5. State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition Maps and Home Site Recommendations

Map introduction

In the previous two tip sections, we talked about the who ("Character Development") and the What ("Facilities and Outposts"). Now, it's time for the "Where" (i.e. which map to select and which base to settle).

On the initial release of State of Decay 2, there were three maps to choose from - nowadays, when starting your campaign, you get to choose from five maps (or just let the AI decide for you via random selection). One of these maps, Trumbull Valley (released three years into lifespan of SoD2), is a hybrid map that has a fixed story built in along with the usually randomized campaign quests. Because of this, and because the Trumbull Valley questlines come "later" in the SoD2 timeline than Heartland does, I would recommend avoiding this map until you've played the game somewhat and played through Heartland at least once. For completeness, however, I'll include it in the list below.

Here are the maps ranked in best to worst order, and my reasons for voting as such:

1.) Providence Ridge -- This is the first of the two DLC maps released after the initial game launch, and on this map you can really tell that Undead Labs learned from the maps it had released beforehand. The land itself forms a square - you start at the northeast corner of the map, will move to the northwest corner by mid-game, and will move southeast or southwest by end-game, making for very convenient, logical progression. While there are only five potential home bases in total on this map (including the starter base), every base is both viable game-wise and visually distinct. Navigation-wise, an added northwest/southeast road makes every base equidistant from each others' "corners". Navigable, well designed, and with actual positive options to choose from (and let's face it, actual options are what make the game fun), Providence Ridge is my favourite map in State of Decay 2.

2.) Meagher Valley -- In second place, and a relatively close second, comes Meagher Valley. At first glance, the map looks pretty bad, with huge treks to the north or south needed to get across the map. Good news here though - once you notice the land is mostly flat, and once you realize you can just drive right across the river without penalty as if it wasn't there, suddenly this map opens up tremendously! If you hate the constraints roads put on exploration and gameplay, this is the map for you. Furthermore, while not every base option is a home run in Meagher Valley, this map does contain one of the best home bases in the game in Squelones Brewing Company (see below). All of this adds up to a solid map choice. If I had one complaint about this map, it's that I always jump from the starter base into Squelones Brewing Company, and never consider other options, so I really don't give myself "choice" here. This, however, is a good problem to have (in line with the old "I have too much money, I don't know what to do with it" complaint).

3.) Cascade Hills -- Home of the other best base in the game, the Container Fort, which you'll definitely end up settling unless you stick with the mid-game bases. Speaking of which, Cascade Hills has several mid-tier base options, all of them with pluses and minuses. Hey! Actual choice again! (Although this time it's a mixed bag you're choosing from.) Then again, choices are fun! Given that, unlike the best map 'Providence Ridge', a lot of choices come down to shoring up weaknesses rather than choosing between different strengths. The map itself forms a rough X shape (with a centre to west road added in for convenience), with a town in the middle crossroad section. If you want a complete middle-of-the-road experience, with actual cost/benefit trade-offs, and actual decision making, this is the map for you.

4.) Drucker County -- Woof. A desolate brown desert with cliffs and boulders everywhere (goodbye vehicle shortcuts) and substandard bases as far as the eye can see. The best way to think about this map is that it bifurcates along the southwest/northeast road into two loops, and it's very inconvenient to get from one loop from the other. The rocks and boulders everywhere mean you'll have to stick to the roads, and thus more time wasted and more gas eaten while driving. The distance problem make some bases, which would have been awesome, plainly un-viable due to their location. The big saving grace to this map is that its late-game bases (Mike's Concrete and the Barricaded Strip Mall) are on or close to the southeast/northwest road, making the late-stage game much more fun than the early-stage game. (FUN FACT: find a map of Drucker Valley, locate Wally's Bar and grill. See that tiny winding road behind the grill connecting to the major Southwest/Northeast highway? That road alone has saved this map from being at the bottom of the pile. If you had to drive around that town on the major roads to get into that part of the map, Drucker County would have been dead last).

