Without The Sarcasm http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com Insights. Analysis. Answers. Mon, 01 Sep 2014 03:55:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Clash of Clans Gems – Everything You Need to Know! http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-of-clans-gems/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/clash-of-clans-gems/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 17:00:37 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5548 All free-to-play games have a way to suck the money out of your wallet. In Clash of Clans, gems are the primary way to spend money. We call these types of things “premium currencies” because they cost actual, real-life dollars. Every Clash of Clans player wonders “How do I get more free gems?” and “What should I spend my gems on?” In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on the ways to get maximum free gems in Clash of Clans, and what you should spend your Clash of Clans gems on.

Acquiring Clash of Clans Gems

There are three major ways to get gems in Clash of Clans:

  1. Buy them. (duh)
  2. Remove landscape items from your base
  3. Get achievements

Buying Gems in Clash of Clans

The first one is obviously the fastest, but it costs you cash. If you like the game, though, dropping a few bucks can be a good way to show your support. After all, most games cost money up front, while Clash of Clans can be played for free for as long as you want. If you would normally drop $20 to play a 20 hour game, how much would you be willing to spend for a game as long as Clash of Clans? It depends on how much fun you’re getting out of the game, no doubt.

Clash of Clans Gems Guide: Buying Gems

Another thing to consider is if you’ve got credit to, say, the iTunes store, but you normally play on an Android phone or tablet, you could temporarily install Clash of Clans on an iOS device to use that credit to buy gems. Just be sure you trust the device (and its owner) before you do this.

Pro Tip Especially around the holidays, you can find discounted iTunes gift cards. This can be a cheap way to stretch your Clash of Clans gem funds a bit further.

Free Gems in Clash of Clans

A BIG FAT WARNING There are a TON of scams on the internet that claim to give you “free Clash of Clans gems!!!” Rest assured that there is no hack, glitch, cheat, etc that will give you free gems. These are all scams, to a one. They will either make you jump through hoops (for which the supposed “hack makers” get money) or they will steal your personal information. Do not, under any circumstances, trust any site that advertises free gems. If ANYONE posts “totally legit, not at all a scam” info about hacking/cheating/glitching this game on our site, I will remove it and immediately notify SuperCell with all the info I have about you so that you hopefully get banned from the game. You have been warned.

For whatever reason, though, you might not be inclined to buy Clash of Clans gems. I, myself, have a mental block about paying for anything I could just play to earn or wait around for. Thus, I stick to the free options myself. That leaves us with two choices.


The first is removing obstacles or “trimming the bushes” so to speak. Whenever you send a builder to remove a bush, tree, or any other misc object on your base, there’s a chance you’ll find gems. This means it pays to keep the lawn clean!

Clash of Clans Gems Guide:  Gem Box!

There’s one special obstacle item, and that’s the Gem Box. It gives a guaranteed, whopping 25 free gems whenever you find and remove one. They’re random, though, so you’ll just have to wait around and get lucky.

Pro Tip New obstacles will only spawn in your base if you have free space and there aren’t too many obstacles already. Make sure you occasionally invest time in removing obstacles, or you’ll miss out on your chance to free gems from gem boxes!


Besides removing obstacles, the other easy way to get free gems in Clash of Clans is via achievements. Most achievements award gems with every level of them you complete. Most achievements you’re going to get just through normal play, but there are a few that are worthy of noting:

Clash of Clans Gems Guide:  Achievements

  • Get Those Goblins – chances are you’ve neglected the single player campaign – I know I have. Once you’re powerful enough to just roll the single player levels, you might as well hit these levels for the gems. This is a good one to do while you’re upgrading walls and have no reason to hang onto your elixir.
  • Nice and Tidy – you get this for removing obstacles – which is the other major way to get gems. So, double win!
  • Union Buster – this achievement is for destroying builder’s huts. Many people stick these in the corners of their base, so while you’re raiding just drop an extra archer or barb nearby to earn points towards this.
  • Sweet Victory! – the third level of this achievement only requires 1,250 trophies. This is a piece of cake. Just make sure you protect your town hall, and get out there and raid, raid, raid!
  • League All-Star – the first level of this one requires you to get to Crystal League, which is 2,000 trophies. However, the reward is 250 gems, so it’s well worth the effort.

Make no mistake, the major gem profits are in obstacle removal. However, you can get a bit of a boost from these achievements if you make the time to unlock them!

Spending Clash of Clans Gems

People are always asking me, “what should I spend my gems on in Clash of Clans?” to which I usually reply, “uhhh, I don’t know you, but can I please have my vanilla shake now?” But they do have a valid question. Gems can be used for almost anything, so knowing what to prioritize can be tricky.

My suggestions for what to spend your Clash of Clans gems on are as follows:


If you have 3 or fewer builders, buy more builders. The fourth builder is a bit harder to justify. It can be useful when your Town Hall first levels up to have a 4th builder, or even a 5th. However, a lot of upgrades like walls and the lab upgrades just require a lot of resources and/or time, with little to no help from additional builders.

Clash of Clans Gems Guide:  5th Builder is Pricey!

Also, the cost of each builder in Clash of Clans increases significantly, making the cost of that fifth builder kind of unreasonable compared to the other things you can spend gems on.

Dark Elixir

Once you have 3 or 4 Clash of Clans builders, the next priority is probably buying Dark Elixir. There are two major things you want to buy Dark Elixir for:

Your Hero units – the Barbarian King and Archer Queen. You can buy the Barbarian King at TH7, as long as you’ve built the Dark Elixir storage. Raiding for Dark Elixir is tricky at Town Hall 7 though. It can be done, if you are very patient. Chances are you will have a tough time protecting any raided Dark Elixir as well. Thus, I suggest saving your gems to rush the Barbarian King at Town Hall 7. Having him around means you’ve got an extra powerful unit that doesn’t take any camp space.

Clash of Clans Gems Guide:  Buying Dark Elixir

Now, there are upgrades to these Hero units as well, and taking them can be quite helpful. Once these units get to level 5, they also gain a special ability. I suggest prioritizing your gems for these upgrades whenever you can.

