Graveyard Keeper seems a lot like Stardew Valley on the surface, but these two games are fundamentally different. When it comes to managing your cemetery, there really is a best way to go about things. This Graveyard Keeper guide is designed to help you get started and avoid costly beginner mistakes.

Curious about our thoughts on the game? Be sure to check out our Graveyard Keeper review for Switch.

1. Managing Your Graveyard

See how much difference just a few improvements can make to your cemetery?

An important part of being a Graveyard Keeper is, unsurprisingly, managing your graveyard. Having a pristine graveyard means having high quality bodies and decorations abound. The game vaguely explains all of this in a tutorial screen you only see once. Because it is not explained well, it is easy to cause a lot of damage unknowingly.

You only see this screen once at the beginning of Graveyard Keeper.

It can be tempting to start burying new bodies right away. However, that’s a one-way ticket to starting a save over once you realize your mistake. You should be very picky about the bodies you choose to bury in your graveyard. Bodies with parts you’ve harvested result in tons of red skulls. You should throw those bodies down river or burn them, once you unlock cremation.

Graveyard Keeper Guide – Getting Started

Your first task is to increase the graveyard’s quality to 5 so the Bishop will unlock the Church. When the Bishop first lets you go in the graveyard, don’t waste precious energy repairing the existing gravestones. A lot of the bodies that start out buried here aren’t very good quality to start with and are only hurting your overall graveyard score at this point. We don’t need to decorate their graves yet. 

Instead, pull up the dead branches and remove the gravestones and fences from anyone buried there that’s giving you -3. You can store the gravestones and things in the chest next to the church. You’ll be repairing and using them later.

Once you’re out of energy, go home and go to sleep. In a dream you’ll meet Yorick, who will give you an Exhumation Permission and a task to dig up a corpse. Although he specifies the guy buried in the lower right, you can dig up whatever body you choose. You should choose the worst corpse in your graveyard, usually -3.

Before you dispose of whichever body you choose, take it back to the morgue so you can remove parts. You’ll need plenty of these parts later on, so you’ll appreciate this tip as you progress.

2. Prepping Bodies For Burial

The goal in performing an autopsy is to remove as many red skull points as possible from the body while preserving or increasing the number of white skull points. You can’t do a whole lot to increase the amount of white skulls until further into the Alchemy tree, but you can take some steps early on to reduce the amount of red skulls that make it to your graveyard.

To get the most out of your corpses in the early game, be sure to learn how to remove Soft Spares as soon as possible. This will allow for the extraction of Fat and Blood, which remove one red skull each from the corpse. By extracting only these two items from a body before burying it, you can rapidly increase the quality of your graveyard to the 5 required to unlock the Church.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Unlock the Circular Saw ASAP to Clear Out the Basement
    • The basement allows you to quickly travel between the various stations of your base (your house, the morgue, church, and village), saving you a lot of travel time
  • Push a Log/Stone/Zombie to Move Two at a Time
  • Visit the Witch ASAP to Learn Alchemy, Then Build the Bridge
    • It’s a pain to get to the witch’s house the first time, so do yourself a favor and bring along the materials required to build the bridge on your first visit. Then you only have to go the long way once.
  • Buy the teleport stone ASAP
    • The cooldown is short and it’s nice to be able to sleep and then teleport right when you wake up.
  • Don’t upgrade the church until you’ve got the money for Rightful Citizen papers
    • The church becomes closed to you once it’s upgraded and until you’re a Rightful Citizen. Since the church is one of your main sources of income, it pays to wait to do both at the same time.

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