There's a few rules that every die2nite player knows (regardless of how many actually obey them), like building a tent but not a hovel, constructing a workshop first, etc. After that point, construction order seems like more of an art than a science. I'd like to get some sense of an optimal construction order up to day 5 or 6, at least.

Assume you've got 15 citizens who spend AP on construction per day (225 ap/day), keep defenses within logical limits (to combat daily increased zombie counts) and while you can be optimistic about raw materials, don't be unrealistic. Use day 1 as a non-zombie day and split your daily AP and raw material pull by 50% to simulate a town that isn't full yet.

Requirements (based on some real life numbers):

  • 100 defense by day 2
  • 400 defense by day 5
  • 1,600 defense by day 15
  • FYI: these are my assumptions after a couple rounds in die2nite, let me know if any of the numbers seem too low/high. – authenticgeek Nov 29 '10 at 17:37
  • 15 active citizens, daily AP and raw material 50%? That's quite pessimistic. My experiences so far have been much better than that. – user56 Nov 29 '10 at 17:39
  • Not 15 active citizens, 15 citizens that spend their AP on construction. The rest trade AP for raw materials outside the gates. – authenticgeek Nov 29 '10 at 17:41
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    You're assuming that those 15 builders drink every day, and eat every other day? My current city had builders drinking only every other day from pretty early on, in order to save water for expeditions to get more rare materials. – bwarner Nov 29 '10 at 18:03
  • @bwarner, if you'd like to answer with your own assumptions added in, please do. I wanted to give some ground rules for a standard town that might not be as diligent. – authenticgeek Nov 29 '10 at 18:20

8/10/2011 Update: Unfortunately the game has changed significantly enough now where the below is no longer useful. You may want to check out How should our town decide what to build next? for advice on how to make the best decisions based on your situation.

OK, I'll start by taking a shot, and then we'll see what optimizations other people can make. This is roughly the order used in my current town, with corrections made where we think we made a mistake.


  • At the beginning, some materials are assumed to be found intact. But after about day 3, I assume that all constructed materials are being refined from the lowest level in the workshop (with the corresponding AP cost)
  • Total AP used: 1,090 (so roughly 5 days given the OP assumptions)
  • Total builder water usage: 55 (15 builders for 5 days, plus 20 for moat, minus 40 for drilling rig)
  • Total builder food usage: 28 (15 builders every other day for 5 days, minus 10 for the vegetable plot)
  • Special materials used: I tried to limit these as much as possible. This build uses only 3 nuts & bolts, 3 pipes, 5 cement blocks, 1 electronics, and 1 pharmaceuticals

Final Defense on day 5: 382 plus defensive objects.

Day 1

  • Build Workshop
  • Convert 10 logs into 5 planks
  • Convert 10 scrap metal into 5 iron
  • Convert 10 planks into 5 beams
  • Convert 10 iron into 5 supports
  • Build watchtower
  • Build factory
  • Make 30 tents

Project of the day: Watchtower Total AP Used: 137
Defense: 5+3+(30 tents) = 38 (plus defensive items)
Required: 18 Planks, 15 Wrought Iron, 1 Concrete block, 10 Rotten logs, 10 Scrap metal and 3 Nuts& Bolts

Day 2

  • Convert 34 logs into 17 planks
  • Convert 8 metal into 4 iron
  • Build portal lock
  • Build great wall strengthening
  • Build great pit
  • Build spiked pit

Project of the day: Watchtower
Total AP Used: 227
Defense: 38 + 109 = 147 (plus defensive items)
Required: 8 Scrap metal, 17 Planks, 34 rotten logs, 2 wrought iron

Day 3

  • Convert 30 logs to 15 planks
  • Convert 12 metal to 6 iron
  • Convert 20 planks to 10 beams
  • Build pump
  • Build water purifier
  • Build vegetable plot
  • Build moat

Project of the day: Pit
Total AP Used: 247
Defense: 147 + 45 + 13 = 205 (plus defensive items)
Required: 2 Copper pipe, 1 wrought iron, 10 planks, 30 rotten logs, 12 scrap metal

Day 4

  • Convert 58 logs to 29 planks
  • Convert 14 planks to 7 beams
  • Convert 8 metal to 4 iron
  • Convert 4 iron to 2 supports
  • Build well-drilling rig
  • Build old school traps

Project of the day: Pit
Total AP Used: 209

Defense: 205 + 30 + 21 = 256 (plus defensive items)
Required: 8 scrap metal, 28 rotten logs

Day 5

Note that by this day, you have to start building to what materials you have. For example, if you don't have cement, but you have nuts & bolts, you might want to go for ramparts instead.

