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Stardew Valley First Year Guide – TheFantasyTimes

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By Nikita Gambhir

Stardew Valley is a charming indie game that puts players in the shoes of a character who inherits a run-down farm from their late grandfather, located just outside the small town of Pelican Town. Throughout the game, players get to know the town’s colorful residents as they work to restore the farm to its former glory.

Stardew Valley First Year Guide

The game runs in a seasonal format, with each year featuring spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each season lasts for 28 days and offers unique challenges and perks, including special events and crops that only grow during that season. To make the most of the game, players should focus on nailing their first year, which sets the foundation for the rest of the game.

As of June 22, 2023, Stardew Valley fans have a lot to look forward to with update 1.6 on the way and the upcoming Haunted Chocolatier project from game creator ConcernedApe. However, new players may find it daunting to jump into the game due to the many ways to spend time in Pelican Town during the first year. To help them get started, we’ve updated this article with tips for approaching the first year in Stardew Valley.

One of the most important things players can do early on is to upgrade their backpack. With five main tools taking up nearly half of the starting inventory, players will need to sell valuable items frequently and make space for new resources. The first backpack upgrade costs 2,000g and provides 24 inventory slots, making fishing, mining, and foraging trips more efficient. Once players have the expanded inventory, a second upgrade becomes available for 10,000g.

Players should also accept Bulletin Board Requests whenever possible. Whenever they visit Pierre’s General Store, they should check the bulletin board outside for a yellow exclamation mark. Villagers will request that players bring them an item, slay monsters in the mines, catch fish, or gather resources in exchange for gold, friendship, or resources. Accepting these requests provides direction and extra gold without repercussions if left incomplete.

While it may seem unappealing, digging in the trash can yield valuable resources during the first year when money, food, and resources are tight. Players can find gems, food, and other valuables in the garbage cans around town. However, they should make sure no one else is around when they reach into the nearest garbage can, as getting caught can damage the player’s relationships with the townspeople.

Another important aspect of the game is the Pelican Town Community Center. Mayor Lewis unlocks it around the fifth of spring, and players can either restore it with the help of Junimos or choose to join Joja and donate monetary bundles. Both paths have unique perks, so players should get started on tasks as soon as possible.

Players should also take advantage of seasonal forageables, which change with each season. Spring has the widest variety, including leeks, dandelions, daffodils, wild horseradish, spring onions, and salmonberries. These forageables can be used as food or sold for extra gold.

Winter is a unique time in Stardew Valley, with few farm tasks to complete. Players can use this time to upgrade their tools, visit characters, explore the mines, and go fishing. However, they should also celebrate their progress throughout the first year as it comes to a close.

Festivals in Stardew Valley offer unique opportunities to get to know the locals, participate in competitions, and buy unique goods. For example, the Egg Festival in Spring is the only source of Strawberry seeds, and the Night Market offers elusive deep-sea fish. Players should attend every festival they can, as long as they make sure to water their crops and feed their animals before leaving.

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Finally, players should keep an eye on the calendar and work on building relationships with Pelican Town’s residents. Each character has special items they like, feel neutral about, or dislike. Reaching different relationship milestones with them unlocks special cutscenes that help players get to know them.

Stardew Valley offers endless possibilities for players to explore and enjoy. By following these tips, players can make the most of their first year and set themselves up for success in the rest of the game.

Stardew Valley is an indie game in which the player controls a character that recently inherited a farm from their late grandfather. The farm is run down and located just outside of a small town called Pelican Town. Throughout the course of the game, the player gets to know the people in Pelican Town as they run the farm and bring it back to its former glory.

 

 

RELATED: Surprising Tips For Stardew Valley Most Players Don’t Know

The game runs in a seasonal format. Just like in the real world, each year has spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each season is 28 days long and has its own special events, crops that only grow during that season, and other perks and challenges. There’s a lot to do in this indie game and the first year is definitely the most important one to nail so that you can have a good time in the subsequent years.

