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Table arrangement

The audio transcript (behind everything in the upper right corner) can be kept constantly visible on the table to speed up processing.

This page lists general tips for new players. This page does not contain plot line spoilers but will talk about game-play mechanics and elements that are not available at the very beginning of the game. Links on this page will contain spoilers.

General principles Edit

  • The game is all about checking over documents as quickly as possible. Just practicing will help a great deal to start with.
  • Remember, the time does not start until you say "Next!", so feel free to take time to memorize any new information or rules for the new day.
  • You get paid 5 credits for every person processed, without any penalties incurred. Processing 11 people a day will keep your family comfortable in class 8 lodgings, although you may want to alternate spending as described below in order to have savings for bad days. Sometimes, scripted events will end the day before this can be achieved.
  • You can make two errors per day without incurring a penalty (you receive warnings). You can use these to take story actions or to skip difficult cases to increase overall speed.
  • When there are multiple documents and paperwork becomes complex, you can check documents one at a time. And go slow so you don't make any mistakes. Any documents that have been verified can be dropped back to the left-hand or in the slots of the desk when you are done.
  • It may be helpful to consider which characteristics need to be verified against each other - for example name must be checked against every other document, but passport number only needs to be checked if the person is a foreigner (Arstotzkan ID cards do not have a number) unless you need to check certificates of vaccination, in which you do need to check Arstotzkan passport numbers against these certificates. This can make it easier to remember which parameters you have already confirmed. Do not expect to remember these off by heart - one starts to remember the trends better as they go, especially when they encounter them frequently.
  • Memorizing the Arstotzkan districts, passport issuing cities and seals makes the work go much quicker. Alternatively you can use a cheat sheet which gather this information together onto a single paper you can print out or display in another window.
    • The GOG.com version of the game comes with one of these.
    • If any specific names appear that require special actions, it may help to write their names down too.

More specific tipsEdit

  • Each entrant can only make one verbal mistake (about the reason for visit or length of stay). Looking for more after finding this is a waste of time.
  • If you are unsure about a piece of information, the inspection mode will help you.
  • You can exploit the inspection mode by selecting two related pieces of information (e.g. name on passport and name on another document) while you manually check other pieces of information. This tactic guarantees that the two selected entries are correct and, more importantly, minimizes the time needed to check each entrant's documents.
  • On each day, there will be a number of randomly generated visitors, and a number of scripted visitors who are part of the story. Random visitors vary between different playthroughs, but some scripted visitors always have the same papers every time they appear. This means you can "cheat" by using your prior knowledge and/or this wiki. If a person has special dialogue when they enter the booth, they are scripted.
  • If anyone presents a press pass, you can be getting out the denial stamp while they are talking.
  • You cannot prevent any of the scripted terrorist attacks. Yes, this means your job is kind of pointless. Welcome to Arstotzka. However, not all terrorist attacks are scripted: it is possible to have a day cut off early by letting a suicide bomber through (they will have mismatched weight and their bomb will be visible under search; strangely they will not use their bomb when detained)
  • When in doubt, following instructions from your superiors is always a safe bet.
  • You can pay for food and heating on alternate days at very little penalty. Medicine should always be paid for immediately, though.
  • No loyal Arstotzkan who values their excellent pay and superb living conditions would engage in bribery and corruption. A shame, then, that you do not seem to be provided with those things...
  • ...But if you are thinking of, say, throwing in with any mysterious criminal conspiracies, you should be definite and sure in that choice. Playing both sides against the other or walking a middle path may leave you with no friends on either side.
  • If anyone presents a "Pink Vice" card, you can immediately approve it, they will always have no mistakes in their documents.

Fast-track denials Edit

The game's first few days do not make this clear, but you do not have to inspect/interrogate every error; in many cases you can simply stamp denied and hand the documents back. This can speed up the processing a great deal. Once the blue reason for denial stamp enters play, you must inspect/interrogate in order for the reason stamp to be properly prepared. If the reason stamp is not in play, you can fast track just about all errors. The one exception is if the missing document is the passport, in which case you have nowhere to stamp until you inspect/interrogate.

  • On day 7, you can flat out deny all Kolechians, and skip the entire searching protocol.
  • Prior to day 18, you in fact can flat out deny anyone for any valid reason, except for those who are missing their passports.
  • Even after day 18, you do not have to "complete" an inspection to its conclusion. For instance, it is sufficient to merely point out that an entrant's weight does not match records, to be able to stamp REASON and DENY and send him on his way, and count as a correct processing. You do not have to actually use time conducting the search, unless so inclined. Similarly, for different names, you can just point out the discrepancy and stamp reason and denial, skipping the fingerprinting process.

Gameplay tipsEdit

  • You can hover your mouse over the rulebook and hit arrow keys on your keyboard to flip pages to save time. It will even work in the inspection mode. This will not bring the rulebook on top if there are other documents on top of it.
  • Keep the audio transcript constantly visible on the table so that you do not need to need to pull it out separately every time an entrant makes an incorrect statement.
  • Check the person's sex and weight first. Body searches take the most time to find out if discrepancies remain. You can use this time to keep looking for other discrepancies in the documents, in the case they have just gained weight or have intersex conditions. Each entrant can have only one discrepancy in their documents.
  • If an entrant fails to present a required document and then presents it after you ask for the document, any further discrepancy other than a verbal discrepancy between the transcript and either the entry permit or access permit will be found on the document that was presented after interrogation. You can still find a verbal discrepancy between the transcript and either the entry permit or access permit even if the missing document is not one of those two documents.
  • On most days, each entrant can have at most one discrepancy that can merit detainment or denial because it cannot be cleared through interrogation, searching, or demanding fingerprints. The exception is when entry from a country is prohibited, in which case entrants from the prohibited country could have at most a second discrepancy that either requires a denial anyways or merits detainment. Detainment of entrants from prohibited countries do not generate a citation.

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