I write this for myself, so that I won't have to struggle with odd issues that have nothing to do with gameplay and time management skill in this time management game. Issues like:
... and more. Much more.
I'm leaving this game for a long time until these issues are fixed. But please know, especially from this guide which also serves as an in-depth review of the game, that this game is the only one of its kind.
It is a less lonely version of Don't Starve (yes, I know DS has cooking recipes, but the gameplay does devolve into the most efficient recipes like Meatballs.)
It is a playable and streamlined version of Dwarf Fortress. (If the dev will continue to hone his/her skill in Java to avoid bottlenecks like garbage collection, or switch to manual memory alloc/dealloc for crucial parts of the software.)
Folks, please feel free to improve, mangle, graffiti, and just plain be creative with expanding this guide. I'm busy with work, and will likely never finish this guide completely. I only put in techniques I know I must use to grapple with the game's bugs.
I like Loracre, so I'll write this guide based on it.
Place camp right next to and just above the abandoned Mining Facility. You'll need the use Grab to drop Wood and Stone into the Camp, without distracting your villagers.
Use Influence to top up Wood for Lumber Shack, since your first building will be the Mining Facility right next to the Camp.
Be sure to quickly go back to the trees you chopped down with Grab. Hover over them to collect essence for Influence!
Once the Mining Facility and Lumber Shack are up, place whatever buildings you anticipate (I put down 3 houses) and pause them immediately. Just to measure space you need to set aside. Put down a paused Crystal Harvester too.
Somewhere near the Crystal Harvester (and leave space for a potential Crystillery), place an Essence Collector. The Lumber Shack will expand your village bounds so you can place there. You don't want to spend time hovering your cursor over chopped trees anymore than needed. Obviously, you need to Grab Crystals since you don't yet have a Crystal Harvester
Next, put down a Water Purifier, then Bottler, then unpause a House to build it.
Use your Influence only for Food (raw vegetables). Your villagers can manage to get Wood and Stone just fine.
After Water, build Houses until you have surplus housing of 3 or more. I'm not sure what exactly attracts Nomads, since they've come even when I have a deficit of 3 or more housing, but just play by good gameplay rules (the dev may update the gameplay logically for this at some point soon).
After housing, immediately get a Bowyer and a Bow Tower. Remember: Cullis Gates do not spew out Essence, requiring you to hover your cursor over the gate to extract Essence. Also, Grabbing monsters spend Essence.
That's it for the first day. Water, housing, Tower.
Using Grab to hold anything (resource, monster, creature) and waving it above any villager (or creature that is not monster) will confuse the villager. This causes the villager to pause for a few good seconds, or more if panicked instead of merely confused.
Pause the game. Move your cursor to an empty plot of land. Unpause game. Drop resource.
Beware that using Grab to supply any construction (work-in-progress construction) will cause all Builders to head immediately for the construction, ignoring any other tasks at hand.
This is particularly annoying when placing walls and supplying them with Wood (so villagers don't have to ferry Wood to construct wall).
Reduce Builders to just 1. (See https://risetoruins....-many-builders/). Place wall. Supply wall with Grab. Don't place and supply too many walls at once! Any unfinished wall will perpetually distract all your Builders such that every other construction in town will not be touched at all (until all unfinished walls are finished or dismantled).
Don't bother to limit production of Water or Food to "Storage space". These resources will get gobbled up real quick. And villagers go for resources on the ground first, before tapping into stored ones in homes and storage.
Role Switch Strategy
Switching between a Lumberjack and a Builder will cause the new Builder to back trek a long way for the correct tool. If you can help it, don't do it. Yes, that means a ton of micro.
Switch between Stone Cutter, Crystal (refinery and harvester), Toolsmith, Way Maker, etc. They all use Hammers.
Switch between Fletcher, Lumberjack, Carpenter.
Pick up after yourself
When dismantling buildings, try to pick up the resources left on the ground. Otherwise, your harvesters (eg. Lumberjack) will trek halfway across the region to pick up those resources.
Water Purifier vs Farm
This is related to "Infinite Production" above.
Water Masters will always supply Water Purifiers by depleting supplies of Farms, even in preference to harvesting Dirty Water themselves! This means your Farm production will slow dramatically due to being "poorly watered". This seems to be a long standing bug that was never fixed. The dev instead rolled out an easy cheese alternative to food in the way of hunting, rather than resolving to fix Farms (vs Water Purifier).
Over-produce your Water. Then fire all Water Masters so they don't deplete Farms of Dirty Water. Use Grab to help Farmers stock up on Dirty Water, so they don't need to harvest it themselves. Given this setup, you only need 1 Farmer per fully upgraded Farm.
Or, over-produce Dirty Water until your Water Purifiers are full and stop using Dirty Water. Then keep your Water Masters producing Dirty Water to infinity. After all, Farmers don't harvest Dirty Water as efficiently as Water Masters.
Water Catchment Areas
Look for naturally occurring lakes on the map. Dig a narrow 1-tile track of hole to tap that lake into your local small pond.
Feel free to cut off that siphon when you wall over. Re-establishing that siphon for even just a brief moment will net you lots of Dirty Water.
Don't rely on your small ponds to fill with enough Dirty Water at each rain session.
Compact Village Bounds
Unless you need to reach for resources further afield, don't build fire pits to push back the Corruption. Villagers will often wander off across the region to pick up a resource from the ground.
There's really no point in pushing back the Corruption. Doing so will only net your more monster spawns, depleting your ammo.
That said, feel free to push back the Corruption momentarily. I haven't tested this. But this could "reset" Corruption growth effectively.
The "Total" number (out of "Total", "Ground", "Stored", "Equip", "Carry") is the total resource on the ground (not stored) plus stored plus equipped by creatures plus carried by creatures (en route to being stored).
Note that "Stored" includes resources stored in construction projects that aren't used yet. When a Builder builds with said resource, the resource is consumed. Before the resources are actually used to build, you can still dismantle the construction project and get back 100% of the resources (since they're merely store, not consumed). Otherwise, you only get back 50% of the resources consumed in the construction.
This means you can monitor "how much more resources you need to produce" because the Total number can show shortfall. Beware that this Total includes resources stored in construction projects (not yet used to build). So, your total required is the total required by all construction projects. You can easily find your shortfall that way.
Avoid use of Cullis Gate
It seems the Cullis Gate, after dropping in monsters, don't spit out essence. You need to hover your cursor over them to extract the essence.
That is actually good gameplay balance, if my observation is true.
In any case, Cullis Gates are a last resort, since you spend Influence to Grab monsters. Contrast with Wood that gives Essence, and Ballistae Bolts that kill monsters to also give Essence. Killing monsters with towers gives a total (not just net) gain in Essence.
That's all I can think of (or have time for) now.
Now that I write all these out, it does become clear that this game just isn't complete yet. It's a Time Management game that doesn't provide enough Time Management tools for the player.
It's still an utterly fresh and improved take on Dwarf Fortress. I probably won't come back until the issues are fixed. But this dev is generous (if a little manpower strapped). I'm sure the issues will be fixed.
I hope the dev doesn't prefer to roll out new content (eg. hunting) instead of fixing bugs (eg. farming).