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Frostpunk: Getting Started Guide (Tips Tricks, & Strategies)

The cold, unforgiving, city-building survival game Frostpunk will test the player's ability to plan for the long-term. While city-building games often come in a grid-based or even hexagon-based building system, Frostpunk has a radial build structure. It's a design choice that makes sense for the setting, as the city the player is in charge of is built around a massive coal generator, the main source of heat in a world that is steadily growing colder.

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The city is built for survival, rather than aesthetics. There are no parks or bowling alleys, although it is still important to manage morale. Hope is powerful, but despair can cripple a city, so along the way, players will need to make tough decisions to moderate these emotions. It can be difficult for those new to Frostpunk to know what to do, so here’s a helpful guide to prevent citizens dying from frostbite.

Note that this guide focuses mainly on the first scenario, A New Home. Many of the strategies below can be applied to the other scenarios as well, but some have their own unique conditions and buildings. A New Home is the main part of the game, so new Frostpunk players should start with this one.

When building in Frostpunk, it is important to try to plan for the future. In the A New Home scenario, players will have a few days of moderate temperatures. On day four, it gets colder by one level and stays that way for a few days. Players will want to build tents as close to the generator as possible so all citizens are housed and don’t get sick from the cold. The first two circles out from the generators should be tents since they do not have insulation or the potential to have a heating source.

Players should make sure to research heating as soon as possible. When citizens go to work, it is important for their buildings to be heated so they are less likely to get sick. However, with a 10% chance of getting sick, in a population of 100, 10 people are still likely going to get sick. This is why it is also necessary to build Medical Posts early. People might not get sick immediately, but it will happen sooner or later, so it is better to be prepared.

Eventually, it will be time to scout the surrounding areas by building a Beacon. Players can then send scouts out into the world and find survivors, supplies, or other story-related events. Initially, it is only possible to send one group at a time, but players can research the option to send more.

Workshops are important too, as they allow the player to research new technologies. Building additional Workshops has diminishing returns, but to get the fastest research, players should build four.

Players will also need to construct roads to connect buildings. This is where planning for the future comes in. Otherwise, the city will look like a sprawling mess. Then again, in a game such as Frostpunk, functionality is more important than beauty. This is a game set in a frozen wasteland and not a tropical island, after all.

In Frostpunk, morale is represented by two bars players need to keep track of Hope and Discontent. These are tracked separately and provide different benefits and penalties, depending on their progress.

Players can enact laws to deal with many issues their city is facing, and these can raise Hope or Discontent. For example, early on, players can choose to put children to work, which means more workers for the city’s many buildings. It also does not make people happy, so Discontent will rise. The other option is to pass a law for Child Shelters. This will raise Frostpunk’s Hope meter, but players will have to build the Child Shelters, which means they may not have extra workers when they really need them.

It's up to the player to choose the course of action, but they will have to deal with the consequences, including changes to Hope and Discontent. One set of laws players should think about researching early is Emergency Shift and Extended Shift. These laws have the advantage of being optional, which means they can be used when needed. Emergency Shifts should only be used in dire circumstances because they carry penalties, though.

With so many things to manage, it can be easy to forget about passing laws. Make sure to pass one when the opportunity arises to be prepared when a crisis inevitably arises.

To build up the city in Frostpunk, players will need to obtain a lot of resources, which requires assigning people to gather them. This is made easier by building Gathering Posts. Eventually, all the resources in the area will be gathered up, so players will need to focus on researching other means of generating resources, like Coal Mines and Sawmills. Players do have some choices regarding how to proceed, so having a strategy is paramount to success.

For example, the Coal Thumper creates new piles of coal, which increases the usefulness of Gathering Posts. However, players will need to decide whether it is a priority over a Coal Mine. Decisions like these depend on what the player wants to do and what challenges they face.

As is the case in many strategy games, it is important to be adaptable in Frostpunk. Often, it is impossible to predict problems that come up, so players will have to deal with them in the moment. Unless playing on the hardest difficulty, players always can pause the game, giving them more time to think or read through things carefully and decide what to do.

Frostpunk playthroughs will often not go as intended, but failure is rarely immediate. Some people may get sick and die, but with the world's fate resting on the player’s shoulders, even saving a few people should be celebrated. There are many choices in the game, and none of them are easy. Eventually, things will improve, as long as the player has planned properly.

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Frostpunk is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac.

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