If you told me a I’d fall in love with a game which featured collecting stamps and digging holes as key mechanics, I’d probably laugh until I couldn’t breathe. Or, I would have until I encountered Graveyard Keeper. Like a more morbid Stardew Valley, you must carve out a life for yourself on an awful, overgrown plot. Also, you’ve sort of been roped into being a medieval town’s solo mortician/medical examiner/gravedigger. Don’t panic, though. This guide is here to help you navigate your unsanitary new life. Just don’t ask too many questions about where the meat comes from (spoilers: It’s you). So without further ado, let’s jump into our Graveyard Keeper Beginner Guide.
Graveyard Keeper Beginner Guide: The Basics
The first thing you should understand is how to keep your new charges properly interred. Some ratty old hole won’t do for the dearly departed. You’ve got to decorate graves! The game will teach you the very basics of doing this, but past that you’re on your own. Most importantly, it’ll point you towards your best progress marker: Reopen the church. When you reopen the church you get access to more techs and more resources (both literal and figurative) to make your job more bearable.
Almost everything you can interact with can be made usable. Wooden refuse and shrubs can be turned into wooden crafting materials. This is important to keep in mind because it will be overall easier to utilize these than the trees. This is important because – like other games of its type – Graveyard Keeper uses an energy system to make sure you have to budget your in-game time appropriately. Unlike most games in this genre, however, you’ll need to engage in your own research to learn to better care for your deceased charges. It turns out there’s no night school for grave diggers, so you’re going to have to be self-taught.
That’s not a problem though because your character’s sharp as a tack and can get experience from just about anything that’s vaguely related to his current task. Red, Green, and Blue experience represent you learning about handicrafts, nature, and religion respectively. When you’re just starting out, however, the higher calling of priestly affairs won’t really help you put food on the table. That means your most important experience point resources are red and green. You’ll honestly want to fill out your tech tree completely eventually, so it’s hard to say which techs are the “most” important. They’re all useful in their own way, and so long as you actually make use of them you should be progressing. For your progression, keep an eye out for opportunities to hit up the swamp. That’s where you’ll find the iron ore you need for smelting. Once you’ve cracked enough stones, built a furnace, and gathered some fuel then you’re ready to get cooking. Or smelting, as the case may be.
Graveyard Keeper Beginner Guide: Doing Your Actual Job
First things first, you really should fix up the graves you got. The freshly-dead will be rolling in soon enough, but for now there’s a gaggle of stiffs needing a sprucing. Use your newfound woodshop skills to make them some nice headstones and grave decorations. Make sure to clean away any brush or debris in the graveyard area. Broken decorations – or missing decorations – will affect your score. At the beginning you’ll basically be stuck making wooden decorations. Don’t worry, they’ll do for now until you get some better research available by opening the church. As a quick tip though, try to acquire the tools, knowledge, and resources to get the stone and wood repair kits ASAP. These are the fastest way to get started on your grim home improvement project.
Now that you’re starting to get your house in order, it’s time to actually do your job. If you’re paying attention to the facilities you manage the corpses shouldn’t pile up too quickly. If they do, no one will mind too badly if you trip and fall and drop the deceased into the river. It’s a darned shame but sometimes people are clumsy! As you’ve got a morgue to yourself, take time occasionally to study the corpses you get. They’re worth some decently valuable knowledge and meat – more on that later – and that all goes to waste if you chuck them in the ground.
As you might have guessed, your lack of access to modern refrigeration technology also means that you’re on a clock when a corpse shows up. Decay is a fact of life, but it’s also your enemy. Turns out the families of the deceased prefer the corpse to be in decent condition. Who knew? The state of the corpse has an effect on your job satisfaction so do try to keep track of this. Space is limited, so you really only want to bury the freshest corpses to maximize your graveyard’s rating.
Graveyard Keeper Beginner Guide: Supplement Your Income
To make sure that you’re not the next one to move in, try to take care of yourself. Part of this is making sure you have a steady stream of income. Money makes the world go round, especially if you don’t really have time to be producing all of your own food. Your ticket to success is actually in the form of stamps. There are two you can get, but you only need one. It really depends on how keen you are on making friends in low places. If you manage to get the chapel open again, you’ll be given the opportunity to buy an official stamp through the legal channels. Legal channels means that you’ll need influence – 40 to be precise – to get anything done.
If you think that’s boring, however, then there’s another way. If you hang around the tavern enough and learn your neighbors’ schedules, you’ll get the opportunity on Womansday to hear some hot gossip about a ne’er do well selling fake stamps. Turns out this weirdo likes to hang out in your basement on Envyday. Clear out the basement and open the gate to talk to him. Snake is honestly kind of awful, but he’s got the hookup with the forged stamp. If you don’t want to work to gain influence, he’s your bald, angry man. You’ll need 30 Happiness. Once you’ve got the stamp, you can make like Sweeny Todd and enter business with the tavernkeeper. Everyone’s going to be too busy enjoying his “pork” pies to question where the meat comes from, so don’t think too hard about the ethics of this. Seems like an excellent time to learn some vegetarian cooking, honestly.
Graveyard Keeper Beginner Guide: Going Forward
Ok, so now you’ve become a self-made holy man who maybe sells long pork on the side. This should give you enough space to start exploring your passions! Did you always want to do chemistry but found that needing “a degree” and having to follow “regulations” was a drag? Good news there’s alchemy! Want to make friends with the villagers? I’m sure they’ll love your odor. Want to uncover a conspiracy and burn some heretics? That honestly doesn’t seem nice but, again, you’re the one selling corpses for meat on the side. Or maybe the arts are your true calling?
You can learn to write stories to pass the time and maybe make some coin! Remember: It’s not a cliché if it hasn’t been invented yet. The world is your steadily rotting oyster at this point and really only constrained by the developers’ progress updating the game. Also there’s maybe working to try and get back to your wife. You probably won’t carry that dank graveyard stench back into the future with you.