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Essential Frostpunk tips

Learn how to keep warm and beat the cold in our handy tips guide

Over two years after release, frosty city-building game Frostpunk is still holding on. Like the town it portrays, the game pushes forward with continued updates and an even console versions. Even though DLC support has officially ended, I suspect we won’t hear the last of Frostpunk for some time yet. It even got a board game adaptation!

Given that the game quite a bit bigger than when we first looked at it, there’s no time like the present for a tips guide. Frostpunk does a decent job of telling you how to play but it’s easy to miss some of the finer points. For example, did you know that too much snow is actually bad for your health? I know! It’s news to us as well. We’ve also heard that apparently citizens prefer to stay warm and fed, and would prefer not to be exploited within an inch of their lives. The more you know.

With that in mind, this guide is here to give you some cheeky little tips to help you on your way in the frozen wastes of Frostpunk…


Here are our top Frostpunk tips to get you started:

  • Build Gathering Posts
  • Keep homes heated
  • Scout early & often for extra stuff
  • Build all the Research Workshops
  • Work towards alternative energy sources
  • Manage the expectations of your populace
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment

Gathering Posts are worth it

I’m sure I’m not the only one to not bother with gathering posts in my first few playthroughs of Frostpunk. Why bother spending time and effort building this cruddy building with limited radius when you can gather all the resources around you immediately and for free? How wrong I am…

Put it this way. At the start of the game you’ll have a set of resources spread around your generator. Let’s say in one place you have two coal piles and one wood. You want all of them because coal = life and wood = buildings = life. To maximise output you’ll need to put 45 of your precious people onto the job. If you’re doing the first scenario then that’s more than half of your 80 person workforce gone.

Now – let’s put a gathering post down. It requires only 10 people to gather everything there, they’ll work in warmer conditions and they’ll do it faster.

Looking at the Gathering Post's stats, with options to toggle the workforce assigned to it

Heat your homes

It’s all very well having a post-apocalyptic health service worthy of Finland, but prevention is better than treatment. People in hospital are people not working 24 hour shifts in mines. People living in freezing conditions are far more likely to get sick. Your health systems getting swamped by frostbite casualties could be the difference between surviving the winter with a healthy populace or a healthy graveyard.

It’s often unfeasible to heat workplaces, but heating houses is well worth it. Your people are likely to spend more of their time there after all, and with careful placement Steam Hubs can heat a very healthy amount of houses. Coal used up to fast? Don’t hesitate to switch them off, so long as you keep your medical buildings running (they stop at a certain temperature threshold if they get too cold).

The effects of this will be felt in terms of what doesn’t happen. You’ll never be able to ensure everyone is healthy, but you – hopefully – won’t have runaway medical emergencies, and that’s what’s important.

Another view of the frozen town. Furnaces are blasting heat into the air

Scout early, Scout Often

Put it this way, we like free stuff. With a decided population deficit in the frozen north these days as a result of certain events that I shan’t spoil, there’s a lot of it lying around.

That free stuff is going to save you. As soon as you can possibly send expeditions off, do it. If you have time to research the second research group, do that too. There is no better investment you can make than having five guys with skis go off and search for things. They’ll find food, resources, automatons and even an outpost or two.

The amount of stuff you can get along the way is ridiculous. The sooner you start doing that the easier things will be. Also, if you’re wondering about outposts: just get them. If you build one on an old coal mine you can say goodbye to all your coal related worries, they’re that good.

Speaking of research…

A view of the Workshop, covered in snow and it is emitting smoke

Research Workshops – the more the merrier

I never settle for one workshop. I’ll often have five by the end of a scenario. Let’s say straight out that extra workshops only incrementally improve your research.

You’ll be lucky to push above an efficiency of 150% from a base of 100% with only a single workshop. Even so, for me it’s enough. The benefits go beyond the boost in research speed. It can often be if you’re in a lull where the weather hasn’t yet gone bad and everything is going okay that you end up with a large number of medical buildings with nothing to do.

Engineers are precious – put them into those workshops and get them researching for when things start to go wrong again. If you need medical outposts open – it won’t hurt too much to move the engineers back to doctoring again. You’ve got limited manpower, use it well.

Another view of your town. This time we're looking at a facility that's focused on generating energy

Alternative Energy is Good (in Frostpunk as well)

It’s tempting to be conservative with your resource gathering. After all, why change if things are going well? Whilst the generic coal mines and similar do what they say on the tin, you’ll often find yourself wanting more – especially late in games it’s entirely possible for objectives to demand far more resources than you’d ever need for yourself.

This is where the menagerie of alternatives come in. Top of the list is a wall drill, if you can get one, build it. The lost steam core is well worth the unlimited supply of wood.

Others can be more situational. Have mountains of manpower you’ve no idea what to do with? Build a Coal Thumper. Two gathering posts beside it will ensure a ridiculous amount of coal is gathered for you and ensure that there are no idle hands to be worrying about. One thing I will caution on however is the Charcoal Kiln. If you have too much wood – great, but it has a habit of hoovering up all your wood while you’re distracted.

A look at the Adaptation menu. Several options are unlocked but a few are 'signed'

Manage Expectations

Talking of distractions: your people. Whilst you go about the job of saving them, they’ll generally pop up with demands that make your job harder. My rule of thumb is to take these little demands as “reminders” of things you might want to pay attention.

Scary as it is to see that discontent and hope bar rise, most of the time you’ll survive. Careful use of the book of laws will generally keep those bars manageable, so long as you don’t go full dystopia and have everyone working 24 hour shifts and feeding on soup.

Make sure to keep going down the moonshine and fighting pit paths, they are actually quite worthwhile. The ancillary paths of both the religious and order paths are also very useful. A spot of tactical Fake News from the Propaganda building have proved instrumental in saving more than one of my games.

A heating problem has appeared on the screen. The person is describing how homes are cold and there are three options to choose from.

Last But Not Least: Experiment

For me, the greatest satisfaction in playing Frostpunk is being provided the same problem for me to fix any way I like, with the measure of how well I’ve done being the number of people alive at the end of a session.

Whilst there is a certain amount of rote learning to any game, Frostpunk really rewards finding new answers for old problems. The above tips are only a starting point for the kinds of tricks you can pull in game. It is the greatest satisfaction, ultimately, to discover them for yourself. So go forth – and experiment!

Frostpunk DLC

At the time of writing, Frostpunk has three primary expansions that comprised the initial ‘Season Pass’. At the moment, there are no known plans for additional expansions. In order of release, these are:

Frostpunk is one of our favourite management games, but if you are looking for a new game to scratch that survival itch, our list of best survival games also has plenty of options to choose from.