Version 1.1, last updated 4-Jul-2007.
All scenarios were played with computer opponent set to "expert", no time limits, and turn-based movement. The computer doesn't respond exactly the same way every time, so you may have to make adjustments.
1. Islands in the Sun
Key: Protect attack planes from fighters, disable units with infiltrators.
Load up your personnel carriers and air transports, and move them to the west of the island with the landing pads. Four of the scouts will have to drive themselves over.
Drop two mobile AA units on the west edge of the island in case his fighters come after you. Make a fighter screen and put an AWAC behind it. Keep your ground-attack planes in reserve for now.
Use your subs to scout the enemy territory, but don't let them get too far ahead of the AWAC scan. The enemy has a couple of corvettes.
The idea is to bring your personnel carriers up, submerged, and let the infiltrators disembark onto a "coast" square. Use them to disable the enemy defenses, and then destroy the defenses with your ground-attack planes.
Around turn 8 your personnel carriers should be depositing troops on the eastern shore where his AA batteries are. Disable the turrets and kill them with your ground-attack planes, but don't leave your planes out where his fighters can hit them. Once the batteries are gone, you can drop the mobile AA units in his territory.
Your infiltrators can walk around the concrete barriers. Try to keep them on the "coast" squares, where they won't get run over by his ground units. If you can't get to an AA turret because there are ground units in the way, capture a tank, and either use it to destroy enemy units or just let it get destroyed.
There are a pair of AA turrets and a radar installation to the north of your landing zone that are unguarded against ground assault. Once you've killed any nearby corvettes, send a group of scouts up to destroy them. (And let this be a lesson to you for future missions.)
Continue pressing forward with infiltrators and ground-attack planes. You will probably need to pull the planes back at least once to reload. Destroy the two eco-spheres. Victory on turn 22, with losses limited to infiltrators that were discovered while stealing.
2. Heart of the Matter
This is one of the more challenging missions. The key to success is the use of your air transports and, to a lesser extent, the use of scouts as combat vehicles.
(In the following, "air drops" refers to the tactic of unloading a combat unit from an air transport, attacking with it, and then loading it back into the air transport so the enemy can't counter-attack during his turn.)
You face two opponents. The green forces will attack from the east, with a flood of assault vehicles, starting on turn 3 or 4. They out-range your tanks, so you need a missile crawler to dissuade them and air-dropped tank raids to beat them back. Scouts can also be useful to pick them off, since you only need 3 hits to kill one.
The blue forces don't show up until turn 10-15, but they arrive with a collection of missile crawlers and mobile AA that will give you some trouble. You will want infiltrators to destroy their AA while you take out their scanners. Range doesn't help if they can't see any targets.
Begin by putting tanks on the four corners of both of your installations to keep scouts away. Put two at the SE and SW corners of the northern base to deal with the stray units he sends at you. Group the rest of your southern units at the southeast corner of the installation. In the north, move all of your units down to the top of the lake to make transit faster, but leave the cargo and repair units next to the base. Don't try to travel south by land, or you will be picked off by enemy units with greater numbers and longer range. Leave a scout or two sitting around to watch for stray units attacking up north; the absence of a radar installation will be felt later.
In the Air Units Plant (AUP), build an air transport, a fighter, and a ground-attack plane, at 2x. In the Heavy Vehicle Plant (HVP), build a missile crawler at 2x and select "repeat". You will be operating at -2 fuel and -12 materials, but you have enough fuel for 25 turns and you have 80 materials in the cargo/repair trucks nearby (plus another 80 down south, next to a base that is operating at a surplus). You don't have enough power to run the Training Center yet.
You can start the research station, though it won't help much unless you want to carry units back up north to refit. Research Hits for 8 turns to improve your ground-attack plane survival.
Grab 3 tanks with your air transport and take them south.
When the air transport arrives, drop the tank and grab your cargo truck. You'll swap it with a much-emptier one up north when you return. You'll move one less combat unit down on your next trip, but it allows you to run the factories at 2x for longer.
You can pick off random scouts with yours, but only do so if you can attack and retreat back to your tanks. Use the repair unit to keep your scouts healthy. If you see a scout or two to the north of your base, you may be able to air-drop a tank in their midst on the way in.
At the start of turn 5 your first air transport will have returned to the northern base, and your second will be southbound with more units. Exchange cargo trucks, pick up a couple of tanks, and head back down. The enemy assault guns should be showing up now.
The computer likes to charge with assault guns, stopping just outside tank range, so you have to give up one shot to hit him with a tank. However, you can kill an assault gun with one shot from a tank and one from a scout. If your air transport isn't in position to make air drops, and you brought some extra scouts down, you can destroy his first wave with a combination of tanks and scouts. Target his scouts when you're not immediately threatened -- he has no other means of scanning you.
At the start of turn 7 your missile crawler will be complete. Turn off the HVP and start building an infiltrator.
When you drop the cargo truck at the southern base, fill it with material. Repeat this every couple of turns.
At the start of turn 9 your "hits" research will be done. Refit the fighter and missile crawler before sending them down. The blue team may also show up at this point; remember to prioritize scanners and scouts over the missile crawlers. He has plenty of the latter.