4.) Trumbull Valley -- The map from the original State of Decay ported into SoD2, and the flaws that come along with this porting show. The original SoD had you start in the very northeast of the map, and as you progressed you made your way down to the northeast town, then eventually to the town in the southwest or the military bases in the northwest. This time, we don't follow that progression, and start at the very mid-west part of the map, halfway between the two SoD "end" areas. Given all this (and the MASSIVE amount of garbage and roadblocks around), this map makes it extremely inconvenient to get practically anywhere. Heartland (using the same map, abet smaller) got around this limitation by cutting off the excess portions of the map and essentially making the game a big circle (though with your base in the most inconvenient bit of that circle). This time around, all the cut-out stuff that made Heartland better is back in, to the detriment of the map. Thinking about using the Meagher Valley trick of driving through the farms to get around? Forget it if going east-west, as tons of hills and gulches will cut you off. You can do north-south at the eastern half of the map through the farms, but that is only small consolation as really only the Farmland Compound can make full use of this. For SoD "purists" only, unless you're looking for more story than the base campaign provides, in which case the story missions uniquely included in this map definitely make it a better experience. It's not without a few highlights - you have some decent options for your mid-game base, and the Farmland Compound end-game base is top tier. But with those few bright spots come many problems, and a good built-in story cannot save this map from the bottom of the pile.

Providence Ridge

Providence Ridge Bases

Recommended Progression: Starter Base -> Rusty Rosie's/Western Builder Supply -> Lundegaard Lumber Mill/Prescott Fire Station

Firewatch Fortress (Starter Base) -- Starts with +4 beds and a infirmary (clear-able, but why would you?), so you're got a good head start right out of the gate. An additional two small slots gets you the basic setup for Garden and Workshop. Probably the most attractive of the five starter bases looks-wise, Firewatch Fortress is conveniently located right above a small town, which you can use for your early looting needs. This is a good enough to allow you to clear our to northeast section of the map, and when you're finished it would be about time to move on. Serviceable, but the mid-tier bases are definitely better, so move on when you can.

Rusty Rosie's (Mid-Game) -- Hitting mid-game your choices are between Rusty Rosie's and Western Builder Supply (see below). Rusty Rosie's is at a slightly better location that WBS, but by barely enough that it's almost not worth registering. Outside of that, Rosie's has a solid kitchen facility (if you have a cook), a built-in watchtower (always nice) and a clearable Auto Shop (where you can learn mechanics, do so and tear it down ASAP, as you need an Automechanic to take full advantage of this site and Auto Shops are pretty terrible anyways). The failed CLEO drop is an ugly stepping stone, but since WBS has one as well, that shouldn't change your mind on anything. Outside of that, you get four small slots and two large slots (assuming you clear the CLEO drop and the Auto Shop). Between this and WBS, Rosie's has more character to it, so weigh that into your choice on which to settle. Big kitchen/aesthetic charm or more beds? Choose what you like more, as there is no real wrong choice here.

Western Builder Supply (Mid-Game) -- The other mid-game option. Very similar to the Rusty Rosie's setup, but with less build-ins and more flexibility (though less beds). Location-wise, once again we have a great map position for mid-game. You get less build-ins, and by that I mean you get no build-ins, but you do get six small slots and two large slots to work with (again, needing to clear the Failed CLEO Drop). So, a solid choice with lots of slot flexibility. NOTE a quick note on WBS - when doing a bit or research, I see other base guides stating that WBS is hard to defend from zombie attacks, but I first played this map on Nightmare mode and had no issues defending WBS during multiple base sieges (though I had a Sniper Tower up in one of the large slots, to be fair). Overall, the only weakness I see in WBS is the lack of aesthetic character (every other base in Providence Ridge has loads of character). If you can get past that one issue, it's a very solid mid-game choice.

Lundegaard Lumber Mill (End-Game) -- While Rosie's and WBS are very similar mid-game options, your two end-game options, Lundegaard Lumber Mill and Prescott Fire Station are completely different, though in a good way. While Prescott has a lot of built-in facilities (see below) the Lumber Mill lacks these. What the Lumbermill does have is FIVE large slots (!), aka more large slots than in any base in the game on any of the five current maps. This awesome fact is a bit deflated by the Lumber Mill only having three small slots, but given the huge number of large slots, this shouldn't upset you too much. As a bonus, to help you with filling these spots, the Sawmill provides material production at the cost of labour and some noise (a bargain at twice the price!). If you're just starting the game and want some freedom to experiment with the different facilities, park yourself at the Lumber Mill! Just bring some labour with you when you move in, as building and updating all those facilities is going to take you some time.

