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Stardew Valley Beginner Guide


You can farm, fight, and even fish in Stardew Valley. It’s no surprise that a ton of gameplay options bring a little confusion. Where should you start? What should you spend your precious funds on in the beginning? This guide is aimed at giving you a clear view of how to begin your journey in Stardew Valley.

Creating Your Character in Stardew Valley

The first thing we’ll go over in this guide, is creating your character when you begin a new game in Stardew Valley. There are several options to customize your looks for your character. You can even select your favorite animal which directly influences the pet that appears on your farm.

The image is a preview image of the options in game for customizing your character in Stardew Valley.
Character creation menu in Stardew Valley.

Choosing a Farm Layout

That being done, let’s begin the next part of our guide ,the selection of your farm layout in Stardew Valley. There are seven different layouts you can choose from for your farm and each come with different effects that you’ll need to be mindful of when making your selection.

On the character creation screen's right side you will find a small panel where you can select your farm layout.
You can select your farm layout to the right of your character creation options.
  • The Standard Farm – The default Stardew Valley sxperience
  • The Riverland Farm – Favors fishing
  • The Forest Farm – Favors foraging
  • The Hill-Top Farm – Favors mining
  • The Wilderness Farm – The player fights off monsters at night
  • The Four Corners Farm – Multiplayer farm layout with 4 different types of maps previously mentioned.
  • The Beach Farm – Favors fishing and foraging but discourages late game farming

Think about how you’d like to spend your time playing the game. If you’re a fisherman at heart, go Riverland or Beach. If you want to do a bit of everything, go with the Standard layout. The world is your oyster!

Using and Upgrading Tools from the Beginning in Stardew Valley

We briefly mentioned tools before, but let’s discuss them further as they are a crucial part of the game’s progression. Your tools start off pretty basic, you can destroy non special rocks with your pickaxe, chop regular trees with your axe, so on and so forth.

Eventually, you will land in a situation where you attempt to chop a tree or break a boulder, only to be met with the thunk sound that stops you in your tracks. Then, this message appears on your screen.

The image shows a large stump in Stardew Valley that can only be chopped by an upgraded axe.
A large stump needs to be chopped by an upgraded axe.

Each tool has multiple upgrades and each upgrade increases the effectiveness of your tool. You can upgrade all tools with the exception of the fishing pole and the scythe. These can be ugpraded at the blacksmith.

Axe and Pickaxe

The Axe and Pickaxe are your hard material gatherers. The axe is used for chopping all forms of wood and the pickaxe is used for removing stones and boulders as well as gathering metals and gems from the mines. Upgrading each of these tools to the next rank allows you to gather previous tiers of materials with greater ease while granting access to higher tiers of materials simultaneously.

The image portrays the upgrade costs and material requirements for the Axe in Stardew Valley.
The axe and pickaxe gold costs and material requirements are identical.

The Pickaxe is very important when it comes to upgrading the rest of your tools, as you will need it to gather the metals from the mines to upgrade itself and all of the rest. Focus your pickaxe first and farm while it’s unavailable.

Watering Can and Gardening Hoe

Next, we have the Watering Can and the Gardening Hoe. Each upgrade to these two items gives you increased reach of the tool allowing for more squares to be affected at a single time. This drastically reduces the amount of time and stamina required to create and water your farms.

The image shows the fully upgraded gardening hoe covering 6x3 tiles in stardew Valley if you click and hold left click.
Left click and hold to increase the size your hoe and watering will cover.

In order to use the new larger area of tiles covered by the watering can and the hoe, you must click and hold to “charge” the item.

Fishing Pole and Scythe

The Fishing Pole and the Scythe are unique in that the player does not upgrade them. Instead you must find or buy their better versions.

Fishing pole upgrades allow the player to more easily catch larger fish. You also gain the ability to use bait and tackle with further upgrades. Upgrades for the fishing pole are made available by in game progression of your fishing level.

The image portrays a chart of each fishing pole and it's price at Willy's shop in Stardew Valley.
As you can see, rods themselves are not expensive and are accessed rather easily compared to other tools.

