I should start by saying this guide will only work if you are in an active, well coordinated town. Otherwise, you may want to try another method -- this is for people aiming to be the #1 town of the season.
It is very difficult to produce a standard order for construction, as different towns will have different numbers of players who never leave town and only build, and also different amounts of each item brought back. This list is under the assumption that all required materials can be found. It is also most beneficial for a town that has more scavangers than builders.
My list shall be slightly different. At the start, you should only build defensive structures when they are required to survive. That means if the estimate shows you will be safe that day, we will build other structures. So I shall list my order of non defence based buildings, and then defence based ones seperately. We would always build from the non defence list unless forced to get extra defence. Some structures listed as non defence do provide a very small amount, but so little that they are built for the upgrades they unlock rather than defence.
Constructions - Non Defence
- Workshop. As most people know already, Workshop is an absolutely vital building. It doesnt necessarily need to be built 1st as you can deffinately find enough materials in the desert for it and the watchtower and a few more really, but its the best way to make sure you never run short of planks and iron.
- Watchtower. Another one where the initial structure is vital. We need to see the zombie numbers coming each night :)
- Search Tower. To me, the most important upgradeable structure there is. The initial building only shows you what area has a chance of replenishment with a very very low chance. Upgrading it to 5/5 allows for an 85% chance that each zone in the replenished area becomes undepleted. This will lead to your main source of defence in the game (defensive objects).
- Factory. Quite a basic one, best to get it out the road early for max benefit. Reduces cost of all workshop activities by 1 AP.
- Portal Lock. Another basic one. Porbably not even needed, but gives everybody that little bit of secutity that once the gates are closed for the night, no griefer can open them again (after 20 mins before the attack).
- Pump. Provides 10 water rations, allows us to take 2 rations from the well each day and unlocks more water based structures. The 2 rations per day should be taken by everyone each day. The extra rations should be deposited in the bank in order to empty the well as soon as possible. Constructors who dont leave town should only drink every 2nd day, so on a non drinking day they deposit both rations into the bank.
- Water Purifier. Allows us to deposit Jerrycans directly into the well from our homes, unlocks more water based structures. An essential upgrade, this will be your largest source of water in the game.
Vegetable Plot. Provides food each day, another one that its best to get done as soon as possible so you are not missing out on any days worth of food. It will give you more AP back for that one extra day you have it built. Produces 2-5 6 AP and 2-4 7 AP food every day.
All of the structures up to this point should be built by Day 2. If you need to waste 1 or 2 drugs to get finish it, then don't hesitate.
Butcher. This one is not so essential right away if you dont have a stock of animals ready. If you are finding animals regularly though, having the extra AP earlier is better, to avoid ever running out of food.
- Upgraded Map. Allows us to see exact zombie numbers in zones on the map rather than rough estimates. Another one that is not essential to build, but in a scavanging based town (the kind of town I'm writing this guide for) it will be a great help for both zombie clearing and safe movement on the map.
- Defensive Focus. The largest upgradeable defence structure in the entire game if you find enough defence items. And it doesnt take a lot for this to be true: if I recall correctly, it's around 41 def items needed to make this the best voteable defence upgrade. You should have 40 defence items by Day 4 or 5, 10 a day is a minimum target towns should be aiming for.
- Ramparts. Unlocks defence buildings that are going to be essential soon enough. Thats it :)
- Foundations. Unlocks the 4 epic projects. Again, thats it for this one!
- Plumbing. The first of the epic projects that should be built. It does require you to have a completed engine, however the benefits of this are amazing. Zombie clearing becomes a breeze if you have enough pistols in the bank, which you certainly should, since you are in a scavanging based town :) A hero and a shopping cart can go out and clear 21 zombies if within 3 AP of town, 18 zombies if within 6 AP of town (or 7 if lucky with the dice/siesta) and 15 zombies if within 9 AP of town (or 10 if lucky with dice/siesta time). The range of this increases even further when you complete the lvl 4 and 5 watchtower upgrades.
- Scanner. Not really needed by itself, it unlocks the Predictor structure however which is very nice.
- Predictor. Allows you to see the following day's attack, as well as tonights. Brilliant tool for seeing zombie spikes ahead of time to always be prepared for the incoming number. Have never once had to rush any structures with this built.
There are certainly more non defence based buildings too, however the ones listed above are a priority. You should aim to have all of the above buildings completed by Day 8 at the latest. My current town had numbers 1-14 all built by the end of Day 5 and we had between 20 and 30 scavangers every single day, normally closer to the 30. So it is easily achievable to have them all done by Day 8!
Construction - Defence
There is no real reason to list comments next to each of these buildings, as they are what it says on the tin. A boost to the towns defence with some of them unlocking further defence structures.