Prescott Fire Station (End-Game) -- The other end-game base, the Prescott Fire Station is a "base-in-a-box", providing you with a Workshop (awesome), a Fighting Gym (ok), a Scout Tower (defences, yay!), a Kitchen (this game sure loves giving you Kitchens!), a Latrine (ok when they're free), and a Utility Room providing free power and water to the whole base (double yay!), all fully upgraded out-of-the-box, though you will have to repair each of these facilities when you first move in. Less valuable if you have the Builder Boon, the fire station really shines if this is your first game and don't have the Builder's Boon yet. The price for all this stuff is this is you only get two large slots and two small slots, but the build-ins you get are great (much better than what you normally get) and make up for the lack of open slots. No southwest/northeast road in Providence Ridge makes the position of Prescott Fire Station slightly worse than the Lumber Mill, though since the northeast is the starter area that should be mostly cleared out by the time you move in here, this isn't really a problem. Another strong end-game choice, you can't go wrong with either this or the Lumber Mill.

Meagher Valley

Meagher Valley Bases

Recommended Progression: Starter Base -> Squelones Brewing Company

Clarington House (Starter Base) -- On the very western edge of the map, the Clarington House has the typical starter setup of all the pre-DLC maps: six built-in beds, and enough room to build your infirmary, garden and workshop. It's got a small lootable neighbourhood right by it, which is nice to get you up and running early, but once you move out of the neighbourhood, you'll most likely never head back to this neighbourhood again (voluntarily, at least). Recruit two people while you're here and get ready to move to Squelones Brewing Company (see below).

Country Church (Early-Game, Don't Move Here) -- All the way across the map, the Country Church at least gives you morale bonuses to move here (+6 to be precise). That's about the nicest thing I can say about it. Outside of the small morale bonus, it's not much different than the starter Clarington House, having three small slots available, plus a bonus large slot. A built-in watchtower also adds to the value of this base (I do like my watchtowers). The watchtower and large slot does come with a terrible price however - a really rotten position on the map (arguably worse than the starter base, which has a neighbourhood around it). Therein, why bother moving here? Recruit one or two more people and just move into the Squelones Brewing Company (see below).

Camp Kelenque (Mid-Game) -- Want to never worry about bed availability every again? Move into Camp Kelenque and squash that need permanently. The camp has eight built-in beds to its name, and a Camp Kitchen to boot (what's with this game and built-in Kitchens?). An Old Well will also provide your base with water, should you not have the Builder Boon running. You also get two large slots and four small slots to build on, which is nice. The big drawback to this base is that it's out a bit in Nowhereland, away from the centre of the map and away from any loot-able areas - and as I'll repeat ad-infinitum, bad map positioning is the worst thing a base can have. The Camp itself looks nice though at least, with it being a wood hut camp by a lake, so that's something. A solid choice undone somewhat by positioning (a common theme we'll see crop up often). Also, it's no Squelones Brewing Company.

Mazzara Farms (Mid-Game) -- The polar opposite of Camp Kelenque, this is a mediocre base with terrific positioning. Essentially, Mazzara farms are just like Camp Kelenque (including built-in beds, a Kitchen and base-wide water availability via a Rain Collector), but with one less small slot. In exchange, you get the best position on the map possible, and a boost to your food-growing facilities (30% increased production). If speed is important to you (and as an achievement hunter, it probably is) you can get a base up in Mazzara Farms up quickly, then use this superior position to run missions efficiently, hopefully speeding through the content of the game. A very decent mid-game choice, except for the fact it's not the Squelones Brewing Company (I'd be settling this base more often is Squelones didn't exist).

Police Station (Mid-Game) -- Remember when I said that bad base positioning will come up over and over again? Well, welcome to the Police Station, aka bad positioning incarnate. At the very north-centre of the Meagher Valley map, if you want to be far away from everything (and you don't), this is the base to take. It does come with two large open slots and three small open slots, which is pretty meh for a mid-game base. In exchange though you do get a few build-ins. First, a free watchtower, which is always nice. Second, 4 beds via the Doorless Cells. Finally, the Police Armory is a unique built-in facility which allows you to craft some early/mid game ammo types if you're desperate for ammo. Given that, it's really not worth it due to its terrible position and lack of open slots. Head to Mazzara Farms or, more likely Squelones Brewing Company instead.

Squelones Brewing Company (Mid-Game/Late-Game) -- Welcome to my favourite base in the game! For only needing 6 people to move in, this base packs a huge punch! First off, outside of Mazzara Farms, Squelones Brewing Company has the second best location on the map, with it being just east of Mazzara Farms. Second, while you do get the standard allotment of slots for a six man base (four small slots and two large slots), the built-in facilities are (finally!) insanely good. The tasting room is essentially a built-in Lounge (and I do love my Lounges). You get not one, but two Craft Stills, which act like free Level 2 stills, but give you a morale bonus as well, plus allow you to brew beer (which is a HUGE money maker, costing you only food to produce) along with the usual Still abilities. Oh, and Chemistry is not required for the Craft Still. So far, so awesome? Well, as an additional bonus, it comes with a Rain Collector, providing water to your base free of charge, which is great assuming you don't have the Builders Boon active. And finally, it has a built-in Staging Area to get your base up and running quickly, which is removable at any time should you not want it.

