This guide help you on all settlement upgrades (days, builds, resources, and more) in Frostpunk: On the Edge.
All Settlement Upgrades
Introduction and Overview
In order to get the achievements for each fully upgraded settlement in On the Edge, all upgrades must be completed before the New London refugees arrive. As with all Frostpunk scenarios, a good early game is the key to a good outcome overall, so this guide includes a high level of detail for the first ten days of the scenario and moves onto more general guidelines for the latter two-thirds or so of the game.
Major themes and differences between On the Edge and other Frostpunk scenarios:
- There is neither a Generator nor a generator build zone; building housing and healthcare in concentric circles is not advised. The Administration building may only be built in the green inner ring.
- It is neither necessary nor desirable to research all, or even most of the tech tree. Unnecessary research saps wood and steel that will be sorely needed elsewhere. (This guide includes detailed discussion of tech utility and research order.)
- Managing Hope/Discontent, while still technically necessary, is de-emphasized. Barring a major resource crisis (which you shouldn’t have if you follow this guide), you shouldn’t have to worry about it aside from avoiding constant broken promises.
- Scouting, while critical for timely discovery of other settlements, is de-emphasized relative to other scenarios in terms of resource retrieval. While you will find some resources (and three recruitable groups of survivors) in the Frostland, they are never found in large quantities.
- In the mid to late game, there will be periods where some workers have no option but to be idle, as you will eventually use up all extractable resource nodes at the Outpost other than the Warehouse and a single coal mine.
The Basics: Days 1-3
Queue up one Workshop (on a pre-existing road) and one Gathering Post (on the road right by the wooden ruins toward the west side of the site). Staff the Workshop, the Gathering Post, the Steel Wreckage Pile blocking access to the Warehouse, and distribute the rest of your workforce among wooden ruins and wood piles outside the Gathering Post’s range.
Research Faster Gathering, then Sawmill.
You should finish the work day with about 130 wood and 40 steel this way.
Build seven Tents at the end of the shift (you should have the Need Homes complaint pop up before they’re done, allowing you to make the promise to provide shelter for all and immediately fulfill it), a Medical Post, and a second Workshop. I just build the tents in a line along either side of a road (two tents wide), because the default radius of a brazier will cover six homes (3×2), and you want to make that easy on yourself later.
Start the day fully staffing 2 Workshops, the Medical Post, the steel pile, and the Gathering Post. Set extra workforce on wood piles/ruins.
As soon as the steel pile is clear, launch your first scout (to the Collapsed Building in the southeast) and put the remaining workers on wood gathering.
Start researching Drawing Boards. (You will need to rush the Warehouse resource gathering upgrades, which aren’t available yet, and you don’t need any heating tech for quite a while.)
At the end of the day, build:
- Transport Depot
- Sawmill + Gathering Post (I put them on the east side first, as those resources are closer)
- Road to the Warehouse
You will want to move most of your workforce indoors on Day 3, as the temperature will drop to -30.
Staff your Sawmill, Gathering Posts, and partially staff the Warehouse.
Don’t staff the Cookhouse until near the end of the day. You just want to have it ready for when you need it, and food will stay tight through much of the early game. In general even when you briefly have a surplus of raw food, it’s advised only to cook enough for one round of rations, so you can make the rest stretch longer. (Cookhouse staff should come from one of the Gathering posts, as they are your slowest source of wood, and you don’t care about coal yet.)
As soon as communications open with New London, request extra food. This is the only time they’ll actually honor that request!
Research Medical Post Upgrade, because you’re about to really want it. You will soon have ten useless clerks and fifteen sick, hungry kids dumped in your lap. Build two more Tents, and two more Medical Posts. You’ll need to de-staff a Workshop and spread those engineers across the new Medical Posts to handle the influx of sick. Without doing this, you are very likely to wind up with some gravely ill. (You can rush the Infirmary to handle this, but at this stage it’s better to be able to spend the research time elsewhere. New London may also be asked for a law, but frankly having amputees is worse than people dying, because you will not have the steel and steam core – or the law freedom – to spare to get prostheses in a timely manner.)
Send your scout on to the Stone Wall, and then either back home with resources or directly to the Frozen Den (I prefer the former).
