Frostpunk

Some observations/strategy after completing Endless ultramarathon hard

frostpunk 5 - Some observations/strategy after completing Endless ultramarathon hard
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1) An initial homeless population is somewhat an asset. Turn the generator on during the first night immediately during free time, and immediately activate overdrive. Do not build tents. We need the initial wood for gathering posts so people can operate efficiently, and for workshops so we can start acquiring key performance tools. Instead, let them huddle around it–on overdrive they will be comfortable/livable, so they will not get sick. This delays a big overflow problem for your medical posts, who will just be treating the sick from your initial workers. This lets you go 1 medical post/2 workshop instead of the reverse. Better still, this triggers the 'build homes' request, which we want to do anyway, so take the ambitious choice and get a huge hope bonus. Very helpful come storm #1.

2) Child labor is just…so much better than child shelters. Child shelters are a permanent solution to the late game problem of hope, but child labor is an immediate solution to four unique problems: early resource acquisition, research, daytime cold homes, and sufficient medical care.

Early game, we are gated by research and labor. Child labor lets us fill out the gathering post staff fully from the get-go, so our early engineers can be dedicated to their exclusive jobs: medical posts and workshops. Better still, it means that we can skirt by the problem we face with our homeless population when we're getting started, because the kids can spend the day in warm gathering posts rather than huddling around the generator getting sick.

But obviously the big reason is that we want to go faith and fully replace engineers in med posts with houses of healing, which will let us redeploy the engineers to workshops, and drastically enhance our research rate. All-child workforce means we waste no good workers who we need hunting or engineers who we need researching. And it means we can easily expand our healing network as needed, since we likely will always have more kids than we need staff in HoHs (remember- doctors work in shifts, so you don't need it fully staffed to operate).

It's not that it's bad to have kids be engineer apprentices or medical apprentices, but it's much better to just have them be doctors outright, letting us free up our engineers to be scientists–a far larger net research bonus than apprentices can offer. Similarly, because we can just build a lot more houses of healing, child doctors make our healing apparatus exactly as efficient as we need it to be: sucking up all the ill into recovery where they will not die.

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3) Faith…it's painful how much better than order it is. The houses of healing are the big obvious reason, and they tie closely in to the child labor boost. We'll have some gravely ill people after storm #1, so we want a HoH by then–saving us a steam core, research prioritization, and engineers, all at once. BTW, HoHs benefit from insulation research, so basically they're infirmaries that don't cost a steam core and don't require engineers. Huge wins all around.

But on top of that, shrines come early and grant a production bonus that it takes days longer to get from order, while chapels require neither heating (no one goes inside them) nor staff. So they can always be positioned outside any heat zones and save space for housing.

Field kitchens are surprisingly useful in the late game: they enable non-faith workspaces to be kept functioning right through the -120C storms. This is important, because at that phase the houses themselves are chilly under overdrive, so you can't send people home.

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Faith keepers' discontent reduction is great for maintaining extended shifts and repeatedly refusing the 3-day break request. It recharges fast enough that you should never see your discontent continually rising. Be sure to overdrive when you use it though, so no one gets sick!

Hope is a difficult late-game resource to manage, but consistent use of just the 'good' faith boosts will allow you to survive the storm hope drops. I had two instances of it hitting minimum in 100 days, one that my faith keepers addressed and one that demanded really careful use of the boosters, but it was enough.

4) Hunters Hangars. They're a lot more resource efficient than hothouses. Since we're not using order, we can't foreman anyway, and you can never foreman the hunters. We can't extended shift, and that sucks. One extended shift+foreman industrial hothouse is producing the food of ~2 hangars. For faith, it's more about a 1.5 ratio, for a building that costs 2 steam cores!

With all the manpower we're saving with child labor HoHs, we can dedicate extra to food to save steam cores. And if hunter's hangars ever get cold, they don't stop working. I'll pause here to note that order should probably go for the hothouses, it's a good trade for them.

5) We hardly ever find steam cores, and all but two of them will need to go to coal. We'll want those other two to go to automatons that take over our wood production (via moving sawmills, then later wall drills for 2 more cores), with the factory broken down afterward.

While we could save steam cores at greater manpower cost via the thumper/post combination, one advanced coal mine produces ~100 coal/hr, and it takes 3-4 gathering posts + 1 steam coal thumper to match this. So a functional 4:1 labor ratio, vs the 2:1 labor ratio with hothouses. This becomes fine once our population is ballooning, but it's not so fine early on (AKA the only time resources matter). At this stage, we're dedicating all our children to healing, all our engineers to research, and workers are pulled very thin between wood, steel, and coal. So the most efficient per worker coal solution is needed, and that's the mine.

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6) The generator radius upgrades are really very bad. Shockingly bad. These upgrades have geometric effects on your coal use, yet they barely outproduce the linear coal use increase of steam hubs–and efficiency-upgraded steam hubs can function in their extended phase indefinitely, while still transmitting all your power upgrades. Coal can practically cease to be an issue if you power the same city block covered by a range 4 generator with ~5 range-upgraded hubs. It shouldn't work this way and I don't know why it does. Honestly, the hubs probably should not benefit from the full power of the generator. But eh. Point is, this should keep you from running out of coal.

7) During the -120C storm, workplaces will be warmer than houses because they can have heaters and full generator overdrive benefits, plus the field kitchens. Only food production is forced to be interrupted. So…let them work. They're only getting sick at home.

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