Plan Your Layout Ahead of Time
It's a good idea to develop a plan of how you want your vault to look as rearranging rooms after they are built will cost you a lot of caps. Each row in your vault has space for two elevators, two three-block rooms, and one two-block room. To keep everything aligned, leave room for future expansions and build downwards instead of sideways if you need to add a new type of room.
Elevators should go straight down to make movement easier. You shouldn't stagger them.
Raiders will attack the first floor first, so make sure that rooms on the first floor have your strongest dwellers. More on this later.
Don't Expand Your Vault Too Quickly
Each room you build has a cost on electricity, so don't needlessly build extra rooms until you have the power generation capacity and dwellers to work in them.
The more rooms you have, the higher the chance of an event or disaster taking place. You should aim to have every production room occupied to its maximum capacity at all times, having a 3 block room with only two dwellers will likely fail to avert the disaster and risk it spreading to adjacent rooms.
Understand the SPECIAL System
Fallout Shelter uses a SPECIAL System for dweller statistics. Each letter stands for a different stat. Assigning dwellers to rooms based on highest stat matching room requirements provides enhanced performance of the room. For example, power generation requires Strength stat, so assign dwellers having strength as their highest stat will provide a bonus.
Dwellers with high luck stats can also improve the chance of a room generating caps when you collect, so it can be a good idea to invest in luck training via the gaming room.
Here is a break down of the SPECIAL System.
- 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.
Use Spare Weapons to Equip All of Your Dwellers
Unlike raids which always start in the first-floor vault room, invasions can start in any room. Molerats, radroaches and radscorpians can enter any room, occupied or not, so it is a good idea to make sure that all your dwellers are armed and equipped with as much armour as possible.
The difficulty level of the invaders is proportional to the number of merged rooms and how upgraded they are, so if you have a 3 block merged room, make sure to keep the occupancy maximised. Before upgrading the room, make sure the dwellers assigned to it have good weapons, armour and are levelled up sufficiently.
Scrapping low-quality weapons may seem like a good way to generate extra caps, but even a rusty pistol will be more effective than a dweller with no weapons. Only scrap weapons when every dweller is armed, and make sure to replace old weapons with stronger weapons as you find more. Don't forget to keep weapons in reserve for any new dwellers.
Use the Dweller List to Manage Dwellers Easily
It's not too difficult to manage 5-10 dwellers, but as your vault expands it becomes more tricky. There is a dweller list which you can access using the cog icon in the top left.
From here you can see all the dwellers in the vault, what they are currently assigned to and sort them by SPECIAL. You can check on the health of each dweller and heal them with stimpaks if necessary.
If you see a dweller on a coffee break, this means that they are not currently assigned to any room. You should assign the somewhere otherwise they are a resource drain.
Use Outfits to Optimize Dweller Productivity Skills
Outfits can be built, scavenged from raids or found whilst exploring. Each outfit has a skill modifier, such as +2 strength. You should equip your dwellers with outfits to match the required skill of the room they are assigned to. This will help boost productivity.
Keep an Eye Out for the Mysterious Stranger
Every so often the Mysterious Stranger will arrive in your vault announced by an ominous tone. You have around 10 seconds to locate and tap on him to claim a reward. Sometimes this can be as low as 20 caps, however, I have had a bonus of 3500 caps, so it's worth trying to locate him. I found it easier to fully zoom out, and turn off high def zoom out. This makes it easier to see all the dwellers in a room as well as the Mysterious Stranger.
Endurance Is Your Essential Health Stat
Endurance is linked to dwellers health. The higher the endurance skill, the more health the dweller will have. This is most vital for exploration as they can survive longer out in the wasteland. It can also help defend against raids and invasions, providing much-needed health allowing them to survive longer.
When you unlock the endurance room, you can assign dwellers to it to enable them to improve their endurance rating. It should be one of the first stats you look to improve on your dwellers.
Use Quests and Exploration to Gather Resources
Sending your dwellers out to explore the wasteland is a great way to obtain extra weapons, outfits, recipes, caps and XP. You should go out exploring to obtain rare items, but keep an eye on the dweller's health and make sure to send them out fully loaded with stimpacks and radpacks.
Protect Your Door & Shore Up the First Floor
As we said above, raids will enter your vault through the vault door and attack the first floor first. They will then move left to right, then proceed to the elevator and then start on the second floor. You should have your strongest dwellers in the first room next to the door. This will ensure that any raiders are dealt with as quickly as possible. Make sure they have a high endurance rating to give them the maximum health, and high strength to improve the damage they do to the invaders.