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Will every single settler not explicitly assigned a job "loaf around" as it were? Or are there some tasks (obviously not all, see scavenging bench) that are automatically filled, like crops will grow as long as enough people are there no matter if you've assigned settlers to them or not.

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No, existing farmers will automatically assign themselves to any new crops created up to their maximum capacity. This also applies to settlers assigned to defence.

existing farmers

existing defence

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  • I don't know if this is the entire picture; in my experience, I've had settlers auto-fill all roles, including guard posts, scavenging stations, store/trade booths, and food. In all cases, I had to have the jobs open in advance and I had to not be present at the location when the settler arrived.
    – psouza4
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 7:37

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