Lab upgrades for your Dark Elixir troops. Dark Elixir troops unlock at Town Hall 7. They are super powerful game changing units, but without leveling them up, they’re not particularly useful. Increasing the level of your Dark Elixir troops takes… wait for it… Dark Elixir. Hog riders in particular have been overpowered recently, and you see them a lot in raids at the higher levels. Get those riders upgraded, with gems, if needed!

Upgrades that require completely full storages

If you’ve got gems laying around and aren’t sure what to do with them at this point, or you just don’t want to listen to the advice I’ve given in the previous sections, this is the third and final thing I’d suggest using your gems on in Clash of Clans.

As you approach the most powerful upgrades you can get at a given Town Hall level, you’ll come across upgrades that require you to max out your gold, dark elixir, or elixir storages in order to afford them. This is hard to do, for several reasons:

  1. You generally have to spend this stuff in order to make it, so maxing it out is tricky.
  2. The more of a resource you have, the more likely it is you’re going to get attacked.
  3. The more full your storages are, the more enemies will take each time they hit it. Even a lone archer that survives your defenses can take a toll on your stockpiles.

For this reason, I’d suggest getting as close as possible to maxing your storages out, and then spend a few gems to push you the rest of the way. It is a lot less frustrating than the alternatives.

However, as I said, there are other, better ways to spend your gems.

Other Stuff

Beyond this point, I’d highly suggest you just hold onto your gems. No doubt SuperCell is going to add new stuff to the game. If you have a small stockpile of gems, you can be the first kid on your block (or player in your clan) to get it. This can create a small tactical advantage for a while.

Occasionally Supercell will run a Clash of Clans event where you can get extra stuff for your gems. For instance, recently there was an event where you could boost your collectors for an entire week at a cost of 1 gem. Many people took advantage of this. I kind of felt it was a good time to raid, and I probably would suggest boosting Dark Elixir drills during these events.

I personally don’t like to skip wait times in the game with gems, as the game is essentially one enormous wait time. If you’re buying gems with money regularly, you can kind of spend them however you like. However, if you’ve got a lot, feel free to use them this way if it makes you happy!


That’s it, that’s everything I know about gems in Clash of Clans. In this article, I showed you how to maximize your free gems by clearing obstacles and focusing on achievements. Then I gave you the rundown on the best ways to spend the gems you’ve stockpiled.

It’s my aim to make this the best freakin’ guide to Clash of Clans gems on the internet. If you know something I don’t, leave a comment! I really appreciate any corrections or suggestions other players have.

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Cult of the Fiver | August 2014 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/cult-fiver-august-2014/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/cult-fiver-august-2014/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:36:12 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5475 Metro 2033, adapt to a post global warming Earth in Anno 2070, deal with soul-crushing debt in Recettear, outmaneuver the darkness in One Way Heroics, and then escape from the mad prison island of the cat overlords in Battleblock Theater. ]]> Metro 2033


Nuclear winter has devastated Russia, making the air unbreathable and the chances of survival grim. Deadly mutants roam the surface and patrol the air. The survivors have banded together to form small camps within the underground subway tunnels. Not that things are rosy beneath the surface – political and ideological factions are colliding and the mutants are always hungry for a tasty human snack. When mysterious, otherworldly forces start to encroach, it’s up to one gifted soldier to make a perilous journey and decide the future of humanity.

Metro 2033 is worth your $5 because… it’s got sort of a Fallout post-apocalyptic feel to it. In Fallout, though, the survival-pack-rat-esque elements of the game are quickly pushed to the background as your character levels up and becomes ever more god-like. Metro 2033 manages to preserve the feeling of constantly being down to your last clip and having to frequently scavenge for resources. The Ranger difficulty modes make the game feel a bit more realistic, with bullets doing more damage and inventory sizes creeping even smaller than usual.

But don’t pay full price for Metro 2033, since… it’s got some serious rough edges. The filter mechanics are especially painful at times. Gas mask filters are required for survival on the surface. However, the game does a poor job of explaining how they work. You can’t always pick up new filters you find in the environment, and only one or two of the shops sell more. Having to move quickly and not being able to extend your time makes certain sections of the game really frustrating. There’s also a hidden morality system that determines what endings are available to you, which the game also never explains. There are stealth elements, but it’s the kind where once you’ve been detected once, every enemy everywhere will know precisely where you are at all times.

The $5 Deal: Amazon w/Steam DRM | Steam | Humble

Quick Tips:

  • Although you do need filters to survive on the surface, you can take your gas mask off for up to 30 seconds at a time. You can really stretch a limited filters by putting the mask on long enough to draw a breath, and then remove the mask immediately and go another 30 seconds.
  • On the level where you reach the central armory shops, across from the shops you can buy either a stealth suit (which reduces your visibility in shadows) or a suit of armor that makes you harder to kill. It’s easy to miss these, and you only get one shot at them.
  • All of the weapons can be found in the environment, so I wouldn’t waste your precious money on buying them.
  • The pneumatic bolt weapon is extremely powerful and usually a one-shot kill from stealth. You can recover the bolts, so it should easily earn a slot in your inventory.

Anno 2070


The Anno series has long focused on commerce and city building between island nations. While most of the series has taken place during the age of sail, Anno 2070 takes us to the not-so-distant future where global warming has forced many once-proud nations to scrounge for resources amidst the waves. Three distinct factions – the Ecos, who value the environment, the Tycoons who desire profits, and the Techs who worship science – vie for limited resources on tiny islands to keep their populaces safe and happy.

Anno 2070 is worth your $5 because… it combines a lot of the more interesting elements of games like Sim City, Tropico, Cities XL, and other similar resource management games. It’s really polished, has a long campaign, and there are significant online scenarios to play as well. Managing your ecology adds a new wrinkle to the game’s delicate balancing act. Playing with the underwater bases and submarines and such is a lot of fun.

But don’t pay full price for ****Anno 2070,*** since… it kind of gets repetitive after a while. All the games play out essentially very similar to one another. The combat is super stripped down, so don’t go into it expecting anything significant in terms of RTS elements. The game has always-online DRM that is quite annoying at times.

