Nuclear Autumn/Hardcore Strategy

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Nuclear Autumn can be slow going, especially in hardcore, but learning what to expect can speed up your run significantly.

General tips

  • Go through several times. The first few runs of Nuclear Autumn are likely to be very slow and difficult, but as you unlock new levels in your Fallout shelter, it gets easier. Expect that your first few runs will take a week or two each. As you build up, you'll learn how to manage your Radiation Sickness, and get access to better items and buffs.
  • From the Deli Lama, your only option is the astral pilsners, as the hot dogs and energy drinks can't be used.
  • From Pet Heaven, an astral belt, pet sweater, or trousers might be what you want. The astral shirt can be used, but you'll have to complete Melvign's quest first -- this is probably not worth it.
  • Whenever possible, don't eat until you get Extra Gall Bladder, and don't drink until you get Extra Kidney. Ideally (once you unlock the Underground Record Store), eat and drink only when you have Record Hunger and Drunk and Avuncular up, which brings your adventures per day up closer to levels you might expect in another adventure.
  • If you can afford it, you should have a record buff up all the time, especially when you get access to the underground Record Store. Balancing these buffs goes a long way. As of September 19, you can shrug these effects, so be sure to do so.
  • There isn't a way to get to the Desert before level 11 when the Council gets you a bus pass.
  • There are two ways to get access to the island: either through the Junkyard in the forest, or by building a Yellow Submarine (if you have a Puck Man familiar.)
  • There's no access to the Guild Halls, so you can't get a head start on wet stew. You'll need to catch it in the Palindrome.
  • You can still buy The Big Book of Pirate Insults, so you can get the Talisman O' Namislat at Pirate's Cove
  • Without access to the Hermit, ten-leaf clovers are hard to find. You start with one and can get another at the Barrel Full Of Barrels which only requires only 1 adventure if you have a Shrine to the Barrel god or 2-6 adventures if the Barrel god is not with you. Your best use of a ten-leaf clover is to use it in the Giant Castle In The Sky Basement to get the Wand of Nagamar. For slower runs, consider going as a moxie class and choosing The Wombat as a moon sign -- the loss of access to a friendly Degrassi Knoll is of minimal pain (you won't be building a meatcar or meat maid anyway)and the numerous clovers can be used effectively in many locations (guano, ores, bridge parts, A-boo clues, and powerleveling, among other things).
  • In the Spookyraven quest on level 3, having the spectacles won't help, because you have no way to get a Dramatic Range to cook everything. Just use the regular formula that requires you to go to six locations.
  • Without so many skills, you're not going to run out of MP often. As you get more skills, this may become an issue.
  • Your Wrist-Boy is always useful. If you have the meat, get one quickly and try to keep a Wrist Boy buff up all the time. You will almost always have at least one buff you need to speed up your run at any given time.
  • Since you don't retain permed skills, and don't have guild access, class choice is a matter of innate traits and the two Nuclear Autumn specific skills.
  • Players with few IOTMs may struggle to get usable food and drink every day. Farming the Noob Cave to get oranges/lemons and popsicle sticks for decent-quality food is one approach, and has the benefit of being easy rad farming as well, albeit at the cost of turnbloat. Booze is harder to come by -- you can farm the Barrel Full of Barrels for shots of schnapps, but that's probably not reliable enough for positive turngen without a Barrel God Shrine. With enough +item, farming Imp Ales during the L6 quest is borderline turn-positive, but probably not after the quest is over. For the most part, you may wind up not making full use of your liver a lot of the time (and stomach sometimes).
  • A Nosy Nose familiar offers a poor-man's version of Olfaction for players that don't have the ability to copy monsters or obtain them by fax-equivalent.

IOTMs likely to help

  • The Time-Spinner gives access to an epic fullness-1 food (Tea, Early Grey, Hot), and an epic drunk-1 booze (Kardassian Gin). It also helps you to make the most of limited epic food by allowing you to eat it more than once. Also, the ability to fight a recent monster is important since you lack any queue management abilities or olfaction.
  • The Protonic accelerator pack gives more rads.
  • The Clan VIP Lounge key give access to:
  • The Clan Floundry gives more ways to increase and decrease combat frequency.
  • A Speakeasy sells good-1 booze with stat gains that can help early on.
  • The Source Terminal gives powerful buffs and can still be found in your Fallout Shelter. You can't use the food and beverages, but the digitize and duplicate skills helps a lot.
  • Chateau Mantegna gives potions, access to repeated creatures, and an easy way to rest.
  • The Snojo gives epic 1-fullness food and epic 1-drunken booze.
  • The Detective school application gives awesome fullness-1 food and drunk-1 booze that also gives a +50 Monster Level buff.
  • The Deck of Every Card can speed up early-game leveling. Ancestral Recall and Islands are also especially useful since they give extra Adventures per day, which are in short supply. Cheating for a mine card is also helpful since clovers are in such short supply.
  • Familiars in general are still accessible and useful.
  • The Machine Elf gives great leveling buffs, especially 1-spleen items.
  • The Fist Turkey drops epic drunkness-1 booze that also buffs you.

IOTMs that won't help

  • The Witchess Set is inaccessible.
  • The Mayo Clinic is inaccessible.
  • The Winter Garden is inaccessible.
Ascension Strategy
Rankings: HC Skills - HC Familiars - HC IotMs
General: Class selection - Familiar usage - Semi-rares - Clovers
Paths: BHY - Fist - AoB - BI - ZS - AoJ - BIG! - KOLHS - CA2 - AoSP - SS - HR - Picky - Ed - Random - AoWoL - Source - NA - GN - LtA - L.A.R. - PF - G-Lover
IotMs: Tomes - Faxing - Copying - YR - Garden - Correspondent - Workshed - Tea party - Florist