18 Essential Fallout Shelter Tips and Tricks

Finding an addicting game on iOS or Android is easy. But finding one that can bridge the gap between the console and mobile and give you an entirely different perspective on a wildly popular franchise is another story.

And that's where Fallout Shelter comes in. The game, which is available as a free download on mobile devices, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, puts you in the role of the Overseer in the post-apocalyptic Falloutuniverse.

Your job is to build an underground world for Dwellers who are seeking shelter, food, water and electricity from the dangerous world.

Along the way, you need to manage reserves, build facilities underground, find supplies and keep your Dwellers alive. So read on for some tips and tricks for Fallout Shelter that aim at making your time playing the game a bit easier and more fun.

1. Start Slow

When you first start playing Fallout Shelter, you'll be flush with Caps that help you pay for building areas in your shelter. And although the game will make you build a couple, don't go crazy. Building too much too soon will quickly deplete you of critical resources. Worse yet, it might prove to be too much work for your Dwellers, causing them to be upset.

2. Size Matters

As you look underground at the dirt and rocks below the surface, pay special attention to layout. When you decide to build something like a diner or a power plant, you'll be given the option of placing it in areas where dirt is available. If you combine two or even three of the same type of room together, you'll get a bigger space that can more easily handle capacity.

MORE: Fallout Shelter Review: Addictive Apocalypse

To get the most out of your shelter, build three of the same types of facilities next to each other. Splitting them up makes for all kinds of trouble as the game wears on.

3. Understand the SPECIAL System

To get the most out of your shelter, you need to understand the SPECIAL system that gives you insight into the Dwellers and what their strengths are. Someone with Charisma, for instance, might be best-suited for procreating. Those who have strength are ideal for power plants.

Here's a breakdown of what each attribute in SPECIAL means.

Strength: Perfect for power plants and nuclear reactors.
Perception: Specialists in water treatment and water purification.
Endurance: Ideal for exploring the outside world.
Charisma: Baby-makers and radio hosts.
Intelligence: Put the smart ones in Medbays and Science Labs.
Agility: Diners and gardens and making great food.
Luck: A little luck goes a long way in any aspect of the game.

4. Keep Workers Working

If you send your Dwellers to have babies in dorm rooms, they'll do it. But once it's all over, they'll just stand there waiting for something to happen. And along the way, they won't build up their levels and might start to feel a little less enthused to be in your shelter. The best move, then, is to keep all your Dwellers working at all times. And be sure to use the SPECIAL attribute system to determine the best place for them to work.

5. Keep Workers Happy

Keeping Dwellers happy is one of your most important jobs. And the only way to do that is to keep a close eye on the power, water and food they need to survive. If they have everything they want, they'll show their appreciation by working hard and not complaining. But when things start to go awry, trouble can mount and they might prove to be a problem.

6. Get and Use Weapons Early and Often

Raiders, RADroaches and a variety of other threats are all over the place in the Fallout world. Therefore, it's a good idea to try to find and equip your Dwellers with weapons that will keep them safe. If you don't have enough weapons to go around, be sure to give your best guns and other items to those who will be exploring the world and working on the top floor. That gives them and the rest of the Dwellers the best chance of staying alive.

7. Clothing Is Your Friend

Clothing can play an important role in the long-term success of your Fallout shelter. And while most of the Dwellers will have basic clothing, sometimes, your explorers will come back with articles of clothing that can improve the skills of your Dwellers. Better yet, if a new Dweller knocks on the door in the hope of coming in, you can analyze what he or she is wearing and determine whether the clothing would be better-suited for your residents. In some cases, clothing can boost your Dwellers' attributes by as much as plus 5.

8. Protect Your Door

Raiders are a constant concern in Fallout Shelter. They're out there, roaming the post-apocalyptic world, just looking for a shelter like yours to bust in. And when they do, they'll be seeking supplies and might even pose a threat to your Dwellers.

To address that problem, you'll want to use the Upgrade function to upgrade your vault door. Raiders will eventually make their way in, but the stronger the door, the more time you'll have to get your Dwellers to the top floor to stop the raid.

9. Stop the Love — Initially

Yes, it's an interesting concept that Fallout Shelter lets you pair up two Dwellers and watch as they conceive a child. But don't forget that when you bring a baby into this world, you need to feed him or her. And it takes several hours for the baby to become a contributor to your community. So, until you have your place ready to go and you feel you need another mouth to feed and shelter, don't rush two of your Dwellers into bed.