The $5 Deal: Steam | Humble

Quick Tips:

  • The + key on the keypad speeds the game up. I don’t remember anywhere that the game explains this to you, but it’s a HUGE lifesaver.
  • Settle other islands early and often. Whenever you need to grow a crop for which you don’t have the fertility on an existing island, grab a new one!
  • Every time you have a major population expansion, make sure you’re producing enough basic goods (ie, fish) for the new residents.

Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale


Recettear is part action-RPG and part shop simulator. When naive Recette learns she’s in deep with a collections agency, she teams up with the business-minded bill collector Tear to revive her parent’s item shop. When not stocking items or haggling with customers, the duo tags along with adventurers to collect “teh phat lewts” in nearby dungeons.

Recettear is worth your $5 because… it’s a really unique take on the standard dungeon crawling action RPG. Instead of just blindly hacking and slashing, you’ve got to manage your shop’s inventory, sell good stuff to adventurers, take them on trips to level them up and get new loot, and then use that loot in various ways to improve your shop and your stable of adventurers.

But don’t pay full price for Recettear, since… each element is executed competently, but none really stand out. The action RPG combat could be a lot better. The store management stuff, likewise, is kind of lackluster. After a while the whole thing gets kind of old, and the aggressive loan payments hanging over your head don’t do much except increase your stress.

The $5 Deal: Steam

Quick Tips:

  • If you’ve got a big loan payment coming up and you can’t make it, spend all the money you can. If you “lose” you’ll just start the week over without your money, but with any stock you had left. No point in losing 99% of the payment when you can just plow that money back into stuff to sell for the next attempt.
  • Put stuff out for sale you want your adventurers to buy, and if they try to make an offer on something that is good for them, sell it to them for dirt cheap.
  • If your adventurers have crappy equipment, you can bring things from your shop along and swap their gear out. The downside is you’ll lose slots in your inventory that you could normally take loot home in.

One Way Heroics


The Dark Lord is plaguing the land, while a corrupting Darkness is slowly reducing the world to a living hell-on-earth. It’s up to an infinite number of heroes working across infinite dimensions to stop the Dark Lord, and hopefully, end the blight of the Darkness.

One Way Heroics is worth your $5 because… it’s an excellent game that is terribly addictive. It’s easily the best roguelike I’ve played this year. I could go on for quite a while about how much I enjoyed it, but I already did that in another article…

But don’t pay full price for One Way Heroics, since… it’s not terribly well balanced. Once you find the overpowered combos of class, perk, and abilities, you’ll probably be able to demolish the game in no time flat. It’s still a lot of fun, though, and it’s less than $5 even when it’s not on sale. Pay full price – you’ll get your money’s worth!

The $5 Deal: Steam

Quick Tips:

  • There aren’t any cursed items, so feel free to equip stuff you find.
  • Hitting chests is a perfectly valid way to get the stuff inside.
  • Pack an axe, they’re good against walls, chests, and certain enemies like skeletons.
  • Shields are super important for almost every class. They significantly reduce the damage you take.
  • Every time you meet a chef, order food and consider buying one of their lunches.
  • Don’t bother carrying a lot of redundant weapons and armor around. You’ll find new gear frequently, and as you progress the power of the stuff you find will go up.

Battleblock Theater


What should have been a pleasure cruise has gone terribly awry. Your boat of best buddies has run aground on an island populated primarily with homicidal cats who imprison people and make them perform for their amusement. A vicious platforming maze of deadly traps and precariously poised treasure awaits!

Battleblock Theater is worth your $5 because… it’s got a clever story told through a unique art style. The various weapons and tools you unlock can sometimes change the game in significant ways. It’s a lot of fun to play in co-op, assuming you’re both pretty patient and work well together.

But don’t pay full price for Battleblock Theater, since… it quickly gets frustrating and super difficult. The platforming here is nothing short of hardcore, especially as the game progresses. There are timed levels that are even harder than the regular ones. The platforming has a limited bag of tricks and doesn’t change things up often.

The $5 Deal: Steam

Quick Tips:

  • There is a suction cup gun that will allow you to make improvised stairs on many surfaces.
  • Often when you see a group of wall blocks in a corner, there are secrets hidden inside false blocks.
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How to make money on the Steam Sales http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/how-to-make-money-on-steam-sales/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/how-to-make-money-on-steam-sales/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:34:33 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5518 Prev Page 2 of 2 Next

Did you miss page one? Click the link above to check it out.

Riding the wave

It may surprise you to know that Valve (the creators of Steam) actually consulted with a professor a few years back to better understand their digital marketplace dynamics. Professor Varoufakis went on to write several articles on the subject, among them a very interesting analysis of the economics of game items. In it, Varoufakis concluded that there is arbitrage in the Steam market, and that it can be profitable, especially in the time before the community has determined how to price an item. In practice I find these opportunities to be relatively short in duration and fairly low in trade volume, hence my opinion that you can’t quit your job to become a Steam day-trader… but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few bucks.

New Steam Item Price Spike

Sell in the spike

First of all, you can note that for almost every item on the Steam marketplace, there is a huge initial spike in pricing that takes some time to correct. I don’t know whether it is due to Elijah Wood making it rain to have the newest shiny items, or because some OCD basement-dweller has to collect them I don’t know. Surely there is an element of confusion in the market before rational pricing can be established as well – but whatever the reason, the spike always seems to exist. Given this fact rule number one is: Sell during the spike if at all possible. A great example of putting this into practice is to sell the first trading card you earn in a Steam Sale immediately.

Pro Tip If you are prepared for the sale, you’ve likely set aside some other sets of non-Sale Trading Cards for badge-craftage. Plan to cash in all or most of these on the first day of the Sale to get early Sale Trading Cards that you can sell while the price is high.

