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Building Your First Base In Kenshi (A Walkthrough)

The Border Zone Base Overview

Building your first base in Kenshi can be pretty overwhelming due to how many different things you can build, all the different tech trees that exist and not knowing what is good and why. This guide here is designed to shed some light on all these things and give you some tips and tricks when it comes to building your first base.

What I would recommend you do before building anything is buy a building in a town you're familiar with and build a Research Bench inside. Doing this will allow you to spend time going through the Research tab and learning what is in there along with giving you time to research everything without worrying about incoming enemy raids. The reason you want to do all of this now is because the second you slap down any sort of building outside of a town enemy raids will be redirected towards it. Unless your characters are already very well equipped to handle them I recommend you start in a friendly town first.

For those of you who would prefer a video for this sort of thing, I have actually made a Youtube video about what technology you should research first. I also show you in that video how to buy a house in a town if you've never done it before along with much more - if you want to check it out hit up my Kenshi Researching Youtube Video! Before trying to build things outside of a town I strongly recommend that you research everything that is available to you. Once every recipe requires Ancient Research Books or Engineering Research you know you're done.

Once you think you're ready to set up your first base the first thing you should do is stock up on some materials before heading to your build location. Usually you want to bring enough materials with you to create a building, Stone Mine, Stone Processor, Iron Refinery, Storage Containers, Defensive Walls, Beds and a few more things depending on your preferences.

1. 100 Iron Plates
2. 200 Building Materials
3. 20 Electrical Components
4. 20 Fabric

After you've put together all of these materials it's time to head on out to our bases location. If you have yet to decide a good location for a base I strongly recommend you check out my Kenshi Base Locations Guide; on that page you will find over a dozen solid locations to build your base. Those of you who are new to Kenshi I strongly recommend you setup shop first in The Border Zone because the enemies here are weak and the base raids are weak too.

Tip: If you are unable to handle the enemy attacks when you first start a base try hiring a group of mercenaries to protect your Outpost for an entire week! You can find mercenaries for hire at many Bars and Inns throughout Kenshi.

Kenshi Stone Rat Base Raid
Swamp Rats Base raid

Warning: Enemy attacks in Kenshi will very often steal the food in your Food Store unless you prevent them from entering your base or at least the buildings of your base. If you are unable to handle the attacks on your own then it is strongly recommended you hire mercenaries to protect you!

When I first arrive at the plot of land I want to build a base on the first thing I do is drop a building. Depending on the area I am in usually I rush to build some Beds first incase I am attacked, this way I can sleep and quickly recover HP. I also usually drop a Food Store and place some food inside so my characters can visit that whenever they're hungry. Also, depending on if you did all your research prior to building a base, you may or may not need to build a Research Bench immediately to unlock new Technologies.

Next up you should plan where you want to build your Stone Mine/Stone Processor and more or less how you want your walls to shape the base. Hopefully your base contains an Iron and Copper deposit, if it does then you should plan where you want your Iron Refinery and Steel Refinery machines to go. Usually I put them near the Iron deposit along with half a dozen Iron Ore Storage containers so that my characters don't have to run very far.

With all of that out of the way the next thing I typically plan out is how I am going to be getting my base power. If there is no wind in the area you're building then you'll need to make a Generator as well as a Biofuel Distillery. You'll also need to make a farm of either Greenfruit, Wheatstraw or Hemp (if you have researched it) to turn into Fuel at the Biofuel Distillery.

This more or less covers the initial things I do with my base; in order to continue with the rest of the base you need to know what objective you want the base to serve. Do you want to do mostly Farming? Maybe you want to be a Weapon Smithing/Armour Smithing base? Or maybe you want to do a little bit of everything! Depending on the answers to these questions you'll need to figure out how big you want your base to be and what you want to make in it.

In order to make this all a bit less confusing for you, I have decided to list all of the mandatory buildings a base needs below. Further down the page you will find a break down of many different crafting stations as well as other useful things you can make with your base.


Required Base Constructions:

Stone Mine: Probably the second most important thing for you to build when starting a new base. Stone is used to make Building Materials which are used in building nearly everything you need for a base.

Stone Processor: Without a Stone Processor to process the stone you mine you can't make any Building Materials! You'll need to build one of these close to your Stone Mine and have workers operate it to convert your stone into Building Materials.

Iron Refinery: These are needed to turn Iron Ore into Iron Plates. You'll need a lot of Iron Plates for building things throughout your base as well as for crafting.

Steel Refinery: Steel bars are needed for some of the more advanced things that you can make with crafting. They're also used in some of the more advanced technologies that you can make for your base.

Wind Generator (if able): Use the Prospecting skill to see if you have any wind in the area you're building. If you do then you can create Wind Generators which will supply power to your base, you'll need to make Batteries too for when the wind stops.