New London will complain about your sluggishness around this point and magnanimously pass down the Emergency Shift law, so you can work even HARDER while they stiff you on food rations! Fully staff the Warehouse and use Emergency Shift for the first time ASAP to get a nice boost on steel production.
Spinning Up: Days 4-6
Send your scout southwest to the Frozen Den, and on to the Crumbling Hut.
Research Handcarts, then Sawmill Upgrade.
Swap the Warehouse to steam core production after your emergency shift has finished, and stay on steam cores until you have three, at which point you’ll want to switch back to steel.
NB: There is a tech that lets you collect steel and steam simultaneously at the cost of efficiency. I do not recommend bothering with it, as switching between steel and steam cores at night is easy to manage (and if you must swap during work hours, it doesn’t take very long).
Don’t send those New London bastards the shipment until they unlock Extended Shift for you! Make them earn it. (As they certainly aren’t earning it with food rations….) When you get Extended Shift, put the Warehouse on it and do not turn that off for the rest of the game. (I’d also recommend setting your Workshops and Sawmills to extended shift for now; later you’ll be fine to take the Workshops off it for an easement of Discontent, but right now you are still rushing tech.) When the whiners inevitably try to get you to give them a break, crack the whip.
Send the shipment. This is the only shipment you will be sending to New London until they come crawling back to you for help at the end of the scenario, as the measly 20 raw food they will be offering per shipment moving forward is absolutely not worth it.
Start researching Drafting Machines. Yes, really. I did say we were rushing certain techs!
This is mostly just a vanilla work day. Your scout should reach the Crumbling Hut, and escort the survivors back. You want all those engineers, especially.
Use your new arrivals to fully staff all the Medical Posts, and your second Workshop. Build another Sawmill and Gathering Post, this time by the western trees/resource piles.
Ask New London for food again; this time they will give you either Soup or Food Additives (random chance). If you’re feeling save-scummy, save the game beforehand, because Soup is much better in this scenario. (The Discontent isn’t a problem, but your medical infrastructure will be periodically stressed and you don’t want to increase your efficiency loss from sickness.)
Research Freight Elevators, then More Scouts.
Build a Resource Depot – you’ll want it for wood right about now, and you can change it to coal later on – and build four Tents to accommodate your new arrivals.
Assuming illness is under control enough to close one of your Medical Posts, build another Workshop and staff it.
In Which New London Is A Jerk: Days 7-10
Research Lighter Scout Sleds, Heaters, and Bunkhouses. It’s about to start getting nippy.
Go ahead and launch your second scout so you don’t have to worry about keeping the wood on reserve, as you’re going to want it ready to go as soon as the path to the Hot Springs becomes available. Send your first scout up to Nansen’s Storm Watch to retrieve the survivors there. (This can potentially wait a bit, if you’re super worried about food, but if you’ve been following this guide thus far, it shouldn’t be an issue.)
Start upgrading your Tents to Bunkhouses. It doesn’t need to be all at once; you just want to have it done by Day 10.
Build three new Bunkhouses for the incoming survivors from Nansen’s.
Research: Infirmary, then Mechanical Calculators.
You can send your first scout up to the Windy Beach if it’s making you itchy to have them sitting at home, but honestly you probably don’t have time to do anything useful with them before you’re going to need them to rush for another settlement. (OR, you can just make sure to have your third scout ready to go by go-time on Day 11/12. Regardless, you will need two scouts free at that time.)
You may need another coal depot by this point; go ahead and build it.
Around the end of Day 8, you should be getting word from New London that they’ll only send food when you send them shipments from now on, at which point the path south to the Natural Terrace will be unlocked for exploration. Send a scout that way immediately.
Research: Difference Engine, then Straddle Carriers
Build an Infirmary. Use Favor from New London (which somehow, you still have) for wood. Make sure you’re finished upgrading your Tents to Bunkhouses.
Forty below, baybee!
Research: Additional Scouts, Coal Mining
Send your scout on to the Hot Springs! You’ll be feeling the squeeze on food about now, but don’t worry; it’s about to get better. Whatever you chose to do (or not do) with your other scout, make sure they’re home and ready to go by the end of Day 11.