Steam Sale Arbitrage

Elliott and his Waves

Past the first spike, things get a great deal more murky. There is certainly no exact science here, but there has been a great deal of research on the extent to which future price behavior is predictable, based on crowd psychology. In particular, there was a famous economist from the late 19th century named Ralph Nelson Elliott who theorized that price behavior follows a wave pattern which can be predicted to some extent. I would definitely not bet my life savings on this theory, but when you think about it, it does make sense that there is some predictability to how a crowd will act when presented with certain stimuli. As such, when looking at pricing trends, try to think a little farther into the future and make bets on where you think the price is likely to ultimately end up. Barring certain caveats, if the price is climbing fast it is likely to correct lower at some future point, and if it is falling like a stone you might wait for a rebound before selling.

Getting out

Certain items, especially those associated with Steam Sales, have a shot clock that ticks down. In the closing hours of the sale, these items will fall in price like a stone, because their real value for crafting badges and other sale items is about to go to zero. Take note of the important time milestones of a sale, and be sure to sell your items before the fire sale. Conversely, if you for whatever reason want to buy said items (say, just to collect), the closing hours of the Sale are a great time to buy them at a fraction of the cost.


While selling on the Steam Marketplace is unlikely to get you rich, there are some trends and tricks to keep in mind if you do decide to offload some virtual collectables. Armed with this knowledge, you can make a few bucks – which on Steam can go a really long way. Free games, woo!

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How to profit on the Steam Marketplace http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/how-to-make-money-on-the-steam-marketplace/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/how-to-make-money-on-the-steam-marketplace/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:34:15 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5517

The internet is rife with snake-oil salesmen and pyramid scheme peddlers that will either convince you that they need your bank account number (…and it bears repeating, don’t ever do that) or that this evil series of tubes is a den of thieves and liars and all of the easy money has already been made. Even still, if you are a fan of Steam, you’ve probably participated in a Steam Sale or two, and you’ve probably heard about Hats, Trading Cards, and various other items that can be sold on their open market between ordinary folks like you and me. If you’re an enterprising individual, you’ve probably pondered whether you might earn a little coin for yourself off this “marketplace” … earnings that I’m sure you could find a way to spend. Well wonder no more! Below I’ll debunk some of the myths and explain some of the tricks to make just a little money, if you’ve got the time and the patience.

You can’t quit your job

Let me start by saying that this article doesn’t constitute financial advice, but rather my own experience when buying, selling, and attempting to profit with the Steam Marketplace. Consult your Financial Advisor as applicable, and don’t use Mommy and Daddy’s credit card without permission :). I also want to clarify that everything I describe in this article is completely “above board” from my perspective – no gray market trading, no “conning of noobs”. If that’s your thing I suppose you’ll have to find your tips elsewhere.

With that out of the way, I must unfortunately share a little more bad news. At least with the ground rules I used, I don’t see a feasible way you could quit your day job and solely earn your living from Steam market sales. Profit opportunities are in small volume, the risk profile for trading is often very high, and the time opportunity cost of seeking out profits typically amounts to sub-minimum wage rates. Despite those downers, free money is free money, and over time even small profits can net you the occasional awesome five dollar game.


It so happens that there is not any real physical market for Steam where traders in cool jackets yell offers for DOTA Compendium points or scribble notes about Pyro Trading Card futures while they chug Red Bulls… although plenty of money is changing hands. Steam does however provide some nifty tools that give you something of the same effect when you are dealing with items that have been classified as commodities. On Steam (as in real life), commodities are any item that is sufficiently common that large quantities of them are traded and purchasers are primarily motivated by price (since the items are identical).

Steam Marketplace Commodity Interface

Be sure that whenever you are selling a commodity, you do so from the Commodity interface (as shown in the picture). This will give you the most information about existing offers, volume, and trading history. Merely going by the “suggested list price” that is shown in the Inventory interface and some other places can cost you some significant profit (but be aware that a lot of sellers use this as their only guidance).

Pro Tip Don’t believe everything Steam is telling you with all of its whiz-bang graphics and stats. Trades are happening in extremely high volume, especially during sales, and those stats will often not update fast enough for you to benefit from changing trends. If you need to sell something fast, the Steam suggest prices is likely to move it, but if you can afford to wait (and you almost always can), then look closely at the existing cheapest competitive offer and consider pricing higher than that. Chances are, the natural variation in price will cause your item to sell before long, sometimes almost instantly. For most commodities this won’t net you much, but a few pennies will add up towards cheap games over time.

Team Fortress 2 Venture Brothers Hats

Can you really even LIVE without these hats?

To horde or not to horde

At this point in the maturity of the Steam Marketplace, it is possible to earn a ton of items for doing literally nothing. Trading cards are earned simply by spending time with a game window open, and many in game items like TF2 hats are earned the same way. As the free virtual shiny objects begin to crowd your inventory, you’ll need to decide whether you want to cash them in, or stack them high and covetously protect them. For my own part I tend to keep them for games I like, so that I can craft badges and get other virtual schwag for that game – but I cash them in for the games which I’m not as invested in.

Pro Tip When considering to sell Trading Cards, take a minute to consider the opportunity cost of holding on to them. For very popular or free games like TF2, the cards trade near the basement price of around $0.07, limited by the transaction prices of Valve to net you $0.01. Cards for these types of games are worth very little, but when combined into badges during sales, they will net you additional loot which has a chance of being worth more. This means it is sometimes more profitable to buy or better yet trade to get a few cards to complete a set before a sale, and then craft the badge during the sale.

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Beginner’s Guide to Hay Day http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/hay-day-guide/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/hay-day-guide/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:34:54 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5492 Hay Day is a ridiculously popular farm simulator for mobile phones and tablets published by Supercell. In this beginner’s guide to Hay Day, we’ll answer the most common Hay Day questions and give some pro tips to get your farm started right. If you’re new to Hay Day and need a helping hand, let’s get started!

Hay Day Guide: Coins and Diamonds

Hay Day Guide: Coins and Diamonds

Coins are the standard currency in Hay Day. You’ll earn them by selling goods that your farm produces, and for the most part you’ll spend them on improvements to your farm.

