Jeff Freezos: a Frostpunk diary of careless cruelty, part 2


Continuing an increasingly doomed attempt to survive the endless winter of Frostpunk.

Overwork and hunger: the very bedrock of a failed society. Strained beyond belief mere days into proceedings, my people fall ill faster than the attendees of a three-year-old’s birthday party in an airless room. We need all hands on deck to gather supplies for the building of a hunter’s shack and cookhouse, but the only way to achieve this is to forcibly remove a few hands.

I pass a law decreeing that radical surgery is permitted – anything, no matter how brutal, that will get the sick back on their feet and working again. Let the sawbones do their worst, and let me carry the can of a guilty conscience.

The measure proves enough to get the food buildings erected, at least. My people are stretched thin, so very thin, by all this, and so the next priority has to be expanding their ranks.

I am dimly aware that creating more mouths to feed is its own form of slow-motion suicide. Would it not be best to stay as we are, focus only on grim subsistence? But then one of the gravely ill refuses the amputation that would save his life. I respect his wishes, even though the loss of a worker and the simple, brutal fact our my tortured community’s first death is a terrible precedent.

frostpunk amputation

My resolve is hardened by this first, bleakly understated loss: these people are going to die, if not now then soon enough, as the cold deepens, the resources grow scarcer and the invidious living conditions spirit away more limbs and organs. Before long, there will be no-one left to hunt, no-one left to tend the sick, no-one to farm coal for the generator that is life itself. Before long, there will only be the sick and the starving, grieving for their lost friends and children. Before long, there will only be gentle undulations upon the surface of the snow that hides the wasted forms of the last to die.

(Britain has just enjoyed its warmest weekend of the year so far. Due to the angle at which sunlight pours through my window, one of my arms is a deeper red-brown than the other. On my screen, the temperature drops to -40°C; ice forms upon the canvas of the tents that lie just a few feet away from the generator’s immediate warmth.)

The decision is made. More wood and steel is gathered, more overnight shifts are mandated, a workshop is built, a beacon is built, five workers we cannot spare are drafted into a small expeditionary force, and they make their way to the nearest sign of other survivors.

I am too thrilled by their swift discovery of survivors to think the consequences through. I am already guilty of thinking of these new people as more arms to take up the ever-growing slack . I have my scouts usher them back to the splintered wood and steel skeleton that is laughingly called a ‘city’, dreaming of all the roles they can fill. A second hunter’s hut, a backup infirmary, a gatherer’s hut right by that huge coal drift…

frostpunk scouts

I think about my plans, my pride, my reputation – my certain legacy as a saviour. I do not think about the new recruits’ needs. They arrive at their new home to find that they have no homes, no unoccupied tents to call their own, to find that they must spend another night sleeping out in the endless snow. Why did I not think to prepare, to construct overspill tents before I brought these people in?

There is not enough wood to build more tents. There is not enough food to feed these new mouths. There is not enough room in the infirmary to treat an almost immediately snowballing number of sick citizens of this wretched nowhere. Yet still I force my people to work themselves into illness, misery, death, while I sit back in my sunlit luxury.

I order harvesters hither and builders thither, but I simply do not have enough people to solve the problem of having too many people. Within 30 hours, 12 people remain homeless, 57 are starving and 29 are ill. Paralysed by indecision and regret, I let another half day pass. No god comes to save us.

frostpunk failure

I turn my face to the sun outside my window, and know where I must be instead of here. I freeze my people in their terrible moment and try to forget how much, and how quickly, I have failed them.

To be continued…


  1. Blastaz says:

    Well that’s that game over…

    Tips time I think chaps!

    • Jreengus says:

      I’d offer tips but I genuinely don’t know how things can get this bad this quickly. The only thing can guess is that people going hungry must really screw you over for sickness, so I guess focus on food over shelter? I know spending a night or two in the open early on isn’t really that bad since the temperature is still at 4/5 with the generator on plus you can get some easy hope by promising to build housing.

      • Blastaz says:

        Given that the first temperature drop isn’t till, what, day 4? I’d assume that Alec is allowing a little artistic license over timings.

        • Jreengus says:

          I figured that, but by sound of it the radical surgery law was passed before the first temperature drop and I don’t remember having more than two or three of minorly ill people before that. It wasn’t until a few hours into the first drop the ill really piled up for me but from the sound of it Alec went into that drop with seriously ill people.

