I got back into it after a while off.
Don’t take surgery until after your XP tree as a survivor starts to level off. Maybe before graffiti or the radio skills. But I’d put it after zombie skills like ankle grab and lurching gait, even if you only want to be a survivor. By the time you get this, you’re working on helping fellow survivors more than yourself.
Manufacture is either for when you need one right the hell now, or as an AP sink. If you know you’ll be unable to play for 48 hours, search all the way down to 1 AP, then manufacture one. You’ll be at -19 AP, but who really cares since you’ll be just as immobile until you come back.
What are you playing as? (I have a guy with the DHPD, a zombie keeping Dulton a hellhole, and a unaffiliated consumer that I’m just having fun with.)