Whoever claimed that city-building games were mechanically and conceptually digestible clearly never spent a night in Frostpunk, a bitterly cruel sandbox sim that does all in its power to annihilate its overseers and belittle their every effort to generate social and economic stability. It’s in its DNA, and, quite frankly, it has a history of making anyone who’s ever assumed the reigns reconsider their choices and flee before making headway in the actual story. But don’t let that stop you from giving it a go, though. While it is indescribably tough and strewn with one too many trials and tribulations, it is, for lack of a better word, downright addictive. And under the right guidance, one or two tips will definitely get you through those first relentlessly cold nights.
Let it be said that, given its advanced difficulty curve that’s implemented right from the get-go, a solid 80% of budding governors never quite manage to make it through the first few nights. If you’re looking to make it into the top 20% and claim a foothold on all Frostpunk has to offer, however, then be sure to read on for a few quick tips. Here’s how to hit the ice running in 11 bit studios’ ludicrously challenging city-building sim.
5. Get Used to the Hot Seat
Let it be said that, while most city-building games tend to give you a little extra wriggle room with your initial funds and citizens’ preliminary requests, Frostpunk opts for a different route; it gives you limited resources to find an immediate foothold, and essentially locks you out if you’re unable to perform to the highest standard within the first ten or so minutes. So, before you start out on your unforgiving journey to rebuild from the icy dunes, know that failure is inevitable. It’s a bitter reality, for sure, but understanding that trial and error is commonplace in a game like Frostpunk will help you learn from your mistakes and improve your overall performance.
Once you’ve grown accustomed to having the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’ll be able to start focusing on more pressing matters; needs, structures, and warmth, to name but a few. To make that first dent on the ice-riddled city of yours, you’ll want to scavenge the areas outside of your walls for any type of material you can find. To make it slightly clearer, you’ll want to forage for Wood, Steel, and Coal. You can dispatch your citizens to collect these as soon as you begin your rule.
4. Lay the Foundations
In order to establish the foundations for a successful city, you’ll need to invest in key structures; a Sawmill, Coal Thumper, and Coal Deposit, being the most important. Before you set out the plans to have these built, you’ll need to erect a Workshop. Having one of these will grant you the ability to research new blueprints and structures, all of which will assist in the evolution of your economy. So, once you’ve successfully managed to scrub the outskirts of your city of all its natural resources, aim to build the Workshop and start researching key technologies and landmarks.
Aside from having the deposits needed to extract and store raw materials, you’ll also need to build an Infirmary, which will be used to heal your sick citizens, as well as a Gathering Post, which will allow citizens to store materials without having to endure the hazardous conditions and the feral environment outside of the city walls. If you can help it, aim to build your Workshop and research these facilities as soon as you’re able to.
3. Embrace the Warmth
One of the biggest obstacles that you’ll need to overcome in Frostpunk is the weather. As you start out, you’ll notice that the temperature is always on a gradual decline, and that you’ll only have a certain amount of time to get your citizens in the warm. To achieve this, you will need to start investing in Steam Hubs and towers to dot around your settlement. Each of these pylons will dish out a certain amount of heat, and will keep anything within the given radius heated so long as the nearest generator is active. Your goal here, really, is to generate enough heat to keep the entire city under the cover of warmth.
Of course, another reason for keeping your city warm is to stop your citizens from catching frostbite and winding up in the Infirmary. If this happens, then you’ll automatically lose out on the opportunity to dispatch your workforce to complete objectives and keep the cogs in motion. Bottom line is, if your folks are cold — then they won’t work, and will wind up getting sick; a sick workforce means you’ll find yourself starved and banished before the end of the first fortnight. So yeah — keep ‘em warm.
2. Take the Firm but Fair Approach
As leader, it’ll be your responsibility to ensure the safety of your citizens and their many, many needs. More often than not, you’ll have a problem to deal with, and it’ll be up to you to decide how it should be handled, either with an iron fist, or a gentle hand. To really make the people respect you, however, you’ll want to find balance between the two, and essentially favor certain jobs over others. If you can find stability in the day-to-day, but also refrain from bending over backwards for the simplest of requests, then you’ll be able to stay in power for much longer that those who came before you.
Times will be tough, true, but if you can learn how to treat your citizens without letting them run amok and refrain from contributing to the general flow of the day’s agenda, then you should be able to keep a lid on that Discontent and Hope meter for the duration of your stay. Firm, but fair — that’s really all there is to it.
1. Accept Your Fate…
As disheartening as it is to see a game over screen brush over your screen and all that hard work reduced to ash, the simple truth is, it’s going to happen, whether you like it or not. 11 bit studios set out to craft a survival city-building game that, like Dark Souls and other ludicrously complex favorites, tests its users and, more importantly, their patience. And that’s just it, as tedious as it may strike you as.
Of course, you can go ahead and embrace each of the four aforementioned steps, but chances are it’ll still take numerous attempts to finally get the snowball rolling, so to speak. Therefore, before you sign the waiver and delve further into what Frostpunk has to offer, know that setting yourself up for failure in all part of the learning process. Stick with it, and you’ll get the hang of it…eventually.
So, what’s your take? Do you have any tips for future Frostpunk players? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.