Hustle Castle – All About Gems

This past week, a new feature was introduced with the 1.5.0 version of Hustle Castle: Gem Bay.

Gem Bay is a new venue for PvP battles that allow you to win a few new items that open up new gameplay features:

  • Gems – Used to enhance fighter equipment
  • Dust – Used to enhance gems
  • Scrolls – Used in combining gems

NOTE: Don’t confuse gems with diamonds. For a long time, the community has used those two words interchangeably. Diamonds are the game’s currency. They can be used to purchase just about anything that you want in the game. Gems are a new feature, just introduced.

Fighting in Gem Bay

Every day you can enter Gem Bay once for free. After your free journey has been used up, you will need to spend food to go on additional journeys.

I strongly recommend that you take full advantage of this allowance. The only potential drawback to entering the bay for free is that you could end up expending spells.

Take advantage of your free journeys

When you enter Gem Bay, you are prompted to select up to 12 fighters to bring with you on your journey, and up to 9 spells.

NOTE: If you have a Premium account, then you will get 2 free journeys per day, rather than one. You also can bring up to 12 spells on your journey with Premium, rather than the standard 9 spells.


There is no disadvantage to bringing a full complement of 12 fighters on your journey with you. You will only use 6 at a time, and so the more options you have available to build this team of 6, the better you will perform.

Select fighters for your journey

You can pull fighters from any part of the castle. There is a handy “Deploy the best ones” button that you can click to select the 12 best fighters. The game seems to select the best based on the dweller’s fighting power. This is usually a good idea, and can save you some time, but be aware that it selects dwellers based on their current equipment, and so it might not necessarily select the highest-leveled fighters.

You will need to equip your fighters as desired before you click the Confirm button. Once you confirm your journey squad, you will not be able to adjust their equipment.


The introduction of Gem Bay makes spells much more important. Previously they were only useful in PvP, PvE, and Portal. But now you can bring up to 12 spells with you on your journey.  These spells can be selected from both your Combat Spells (equipped) and from your Prepared Spells (inventory).

Any spells that you don’t use will be returned to you once your journey is over.


You can hire mercenaries during your journey to augment your squad. These mercenaries are very powerful fighters, but they are also expensive. There are 5 pairs of mercenaries, 2 tanks and 3 mages. The two fighters within each pair are similar to each other except that one is always stronger than the other. The weaker fighter always costs 99 diamonds to hire, and the stronger one always costs 199 diamonds.

Mercenaries can be purchased with diamonds
  • Stephen & Mortal Joe – lower damage per second, higher health
  • Hyde & Thunder – higher damage per second, lower health
  • Bo’Reese & Bertrand – Focus on strong attack with occasional small healing of allies.
  • Valerie & Harvey – Focus on healing allies. Harvey has significantly higher health than Bertrand, but lower Crit.
  • Mr. Sins & Heartless One – Focus on resurrection, with occasional stasis field to protect self. Heartless One also heals allies occasionally, and has significantly higher health than Bertrand and Harvey, but lower Crit and Dodge.

Gem Bay spells

There are also 3 special spells that can be purchased in Gem Bay. They are similar to Portal spells in that they are unique to Gem Bay, and they can only be used in that setting.

Spells can also be purchased with diamonds

These spells cost 49 diamonds for a 5 pack, and they augment your own crafted spells in the following ways:

  • Unlike your crafted spells, you can take as many Gem Bay spells as you want into each battle.
  • You can still carry 6 crafted spells into each battle, in addition to whatever number of Gem Bay spells you equip.
  • The Gem Bay spells have a separate cool-down cycle from your crafted spells, which means you can cast spells more rapidly when you utilize both types.

Here are the spells available for purchase in Gem Bay:

  • Heaven’s Rage – Deals 12000 damage to all enemies hit by the explosion
  • Brave Lion – Increases ally damage by 175% for 4 seconds
  • Sturdy Armor – Increases ally physical armor by 35% for 7 seconds

Gem Bay battles

During your Gem Bay journey, you fight a sequence of 15 battles of (generally) increasing difficulty. Each battle is against another player’s squad, but unlike in the Arena, the battles do not require your opponent to be interactively playing the game.