Updated on June 22, 2023, by Nick Susa: With update 1.6 on the way, Stardew Valley fans have a lot to look forward to as they wait for ConcernedApe’s next project, Haunted Chocolatier. However, as experienced players continue working on their farms while enjoying the game’s devoted modding community, new fans may find it more challenging to jump into the game since there are dozens of ways to spend their time in Pelican Town during the first year alone. To help players have a bountiful start on their new farms, the following article has been updated with more advice about how to approach the first year in Stardew Valley.

20 Upgrade The Backpack

A farmer standing in front of a bag upgrade in Pierre's shop

 

 

From hoes to pickaxes, Stardew Valley provides players with everything they need to make their farm thrive at the beginning of the game. Despite this, the farmer’s five main tools take up nearly half of the starting inventory, meaning players will have to make frequent trips to the farm to sell valuable items and make space for new resources.

As soon as possible, players should save up to 2,000g to buy the first backpack upgrade from Pierre. Not only does it give the farmer a total of 24 inventory slots, but it also makes fishing, mining, and foraging trips more efficient. Once players have the expanded inventory, a second upgrade will be available for 10,000g.

19 Accept Bulletin Board Requests

A request on the bulletin board from Willy

 

 

Whenever players are on their way to buy new seeds or visit their favorite characters, it is important to check the bulletin board outside Pierre’s General Store for a yellow exclamation mark. If the symbol is there, one of the townsfolk has a request they would like the farmer to complete in exchange for gold, friendship, or, occasionally, resources.

No matter who requests help, villagers will either ask players to bring them an item, slay monsters in the mines, catch fish, or gather resources. Each task has a time limit of two days, but players should accept Help Wanted requests whenever possible since they offer the farmer extra gold and direction without repercussions if left incomplete.

18 Dig In The Trash

A farmer digging through the trash beside George and Evelyn's house

 

 

Digging in the trash may not seem like the most enjoyable activity in a cozy farming simulator, but players should consider the villagers’ trash their farmer’s treasure during the first year when money, food, and resources are tight.

In the garbage cans around town, players can find gems, food, and other valuables. Certain trash cans, such as the one near the saloon, even have the chance to drop unique items. Of course, players will occasionally find trash in the trash, but even that can be valuable if they save it until they have a Recycling Machine handy. No matter what players find, however, they’ll want to make sure no one else is around when they reach into the nearest garbage can, as getting caught can damage the farmer’s relationships with the townspeople.

Completed versions of the Community Center and Joja Warehouse side by side

 

 

On a sunny day around the fifth of spring, Mayor Lewis will unlock the Pelican Town Community Center for the player, reminiscing about its charm while explaining that he has been considering selling the building to Joja if someone buys another of the company’s memberships.

If players decide to join Joja, bundles will appear in the community center, asking for monetary donations toward the town’s growth and success. However, if not, players may also restore the center with the help of mysterious forest spirits called Junimos that request particular items in exchange for rewards around town. While many players choose to restore the community center with the Junimos, both paths have perks that make them worthwhile ventures, so eager players should get started on tasks as soon as possible.

16 Gather Seasonal Forageables

A farmer in overalls holding a horseradish beside a field of spring onions

 

 

As players walk around town, they can find various fruits, vegetables, or other forageable items to pick up. However, while some, like shells on the beach, appear consistently throughout the year, many change with the seasons.

With leeks, dandelions, daffodils, wild horseradish, spring onions, and salmonberries, spring has the widest variety of plants for players to gather as they explore. Nonetheless, players should take advantage of every season’s forgeable items. Not only are they part of the community center if players choose to restore the building, but forageables can also be sold or used as food while enjoying other activities.

15 Take Advantage of Winter

A farmer standing in front of a fishing spot near the mines in Winter

 

 

Winter is a unique time in Stardew Valley. Aside from caring for animals, there are few tasks for the farmer to complete around the farm during the snowy season. As a result, players have more time to do whatever they like, but they shouldn’t let winter pass by without a second thought.

RELATED: Stardew Valley: Ways To Maximize Winter

Winter can be a great time to upgrade tools, particularly the watering can and hoe since no crops are growing. However, players can also visit their favorite characters, explore the mines, and go fishing to take advantage of everything the season offers. Still, no matter what players choose to do, they should enjoy and celebrate the progress they made throughout the first year as it comes to a close.

