My Time at Portia is a fantastic game, and one of the immediate mentions that comes up if you’re looking for a game like Stardew Valley or an extremely relaxing Sim-adjacent game. If you’ve put in even a few hours in this game there’s a pretty good chance that you’re hooked, and that’s an understandable position to be in!
This is a truly incredible game, but there can be a lot to take in. Even if you are used to games like Stardew Valley or Graveyard Keeper where there are so many things to do, My Time at Portia can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. There are so many different things to explore, discover, and get used to in this game that there are incredible parts of this game you can play 50 hours and not discover.
Nothing like going into winter of year one before finding out you could have carried triple the storage in your backpack. Those are the types of tips that are very useful to new players. There are virtually no Portia players I’ve met who haven’t discovered something helpful many many hours of gameplay after that help was originally available to them.
So here are 17 awesome tips so you can play My Time at Portia like a real pro!
#1: Slow the Day Speed in Options
I’ll be honest: I was 50 hours in the game and didn’t realize this was an option to a good friend (and Patreon Patron of Assorted Meeples) Trident mentioned this. When you go to settings, you actually have the ability to set daily time to half speed. With so much going on in the first days, having more time until you get the swing of things is incredibly helpful.
This is a really neat option. The day still goes by fast, but you get a little bit more time to track down people, explore the town, or gather a few more resources before the end of the day.
Just go to settings and you will find a screen where you can adjust the day’s speed accordingly!
You can knock down the speed to about half. I’ve played the game so much now, I kind of like the chaotic nature of rushing from one point to another so I have it at 90…though I’m tempted to knock it down to 75.
It’s a great tool for getting your feet under you!
#2: Unlock 2nd & 3rd Screen of Backpack Spaces
You probably figured out pretty quickly that you could pay gols to unlock extra space in your backpack. Here’s what you may not know: there are two more screens full of rows you can unlock. Note the arrow below on my lightly packed pack (no not a joke – most of what I usually carry was left behind at the workshop).
After it looks like you’ve unlocked all the spaces in your pack, look at the little arrow in the circle on the right hand side of your inventory screen. Click on it and you see a screen of completely locked rows. Just like the other ones, if you put your cursor over them it tells you how much you need to pay to unlock them.
This can be pricy early on, but as you get moving having two or three full screens of inventory is a life saver.
As hard as it will be to believe early game when money is sparse, the point will come where spending 6,800 to unlock a row isn’t something you balk at at all. You just click confirm because you want all that space!
So after unlocking the last row of new storage in your backpack, hit that arrow button to make sure you don’t forget for hours and hours of gameplay that you could be carrying that much more.
#3: Optimize Your Storage Boxes
There are two really great ways to optimize all your storage boxes. And the plural is appropriate because you will be making A LOT of them.
The first is to label your boxes. When you have storage open you can edit the name of each one. Wood, Ore, Metal, Old Tech, Crops, Cooking, Food, Clothing, Fish, Relics I, and Relics II are just a few of the titles I have on various storage boxes. Keeping items separate is a necessity because you have so, so much you need to collect and horde.
Also, ALL of your storage boxes are connected. So instead of running around looking for the right box, just open any storage box, hit the drop down arrow by the title of the box, and choose the one you actually want from the dropdown. If you’re not sure because you didn’t label the boxes, or just did a desperate drop at one point before sprinting to finish a commission, make a play date on time, or something else.
In that case in the boxes themselves showing the inventory there are arrows left and right. Just keep scrolling to look through all your boxes.
Any boxes, including those inside of your house, are connected. This lets you put them anywhere that’s out of the way and convenient so they’re not in the way of crops, machines, or building upgrades. I love putting at least one storage box at each corner of my property so no matter what direction I approach from, there is a storage box close by where I can access everything.
If you really look at the screenshot of My Time at Portia below, you can see pretty clearly how this works. Find the label of the one you’re looking for, or hit those green arrows on the side to scroll through various boxes until you find what you’re looking for.
Optimizing your storage boxes, and knowing you can place them out of the way and access everything from every box, lets you plan out your workshop property well and optimize things to avoid getting completely overwhelmed. Or wasting endless precious time looking for that one item.
Now you know how easy it can be!
#4: Explore & Socialize
These go hand in hand as early game advice, though it’s a good philosophy for the entire game. Why does this work as separate early game advice? Because at early levels you will run out of energy well before the day is over.