TIP: You can even exit Gem Bay during your journey by clicking the red X in the top-right corner. If you do so, then you can come back at any time later to continue where you left off.

Your journey consists of a sequence of 15 battles

Notice in the image above that the battles are shown by a sequence of blue and yellow dots. The color of the dots indicates the rewards that you can get from winning the battle. Battles on a blue dot will only provide Dust rewards. Yellow dot battles will provide Dust, Gems, and Scrolls.

NOTE: The rewards shown for each battle are just potential rewards. They are not guaranteed. Winning the battle doesn’t guarantee that you will get everything shown.

For each battle, you can select up to 6 fighters (out of the 12 brought into Gem Bay) to form your squad. You can also select up to 6 spells. You will be given the opportunity to both hire Mercenaries and buy Spells in between each battle.

If any of your fighters is dead at the conclusion of a battle, regardless of win or loss, then that fighter can’t be used again in any subsequent battles. Whatever health your fighters have left at the end of a successful battle will be carried over to the start of the next battle.

On the other hand, if you lose a battle, then your opponent’s fighters will start the next battle with whatever health they had left at the end of the previous one.

Squad building tips

  • You might want to use your weaker fighters early on in the easier battles so that your stronger fighters are fresh when things get tough.
  • Make sure your squad is strong enough. If you get wiped out on one of the early levels, then you will lose 6 of your 12 fighters. This can seriously limit how far your journey will go.
  • Beware of relying on resurrect mages. If you win a battle while one of your fighters is dead, then you will lose that fighter for the rest of the journey. It can be a bit random and frustrating.
  • Have plenty of strong tanks available in reserve. They tend to be the most likely to be dead at the end of a battle.
  • Don’t pad your squad with weak dwellers such as cooks or treasurers. They will die quickly, and your mages will waste precious resurrect and heal spells on them.

Ending your journey

You can end your journey at any time, although I usually will fight until every dweller has been eliminated. It doesn’t hurt to try!

When you decide to end your journey, you will be presented with your potential winnings. Remember that you are not guaranteed anything that you see. It’s just potential at this point. For example, look at this haul from one of my journeys:

Journey loot? … Don’t count on it!

Wow! Up to 2 gray Gems, a green Gem, a common Scroll, and an uncommon Scroll! Sounds good, right? Let’s see what I actually got:

The actual reward

What happened to the green Gem and the Scrolls? They never manifested.

The Gem Workshop

The Gem Workshop is where you will do all your Gem-related operations. You will need to build the room, but it doesn’t require much in the way of resources, and it builds very quickly. You won’t ever need to upgrade it.

Effects on the gameplay

The Gem Workshop changes overall gameplay in the following ways:

  • Gold is much more important because every operation requires Gold; sometimes lots of it. Be prepared to do PvP battles to fund your Gem work.
  • It provides another use for Shards. You can recycle them into Dust. Even orange Shards can be used for this! No more holding on to your legendary equipment forever…
  • It’s another place for your scientists to work. Recycling Shards into Dust takes time, and can be sped up by adding scientists to the room.
  • It somewhat requires you to spend small amounts of diamonds. The only way to remove a Shard from a piece of equipment is to spend diamonds.

Inlaying Gems

The process of placing a Gem into a piece of equipment is called Inlaying. Each piece of rare, epic, or legendary equipment of a sufficiently high level (above level 55 or so) has Sockets in them, according to the following tables:

Number of sockets
RarityNumber of sockets
Epic2 - 3
Legendary4 - 5
Types of sockets
Equipment typeHealthDamageMagic damageArmorMagic armorSpell powerDodgeCrit
Melee weaponsXXX
Magic weaponsXXXX
Tank armorXXXXXX
Archer armorXXXX
Mage armorXXXXX

Gems can be inlaid into a socket if the type of Gem (Health, Armor, Crit, etc.) matches the type of socket.

