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The Gist

Frostpunk is a 2018 survival-based city building game developed by 11 Bit Studios where the player must manage resources and make choices in order to ensure their city, and its people, survive

The premise is that it is 1888, and the apocalypse is coming. A volcanic winter is covering the world in ice and snow, and soon the majority of the planet will be uninhabitable. The only places where life stands a chance are places where scientists have put up "Generators"-- massive structures that are capable of heating entire city states provided they are maintained properly.

Mechanics

In order to maintain the generators and the city, the player must obtain and manage resources including coal, steel, wood, and food for the citizens. With those, you can create buildings and assign your people jobs that will, hopefully, produce more resources and keep the generator powered. Because the impending snow-pocalypse is the ongoing threat of the game, the weather will periodically drop, requiring more power from the generator, requiring more resources. Provided you create a Workshop with Engineers, you can unlock perks and technology trees to research that give you improved buildings for resource gathering. You can also put together exploration teams to travel landmarks on your map and find resources that way.

Along with that, there are also mechanics for "hope" and "discontent"-- in order to avoid a coup, you must keep your citizens' hope up and discontent low. Hope and Discontent can be managed by doing things like keeping promises you make to your people (if you say you're going to build five houses, then build five houses) and generally being a successful city manager. However, narrative events often conspire against you and throw random, debilitating struggles on top of the usual challenges, so another way to keep Discontent and Hope in check is by providing your people a "Purpose" in the Book of Laws menu.

The Book of Laws is a tech-tree style menu of branching laws you can pass for your citizens, each of which come with perks and drawbacks. The initial set of laws you're able to pass is called "Adaptation" and includes things like "Emergency Shift" (which allows people to work overnight) and "Fighting Arena" which enables you to build an arena where people can fight to relieve Discontent, but also has the chance of someone getting injured and needing medical care (which you will need a medical post or other healing-type building to treat). other options on the menu are choices that automatically lock the alternative choice, forcing the player to choose between things like child labor and child shelters or cemeteries and corpse pits. You'd think these choices would be clear-cut, but no. Sometimes you REALLY REALLY NEED extra workers, and the corpse pit option opens the Organ Transplant option which is insanely helpful if your people keep getting sick.

Scenarios

There are several "Scenarios" to play through, some of which came with the game and can only be unlocked after completing the first scenario, and others were released later as DLC. These scenarios include: A New Home, The Arks, The Refugees, The Fall of Winterhome, The Last Autumn, The Rifts, and On The Edge. Of these, the first three come with the game, and the last three are paid DLC, with Fall of Winterhome being free DLC.

Spoilers for each Scenario in the pipelink.

A New Home is the first and "main" story. You are the leader of a group of settlers who have left the dying city London in order to establish one of the northern Generators, and each time you think you might be getting the hang of the game, the weather drops drastically, until finally there's an enormous storm you have to prepare your town for.

The Arks has you as the leader of a group of Engineers responsible for "Arks"-- giant buildings full of seeds from all the different plants on Earth. The initial goal is to build automatons that will be self sufficient in caring for the arks, thus ensuring that the seeds continue to live on even after humans have perished. And then spoiler.

The Refugees revolves around a group of people who were regular, working class and poor people back home, but discovered that the wealthy lords of their city were boarding an enormous and luxurious dreadnought in order to claim a northern Generator-- leaving everyone else behind. The commoners commandeered the ship and have claimed the generator as their own, and just when you finally manage to get the place working, spoiler.

The Fall of Winterhome, as the name suggests, is about a city that is doomed to fail from the start. It is a prequel to the New Home scenario, as in the New Home scenario, your people find the destroyed remains of Winterhome. The goal here is to try and save as many people as you can from the impending destruction. You begin the story with the city already demolished from a giant riot, and the reason you are in charge is because you and your team of rebels murdered the psychopathic leaders. You start the scenario off with nearly no Hope and a lot of Discontent, and you have to clear the wreckage of the city before anyone will take you seriously and before the game proper can start.

The other three scenarios are ones I own, but have not played yet, and have intentionally avoided spoilers for.


If you like city-management games, I recommend it. I bought it six days ago on GOG, and apparently I have already dumped 46 hours into it.