Tips and Tricks
- Economy Management
This article offers miscellaneous tips and tricks for advanced gameplay.
You can find more basic hints in the Widelandsfaqplaying and in-game in the encyclopedia's General → Tips section.
Every player is welcome to share their favourite strategies by adding them to this page
This section covers some of the most common ways to get yourself deadlocked, and how to resolve the problem.
No Coal and Grout
If you don't have a coal mine, you need charcoal burners to get coal. Coal is needed to produce grout, which is required to build the charcoal kiln.
If you are stuck with no coal, no grout, and no charcoal kiln, there are several solutions:
Build a coal mine on any mine plot. It has a 5% chance to find coal even if there is no coal in the ground. This will allow you to get enough grout to complete a charcoal kiln.
Dismantle a building to get back some grout.
The Spidercloth Deadlock
To produce spidercloth, you need spider silk. To produce that, you need corn. To build a farm, you need spidercloth.
If you're stuck with no farm and no more spidercloth or -silk, the only solution is to dismantle a building that returns spidercloth, and make sure that this cloth goes to your farm constructionsite.
You need bricks for just about every building. You need it for the coal mines and charcoal kilns, which produce the coal needed for bricks, and for the quarries and rock mines, which produce the granite needed for bricks.
If you're stuck with no bricks and no supply of one of these input wares, the only solution is to dismantle some buildings and use the bricks they return to build a charcoal kiln, quarry or whatever it is you lack.
Reed is grown by the reed farm, which requires reed to be built, If you run out of reed before you have a reed farm, dismantle buildings and use the reed they return to construct a reed farm.
This deadlock can be avoided by building a reed farm as one of the first buildings in the game.
No Rubber or Rope
The building that makes rope from Lianas needs rubber to be constructed. The building that makes rubber needs rope to be constructed. If you haven't built these two before your initial supply runs out of rope and rubber you will be deadlocked. The only solution is to dismantle a building that returns either material and make sure it is sent to the right place. It is possible too that rubber is being stored in another building such as the Dressmakery.
To build a lumberjack's/woodcutter's or forester's house/hut, you need logs. If you have none left, dismantle some buildings and use their logs to construct the log supply infrastructure.
This deadlock can be avoided easily by building these two sites as two of the first two buildings in the game.
Not Enough Builders
Some starting conditions give only limited wares and workers to the players. If you forget to watch out for this, you may get in a situation where you place more buildings to be built than the number of builders you have. If you don't have hammers to equip new builders, nor a toolmaker with sufficient supplies to make new hammers, then some constructionsites will have to wait for others to finish to get a builder. To make a builder available to some critical construction, you can cancel some other construction to free up the builder.
If there are more than one sites where the builder is missing, but not all of them critical, you may cut the road to the non-critical ones before you cancel a construction, to make sure the freed up builder goes where he or she is needed most.
How do I ensure that a certain ware goes to a specific building?
In Widelands 1.0 or newer, just give the target building the very highest priority for a specific ware. In older versions, you need to cut all roads to other possible consumers, or set their input quantity for this ware to 0, to ensure the ware is delivered where you want it.
Sometimes you will find that the ware you need is still present as an input ware in some building. In this case, decrease the building's maximum input amount for this ware to 0 to free the ware.
Every ware that lies in your warehouses is wasted because it would be more use to process it into a different ware. If you have a surplus of something, build more processing sites to increase the overall economic throughput and efficiency. The predefined "Efficiency" economy targets profile has been optimized for use with this strategy.
On the other hand, having some stock helps to smooth fluctuations of the supply. Stock of building materials can be very important for quick expansion. And stocks prevent deadlocks.
Leave it to the best of the pros to run their perfect just-in-time economy without stock. — until some disaster hits… If you are not (yet ) one of them though, you would only get yourself into massive shortages by trying, and waste good building materials on processing sites that soon find themselves idling half the time.
Storage Capacity of Production Buildings
The storage capacities of input materials in production buildings are quite large. This is useful when there is a strong supply to allow the building to always run with 100% productivity. However in real games you will often have many consumers of some wares, and in this case the faster consumers or those that are closer to the sources will hog the resource, causing shortage at the less fortunate ones.
To get a better balance with multiple consumers of the same ware, you should first decrease the allowed local storage for all consumers. Then you may try to adjust the priorities as well, if you still have problems. Otherwise you would need massive oversupply of the ware to satisfy all consumers with maximum local stock capacity.
Be careful though not to set the capacities so low that it hurts productivity more than necessary.
Empty mines still have a building-dependent chance of typically 5-10% of finding more resources. If you run out of deposits for a resource, just place a bunch of mines anywhere and make sure you have enough food to supply them all, and you'll be able to keep mining the resource.
Wells (which are technically mines) have a chance of 65% of producing water when depleted, so it is not even necessary to send geologists to check where water may be found. And since they don't require any input wares and take up little space it never makes sense to dismantle an empty well.
You don't need fully trained soldiers, you only need soldiers that are a few steps stronger than your enemy's soldiers. But those you need very much. If every one of your soldiers kills only one enemy, then goes home with 15% health to heal, then you weakened the enemy without losing anything.
Evade training is very cheap for the Imperial soldiers. You should build an arena as soon as you can produce bread. It only costs wood (logs and planks) and stones (granite, marble and marble columns). Don't let the bread go to the taverns, and don't have inns as long as you don't need deep mines.
If you don't need a port early in the game, you should also use your starting gold and cloth to enhance the arena to colosseum. You will be surprised how fast most of your army will get to evade level 2. This can be decisive even without expensive attack and health training early in the game or against weak opponents.
You can also limit the weaponsmith to only get planks for wooden spears for new recruits until you have a strong mining industry, so all iron and coal goes to the armorsmith, who should be limited to only produce helmets. This way you can get many cheap soldiers for expansion, who can still be trained to be very good in evade.
When the enemy has defeated the last soldier at one of your buildings, you can prevent them from conquering the site by very quickly dismantling or enhancing it.
When you are facing a much stonger enemy, you may gain a little time by dismantling your buildings even before they start another attack until you are out of their attack range.
This is effectively the same as scorched earth tactic: don't let the enemy use your military infrastructure against you.
Build a lot of forester's houses near the front line to slow down the enemy's expansion. Especially effective if your land is protected by a building with a very large conquer radius, because the enemy then needs to build military sites close to the border to be able to see it – but this space is then occupied by trees planted by your foresters.