The Ultimate "Frostpunk" Guide: Tips, Tricks and How to Survive!
Frostpunk is city-building/resource management game by Polish indie developers, 11 Bit Studios. The game is set in 1886 in an alternate universe, where the sun has dimmed permanently, and the world has been thrust into global cooling. Temperatures routinely reach -30 degrees Celsius and millions of people have died due to widespread crop failure and the freezing temperatures.
You start the game off as a commander in charge of a small community of people who have fled from the cold and hunger of London. In the crater that you and the survivors have found, there’s a massive Generator which can be powered to give off heat, but it’s up to you to direct the citizens to find coal to keep it running, build shelters, hunt for food, and eventually pass laws to keep the community thriving and happy.
Frostpunk is an amazing game, but it’s also quite tricky. I failed and had to restart the game at least 15 times before reaching the end of the first scenario, and for different reasons most times; most commonly I had to restart because people began dying due to the Generator not having enough coal and turning off, not having enough food stockpiled, passing too many laws which made the community unhappy and them kicking me out…you name it!
Because of the challenge of the game, I started taking tips on how I succeeded, and compiled a list to share with you. The first scenario, “A New Home”, is certainly difficult, but not impossible, and these tips will hopefully help you succeed as I did.
- Pause the game: when you first start, pause the game and take stock of your surroundings You’ll see piles of resources everywhere; start assigning your citizens to these piles and start collecting resources
- Place 30 people on coal, 30 people on wood, 5 on steel
- Once you collect 200 coal, you’ll be asked to turn the Generator on. You don’t need to until night; -20 degrees Celsius is a liveable temperature during the day time
- Sign your first law: 24 hour shifts. Do not use it. Soon you’ll be able to sign the law for Extended Shifts. Sign this law, and you’ll find it easier to stay on top of collecting resources later
- Build homes at night: you’ll receive a request to build homes- wait until you’re prompted, elect to build homes for all, and then place 8 Tents in the first ring around the Generator
- Build one Medical Post in the first ring near the Generator (leave a space for a second Medical Post, which you’ll place later)
- Finally, turn on the Generator at night. Between 3-5 people will get sick the first night. Take 5 Engineers off one of your resource piles, and assign them to the Medical Post
- Turn the Generator back off during morning- for the first four days you’ll only need it at night
- During the 2nd night, build two Workshops and the Cookhouse; these can all go on the second ring. Build the second Medical Post, if needed
- Assign 5 Workers to the cookhouse on day 3, and they’ll cook the raw food you have. Take the Workers off and put them back onto a resource pile when all the food is cooked.
- Start researching Heaters first, then research a Beacon
- On night 3, you’ll need to do a lot of building to prepare for Day 4: build Gathering Huts near your remaining resource piles (you’ll likely only need two, one near the pile of wood and steel to the right of the Generator, and one by the two piles of coal near the north of the Generator), build a Hunting Hut, and build your Beacon
- The temperature will drop on Day 4, so prepare to turn the Heater on in the Cookhouse, and leave the Generator on all day
- Send out troops using the Beacon, use the Gathering Hut to collect resources, and prepare a team to hunt that evening
Resources and Workers
- Don’t use 3x speed during the working day, as you’ll need to keep an eye on your workers and resource piles, because things will constantly change throughout the day
- As soon as your resource piles empty, start building proper workplaces, i.e Coal Thumper, Steelworks and Sawmill
- Build extra storage when needed, and stockpile coal and food (late game, you’ll want to stockpile steel and steam cores)
- Move workers around as necessary- anticipate needs and change workers accordingly. If you see the icon saying a workplace has reached capacity, empty it and move your workers elsewhere
- Never have your citizens idle- every single person should be working during working hours
- Do your building at night during free time, that way you’re not interrupting precious working hours for building (as citizens will abandon work to construct a new building, slowing down the collection time)
- Use Extended Shifts during emergencies (i.e. a storm is coming, and you’re low on coal), but try to avoid 24 hours shifts as someone usually dies (I RARELY use 24 hour shifts, and after 30 in-game days, the only person who died was the 1 straggler from Winterhome)
- Dismantle buildings you no longer need to recover resources
- Have at least four Workshops to speed up research, as you get a bonus for each additional Workshop you have (for example, with 4 Workshops, you research at 160%, which means a 7 hour job will only take 4.3 hours to research instead)
