Don't get me wrong, the game will always be phenomenal. But there's just something raw and visceral about being thrown into that icy crater for the first time, struggling frantically to understand what you need to do first. You feel like a real Captain, watching his huddled charges with just one question in your mind. "What now?"
Surely you cannot let your people live in the cold without shelter. But medicine is important too, and what about food? Where will you spare the precious resources to construct a beacon? And as the shortages of everything crash down, you discover the laws tab.
At first, everyone is noble. But it doesn't take long for that child labor law to seem VERY attractive. Or the overcrowding law. Or soup and additives. Or… Oh. Somewhere along the way, we all got lost in what was best.
And just when you've figured a bit out, right when you think, "We're going to make it, what was I worried about?", Winterhome reared its ugly head. And suddenly you aren't fighting for food or coal, you're fighting for hearts and loyalty. Again, you open the Book of Laws.
Churches. Watchtowers. Kitchens. Prisons. Guardians. Propaganda. Secret reports. Public beatings. Forced compliance. Horrible deaths by the steam that brings us all life. Oh. We did it again. Slipped just a bit too far, and all for the greater good of our people.
But it worked, and we emerged united. And good thing too, because the worst is coming. The fear that began rising in our hearts as refugees poured in with terrifying reports. We had no clue, we couldn't even FATHOM, the horror that was coming. Too late, we pushed our people to the max. We waited too long to realize the danger, and they pay the price. Emergency shifts and overtime work become a way of life. The Book of Laws opens again. Duels. Liquor. Prostitution. Anything goes in the face of the storm. But maybe, just maybe, it's good enough to keep us alive.
And it's not.
How could it be?? How could anyone have realized the sheer power of the world-ending cold? We didn't. But we do now, as we watch the sick skyrocket and our medical care fail to even attempt to keep up. The coal mines are freezing? We cannot survive without them. So many would die in those caverns, but those who did not would watch as even the most protected shelters froze beyond comprehension. Overdrive is left on too long. A child dies to save it. And the worst part is, it's all our fault.
If only we had made better choices from the beginning. If only we'd known what our laws would lead to. If only, if only, if only…
After the storm has broken, we break too. We watch our city from the beginning to the bitter end. We watch and feel all of our failings, but we remember our small successes as well. Perhaps next time we will know better. Perhaps next time there will be less if only's. But for now, we survived at the most genuine cost we could pay. In our first game, we WERE the Captain.
Tldr; playing the game for the first time was the best because we truly were the Captain, with no knowledge or skills, forced to make tough choices we didn't know enough about.
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© Post "I wish I could play for the first time again…" for game Frostpunk.
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