Gems can be inlaid into matching sockets in equipment

After the Gem has been inlaid into a socket, it will enhance the associated stat of that piece of equipment. For example, a Crit Gem will add to the Crit value of the item.

You can see the effect of the enhancement when looking at your fighter’s equipment:

A weapon with two Gems

These daggers have a gray Crit Gem and a green Damage Gem. You can see the benefit of each at the bottom of the description: 48 Damage and 52 Crit.

Extracting Gems

Once a Gem has been inlaid into a piece of equipment, it can only be removed by extracting it. The extraction process costs diamonds according to the following table:

Cost to extract a gem
Gem colorNumber of diamonds

You extract a Gem by “Using” a piece of equipment on the Inlay screen. You then click the Gem that you want to extract, and select Extract from the menu.

Extract a gem on the Inlay screen

NOTE: You can’t break apart a piece of equipment until you extract all the Gems from it. If you try to break apart something that has an inlaid Gem, then you will be prompted to extract the Gem first.

Prompt when breaking apart

Enhancing Gems

Gems have levels. The higher the Gem’s level, the more powerful it is. Gems increase in level by enhancing them with XP. The number of levels, and the amount of XP required to level up depends on the color of the Gem:

Levels and XP required for each Gem color
Gem colorNumber of levelsXP required to level up

So, for example, to enhance a green Gem from level 1 to level 3, you would need to apply 6000 XP, since each level requires 3000 XP. The XP to level up Gems comes from Dust. The different Dust colors provide different amounts of XP, according to this table:

XP for each dust color
Dust colorXP per unit of dust
Enhancing a Gem

Notice in the above picture that the gem is being enhanced 10 levels. This costs 30000 XP. If you add up all the dust values from the image, you get 7 x 42000 + 8 x 70 + 6 x 6 + 4 = 30000. So this operation is calculated out perfectly to spend exactly the correct amount of XP.

Enhancement tips

  • The game will let you overspend XP. For example, the green Gem above could have been leveled up by spending 8 orange dust. That’s 33600 XP. Try to keep a supply of dust of different colors so that you can use the correct amounts to get exactly the right XP.
  • A gem’s level is not maxed out until you fill up its XP bar again after it reaches the highest level. So, for example, a gray gem will go to level 2 if you spend 375 XP. It will go to level 3 if you spend 750 XP, level 4 for 1125, and level 5 for 1500 XP. However, you will need to spend an additional 375 XP (for a total of 1875) in order to max out the Gem. It won’t push you to level 6, and you won’t get any additional benefit from the Gem, but it is required before you can use the Gem in a merge.
  • You do not need to spend XP all at once. You can enhance a Gem a level or two by spending some XP on it, then use the Gem for a while, then later go spend more XP on the Gem to enhance it some more.
  • You can enhance a Gem that is already inlaid into the socket of a piece of equipment. It’s not necessary to extract the Gem first.

Merging Gems

You can create Gems of more powerful colors by merging two Gems together.

Merging two gray Gems

In order to merge two Gems, the following must be true:

  • Both Gems must be the same color. For example, you can merge a gray with gray, but you cannot merge a gray with green.
  • Both Gems must be the same type. For example, you can merge a Health with Health, but you cannot merge a Health with Crit.
  • Both Gems must be maxed out on XP. They must be at the highest possible level for that color of Gem, and the XP bar must be full.
  • At least one of the Gems must not be inlaid in a piece of equipment. It’s okay for only one Gem to be inlaid.

TIP: If you merge an inlaid Gem with a non-inlaid Gem, then the resulting Gem will be inlaid in that piece of equipment.

Merging two Gems together to form a new Gem can possibly fail. The more powerful the color of Gem you are creating, the more likely it is that the procedure will fail. The following table shows the likelihood that a merge operation will succeed:

Costs and success rates associated with merging Gems
Gem color being createdMerge cost (gold)Likelihood of success
Merging two green Gems to create a blue Gem

You can use a Scroll to increase the likelihood of a successful merge. In the image above, you can see a common Scroll being applied to the merge operation to increase the likelihood of success from 70% to 80%. Only a single scroll can be applied, and after the merge is done, the scroll is used up, regardless of whether or not the merge was a success.

