A lot of new people are picking up farming sim / RPG Stardew Valley now that it’s out on Nintendo Switch, and many are discovering what I did when I started up my first farm — the game doesn’t explain much. Some things are intuitive, like clearing away grass and stones to make room for crops, but other things don’t come as naturally and sent me down a long path through the Stardew Valley Wiki in an attempt to understand what the hell I was doing.
Lucky for you, I’m here to summarize what the Wiki and hours of gameplay taught me so you aren’t struggling like I did during your first year on the farm. Read on for some of the tips I wish I had before beginning Stardew Valley.
1. Watch TV every morning.
Despite what your parents told you, watching TV every day is a good thing — in Stardew Valley. Your TV will always have at least two “shows” every day: The Weather Forecast, which tells you what weather to expect the next day, and The Fortune Teller, which tells you your level of luck for the day. Both might not seem important, but knowing the next day’s forecast will help you plan your day, and your luck influences, well, a lot. With better luck you’re more likely to harvest extra crops, discover ladders in the mines, get more wood from trees, and more.
The other two shows that often appear are Livin’ of the Land and Queen of Sauce. The former can teach you important tips of farming or foraging in Stardew Valley, while the latter will teach you recipes that will be relevant once you have a kitchen in your house.
2. Turn on “Always Show Tool Hit Location”
Stardew Valley‘s controls took me a bit to master on PC, and using a console controller where I’m used to using a keyboard and mouse has taken some time to get used to as well. While you’re learning, it will be incredibly useful to turn on the option “Always Show Tool Hit Location” in your settings. This will highlight the tile your tool will affect if you use it, so you’ll be less likely to hit the ground next to a tree or destroy a crop on accident. You’re welcome.
3. Rebuild the beach bridge.
A great way to make money at the beginning of the game is selling items collected from the tidal pools by the beach. Unfortunately, you can’t get to the tidal pools until you rebuild the broken bridge beside Elliott’s cabin. You need 300 wood to rebuild the bridge, which sounds like a lot, but is easy to obtain with a couple evenings of tree-chopping. The only thing I’d use any wood on before rebuilding the bridge is crafting a chest for extra storage, which you’ll desperately need with your limited inventory starting out. Once you rebuild the bridge, visit the tidal pools every day you can and sell the coral and shells you find there.
4. The Community Center is important.
During your first week on the farm you’ll gain access to the Community Center, which tasks you with donating specific types of items to complete various bundles, which reward you with useful items and eventually big new features for the game. Familiarize yourself with these bundles, and always check them before selling an item you might need for one.
The bundles you need to focus on from the get-go are the Pantry bundles. Completing all of the Pantry bundles will rebuild the old greenhouse on your farm, which allows you to grow crops and fruit trees year-round, even in winter. You’ll need to save certain crops from every season, including five gold quality crops. For those, stay on top of fertilizing your soil before planting seeds for a better chance at high quality crops. You’ll also need some animal products like milk and wool, so make coop and barn upgrades priorities before winter arrives and you lose your chance to rebuild the greenhouse.
Of course, you could replace the Community Center with the Joja Warehouse by purchasing a membership at the JojaMart, thus making all unlockables available through purchases with gold. But what community-hating capitalistic fiend would do such a thing in Stardew Valley?
5. Know what to keep and what to sell.
This was one of my biggest questions when I first started my farm — what the hell should I hold onto, and what can I sell for some quick coin? Stardew Valley is one of those games where it’s good to keep almost everything for quests, crafting, gifts, etc., but of course you need to sell some things to make money.
As far as crops go, you want to hold onto at least one or two of each type, as well as most gold quality crops. You never know when you’ll get a quest asking for a random crop you don’t have growing at the time, and gold quality items are great for gifts and necessary for one of those Pantry bundles. Keeping those things in mind, sell the rest of your crops in the box on your farm.
I recommend keeping everything you pick up while clearing your farm of trees, grass, and rocks. Items like wood, stones, clay, fiber, and sap can be used in a plethora of crafting recipes and new buildings for your farm, and the further into the game you get, the more of these items you’ll need. Also hold onto all the ore, coal, slime, and gems you find in the mines. I promise they’ll come in handy as you unlock new crafting recipes and need to level up friendships.
For any other item you run into, check the Community Center bundles and save anything you need for those, plus one extra for possible quests. This all sounds like a lot to remember, but knowing what you need to keep and what you can sell will become second nature soon enough.
For more on Stardew Valley for Nintendo Switch, read over our review of the game and look out for more tips and tricks here on A9K.