Coins are pretty easy to come by. When visitors come to your farm, they’ll ask for goods and pay you in coins. Similarly, you can sell stuff in the roadside shop or to the order board to make coins. As you harvest and sell your farm’s goods, you’ll also level up, which will unlock new buildings to buy with your coins.

Diamonds are the premium currency in Hay Day. A “premium currency” is just something the game gives you a small amount of and generally charges you actual, real dollars for more. Not all Hay Day diamonds cost money, though!

You can get free diamonds in Hay Day from a number of sources:

  • Hidden Chests, which look like… sparkly red toolboxes. Sometimes these have diamonds in them. Sometimes, though, you need diamonds to open them. So, they’re something of a gamble.
  • Gaining a level sometimes gives you free diamonds in Hay Day.
  • “Night at the Movies” which is a little ticket that is sometimes on the ground near your mailbox. You have to watch trailers for a chance at free Hay Day diamonds.
  • Finishing achievements also gives you free diamonds. Tap on the farmhouse and you can see a list of achievements and the rewards they give.
  • There is a daily “Prize Wheel” you can spin for a chance at free diamonds. The Prize Wheel can be found across the road from your mailbox.

Diamonds can be used for a lot of things in Hay Day. You can spend them to skip timers, although that’s usually a waste. You can also use them to buy rare items, which is a somewhat better way to spend them. Finally, they can also be used to add slots to buildings that produce stuff. This is the only way to add more slots, so it makes sense to save most of your diamonds for this purpose.

Hay Day Guide: Crops

Crops are the first thing you’ll learn to produce in Hay Day. Crops are planted in fields. To plant a crop, tap any empty field, and then drag the crop you want to plant onto the empty field. This will start a timer. When the timer expires, you can harvest the crops by tapping the crop and then dragging the sickle across the ready-to-harvest fields.

Hay Day Guide: Crops

Warning! In order to plant a field with a particular crop, you need at least one of that type of crop. If you use up ALL of your crops of a particular type, you won’t be able to plant more until you buy more from another person’s Roadside Shop, or spend diamonds! I always try to keep some crops planted of every type all the time so that I never run out of seeds.

Tip If you have too many types of crops, they won’t all show up at once for planting. There’s a little “arrows in a circle” icon that you can tap to see the next page of crops to plant.

Hay Day Guide: Goods

Once you’ve planted and harvested some crops, you can turn them into useful goods at various buildings. Each building has a different type of good it produces. Each good has different ingredients that are required. Producing goods also requires time.

As you level up, you’ll unlock more buildings. Each of these buildings requires coins to purchase, and they can be quite expensive! Once you’ve purchased a building, you’ll have to wait while it is built. This can take hours, so it pays to be patient.

Hay Day Guide: Goods

Once you have a building for producing goods, you can queue up several items to build. This allows you to leave your farm for a while and still have it be productive, so be sure to take advantage of this! You can pay additional diamonds to add slots to the queue, if you so desire.

Tip If you tap and hold on a good, a little card pops up that shows what ingredients are required to make it. Do you see the little number in the upper right, though? That’s how many you have in your barn already!

Hay Day Guide: Animals

In Hay Day, Animals live in animal pens. They can produce goods, but you have to feed them first and then wait for (you guessed it…) another timer. Animal feed can be made at the Feed Mill, and it requires different crops depending on the animal. Usually one “bag” of feed will feed several animals.

Hay Day Guide: Animals

Once you have the feed, you can tap on any one of your animals to bring up the feed menu. Then you can drag the feed over the animal to give it some food. This starts the timer. When the timer expires, you can tap on the animal and use the appropriate item to harvest what the animal produces. For instance, for chickens you’ll use an egg basket to collect their eggs.

Note Each individual animal has to be fed individually. Each animal also has its own timer. You’ll have to swipe all over the animal pen in order to make sure you feed or collect from each animal in the pen.

Hay Day Guide: Orders and Visitors

Well, now that we’ve made a bunch of cool stuff, it’s time to sell it for cold, hard… coins? In Hay Day, the first two ways you’ll learn to sell things are to the Orders board and to Visitors.

Hay Day Guide: Orders

The Orders board sits just outside your farmhouse, next to where the delivery truck parks. On it will be up to 9 different orders you can fill. Each one will call for different crops and/or goods. In return, you’ll earn coins and experience. The number next to the “blue star” icon is the amount of experience you’ll gain. Getting experience makes you level up, which unlocks new buildings, crops, animals, and so forth.

Tip Not sure what building you need to make a good for an order? Tap and hold on the good on the orders board and it will tell you where to make it!

Orders on the board that you have the required goods to fill are marked with a green check. If you pick an order and you can fill it, then you can tap the “Truck” icon in the lower right to deliver that order. If you don’t think you want to fill an order, you can tap it and then tap the “trash can” icon to get a new order. This is good for times when the order requires a building you don’t have yet, for example.

Tip Your truck can only do one delivery at a time, but it’s pretty fast about coming back. Once it is back in front of the Orders board, you can send it out again.

If you’re not sure what to produce in your farm, checking the orders board is a good thing to do. Since orders give you both coins and experience, they can be good goals to set in the early game to unlock and build new stuff!

Hay Day Guide: Visitors

Visitors will approach your farm house from time to time. They will request some amount of one type of good, and they won’t leave until you either give them what they want or tell them they can’t have it.

Visitors aren’t worth nearly as much experience as Orders are. However, they do count towards a set of achievements that award diamonds, so they’re worth talking to nonetheless. They’re also a lot easier to satisfy in some cases.

Hay Day Guide: Conclusion

Thanks for reading our Hay Day guide! Hopefully with these Hay Day basics under your belt you’re ready to set out for new farm-based adventures. Keep on reading, though, and I’ll share my tips and tricks, which are sure to give you a leg up on your hay-shoveling way.

