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We have an existing question about the optimal construction strategy for Die2Nite, but it is looking for a specific construction order, and is focused on the early game. I'm looking for something more general.

At any given point in the lifecycle of a town, what should you be thinking about to decide what is the next most important thing to build?

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That is an extremely complicated question, that is extremely group and situation specific. –  C. Ross Jan 19 '11 at 18:49
    
@CRoss I think it is much harder to answer a question that says "What should I build" than it is to answer one that asks how to make that decision based on your situation. –  bwarner Jan 19 '11 at 19:00

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

In general, you should consider things in this order

  1. Necessary defense Your first priority should always be figuring out what you need to build in order to have more defense the attack today and tomorrow. Don't forget to include town upgrades you will vote for when determining how much defense you need. If you don't have the predictor, you should have an idea of what the average and max attack numbers are for a given day. You should make sure that you have a plan for what buildings you would need to build to cover that much defense, and if it is too much to build in one day, build enough today to get it down to one day's worth of construction. In general it is not necessary to build more defensive buildings than that unless you have completed all other options. Once you have determined how much defense you need, consider:

    • Defense per rare material Many defensive buildings require nuts & bolts to construct. Since these are very limited, it is often best to choose your next building based on how much defense points you get per nuts & bolts used. Anything that doesn't require nuts & bolts would obviously come first. After that, you would build something that gives 75 defense for 5 N&B before something that gives 40 defense for 3 N&B. Obviously if you don't have enough N&B to build something, and are unlikely to get enough by the end of the day, you should exclude that building from consideration for the day.

    • Defense per AP When comparing things that are relatively the same in terms of defense per rare material, you should look at the defense gained per AP. So you would build something that gives 50 defense for 40 AP before something that gives 100 defense for 200 AP. Don't forget to consider housing upgrades. They are essentially a defensive building that can be built in many small stages. Each hovel provides 1 defense for the town at the cost of 2 AP and minimal resources. This is better than many of the late game defensive buildings.

  2. Time sensitivity There are certain buildings that have an impact each day after they are built. It is important to try to construct these buildings as soon as possible to get maximum impact from them. Some have direct daily impact like the vegetable plot and factory. Others are time sensitive because they need to be upgraded to be effective. This includes search tower and defensive focus. You need to build these 5 days before you are able to have them at max effectiveness. The reverse of this is temporary buildings, which should never be built until you absolutely need them, preferably an hour or less before the attack.

    • Note that all non-upgradable defensive buildings are NOT time-sensitive. It doesn't matter if you build them on day 1 or day 20, they have the same impact, as long as you have enough defense at the end of each day. This is why they should be prioritized below other time-sensitive things.
  3. Unlocked buildings Some buildings, like Wall Upgrade v2, can unlock other buildings (though you might need the right blueprints first). When considering what to build next, you should consider everything, even the buildings you haven't unlocked yet. If you then decide that what you want isn't unlocked yet, make the unlocking thing the next priority.

  4. Situational buildings These are things that are only useful in very certain circumstances. This includes the butcher, cremato-cue, and possibly the scanner & predictor (since you can always use the web page to get an idea of what tomorrow's attack will be). These should be built only when other things aren't ready or needed.

  5. Extra defense As stated before, there's no benefit to building a bunch of defensive buildings earlier than you need them. Make sure you are able to build up to the max attack for the next day, but then look for other options before building more defense.

Special cases

Faucet is very hard to quantify. You need at least a few water pistols to make it worthwhile. It is best in towns where you have a lot of people willing to scavenge, but unable to participate in coordinated expeditions. In general I would consider it a time sensitive construction that is worthwhile to build before you build anything that is not needed for immediate defense.

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very good answer for this one I think, especially the time sensitivity section. One of the most important aspects of the game! My tiny little thing I dont 100% agree with is the defence per AP being all that important. A good town wont be short on AP for anything they urgently need, but the defence per rare items is a very valid and important point :-) –  desolation Jan 19 '11 at 23:59
1  
"you would build something that gives 60 defense for 5 N&B before something that gives 40 defense for 3 N&B" But you said look at defence per rare item. 60 for 5 = 12defence per nuts and bolt and 40 for 3 is 13.333333 defence per nuts and bolt. thus saying you are doing the build for least defence per nuts and bolts. –  Andy Jan 20 '11 at 22:37
    
@Andy Oops, guess my math was a bit off. Thanks for pointing that out, I'll fix that. –  bwarner Jan 20 '11 at 23:34

I feel like this question varies from town to town, depending on how the resources pan out; however, something I've found constructive is to make specific threads for each topic and each day, split up like so:

Day 5: Construction
Day 5: Scavenging
Day 5: Upgrade
Day 5: Expeditions

The construction thread should start out with your current defense and include the math for each viable upgrade (including total AP cost [including conversions] and total resulting defense upgrade). It should also spec out potential upgrades if certain resources are found on that day, and quickly determine how people should spend their AP if they must do so early in the day. Once general ideas are agreed upon, only a single response should be needed in the main construction thread.

I'm not sure if this is common practice or not, but I always start these in my towns and, minus some inevitable bickering, it usually works out with people, and then other people start picking it up and starting the threads on their own.

The expedition and/or scavenging thread could also include resources found during those searches, so builders can use that as a reference point for future construction. This data could also be posted in a Day 5: Resources thread.

Hopefully this is helpful and not just redundant/obvious. =)

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