Get this base, drop some Hydroponics and/or Farms in it, start brewing beer, and watch the influence rain in! Further and even better, if you have a Trader Leader, build a Trade Depot and bring the traders to you! Trade your beer for absolutely anything you need, as you can call all different types of traders with the Trade Depot. Essentially, once you have this base, your food growing in, and the beer being crafted, your supply troubles have ended. You never have to leave your base again (except for those pesky missions and plague heart battles).

A great base with great build-ins, I always move directly to Squelones from the starter base when in Meagher Valley, and I generally never leave.

Whitney Field (Late-Game) -- Every map has a huge "final" base, and Whitney Field is it for Meagher Valley. Unfortunately, its at the very south of the map, and while its not the worst position possible (I would say Police Station and possibly Country Church are worse), Whitney Field still has a pretty poor position. Given that, you do get a facility with three large slots (the only one in Meagher Valley with this), and five small slots - essentially with these you get a lot of customization room. You do get two Watchtowers built-in so that's good for everyone outside of the Builder Leader (who would prefer to build a Sniper Tower). The Announcer Tower is interesting too - you can use it to constantly call in zombie attacks on your base, and with two guard towers up, constantly wipe them out to farm 200 influence per invasion (obviously, easier on easier difficulties, but you should be able to farm invasions up through Nightmare at this point without breaking a sweat). Finally, as a converted baseball diamond, its definitely a base with a lot of character! Given all this, the lack of built-in beds makes Whitney Field less flexible that it first appears, and the location is just a killer for me. With Squelones Brewing Company as good as it is, I generally don't move here.

Cascade Hills

Cascade Hills Bases

Recommended Progression: Starter Base -> Bridge Fort (Optional) -> Church on the Hill/Corner Office -> Container Fort

Justineau House (Starter Base) -- While the same in composition as the other starter bases on the original three maps, the Justineau House is absolutely killed by its location, both locally and map-wise. First, it's located in the very southeast corner of the map, away from almost everything of interest, so staying here any longer than you have to is going to burn both time and fuel, commodities that are in short supply in the early game. Further, the immediate area around the Justineau House lacks easily accessible looting options, meaning longer runs on foot while you pillage the area. Of all the starter locations, I would recommend leaving this base as soon as possible, and relocating to the Bridge Fort, or mid-map to the Corner Office or the Church on the Hill.

Bridge Fort (Early-Game) -- Normally, I don't recommend moving into these early-game bases, as the improvement is pretty marginal for the early influence cost, but in this one case it's definitely worth considering moving to the Bridge Fort when you get the opportunity. For location alone, the Bridge Fort, while not perfectly centred, is close enough to the central hub of the map to make getting around easy (or, at least way easier than the Justineau House). Furthermore, it's the most "Zombie Apocolpyse"-y of bases, being a reinforced railroad trestle bridge. It gives you four small slots, but given its lack of beds, one slot will probably be taken up by sheltered beds, so you get basically the same flexibility as the Justineau house (aka garden, infirmary, workshop. So, no flexibility). The one large facility slot is very nice for an early-game base, so you get to plot out your large facilities earlier than normal. The dual Watchtowers are also nice for an early game base (make sure to arm you survivors with guns), though I have noticed a tendency for these watchtowers to "miss" incoming zombies, especially if they come from below the base. The towers are free though, so who am I to complain? Anyway, at 500 influence, its the lone early-game base worth moving into (with the exception of Pterodactyl Park in Trumbuill Valley, but that's more of a mid-game base).

Church on the Hill (Mid-Game) -- The first of your two mid-map, mid-game choices, the Church on the Hill is slightly less conveniently located than the Corner Office, as it's up on the eponymous hill, making parking there a bit of a chore. It gives you 5 small slots and one large slot (same as the Corner Office), decent for a mid-game base. It's one feature is the Belltower, which serves as a watchtower (always good) that allows you to raise threat level and draw in zombies by ringing the bell. Why would you want to do this? First, you can control when zombie sieges happen to your base, so you don't have to rush back to base while out on missions/scavenging. Second, on lower difficulty levels (nightmare and below) you can purposefully trigger zombie attacks to farm survivor standing and influence (200 per attack). Pick this base if you like the Belltower and/or hate fighting in confined spaces, but go with the Corner Office if you prefer a Kitchen, Watchtower and/or a better, loot-able location.

