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Welcome to the Tips and Tricks for Virtual Villagers: The Lost Children, an exciting new game from Last Day of Work and Big Fish Games. Following are some basic strategies to incorporate into play, as well as solutions to the puzzles. So, read at your own risk!

BASIC STRATEGIES

Organization

The first thing to consider is the importance of organization, and naming each villager helps. Select a villager, click the Detail button and change their name to one you can easily remember (like someone you know). This helps you remember who’s who so you can stay on top of each villager.

Exploration

Explore early and often! The map’s not very big, but there’s much to be found. Drop your villagers onto anything that looks interesting. Even if it says they don’t have the right skills or skill level, at least you know something is there! Just about every part of your land holds some sort of secret. Keep notes of everything you discover for easy reference later.

And, in case you didn’t know, you can use the number keys to zip around the island. Keys 1-9 correspond to nine different sections of Isola. You can even pick someone up and quickly whisk them to the desired location.

Villager Aptitude

Stay on top of your villagers and their skills — Farming, Building, Research, Healing and Parenting. Initially, make sure you have at least one person working on each of the skills. Some puzzles require a specific level of skill, so you always want to be ready.

Villagers need to be taught to perform a job. So, keep an eye on them at the start of their “career.” Some have short attention spans and will wander off. Eventually, as they learn their job and reach Trainee level, they will become more automatic at performing it.

Also, remember to assign skills to each of your villagers on the Detail screen. Note that some children are actually born with an aptitude in one or more skills, inherited from their parents. Keep that in mind when making your assignments, as they will advance more quickly in a skill for which they already have a propensity. You can use this to your advantage, too, by playing matchmaker. If you need more builders, introduce a Master Builder to that special someone.

Some villagers have certain likes and dislikes, as well. These can effect how your character works. For example, a villager who loves to run around would not be good at researching. In some cases, you may need to experiment with a villager to find their niche vocation.

Developing Skills

Skills in Farming are developed by gathering food for your community. At the beginning of the game, you start by dropping a villager into ocean on the west side of the map where they learn to fish. This initially keeps a decent supply of food in the camp. Ultimately, your villagers will learn to climb nearby trees for yummy coconuts, and to plant and harvest crops.

Building is fairly straightforward. As you progress in technology, new foundations will appear on the map. Just drag and drop a villager onto these and they will begin building. Builders can also repair structures. One of the huts you start with is dilapidated, so repair it when you get a chance. In addition, many secrets are scattered across the map that only Master Builders can uncover. Keep an eye out!

Research is the easiest skill to develop since it involves just the research table. But, knowing where to invest your points can be tough. Use them on science early because tech points will accrue faster. This way, you can progress in all the other technologies sooner!

Healing can seem a bit tricky at first, but a few easy ways exist to increase this skill. The first is obvious — heal people! When someone is sick, they wander over by the fire and sit on the ground. You can also tell if someone is sick if you hear them cough. Simply drop your healer onto them and they will be cured. If no one is sick, you can still develop this skill. Around the edge of the map are six plants to study. Drag a villager onto one of these plants and they will begin examining it. The more they study, the greater their skill. These herbs, by the way, comprise one of the main puzzles and are used to create stews (see below).

Parenting is the final skill, but an important one you need to manage correctly. If your population grows too fast, your villagers may starve. If it grows too slowly, workers will take a long time to develop. So, try and find a healthy medium. Also be aware that a mother nursing a baby will do nothing else for the equivalent of two game years!

Initial Play

You begin the game with three workers (two adults and a teenager) and several young children. Assign one each to be a farmer, builder and researcher. Parenting can wait a bit (but, not too long), and healing can be done by one of your main villagers as the need arises. Once several more workers come of age, add another builder, researcher and farmer, and train someone as a Master Healer.

Game Speed

In regards to game speed, if you’re going to actively manage your village, keep it on Normal or 2x Speed. If you’re going to be away for several hours or all night, put it on ½ Speed. If you’re leaving it unattended for a day or more, Pause it. You don’t want to came back to find most or all of your villagers dead of starvation or disease.

Events

Occasionally a “random” event will occur that gives you a choice to make. For example, a crate may wash up on shore and you’ll have to decide whether to open it or not. It could contain food supplies or diseased rats. So, pay attention to the details and think carefully before you make a decision. The obvious choice may not always be the best one. Choose incorrectly, and you could end up in dire circumstances. Choose wisely, though, and you may receive a reward!

Collections

Occasionally, special items appear that only children can collect. Mushrooms add to your food supply, while other objects are part of special collections, specifically Butterflies, Shells, Beetles and Pebbles. Most of the time, children won’t pick them up automatically. You need to physically drop a child onto them. So, it pays to continually peruse the little island looking for these objects. If you already have a collectable, get it anyways as duplicates add to your tech points.

Miscellany

In-game tips can be accessed by clicking the mask on the main game screen (lower left). These are the same tips that randomly appear when the game is loading.

Villagers who are sick should be healed as soon as possible. They will continue to grow weaker and die if not treated. If any of your villagers show a condition of weakened health, switch their job to something less demanding to aid in their recovery.

Curiosity is often a clue to the location of the game’s main puzzles. So, watch where your villagers go and see what they’re interested in.

PUZZLE SOLUTIONS

The following is a list of solutions to the game’s puzzles, 16 in all. So, don’t read further unless you need help solving them. You’ve been warned!

