The first time I sat down to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the first time I had played any iteration of the game at all. I was unfamiliar with any of the mechanics. While the game did explain some things, it didn’t explain all of them. I was left to figure a lot of it out on my own.

So naturally, I did what I do – I poked at everything, and made some silly mistakes. For example, I promptly ate a lot of fruit. Then I ran around with an axe and broke every rock on my island hunting down ore. Eventually, I got a quest to find about 30 ore to upgrade Nook’s Cranny. Using my super effective method of breaking each rock I found, I was getting maybe one ore per rock.

This was a slow process. I started to then go to mystery islands to hunt for ore. Islands maybe have 3 to 4 rocks on them.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that you can actually hit a rock about EIGHT times for materials! So much time wasted!

Hopefully, this guide will prevent you from doing what I did. I hope it helps you get the most of the rocks on your island every day!

Right Tools for the Job

First, make sure that when you are about to mine your rocks for materials – always have a shovel. While it is technically possible to use an axe, the shovel is faster.

You can always get eight swings with the shovel, whereas you can only sometimes get eight swings with an axe. Nothing is worse than ending up on money rock island and losing out because you used an axe instead of a shovel.

Hold Still When You Swing

Next, before you swing at the rock, you’ll want to be sure that your swing does not push your character back and away from the rock. This can cause you to miss a swing and not get all eight!

You need to ensure there is something to prevent you from sliding when you swing – whether it is a physical object (such as a tree, or something you’ve placed, if you are on your island) or by digging a pair of holes to hold you in place.

It’s important to keep in mind that the rock will drop an item in all 8 surrounding squares, as long as they are empty. Make sure that there are no flowers, tree branches, or anything else that will block the surrounding squares.

The easiest way I have found is to move your character directly to the left or right side of the rock, then move up one space so you are on the diagonal. From this space, dig one hole directly in front of you, and another to the opposite side of the rock.

In the diagram below, you’ll see the two holes marked on either side of where you would be standing, which would keep you in place when you hit the rock – preventing you from sliding back.

Super amazing graphic showing where you should stand and dig holes before you start hitting your rock.

In the following video, you can see this method in action:

There will be times where you may not need two dig both holes, or may not need to dig them at all. Sometimes an already existing object can be used, or your rock is fortunately placed so that an existing corner can be used instead.

You’ll note in this example, the corner can be used without needing to dig any holes at all!

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