Ask New London for a way to handle Discontent; they’ll unlock either the Fighting Arena or the Public House for you, which you should then, of course, build.
Build a fourth Workshop if you’ve got idle engineers.
Send your scout home from the Hot Springs with their bounty, and immediately dispatch a Construction Team to set up a trade post at the Hot Springs.
On Our Own: Day 11+
Research: Automatic Prototyping
Your Construction Team will reach the Hot Springs; set up the trade post and immediately make a trade for food.
Use your last scrap of New London favor for a shipment of wood, since that’s getting harder to come by and you want to get everything you can out of this relationship before the breakup.
From this point forward, you will likely have some research discontinuities – times when you need to wait on resources (usually wood) before you can move on to the next tech. That’s okay; take your Workshops off Extended shifts and shuffle engineers around to odd medical posts/odd jobs as needed.
You should get your food shipment from the Hot Springs around the end of Day 11, at which point you split from New London. Have two scouts ready to go immediately to the High Pass and Ice Caverns when this happens.
Your scouts should not waste any time rushing for the other two settlements (High Pass –> Couloir of the Dead –> Shipwreck Camp; Ice Caverns –> Station Ruins –> Winterhome Ruins –> Children’s Mine). A third scout can go north via the Windy Beach to get some resources from Tesla City (danger spot – save scummable) and other sites nearby.
Send Construction Teams to the other two settlements as soon as you discover them.
There’s a third group of survivors at the Victims’ Camp (Tesla City –> Mirror Lake –> Victims’ Camp).
Various other sites in the Frostland have caches of resources that you can scout/collect at your leisure, but as mentioned at the beginning of this guide, they are minor and the scouting order is not important after contact has been made with all three settlements. There will be no more surprise scouting site unlocks after you’ve made contact, so when you’re out of places to send them, disband them for the wood/workers.
Get Steam Lorries ASAP, then work on Braziers and their upgrades (I wouldn’t bother with the range upgrade, though. The housing scheme suggested here is arranged to work with only the base range), Infirmary upgrades, Wooden Supports (useful for late-game bursts of steel production), and heater upgrades.
Specifically, you want Improved Heaters, Improved Blowers, and Warehouse Insulation by Day 26.
Other than heating, healthcare, and Warehouse improvements, you really do not want to waste resources on other techs (not even Houses). You will need every scrap of wood and steel you can get your grubby gloves on to upgrade those settlements in time. (See the Appendix for the full list of techs I researched when making this guide.)
There’s not too much of this left to do. You will likely want a second Infirmary due to two settlements having health crisis events that may happen simultaneously. Set up Braziers to heat your housing and cookhouse when it makes sense to do so. Move your Sawmill until there are no trees left on the site. Demolish extraneous buildings, which will include Workshops, housing (as you send personnel to the other settlements), and the second Infirmary once you no longer need it.
You gain control over the Book of Laws when you split with New London. (Note that there is no Purpose or analogous section in On the Edge.) I start with Child Shelters –> Engineering Apprentices, since there’s only 15 children, and by that point you’ve got more labor than you actually need, anyway. Extra Rations for the Sick is also nice to have, and you will probably want some form of body disposal, but otherwise just use it on cooldown until you’re out of useful laws to pass. It’s not a major part of the scenario after the early game.
Late Game Resource Management & Commerce
Three neighboring settlements can each send you one of food, wood, or coal, and you can also ask for workers and/or engineers. Juggling incoming and outgoing resources is the heart of the late game in On the Edge.
Outpost resource generation
You should continue to collect wood for as long as there are trees available. When those run out, it’s just your one coal mine and the Warehouse. Keep the coal mine on extended shifts, as the Shipwreck Camp (wood site) will accept coal (bundled with food) in exchange for wood, and also has upgrades that require coal. You’ll be getting some coal from the Children’s Mine, but you will also be expending a significant amount of it through Braziers and Heaters.
The Warehouse should remain on extended shift 100% of the time. I also used one emergency shift in the late game (bringing my total usage overall to 2); more than that can be used if you are really struggling on time.