If the merge is successful, you will have a single Gem of a different color, and it will be on level 1, with no XP. If the merge fails, then you are left with the original 2 Gems. Both of them will lose some random amount of XP, and may lose several levels. They will need to be leveled up to the maximum again before the merge can be reattempted.

Recycling Shards

You can recycle Shards to turn them into Dust. This procedure is relatively straight-forward. You just pick the Shards that you want to recycle, and then start the operation.

Recycling a single shard of each color

As can be seen above, you can select shards of different colors and process them all at the same time. The more shards you choose, the more Gold you will need to spend, and the longer the process will take.

Not all Shards produce the same amount of Dust. This table shows how much Dust, and consequently how much XP, each Shard color produces:

Quantities of Dust and XP from different Shard colors
Shard colorAmount of dustAmount of XP

Also, the different Shard colors take different amounts of time to recycle. The rarer the Shard, the longer it takes. If you recycle multiple Shards of the same color, the amount of time per Shard decreases. So, for example, to recycle a single green Shard takes 30 minutes, but to recycle 33 green shards doesn’t take 16.5 hours. It only takes 13.5 hours. This table shows the amount of time to recycle a single Shard of each color:

Time to recycle a Shard
Shard colorTime to recycle one shard
Gray5 min
Green30 min
Blue1 hr 30 min
Purple6 hr
Orange12 hr

TIP: Notice in the image above that it takes 20 hr 5 min to recycle one of each shard. If you add the numbers for a single shard of each color together, you’ll see that it adds up to 20 hr 5 min. There is no time savings for recycling shards of different colors at the same time.

Hustle Castle – A Portal’s Tale

On Spending Money

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
– Proverbs 22:1

In-Game Purchases

Everyone knows that in order to make rapid progress in Hustle Castle, you must spend money. The game is designed to slow to a virtual standstill as you get further into it. In other words, it’s designed to entice you to pay the developers!

Now let me be clear. I have no problem with spending money on games, nor with paying someone for a service rendered. I am a gamer at heart, and I like to consider myself a generous person. In the case of in-game payments, these two qualities often complement each other.

I have made several Hustle Castle purchases. My recent success in the Portal is a direct result of a very large purchase, along with a bit of ingenuity.

My Hustle Castle Purchase History

I’m going to open up my Google Play account history to you. Here it is:

Google Play Expenses Page 1
Google Play Expenses Page 2

I want to point out 2 things of note about my Hustle Castle purchases in this account:

  1. They are atypical. While I do occasionally spend money on Android games, I don’t tend to spend such large amounts, or make so many purchases.
  2. They are escalating. I started out with small, occasional purchases. Recently, they have been larger and more frequent.

My Hustle Castle Purchase Rationale

Here is how I rationalized this recent $50 purchase:

  1. I buy entertainment all the time. I think nothing of dropping more than $50 on a board game or console game. I spend much more than $50 on dinner with the family. I spend more than $50 taking the kids to see a movie. In relation to other entertainment purchases, it’s not unreasonable.
  2. That amount of money certainly won’t break the bank. Maybe not exactly a wise purchase (more on this later) but it’s not going to endanger my family’s financial well-being.
  3. I’m getting to the point in the game where good equipment will have a significant effect on my progress. The equipment that I got here was in the 75-78 level range. I will soon have fighters at level 85, and the purple shards that I got can be used to craft level 85 equipment.
  4. My clan needs me! We’ve been having some difficulty in wars recently, and I feel motivated to up my game to help out. I really enjoy playing with my clan, and I like winning!
  5. Legendary rings! I’ve been waiting for a portal with legendary rings for a long time. It’s been several weeks since legendary rings were on offer. My rings were the weakest part of the squad, and I also consider rings to be the safest portal purchase, after shards.