The scythe on the other hand, does not have multiple upgrades and instead offers one upgrade in the form of a unique scythe. The golden scythe becomes available to the player by reaching the end of the mine and interacting with the statue of the reaper to take his scythe.

Picture of the death statue at the end of the mines holding the golden scythe in Stardew Valley.
Location in the mines with the golden Scythe. Take the scythe from the statue to keep it.

This scythe grants you a larger radius for harvesting grass and a 75% chance to harvest hay from grass up from 50%. It’s important to note that it can also do 13 damage per swing. However, unlike other items in the game, this item cannot be regained if lost

Clearing the Farm

When starting your new save, the first step is to clear your farm of rocks, logs, and trees. Anything that is in the way of creating your first basic field needs to go.

Be mindful of your stamina bar and careful not to deplete it by clearing too much of the area just yet. You will not have the money to purchase enough seeds for a mega farm at the start. For now, let’s focus on the 15 parsnip seeds the game throws at you at the start.

Using the Television

Now for the game’s hidden feature no one knows about. Just kidding. But it is a very elusive feature many don’t know about or don’t use.

The television in Stardew Valley is a great way to get useful tips and hints along the way and is intended as an in game guide for a beginner to get used to how things work.

Image displays what television channels are available Spring 1. Channels go away and more become available periodically.
Becoming familiar with the functions of the television can help players decide what to do next in most cases
Channel NameWhat It ProvidesWhen it Airs/Refreshes
Livin’ Off the LandGeneral advice on gameplayEvery Monday and Thursday
Weather ReportProvides the weather forecastDaily
Fortune TellerTells the player what their luck is today.Daily
The Queen of SauceCooking RecipesEvery Sunday from the 7th of Spring
F.I.B.S.Gives information on the best fishing catches this season and where/how to catch them.Daily after completion of quest “The Strong Stuff”

Picking a Playstyle in Stardew Valley

Image shows a small example of each playstyle to choose from in Stardew Valley.
Different playstyles in the game from left to right: Husbandry, Fishing, Combat, Mining, Farming.

Now let’s start working on your income. As stated above, there are so many different ways to play the game. Your choice plays a large part in selecting the steps you take to reaching your end game.

These general tips apply to any method of gameplay you choose to take on.

  • Keep your farm trimmed of weeds and stones to prevent damage to your fences and crops.
  • Manage your energy efficiently, see below for more.
  • Forage when you can if it doesn’t overburden your bags.
  • ALWAYS buy the best backpack you can. Space in your bags means less time wasted travelling to and from storage.
  • Work on your social status to unlock more options.
  • Keep your items organized. Craft plenty of chests, they can even be color coded.
  • Become a hoarder. Everything has it’s worth eventually. If an item has no value, it will label itself as trash.
  • Keep track of the season. The season dictates what you can grow, what you can catch while fishing, and what forage items will appear throughout the world.
  • Finally, always sleep before you quit the game. Otherwise your game will not save.

Now that you’re armed with the basics, let’s dive deeper.


If you want to primarily fish, select low maintenance crops to plant for the season. It’s usually best to select crops that will replenish themselves and grant you multiple harvests during the season. These crops will not require much attention from you until later or have the need to replace them with another plant. Beans are a great example of just this.

Later on, you will unlock the use of traps which allow you to passively catch fish. Simply place the traps with bait in a body of water, and wait until they’re full. Loot, sell, and repeat for easy money.

Image shows the fishing spot at the end of the eastern beach pier accessible after repairing the bridge in Stardew Valley.
Even on rainy days, the persistant fisher does his best to catch all he can.

Fishing requires very few things to get started and even less to make a hefty profit. In fact, fishing is probably the most relaxed profession in the game, as it should be.


If you wish to live the life of a farmer, make massive farm plots and fill each of them with high value crops. You hat grant you a large sum of income at harvest. Potatoes are cost effective and grant you a ton of income as the potato gives multiple veggies per plant harvested.