14 Go To Every Festival

Stardew Festivals

 

 

Festivals in Stardew Valley happen around two to three times each season. They’re excellent opportunities to get to know the locals, participate in special competitions, and buy unique goods. The Egg Festival in Spring, for example, is the only source of Strawberry seeds. Meanwhile, elusive deep-sea fish can only be caught at the Night Market.

At first, it might seem like going to a festival is a waste of time that could be better spent fixing up the farm or collecting resources, but as long as players make sure to water their crops and feed their animals before leaving for the festivities, it’s quite the opposite.

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As players plan and prepare their farms for more crops, animals, and adventures, one of the best things for them to do is have the local blacksmith upgrade their tools into stronger, more resilient versions of themselves. While the first upgrade available is copper, players will want to get their tools to at least steel to make the most of their space and clear any giant stumps, rocks, or logs that the first upgrade can’t take care of.

After steel, most of the remaining tool upgrades simply make the farmer more efficient at their job, using less energy to do more work without any special inputs. The only exceptions are the watering can and hoe, which gain the ability to charge their action and increase their effectiveness for a wider area with each upgrade.

12 Keep An Eye On The Calendar

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There are a number of NPCs that live in Pelican Town. Some of them are eligible for the player to marry while others are just there to befriend. Reaching different relationship milestones with them gives the player special cutscenes that help the player get to know them. Each character has special items they like, feel neutral about, or dislike. With time and research, players will come to know their favorite character’s interests, and they can also install a mod that will list them in-game.

RELATED: Stardew Valley: Villagers You Should Befriend Early

Outside of Pierre’s store, there’s a calendar that lists all the season’s special events, including each character’s birthday. Players receive extra friendship points when they give good gifts, so starting off on the right foot with the townsfolk is easy by celebrating their special days.

11 Hoard Items And Materials

A treasure chest sitting on a table in Stardew Valley

 

 

Although some players may head into Stardew Valley thinking it’s a simple farming simulator, it is an incredibly in-depth game with much to offer. Players will find themselves adventuring to multiple islands, conquering dungeons, and defeating enemies, all while enjoying the game’s robust relationship system that allows players to get close to their favorite NPCs.

Due to the game’s complexity, holding on to items and materials is essential, especially during the first year when players may not know what will be helpful later in the game. Thankfully, chests are pretty simple and cheap to make, allowing players to store as much as they want.

10 Plan The Farm

Stardew Valley farm with crops.

 

 

As players progress through year one, they’re likely to start thinking about their future plans for the farm. In later years, for instance, most players will likely end up building a stable to get a horse, helping them get around the farm and Pelican Town faster. When first starting to construct different buildings and structures around the farm, do a little planning first to ensure that the layout works and that a horse will be able to get through the gaps between buildings, as they require a bit more room to move around than the player does.

Particularly motivated players can even find a screencap of their preferred farm’s layout and map out where to put everything, finding the perfect place for coops, barns, silos, and ponds with the right spacing.

9 Visit The Merchant

Stardew Valley First Year Guide TheFantasyTimes

 

 

Should the player choose to complete the community center instead of getting a Joja membership, they will need to gather several rare and difficult-to-find items for the bundles. At times, these items may not even be introduced during the first year, making the community center even more challenging to complete quickly.

RELATED: Stardew Valley: Rarest Events Most Players Have Never Witnessed

Luckily every Friday and Sunday, a traveling merchant parks her storefront in the forest south of the farm. She sells a variety of valuable and elusive items, including the rare Red Cabbage that players need for the community center bundles but can’t otherwise get during the first year.

8 Make Tappers

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After reaching the third level of Foraging, players can craft tappers using 40 pieces of wood and two copper bars. Once made, tappers can be placed on trees to provide the player with oak resin, maple syrup, and pine tar. While players can sell these as artisan goods, they’re also used to craft a variety of items and machines in the game.

As soon as the recipe is available, make some tappers and place them on all different types of trees around the forest and farm to stock up on essentials.