Corner Office (Mid-Game) -- The other of the two mid-map, mid-game choices, the Corner Office has the superior location of the two, smack dab in the central town. This makes looting the area extremely easy, as you can simply run back and forth between the Corner Office and all the stores in the area, with a car (and thus gas cans) not required. While it has the same amount of slots as the Church (five small, one large), you do get a Watchtower and a Kitchen (surprisingly, the only "free" Kitchen on this map outside the starter base) as build-ins, which is nice. The only drawback of this base is when zombies break into your base during a siege, they can get into the building, and fighting them in the close quarters of the stairwells can be hazardous, especially on higher difficulties. If this concerns you, the Church may be a better choice, but if not, the Corner Office is an excellent mid-game choice.

Loch & Keogh Self Storage (Mid-Game/Late-Game) -- Every map in State of Decay 2 has a base that is perfectly fine on paper, but just doesn't quite get over the bar to be somewhere you would want to move. In Cascade Hills, that base is Loch & Keogh Self Storage. Stuck in the northwest corner of the map, its distance from the map centre (a common theme in Cascade Hills for the late-game bases) is a bit mitigated by the base' closeness to lots of loot-able buildings (and the lack of any other bases anywhere close to that area). It has a very flexible six small slots to work with, but that benefit is unfortunately overturned by only one large slot (which is not great for a late game base). Fortunately, the build-ins are good - there is a tonne of storage, the free Watchtower is always a plus, and the Secret Distillery operates like a better Still 2 (and Stills are always the thing I want to build, but never get around to doing). So, lots of small slots, not enough large slots, poor location, but good build-ins, this location is very up and down. Unfortunately for it (but fortunately for you), the Container Fort overshadows this base in every way (as it has no drawbacks), so the likelihood of you moving here is very low, unless you really like the giant cartoon Lochness Monster attached to the building.

Mohr & Mohr Distributing (Mid-Game/Late-Game) -- If you thought the location of Loch & Keogh was bad, Mohr & Mohr Distributing is far worse. Located in the barren northeast quadrant of the map, Mohr & Mohr is close to absolutely nothing of any value, making this base have the worst location on the map (possibly worse than the Justineau house believe it or not). This is sad, as the rest of the base, while uninspired, is pretty solid. It gives you five small slots to work with, but two large slots, making it a bit more attractive than Loch & Keogh. Furthermore, you get a Workshop as a build-in, and considering you always want one, you can almost consider the Workshop as a sixth open slot. The other build-ins, the Generator and the Fuel Storage, are of low value, but this is more than made up for by the free Workshop. A flexible base, Mohr & Mohr Distributing is absolutely killed by its location, and considering the next tier base, the Container Fort, is one of, if not THE best base in State of Decay 2, you can see why I would not recommend this one.

Container Fort (Late-Game) -- Unlike most late-game bases (Barricaded Strip Mall, Whitney Field, etc), the Container Fort is unquestionably worth moving into over all other bases on the map. First though, its lone drawback: its location in the southwest corner of the map is far away from the map centre, though this disadvantage is mitigated by the highly loot-able town the Container Fort resides in. Get over this limitation, and you have unquestionably one of the best bases in the game. The first thing to know is that the Container Fort gives you +8 beds upon moving in, which essentially frees you of all your bed worries. Furthermore, it gives you a free Workshop 3 (clear-able, but why would you, unless you want the Red Talon Workshop). If this isn't enough, another inherent bonus of the base is to allow for four armed guards on top of the containers, without having to build a Watchtower (so the functional equivalent of two free watchtowers without daily ammo costs! Wow!). This in turn gives you the flexibility of building on 5 small slots (six if you remove the workshop) and 2 large slots, none of which will be needed for Sleeping Quarters/Barracks, Watchtowers, or Workshops. That is a TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF FLEXIBILITY you suddenly find yourself with. If you ever long for a base with maximum flexibility, here it is, ready for you to move in. The 3500 influence to move in here is definitely worth it.