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Tips and Tricks for Hay Day! http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/hay-day-tips/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/hay-day-tips/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:34:52 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5495 Hay Day guide, I covered the basics of getting your farm off the ground. I showed you how to grow crops, make stuff with them, tend to your animals and make a small pile of coins while you're at it. Now let's talk about a few advanced Hay Day tips and tricks that will have you bringing home the bacon (and eggs)!]]> In my previous Hay Day guide, I covered the basics of getting your farm off the ground. I showed you how to grow crops, make stuff with them, tend to your animals and make a small pile of coins while you’re at it. Now let’s talk about a few advanced Hay Day tips and tricks that will have you bringing home the bacon (and eggs)!

Hay Day Tips: The Roadside Shop

The Roadside Shop is a way to put goods up for sale that Visitors or Orders aren’t interested in. The Roadside Shop makes your goods available to other people to buy. The Roadside Shop takes anything. It doesn’t matter what! The Roadside Shop is a terrible place to sell rare stuff, but if you overproduce something easy to make, like Wheat or Corn, it can be a good way to free up some space in your Hay Day Silo.

Hay Day Tips: Roadside Market

There’s one major caveat, though. Once you put something up for sale, you’ve got to wait around for it to sell. You can’t take your goods back from the Roadside Shop without paying for it in diamonds. Yikes!

When you put something up for sale in the shop, you can adjust the price to your liking. If you don’t mind waiting, you can raise the price to make a bit more money than you would otherwise. If you just need money fast, though, lowering the price will get the goods out of your farm sooner.

Warning Just remember: don’t sell the last of any of your crops. Remember that you need at least one of a crop type in order to plant more!

Hay Day Tips: Browsing the Paper

Okay, so say you didn’t read that last warning. You went and sold all your Wheat. Now what? You could pay some diamonds to get more, but ugh! What a waste!

Instead, the best thing you can do is check the paper. Just tap on the mailbox by the road to access it.

Hay Day Tips: The Paper

From here, you can see what other people have put up for sale. You can then buy excess crops that they don’t want or need.

Tip It’s not obvious, but you can actually swipe across the screen to change the page on the paper.

Occasionally you’ll also see special offers in the paper. You can sometimes buy extra rare items at a significant diamond discount if you shop smart. Just remember that there are usually other ways to get these items, like harvesting crops, tending to animals, making goods, and so forth. Don’t go crazy spending diamonds (which cost actual money) on stuff you can sometimes get for free!

Hay Day Tips: Visiting Other Farms

If you connect Hay Day to Facebook and your Facebook friends play Hay Day, you can visit their farms by tapping the “people” icon in the lower right.

Don’t want to connect to Facebook, or your friends are silly people who don’t play? You can also visit random people’s farms. You can find them in the paper, for instance.

Hay Day Tips: Visiting Farms

Once you tap their icon, you can browse their farm. While you’re here, you can browse their Roadside Market for cheap goods, and you can help them in various ways, but you can also find Mystery Boxes that might contain diamonds or other useful stuff. Keep your eyes peeled!

Hay Day Tips: Expanding Your Silo and Barn

Oh, man. You won’t play this game for 5 minutes without thinking to yourself “How do I expand my Hay Day Silo?” The Hay Day barn is also pretty tiny, but the Silo is particularly bad.

In order to upgrade the Hay Day Silo to hold more crops, you’ll need Nails, Screws, and Wood Panels. These can be found in the red Mystery Boxes, they can also be bought from other people’s Roadside Markets, sometimes you can get them from the Wheel of Fortune, and you can sometimes get them from harvesting crops.

Similarly, in order to upgrade the Hay Day Barn to hold more goods, you’ll need Bolts, Planks, and Duct Tape. These can be found in the same way – Mystery Boxes, Roadside Markets, Wheel of Fortune, or harvesting crops.

Hay Day Tips: Silo Upgrade

You can also cheese the system by buying them with diamonds. This is one of the big ways the game milks you for money early, so these items are intentionally hard to find.

Tip Since you can occasionally find these items by harvesting crops, if you plant a lot of fast crops, you’ll get more chances to find them. When you have time to babysit your farm, try planting a lot of Wheat and then harvesting and selling it in your Roadside Market. It’s a slow process, but hey, it’s free!

Hay Day Tips: Clearing Land

Inevitably you’re going to find that you need more space for your farm. There’s a lot of stuff on your land that can be cleared out. Each different obstacle has a different tool required for clearing it.

Hay Day Tips: Clearing Land

  • Stones require Dynamite
  • Boulders require TNT
  • Small trees require Axes
  • Large trees require Saws
  • Swamps require Shovels

These items can be found in the same way as parts for your barn and silo. Harvesting crops, opening Mystery Boxes, spinning the wheel, etc. You can also find them in Roadside Markets if other people have them in excess. I’ve seen several of these types of items offered in the paper as a “special deal” in exchange for diamonds as well.

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Top 5 Ways Clash of Clans is Better Than Boom Beach http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/top-5-ways-clash-clans-better-boom-beach/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/top-5-ways-clash-clans-better-boom-beach/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 21:47:53 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5479 A while back, I published an article where I noted the improvements Supercell made in Boom Beach that I really wished were part of Clash of Clans. It’s been several months since then, and Boom Beach is still missing a few key features that Clash of Clans has had for years. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, so in this article I’ve collected my top 5 ways that Clash of Clans is still better than Boom Beach.

#5: Clash of Clans has better loot

Clash of Clans vs Boom Beach: Loot!

Clash of Clans is better than Boom Beach when it comes to earning loot. In Clash of Clans, your collectors fill up and you tap them, and then you get the loot. It’s simple but effective.

If you get raided, you lose a portion of what’s stored in your base, subject to certain multipliers and maximums. There’s an incentive to raid bases with stronger Town Halls than yours, and raiding weaker bases has a significant penalty.

In Boom Beach you’ve got collectors as well. However, a significant portion of your passive loot comes from Resource Bases. You have to fight with another player for control of each of these bases. Every time one of you wins, the base gets stronger and harder to raid. If you’re not tough enough to take a Resource Base back, chances are you’re just going to be at a loss for resources for a while until you can find a new opponent or your troops power up.

Meanwhile, if someone raids your base they can take a lot of your resources. If you don’t have a vault, they can take everything – something that catches a lot of new players off guard. It takes a significant amount of work to level your vault enough to protect even half your resources from raids.

