Frostpunk: The Last Autumn is the game’s most brutal campaign yet. You’ll need grit, sacrifice, and a proper plan to get through the generator project. Mankind’s last hope rests on you getting this done, so here are a few tips to help you get started.
Unlike the original Frostpunk, The Last Autumn’s map is fairly small. It has limited coal and trees and no natural source of steel to speak of. Instead, your crew has been furnished with a couple of piles of steel, wood, and steam cores to help you get established. This is plenty to get your basic housing, infirmary, cookhouse, and research building out of the way. Once those are spent, you’ll need to research the sawmill to clear space for your city while gathering as much of the precious local wood as possible.
There is a coal deposit on the southern edge of the map. It’s a good idea to drop a gathering hub on it once you’ve finished gathering your starting resources. Until you start the base of the generator, you’ll likely have plenty of idle workers to put to work. Every resource is important, but coal is what keeps people warm, so start stockpiling early.
Once your house of research is built, your first important decision arises. What tech do you want your engineers to unlock first? The Last Autumn suggests either a Fishing Harbor or a Foragers’ Camp, though the Foragers’ Camp is infinitely more valuable early on. It takes much more time to pay off, but you should be able to scout out and find a food source that will provide 80 raw food every 24 hours or so within the first few sites you search.
However, despite what Frostpunk says, I’d recommend researching the Sawmill first. Wood is required for just about everything, from building to research costs, so having a steady supply of it is crucial. If you run out before you build a sawmill or dock, it’s game over, so plan carefully.
The Sawmill also lets you clear out space in a radius around it for future construction without wasting any of the map’s few, precious trees. Additionally, as mentioned before, you’ll have more workers than work early on, so a Sawmill or two will minimize wasted man-hours. The Sawmill only costs 10 wood to research and takes about a day. You have plenty of food to tide you over until that is done.
Brand new to The Last Autumn are docks. With these, you can import resources from your sponsors back home. A steady stream of coal, wood, and steel are all up for grabs, but only one can be brought into each dock (for some reason). For your first dock, I recommend importing steel. It is the only resource that you don’t have a way of procuring on your own early on. It is also needed for building and advanced research. On top of that, it is the slowest resource to harvest. Starting early can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Once you have established your foothold, it’s a good idea to build a second and third dock also dedicated to bringing in steel. Everything else is abundant enough early on, so you don’t need to worry about importing them. At any time you can switch from importing one resource to another, though it will take some time to change over. Docks also take 25 workers to operate – 10 to bring in resources and 15 to add said resources to your stockpile.
Discontent and motivation
The Book of Laws returns for The Last Autumn, but with a few tweaks. It is divided into Labor Laws and Administration Laws, but early on you’ll only have access to the Administration track. These laws are here to help you manage the two driving forces for your employees. These include Discontent, which returns from the base game, and Motivation, which replaces Frostpunk‘s Hope.
Early on, Discontent won’t be much of an issue. It will build slowly over time, but only in small amounts. Many laws will decrease discontent. Small accomplishments like reducing homelessness will also drive it down. Make sure not to take it for granted, though. Certain events and decisions will generate huge amounts of discontent. And if the bar fills up, it’s game over.
Motivation is broken into three sections. In the middle section, everything runs as expected. However, if motivation falls into the bottom section, you’ll experience a drop in efficiency across the board. If you can push motivation into the top section, you’ll get a 30% bonus to efficiency. Score! All of Frostpunk is a race against the clock, so maintaining at least standard motivation is crucial.
To that end are laws. Early on I’d suggest either the Public House (pub), which boosts motivation by giving everyone a place to relax after hours, or the Chapel. Either is a fine place to start. I recommend The Chapel more, though, as it has a sphere of influence on nearby housing, so getting it early will help you to build your town for maximum efficiency.
Additionally, once the Chapel is passed into law and built, you can pass a further law called Evening Service. This will let you boost motivation every few days in exchange for rations. By the time you get to this step, you should have plenty of food rolling in from the foragers you invested in earlier. Careful use of Evening Service can save you from dipping into the bottom level of motivation or give you that last little boost to put you over the top into bonus efficiency.
The Telegraph Station
Also new to The Last Autumn is the Telegraph Station. This building allows you to send requests for additional workers, engineers, and steam cores. This is done by trading points for each. Workers cost two points, engineers cost four, and steam cores cost a whopping 20. Don’t be squeamish about spending big when you need it, though. Your points fill up passively over time, and they can cap out. Plus, many of the tasks ahead of you require a lot of manpower.
Still, make sure not to overextend. Since workers are so cheap to import, you can easily bring in more people than you can feed and house. In general, I recommend bringing in just enough people to ensure your resource gathering machine is as close to fully staffed as possible. Usually, this means bringing in about 10-20 workers at a time. Just make sure they have a place to live by the time they arrive.
Steam cores are needed for most advanced construction, so if you have points to spare, it’s worth spending them there. It will take 24 hours for your requisition to arrive. During that time, you are unable to place additional orders, so plan carefully.
Building the generator
Once you are up and running, your focus will shift to your main mission: building the generator. This is a massive endeavor. Each stage of construction will take huge amounts of research, resources, and manpower. Your first step is building the Profiles Manufacture. This will let you convert 25 wood into a single Structural Profile, one of the three resources needed to construct the generator. You’ll need eight of these (200 wood total) to build the Shaft Structure, the first step on the long road ahead of you.
The Profiles Manufacture requires 20 workers to run at full capacity, more than almost any other single task in the game. And it only produces one of three resources needed to beat The Last Autumn‘s campaign. If you haven’t been able to tell by now, you’re going to need a ton of workers to get this done.
Once you’ve gotten your eight Structural Profiles, you can begin work on the Shaft Structure. This will require 50(!!!) workers to run efficiently. The good news is that you can pull all 20 workers from the Profile Manufacture as your initial workforce.
Additional tips – Roads
There are a few other things that are good to keep in mind throughout your playthrough of The Last Autumn. The first is that for a building to be considered functional, it needs to be connected to the central generator pit via a road. Roads will eat into your precious wood, so clustering buildings to minimize new road construction is crucial.
Resource caps and time management
Additionally, resource drain will become a major issue in short order. As such, you never want any of your resources to cap out. Using excess resources when you approach your cap or building resource depots to increase your limit will ensure that you are never wasting man-hours. To that end, also try to do as much of your construction during your worker’s free time. They don’t seem to mind, and you aren’t able to do much else during this time.
Coal is very important in the late game, and steel is important from the midgame on, so it’s a good idea to begin stockpiling as much of it as early as possible. That said, wood and food are critical throughout, so make sure you don’t neglect them. Once a sawmill has run out of trees to cut down in its range, deconstruct it and build a new one. Deconstructing buildings will give you a portion of the initial building cost back.
Investing in technology that increases efficiency can be the difference between life and death. Early options include boosting sawmill efficiency by 25% and reducing the time it takes your foragers to get from one location to the next. Saving a few hours here and there can add up to a massive advantage by the end of the game.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to scrap your current playthrough and start over. Each failed attempt is a learning experience in what to prioritize and when. The Last Autumn is tuned to push you to your limits, so use every advantage you can.
Frostpunk: The Last Autumn is available now.