Socializing takes zero energy and is one of the grindiest parts of the game. Developing relationships, discovering good gifts, and learning the NPCs stories is well worth it in this really interesting world. But this also takes time so since you’re out of energy anyway…why not start getting to know your neighbors?
My Time in Portia is a game that rewards exploring. There are treasure chests EVERYWHERE. Jump on roofs, run up hidden staircases, look for hidden backyards, random spots on the beach, or look for that glowing sparkle behind a rock. These treasure chests aren’t game breaking, but some have money, some have semi-rare materials (especially for other game) some give clothing and bonus items that boost stats.
Explore. See the world, and get rewarded for it all on 0 energy.
Soon enough you’ll have energy to go through LONG intense work days so while you’re in early game, why not enjoy the world and run around to see what treasure you can find?
That 0 energy time doesn’t have to be wasted!
#5: Talismans = Quick Cash
Being low on money is consistently a huge issue early game. Even in the middle of the game, if you need to buy land or expand a house or upgrade a work station, running out of money or running low is not an uncommon occurrence.
So the easiest way to make money: talismans. These are extremely easy to make, can be crafted from day one, and the finished product sells for quite a considerable bit more than the combined parts.
In game a talisman only requires 2 wood and 2 marble. One talisman is worth 20 Gol at the base 100 price. What does 2 wood and 2 marble sell for? The two wood combined is 1 Gol and the marble is 5. So 11 gol of value from simple crafting up to 20 gol. It’s an easy 2 for 1 for materials that are relatively easy to find by mid-game.
Creating a bunch of these to sell on a day when market prices are up 125% or 135% is a great way to get some serious cash.
Talismans also frequently come up as a Commission from the Builders Guild in the early game. So having these to sell, to finish a Commission, or both, means you can turn raw material into a ton of Gols to buy things that aren’t nearly so easy to gather or mine.
#6: Understanding Market Price Numbers
Pay attention to the Market Price percentage. This is the same across all shops. Buy at lower prices, sell at higher prices.
100% is the average. That’s the base market value that the rest of the numbers are based around. Markets vary up and down, and it seems pretty random. At first I ignored this completely and honestly you actually could play the whole game without worrying about it.
But it really does make a huge difference to pay attention to this. The general extreme ranges are 70-130. I have seen a 68% and a 136% but those are so rare it’s not worth waiting for them.
If you see a day where market prices are at 80%, consider buying extra items you need or will need. Don’t sell anything.
On days where it’s 128% you don’t want to buy anything but you want to sell like crazy to get those gols – which are very precious in early and even mid-game.
Pay attention to those market numbers. My ability to upgrade, expand, and really do cool stuff in the game went up exponentially once I actually started paying attention and buying things like upgrade kits, clothing upgrades, or other similar items when markets were at 70% and selling everything I made when it was 120%+
It’s easy to overlook these numbers, but paying attention to them early can really help out – especially as you are buying rows in your backpack for more storage or saving for a crucial but expensive upgrade.
#7: Pay Attention to Time Limits
Some missions have time limits on them. Others don’t. This is crucial to keep track of. If you mess up a commission and fail to finish it you lose reputation and don’t get paid for that task. So those missions you want to do fast.
Most quests with time limits will be commissions or personal missions or requests from residents around Portia. Most quests without time limits will be main plot quests. Do these fast to move the story along, or feel free to mosey on around upgrading your shop and exploring the world.
Sometimes there are special commissions that don’t have time limits, but which Higgins will take the commissions for one by one. So in those cases, you’ll still want to pay attention.
Otherwise if you’re feeling overwhelmed, focus on missions that actually have a time limit until you get through all of them. Then, and only then, should you pay attention to the non-timed missions once again.
#8: Try to Get to Ranked Top 3 Workshops First Spring
While getting higher than that is not likely unless you’ve played before or are using a Wiki to min-max, you do have the ability to sneak into that third place slot in your first Spring.
And you 100% should absolutely try to get that rank.
In early and even mid game the monetary and specialty supplies that are awarded for being in the top three are amazing. They’re a huge injection into your game and having that goals means as much as you like to wander around, especially in a world as awesome as Portia, it keeps you doing enough Commissions to earn good money, good reputation, and improved relations with the townspeople.
It’s a solid win, and the infusion of cash and rewards will help you jump to whatever projects you decide to tackle head first going into summer.
Don’t overlook the Bronze Medal for spring. It’s a heavy duty boost for new players trying to get their feet under them.