There’s also no shield, which means that you’re constantly at risk of being raided. This makes it very difficult to save up for expensive upgrades.

#4: Clash of Clans has better matchmaking

Yeah, yeah, I know. I said I liked Boom Beach’s matchmaking better in my last article. I do like some of the changes in Boom Beach. But some of it I hate – I think Clash of Clans matchmaking is better in many ways.

In Clash of Clans, you are randomly assigned an opponent, and you can choose to skip them for a small penalty. Thus, you can go looking for bases where your troops are effective and the rewards are good.

Clash of Clans vs Boom Beach: Matchmaking!

In Boom Beach, every so often another player will claim one of your islands. As long as they’re there, you’re getting less gold per hour from your passive income. You can’t skip them until a few days have passed. If their base is really tough and there’s not enough rewards to make it worthwhile, tough luck. You’re stuck.

If you run out of players on your islands, you can’t fight anymore. You’ve got to wait around for the game to plop another random person down on one of your islands.

#3: Clash of Clans has better troop mechanics

I like the Boom Beach model of “troops that survive the fight get to go back to base with you.” That’s cool. What I don’t like is the lack of flexibility that the troop transports bring.

In Clash of Clans, you get a fixed number of camp slots, but you can fill them however you please. If you want to fill them with a smattering of every different type of troop, more power to you!

In Boom Beach, however, the troop transports can only hold one type of unit at a time. Some units use more slots than others, so say you have 10 total slots on a transport. If you fill the transport with Heavy units, you’ll only get 2, and 2 slots on the transport will be wasted. You can’t mix and match.

Combine this with the low number of transports, and you’ve got significantly less strategic options to choose from. Don’t even get me started on the fact that every unit in a transport must deploy at the same time…

#2: Clash of Clans has Hero units

One of the cooler things you can do with Dark Elixir in Clash of Clans is summon Hero Units. So far we have the Barbarian King and the Archer Queen. You can level them up and deploy them during any fight, or have them guard your base. It’s a cool RPG-esque element to the game that I find to be a lot of fun. They’ve also recently added activated abilities to Hero Units that make them even more tactical.

Sadly, this is completely missing in Boom Beach. Your units are generally disposable and can’t be used to defend your base, period. I think it would be cool if this was added at some point, though.

#1: Clash of Clans has… Clans

This one seems obvious. It’s right there in the title of the game, for crying out loud! Clans are an integral cooperative and competitive element in Clash of Clans. You can donate troops to your friends, which boosts your defense or your raid strength. There’s a clan-private chat, which you can use to socialize with your friends or swap strategies.

Clash of Clans vs Boom Beach: Clans!

Being in a clan also gives you a reason to log in daily, raid often, and keep your base going strong. Looking at your clanmates’ bases can encourage you to keep playing in order to keep up. Trophies determine your ranking in your clan’s order, so being in a clan also incentivizes you to care about trophies.

Clans in Clash of Clans have only improved over time. Recently Clan Wars were introduced, which pit your clan against other clans for glory and loot. Mostly loot. It’s a chance to work together cooperatively in a way that few mobile games capture. It really requires everyone to coordinate attacks and scrutinize each others raids and town layouts.

Are you a Boom Beach die-hard? You should check out my other article, The Top 5 ways Boom Beach is better than Clash of Clans!

What’s your favorite thing about Clash of Clans? Do you like it more than Boom Beach? Why? Tell us in the comments!

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One Way Heroics Review http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/one-way-heroics-review/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/one-way-heroics-review/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:50:38 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5466 One Way Heroics takes a somewhat unique approach to this genre, and I'm hopelessly addicted.]]> Roguelikes have been making something of a comeback recently, with many indie games incorporating procedurally generated adventures and permadeath into their RPG formulas. One Way Heroics takes a somewhat unique approach to this genre, and I’m hopelessly addicted.

This Way to Addiction

I grabbed last week’s Humble Japanese Weekly on a whim, primarily on the name recognition of Ys Origins. I installed some of the other games to check them out. After loading up One Way Heroics and playing a few games, though, I put everything else down and have played nothing but that on my PC since.

One Way Heroics hews pretty close to the standard roguelike tropes. It’s a turn-based RPG featuring a set of classes and a randomized world full of monsters and loot to explore. The art style is very 16-bit era JRPG, and it’s very well done. It reminds me a lot of Half Minute Hero with its retro look.

There is a set of classes to choose from, some available from the start and some unlocked as you play. Each class is somewhat distinct, in that they have a different set of starting gear, different skills, and a different unique perk they start with. However, all classes can select up to 5 perks to either overcome weaknesses or accentuate strengths. There’s also no class restrictions on gear. Between the shared perks and the shared gear, the classes end up feeling a bit more similar than they initially seem.

The game itself concerns a kingdom being overtaken by a relentless darkness. The darkness is constantly creeping in from the west, and anything that touches it is killed instantly. This includes the player, so there’s a constant pressure to move east.

This constant pressure informs many of your decisions throughout the game. For instance, you might be tempted to enter a dungeon to explore it for experience and loot. If you get trapped or cornered by a tough monster, you might not have enough turns to find your way back out of the dungeon before you’re swallowed by the darkness. Similarly, you’ll come across chests that you can bash or lockpick open, but time is not on your side.

One Way Heroics: Dungeon Crawling

All of the classes have a special “Awakening” ability that stops time and gives you a few turns to hopefully sort out whatever mess the game has thrown at you. You can only use this a few times per game, though, so it’s only for dire emergencies.

The overall goal is to fight the Dark Lord who is supposedly the cause of the darkness. Killing the Dark Lord is one of the ways to win the game. On all but the lowest difficulty, he appears to fight you periodically. If you can avoid him and survive long enough, he’ll teleport away to harass you later on.


In One Way Heroics, death is not always that bad an outcome. When you die, you can use your score from the previous run to permanently unlock new classes, perks, or expand your Dimensional Vault. The vault can store items from other playthroughs that you can withdrawal at the start of another game.

