Frozen Synapse is a tactical combat simulation game, played as asynchronous turns by each player. Each player controls a small number of soldiers armed with various weapons.
The objective in most single-player missions is to eliminate the other squad, but there are also hostage protection and escort missions. Multi-player game modes include last-man-standing deathmatch, area protection, and hostage extraction.
Maps are generated pseudo-randomly to create a range of walls and cover, as well as starting positions for the soldiers. On each turn, the players are given an unlimited amount of time to lay out commands to each soldier to specific waypoints that will be performed during the resolution of the round, a period of about 5 seconds of simulation time. The player can set the direction that the soldier is looking, the soldier’s stance and speed, and their default action upon seeing an enemy force in their line of sight. The game provides a facility to review all previous turns and simulate the projected results of the current, assuming that enemy forces maintain their current strategies, giving the player to refine their actions.