Foraging is the activity of searching an uninhabitable island without a market for fruit and treasure. Skilled foragers can find chests of gems or even gold nuggets!
To begin foraging, click on the ship's hold, then select 'Forage for commodities' from the circle of options.
Foraged commodities go into the ship's hold where they can be sailed back to an inhabited island and sold. Foraging uses one hour of labor for each crate that appears on the puzzle board, but there is a practice mode that you can play without using yer labor.
When to play Foraging
Ye can only forage on a vessel that is in port at an island without a market. In addition, greeter pillages cannot forage. On subscription oceans, you must be subscribed, and on doubloon oceans, you must have a labor badge. The freeplay day for foraging is Tuesday. On Tuesdays from midnight to midnight, game time, non-subscribers and persons without badges may forage.
Foraging by Making Rows and Columns
In Foraging you can use the mouse or the arrow keys to move the cursor around the board. The cursor is a loop that circles four landscape pieces in a 2x2 square. Left click or press the "X" key to rotate the four selected pieces counter-clockwise. Right click or press the "C" key to rotate the four selected pieces clockwise. Form rows or columns of three or more to clear out the brush to get yer crates!
You can clear two or more crates in one move, when pieces breaking clear one crate from the board, then continue to break and clear another crate. This is a combo. Combos are worth a significant performance boost.
If ye place two crates on top of each other, they form a chain when they clear from the board at the same time. Chains are worth a performance boost.
In addition to the landscape pieces that you swap in foraging, you will also sometimes get special pieces which have alternate abilities. When ye moves yer cursor over a special piece, it changes from a 2x2 loop to a 1x1 cursor to let ye know that ye can activate it. Comboing regular pieces increases yer chance of receiving the special pieces.
Unlike in Treasure Haul, special pieces do not trigger each other. If ye use a shovel, but it removes the machete, the machete is wasted. Through practice, you can learn how to use each of the special pieces to clear crates most efficiently.
Scoring in Foraging
Like most puzzles, foraging is scored based on your efficiency. The important thing to remember is that the efficiency does take time into account. So a balance of speed and strategy best serves the forager. Ye only get points from clearing crates, so don't waste too many moves clearing other pieces. Crate combos and chains will also help yer score.
The side stars in shipboard duty puzzles are replaced in foraging with bananas. They serve the same function, however: the indicator shows you how advanced of a level puzzle you are playing, and how close you are to having your board completed and reset for a new set of bananas.
In addition, and in common with the other puzzles, the font size of the message when you perform an action is a good indicator of how valuable that action was.
One foraging strategy is to keep 2x2 crates from falling into wedged positions. When ye see a 2x2 crate near the edge, work to vertically clear the column below the crate closest to the outside, so ye don't have to wait for a special piece to finish clearing the crate.
The expert forager will find a balance between using combos on regular pieces and clearing crates quickly. Through experience, ye will learn when to combo pieces, when to set up combos and chains for crates, and when to simply clear crates in as few moves as possible.