  • Convert 62 logs to 31 planks
  • Convert 28 planks to 14 beams
  • Convert 28 metal to 14 iron
  • Convert 14 iron to 7 supports
  • Build armour plating
  • Build cannon mounds
  • Build stone cannon
  • Build breaker

Upgrade: Pit
Total AP Used: 214
Defense: 256 + 94 + 32 = 382 (plus defensive items)
Required: 62 rotten logs, 28 scrap metal

Other thoughts:

  • After the pump is built, getting the water for the moat is easy. I'm not sure how to account for the long-term effect of using that water in this way though. Added the well-drilling rig to make up for this. Even together they're better Defense/AP than most things out there.
  • Portal lock is mainly just to prevent stupidity/griefing
  • A hacksaw would significantly reduce the cost of all the conversions and allow you to get further ahead
| improve this answer | |
  • At the end of day 5 we're expecting 331 zombies and are 100 defense short :( – badp Nov 29 '10 at 19:16
  • Which things from this list did you not get to? Theroetically with all of them, a bunch of hovels, some defensive objects, and two pit upgrades, you would be close to 400. – bwarner Nov 29 '10 at 20:50
  • We lack(ed) 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15. We have Search Tower, Lure and Upgraded Map though, and we're making a last second effort for the Zombie Grater (54 AP to go). Yay? My point, however, is that 264 may very well be not enough. You addressed it however :) – badp Nov 29 '10 at 21:08
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    I need to update this based on my latest experiences. I've decided that screaming saws and razor wall aren't such good ideas, those nuts & bolts are better spent on projects that unlock other things. I'll try to update soon. – bwarner Dec 8 '10 at 17:00
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    @Desolation How about you post what you think the best order would be? I intended this just as a starting point, but until recently nobody else had contributed. – bwarner Jan 19 '11 at 14:58

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

  1. 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.
  2. Watchtower. Another one where the initial structure is vital. We need to see the zombie numbers coming each night :)
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Ramparts. Unlocks defence buildings that are going to be essential soon enough. Thats it :)
  13. Foundations. Unlocks the 4 epic projects. Again, thats it for this one!
  14. 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.
  15. Scanner. Not really needed by itself, it unlocks the Predictor structure however which is very nice.
  16. 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.

  1. Armour Plating
  2. Great Wall Strengthening
  3. Great Pit
  4. Spiked Pit
  5. Interior Wall
  6. 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).

Town Upgrades

  1. Watchtower 1
  2. Watchtower 2

    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.

  3. Search Tower 1
  4. Search Tower 2
  5. Search Tower 3
  6. Search Tower 4
  7. 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.

  8. Watchtower 3
  9. Watchtower 4
  10. Watchtower 5

    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).

  11. Defensive Focus 1
  12. Defensive Focus 2
  13. Defensive Focus 3
  14. Defensive Focus 4
  15. 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!!

  16. Upgradeable Wall 1
  17. Upgradeable Wall 2
  18. Upgradeable Wall 3
  19. Upgradeable Wall 4
  20. 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.

  21. Water turrets 1
  22. Water turrets 2
  23. Water turrets 3
  24. Water turrets 4
  25. 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.

  26. 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! :)

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  • Cool, so besides the fact that my defensive buildings are interweaved, and I didn't specify a spot for search tower, we basically agree. So why were you so concerned that my list needed to be deleted? Was it just the thing about upgrading the pit? – bwarner Jan 19 '11 at 23:02
  • Glad to see someone else advocating Watchtower to level 5, I pushed for this in Palisades but could never convince people to go for it. – bwarner Jan 19 '11 at 23:07
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    yes bwarner that was one of the biggest issues I had with your list :) Also was the large number of defence buildings you put down for Day 2. Really for the first 5 days or so there shouldnt be much more than 1-2 defence buildings per day max. Even days where no defence buildings are built if the estimates are low enough. Also the tents, we dont build tents at all. Only heroes who are building a kitchen upgrade to tent and even then not on day 1 since we want all Day 1 AP toward scaving. Couple others too, its mostly just you have a lot of defence buildings listed too early for me – desolation Jan 19 '11 at 23:15
  • one slight change I may make to the upgrade order is Search Tower to 5 first before upgrading Watch Tower to lvl 5, rather than WT to 2, ST to 5 then finishing WT. This one is tricky due to your town really needing massive coordination without being able to see any of the map for 5 days. Im undecided on which of the two strategies will be best at the moment – desolation Jan 21 '11 at 9:15

This is my current idea of the most effective starting strategy. I did not divide it into days, as the number of available APs and building material is very variable and I wanted to make as few assumptions as possible.