Plant types and their seeds are available on a seasonal basis. That being said, always check the growth timer of a plant to schedule ahead of time. Any plants still growing at midnight of the final day of the season will instantly wither and die.

The great thing about farming is that you will unlock sprinklers automatically while levelling your farming skill. At level two, you gain access to the basic sprinkler. At level six, you can unlock the quality sprinkler. Finally, at farming nine, you gain access to the iridium sprinkler.

This image portrays the range and coverage of each individual sprinkler in Stardew Valley. The normal offering a + shape coverage, the quality offering a box around the sprinkler, and the iridium giving a much larger box around the sprinkler.
From left to right, Sprinkler, Quality Sprinkler, Iridium Sprinkler. You can see how the range increases per rank in this photo.

Lastly, become accustomed to using the correct fertilizers for what you need when it comes to farming. Some will keep the soil wet afternight, preventing your need to water the entire farm if you don’t own sprinklers yet. Some increase the speed at which plants will grow and others increase the yield that you receive at harvest time. Try to plan ahead of time what fertilizers fit the plant you want to grow.


Whether its pigs, cows, ducks or more, there are a plethera of animals to raise in Stardew Valley for income.
As you can see, there are a multitude of critters to adopt and care for.

Maybe you want to live the life of husbandry and raise animals? Focus your farming efforts on plants that provide you with the hay and other food requirements of your animals. This helps to reduce your monetary strain for upkeep which can become quite costly.

For example, raising chickens requires a coop. A Deluxe coop costs you 34,000 gold, 1,200 wood and 450 stone in total from tier one to tier 3. Per Coop. A deluxe coop can hold up to 12 chickens, ducks, rabbits or dinosaurs at a time. If you want to create multiple coops for a variety of generated goods, this will get costly quite quickly. The coop isn’t the only animal farmhouse available either. Each comes with their own up front build costs plus food cost upkeep.

Don’t let the upfront and upkeep costs fool you. Husbandry is very good at making you a profit for your investment.

  • Barn – 25,000g, 550 wood, 300 stone
  • Fish Pond – 5,000g, 5 seaweed, 5 green algae
  • Mill – 2,500g, 50 stone, 150 wood, 4 cloth
  • Silo – 100g, 100 stone, 10 clay, 5 copper bars
  • Slime Hutch – 10,000g, 500 stone, 10 refined quartz, 1 iridium bar
  • Stable – 10,000g, 100 hardwood, 5 iron bars

Whether you choose to do cows, chickens or whatever, there will always be food costs. There will also be bedding costs and happiness to manage. The happier your animals, the more and higher quality products they will produce.

Mining and Combat

You can use many types of weapons in Stardew Valley to fight monsters and farm their drops.
You can see the player character using a bone sword in the image above to fight off a red slime.

Lastly, for main job types, we arrive at the mining and combat section of this beginner Stardew Valley guide. Combat doesn’t really occur much outside of the mines, thus we combine mining and combat together.

In the beginning, like most new features, the player receives a letter when the mines become available to delve. You can find the mine entrance to the Northeast of the village. Simply head to Robin’s Carpentry shop, and then go to up the Eastern path.

The image shows the location of the Carpentry shop to help guide the player to the mine entrance just northeast of it.
You can see the Carpenter’s shop here just Southwest of where the mine entrance is.

The mines are super important to pretty much every playstyle as you need the precious metals to upgrade your tools and become more efficient. That being said, fishing also benefits from mine exploration due to there being several fishing spots inside of the mines at deeper levels.

Do note that if you do no want to mine, you will need to purchase metals to upgrade your tools with and the NPC shops only have a limited supply of these materials. You can do it, but it will be a very slow process.

Stardew Valley Adventurer’s Guild

The mines are covered in enemies, anything from slimes to ghosts to bats. The further you progress in the mines, the more profit you stand to make and the more dangerous things get. Luckily, joining the adventurer’s guild gives you access to several weapons and other combat based items along the way.

Preview image of the Adventurer's guild store in Stardew Valley and what items they sell.
Gil, the guild leader, will sell you items used for combat at the guild house located East of the mines.