Drucker County

Drucker County Bases

Recommended Progression: Starter Base -> Wally's Bar and Grill -> Mike's Concrete/Barricaded Strip Mall -> Barricaded Strip Mall (Optional)

Vogel House (Starter Base) -- A decent starter home for the first few days of the game, as it has a lot of loot-able buildings around it. Given this, the killer once again is location - being in the centre of one of the two "wings" of Drucker County, its a big pain to get from this house to anywhere else on the map in a reasonable amount of time, not to mention gas. If that north/south road nearby was a northwest/southeast road, it would be a different story, but as is, the location is terrible. On the other hand, with it's back road connecting to the major road bisecting Drucker County, Wally's Bar and Grill is in a much superior position, while only needing four survivors and only costing 500 influence to acquire. Clean out the local buildings, then move to Wally's ASAP.

Wally's Bar and Grill (Early-Game) -- Once again positioning is everything, but toss in a heap of map infrastructure too onto that evaluation this time around. Normally, Wally's Bar and Grill would be in a terrible position, having the same "centre of the wing" issues as the Vogel House, but for one small item - an access road right behind the Bar and Grill connects the Bar to the major southwest/northeast road, making it much easier to get anywhere on the map from this location. So, a potentially disastrous location suddenly becomes one of the best on offer! For Build-Ins, Wally's does have a Kitchen (again, this game loves its built-in Kitchens) although this one also provided +2 beds and +3 morale, making it at least somewhat palatable. Given that you'll have to use one of the slots for beds, your setup will probably look very much like what you had a Vogel house. The superior position over the Vogel house though makes this base worthwhile. A viable choice all the way up to the Barricaded Strip Mall, although I would consider moving to Mike's Concrete when you get the opportunity for a little more community room.

Cabin Park Motel (Mid-Game) -- If you want the most average of bases, this is it. The location of this base, at the very south of the map, isn't the worst but it's still pretty bad (that mountain to its west is the killer here). On the other hand, you do get the flexibility of two large slots (good for a small base like this) and four small slots. With +3 free beds as part of its bonuses, the Motel will give you the flexibility of using either a facility slot or outposts to fill your bed needs, which again adds to the flexibility of this base. The build-ins are pretty bland - a Kitchen (what is this game's obsession with free Kitchens?) and an Old Well that can provide base-wide water (nice initially, but loses all value with the Builder Boon), but given the trade-off here are more open slots, the bland build-ins are understandable. Altogether, a not-terrible base, killed by location - better to recruit one more person and head to Mike's Concrete.

Wheelhouse Truck Stop (Mid-Game) -- A one-two punch of bad location and bad build-ins renders the Wheelhouse Truck Stop a poor choice for your mid-game base. Punch one: while the location isn't as terrible as the Knight's Family Drive-In (see below) as it does have some loot-able areas around it, the Truck Stop's position on the middle edge of the northwest "wing" of Drucker County makes it difficult to get anywhere quickly (a common Drucker County theme). Punch two: the build-ins are pretty terrible - the Kitchen (what is this game's obsession with free Kitchens?) is "meh", the extra Fuel Storage is a big pile of "whatever", the Outdoor Beds are inferior to indoor beds, and the un-clearable Auto Shop is a complete waste of a large slot. If you're desperate for a 5-man base, go with the Cabin Park Motel as it has much more slot flexibility and a better location. Or better yet, skip both and go straight to Mike's Concrete.

Knight's Family Drive-In (Mid-Game/Late-Game) -- Oh Knight's Family Drive-In, why do you have to be in such a terrible, terrible position? If you thought the Cabin Park Motel was bad, and the Wheelhouse Truck Stop position worse, the Drive-In position combines the terrible position on the outside of the southeast "wing" of Drucker County with the barren emptiness of having absolutely nothing around it to loot. Possibly the worst located base on any map in this game, Drucker County or otherwise. This is sad, as everything else about this base is great! The theme of a castle/drive-in is both unique and really fun (probably the best base theme of the game). You only get one large slot and four small slots, but this is directly attributed to the number of build-ins you get. Speaking of build-ins, you get a Kitchen (what is this game's obsession with free Kitchens?), a Latrine (meh), a Watchtower (always good), and a Drive-In Theatre, which operates like a Super Lounge 3! Two points: a.) that's a lot of build-ins for a base this size, and b.) The Drive-In Theatre is by far, the best built-in facility of the game, bar none. If you don't care about distances, this is a great, fun base. Unfortunately, map placement is extremely important, and the Knight's Family Drive-In is utterly killed by its position on the map.

