Frostpunk Is A Balancing Act Between Short-Term & Long-Term Decision Making
I tried to be the benevolent, ethical leader of this post-apocalyptic settlement. I was against child labour, and ensured my citizens ate proper food. Boy... and that went bad quick.
Frostpunk is a city builder that throws ethical questions at you. When people are desperate, perhaps we take desperate measures. This is the main thrust of the game. And within it, is a struggle to balance out... or attempt to balance out between short-term and long-term solutions.
This is where Frostpunk is brilliant. It doesn't just ask you to build for the needs now. There is a timer right at the top of the screen that warns of impending temperature drops... which can be fatal to your citizens (something I didn't really handle well at first). You need to be prepared for critical situations.
The only source of hope, is a giant generator at the centre of this makeshift settlement. If that goes out, it's game over... eventually as your people lose hope and force you out of the settlement.
I found out the hard way that being nice alone won't do any good. My first few tries involved fulfilling immediate needs and passing a law that gave extra rations to the ill.... bad... bad decision. You see... things spiral out of control fast in Frostpunk.
A low 40 degree temperature meant lots of my workforce that trudged through the snow to get to work with poor heating caught frostbite and were gravely ill. Each death reduced hope of the settlement (hope is a meter that is tied to a fail state. 0 hope, game over) Because of the extra rations law, my overcrowded sickbays were burning through available food.
You can see where this went. Death, starvation... more death. Like all good survival games, experience is a great teacher. Learning why things went wrong and how to do better the next time, and think ahead... that is how you approach Frostpunk.
Unforgiving and brutally challenging, Frostpunk also doesn't really tell you how to build this settlement well. Frostpunk tell's gamers "here's the mechanics of the game, now go figure". That's not a bad thing. It manages to convince you to try again, improve your build. Manage your workers well. Think ahead in research.
I'm now doing a lot better in my current game, having figured out I need to keep the people out of the snow when temperatures drop. Absolutely love the fact that sometimes, for sheer survival, you have to take the short-term solution, while not forgetting the long-term. Attempting to balance it all... that is Frostpunk.
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