          • tigerfort says:

            As I understood part 1, Alec didn’t start to gather materials for housing until after everyone finished a shift mining coal. I’ve not played the game (yet), but I’d guess that initial double-shift with no shelter massively dented every stat available.

    • Blastaz says:

      Guess I’ll have to start then:

      Build a research building right at the start. Tech is probably the most important bottleneck. Rush the beacon. Then get sawmill and stealmill. Then get a heating method in time for the first freeze.

      Equally constantly research laws. Go emergency shit then extended shift. Never use emergency but apply extended basically everywhere. Then child shelters and engineers aprentices. If you need child workers then pick this as your very first pick. Then freezer if you need it (funerals is obviously “better” but freeze pits are certainly easier). Then fight club and pub and moonshine to start getting happiness up. Never have this not on cool down unless there are no laws left you want to pass. Order is probably easier as prisons are OP, but if you are going for golden path then faith feels even less malevolent.

      Order your buildings during the night, so your workers work for the full day. Particularly important right at the start. Don’t use gathering huts early on to clear the first starting resources but you will need them after the first freeze. Prioritise wood with just a few people on coal and steel.

      Wood is the early game blocker, get two sawmills set up early and it basically fixes the problem. Build a cook house on day two to convert your starting food to rations. Then get your hunters up and running. EXPLOIT you can have people work a normal shift during the day then let them build for a bit then switch them over to the hunters shack before the time runs out to get a full haul then put them back on a normal shift next day with basically no penalty. Just keep 1 person in the hunters shack all the time so the timer starts ticking at 1800.

      You can leave off houses till day three or so, but will want them for the temperature drop. Just ignore them when they ask you to build them. EXPLOIT till the first freeze you only need the generator on between roughly 0000 and 0500. Turn it off the rest of the time to save a lot of early game coal. Then keep it on after the freeze.

      Heating is crucial. So is vaguely optimal postitioning. There are a number of tactics but the one that works for me is: just build houses and aoe buildings (fight pits, watchtowers etc) in the first four rows that can be covered by your max upgrade generator. Lay down houses to measure out this circle then cancel them at zero cost to see the area. Then zone the rest of your city, keep buildings you need to heat (health, workshops, cook houses etc) together so you can easily cluster them around a few steam hubs. Then you will have two large quarters that you don’t need to heat for resource stores and hunters and buildings you will staff with automatons.

      pick paths you will research and paths you won’t to streamline. Ie go just for hunters not hothouses or just thumpers not coal mines. Personally I go for thumpers, two advanced thumpers starred by automatons and surrounded by a tight cluster of six gathering huts each produce a lot of coal, and only require two/three steam hubs to keep warm – and if your hunters are working “double shifts” even better. you can then supplement with a few kilns as required.

    • Blastaz says:

      Seemingly can’t edit so one extra spoilerific one.

      Don’t explore winterholm till day fifteen. This gives you loads of time to get established and pass nearly all of the adaption laws you need. Explore the rest of the world then park one scout in the city. Disband the other and put the workers to use. Two scouts and first boost is plenty for start but you’ll probably want three for next phase. Put one outpost on Tesla city for steam cores and the other one on what you seem to need most coal, steel or food. If you are ok for coal then scrap the coal mine when you explore it for the cores. Try and fix the Londoner problem as slowly as possible, always let them speak then have the last word for an achievement and a big boost. When the final storm approaches you can see it on the map. Keep your outposts open till they are about to be overrun then send them scurrying home. If one is on steel send it to food for a little longer.

      Oh and for healing I find sustain life -> care home build one then research infirmary the best method.

  2. Cederic says:

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting that final screenshot but couldn’t everybody sleep in that three storey building on the right? They’d be lovely and cosy in there.

  3. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Funny what you say about it being odd playing this in warm, bright sunlight. I remember back when I was playing Sang-Froid Tales Of Werewolves I actually set the game aside as winter ended (bought it in the winter sale) and didn’t pick it up again until the next winter. Bit weird I know, but it just felt better.

  4. teije says:

    I remember playing The Long Dark last year during an August heat wave (humidity defined) and shivering. Wonderfully evocative. Frostpunk sounds brilliant, looking forward to playing it.

  5. pookie191 says:

    *Notes limbs being cut off*
    Good get those lazy so and so’s back to work!

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>