Mike's Concrete (Mid-Game/Late-Game) -- A solid, if unexciting, mid-game to late-game base, Mike's Concrete's best feature is its location. With the base actually on the critical southwest/northeast road, Mike' Concrete is the closest thing you're going to find to a centralized base, which is critical on the mountain strewn Drucker County map. The base itself gives you five small and two large open slots, which combined with the location will carry you through both mid-game and late-game if you so wish. The only real negative here is the build-ins - the Generator is underwhelming if you don't have the Builder Boon (you probably have a power outpost by now), and utterly useless with the Boon. Further, the Huge Fuel Storage solves a problem absolutely no one has (aka, "Man I wish I had a grossly excessive storage space for all my fuel, but my other resources don't matter. Also, I never found that button in the Storage facility that turns the fuel resource into gasoline cans"). With that said, the slot flexibility plus the location makes Mike's Concrete one of the best mid-game choices, and a very viable late-game choice too.

Barricaded Strip Mall (Late-Game) -- While probably the least flexible of the late game "huge bases", the Barricaded Strip Mall is still a strong late-game choice. First off, its location at the north centre of the map belies the fact that it is only a short trip south the the critical southeast/northwest. Therein, the location of this base, while not as good as Mike's Concrete, is still solid, which is really important in Drucker County. Secondly, it gives you three large slots to work with. Thirdly, it has a bevvy of build-ins, some great, some meh, though none I would call useless. Its drawbacks are the lack of small slots (only three), though this is mitigated by the build-ins, especially the free Infirmary. Speaking of which, the build-ins you get are a Kitchen (what is this game's obsession with free Kitchens?), a Latrine (the rote definition of "meh") a Gym (good, until it isn't due to characters out-levelling it) and an Infirmary (great, since you always wind up building one anyway). Big but inflexible, the Barricaded Strip Mall is still worth your investment if you find yourself outgrowing Mike's Concrete (or you need a change of scenery).

Trumbull Valley

Trumbull Valley Bases

Recommended Progression: Starter Base -> Pterodactyl Ptark/Tranquillity Factory/Red Talon Daybreak FOB -> Farmland Compound

Checkpoint Delta (Starter Base) -- The worst starter base of the game bar none, which makes it the worst base in the game period. Checkpoint Delta has only +4 beds, rather than the +6 you'd normally be accustomed to in a starter base, and you have to repair them to boot before you can use them. Furthermore, there are only two small slots you can build on, so this time around you actually have to make a choice between the Garden, the Infirmary, and the Workshop (spoilers: you won't be cutting the Infirmary from your base plans). As well, there are some loot-able areas around the checkpoint, but not much. If not for the ok location of this base (while Checkpoint Delta on the very western edge of the map, the base itself is on the major ring road circling Trumbull Valley), this base would have been a complete disaster. Plan on moving out at your first opportunity.

Pterodactyl Ptark (Early-Game) -- No, that's not a typo back there - it's really called Pterodactyl Ptark. And for a early-game base, it is leagues better than Checkpoint Delta, so while I usually don't recommend moving into early-game bases, this is one of the exceptions. The park will provide you with 5(!) small slot and one large slot, which is huge for a early-base like this. Furthermore, the Ptark comes with a built-in Latrine (good early to shore up morale) and +5 beds from the trailer park beds, freeing up your small slots for more fun uses. Finally, the Ptark is situated at the corner of the smallest of the three "town" areas of the map, making for easy looting, and the Ptark's position is relatively close to the start of many of the early Trumbull Valley story quests (minus Teresa Huerta in the southwest). As well, the Ptark is situated right on the Trumbull Valley ring road, making map traversal that much easier. For 500 influence, you absolutely cannot go wrong here, even if you quickly move on to the Red Talon Daybreak FOB or the Tranquillity Factory.

Red Talon Daybreak FOB (Mid-Game) -- Absolutely hate Daybreak but want to mess around with the daybreak facilities? Try the Red Talon Daybreak FOB (Forward Operating Base)! The base comes packed with all the Red Talon facilities you can usually only earn in Daybreak, including the Red Talon Bunkroom, the Red Talon Watchtower, the Red Talon Workshop, the Officer's Quarters, and even the CLEO Relay Facility (though you'll have to fix most of these facilities to get them up and running (minus the Watchtower and Relay). Furthermore, by fixing the Workshop, a quest line will be kicked off that will end with you given the opportunity to recruit a Red Talon Operative free of charge! Nice! Outside of these items, you get one large and one small slot to build on, which winds up making the base very, very restricting (Infirmary, Farm and done, sadly). And with the location at the very northwest of the map, I find this base pretty far out of the way, even by Trumbull Valley standards. Still, there are a lot of loot-able buildings around that northwest corner, so you won't be without looting opportunities. If you hate Daybreak and/or can't wait to see what the Daybreak facilities do, feel free to move in and give everything a try. If, however, you're already deep into Daybreak, Tranquillity Factory and Pterodactyl Ptark are better options.

