The wait is finally over. Fallout Shelter is arriving on Android on Thursday, August 13th, or about two weeks away as of this writing.
Here are some tips for Android users (or any other Overseers just beginning their journey) that I wish I knew when I built my first Vault.
Note: This guide is designed for those who are familiar with the basic mechanics of Fallout Shelter. If you’re not familiar, check out our Start-Up Guide.
Note 2: Everything below regarding radroaches is also true for Mole rats. They are essentially a slightly beefed-up version of radroaches.
1. Read the Instructions (if you can find them)
The folks at Bethesda were kind enough to include instructions for the game to help Overseers learn the ropes. The problem is that it is hidden in the cryptic menu system in the lower right-hand corner. The menu can be found by tapping the lunchbox icon, then the second icon from the bottom, then tapping the “Help” tab on the top of the menu. We’ve included screenshots of the instructions at the link above for your convenience.
Though the game does provide a brief tutorial at the beginning, it is enough to cover only the absolute basics.
2. Bigger rooms are better
In the previous versions of the games, double POWER rooms were more effective than triples. This is has been fixed in the update, so MERGE! MERGE! MERGE!
3. Build your FOOD & WATER rooms close to your POWER Rooms
If you run low on POWER, the game will shut down the rooms furthest from your POWER rooms first. This is best handled by having your POWER on one side of the Vault and your resource rooms in the middle, leaving your other rooms on the opposite side.
4. Running low on WATER will irradiate your Dwellers. Running low on FOOD will reduce their health.
Increase your WATER levels by adding more Dwellers to you water rooms, or by upgrading the rooms. When water levels return to normal, your Dwellers radiation will go away (no need for Radaways).
Similarly, low FOOD will lower your Dwellers health, which will recover on its own when FOOD levels are brought above minimum levels.
5. Assigning dwellers appropriately, radio rooms, making babies and rushing successfully increases overall happiness…
Assigning Dwellers to the appropriate room is key to happiness. This is determined by a Dweller’s highest SPECIAL stat, including outfit bonuses. Room skill determines how quickly you produce resources, so it’s a win-win.
Appropriate rooms are as follows: Strength – POWER rooms, Perception – WATER rooms, Endurance – Storage Rooms or Nuka Cola Plants (we recommend the Wasteland), Charisma – Radio Rooms or Living Quarters, Intelligence – Science Labs or MedBays, Agility – FOOD rooms, Luck – See next highest SPECIAL skill. Click here for more on SPECIAL stats
Happiness is important to keep productivity at its max. For each 10% increase in overall happiness, your vault gets a 1% overall boost in productivity, which can tip the scales from stability to disaster if you’re not careful.
Also, Radio Rooms increase overall happiness 1% per 10 Charisma and making babies increases both Dwellers to 100% happiness. Rushing successfully increases happiness by 10%.
6. …while failing rushes, radiation, low health and corpses decreases happiness
If you have unhappy dwellers for no reason, it’s probably a dead guy. The game does not notify you if a Dweller dies, so you may find a nice bloated surprise every now and then.
7. If you need help finding a particular Dweller, use the Dweller Menu (top-left)
The list defaults to alphabetical order, but can be sorted by level, SPECIAL, or assignment (use this to find Dwellers with no jobs. Their assignment will be listed as “Coffee Break”). Speaking of level…
8. Health Points are determined by Dweller level
High-level Dwellers will have more Health Points, making them better Vault Guards. The maximum Dweller level is currently 50. Dwellers’ HP will be fully replenished at level up (more on the Wasteland here)
9. It’s never too early to start exploring the Wasteland
Explorers help acquire weapons and outfits to boost SPECIAL stats for your Dwellers, which is great early in the game. What’s more, Dwellers do not use Vault FOOD and WATER while exploring. Since it takes about 3-4 hours to have a baby, a good strategy early on is to impregnate your Female Dwellers, send your male Dwellers out to explore for two hours, then recall them in time to support the children. Bringing us to our next point…
10. Pregnant Dwellers are immortal
They cannot be killed. If radroaches or raiders attack, they will hide in the living quarters until the attackers are killed. If there is no one to attack, raiders and radroaches will leave after visiting each room.
11. Lunchboxes come quickly at first, then slow down dramatically
If you don’t get any legendary or rare Dwellers in your first 6 or 7 lunchboxes, sometimes it’s best to start over. Having a Dweller or two with high SPECIAL stats to start makes things much, much easier.
