HEILIG'S GUIDE TO MINING IN FREE REALMS


by Heilig

The basic goal of the Mining Minigame is to obtain the ore and gems that Blacksmiths use to make items with.

Your first step is to learn the Mining Job from Therin, a Dwarf just inside the Singing Crystal Mines to the northwest side of Snowhill.



TILES



You mine ore and gems by moving them to the bottom row of the board, where they drop off into the baskets.
When you first learn to mine, there are two items (tiles) that you want:

Copper - The basic mining raw material
Turquoise - The basic gem raw material

In addition to the tiles that you want to harvest, there are other tiles on the board:

Red, Green, Blue: These are the bedrock tiles that you combine into chains. Only chains with at least 3 tiles count. You can make chains by moving horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally. To harvest a chain, click on a tile at one end of a chain and drag to the other end along the route you want to go, or just click on each end of the chain and the game will pick the route. However, the game will generally pick the shortest route between the beginning and end clicks, so itís better to drag so you know for sure which ones are counted. Completing a chain removes it from the board. The tiles above the collected items drop down to fill the space from above.

POWER-UPS



Wild Card: Clicking on the Wild Card icon creates a bunch of randomly placed star tiles on the board. The star tile counts as either a red, green or a blue tile, so itís great for adding to shorter chains or connecting tiles that are too short to make their own chain. Note that the star tiles can replace valuable ore or gems, so be careful when you use it!

Shuffle: This looks like a tornado. Clicking on this tile will cause a few tiles in random locations anywhere on the board to flip to another type of tile. Use this when youíre getting locked in and need to move some stubborn tiles. Use it sparingly, as it can ruin chains you already have and even get rid of copper and turquoise tiles.

Dynamite: This tile is only found in Mining and Artifacts. Clicking on it blows up tiles in the immediate vicinity. The range is pretty short, just a few tiles. Itís great for removing blocks and tiles that canít be made into chains. Itís also good for moving copper and turquoise rapidly down the board. It does not destroy copper or turquoise, which makes it especially fun to use.

HAZARDS



Block: This doesnít do anything. It just blocks, which can be a problem if you get several close together. If you move a block to the bottom of the board, it will drop off just like the copper and turquoise. If itís near a dynamite tile, you can blow it up.

Locks: A lock can appear over any red, green, or blue tile. When you use that tile in a chain, it just "unlocks" and doesnít disappear as it normally would. If you use it in another chain, it will disappear.

FREE REALMS MINING STRATEGY



Scoring: You get 200 points for each tile in a chain, except it doesnít count the first tile in each chain. For example, you get 400 points for a 3-tile chain, 600 points for a 4-tile chain, etc.

Therefore, you get more points if you complete longer chains than you would get for smaller chains with the same total number of tiles. A 6-tile chain gives you 1000 points, but you get only 800 points for two 3-tile chains. So, you generally want to make longer chains, with one exception, which weíll discuss later.

Timer: The timer starts at 2 minutes 15 seconds and counts down. You gain more time by completing chains. Longer chains give more time, so thatís another reason for trying to complete the longer ones.

Top vs Bottom: You want the copper and turquoise to drop off the bottom of the board, so thatís where you want to focus your efforts. They appear at the top of the board, so completing chains near the bottom will move them lower and lower. Completing a chain above a copper tile doesnít move it closer to the bottom.

GOALS



Every Mining Minigame has Goals and Bonuses. The example below is for the Copper in the Singing Crystal Mines.

Primary: Collect 14 copper Ė This is the basic objective of the game. Move as many copper tiles as possible to the bottom of the board to harvest them. Use the tips later in this guide to maximize the number of copper tiles that you get.

Secondary: Score 78,000 points Ė If you complete the first objective, this one should come naturally, but if itís close, concentrate on completing more long chains.

Bonus: Match a chain of 18 tiles - Itís not as hard as it sounds to complete an 18-tile chain. Pick the color that you have the most of and eliminate as many of the other colors as possible, keeping an eye on where you have the best chance of joining areas that have the most of the color you want. Eventually you should be able to snake through a chain long enough to meet the Objective. However, thereís a tradeoff between spending time on the 18-tile chain Objective and the other Objectives, so consider that before deciding to pursue this one. I usually wait until a large cluster of one color develops naturally, and then I try to join others areas to that one quickly.

Bonus: Collect 8 turquoise (Member only)

Bonus: Score 96,000 points (Member only)


HEILIG'S TIPS:



You can do pretty well just by completing chains as fast as you can, but you probably wonít complete many objectives that way. The reason is that youíll probably leave behind a lot of orphans. This leads to my most important rule:

Donít Leave Orphans

Orphans are one or two matching tiles left behind when you complete a chain. The problem is that you canít remove them unless you maneuver matching tiles next to them. Itís better to avoid them in the first place. Take a look at this tile patten:


Itís tempting to just run the cursor through the red tiles in a big U near the top:


But thatís going to leave that one little red tile all by itself. Instead of making one long chain of red tiles, break it up into two smaller chains:


First the one on the left, and then:


Finish it with the red chain on the right. In this case, you end up with another situation where you might leave an orphan if youíre not careful:


Thatís right, first get the blue ones on the left side, and then the three remaining blue ones:


That leaves you with a very nice board to continue. Take the red tiles in one chain, which leaves you with a nice long green chain:



Free Realms Mines by Level



Copper - Level 1
Tin - Level 5
Silver - Level 10
Iron - Level 15
Gold - Level 20

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