My Hustle Castle Purchase Folly

Despite all of these excuses, I actually felt that spending that money was not a good idea. I was able to convince myself that it was “okay” but I didn’t feel right about it. I should have listened to my conscience.

Here is what I have learned, in hindsight, about the ramifications of my decision:

  1. It has sown suspicion on my character. As the Proverb above states, a good reputation is always preferable to wealth. As a result of spending an amount of money that is disproportionate to that of my clanmates, I have put my reputation at risk, and  all in the pursuit of in-game “wealth”.
  2. It has sown discontent among my friends. In my quest to improve my own squad, I didn’t take into account how my clanmates would feel about it.
  3. I have perhaps set a bad example. Romans 14:15 tells us that we should be careful of the precedents that we set for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I was not considerate in this regard, and I could possibly cause someone to make an unwise decision to imitate my own.

A Formal Apology

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
– James 5:16

I apologize to all my clanmates, and my brothers and sisters. I should have listened to the Spirit’s leading when He told me not to do this. As a result, I have caused discord in the clan. Please forgive me.

The Mathematics Behind My Portal Run

Now that I’ve gone through that, I would like to explain the past couple days, in an effort to regain lost trust and friendship. I will start with the math of how this all came about. I guarantee you that it all works out because I did it.

Initial Conditions

  • My food storage was full (490k food) as was my food court (105k food)
  • I had approximately 1.3k diamonds saved up. I don’t remember the exact number.
  • I had approximately 30 red-and-gold friend gift chests saved up. Each held 37k food. This is about 1.1M food. NOTE: I think I said on chat that it was about 40. This number was wrong. It was closer to 30.
  • I had approximately 40 blue portal chests saved up from previous portal runs.  They each had a varying amount of food in them, from 4k in some to over 50k in others. I don’t know exactly how much food total was in these. I’m going to estimate that these 40ish chests had a total of around 800k food in them.
  • All 6 of my fighters were at level 70
  • My Training room was upgrading, and had about 1.5 days left before it was done.
  • I had 3 lvl 75-78 legendary suits of armor, and 1 lvl 75 legendary sword saved up.
  • I had purchased 13k diamonds from the market.


Before starting the portal, I used the majority of my diamonds to finish upgrading my training room and level up my fighters to the point where they could use the new equipment. Finishing the training room cost 1.2k diamonds. Leveling up the fighters cost between 120 – 250 diamonds per level. These tasks cost a total of (I think) about 8k diamonds. I don’t know the exact amount because I figuratively stuck my fingers in my ears and sang “la-la-la” to myself to ignore the incredible waste of resources. I considered it a “necessary expense” in order to prepare for what I wanted to accomplish.

I also spent about 1.4k diamonds on a soul tripler. I don’t remember the exact cost of that item either, and my store doesn’t currently show the price because I have already purchased it.

Food Calculations

I had about 6k diamonds. At my current level, I can fill my food stores for 200 diamonds, which gives me 490k food each time. The numbers aren’t exact because I never had exactly zero food in my food stores at the time that I bought more. Even so, with 6k diamonds, I can purchase around (6000 / 200) * 490000 = 14.7 M food.

My food court can produce over 54k food per hour, plus I get a 20% bonus with Premium. I didn’t lose much (if any) of this production potential during the entire 31 hours of my run. This yields approximately 31 * 54000 * 1.2 = 2M food.

I requested food twice from the clan. The clan was very generous, and gave me 120k food.

I got the daily chest twice, which gave me 50k food each time, for 100k food.

Gifts from friends gave me (I think) about 100k food. I don’t know for sure because I’ve never paid all that much attention to exactly how much food I get from gifts from friends. It’s small enough to be relatively inconsequential. Please don’t take this to mean that I don’t appreciate it!

Add all this to the 595k food I started out with, and you get a total of around 17M food across the 31 hours that I participated in the portal.

