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Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play simulation game that lets you manage your own vault in the Fallout universe. Initially released in 2015, the game has since been updated with new features and rolled out to more platforms.
Whether you’re just starting out or have already played the game and want to improve your strategy, here are some Fallout Shelter tips and tricks to help you succeed.
Fallout Shelter Tips for Beginners
The following are some basic Fallout Shelter tips for those just starting out playing the game.
1. Plan Your Layout Ahead of Time
Most rooms in Fallout Shelter can be expanded and merged, while elevators provide your dwellers access to different floors. However, traveling between rooms can become slow if you create a maze of disjointed areas.
It’s best to know what layout you want to use as soon as you start building. Each row in your vault has space for two elevators, two three-block rooms, and one two-block room.
You should make sure all your elevators form a straight line downwards—like a traditional elevator shaft. This makes sure your dwellers can get around easily. The exact layout is up to you, but most people opt to either have their elevator shafts down the sides of their vault or elevator shafts on either side of a three-block room in the middle.
To keep everything aligned, leave room for future expansions and build downwards instead of sideways if you need to add a new type of room.
2. Don’t Expand Your Vault Too Quickly
Each new room in your vault consumes extra electricity, so you don’t want to needlessly add rooms that you’re unable to use just because you’ve unlocked them.
Rather focus on expanding when you have enough electricity capacity. You should also make sure that you have enough dwellers to utilize these extra rooms, otherwise they’re a waste.
3. Use Spare Weapons to Equip All of Your Dwellers
You may be tempted to scrap and sell weapons that your explorers aren’t using, but you’ll find better use out of them by equipping your vault dwellers. These weapons can help prepare your dwellers for vault incidents and attacks.
Only salvage or sell low-damage weapons when you’ve equipped all of your dwellers. You should also make sure to keep some backup higher-damage weapons handy to equip any new dwellers.
4. Use the Dweller List to Manage Dwellers Easily
As your vault grows, it becomes more difficult to track your dwellers. However, your dweller list, which appears as a cog in the top-left of your screen, includes an overview of all your vault’s inhabitants.
This makes it easy to check the level, health, and skills of your dwellers. More importantly, it also makes it easier to check that your dwellers are remaining productive.
If you see dwellers on a coffee break, this means they are not assigned to a room. Click on the dweller’s icon and your game will center on them so that you can assign them to a room.
5. Use Outfits to Optimize Dweller Productivity Skills
In your vault’s early stages, most of your dwellers won’t have impressive skill sets. And since you don’t control the stats of dwellers who show up to your vault and training rooms only open up after 30 or more dwellers, outfits are a great way to boost their skills.
If you have dwellers with lower-than-average stats, use an outfit to boost the relevant skill for their assigned room. When you unlock training and can boost the stats of your dwellers, outfits can still provide a few extra points to help with productivity.
6. Keep an Eye Out for the Mysterious Stranger
Every now and then, you’ll hear an ominous three-note sound effect. After a few seconds, another sound plays. If you are playing this game on mobile, the sound is accompanied by your phone vibrating with each sound.
This prompt, which occurs every few minutes, signals the appearance and disappearance of the Mysterious Stranger. The character appears randomly in your vault while you’re in the game and disappears a few seconds later. You can recognize him by his trenchcoat and hat.
If you find the Mysterious Stranger before he vanishes, click on him for extra caps. Sometimes this only awards you around 60 caps, but other times you can get hundreds or even thousands of caps.
Fallout Shelter Tips for Experienced Players
If you know the basics but want to add an extra layer of strategy to your gameplay in the long-term, here are some Fallout Shelter strategy tips you should keep in mind.
7. The Best Ways to Earn Caps
Caps are the currency of the Fallout game universe, including Fallout Shelter. Naturally, players want to know the best ways to earn caps in the game.
According to Fallout Shelter’s own in-game hints, the fastest way to earn caps is by rushing rooms. However, rushing rooms comes with the risk of incidents. Furthermore, if you only have a few rooms, you won’t get a significant number of caps through rushing.
Other great ways to get caps in Fallout Shelter include:
- Completing daily objectives.
- Completing quests and missions from the Overseer’s Office.
- Exploring the wasteland and completing any popup quests.
- Finding the Mysterious Stranger whenever he appears.
Focusing on earning caps this way can help you avoid micro-transactions. Which can make Fallout Shelter one of the best free mobile games to play.
8. Endurance Is Your Essential Health Stat
Endurance is one of the most important stats for dwellers, even though it isn’t linked with any rooms that produce resources. Rather, endurance contributes to the health of your dwellers.
This is important for exploring, quests, and surviving vault incidents—especially when a Deathclaw comes knocking at your door. Even if your dwellers have low damage or other skills not related to combat, endurance makes sure that they can survive surprise encounters.
Endurance can even help with your vault protection since power armor can’t protect your guards against the blows of a high-damage enemy if they have little health.
When it comes to training rooms, you should make sure to train spare dwellers, especially guards and explorers, with endurance.
9. Use Quests and Exploration to Gather Resources
The option to send dwellers to explore the wasteland has been around since the launch of Fallout Shelter. However, quests were also later added to the game. Unlike objectives, which are simply daily goals that earn caps, quests are essentially small instances or dungeons within Fallout Shelter.
Quests become available when you build the Overseer’s Office. You can then choose pre-determined quests from the quest menu, or spontaneously come across them while exploring the wasteland.
These quests and general exploration are essential to gaining caps, outfits, weapons, and recipes. Without them, you’ll rarely come across new loot or high-tier items.
10. Try Breeding Dwellers With Max Stats
Breeding dwellers with the maximum number of skill points increases the chance of producing a rare or legendary dweller. This isn’t feasible at the beginning of the game when you will rarely find or have legendary dwellers. However, in later stages of the game, this is possible.
Producing legendary and rare children will reduce the amount of training you need to do, since they will have higher stats than the average new dweller.
Bonus: Fallout Shelter Cheats
Over the years, players have identified a couple of easy cheats to help you succeed at the game.
Re-Enter the Vault and Rooms for Objectives
Certain daily objectives related to your dwellers can be completed simply by letting your dwellers in and out of your vault. This includes objectives which count a certain type of dweller—such as “Have five bald dwellers in your vault.”
You can send the same dweller to the wasteland and then return them immediately to your vault. When they re-enter, the objective counts them as an additional dweller with the required trait.
Exploit Time to Aid Progress
A popular Fallout Shelter cheat is the time exploit. Players change the time settings on their device when their game is open, which fast-forwards progress on certain timed quests and other time-dependent rewards.
However, this exploit has been known to cause the game to freeze and isn’t a foolproof way to trick the game. In other words, use it at your own risk.
More Free Games to Play After Fallout Shelter
By using this Fallout Shelter tips, tricks, and cheats, you should succeed at the game in no time. And once you’ve mastered Fallout Shelter you’re probably start looking for other free games to play.
Thankfully, there are a variety of options out there, including plenty of games on Steam. And if you’re worried about the pay-to-win model, here are the best free Steam games that won’t force you to spend money.