You can level your influence within the adventurer’s guild through your kill count. Reaching a certain number of kills on a creature will reward the player with different prizes as you progress. For example, killing 1000 slimes rewards the player with a slime charmer ring preventing damage being taken from slimes while equipped.

With all of the danger in the mines and the constant energy use from axing rocks and metal nodes, you will need to bring food. Dying in the mines is a constant threat and you should therefor bring your A game while you get geared up.


Right from the beginning of Stardew Valley, you can immediately start working on your social status with the other townsfolk and guide or convince them to be your friends. Depending on who you are trying to increase relations with, you gain benefits by having a higher heart rating. You can find a complete list of all npc likes and dislikes here.

You can marry an npc as well, by one, make sure they aren’t already married, sorry Robin, and two, raising your relationship status to 10 hearts.

Image shows the relations menu in Stardew Valley which you can find in game as the third tab.
Relationship meter in Stardew Valley.

You can get further information on how to have a family in Stardew Valley here.

Managing Your Energy in Stardew Valley

Next up we have probably the most crucial aspect of the game, energy management. Every activity in Stardew Valley requires energy. Its of the utmost importance that you manage your energy so you can continue to progress. But, when beginning your game in Stardew valley, you’ll notice that you don’t have any food or other items to refill your energy with no guide or explanation on how to do so.

Luckily, there are a ton of ways to increase your energy once it’s lowered. Food is super important in this matter, as well as sleeping.

Energy also lowers with tool usage, with the exception of the Scythe, the weapons, and the copper pan. It’s similarly important to note that moving a chest or picking one up also requires energy.

Stardew Valley also forces the player to sleep every night no matter what. You get penalized for sleeping anywhere that isn’t inside your house. If you were to pass out anywhere else besides in your bed, your character is subject to losing money and items via theft or charges.

The image portrays an invoice in game from a Joja team member charging the player 1000g for bringing them home after passing out in Stardew Valley.
In this case, the player character was charged 1000g for being brought home after passing out from exhaustion.

Sometimes, the RNG Gods out there somewhere, decide to spare your losses and have a random villager bring you home with all of your items intact and all of your gold. More often than not though, you will end up losing something.

That being said, sleeping restores your energy to full if you go to bed before midnight, however, it only partially restores energy if you are exhausted, stay up later than midnight or you pass out like mentioned before.

You can find the list of recipes you currently know in the sixth tab of your player menu in Stardew Valley.
Make sure you prepare, forage, or buy food to keep your energy levels high.


You will have noticed a trend by now with Stardew Valley, especially at the beginning, where you are not informed or guided on how you should play before first enduring the penalties for misplaying. So what is exhaustion? Exhaustion occurs when your character nearly reaches zero energy.

Your movement is greatly reduced, you can no longer use a fishing pole, and any other tool usage causes your energy to fall into the negative. Once reaching -15 energy, your character will instantly pass out until the following day.

It’s important to know that once reaching exhaustion, the player may eat food to regain energy, but will remain exhausted until sleeping and starting a new day. Sleeping while exhausted will also only restores 50% of your energy on the following morning.

With careful energy management, you will be able to avoid reaching the exhausted state and always have your maximum energy available the next day.

Making Money in Stardew Valley

Image shows the morning income screen and how much the player made overnight in Stardew Valley.
You can see the multiple categories you can make money in daily from just turning in items.

Economy can be a bit much to manage when first beginning in Stardew Valley, so we’ve included a section in the guide to help you with getting started. When you are just starting out, aside from your tools, you have 500 gold to your name and a gift of 15 parsnip seeds. Clear some space, plant and water the seeds, and then start working towards how you want to play.

Aside from the main money making methods discussed above, there are always side projects and other smaller tasks you can complete while doing any of the main gameplay methods to make extra cash.

For example, we already know that fishing makes money selling fish and looting treasure from the water, farming makes money from crops, husbandry makes money from animals and their byproducts. Finally, mine delving and monster fighting, make money from gems and treasures looted from your defeated enemies.

