Over the last few times I've played Banished, I've noticed that my skills in the game have improved very rapidly, to the point of when I play on the easiest level I get board because it's just too easy. After switching to Hard mode I've noticed that I now basically kill everyone within minutes and have to start my game all over again, which is a pain if you forget to save before you start the game.
So over the last few months, I've collected some of my own data to test out a few theories on how to survive on hard mode. While collecting this data, I played on the game’s largest map with natural disasters on. Making this probably one of the hardest challenge for me as a player.
Before you do anything remember, to survived this mode you must leave a good amount of people as laborers. They are the back bone to your town and your games survival. The laborers are the ones that will replace the ones that have died over time and they will go and collect the resources when they are being told. Also before you start building, I recommend that not only save before you start your game, but you must also pause your game when deciding where to build things. If time is moving before you can place down a building then you just lost a lot of time that your characters could have been using to build and collect.
When first playing on the hardest level you need to establish 7 different things. The first things I found to build is your food sources such as a fishing spot, gatherers hut, and a hunting lodge. This will help establish your main food sources and it will keep you from using up the small supply that is in your towns cart too quickly. I would recommend that you use the max amount of people for your food such as 4 fishermen, 4 gatherers, and 4 hunters but since you have a limited amount of people to begin with and you need a minimum of 2 to 4 builders when you first start I would recommend that you have at max of 4 fishermen and 2 to 4 gatherers.
The next thing you need to make it at least 1 house. Don’t go all out and build up a bunch of houses until you have secured your main food sources. When starting off, all you really need is one house. Everyone will share and use it to get warm when needed. Once you’ve built up your resources such as stone, wood, and most importantly food then you can slowly start to build more homes over time to increase your population.
To store you're building resources you need to make some stock piles. I would recommend either 2 plots of 5x5 or 1 plot of 10x10. When you first start clearing trees, rocks, and iron you need some place to put them and by build 2 or 1 designated areas to store these materials, the faster you can build.
As time goes on in your game you're going to need to start build a wood cutter, a forester, and an herbalist. The first two will help give you a steady supply of wood to burn or build with for your town. Your herbalist also collects herbs and medicines for your town. After a while you will hit the max for how many herbs you can collect, when you've collected your max you can probably close it down since it's no longer needed in a way. I would recommend that your try to build the wood cutter and forester right after your established your food source, home, and stock piles.
I find that building everything in this order is probably one of the most important things you can do if you want to survive. However as you begin to build more houses, and expand your new town, your map will also have an effect on the game so take that into consideration while you play. Do keep in mind that if you being to expand farther into to the game the more challenges you will face that can cause a mass extinction in your game so save your game a lot. Food, cold, and accident are the hardest things to control if you are not set up properly.
Thank you everyone for reading. I hope this helps explain how to start off playing in hard mode for Banished. It took over 10+ games to figure out the best strategy to get yourself situated in the game. I had a really fun time testing my theories out and finding the best strategy possible.
Until next time,