Kenshi has a lot of depth for a visually very simplistic RPG. You could just roam the wastes and scavenge your way to independence. You might also have ambitions of joining a particular faction and telling your own take on their story. Building your own faction might be another goal you have in the game. Kenshi is a very unforgiving game. Getting to the point where you can reliably build and expand your own settlement is a major hassle.
There are plenty of other ways to play the game. You don’t have to put down roots at all, and you can roleplay your way to success. Some players enjoy the fairly deep crafting in this game, and choose to start building their ability to make their own gear and supplies. From the beginning of the game, this won’t be an option. You not only lack the resources, but it’s just a huge time investment as well. Instead, buy a house in Kenshi and start with just a small base.
How to buy a House in Kenshi
But before you get to the point of building your own massive base, you need to start small. When you head into any neutral or allied town, you have the option to buy ruined or open houses. Most new players might head to somewhere like The Hub to find plenty of open houses to buy. this small settlement has an army of powerful NPCs guarding it, making it a great starter base for new players to do some basic research and crafting in.
Not all buildings are available to buy in Kenshi. Head into a town and left-click on a building to select it. You will be able to see in the bottom left corner of your screen whether the building is for sale or not. When you go into any house, look for the purchase option in the bottom-left of the UI. There will be a button that lists the price in Cats for the basic structure. Paying that will allow you to claim ownership over the building. This is great if you need a basic structure to set up a starter research bench or sleeping spots. You need to own a building or area to be able to build most things in Kenshi, so this is the preferable option for new players. Keep in mind that Ruined buildings often need to be repaired using Construction Materials, which can be kind of hard to make as a new character.
The cost fro the smallest buildings is around 4,000 Cats, while some larger two-story buildings can run as high as 20,000 Cats, depending on where you’re looking.
From there. you can start building up the house that you’ve just bought. What you do with it is up to you. For my current game, I built a pretty advanced secondary base out of the largest buildings in The Hub, with pretty fully-featured crafting and food supply. That way, if my main base is ever overrun, I can fall back to The Hub and regroup.
To build inside a building, just put an NPC in there and click the Build Menu icon in the bottom-right. This will bring up all the options you have for building structures, crafting spots and other items. You will have a ton of options as you do more research, so it can be a lot to handle. For a new player, just focus on the basic necessities like sleeping spots, cooking stations and some research infrastructure to start with.
So get out there and see what you can find. This game has a ton of storytelling potential and is all about emergent fun. So go buy up some real estate. From there, you can pick and choose what you want to build. Your playstyle and goals should determine how you want to build out your new home.