In this article, we’ll discuss various strategies in Stardew Valley and share some basic opinions on each. First, let’s talk about the primary sources of income in the game.
For example, if you’ve already made millions from brewing, adding a thousand crab pots doesn’t make it a “crab pot strategy.” The primary income source must come from crab pots for it to be considered a “crab pot strategy.” This distinction between primary and non-primary income sources helps avoid confusion during discussions.
Next, let’s talk about how strategies should be reasonably divided into early, mid, and late game.
Early game strategies are easy to implement but have limited potential for growth. Late game strategies, on the other hand, have a higher potential but are more difficult to execute. This categorization helps avoid comparing early game strategies with late game strategies, such as comparing tea saplings with pig farming, or crab pots with brewing, and so on. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t play an early game strategy until the end – it just might be more labor-intensive than late game strategies like brewing.
As a casual player, I tend to focus on simplicity and logical progression in my gameplay. I prefer to complete more progress with less effort – the “lazy person’s approach.” My opinions on strategies are based on this mindset.
There are two basic inclinations: the first is to make more money in less in-game time, which is called “extreme strategy.” The second is to complete more game progress in less real-time, known as “speedrunning.” I am not familiar with these, so differing opinions on strategies could be due to different standards.
Let’s start with the early game fishing strategy.
Fishing is undoubtedly the most profitable method in the early game, and there isn’t much else to do during the first few days of Spring. The benefits of fishing include high early game income, stability, and good cash flow. Once you reach level 10 in fishing, you can expect to make about 10,000 gold daily, selling fish the same day and receiving payment the next. This is very helpful for buying seeds or upgrading tools when you need cash quickly. The downside is that it requires a lot of real-time and has limited growth potential.
Fishing mini-games can take several times longer to play than other activities. My tutorials, unless specified otherwise, follow the rules of single-player mode.
After unlocking Ginger Island, fishing can still bring in tens of thousands of gold per day, but it’s not as profitable as other strategies for the time invested. So, try to minimize fishing time whenever possible to improve efficiency.
Besides fishing, there’s the “sleeping strategy” for early game, where you exchange in-game time for profit. A typical example is sleeping through the days after planting crops with sprinklers until they’re ready to harvest.
Casual gameplay, like foraging and collecting items, relies on in-game time to generate income, but most of these activities aren’t directly related to making money. The early game can also be considered part of the “sleeping strategy.” The advantage of this method is that it saves real-time, allowing for quick progression through the early game, and it can be applied in the late game for specific tasks, like sleeping through consecutive days for certain quests or gifting on birthdays to boost efficiency. The downside is the lengthy in-game time, which may not suit players who have a certain goal for their in-game years.
Neither the fishing nor the sleeping strategy is inherently better than the other – they suit different conditions. Fishing is better for compressing in-game time, while sleeping is better for compressing real-time.
Adding on, let’s briefly discuss the Community Center and Joja Mart routes. These are two entirely different gameplay styles in the game. I’ve never considered them as two separate strategies.
There’s no need to compare the progress of these two routes, as their external conditions are different. It’s just like comparing the progress of a game with automation enabled versus one without it – there’s no real point in making such comparisons.
Early-game Strategies: Farming, Mine Bombing, Tea Shoots, and Crab Pots
Strawberry farming involves planting crops in spring to increase your farming level, laying down sprinklers to free up labor, and continuously expanding production. Eventually, the strategy leads to winemaking. Of course, it’s not limited to strawberries – potatoes, cabbages, and even windflowers are all viable options. This gameplay is simple and aligns with most players’ expectations for a farming game. It’s a standard strategy with virtually no downsides. Although the earnings in spring are low, investing time in upgrading skills to obtain sprinklers is necessary. In summer, you can start making wine, and the profits will gradually catch up, making it a competitive strategy compared to other early-game approaches.
After familiarizing oneself with mine bombing, this strategy can be attempted for early-game play. The method is not complicated, and its advantages are high profits and an impressive upper limit for earnings. In the first spring, bombing the mines a few times can generate several hundred thousand in income. The main drawbacks are the considerable real-life time investment and the reliance on technical skills. To pursue higher profits, you may need to repeatedly reload the game, which effectively increases the time spent playing.
Tea Sapling Strategy
This strategy offers higher profits than fishing but doesn’t reach the upper limit of mine bombing. The first year’s spring income is generally between 200,000 and 300,000. Aside from the drawbacks of mine bombing, the Tea Sapling strategy can be tedious, as it requires spending a significant amount of time obtaining sprinklers and fibers. The strategy is best suited for players with precise control over their gameplay and is recommended for a third playthrough.
As widely known, crab pots provide low profits as a late-game strategy. However, it’s actually an early-game strategy. After reaching level 5 and choosing the crab pot direction, players should mine for copper to make crab pots continuously. For example, placing 150 crab pots on a beach farm can generate around 8,000 gold per day, including trash earnings. Combining this with recycling machines and pseudo-random can yield even higher profits. The strategy’s advantages include its steady, consistent income, but it has several drawbacks, including the time spent mining and the high requirements for mining. Additionally, it can be very monotonous. Many players dislike the daily crab pot collection, so it’s not recommended for everyone. However, if you’re curious, you can give it a try.
These are just a few early-game strategies to consider. In the next part, we’ll discuss late-game strategies.