hours. Its mechanics can seem as inhospitable as the barren wastelands of its post-technology world, but they do become more comfortable if you manage to power through the difficult early stages.

Pretty much everything in the game requires money, and big piles of it. You’ll burn through your meager starting cash in short order and may have no idea how to get more. Tag along for three ways to kick-start your cash flow.

1. Cheese Bandits and Wildlife

“Cheese” is being used as a verb in this case, to be clear. Right after character creation, Kenshi tells you that you aren’t special, and it means it. You stand no chance whatsoever against bandits — or even against the wolf/dog/hyena things that roam the sand dunes — until you’ve spent a good deal of time training up your combat skills.

The city guards, however, are more than capable of taking out everything near most of the starting areas.


Make sure your encumbrance is “weightless” (because you run way faster as long as that’s true), and then go pick a fight you can’t possibly win. Lead your pursuers back to the steps of any major city, pop some popcorn, and enjoy the show.

Once the guards have laid waste to everything, loot freely (but don't loot guard corpses, if there are any; it's considered a crime). You'll need to make many trips to a shop to sell your plunder, at least until you've made enough to buy a backpack.

This isn't the most profitable method, but it is relatively safe and easy for newbies (as long as you're totally unencumbered), and in the case of animals, it can net you valuable skins for making leather later on. Finally, this is easier to pull off if you're alone, and it only really makes financial sense in that case, too. Once you've got a few squad members, there are better ways to make money.

2. Become a Copper Magnate

Copper will be a staple of your local economy for a long time and will net you many thousands of Cats (the currency, not the aloof house pet) for a relatively small investment.

The first thing you need to do is scare up enough cash to buy 10 building materials from local merchants; most carry them, and they aren't terribly expensive.

You won't be able to carry them all at once, as they're big and heavy. Just take however many you can manage at first. Once you've begun construction, you can leave the project partially finished and come back to it later.

Head out of town and build a small shack with the build button; you'll need 5 building materials to finish it. Ideally, you'll want to find a spot that's close to both a city and to at least one copper mining spot. When it's done, head inside and lock the door to help keep bandits out, should they wander by (this is why you want to be close to town, so the guards will protect you).

Now, click the build button again and set up a research bench inside your shack for 3 building materials. When it's ready, interact with it and start researching copper storage containers.

Build one or two storage containers inside your shack, and you're finally ready to start stockpiling copper. Head over to the copper ore vein you found and start mining copper by right-clicking on it. It may not seem like anything is happening, but if you left-click on the ore vein, you'll see a veeerrrryyyy slllooowwww progress meter. When it fills up, a nugget of copper ore will pop up that you're free to drag into your inventory.

The mining progress meter will fill faster as your laboring skill rises, and if you assign more workers to the same ore vein. It also fills faster at high-quality ore veins, and you can discern the quality of said veins by left-clicking on them. For now, make sure you zoom your camera out as far as possible so you can scan the landscape for bandits. If you see any heading your way, run inside your shack or into town before they ambush you.

Copper mining is slow at first, but it's great money; each nugget sells for about 200 Cats, depending on the merchant and their mood. Use your early profits to buy bigger backpacks and hire more workers, and before you know it, you'll be swimming in cash.

3. Make Headbands Like You're Reebok in the 90s

At least for me, this was the logical next step once I needed to scale up from selling raw copper. You'll need a total of 6 books and 12 cotton to get started (buy books from tool and supply merchants in towns for ~350 Cats each). You'll also need enough building materials and iron plates to craft a fabric loom,clothing bench, and a shack or house to put them in.

First, head to your research bench and research cotton farming (2 books, 2 cotton), fabric manufacturing (1 book), clothing manufacturing (1 book), and hats and headgear (2 books). Then go outside and start a small cotton farm from the build menu (near a plentiful water source, preferably with a well and water storage tanks). Be sure to water your farm before you plant the 10 cotton plants required to get it going.

Once you've amassed a few dozen cotton plants, build your fabric loom and assign someone to start making fabric from your cotton. Put your best armorsmith on the clothing bench to take that fresh fabric and start cranking out headbands. Alternatively, if you're the patient type interested in longer-term investments (which you really should be in this game), hold off on starting your new clothing line for a bit. Instead, when your first cotton crop grows, stash the cotton until you've got enough to upgrade your small field to a medium, then a large one. You'll grow more, faster.

Now, you'll notice that your first few headbands are worth a paltry 6 Cats or so. Again, this is a long-range endeavor. Masterwork headbands sell for a whopping ~930 Cats, and you can make fistfuls of them from a single roll of fabric, which requires only 6 cotton.

In the short term, your main job is to have your designated armorsmith hone their craft. Grow cotton like crazy, and spin it into headbands. Needless to say, this will all go a lot faster if you have at least 3 total workers: one to work the cotton farm (and plant new ones whenever possible), one to make headbands, and one to keep everyone fed and do other miscellaneous tasks.

By about armorsmith rank 40, which takes a few hours of constant crafting, you'll start to see a more substantial profit from each headband. You can make masterwork quality headbands at rank 100, and at that point you'll never need money again.


There you have it! Since everything in Kenshi is so tightly interwoven, you'll definitely want to also check out our Combat 101 and Forming a Squad articles to get a better feel for other important early-game mechanics. Keep an eye on the Kenshi guides page for more content in the near future, too.

How to Eat in Kenshi: Just Do It Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:48:44 -0500 Ashley Shankle

You've got a ton of things you have to worry about in Kenshi, and eating is sort of one of them.

Well, it's halfway one of them -- you've certainly got a lot more to worry about, but you've got to eat or you'll wither away and die.

There are two steps to eating:

  1. Have food
  2. Get hungry

After both steps are completed, your character will automatically eat any food you may have in your inventory. Really, that's it. You don't have to manually eat.

You can purchase food stuffs from traders or make it yourself. Bread, which is easy to make, will very likely be a staple of your diet but is generally a bit pricey from traders.

If you don't want to cook, dried fish is one of the cheapest food options out there and can be found at fish traders.

Eating in Kenshi really is this simple, thank goodness. It would be nice if there were an animation for eating, but auto-eating is fine, too.