We’re already hooked on Bethesda’s mobile post-apocalyptic mini-vacation, Fallout Shelter. The seemingly Tiny Tower-esque vault-building sim has a surprising amount of details and intricacies to consider while you grow your wastelander population within a confined, underground space. One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face after the initial influx of vault-seekers is acquiring more citizens to staff your rooms. Here are some tips to keep your population numbers growing, even in the face of death-by-radroach.
After the tutorial and the first 12 or so wastelanders show up at your vault door, the flood of outsiders begins to trickle to a near standstill. In order to keep your population increasing, you’ll need to begin growing from within.
To have children, you’ll need to drag one male and one female dweller in a Living Quarters together. (Note: you can put multiple pairs of dwellers in larger Quarters simultaneously and they’ll pair off. There’s little room for romantic privacy in the vault.) You can see the magic begin almost immediately: double-tapping on the Quarters will display the couple’s conversation, which is usually packed with cheesy pick-up lines and confessions of love.
After enough time has passed, paired off dwellers will dance together, indicating they’ve really hit it off. Soon after this (usually within a few minutes), the dwellers will turn this into a horizontal dance in the back room of the Quarters, indicated by a thumbs-up pop-up from Vault Boy and green, floaty smiley faces in the Quarters itself. After a few seconds of bliss, the man emerges first, followed by the female, now clad in a yellow sweatshirt covering a noticeably larger stomach. (If she’s wearing armor, the armor will be visually replaced by the yellow sweatshirt, but she’ll still receive its benefits.)
You can send both dwellers back to work as soon as they’ve finished. The now-pregnant dweller will automatically deliver a child after about eight (real life) hours, even in the middle of working. You should unequip any weapons she had previously and give them to someone else, however: pregnant women (and children) will not take part in incidents like fires and raider attacks. If their current room is breached by a hazard, they will flee to a nearby Quarters and hide until the danger is eliminated.
When the child is born, you’ll receive an in-game notification and the option to name them. Children will not be able to work until they grow into adults, which takes about another eight hours. (There is a child > adult growth chart displayed on their profile tooltip.)
If a woman becomes pregnant but there is no room for another dweller in the vault, she will remain pregnant until space opens up. You can simultaneously impregnate as many women as you like, but keep in mind that they are unable to help with incidents (and having an army of resource-eating children born at the same time is also dangerous).
Babies are your most consistent and guaranteed method of acquiring new dwellers, but they have a number of disadvantages. Besides taking awhile to create and grow, they’re born at level 1 and with fairly low SPECIALs. (Children’s SPECIALs might be influenced by their parents’: we’re still playing with this.) If you’re looking for beefy, high-level and high-SPECIAL dwellers, lunchboxes are your best bet.
Lunchboxes are available via three methods: first, they are purchasable with real cash in the in-game store. (They are the only in-app purchase in the game.) Second, you can occasionally earn them by completing objectives—usually objectives award caps, but some harder ones will provide a lunchbox as your prize. Finally, on your seventh straight day of playing and receiving a daily report score, you’ll earn a lunchbox.
When you open a lunchbox, you’ll receive four random prize cards. These can award caps, stimpacks, equipment, etc. but they will also sometimes award new dwellers. The dwellers you receive from lunchboxes are more likely to be higher level, or even possibly special characters from past Fallout games (who have the best starting SPECIAL stats). However, because it’s a random pull, you may not get any dweller from a lunchbox.
Build a Radio Studio
The Radio Studio becomes available once you have 20 dwellers in your vault. Assigning a dweller to this room will serve two purposes: first, it improves the happiness of everyone within your vault. And second, it increases the chances of a random wastelander showing up at the vault entrance and joining your crew.
When a citizen is manning the Radio Studio, a countdown like all the other production rooms will appear. However, there is nothing to collect at the end of this countdown. Instead, once it reaches zero, a signal is broadcast to the Wasteland, inviting people to come to the vault. You may or may not receive a response in the form of a wastelander showing up at the door. Either way, once the countdown hits zero, it will start over and a new signal will be sent out the next time it hits zero.
Adding more (and higher Charisma) dwellers to the Radio Studio will improve its chances of success. This countdown process automatically continues while the app is closed: we went to bed with two dwellers manning our Radio Studio and woke up to two new dwellers waiting to be let inside.
Send dwellers out into the Wastes
This one is only a theory at this point, but multiple Gamezebo writers have found this to be true within our games, so we’re sharing it. It seems like the more often you send dwellers out into the Wasteland (by dragging a dweller outside the vault door and clicking “explore”), the more likely you are to receive new wastelanders showing up at your door. It’s almost as if your explorer is spreading word about the vault on his/her journey. If this theory is accurate, we’d guess that higher Charisma helps improve their chance of encouraging new dwellers to show up, but again, we have no definitive proof on this one. Try out different explorers in your game and see what happens!
We’ll have a full strategy guide with more tips for you soon, but hopefully this will help you get your Fallout Shelter off on a well-populated (if slightly irradiated) foot.