#9: Don’t Overlook Stat Boost Decorations
It can be tempting to just toss it all in the box. But by taking a small amount of time to hang that clock, put down a couch, or otherwise set up some inside decoration in your house you can get more HP, stat buffs, and most importantly, MORE STAMINA. Early game that’s huge.
Don’t overlook the decorations for your home that deliver big time stat boosts. Especially as you’re learning the ropes these can be huge for getting more materials or being able to upgrade, make gols, and make it through the day.
Between furniture and decorations you can get serious boosts in attack, defense, hit points, and stamina, among other things. The picture below may look like clutter…but I’m seeing a BONANZA of player bonuses in-game…even with the cheapest low level house!
#10: Participate in the Year 1 Fishing Tourney
This was a major goof on my part. It’s not that I don’t like fishing in games like this or Stardew Valley, it’s just more of an afterthought. I loaded myself up with quests and commissions and just kind of let this one by. But even if you don’t do well, you should participate.
In year one when money is extremely hard to come by, this is a day you can earn some really valuable fish that give you big time gols from selling, as well as badges that can be traded in for home decorations that give you stat boosts.
This was a big mistake by me in my first playthrough, as even doing this in year two gave me a stunning amount of gols. In year one you just can’t produce that much gold on your own so having a day where they make the fish, including some rare fish, go nuts is something you should absolutely embrace.
Even if you don’t place well, just keeping the fish makes it worth it.
#11: Practice Playdate Games With Non-Romantic Interests
You can gain a lot of points on a playdate. You can also lose quite a few. If there are characters early on you know just aren’t in the short list of those you care about or are interested in, whether because they’re just not interesting (sorry, Albert) or they’re cool but you can’t get over the voice acting (Sorry, Sonia) then it’s good to go with them first.
Some of those games are not intuitive even with tutorials. Better to accidentally burn a bunch of friendship points with someone you’re less inclined towards than buffing it badly during an actual date.
For those of us who buffed heavily in combat and resource gathering before understanding how important the social aspect was…yeah this is even more helpful as a tip.
What you wanted a picture? Why would I share a picture of failing on a date? Moving on…
#12: Gather EVERYTHING
In the first year other than stone, you almost certainly can’t get too much of something. You think you will when you plateau. Then you move to the next level of crafting and burn through 1,000 wood and HUNDREDS of copper ore and iron ore in a single day.
You can make more storage chests. You can upgrade old ones.
And all of them are connected on the same screen. So early on when in doubt, just gather everything.
There will come a point when you realize you will never use that much stone or soil.
But unless you’re ending year one and have an entire chest full of spaces that show 999 stone…you haven’t hit that point yet.
Gather everything. Make a crazy number of storage chests to hold it all.
See point number three on this list about optimizing your storage boxes 🙂
When you find yourself at the end of year one having had days where you hammered through hundreds of ore or more in a day, you’ll be glad you kept the raw resources.
At that point if you know the game and are pretty certain you’re never using the 99,999 vines or stone on hand – then go ahead and wait for a market-friendly day to sell a good chunk (not all – NEVER all!) of those excess resources you don’t use as much anymore.
But early on just gather everything.
#13: Strategic Eating
Money is precious early on, but you can eat a meal at Django’s to not only get energy back, but also temporary boosts to experience. If you’re low on energy but have plenty of time left in the day, grab a meal with plenty of appetizers, then sprint to the mines or go on a tree chopping expedition and double up on those experience points!
These boosts don’t last too long, and it does cost precious gols, but the bonuses you can get for the food you eat is really reasonable. Grab several experience boosting dishes when you’re out of energy, hit the ruins again, and mine away at double XP!
A few strategically eaten meals at Django’s early on is well worth the cash!
#14: When in Doubt, Mine Assortment Stones/Boulders
By assortment stones I mean the various boulders you can find by city walls heading towards the tree farm, or past Papa Bear’s house in the other direction. These stones give a wide array of a lot of stones, ores, and other resources. While you won’t do this to binge on iron, copper, or even stone, they give a variety of useful materials that aren’t always easy to gain.
The picture below shows me just staring at examples of these “assortment stones.” Maybe assortment boulders was the better term. Point being: these are a great way to stock up.
Mining out these boulders gives stone, marble, topaz, blood stones, stone, sand, occasional bits of copper or tin ore, and more. Getting a good mix of all these things from a couple of in-game hours mining gives you tons of useful materials that can be used for many different crafting needs. Or even gifts in the cases of topaz.