12. Upgrading Rooms can be dangerous
If you rush and fail, radroaches may attack the room. Radroach strength and hp is determined by room level, so be sure you have the appropriate Dweller level and weapon strength before rushing, or face the consequences.
If you do find yourself outmatched, move your Dwellers to another to live to fight another day. The radroaches will spread and are a new instance, so health and difficulty are based on the room they currently infest. Basically, if the tough radroaches move to a low-level room, the radroaches will be low-level and vice-versa.
13. Raiders and Deathclaws become more difficult as your Dwellers level up.
Starting off with weak melee weapons, Raiders eventually get laser weapons and increase in quantity. A good way to handle this is to equip your highest level Dwellers with your strongest weapons and have them work on the first floor.
Raiders will attack the first room inhabited by Dwellers. Since you can only place two Dwellers in the Vault Door room, it’s a good idea to have a triple WATER or FOOD room on the first floor. You may also consider removing the default single Living Quarters eventually to allow for a larger defense squad in the first room.
14. Upgrading the Vault Door increases the time it takes Raiders and Deathclaws to enter the Vault
If you use the above strategy, you can skip upgrading entirely, as it slows down the process. Once upgraded, you cannot downgrade, so plan accordingly.
15. You cannot build or upgrade rooms while incidents are occurring
This includes raider attacks, fires, radroaches, mole rats and deathclaws.
16. Merging rooms resets their rush failure rate (but upgrading does not)
When building double or triple rooms, you can put a Dweller in the single for a cheap rush.
17. Merging rooms, then upgrading is cheaper than upgrading individually
To save on caps: merge first, upgrade second.
18. …and rooms of the same upgrade level will automatically merge
When building rooms of the same type adjacent to one-another, make sure they are not the same level if you do not want them to merge. Once merged, rooms cannot be split.
If you accidentally merge two rooms and would like to undo it, you have to delete both rooms and start from scratch–a real pain early on in the game, but after a month or two, you’ll have more caps than you know what to do with. Don’t sweat it.
19. Be sure you like the placement of your Living Quarters before reaching 200 Dwellers
Once you reach 200 Dwellers, you’ll have to kill existing Dwellers to move Living Quarters. The larger the Living Quarters, the more Dwellers you’ll have to kill. See the Living Quarters Room Data guide for more details.
20. Rush success rate is determined by average room skill and average luck
Each point in room skill and luck reduces rush fail rate by 2%. With high enough skill, you can reach 0%!
The simplest way to reach the lowest fail rate is to have your best Dweller alone in the room. Once you’ve levelled up your Dwellers, you can simply leave them all in there, because the effect becomes marginal once everyone is fully trained in both luck and the room skill.
21. You can play frequently or infrequently as you want without penalty
Your Dwellers do not continue to use resources when you close out the app. Your vault goes to sleep, essentially freezing resource consumption, allowing you to play when convenient without penalty. Your Dwellers will continue to train and explore, however.
New players feel the need to check their Vault frequently to make sure everything is ok. Worry not! Your Vault will be just as you left it.
22. SPECIAL skill points above 10 matter
Though 10 is the max for SPECIAL skills, Dwellers can reach up to 17 points in a skill using outfit bonuses.
23. The game has no proper end
Similar to sandbox games such as Minecraft, there is no predefined story to follow. You create your own story. Whether it be a stable, healthy Vault or a twisted experimental Vault, the choice is entirely yours. Have fun with it!
24. No matter how bad things get, you can always recover.
I once watched all but 40 of my 100 Dwellers in my Vault get slaughtered by radroaches all because accidentally I left the app open. My FOOD and WATER levels reached zero quickly. Everyone was miserable. I nearly deleted the app.
I decided to see if it’s possible to recover, and it turns out, it wasn’t that bad. The game does a great job of allowing you to recover. After rearranging the survivors into rooms that still had power, I was able to recover quickly. By the next day, I had fully recovered. Bottom line: don’t panic. You will recover.
Fallout Shelter is a fun and addicting experiment Bethesda has assembled for us. With their announcement that they will continue to support it for a long time, you can expect your time investment to be rewarded with more content down the road. Remember these tips during your first play-through, and you can avoid the pitfalls we encountered. Have fun out there, and good luck!
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