7 Build A Silo

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All kinds of stray grass grow around the farm, and although it may be tempting for players to whip out their scythe and cut it all down right away, they should resist the urge until they’ve requested and received a silo from Robin. Using the scythe on that grass will deposit hay into the silo, which can be used to feed animals later on.

Even if players don’t think they’ll be ready to get a barn or coop during the first year, it’s still important to place a silo somewhere on the farm to collect hay in the meantime. Otherwise, plan to make a lot of trips to Marnie to purchase it, especially during Winter.

6 Get Animals

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Although most players will get animals later on in the first year, it is something they’ll want to do as soon as possible since animal products are often valuable. Like other items, animal products can be sold or gifted, but players can also use them to cook the recipes they find while befriending the villagers and watching television.

Once players have enough gold and resources, they should visit Robin to talk to her about building a coop or barn. Even if animals are still too expensive after building their shelters, preparing the farm is a necessary step closer to enjoying everything animals have to offer.

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During their time in Pelican Town, players will likely see little lines wiggling back and forth on the ground. These lines might look like worms, stems, or twigs, but they’re called artifact spots. If players hit them with their hoe, resources, lost books, or artifacts will pop out. While certain artifacts, like gems, can also be found while breaking geodes, hitting artifact spots is a great way to find location-specific items to donate to the library’s museum.

Most artifacts aren’t worth much money on their own, so donating items is often the best use for them whenever they turn up. As an extra incentive, once the museum receives more and more donations, Gunther starts giving out valuable rewards. Any artifacts the player has yet to contribute to the town’s collection will have the description text, “Gunther can tell you more if you donate this to the museum.”

4 Save For Strawberries

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Every crop in Stardew Valley only grows during certain seasons – until the player has a greenhouse. While some are more valuable than others, strawberries are known as one of the best crops for spring, if not one of the best crops in the game. During the first year, however, the plant is only available for sale at the Egg Festival on the 13th day of spring.

RELATED: Stardew Valley: The Best Crops To Make Money

Be sure to save some money from selling other crops to be able to buy some strawberry seeds at the Egg Festival. It may also be worth taking a mining trip or two before the festival to have even more cash on hand. Strawberries are worth a lot of money, but they’re worth even more if the farmer waits to plant them for another year, as they produce fruit continuously throughout the season. Once players have their own strawberries, they can then be put in the seed maker to create even more strawberry seeds.

3 Mine When It Rains

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During the first year, players probably won’t have a lot of free time between watering plants, talking to NPCs, and gathering resources around town. However, when it rains on the farm, players are free to do anything they like since they don’t need to water their crops.

Without any other pressing obligations, rainy days are a rare and valuable opportunity to head to the mines in the morning and take advantage of everything they offer. If the television says it’s a good luck day in addition to the rain, the mining trip could be particularly productive, but it may also be a good idea to clear out the farm, fish, and talk to the townsfolk.

2 Chop All Those Trees

Stardew Valley character chopping a tree

 

 

No matter what farm layout a farmer picks at the start of their save, the farm usually has trees spread throughout its outer edge. As players begin to plant more and more crops, these trees will be in the way, making it difficult to expand the farm in an organized manner.

When they aren’t busy with other time commitments, players may want to spend time clearing the trees in their area and planning for expansion. Not only will this help make things much easier in the future, but it will also give players an abundance of free wood, which can be rather helpful in the early parts of the game.

1 Check The Fish

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Although many players find fishing difficult compared to the other skills in the game, catching fish is a vital part of Stardew Valley. In the early game, fish are a great source of revenue, but players can also use fish to make recipes and complete the community center bundles. Like crops, many fish are only available during specific seasons. However, they can also be limited to specific types of weather, at certain times of the day, in particular bodies of water. It’s a lot more complex than first meets the eye.

Before going out to fish, players can check the Fish Tank Bundle and Bulletin Board Bundle to see where to focus their efforts. Figuring out when each fish is available can take time, but donating as many of them as possible during the first year is a rewarding experience.

Stardew Valley is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

MORE: Stardew Valley: Secrets You Might Not Know

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