Tranquillity Factory (Mid-Game) -- Should you not be interested in the Red Talon Daybreak FOB for a myriad of reasons (mostly because you already unlocked the facilities via Daybreak and want a better base), you'll find yourself down to two mid-game options - Pterodactyl Ptark and Tranquility Factory. As you want to get out of Checkpoint Delta as quickly as possible, I find most people opt for the former option, as you can move in to the Ptark for a mere 500 influence and 4 survivors. Given this, it is still worth considering the Tranquillity Factory. In many ways the Factory is the "contrapositive" of the Ptark - it's at the southwest corner rather than the northeast corner, but is conveniently located near the biggest town on the map and is situated right upon the Trumbull Valley ring road, making for easy traversing of the map. It has five small and two large slots, making it slightly more flexible than the Ptark, though without free beds you'll probably have to use that one extra slot on a bed facility. Given that, the Factory has a lot of storage and some fun build-ins: the first is the very useful Meditation Garden, which operates like a lounge that also grows meds for you (albeit just one); and the second is the Factory Furnace, where you burn one of each resource (!) for a whopping +25 morale (you will probably never use this except for the Throw Your Love Around achievement). All in all, the Factory is in a similar geographical situation as Pterodactyl Ptark, but has more flexible base slots. So, slightly more flexibility but needing an extra survivor to move in - either choice (this, or the Ptark) is a good one, and LEAGUES ahead of Checkpoint Delta.

Farmland Compound (Late-Game) -- Your ultimate goal (besides story missions. plague hearts and leader legacy mission of course) in Trumbull Valley is to recruit six survivors and save up 3500 influence. Why? So you can move here, into the Farmland Compound. Take a look at the map above - that dot in the very centre of the map? That's the Farmland Compound. Bar none, the Compound has the best position on the map, and easy access to every part of the map via convenient "shortcuts" through the farm fields with your car. Not good enough? It's got 4 open small slots and 4 (!) open large slots, more large slots than any other map in the game outside the Lundegaard Lumber Mill. Not good enough? Then have some great build-ins too! The Bunkhouse provides +6 or +8 beds free (minus a small morale penalty). You also get a BBQ Pit, which is essentially a Kitchen (because of course, you do, this game loves giving you Kitchens). Finally, you get a Refugee Clinic, which is like a Field Hospital and an Infirmary 3 mashed into one building. Ignoring the Kitchen for a second, and you'll notice the Field Clinic and Bunkhouse free up your small slots to do more fun, exciting things than your standard build. Did you like the Container Fort from Cascade Hills but wish it had a better map position and more large slots? Well, here you go! For location reasons, for empty slot count reasons and for build-in reasons (the trifecta of base highlights), Farmland Compound is the best base in Trumbull Valley, no question.

Fort Marshall (Late-Game) -- Trumbull Valley's eight-man base. If Fort Marshall is supposed to be the best base in the game, then why do I recommend the Farmland Compound so much? Two reasons. First, Fort Marshall is located in the very southwest corner of the map, within the city, and thus away from the Trumbull Valley ring road, making travel distances much further than with the Farmland Compound. Second, while Fort Marshall is packed with many useful build-ins, its lack of open slots makes the base very inflexible. Speaking of those open slots, the Fort only gets 2 small slots and 2 large slots. Oof! That means the build-ins must be awesome, right? Well, you do get a Cramped Barracks, with +8 bed slots and a small morale penalty (but the Compound gets something similar). You get the Military Clinic, which operates like an Infirmary 2, upgradeable to a Infirmary 3 (though the Compound gets a better infirmary-like facility). You get a Mobile Catering Station, which is basically a Kitchen (this game and Kitchens!), which matches the Compound once again. You do though get some build-ins the Compound doesn't have. which include; Defensive Watchtowers (a free Red Talon Watchtower basically), a Shooting Range, and a Latrine. The question, is a Watchtower, a Shooting Range and a Latrine worth giving up 2 small slots and 2 large slots? The answer is a clear no. And given its worse position on the map, the Farmland Compound is the superior facility by far.

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