Steel is the primary bottleneck to contend with; almost every settlement upgrade requires large amounts of it. Steam cores are also necessary; it’s best to produce those in full-shift batches (then switch back to steel overnight) rather than switching production during the work day or using the mixed production tech. (You will need five steam cores to save New London at the end of the scenario, or 3-4 depending if you choose to New London fail, so don’t sweat it if you wind up with more than you’re going to immediately send off to a settlement.)
Settlement upgrades and trade
The settlements each have five “stages” of upgrades you can assist them with, which unlock successively. For each upgrade package you send them, they will send you a shipment of their primary resource. They each will also accept a shipment of two resources in exchange for a shipment of their primary, at any time (except when the previous shipments are still in transit).
After a settlement is about half upgraded, they’ll suggest that you construct a safe trade route between the two of you. This consists of a fairly normal package of resources sent directly to the settlement to upgrade the trade post, and then sending a Construction Team to secure three sites in the Frostland between the settlements (with each node costing 50-90 wood and 75 steel). After the safe route is finished, they will send shipments of their primary resource to you every two days for free.
Focus on upgrading the Hot Springs to the point that their safe route quest is unlocked first. I did the Children’s Mine route second, followed by the Shipwreck Camp, but those are likely interchangeable in terms of order as long as you’re using favors effectively.
DO NOT try to fully upgrade one settlement at a time! You need a balance of resources flowing in, so you want to distribute your upgrade packages semi-evenly among the settlements.
DO make liberal use of Favors, particularly from the Hot Springs and Shipwreck Camp (for food and wood, respectively). (I also asked the Shipwreck Camp for some workers at one point, as I chose to send 25 workers to the Children’s Mine in one event, and had already sent off most of my existing ones as part of upgrade packages.) If you’re keeping the upgrade packages coming, you should be able to ask for Favors very often.
There will periodically be events involving a settlement where you essentially choose between making them happy (at the cost of some discontent to your own people – which should be easy to absorb) and upsetting them. There is an achievement for finishing the game with all three settlements at “loyal,” and another for having all three at “distrustful.” I have only done the “loyal” route, and do not presently know whether or not that affects Favor (or if Favor is strictly a function of how many resource packages you send).
You will need to send off the last upgrade package(s) on or before Day 30 to get the respective settlement upgrade achievements.
Finishing the scenario
New London refugees arrive with a sob story (clearly, the city suffers without your impeccable leadership! I know the New London I built was doing just fine after the storm….), and now you have to decide whether or not to save their sorry hides. If you’ve got the support of all three settlements, it’s actually less of a hassle to help them than not, as your allies will handle all resource shipments except the “building materials” (250 steel and 5 steam cores), which are easy to generate in the allotted three days. If you choose to let New London fall, you’ll have to build a bunch of Bunkhouses, keep them a vaguely tolerable temperature, and build Infirmaries until you have five of them, in addition to stockpiling food.
(If you didn’t succeed in upgrading all the settlements, you will be on the hook for a lot of food and/or wood and/or coal – the latter being the difficult one, if you didn’t start mining coal early in the scenario.)
I hope this guide is helpful! I’m happy to try to answer questions if anyone has them – there’s more detail in my notes from the test run than was reasonable to put in a guide, as this is already quite long.
And of course if you have any clarifications/corrections, particularly on variables I note that I didn’t test, let me know and I’ll do my best to make the appropriate edits in a timely manner. 🙂
Appendix: Tech Research
As mentioned earlier, On the Edge is not a scenario where it pays to research techs indiscriminately. There are many you simply do not need, and wood and steel are both at a premium. The following is the entire list (excluding the tech tier unlocks, which I did all of) of techs I had researched by the end of the run I used for this guide, grouped by sub-tree.
- Braziers, Efficient Burners, Advanced Burners, Improved Blowers
- Heaters, Improved Heaters, Heater Efficiency Upgrade
- More Scouts, Lighter Scout Sleds, Additional Scouts
- Medical Post Upgrade, Infirmary, Infirmary Mechanization, Infirmary Checklists
- Coal Mining, Coal Mining Optimization
- Sawmill, Sawmill Upgrade
- All Warehouse improvements except Mixed Crews
- Frostpunk: Last Autumn – How to Get Achievements (Day 1-28): No Crunch, Ducks in A Row, and Other
- Frostpunk: On The Edge and The Last Autumn – Cheats