Both of these systems remove a lot of the frustration games with permadeath tend to cause. Much like in Rogue Legacy, dying signals the end of your current game, but it also gives you a chance to become more powerful and do better in your next game.

The game also allows you to save, either by visiting a particular NPC or by using a Save Crystal. While you can restore an earlier game, you can only get credit for that game’s score on the first run through. Thus, it can be useful for learning from your mistakes or attempting some of the more difficult achievements, but it’s not something that breaks the difficulty of the game.

Speaking of learning from your mistakes, you can also choose to replay any dimension you’ve been to before, in case you liked the map or want to get some revenge. Monster and loot spawns are still randomized, so replaying an old dimension doesn’t feel like cheating.

One Way Heroics: The Starting Castle

The game also has some online elements, although they’re more of the leaderboard variety than the co-op or player-vs-player type of multiplayer. There are daily events where you can take part in unique challenges or opportunities, and there is a scoreboard that tracks players who have cleared a particular dimension. The game is always single player, though. There’s no co-op or player-vs-player or anything like that.

Buy it, it’s good!

I can sum up my feelings about One Way Heroics in three words: I want more. There’s a good amount of stuff on offer here, but the more I play the more I want. I want more classes, I want them to be more distinct. I want more enemies and loot. I want more NPC companions. I want more achievements and reasons to keep playing. I hear they’re working on an expansion, and I will almost certainly buy it.

One Way Heroics: The End

If you like classic, turn based roguelikes, chances are you’d enjoy One Way Heroics. It’s got a lot of solid systems, you can play short games or marathon sessions, and it’s got that “one more turn/life” pull that I can’t resist.

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Tips to beat the New Two Dots Level 72 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/tips-beat-new-two-dots-level-72/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/tips-beat-new-two-dots-level-72/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 02:48:00 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5459 I’d like to tell you that the new Two Dots Level 72 was easier, that version 2 is a relief from the pain some experienced with the long path of the previous version… but I can’t. In fact, the new Two Dots Level 72 is so hard it might be the hardest level in the game! Grab your horseshoes and rabbit’s feet, and read on for more details.

New Two Dots Level 72

Harder is the new hard

In what seems like a trend, an update to the game (Version 1.1.2) made Level 72 much harder. The old Two Dots Level 72 was still challenging, but in a fun, puzzly kind of way – and I could routinely beat it in one or two tries after I figured it out. The new Two Dots Level 72 gives you far less moves to complete a totally different board where there is much more Fire, and you need to release an almost impossible number of Anchors. Even though I respect the developer, I’m a bit at a loss for the motivation in this ground up redesign beyond making the level an implicit paywall, and that is disappointing.

…but we Match on

Like any Two Dots level, Level 72 is not impossible, but with the few moves you have, every one must count. Work your way toward the bottom efficiently. When given the choice, try to always choose the match which eliminates the most Fire Dots at the same time (with some caveats below). Despite the distraction of Fire, this level, like most of them, is really all about making Squares. You must make a ton of Squares to win this level; there is pretty much no other way. Weigh each move carefully as it is sometimes better to make a “sacrifice” move to the Fire to set up a Square, so that you can create more Squares in later moves. Keeping a good rhythm of Squares going will reduce the number of colors on your board – which will make the level beatable, but just barely.

Pro Tip The starting board always includes 3 Squares. Pay close attention to the colors, and check out the single Dots that are touching Fire. Start by making a Square that’s the same color as one of the Dots touching the Fire, and keep in mind the colors of the other Squares for future single Dots that touch Fire in your early moves. It’s often good to use the middle Square in your second or third move, because otherwise it can get jumbled as you clear Fire Dots below it.

Pro Tip Anchors will not start to fall from the center until you clear the initial Anchors on one side or the other. In my experience they seem to fall sooner if you clear the Anchors on the left side first.

Warning As you near the bottom, your moves will eventually split the Fire. If you split the Fire in two pieces, two new Fire Dots will grow on the next turn. This means it can be better to make a sacrifice move rather than splitting the Fire, since letting two Fire Dots grow may cost you two turns to recover from.

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Tips to beat New Two Dots Level 69 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/tips-beat-new-two-dots-level-69/ http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/tips-beat-new-two-dots-level-69/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 03:02:21 +0000 http://www.withoutthesarcasm.com/?p=5451 With the Version 1.1.0 update, Two Dots Level 69 got a major overhaul. The New Two Dots Level 69 is arguably even harder than its formidable predecessor. When I originally read the version update notes of “rebalancing” levels like this one, I assumed it would involve making tough levels easier. Boy, was I wrong….

New Two Dots Level 69

Gee, thanks

You thought Betaworks was going to give you a break? Think again. The new Two Dots Level 69 has 8 fewer moves than the previous version. Thankfully, there is no ice to break, but really the challenge was and continues to be controlling the Fire. Forget for the moment that you’ve got Anchors to clear, because if you don’t control the FireYou. Will. Lose. The worst thing that can happen is the Fire splitting up into the two side columns where the Anchors spawn. Do whatever you can to avoid this, because if it occurs, it’s game over.

Pro Tip The best starting move tends to be the double match right in the middle. This sets up a chance for more matches down the center which can clear Fire on both sides, and also increases the chances of a Square forming on either the right or left column.

Pro Tip Like other Fire levels, you’ll sometimes have turns where you can’t break a Fire Dot. This is a great time to move Anchors down and set up Squares or other matches. Keep in mind that breaking Fire Dots will cause your Dots to move down by two, and factor that into your strategy for setting up matches.

Eyes on the Prize

Once you have killed off or significantly reduced the Fire, it’s time to free up those Anchors. There is no trophy for a “clean” win, so take the matches however you can get them, but keep an eye out for Squares. If you can get a Square train going, it is often possible to win even if you have several more Anchors to collect with only a few moves left.

Pro Tip Immediately next to the Anchor columns, there is a single Dot on each side which connects those columns to the main board. Keep an eye on the color of the Dot in this column, as it can often help get Anchors free, especially in the starting board where it is often pink, matching the pink Dot that spawns below the initial Anchors.

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