It is not easy to survive the cold and ever-encroaching dread of freezing do death, but alas, all is not lost. With clever planning, beneficial use of scarce resources and some foresight you can get through all fine and dandy, no matter the circumstances. The game suffers a little bit from lack of proper information handling. There are some things that requite an informed red to understand or simple observation to make a conclusion. Below you will find a collection of hints and tips that made the game a breeze in its basic form – achievement hunting though requires different strategies and won’t be covered here. Hopefully, these guidelines will help you win your first games. Here we go!
Tips and Tricks
Build 2-3 Workshops
Yup. This one is the basic omittance of most new players. One workshop research rate is way, way too slow for you to get a handle of all them juicy technologies before the cold gets you. But every extra manned workshop speed it up significantly. (Bonus: If you can handle and man 4 Workshops, an achievement will be unlocked.)
Research additional Scout team and their Speed as soon as possible
Scout teams are crucial. They are pretty much your only way of getting new people and precious Steam Cores. They also often grant you lump sum of various resources and are important for various objective. Simply put, having two faster teams is a bare minimum.
Don’t build only Tents / Bunkhouses in the first circle around the generator at the start of the game!
This one is often not a huge mistake but can be troublesome early on. Simply put, people will fall ill and your first medical post might be outside the ring of warmth, making it an issue to heal people up. Safe some place at the first ring of heat from your generator for the Medical Post. It will take some time to get enough coal for Steam Hubs / research extra heat range from Generator.
Understand Gathering Posts and Resource Depots
Gathering posts have a sphere of influence, and every resource pile within that sphere will be gathered at by workers put into the post. The benefits are multitude! First, you don’t need to assign workers to a specific pile. Second, the building can (and should) be heated, cutting down time when workers walk in the cold, which makes them less prone to sickness. It also cuts down the workers travelling time between the piles and a resource drop-place. Resource Depots are a must as well. Sooner or later you will find your storages getting full, and any surplus production will be discarded. Resource Depots will take care of that – remember, that you don’t have to keep it warm!
Thumpers need Gathering!
One of the most common mistake I see is lack of understanding how Coal Thumpers works. They are very beneficial, but workforce heavy. Their main benefits are cheap cost to produce (and no Steam Core needed!) and the fact, that they can be build anywhere (do not need a resource plot field). However, Thumpers do not produce coal straight to the storage, but instead create an ever-growing pile of coal in front of them (indicated by the 3 icons of coal on the building outline, when placing it). This pile need to be worked by workers or Automatons to gather the resource. The best way to doing so is by building Gathering Posts around the thumpers.
Micromanage – Disable and Dismantle
One of the key feature that is vastly underused is the ability to dismantle and disable buildings. A Sawmill run out of wood around its radius? Dismantle! You have stored rations for a week forward? Disable the Cookhouses and free these workers! Micromanagement allows you to maximize the productivity of your people and ensure the best usage of the precious ground around your Generator and Steam Hubs.
Automatons don’t care about cold
So, you have your Coal mines, Wall Drills and Steelworks. They are also located near the wall, far, far away from your Generator. Sure, you can put Steam Hubs and put people to work, but why not use Automatons? They don’t care for the cold and so you don’t have to keep the workplaces warm at all.
Steam Hubs refuel Automatons
Alternatively, if your coal situation is good, building steam house need the major work nodes of your automatons will cut down their downtime, as they will walk to the nearest Steam Hub to refuel.
Build Outposts early… Or not at all
Outposts are very powerful and generate an easy, steady influx of resources, which is splendid. Unfortunately, in the main scenario they will not work during the incoming Storm – so either get them early to benefit from the stream of extra income, or just ignore them whatsoever.
No bad way to make coal but be dedicated to a way you pick
Coal Thumpers, Coal Mines, Kilns… All these methods work and are more than enough to provide you coal through thick and thin, but once you decide on your method, I’d advice to keep a focus on it and not experiment or shift to another one during the game. It might not be a mistake, and might even be a satisfactory progress, but usually the extra time needed to gather new resources to build new buildings, research way more Resource techs and provide extra Steam Cores for the advanced buildings to function… It is oft not worth it, unless your city has a massive population and require enormous resource banks.
Extended Shift > 24 Hours Emergency Shift
Pushing laws into Extended Shift is one of the great benefits you can get. When Emergency Shift can save you in a pinch, it produces amazing amount of discontent, have some nasty events plausible to trigger and is put on a cooldown after use. Extended Shift though expands workhours for any of your workshops by a hefty 4 hours. You have full control which building will get extended shift, it has no cooldown and discontent gained by pushing your workforce like that is not too straining. Putting Workshops on lengthy shifts, for example, can vastly speed up your research!
There is no Heat Zone overlapping
So whenever you place a new steam Hub, make sure there is no overlap to cover the most land that was previously unheated.
Some powerful early laws include:
Child Labor (Gain 15 workers instantly at the start of the game. Shelter is great for later game, but this first kicstart is pretty massive). Sustain Life (It is troublesome at first, but it limits the number of Amputees and reduce the amount of people biting the dust – later in game you will gain technologies and buildings that will be able to heal the sick properly, retaining your workforce). Double Rations (With good Raw Food output it is rare to suffer from rations issues. Double Rations significantly reduce the time needed for ill people to get better, which is crucial in ensuring your workforce efficiency). Fighting Arena (Cheap, simple, quick and effortless way to reduce discontent). Faster Gathering (Cheap tech that can be useful entire game, if you rely on Thumpers for Coal).
Overdrive<->Steam Level juggle
In a tight spot when the coal is draining out and massive cold takes over, you need to learn a simple technique of Juggling the two settings of your Generator. With a proper tech (Overdrive Couplings) putting your Generator into Overdrive rise the temperature in its heat zone by 2 levels, nearly instantly. That means you can reduce your Generator Steam Level by two when the Overdrive is on. Then, when Generator Stress is getting dangerous, be sure to NOT turn it off yet, but first raise the Steam Level to the one you need and give it a bit of time before it heats up to that level. Than disable the Overdrive and let it cool. You can efficiently manage this two settings to significantly manage your coal burning.
Houses are powerful as heck
And last one for now. Houses. Gosh you want houses. Houses + House Insulation tech gives a huge passive Heat level for your living places, greatly reducing the requirements for your Generator heat output to keep them above the freezing level even at the most outrageous cold.