TL:DR : A Tale In The Desert: Bricks, grass, and other annoying things.

Rebecca and I have been playing A Tale In The Desert a fair bit recently, and enjoying the hell out of it – it’s incredibly deep and complicated, and there’s always something to learn. Unfortunately, that something often seems to be the tremendously complicated skill that you need to learn before completing the construction you just ground out 2000 bricks for, and now need Something You Can’t Get from Somewhere Bloody Miles Away.

(“Miles”, in ATITD terms, does not mean “one five-minute flight away”. We spent an hour and a half running to get to our local tarpit at one point.)

So, over the next few days we’ll feature a few quick guides to some of the things we’ve tried to build and tripped over the complexities of. (Hopefully this will also serve as a bit of an insight into Tale In The Desert for those who don’t play it yet).

Grass looks to be about the most annoying minigame ever. You need to click the “pick” icon, then step a couple of steps forward, then click the “pick” icon again, step forward… And you’ll need a few hundred grass most of the time.

There are a few tips that speed things up, however:

  • You get straw as a biproduct of processing rotten flax for a loom as well as by drying grass. Since you’ll need All Of Teh Twine In Teh World later on, this is a pretty valid alternate way to make straw.
  • You only need to pick a few hundred grass total before you can set your character to pick it offline. Once you can do that, you’ll basically never need to pick grass again, since one overnight stretch will net you 800 or so grass.
  • Gathering grass doesn’t stop you moving. So, click somewhere on the horizon across a load of grass, and then just click the grass icon whenever it comes up.
  • Alternatively, and in my opinion even quicker, you can simply hold down one of the arrow keys with the chat minimised, and you’ll walk in that direction. Now just stick your mouse over the place where the grass icon comes up, and click when it appears. With a bit of practise you can do this without even looking at the screen.
  • Annoyingly, there appear to be no good fully automated grass-growing macros, probably because it takes less time to get offline grass growing than it does to write the macro.

Bricks are a bit of a PITA to make too. The essential problems with bricks are that they’re very heavy, they require a mixture of ingredients, and they’re made in brick racks, which appear to be made from rotten balsa wood lightly dusted with sulfuric acid, and break into a thousand pieces any time you, another player, or a nearby sheep look at them funny.

  • The key to your brickbuilding process is your brickrack building process. Brick racks can break any time after they’ve been used 5 times – there’s a 1 in 6 chance for any use after the sixth that the’ll break. In my experience, it’s best to assume they’ll break after six uses, and make sure you’ve got enough boards in your inventory to create brickracks equal to your intended number of bricks over 36 (6 bricks per rack and 6 uses per rack). For simplicity, that’s your intended number of bricks divided by 9 in boards.
  • You should definitely use hotkeys for brick creation. Minimise chat, then hold down B and swipe your cursor over your brickracks to fill all the ones within range. Swipe with T to pick up dried bricks.
  • How many brick racks should you create at once? That’s definitely determined by how many you can reach – from experience, if your avatar stands in the middle of 20 racks, you can reach all of them without moving. Any more and you’ll have to move to fill them, which will really slow you down. 20 racks will let you create 120 bricks a time, which isn’t too bad – replace any broken brick racks as soon as you can.
  • My Top Protip Evar on brick production: Build a chest in your house. Half-fill that chest with brick supplies. Then create your brick racks within access distance of that chest. Drop bricks in when you finish them and take supplies out as you need to. IMO, this halves your production time.

Other Stuff that might be useful:

  • Boats look like they might be awesome. However, simple ferry boats can only cross very small rivers. Unless your region has learned how to make advanced ferries (ask in chat), it’s not worth the endless schlep to get tar.
  • If you build structures like distaffs outside, they’ll gradually degrade. Structure repair’s a bit of a pain to learn, so you’re apt to end up with broken buildings and wasted materials. Build ’em inside your house if at all possible.
  • Travel between regions is actually pretty quick and easy using a Chariot Stop. There’s a list of open routes available on the wiki. If you want to trade for more advanced or rarer materials, a quick bit of travel may be just the ticket.

So that’s it for now. Any tips we’ve missed for simple gathering? Tomorrow, either cooking or sheep. I haven’t decided.