If you have never played Breath of Fire 3 or 4, that's probably the first time you hear about the Antz Colony. Some people also call it the Fairy Colony, but for a matter of consistency, I'll just use the former term. That being said, I was totally clueless about this whole thing myself, so you'll find here a very detailed explanation on how it all works. It is also nicely explained in the game, in case you don't feel like reading this entire page (that'd be YOUR loss, though >:E).
How? What? Why?
You can only access the Colony after meeting the Fairy in the CorpLab Entrance. She'll give you the Fairy Drops, an item that allows you to access the Colony at all time, assuming all the enemies in the room are defeated. The main point of the thing is to use antz (not ants) to build a huge underground city, with jobs and shops to get more money. This will be an important source of income, as long as you'll keep killing enemies in the game. Nothing will change in the Colony if you don't actually do anything in-game. In any case, use it because you've probably noticed that zennys are hard to come by... Even by doing the minimum, you'll get satisfying financial results, so there's really no reason to ignore the Colony.
What To Do First?
On your first visit there, you'll probably talk to the Fairy before doing anything else, right? Good. She'll then propose you a variety of actions to take, as illustrated here, but with a better quality. I suggest you read the Information section. This is where you'll learn how the colony works. You'll need to recruit antz first to make it grow, but you didn't need the chug down a 24-pack of beer to know that, eh? Three or two antz are usually hanging around the "Hiring" area close to the Fairy, so talk to them to start making your own crew. Note that each time you'll kill a monster while playing the game, you'll have to pay each of them the amount of money written on their Info chart (that will be done automatically, though).
Antz stats are not ultimately important at the beginning and therefore, you shouldn't refuse to hire any of them even if you think they seem weak and/or stupid. Once you've hired a couple of workers, that's pretty obvious you have to give them orders if you want to get things started. Let's take a look at the Orders screen (shown on the left):
Map of the Colony
Click on the room on the map you want to get more information about the corresponding job. Or! You can click on one of the links below:
(Note that the Stockhouse isn't actually on the map since there are only 9 rooms for 10 jobs.)
As already stated, there's a total of 10 jobs in the Colony, excluding Excavating. You can choose which ones you prefer and set up as many of them as there are rooms. Silly, but I hadn't noticed I could change my Cafeteria into a second Bank when I started playing. :P
The Bank is where you can save money and watch it grow. You can "invest" in 3 types of accounts: checking, savings and foreign (they won't all be there the first time you'll visit the bank, though, it will take some time). I have personally never bothered with this, which means that even if you don't use the bank's features, you'll still be able to make tons of money.
Absolutely nothing cool happens in the Cafeteria, but if it's popular, you'll make oodles of zennys. This is recommended for beginners (although non-beginners can use it too). That's also where you'll learn that ants actually make "kii...kiki...kikiki.." sounds.
So, they say music soothes the savage ant, eh? Yeah right. This is a pretty nifty room, though. If you put antz with high taste in charge of it, you'll get a complete playlist in no time and cash will come in. To learn more about the Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter Original Soundtrack, check out the Soundtrack page.
Excavation is the first job you'll undertake and once everything will have been dug out (rooms and treasures), it will become useless. You want antz with high HP for this job, but since you don't always have a wide choice of crew members, making exceptions won't be dramatic. You can form 3 teams to dig through dirt and assign them different spots. The antlions that are cleverly hidden through the map (as in not) are mean creatures who'll try to destroy your antz, so don't run happily into them if your crew is half-dead. It won't happen, though, and your antz will most likely never have any trouble to tear down to shreds the antlions that are theoretically much, much bigger than them.
Explorer antz are the toughest of the lot. They scour dangerous dungeons for varied items, but some of them never return. The items you receive are more or less interesting most of the time. It's definitely not a necessity. You won't miss much if you don't pay attention to this job.
Not a job, but this dungeon is too important not to have its own page.
This is definitely one of the first shops you need to build. Smart Antz research jobs and items in there in order to develop new kinds of shops (and items... yeah, I know, a little redundant). Apparently, no more than eight different items can be obtained from the laboratory. Here are the list and links leading to the appropriate pages for their description.
Yeah, this isn't a job, but in case you're confused and don't know what this room is, this is where:
This is where Antz set up shops: Skill shop, Ryu shop, Nina shop and Lin shop. Their wares change over time, depending of your in-game progress and talent, so check back often. Take a look at the table below for a list of everything you can find there:
This is finally the place where antz can review YOU about how much you suck, or not, at playing Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter! And you can even win prizes! Wow. The antz suggest you a variety of challenges based on the following elements: D-Ratio, Times Cleared, Play Time, Times Saved, Battles, Foes Defeated and Nugget record. Hopefully, you won't have to go through all the trouble of doing all the silly stuff they ask to know what mysterious prizes await you. I did it all for you since I'm so nice (+ tips on how to beat those challenges).
Antz raise Nuggets there. Why? Because you can buy one cheap and raise it for big profits! ...Now, I'd like to take a moment to explain you that it's not nice to buy and raise defenseless animals for the sole purpose of becoming rich. And eating them ...Mmmm, nuggets. Anyway, you can feed your nugget a variety of foods to produce different effects as listed below:
There's nothing much to say about the art of raising nuggets. You first have to buy one when the market's low, so you might need to come back often to the Colony to check on that. The higher it is ranked, the more expensive it will be, but you can supposedly make more profit if you buy a higher-ranked one. Once you've started feeding it, you will need to come back often to the Colony to follow its growth. Many hours of joy and happiness, much more easier to raise than a teenager. Make sure to read the board in the Main Room to know when your nugget is mature. When it is, your next task will be to follow the market and sell it when it will be high. Just be careful not to wait too long, though, because nuggets are like hamsters; they die fast. Have fun.
This is where the newspaper The Daily is printed. All you need to do to increase the circulation is hiring a top-class fancy staff with stats ass described above. You might have to spend a bit of time on training antz properly for that job.
Take antz to the Training Center and watch them grow. You can tell each ant to work specifically on guts (HP), smarts or taste. In no time (almost), you'll get antz that are big, strong, smart and tasteful! When everything on the map has been uncovered, this is usually the first place you want to send your antz to so they can train for specific jobs.