- Armour Plating
- Great Wall Strengthening
- Great Pit
- Spiked Pit
- Interior Wall
- Uber Wall
It gets more difficult to plan defence structures from here on. As it all depends what other structures you are able to unlock, and how many raw materials you have such as Water and Nuts & Bolts. The thing is, the defense structure order is not really that important. A town can easily live long enough to build every single permenant defence structure in the game (my last town had them all built by Day 20). The important part is the non defence structures, and town upgrades which you will find below for the full duration of any town (apart from one with less than 20 players alive, they may go for Workshop).
- Watchtower 1
This is purely to help scavangers be much more efficient. This allows you to see a large portion of the map (largest map is only 14 x 14 atm afterall) so scavangers can stay safe while out in the world, and also helps decide what areas are likely to have the remaining unfound buildings based on zombie numbers. These are then prime group expedition locations.
- Search Tower 1
- Search Tower 2
- Search Tower 3
- Search Tower 4
Search Tower 5
As said under the building, this will actually be your largest source of defence in the game! Zones in the direction of the Search Tower at full power have an 85% chance of replenishing. The amount of defence items and important materials such as Nuts & Bolts and Electronic Components that this creates is massive. Without a Search Tower at full capcity you will be making your life very very difficult indeed.
- Watchtower 3
- Watchtower 4
This is the one that people Im sure will debate, we certainly did in my current town, but now that we have it fully complete I dont think 1 person in town would prefer anything else. Lets you teleport back to town from 1 KM at lvl 4 and 2 KM at lvl 5. This equates in game terms however to 2 AP saved at lvl 4 and 3 AP saved at lvl 5 becuase 2 east, 1 north for example is still within 2KM of town although its 3 spaces away. Makes for scavanging the furthest reaches of the map much easier which is essential: you ideally want to deplete the whole map. Again as a point of reference, at the end of Day 14 we currently only have 7 undepleted zones on our entire map and more than 140 defence items (and thats with us also building several projects that use defence items as material).
- Defensive Focus 1
- Defensive Focus 2
- Defensive Focus 3
- Defensive Focus 4
Defensive Focus 5
As said in the Search Tower and Watchtower explanations, this is our best source of defence available in the entire game. The 3 projects go hand in hand perfectly, Search Tower and Watchtower both helping us find more defence items per day! Even just 100 defence items (which is low) results in 800 defence with this being fully, meaning the 5 upgrades themselves are combined worth around 550 defence. And thats only at 100 def items!!
- Upgradeable Wall 1
- Upgradeable Wall 2
- Upgradeable Wall 3
- Upgradeable Wall 4
Upgradeable Wall 5
At this stage we are just upgrading all the defences we can to prepare for Day 25+. This is the best option after DF due to it costing nothing each night.
- Water turrets 1
- Water turrets 2
- Water turrets 3
- Water turrets 4
Water turrets 5
Another one people will debate Im sure, but this upgrade is very much needed. The initial building of water turrets wont cost you any water each night. Once upgraded to lvl 5 it would cost 12 water to function. Here's the trick: you make sure the well is empty and only deposit water when we need the extra 240 defence.
Water turrets, people will assume are a waste of water but this is not the case. The well should be emptied into the bank as early as possible, so by the time we start upgrading it no water will be in the well. Any jerrycans brought back that day should not be deposited until after the attack to ensure the well remains empty. Water is then only put into the well for when the Water Turrets upgrade is necessary to beat the zombie count. So a spike one day we would put enough water into the well for the upgrade to work, then if we have a dip in the numbers the following day we ensure the well is empty again. It basically works like a temp defence building that costs 12 water rations. 12 water rations for a 1 off +240 defence is a good deal when it gets to that stage in the game.
Great Pit or Pump, as necessary
This has both as at this stage in the game things get really nasty. The attack increass go up substantially after Day 25, so if you are able to get the extra defence go for Great Pit, but if you need water or wont be able to tranfer 12 rations into the well for Water Turrets and need them active, you can vote for Pump. It puts the water straight into the bank before the attack making the Water Turrets work even if 0 water was in the well.
With no camping currently, its very very unlikely any town will make it further than Day 30. They would need to have a huge amount of defence items to have a chance, and with our tiny maps that is pretty much not gonna happen.
Really, Day 27+ may not even be seen in Season 1, and if it is there will only be a few towns that get that far at best. It comes down to pure luck of the draw with zombie attacks here, as the maximum goes up to around 6k on Day 27. The average is 4432. So no gaurentees past Day 25 really, this just prepares you as much as is possible!
Finally, just to say that this guide should not be taken as the definitive, ultimate order things must be built in. As said at the very start, some things may have to change slightly depending on what materials are available. Most towns will be unique, just do your best with what you have and have fun! :)