Kenshi – The Basics of Base Building

Kenshi - The Basics of Base Building

Base building in Kenshi isn’t always the end goal for every player. Some folks just want to have an organic adventure out in the world. Heck, in my most recent playthrough I simply took a small gang of Shek cast-outs and trained them into an elite squad of assassins that kidnapped and took out the enemies of the Kingdom. They never put down roots, so I didn’t build a base. But if you want to build a base, boy, do I have the guide for you.

Starting Your Base

Once you have learned the basics of combat and survival, you might want to move onto putting more permanent roots down. The bases built in this game are pretty important for training and crafting in safe environments. And thanks to mods, it’s much easier to train elite squads and defend your base. You will need to gather a fair number of followers that will do nothing but gather resources. Metals like Iron and Copper are vital for mid-game crafting and research, so you will need an endless amount of them.

We’ve got more guides for you as well. Maybe you want to learn how to take down the Holy Nation or the Shek Kingdom. Use those World State guides to do so.

As you make Cats and get new recruits, figure out what they can be trained to do. Some of your helpers will need to be focused on growing and cooking food. Others will have to put effort into learning to shoot and fight; that way, you can actually defend your new outpost. Choosing recruits by race can help with this. Shek make excellent fighters. Skeletons make perfect permanent wall gunners. Greenlanders are great at farming and cooking.

After you have built up a small army and a good supply of resources, you need to choose a base location.

Choosing Your Base Site

There are four main considerations when it comes to choosing where to site a base in Kenshi.

  • Proximity to friendly or hostile factions
  • Nearby raw resources
  • Biomes
  • Environmental hazards

New players will want to try and make friends with one or two major factions ASAP. Having a nearby way to trade for resources and sell loot will be vital for survival.  You won’t be able to farm for everything out in the wastes, and will sometimes need to buy it. And since factions often are at war, such as the Holy Nation and Shek Kingdom, being friendly with one will turn the other against you. I made the mistake in a previous playthrough of trying to build too close to both the Holy Nation and Black Dragon Ninjas. Needless to say, but my base didn’t make it.

Biome types and resources spawns are the most important consideration. Without the ability to replenish food and water stores, you won’t last long. When you prospect a site, you will get detail on what kind of biome you’re in, and what resources are nearby.

  • Green – good Fertility, water, and iron – grows greenfruit, cotton, wheat, and hemp 100%
  • Arid – good iron, copper, and stone – grows cactus 100%, and wheat/hemp 60%
  • Swamp – good water and copper – grows rice and hemp 100%

The last one is more about what kinds of Nests you might find nearby. Swamps are full of some very dangerous enemies that will annihilate your patrols and gatherers. And since you need to often send teams out to gather raw materials at the early game, you’re putting them in danger. By contrast, the Arid Border Zone is much safer with fairly passive wildlife, and very weak bandit spawns in most areas.

The link here is of a map that shows the different territories. Each territory has a biome type. And here’s a map that shows the faction spawns based on that same map. You can use these two maps to figure out what kind of factions and biomes you might find at your potential new base.

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Starting The Base

Base building in Kenshi uses a ton of resources. When you stock up on raw materials before embarking to your new base site, be sure to have plenty of animals to help haul stuff. It won’t help to only be able to haul in a small handful of Building Materials, Copper and Iron. Once you have arrived, the first thing you should do is build storage, and possibly power generation. Depending on how far you are in research, you should build a few Windmills to get food and water production, and cooking, going.

While you’re getting farming up and running, mining should be a big focus. Stone will be vital for any base. Copper and Iron are also great moneyspinners early on. You can then use these Cats to hire mercenaries to get more recruits. Use those pack animals you brought along to run trade expeditions to buy and sell in nearby cities and towns.

When you have your first buildings up, it’s time to focus on Walls. You need a TON of Stone to make Building Materials, so hopefully, you got stone mining running as well. Craft as many Building Materials as you can and start siting walls. When you build your walls and Gate, it’s best to have what’s called a killbox. By having an open area in front of your gate with walls on both sides, wall gunners can fire freely onto attackers. It’s also a good idea to station an Engineer nearby to your gate so they can repair it while enemies are trying to break it down. Don’t assign too many Engineers to one gate, they can sometimes glitch through and be stuck outside.

Build those Tier 2 walls ASAP, as you can then place crossbows on top of walls. That will then be where Skeleton recruits come in. They can be permanently assigned to gunner positions without having to worry about food or water.

Kenshi - The Killbox

From there, it’s up to you how you would like to progress. In the early game, you need to focus on research and building up defenses. Upgrading walls and getting more trained wall gunners is key. Getting production of vital resources should help this a lot. Food production for your growing populace will likely be your next hurdle.

Making Food

Your food needs in Kenshi will be determined by your settlement size. To make sufficient chewsticks to feed 30 or more villagers, you need a steady supply of both Water and Cactus. Most players will argue for having a small team of 4-5 farmers working on XL farms to produce the Cactus. You will also need one hauler that just hauls the finished products to storage buildings. As you get more villagers, you will need to build more farms. A collection of 4 XL farms and assorted Water infrastructure should be more than enough for most settlements.

You could go for Bread for a bit easier time, but that varies by where your base is. In Arid environments, wheat farms only produce at 60% efficiency, so you will want to aim for other food sources. Again, it’s important to plan ahead for the Biome you’re playing in.

Storage also become a big headache when you get large settlements. Base building in Kenshi relies on a constant stream of raw resources. You will also have to have somewhere to store all the food, water and crafting items. That’s where mods with specialized storage can be a huge help. Having the ability to put hundreds of units into one building can greatly speed up hauling and feeding your production.

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