I did not include pure defense buildings, how many you need depends strongly on the number of zombies in the attack, the number of defensive items you find and so on. Watch early on the watchtower and build defense as needed. Try to avoid emergency constructions if at all possible.

This strategy heavily emphasizes food production and item regeneration via the search tower to ensure long-term survival of the town.


  1. Workshop
    • 25 AP, 10 wood, 8 metal, 1 concrete
    • Most important building to convert raw material, always build first
  2. Watchtower
    • 12 AP, 3 wood, 2 metal
    • Knowing the number of zombies is essential for planning
    • Prerequisite for the Search Tower
  3. Search Tower
    • 30 AP, 3 wooden beam, 1 metal beam, 1 electronic parts
    • Regenerates items on zones, prevents running out of materials
  4. Pump
    • 25 AP, 8 metal, 1 tube
    • Prerequisite for Vegetable Plot
  5. Water Purifier
    • 50 AP, 6 metal, 1 tube
    • Prerequisite for Vegetable Plot
    • Essential for replenishing water from canisters
  6. Vegetable Plot
    • 60 AP, 10 water, 1 pharma
    • Supplies between 26 and 58 APs worth of food, essential for longer expeditions
  7. Factory
    • 40 AP, 5 wooden beam, 5 metal beam,
    • Saves 1 AP per action in the workshop, very useful, but not essential earlier
  8. Butcher
    • 40 AP, 9 wood, 4 metal
    • Supplies quite some APs if you find enough animals
  9. Scanner
    • 20 AP, 1 electronic parts, 1 nuts and bolts, 2 radio, 2 battery
    • Prerequisite for Predictor
  10. Predictor
    • 20 AP, 1 electronic parts, 1 tape
    • Allows prediction of next day's attack
    • More time to prepare for spikes in the zombie attack numbers
  11. Defensive Focus
    • 50 AP, 7 wooden beam, 8 metal beam, 6 nuts and bolts
    • Best defensive upgrade if you have enough defensive items
    • Optimal time for building this depends heavily on number of defensive items.


  1. Search Tower * 5
    • Regenerated items are cumulative, so the earlier this is upgraded the better
    • If you don't finsh the search tower on 1. day, upgrade workshop instead
  2. Defensive Focus * 5
    • If you find enough defense objects this is by far the most effective upgrade
    • With at least 22 defensive objects better than Great Pit
    • With at least 31 defensive objects better than Upgradeable Wall
  3. Workshop * 2
    • To allow for big project be built in reasonable time
    • Timing depends on when you want to build epic projects

I've left out the watchtower, as the first 3 upgrades are more or less useless if you have a coordinated town and people are not adventuring outside alone, but in groups. If you don't have this level of coordination in your town, upgrading the watchtower early is useful.

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  • Workshop this early is useless. It should be bought as the town spends AP in the epic projects. You'll instead want a few levels of watchtower. – badp Jan 15 '11 at 19:53
  • @badp I was already wondering if the workshop upgrades should be in there. I put them to the end of the list now. But I think that the watchtower has no benefit (for 3 levels) if you only go out in groups, if you can organize that you don't need it. – Mad Scientist Jan 16 '11 at 12:05
  • you also cant search anywhere near as wide of an area on the map Fabian. Watchtower is a great upgrade, Workshop upgrade should never be done unless your town falls under 20 living members. Your list is certainly a massive improvement on the current accepted answer though. – desolation Jan 19 '11 at 14:32
  • Why Scanner/Predictor so early? We didn't seem to need them until much later. Also regarding watchtower, I think 2 levels are essential. Even with groups, you can do much better planning with watchtower and upgraded map. – bwarner Jan 19 '11 at 14:59
  • @bwarner This is an experiment in my current city, they do not cost much and it allows for better planning in case of sudden zombie spikes. The watchtower is certainly useful, but I still think that search tower and defensive focus are more important. Maybe after those two are fully upgraded. I also may be biased, all my towns with upgraded watchtowers failed pretty early. – Mad Scientist Jan 19 '11 at 15:24

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