- Research Beacon first, and find more recruits
- Start researching building upgrades as soon as possible- the faster you can upgrade and insulate your buildings, the less heat you’ll need to generate, and the less coal you’ll need to consume
- Don’t feel that you need to research everything on the Technology Tree; just research the things you need, and feel free to skip to the next tier of research, if necessary
- You’ll likely find your own favourite buildings, but mine for resources are Coal Thumper, Steelworks and Sawmill (later upgraded to Steel Coal Thumper, Steam Sawmill, and Steam Steelworks)
- You need gathering huts to collect coal from the Coal Thumper
- Once the city grows, I tend to have 3x Hothouse (later upgraded to Industrial Hothouse), 2x Flying Hunters, 2x Cook House so that I can adequately feed the community
- Once you can upgrade to Infirmaries, do so in lieu of Medical Posts
- Upgrade to Bunkhouse > House as soon as you can to keep your citizens nice and warm
- Feel free to place Steam Hubs in areas not close to the Generator
Hope and Discontent
- To minimise the amount of Londoners, keep Hope high, at least to the "p" in the "Hope" meter
- Save passing favourable laws until you need a boost on Hope
- Child Shelters will make citizens happy, build enough of them to house all children
- Fighting Arenas and Public Houses will also make citizens happy
- Hovering over the Discontent Meter will allow you to see why people are Discontent, try to remedy these issues and bring Discontent down
Book of Laws
These are only my suggestions/what worked best for me. Feel free to experiment with different laws as you see fit.
- Emergency Shift > Extended Shift: I mentioned this a bit before, but I never use Emergency Shift, and Extended Shift only when really necessary, as it causes Discontent
- Child Shelters > Medic Apprentices: Having all children in shelters keeps Hope high, and having children work as Medic Apprentices speeds up recovery time in Medic Posts/Infirmaries
- Radical Treatment > Carehouse > Prosthetics: if you play the game right, you’ll end up with few amputees, but I found it better to get them back working again with prosthetics, rather than them just being in a sick bed forever
- Cemetery > Ceremonial Funerals: both help in keeping Hope high
- Fighting Arena > Public House > Moonshine: again, keeps Hope high. Do not sign Duelling Law, as it can lead to deaths
- I never have to sign either of the food laws (Soup or Food Additives) as I plan well and stockpile food early in the game
- I also don’t sign either of the Overcrowding or Extra Rations for the Ill laws
Faith vs. Order
This is a personal choice, I and suppose your mileage may vary either way. I have only done one play through with Faith, and found that it wasn’t effective, and I was kicked out of the community because Hope was so low/Discontent was too high. So I always choose Order, and choose the following laws:
- Neighbourhood Watch > Morning Gathering > Foreman: the first two raise Hope, and the Foreman is a great boost for productivity in your workplaces
- Guard Stations > Prison: the game will prompt you to choose this really, but it’s useful during The Londoners
- Guard Stations > Patrol: keeps violence/vandalism down and raises Hope
- Guard Stations > Propaganda Centre: raises Hope
- The Generator should be monitored throughout all major temperature changes, and especially once you’ve researched insulation for your buildings
- Every time you research a generator upgrade, it’ll automatically be turned on, make sure to flick it off if necessary
- Once you have your buildings properly insulated, you can likely sustain -60 degree temps with just Steam Level and Range Setting 1
- Toggle the Temperature Overlay (the “O” button, or click on the thermometer on the top of the screen) to see a heat map. Any purple areas are freezing- if citizens are working there, provide heat
- If you see an asterisk symbol above a workplace that means it’s freezing and your citizens can get sick or suffer from frostbite. Place a Steam Hub nearby or turn on the Heater (you may have to do both)
- When the temp goes up, lower your Steam Level and turn off all unnecessary Steam Hubs/Heaters
- When the temp goes low (or during a storm), crank the generator up to the highest possible setting. You can also turn overdrive on temporarily for a heat boost. Have a look at the Temperature Overlay and make sure everyone is at least in “Liveable” conditions and adjust accordingly
- Coal is one of your most important assets during the game, so always ensure that you’ve got enough to last at least a week when your Generator is operating at its highest function
A Final Tip:
Without any spoilers, I’ll offer one last tip about “A New Home”; there is a big storm at day 43. Make sure you’ve stockpiled enough food and coal to last a week or your people will die and you’ll “lose” the game.
Do you have any tips for playing "Frostpunk"? Which tip did you find most useful? Let me know in the comments section below!
© 2019 Brittany Brown