Which Map To Start With in SteamWorld Build

Your first choice in SteamWorld Build is which map to pick, so let’s break down the pros and cons of all five destinations

SteamWorld Build Beginner

Screenshot by Gamepur

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SteamWorld Build is the latest addition to the SteamWorld franchise, bringing a steampunk theme to the city-building genre. You build up your city to capitalize on resources and escape a dying planet, giving you plenty of tough choices to make along the way.

One of the first choices you make in SteamWorld Build is which of the five-game destinations to turn into your capitalist center. When you start a new game, you’re prompted to pick a map, and players may be wondering if there’s a particular map that’s best for beginners in SteamWorld Build. Let’s take a look at the options for building your first town to help you decide where to break ground.

Related: SteamWorld Build brings the franchise to yet another new genre — you can probably guess which one

How Many Different Maps Does SteamWorld Build Have?

Squeeze the Area SteamWorld Build
Screenshot by Gamepur

When starting a new game in SteamWorld Build, you can choose between five different maps to start your story. Each destination has a different theme and default name that gives you a hint about its vibes. Because the entire game has a Western theme, each of the five maps is a different spin on the Wild West.

The current SteamWorld Build map options are:

  • Giddyup Gorge
  • Highroller Dunes
  • Grand Gully
  • Tumbleton
  • Fossil Park

Based on the postcards from the start menu, each looks to have a different vibe. But how different are these maps, and how should you pick where to build your city?

Let’s take a look at each world to determine how beginner-friendly it is, as well as the other perks and drawbacks of choosing each location to build. Keep in mind, that you can enable the tutorial no matter which map you build, so you’ll be able to learn the ropes even if you’re up for a more challenging destination from the start.

Most Beginner Friendly: Giddyup Gorge

Giddy Up Gorge SteamWorld Build
Screenshot by Gamepur

Giddyup Gorge is the first map on the list, so naturally, it was the first one I tried out. This does have the feel of a beginner-friendly map, as the initial build area is a relatively flat and empty expanse of desert sand. As you expand your city, you’ll run into some hills and other minor obstacles, but growing your city on this desert-inspired map isn’t particularly difficult.

The theme of the world is pretty standard Western emptiness that you’ll fill up with your town. Aside from the old train station and some forests, you can mine for lumber; there’s not too much to look at in Giddyup Gorge. If this is your first build, I recommend starting here to get the basics before going on to more complicated maps.

Giddyup Gorge Pros

  • Large starting area
  • Relatively flat with minimal obstacles

Giddyup Gorge Cons

  • Least interesting theme
  • Not much of a challenge once you get the hang of the game

Best Balance of Theme and Open Space: Highroller Dunes

Highroller Dunes SteamWorld Build
Screenshot by Gamepur

As the nightlife-inspired postcard implies, the Highroller Dunes map has a sort of ghostly dusk feel to it. There are more landmarks and some old neon signs throughout the landscape on this map, making it a trickier one to build on since you’ve got some obstacles to work around. There’s still a good bit of flat land, but you’ll need to exercise some more planning to build out roads and fit in all the needs of your workers and engineers in Highroller Dunes.

In terms of theme, the perpetual nighttime vibe is fun if you want to imagine your steambot citizens having a thriving social life outside of their workday grind. The neon signs dotting the landscape add a haunting, abandoned feel that fits the end-of-the-world narrative pretty well. That said, the darker colors can make this one tough for your first go since some details may be harder to see.

Highroller Dunes Pros

  • Decent starting space
  • Fun theme details
  • Good number of obstacles for a slight challenge

Highroller Dunes Cons

  • Map can be a bit dark

Best Start for Gamers Who Like a Moderate Challenge: Grand Gully

Grand Gully SteamWorld Build
Screenshot by Gamepur

Grand Gully takes its inspiration from the Grand Canyon, with a touch of abandoned theme park to add to the end-of-day feel. This map is somewhat similar in feel to Giddyup Gorge when you initially start the game, with plenty of sand and cacti to see. However, this map features some more obstacles in the form of large rock formations that divide the map. This means players will need to plan ahead to keep their build on track, as you can start to run out of space with your more spread-out city.

The Grand Canyon slash abandoned theme park theme makes this map a fun one, and I love the detail of a roller coaster that just keeps tumbling into the gorge. Talk about the post-apocalyptic planet that these bots need to escape. Due to the level of planning needed, this will be a more difficult map for beginners, but it’s still doable.

Grand Gully Pros

  • Fun theme details
  • Spread out map keeps things interesting

Grand Gully Cons

  • Challenging map obstacles require planning
  • More difficult to get a good birds-eye view look

Most Enjoyable Use of Theme: Tumbleton

Tumbleton SteamWorld Build
Screenshot by Gamepur

The Tumbleton map in SteamWorld Build also has a nighttime theme, but it’s more eroded Hollywood glamor than old-timey saloon. There are remnants of an old drive-in and some other neon signs that give it a nice flavor but also create obstacles for building. Because the map has a pretty small starting size and features several decorations that you have to work around, it’s not the easiest map to start with.

In terms of theme, though, the old Hollywood details make it my favorite map. If you’re looking to build your city in the most interesting locale, this is definitely a fit for you. Just know you’ll need to be strategic with where you place things, especially early in the game, since there’s not as much open area and more objects in the way. Like with Highroller Dunes, the nighttime coloration can make spotting certain details tricky.

Tumbleton Pros

  • Involved, detailed use of theme
  • Obstacles present a good, balanced challenge

Tumbleton Cons

  • Small starting size
  • Several obstacles to work around
  • Dark colors can make it tricky to see certain features

Best Obstacles for Hardcore Gamers: Fossil Park

Fossil Park Steamworld Build
Screenshot by Gamepur

Fossil Park takes its inspiration from the beloved film Jurassic Park, which means we’re dealing with electric fences and dino bones here. The starting area is relatively large but chock full of landscape design features you’ll need to work around. The fences and gates that once kept in the dinosaurs will get in your way at every turn, making this map a great fit for those with a mind for design and spatial reasoning (aka, not me). You’ll also be working your way around fossils and even an animatronic dinosaur.

The same thing that makes this map the trickiest for beginners is what makes it so much fun. This map has a great commitment to a theme and really feels like you’re building your new civilization in the remnants of a dinosaur park. Unlike Tumbleton, this one is at least brightly lit, so you can see your way through the tougher building schematics of this one.

Fossil Park Pros

  • Excellent commitment to theme
  • Best challenge for gamers who love an intricate design
  • Relatively large starting area in spite of obstacles

Fossil Park Cons

  • Most obstacles of all maps