However, no matter what path you pick, you can always forage and loot on the side. Grab random berries from bushes or seashells from the beach to increase your monetary gains daily. Doing certain side projects such as the museum collection, awards the player with periodic monetary or specialty item rewards.

Quality of Items in Stardew Valley

Next, let’s talk about Quality. Quality of your products plays a HUGE part of how much money you make. Whether you’re just beginning or playing in the end game, Stardew Valley guides the player into achieving the highest income by providing the highest quality.

Simply growing plants and selling the harvest is enough to make money, but it feels so good to proc higher quality on items. For example, Potatoes sell by default at 80g per potato. Silver quality, the next stage up, sells for 100g, gold quality sells for 120g, and iridium quality sells at 160g, Per Potato. Anything you can do to influence the quality outcome of your items is a direct income increase at all times.

To make this even better, the higher the quality of your food, the more health and energy they will restore if you consume them. This makes fishing VERY strong at keeping your early game mining adventures under steady progress.

The image is a screenshot of the Potato prices, health and energy stats, as well as growth time from the Stardew Valley Wiki.
You can see here the incremental increase in price per quality rank as well as how much health they will restore.

You can further increase how much your crops sell for by taking the tiller profession, increasing all harvest sales by 10%. Imagine how plants like potatoes that can give more multiple items upon harvest can really stack on the gold with quality and quantity in unison.

Community Center and Bundles in Stardew Valley

When beginning your adventure in Stardew Valley, you soon come into contact with the Community center with no real guide or explanation on how to use it. You will soon learn that the Community Center is insanely good for monetary gain and unlocking access to the map. The Community Center is a run down abandoned building at the north side of the village. You gain access to the Community Center starting from the 5th of Spring.

You can find the community center north of the village in Stardew Valley.
The community center is this building covered in overgrown vines and holes in the roof./Credits: Concerned Ape

Mayor Lewis will unlock the building granting you access to it’s many run down wonders. You must leave and re-enter the building to find a golden scroll located in the left and bottom most room. Once interacted with, go to bed. When you awake the next day, you will be contacted by the Wizard. Go visit the wizard and he will grant you a potion that lets you read the special language written on the golden scroll.

Welcome to the section of the guide where the end game of Stardew Valley begins.

The community center is host to a special race of beings called Junimos. These creatures offer gold, items, and location access to different areas as you complete tasks for them. These are done in the form of bundles.

These bundles will be what you want to primarily work towards while performing your regular tasks.

Selecting a bundle from the list brings up a menu showing what items are required and what reward is being offered in Stardew Valley.
Here you can see the items required to finish a bundle on the right side of the screen and the reward it offers at the bottom./Credits: Concerned Ape

Bundles are a list of specific items that the Junimos will accept as a gift. Farming, fishing, mining, and combat, all have the ability to give you the items you need to complete these bundles. Everytime you complete a bundle, the Community Center itself becomes partially restored to it’s former glory. Eventually you will be able to re-open the Community Center.

Events in Stardew Valley

Lastly for this guide, let’s talk about events in Stardew Valley. Events are planned festivals that occur on the same day, every year in every playthrough. There are two festivals per season with the exception of Winter, which has three.

And, as with all things in Stardew Valley, the postman is super busy and always delivers a letter of notification. You should also know that Events are purely optional. However, the events will halt normal daily activities for everyone else, closing shops and blocking access to certain parts of the map.

SpringEgg FestivalFlower Dance
SummerLuauDance of the Moonlight Jellies
FallStardew Valley FairSpirit’s Eve
WinterFestival of IceThe Night MarketFeast of the Winter Star

Make sure to interact with all npcs and check all of the shops during each event for exclusive event only rewards for your farm.

Play the game how you want to and use this guide to get you started. Keep making those gains and be the best Stardew citizen you can be!

Photo of author


Bryan Godwin is a Guides Writer at Gamezo. He enjoys Dungeons & Dragons with the boys, video games, and being a husband and father.