So when you just don’t know what to do – start mining these boulders in one direction or another! You’ll never be upset that you have extra marble, topaz, ore, or the often hard to find blood stones!
As an example, this screen shot shows what literally two assortment boulders gave me:
That is a whole lot of raw materials for very little time and effort. This is why I started clearing these out in both directions during summer when I wasn’t sure what to do and it made my life way easier. Because these add up a LOT over time!
#15: Use the Civil Corps for Hard to Get Materials (In Mass)
Sometimes you need materials you just don’t have, and you don’t like the idea of pressing your luck the next 3-4 days in hopes of wasting all that time to just get one or two missing pieces. Which you may or may not get anyway.
Some of the early building materials you need are most commonly found in dangerous ruins, but even then there’s a chance system. You may go and find what you need.
Or you may not.
That’s also a lot of time wasted you could be spending gathering other resources, crafting, grabbing and finishing commissions, socializing, or fishing.
So what’s your solution?
Remember the beginning of the game where you jumped into things instead of taking time to explore the town?
So you never visited the Civil Corps towards the top of the mountain near the second abandoned ruins?
Yeah, sure you didn’t. It’s a common mistake that almost all of us make, because there just aren’t good reasons to check that area out early. But that is a mistake.
Turns out the Civil Corps has a job board where you can put up commissions for Sam, Remington, and Arlo to collect specific pieces of loot in large numbers or even go dungeon diving.
You can adjust how much you want of the loot, or in the case of dangerous ruins you get a range of goods that will come back that you can times upward, and the time it takes to get the job done.
If you need the job done really soon, cut down the number of days and the price goes up. If you know you don’t need this yet, but you keep running out of something when new commissions come up, bump up the number of days to a week and the price keeps going down.
Hint: Early on you can even adjust to make the time to complete quest take longer to save money. Great way to get dungeon items you will need, but don’t need right now. Very useful overlooked mechanic.
#16: Gift Effects on Event Days Are Multiplied
Gifts on event days work like gifts on birthdays. The results are multiplied. So if you know of any gifts people like then an event day is a great time to make sure to get extra social points early.
Which is good since the social tree can be a bit grindy the first time you’re figuring it out.
Be warned: negative effects from hated gifts are also multiplied on event days.
Why does being social matter? Because it gets you bonuses depending on the person and your relationship with them. And some of those bonuses are absolutely huge (Albert, Gale, Arlo) and involve things like major discounts on buying land or improving your workshop.
And those things are EXPENSIVE!
A little friendship can go a long way.
Don’t worry, Papa Bear isn’t about to punch me in the face with a nasty right hook. He’s about to celebrate a gift he likes. That’s usually a +12 relationship for an aroma apple but since it was an event day – it doubles up!
#17: You Can Mine Power Stones
This becomes a thing once you complete the bridge to Amber Island. There are little blue bits of crystal. These can be mined if you have a strong enough pick and provide 2-4 power stones each. These are a bit hidden. A couple are behind a boulder up against the side of the cave (go behind the shrubs once you cross the bridge).
There are also a couple on the very tip of the island off to the far left after crossing the bridge. Knowing these provide power stones means you can mine these valuable resources like crazy to keep your workshop machines humming without having to drop a small fortune purchasing them.
Bonus: Kick Up Your Feet on a Bench
Did you know you can sit on the bench and you will slowly regain stamina? Now this is not a legitimate way to fuel back up because the regeneration is SLOW. But if it’s in really early game and you blew out all your energy by early afternoon, have your character take a sit while you go up and get a drink or grab a snack before coming back to the game.
You won’t come close to having all your stamina back – but you will come back with at least a little stamina – and without using any extra food. In those early days having just a few more medical herbs, a few more chops of the axe, or a few more swings of the mining pick can make all the difference.
If it’s early in the day, sit down and take a break while you snack up!
My Time at Portia is one of my absolute favorite games. While it does have some warts, it’s an incredible game that you can pour dozens upon dozens of hours into and still come back wanting more. The world is great to explore, it hits all the Stardew Valley vibes I’m looking for, just with crafting as the main focus, and many of the characters are very interesting, developed, and make me want to get to know them.
Chances are if you went looking for an article like this, you already know just how addictive this great game can be. Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to make your early game that much more enjoyable by doing whatever you enjoy the most!
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.