10. Encourage the Love — As Time Goes On

OK, so now you've set up your shelter, things are going well, you have plenty of resources, and you feel confident. Chances are, you will notice that a few people from outside your shelter are coming in to join your community. You might also know that Fallout Shelter allows up to 200 characters in a single shelter.

It's at this time — and only at this time — that you should pair up your characters and let them do what they will in bed. Before you pair up the characters, however, look for people who have enough charisma to actually attract someone. You'll also want to ensure you have people with a large amount of Luck, which will come in handy down the road.

11. Play to the Objectives

There will eventually come a point while playing Fallout Shelter that you'll be out of Caps and you'll desperately need some to increase your food supply or solve a variety of other problems. And when that happens, you'll want to turn to your Pip Boy and look for the objectives.

Throughout the game, Fallout Shelter gives you a list of objectives to complete. Some are simple, like delivering a baby, and will earn you just a few Caps. Others, however, are more sophisticated, like finding things on exploration, and could earn you hundreds of Caps. Either way, try to complete them as soon as possible to increase your Caps supply.

12. Let Them See the World

Dwellers might like the idea of living underground and working on your behalf, but if they really want to help everyone, exploring the outside world is critical.

When Dwellers head out, they'll come across a variety of threats and kill them to earn XP. Better yet, they'll also have the opportunity to pick up supplies that they can then bring back to the shelter to help everyone.

But before you just send anyone out there to Explore, keep in mind that those with high levels of Endurance tend to be the best choices for exploring the world. And since they'll be facing threats, you'll need to remember to put them in armored clothing and equip them with weapons to keep them safe. Sending out a pet with them can also help.

Remember, though, that when you send someone out to explore, that's one less person who can help your shelter. And since the person will have a weapon, it also means that it's one less weapon to protect your shelter from raiders.

13. Don't Be Afraid to Repurpose in Emergencies

Although the SPECIAL attributes are a guide for helping you determine where you should place your Dwellers, it can't be your only guiding light. If you're having an emergency and need more people to produce food, then send folks from the water or power areas to the diners. The same goes for increasing your water supply or boosting power.

In some cases, there's strength in numbers — even if some of those people aren't as skilled at producing critical supplies as others.

14. Rush — At Your Own Risk

When you need to get a quick boost to one of your supplies, using the Rush function is helpful. The feature means you can accelerate the waiting period for extracting supplies from your shelter section to boost your gauge. Although it's a nice feature, you don't want to overdo it. In many cases, your team will succeed in rushing and everything will go well. But in others, things might go awry. On a few occasions, I tried to rush my restaurant workers, only to have them fail and for the place to catch fire. It pushed back the waiting period and made a food shortage even worse.

15. Shore Up the First Floor

The first floor is arguably the most important floor in your facility for one major reason: It's the first place raiders go when they break in. Preparing for raiders is critical and having everyone on the top floor equipped with guns is a great idea. Once the raiders break in, all of the people on the first floor can swarm them with weapons and protect everyone else below.

Having more people upstairs equipped with guns is a very good idea.

16. Place Your Elevators Carefully

Elevators allow your Dwellers to move up and down to different levels within your shelter. But they can also be a nuisance and cost you valuable Caps if you don't use them correctly.

Build elevators only when the time is right and you've exhausted all the space on the higher tiers. Needlessly building elevators can cost you time and Caps and make your efforts to keep your Dwellers happy even more difficult.

17. Train Your Workers

As you get further into Fallout Shelter and have the opportunity to bring on more Dwellers, you'll also have the opportunity to build a variety of rooms for them to hone their talents and work on improving their skills. For instance, a Classroom will help you increase the intelligence of your community and make for improved work in medical and science labs. And if you invest in an armory, you'll be able to equip your Dwellers with far better weapons.

18. Don't Forget to Build Some Storage Rooms

Building some storage rooms is another good idea that you can't overlook. Storage rooms are there to put your additional resources when you're producing more than you need to  meet the demand of your Dwellers. Storage rooms aren't the most exciting of things you can build, but they go a long way in ensuring that you'll have enough resources to keep your place running well even when things aren't going so great.

Credit: Bethesda

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.