Biofuel Distillery (if needed): If your base does not have access to wind power then you'll need to create a Generator as well as a Biofuel Distillery to make Fuel for power.

Generator (if needed): If your base does not have access to wind power then you'll need to create a Generator as well as a Biofuel Distillery to make Fuel for power.

Batteries: Every base in Kenshi needs some Batteries since this is the only way to preserve power for a long period of time.

Beds: One of the most important things you can make in your base. Sleeping in a bed will give you x8 Healing which is extremely important when you setup your base in an inherently hostile area with frequent attacks.

Well: You need water to grow crops as well as for many different crafting recipes such as food and alcohol. Having a couple of wells or a Rain Catcher if you're in a rainy area is a good idea.

Food Store: When your characters are in base they will visit a Food Store when they're hungry to grab food. It's important you make one of these otherwise they will not go out of their way to eat.


Metal Crafting Stations

Crafting Stations that use Metals:

Weapon Smith: In Kenshi the most reliable way of getting good weapons is by crafting them with a Weapon Smith; I strongly recommend you put one of these in your base and level the skill to 90+. It'll be quite an investment but it'll pay off. Weapon Smith 1 uses only Iron Plates; Weapon Smith 2 uses Iron Plates and Fabric. For this reason if you want to raise Weapon Smithing for very cheap stay with a Weapon Smith level 1 for as long as possible.

Robotics Bench: With a Robotics Bench you're able to make Skeleton Repair Kits along with Economy and High Quality Skeleton Limbs. Skeleton Repair Kits are one of the best things you can make if you want to pursue crafting for money; for more information check out my Money Making with a Robotics Bench Guide.

Electrical Workbench: If you want to make Electrical Components at your base then you'll need an Electrical Workbench. Aside from the obvious uses that Electrical Components have in crafting you can also make a decent profit by mass producing these and selling them in stores throughout Kenshi. For more information about this check out my Making Money with an Electrical Workbench Guide.

Arrow Making Bench: Crossbows use bolts which you will either have to make yourself using an Arrow Making Bench or purchase from an Archery vendor in a town. All you need to make Crossbow Bolts is Iron Plates or Steel bars, depending on what type of bolts you wish to make.

Skeleton Limbs Bench: With a Skeleton Limbs Bench you'll be able to make every single type of Skeleton Limb in the game. This is an extremely useful bench for players who are in the endgame portion of Kenshi since it'll allow you to easily get [Specialist] and [Masterwork] quality limbs of the exact types you want.


Plant Crafting Stations

Crafting Stations that use Crops:

Fabric Loom: In Kenshi if you'd like to make Fabric yourself then you'll need to create a Fabric Loom. There are 2 versions of this loom, one for Hemp and one for Cotton and both are unlocked through researching. Once you've progressed further into the Research tree you'll eventually be able to make Automatic Fabric Looms as well which will consume power but not require anyone manually operating them.

Cooking Stove: This is the crafting station you'll be using to cook all the food that your Squads will be consuming. The best foods to make typically are Rice Bowls and/or Gohan in my experience. I'd actually recommend avoiding any recipes that require Bread since making Bread requires a Bread Oven and a Grain Silo and it's just more tasks for your characters to do increasing the chance they'll get stuck on one part.

Grog Machine: Grog is the most expensive alcohol in the game in terms of the amount of Cats you get per item. You make Grog from Wheatstraw which can be grown in both Arid and Green Environments, if you're in an Arid Environment your only alternative for creating alcohol is Cactus Rum. For more information about Making Money with Grog follow the link.

Rum Still: Rum is the alcohol in Kenshi that can be made from Cactus ingredients, if you're in an Arid Environment this is probably the alcohol that you'll want to make for money. To learn more about Money making with Cactus Rum head on over to that guide.

Sake Still: Sake is the alcohol you'll be producing if you're growing Riceweed at your base. This alcohol is native to Swamp Environments and typically sells for a premium in Arid Environments. To learn more about Money making with Sake follow the link provided.

Hemp Processor: Want to make your very own Hashish? A Hemp Processor is exactly how you'll do that! For those unfamiliar with Hash in Kenshi, it's essentially a narcotic which is illegal in most areas throughout the world... much like how Hemp, the material used to produce it, is illegal too. However there are some towns or vendors you can find in the game which will buy Hash from you at a +400% price mark-up making this one of the best items to sell in the game. For more information about this check out my Hash Trading Route Guide or my Making Money with Hashish Guide.

Clothing Bench: Many of the items in this game that have no armor values at all, like Martial Artist Bindings, Straw Hat, Wooden Sandals and much much more.

Medical Workbench: Every type of Medkit and Splint in the game is created at this crafting station. When you make items at this crafting station you'll raise your Field Medic skill; aside from healing injured units this is the only other way for you to raise Field Medic.

