Friday, August 17, 2012

Puzzle Craft Strategy Guide, Tips and Tricks

Farmville + Dungeon Raid
Puzzle Craft [$0.99 AppStore] is a hybrid game of match 3 with a generous helping of town building that is all about the continuous interaction between the farming and mining to build new facilities in town that, in turn, will allow you to both farm and mine more effectively.

The basic premise of the game is this, you have two different match 3 games in it, one for farming, one for mining. Both gather different resources, farming is focused on gathering food, wood and hay, while mining is focused on stones, iron, dirt, and other minerals. It all starts out relatively simple, spend 30 gold on a farming session to collect food, which you use as a resource to be able to mine, gather some dirt, stone and iron in the mine for new buildings, and so on.

Spoiler: If you hold your finger for 2 seconds on every of the tiles it tells you something useful.


Farming: You have 24 turns to gather all of the resources you can. You're initially presented with a field of grass, wheat, chickens, and trees. During a single turn you simply try to chain a continuous path through one of these resources and, if you chain enough icons of a given item, you'll create a unit of that particular resource for use in the town. Simple stuff...but it gets trickier than this, of course. While grass wheat, chickens, and trees make up the default items, if you manage to make a long enough chain of one of these resources, when refilling the field with pieces, higher tiered items will be added into the mix (i.e. clear 8 wheat and a carrot will be dropped into the field). The tricky part then is trying to arrange things so that, while gathering the base resources, 3 or more matching units of these much rarer items can be strung together, which if in turn are gathered in large enough batches, can lead to even rarer drops (if it takes gathering over 8 wheat to make a carrot, and over 8 carrots to make an apple, how the heck are you going to ever get the needed minimum of 64 units of wheat to make this all happen within a mere 24 turns). At the end of 24 turns you'll be given the option to pay 200 coins to preserve the current field for your next farming session. If you have the money to spare this is really helpful as it means you won't have to start from scratch on your next farming session by already have a lot of those higher tiered items still in the field.

Mining: While this uses the same basic mechanics, it plays quite differently. To mine you first need to spend some of your current food supplies to enter the mine (the more food you supply, the more turns you can take before having to come back up from mining). Once you've decided how much food you'll be taking into the mine with you, you'll enter the mine making groups of dirt (lots and lots of dirt), rocks, and iron. Gather a big enough group of rocks and some pieces of coal will show up in the mine. If you later gather a big enough pile of coal in a single move, a diamond will be dropped into the mine! So while this then sounds a lot like farming, there is another unique twist to mining via the gas explosions! If you gather 8+ pieces of dirt in a single move it will create a gas cloud. While single gas clouds, one their own, are no more than annoying obstacle taking up space something useful could appear, if 3+ of these gas clouds manage to land adjacent to one another there will be a gas explosion which will immediately terminate your mining session (no sure if you still get to keep what you'd dug up so far in this session or if it is all lost)! Just try to make sure these gas explosions don't happen while you're down there. Here money can be used at the end of a run to buy a few additional turns (although you can't buy your way out of a gas explosion).

Town Building: Using the resources you've gathered from the farm and mine you can create all sort of useful structures, tools, and recruit workers. Each of these facilities, power-ups, and skilled craftsmen will help you by providing additional resources or making your future farming and mining runs more effective.

By selling off extra resources, leveling rewards (gathering resources and adding buildings to your town give you experience which in turn levels up your town giving you access to new structures, items, skills, and cash rewards), and building drops you'll have enough cash to get by. If, on the other hand, you want to power through the game much quicker by building structures without the required resources, saving your farm fields for the next session, or extending your mine runs, some IAP coins can make this all possible.

Posted below are some Puzzle Craft tips and tricks collected from gaming forums to guide beginners and help them get the most out of this game.

Tips and Tricks
  • Buy cottages, and first get people who decrease the wood/wheat requirements until that's maxed. You can get a ton of lumber and bread then, and you only need to sell 6 to get your 30 coins back.
  • Gas explosion doesn't stop your mining expedition. It just blows up the nearby tiles and transforms them into rubble plus dirt.
  • All you ever really need is 30 gold to farm. Once you unlock the marketplace, you can just sell 6 bread, which is almost nothing-- every time you farm you'll make many times more than that. It's even easier to keep going once you get the "free harvest" upgrades for wheat and chickens. 
  • There are lots of ways to spend gold in the game. You can rapidly spend gobs of coins and bankrupt yourself and the game is happy to let you do that. But none of that is necessary. Unless you have cash reserves, don't buy materials from the marketplace. You also don't need to save what is in your field for the following year (200 coins!) or pay to extend your mining operation by three turns (100 coins). Pay your 30 coins and do it again, instead.
  • You also get money from the marketplace on a one hour timer, and taxes go up as you upgrade your settlement.
  • The real challenge in the early game economy is acquiring stone (at least it has been for me). Every trip into the mine needs food, so you keep going back to the fields. Build a larder so you can stay in the mine and collect more stone--but then you need more food too, there's the balance.
  •  Long chains start giving you other resources. For instance, chain 8 grain and a carrot tile will drop, or chaining chickens will cause a pig tile to show up. You have to get enough of those tiles on screen so you can make a match with them to collect them (or use a tool). This actually changes the gameplay a bit. You don't necessarily want to collect all of a resource on screen. You might be better off to collect enough to get the bonus and leave some to try and get another when more fall (if 8 grain gave you one carrot tile and 16 would give two, collecting 15 would be a wasted opportunity). 
  • The rats eat crop items in the field. The countdown on their head goes down by one per turn, the rat then jumps and eats either a wheat or carrot. If they line up, you can clear by matching them like you would with the other things in the field. They give exp. You can do that with wolves too.
  • Free turns work when you match certain items. Certain buildings will allow you to match wheats and chickens without the day timer counting down when you do.

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