Most of the game’s puzzles are dependent on a mixture of technology and villager skills. Plus, some puzzles need to be completed before you can accomplish others. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that they’re completed in the order displayed, as that’s not necessarily the case.

Fire

The first puzzle to be solved is starting a fire. Drop a villager on the wood pile in the southwest corner of the island and they will carry wood to the fire pit in the center. Then, take them to the pink flowers west of the coconut trees to collect some dried grass. Once the wood and grass are in place, drop them onto the fire pit and they will start a fire. Make sure to add wood occasionally to keep the fire from going out.

The Dam

Once you reach Level Two Engineering, drop a builder on the rocks just above the pool of water in the southeast corner of the island. They will construct a dam to irrigate the fields to the immediate left so that crops can be planted. This will also uncover an ancient mosaic on the ground, the site of a later puzzle.

The Scarecrow

This puzzle requires the completion of the dam above. Once you plant your crops, you need a scarecrow to keep the parrots away. Drop an Adept-level (or better) farmer on the twisted pieces of wood and vine just below the rock pile in the north center of the map. You’ll need to do this twice.

The Cutting Tool

You need a cutting tool to clear the vegetation that covers the entrance to the cave in the north and the vine wall to the east. After you acquire Level Two Exploration, drop a Master Scientist on the sharp stones just above and to the right of the twisted pieces of wood and vine used for the scarecrow. When he’s done, take him back for a second trip for the wood and vines necessary to finish the tool.

Herb Mastery

This puzzle is easy to complete early in the game. Six herbs are located around the edges of the map. Each one will be identified as a “strange plant” when a villager is held over it. Have a healer examine each one of them until they master it to complete this puzzle. The location of each herb is as follows:

  1. The green plant in the upper left hanging over the wall of stones.

  • The blue flower at the top center just to the right of the cave.
  • The lavender daisy at the far top-right above the sacred area.
  • The black chain of flowers just above the waterfall on the east.
  • The bright red flowers southeast of the dam.
  • The large orange flower to the south of the village.The Elder Totem
  • Once you have a villager who has mastered three skills, they become an Esteemed Elder. When this happens, a totem is created and placed in your village in their honor. It can be moved anywhere you like.

    Sustainable Fishing

    When the ocean to the west is over-fished, it develops algae. To eliminate the problem and restore fishing, special algae-eating fish must be transported from the pond to the ocean. This requires Level Three Farming and a Master Farmer or Master Scientist. Take them to the pond and drop them in. Once enough algae-eating fish are transported to the ocean, the algae will clear.

    The Vine Wall

    Along the east wall are a number of vines that conceal some strange markings. To uncover these, you must first complete the cutting tool and purchase Level Three Culture. Drag a villager to the wall and release them. They will use the cutting tool to remove the vegetation.

    The Stew

    In order to make stews, you must first recover the cauldron from the wood pile in the southwest. It will appear after you purchase Level Two Exploration. With the fire burning and the cauldron next to it, drop a villager on the cauldron three times. Once each to put it on the fire, fill it with water and add food. Then, drop a villager on any of the herbs you have mastered adding a total of three to the mix in any combination (you can use multiples of the same herb).

    Of course, different selections of herbs will have different results. Keep track of the ingredients in all the stews you make. You want to avoid duplication and don’t want to recreate a bad stew (it can make your villagers sick). If you treat your villagers to the best, they will stay healthy and remain happy.

    Here are some recipes to get you started. The numbers for each herb correspond to the herbs as listed and identified under Herb Mastery.

    1+2+6 = Your villager feels healthier after eating.

    1+5+6 = This stew gave your villager a burst of energy.

    2+3+4 = This spicy stew clears your villager’s nose and throat.

    3+5+6 = This stew gives off a very sweet smell.

    4+5+6 = Your villager feels healthier.

    4+6+6 = Strange stew…your villager feels no need to breathe.

    The Ancient Ruins

    Once you’ve completed the dam and reached Level Three Engineering and Exploration, you can drag a villager to the ancient ruins in the southeast corner of the map and they will start uncovering the site.

    The Hospital

    Obtain Level Three Engineering and Medicine, and a foundation will appear in the south central portion of the map. This lets your villagers build a hospital.

    The Sewing Hut

    Once you reach Level Two Culture, a foundation become visible for a sewing hut just east of the wood pile in the southwest corner of Isola. This allows your villagers to change clothing, but at a cost of 5,000 tech points each. Ouch! Where’s Thurston Howell III when you need him?

    The Sunken Gong Piece

    One piece of the gong is located in the pool on the eastern edge of the village. This sunken gong piece is obtained by making a special magic stew consisting of one of the black flowers near the waterfall and two of the large orange flowers to the south of the village (herbs 4+6+6 as indicated above). Have a villager eat the stew, and then drop them in the pool.

    The Inlaid Gong Piece

    Once one of your villagers has become an Esteemed Elder and been honored with a totem and after you’ve completed the ancient ruins puzzle, drop a totem on the mosaic in the center of the ruins to retrieve another piece of the gong.

    The Boxed Gong Piece

    This piece of the gong is inside the crate on the beach to the west. Three Master Builders working together are needed to open it.

    The Overgrown Gong Piece

    After you purchase Exploration Level Two and complete the cutting tool, your villagers can clear away the vegetation blocking the cave to the north (the Gong Encasement). Doing so reveals a piece of the gong.

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