Hydroponics: At Tech Level 5 Hydroponics will become available to you and you will be able to grow Hemp, Riceweed, Greenfruit and Wheatstraw indoors at the cost of power. These gardens will be much more compact allowing you to fit many more gardens into the same area. You can also put Hydroponics on the roof of a building and they'll benefit from the water when it rains.


Misc Crafting Stations

Misc Crafting Stations:

Well & Rain Collector: Water is an important resource in Kenshi if you plan to do any farming, alcohol production or cooking. There are 2 ways for you to get water in this game - Wells and Rain Collectors. Depending on your zone it's typically best to use one or the other. In zones where it almost never rains then you'll want to use a Well; any zone that has frequent showers you'll want to use a Rain Collector. Wells will require a character to sit at them 24/7 until you upgrade them at which point they'll only cost power. Rain Collectors are completely automated, one thing to note too is even Acid Rain counts as regular rain in this game.

Biofuel Distillery & Generator: As aforementioned at the start of this guide if your base doesn't have any wind you'll need to use a Biofuel Distillery and a Generator to power your base. You can use either Greenfruit or Hemp to turn into Fuel which you'll then have to feed into the Generator. In order to create Fuel you'll need a character working at the Biofuel Distillery often.

Bread Oven: As the name suggests, this is where you will be making Bread. First you need to grind the Wheatstraw up into Strawflour then you can bake it in an oven to turn it into Bread. You'll need to assign a character to the oven as well as to hauling the Bread typically.

Grain Silo: In order to turn Wheatstraw into Strawflour you'll need to grind it up in a Grain Silo. The first Grain Silo you get will require a character to manually grind it up but eventually you'll be able to get an Automatic Grain Silo which will consume power but not require anyone operating it. Automatic Grain Silo is unlocked through research.

Leather Armour Crafting Bench: A lot of the Light Armor can be made at this crafting table as well as many undergarments such as Leather Turtle Neck and Leather Hiver Vest. You'll probably want to make one of these at some point so that you can get a bunch of [Masterwork] shirts for your humans and hivers. If you'd like you can also use this bench to make Trader's Leathers early on in the game which is a good opportunity to raise this skill and make money. Check out my Making money with Trader's Leathers page for more info.

Leather Tanning Bench: The Leather Tanning Bench can be used to turn Animal Skin into Leather. You can get tons of Animal Skins by hunting beasts throughout the world of Kenshi, most monster enemies drop it. What's really nice about this crafting station too is that it raises your Armour Smithing skill allowing you to very easily raise a character's Armour Smithing outside of actually making armor.

Chain Armour Crafting Bench: This crafting station is what you will be using to craft some niche Medium Armor items as well as all Chain armor undergarments. Items like Chainmail, Blackened Chainmail can be made here, both are good Medium Armor undergarments. You can also make Hiver Chain Shirts and Blackened Chain Hive Shirts here.

Crossbow Crafting Bench: Allows you to make Crossbows if you obtain the proper blueprints to do so. This is the only crafting bench in the game that uses the Crossbow Crafting skill. In my opinion this crafting bench isn't really required since it's pretty easy to obtain [Specialist] and [Masterwork] Crossbows in this game... However if you want to outfit your entire team with Crossbows then you may need something like this to make enough.

Heavy Armour Smithy: Like the name suggests, you'll be able to craft Heavy Armor at this crafting station. Almost all Heavy Armor is made at this station along with some Medium Armors. Armoured Rag Skirt, Black Plate Jacket, White Plate Jacket, Crab Helmet, Crab Armour, Samurai Legplates and Samurai Armour are all made at this crafting station just to name a few.

Plate Beating Station: This crafting station is used to create Armour Plating which is a reagent used in many Heavy Armour Smithy recipes. Much like all of the other crafting stations that do subcombines this one will also raise your Armour Smithing skill when you work at it.

Chainmail Sheet Fabrication Bench: You can create Chainmail Sheets with this crafting station which are used in crafting a lot of different Medium Armor at the Chain Armour Crafting Bench. When you use this crafting station you will level up your Armour Smithing skill.

Copper Alloy Bench: As you may have guessed from the name of this crafting station, you can make Copper Alloy Plates here. Not many things require these plates, I find myself most often using them for the Outpost s-III and Outpost s-IV buildings.

Ore Drill: This is a mostly autonomous way for you to mine Iron Ore; the first 2 Ore Drills you unlock will require someone to manually operate them but the final rank will be a completely automated way to mine Iron Ore. You'll need Tech Level 5 before you're able to research these drills and once you've unlocked them in the research tree you'll need lots of AI Cores to learn them.


Base Building Tips:

- Always build storage containers nearby crafting benchs so your characters can quickly and easily offload what they made and collect materials for future production without leaving the area.

- When enemies raid your base you'll want to intercept them and prevent them from reaching the building with your Food Stores inside of it. Many base raids will take your food as "payment" for being on their lands.