Food Tips for the Bigger Colony
Assuming you can grow year-round, your farm animals should be a reliable way to get animal products, even if they can’t graze on a big field. Most animals are nutrition-positive, meaning if managed well they consume less nutrition than they produce (and provide textiles as a bonus). In the case of superstars like cows and chickens, they are extremely efficient. If you’re having trouble keeping them(or your colonists) fed, make your system more efficient (for example, make sure you don’t spend a lot time hauling to/from the pens or feeding too many). Of course, slaughter all but 1 male and a good number of females in hard times.
Iguanas, a common animal on your biome, can be useful because they are zoneable. Feed them corpses and occasional plant produce. If you have electricity you can make a room just for their corpses, and put their sleeping spots outside. You can also just zone them to wherever the corpses are and then to the unused growing spaces on the edges of the map. Eat some eggs and let some hatch. Slaughter most of the males. If you run out of food, slaughter them all. If you get a raid, use them to distract it. Either way you’ll have a full belly and be making the best lizard skin hats on the rim.
Speaking of putting corpses to use, if you don’t mind the occasional war crime AND you have a single bloodlust/cannibal/psychopath AND the colony mood is relatively high, butcher up some raiders and turn them into kibble! Delicious and nutritious! The “we butchered humanlike” mood hit is only -6 and it doesn’t stack. Just make sure you’ve got some pick-me-ups and everyone will let it slide. Turn that human skin into a comfy armchair that your pawns can sit in while they reflect on their own morality.
If you have a decent animal handler, you can have them tame and immediately slaughter non-dangerous wild animals instead of hunting. The amount of meat and leather you get is far higher than if they are hunted, and the time investment can (can) be lower if you have easy-to tame animals like dromedaries or donkeys on the map.
That said, if you are already struggling with food you should get your growing stabilized before worrying about animals. Don’t be afraid to get 0-skill plants pawns out planting (not harvesting) to get big fields sowed.
I would add to the above that big harvests, especially something like a lot of corn, can spike your wealth. If you’re playing at higher levels, this is something to keep in mind.
As for supporting a larger colony, here’s a couple of general tips:
- Keep mood high
Beautiful rooms are the most reliable way to do this. Art is stupid good. Jsut decent art and regular floors in a big room is enough. Drugs are OK but are harder to manage. Fine meals have the same nutrition input as simple ones, so if you have animals and cooks that’s easy. Use biphasic scheduling (two sleep/rec periods per day) if necessary.
- One room to rule them all
The bigger the colony, the more efficient a combined barracks/dining/rec/workshop/everything room is. Every time the room gets bigger or you add another bench or a shelf full of stuff the impressiveness goes up and dirt has less impact. You need to compensate for the lower mood bonus from sleeping in a barracks, but it’s worth it unless you need rooms for thematic reasons, greedy pawns, royalty, etc. I personally like to play more thematically and move away from barracks when times aren’t so tough (early-mid game), but there is no denying their efficiency.
- One pawn one job
After about ten pawns, every pawn should have just one main job, and pretty much everyone should have crafting, hauling, and cleaning set to the same priority (like 3 or 4). When you need stuff like hauling and cleaning done, shift-click that job to set everyone to 1, then set it back. Setting jobs like this makes it easy to see when there’s a problem, like if you see your cooks out hauling instead of making tea, you know something’s up. Make sure crafters, cooks, and researchers have their own workbenches.
Finally, oasis seems like a tough biome. I haven’t played on it, but I played on a similar one, a desert caldera, and I gotta say, having a big pool of water in the center of the map makes for a challenging start. There’s a lot of wasted space, as it’s not feasible to build on the water till you have a steady supply of wood (in the desert!), even if you want to risk a wooden base. Instead of having the base in the center it’s on a side, and the slices of soil surrounding the water may be a considerable distance away (or a slow, mood-dampening walk through water). If you don’t have hills or mountains it’s also hard to defend because the walls need to contain the water and the growing zones around the edge of it. All of this adds a considerable walk-time penalty, which in turn makes easy mood enhancers like biphasic scheduling harder, at least for handlers and planters.