Patron is an excellent timesink of a city builder. I’ve seen it referred to as a building survival game, which I think perfectly sums it up. Although it is a game about building a city, with a single structure and handful of residents as your starting point, it’s also about being mindful of resources. Things can very quickly get out of control, leaving you with precious minutes to find a solution and implement it before catastrophe strikes and everything turns to ash.

I learned this the hard way, so I thought it would be helpful to offer a few tips for those new to Patron.

Start slowly (and carry a big spacebar)


There is a nuance to success here, and you’ll need to resist the urge to build too much too fast. Because unlike a game like, say, Cities Skylines, which almost feels like a sprint right out the gate, Patron is more akin to a leisurely stroll through an unmarked minefield.

Whenever you start a fresh build, the first thing you want to do is pause the game. You don’t want the needs of your townsfolk spiking and throwing a wrench in your early-stage designs, or worse yet encouraging them to run, run, run. Take your time, and envision how you would like your town to function. Start by building a few houses — typically, one house will provide shelter for two adults, then the kids and infants will follow.

Before you unpause the game, you will also want to use your harvesting tool to highlight some trees and rocks for your townsfolk to gather to help with the building of your houses. Once you have this lined up, I would unpause the game and let it run on 5 or preferably 10 speed once you have your bearings. Remember, the space bar stops time — this feature is your best friend. If there is ever an issue, stop time to give yourself enough time to pinpoint the issue and devise a strategy to remedy it.

Carefully think through your town layout


There are a number of ways to set up your town in Patron, but mostly you will want to keep your housing close to your Townhouse. Then, you’ll need to be mindful of future structures that benefit from being in close proximity to your housing zone, or that get a buff from being in close proximity to other specific structures.

For example, you will want the clothing shop near your housing zone to buff the happiness of your citizenry. The same goes for the pottery shop. Both of those will unlock down the road after you have researched them.

Which brings me to my next tip…

Always be researching (ABR)


You should always be researching when you have a spare moment and available resources. This is how you unlock new structures, decrees, and items that will make your citizens happy.

The beginning branches of the research tree are pretty straightforward, and pretty much all of the early offers are useful. Of course, you will eventually end up having to research things you might not have an immediate need for in order to unlock something you need right away. Such is the cost of doing business in Patron.

Be smart about your supply chain


After you get your houses erected, you will want to put down a Gatherer’s Shelter, keeping in mind its efficiency is based on the on-screen percentage. You’ll want to move it around to find the highest percentage possible, which isn’t always capped at 100%.

Then you’ll want to place a Hunting Lodge and Forester’s Hut, again keeping in mind their efficiency percentages. Finally, you’ll want a Sawmill, which isn’t tied to a percentage and can be placed anywhere. Although it should be noted that placing these buildings in loose proximity to each other is preferable, since there will be a buff down the road if they are close to your Herbalist’s Hut.

Once you have these basic structures in place, your supply chain will be ready to rock.

Build depots


You’re going to need plenty of depots and — once researched — warehouses. This is where all of your production goods are stored, and since all depots/warehouses can magically share items between them, it is best to build depots wherever you plan your production network, since doing so limits the amount of time it takes your builders to gather the requisite resources to construct future projects.

And once you really start to rock and roll, you don’t want to run into issues of not having enough storage space, losing precious resources to the ether.

Winter is coming


At this point, you should have your residential zone, your supply chain, and some storage. Know that you will soon be heading into your first winter.

These first few structures will be enough to get established, but you will need to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. You should focus on the output percentages when upgrading, making sure your hunters and gatherers are maximizing their production levels, while also upgrading your hunter proficiency in the winter months. And, of course, you’ll always want to reduce the amount of goods needed for upkeep.

Continue to expand


Once you really start cooking, you will have more leisure time to focus on researching the skill trees that best suit your needs and also set you up for future endeavors. Structures like the Iron and Coal Mines will be integral to your overall growth as far as what you can produce, but they will also be needed as resources to upkeep other structures.

You will also want to build a Quarry, and eventually start thinking about wells, which help with fire prevention, and cosmetic items to beautify your communities and boost happiness There are also guard towers for safety, a religious shrine, and eventually a church, if religion plays a part in your community.

Watch your wallet 


It is also incredibly important to pay attention to your coffers and community stats when faced with sudden choices, like decrees from your king for some of your goods, or religious uprisings, or whether or not to take in immigrants. Even one extra mouth to feed might put a strain on your resources.

Then again, you might also desperately need an extra person to help run that coal mine, because you need more coal to upkeep your Tool Shop, and you need the tools from that Tool Shop to build and upgrade other structures…

Build a Shipping Dock


Another solid early investment, once you start having an overstock of some of the basic materials like firewood or herbs, is the Shipping Dock.

Once built, this will allow you to import items in a pinch. If you need a little extra food to get you through a day or two, your Shipping Dock can be a lifesaver. But more importantly, the dock will also allow you to export items, like the aforementioned firewood and herbs, as well as most production items once you’ve upgraded the dock’s capabilities.

Once I’d stockpiled over 1,000 firewood, I would sell off some of it — at first 200 branches for $180 (after tax), and then 250, and finally the 300 maximum. It might not seem like much, but a constant influx of cash is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, this will help you out with some of the pricier, mid-to-high-tier research projects.

Use online resources

Not only did the developers do an almost-two-hour Tips ‘n Tricks livestream, but I also found this Patron manual to be pretty handy. There are plenty of places to look for help online (including this very article you’re reading now), so you don’t ever have to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. If worse comes to worse, take a deep breath and do some Googling.


One thing to keep in mind is that everything in Patron is a tradeoff, even if it only seems incremental at the moment. Once that first die is cast, it’s only a thin line between Yahtzee or snake eyes, with a very slim margin in between.

But if you take the time to think ahead, weigh as many options or factors as possible, and err on the side of caution, before you know it you’ll be in the double digit years with a population quickly approaching 100, which is an incredible milestone and an even more incredible feeling.

Once you really start to get established, with a well-oiled production and supply chain to boot, you’ve got more than a stew going; you’ve got yourself a proper melting pot.

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