Dark Soul Calculations

The previous section had some hand-waving involved. This section will, similarly, involve a little bit of vaguary, for two reasons:

  1. I couldn’t do the same portal level every single time. I had to work my way up from level 1, same as everyone else.
  2. At the beginning, I was trying to farm level 59 of the portal. I did this at least a couple dozen times. However, I eventually abandoned it because it was too difficult. I had to occasionally spend a resurrection to prevent defeat, and I knew that I wouldn’t be sustainable.

I eventually ended up farming level 57 over and over. I don’t know exactly how many times I fought level 57. I can only guess based on the numbers. It was a lot.

Level 57 costs 34200 food each time, and yields 208 dark souls (before triple). Ignoring the two details listed above, if I simply used all of my food for level 57, then I could play it 17000000 / 32400 = 497 times. This would give me a total of 497 * 208 = 103367 dark souls, before applying the tripler.

As of the time of this writing, the number of dark souls that I acquired is public record. I am currently ranked 81st on the portal ranking, with 103079 dark souls. This is suspiciously close to the calculation that I just detailed.

After applying tripling, you get 103079 * 3 = 309237. I actually got 42 less than this because I (for my own reasons) didn’t buy the tripler until I had already beat the first two levels. So I actually accumulated 309195 dark souls.

Prize Calculations

I bought myself 5 legendary rings, costing 28109 each, for a total of 140545 dark souls. I also bought 40 purple shards at 4216 each, for a total of 168640 dark souls.

In theory, that would mean that I should have 10 dark souls left. I actually have 4 left in the store right now. That means my calculations are somehow off by 6. I can’t account for it. Sorry. I’m not perfect!

Time Calculations

In Hustle Castle, time is as precious a resource as diamonds and food. I am often more limited by time than I am by other resources.

Level 57 always starts with 5 minutes on the timer. The length of the run varies from one to the next, but I typically have 3:15ish left on the timer at the end. This means that a typical run takes about 105 seconds. Since I double the speed with Premium, it’s actually around 65 seconds. Now you need to add to this time for loading screens. So let’s say it takes right around 2 minutes per run.

I previously calculated that I must have done around 497 runs. Multiply this out, and you get 497 * 2 = 994 minutes / 60 = 16.5 hours. Obviously, in a 31 hour period I would have enough time to do the required number of runs. In fact I did them all and I got about 5 hours of sleep, and I drove children to school, and went to work, and went out to dinner with my family, and bathed my children, and brushed their teeth, and tucked them into bed, and spent time with my wife, and had a couple of friends over for a visit, and… and…

It was a pretty good couple of days, and while I know my family was aware that I was playing a bit more than normal, I don’t think that it encroached too much on my life. How did I do this? Yes, I admit, I did something akin to what is frequently called “botting”.

The Dreaded Bot

Botting, or the act of scripting a game, is sometimes frowned on in the community. I’m not sure why. I’m honestly not even sure if what I did counts strictly as “botting”.

I have a tool that I used for the first time in this portal run that allows me to record my actions in the game. It’s pretty limited. There is no logic. It simply records my screen presses and allows me to play them back again. I was able to use it to record the actions required to select portal level 57, start the battle, increase the speed, and exit the level on success.

I was then able to tell the recording to execute a specific number of times. To figure this out, I would look at how much food I had and divide by 34200.  So if I had a full food court, then I could execute the recording 490000 / 34200 = 14 times. I did this while at work, while getting ready for the morning, while hanging out with my family, etc. I just had to occasionally (every 30 minutes or so) take a few seconds to purchase more food and restart execution.

I don’t personally consider this to be cheating. It doesn’t modify the game in any way. It doesn’t have any logic. If anything unexpected occurred (which sometimes did) it couldn’t handle it. It was simply a way of repeating my own actions over and over again.

I intend to make a YouTube video showing how to do this, and sharing it with the whole clan in the near future. It’s surprisingly easy to accomplish, and if motivated, I think anyone with some very basic computer skills could handle it.


Thus ends my tale. Judge me if you will. I find myself guilty of unwise, sinful behavior in some aspects, and for this I do apologize. I hope that this can help to heal the rift that I have caused. Let’s enjoy gaming together!