The existence of your missile crawler may not be enough of a deterrent by itself, especially against his massed assault guns. Plan to use it in air drops to take out his scanners.
Your ground attack plane becomes available at the start of turn 13, and not a moment too soon. Build a second fighter, to be followed by a third air transport, and dump the contents of your cargo truck into the northern base.
Turn 16 your infiltrator becomes available. You can either keep building those or switch back to missile crawlers. The latter is probably more useful, since the infiltrator requires another 9 turns. You will need to send an air transport up to collect the unit, which can be dicey if you're getting hit from both sides and need it for air drops, so you'll probably have to wait for the third transport to be created. Watch out for mobile AA units, and you may encounter a fighter or two in the near future. Your fighters, with the hits upgrade, will be able to attack theirs and survive.
Keep your ground units repaired and filled with ammo. Your tanks can take a lot of abuse, but if you let them stay damaged you will lose them.
By turn 21, if you have managed to take out his scanners and most of his scouts, the enemy should be standing off a bit. They may make a late-game charge, but so long as your research station is still standing when turn 31 starts, you win. You should be able to finish without losing any ground units except for perhaps a couple of scouts. The fighter swarms at the end make it unlikely for all of your planes to survive, and if your air transports were loaded you may lose a few ground units that way.
Alternate strategy: start by building an air transport and a constructor. Use the constructor to build a Light Vehicles Plant (LVP). Use this to build a mobile AA unit and an engineer. The engineer can build a landing pad and an AA turret down south. The extra AA will keep his fighters away, and the landing pad will let you reload/repair your planes. The down side is that you don't have a missile crawler to shoot at his scanners.
Another thought: depending on your situation, the infiltrator built in the original strategy may be superfluous. Since most of the enemy units require two missile crawler hits to destroy, building a second missile crawler is a much better way to take out enemy scanners.
3. Element of Import
Key: disable units with infiltrators and air-drop assault guns.
There isn't a lot to this one. Load the infiltrators into the carriers and load three of the assault guns into the air transport. Send the whole lot to the northeast corner, keeping the AWAC out in front. The enemy base is above the large lake in the northeast corner.
When you find enemy units, air-drop the assault guns into range, destroy the enemy, and pick the guns back up. For static defenses, use the infiltrators to disable the turrets. Use the "lock" icon to keep track of the attack radius of the various units while you operate.
You only have four infiltrators, so it's a bad idea to try to steal anything except the trucks. Destroy all stationary and mobile units, then disable and steal the trucks.
4. Stone Cold Deadly
Key: a strong navy and a little base defense.
You have a modest navy, a few ground units, no air force, and poor defenses on a sprawling base. He has a strong air force with lots of fighters and a handful of ground-attack units in a well-defended base.
Build a constructor in your HVP, in case you need one. Build two engineers in your LVP at 4x, so you can build some additional base defenses. Build an AWAC at 4x in your AUP -- you'll want the radar coverage soon. Follow up with fighters (but note that his have 6 range).
In the shipyards, from left to right: escort/escort/corvette, escort/escort/corvette, and escort/missile cruiser/missile cruiser, all at 4x. Your base is very poorly defended, and you need additional units right away.
Make sure all of your mining stations are turned on. A couple of them start inactive. Adjust gold mining to 10 per turn (you can only refine 10 per turn, so anything more is wasted), material production to the max, and use whatever's left for fuel. You should show 14/14 usage when you click on a power center. You will be hemorrhaging material, but you have a large stockpile and lots of production.
You start with 150 gold, so we can buy some upgrades. Buy two upgrades on missile cruiser range, for 73 gold. This will let you hit any of his defenses before they can hit you. Upgrade your fighter range to 6 for 23 gold, which puts your fighters on par with his. Upgrade your escort range to 8 and scan to 12 for 36 gold, leaving you with 18. Use 17 gold to boost your submarine scan range to 7.
Run your missile cruisers, escorts, and submarines through a dock and upgrade them. Leave your missile cruisers inside. You can leave the escorts that are high up on the east and west sides in place.
You need to keep some escorts around your base, especially on the south and west sides. Your west side is wide open, so you'll want a pair halfway up. You'll also want a corvette on the west side to deal with scouts, at least until you build a gun or two.
Send two submarines south to discover the shore guns that already have your base in range. You will need to destroy those with your missile cruisers ASAP. Send your other sub SW to keep an eye on that part of the enemy base. Form up the ships that aren't needed for base defense in a tight knot to the south, just out of range of his guns. You don't have enough escorts to go on the offensive yet, so get them settled until your first round of escorts comes out. Make sure the mine layer and cargo ship are with them.
Keep your surveyor at the south end of the base. Its primary use is as a backup mine detector if your mine layer gets killed. The entrance to the long bay to the south is mined 2 or 3 deep.
Spend 9 of your newly refined gold to upgrade the missile cruiser attack to 33. This will allow them to destroy artillery, missile launchers, and anti aircraft turrets with one shot. Deploy them and start shooting.
Two gunboats and a corvette will pop out of the bay (so will a sub, but you won't see that one). You're about to be visited by a throng of ground-attack planes, so hitting them with your subs may not be the best plan. Use your subs to stalk their ships, and kill them with your missile cruisers if the opportunity arises.
Your first round of ships, an engineer, and an AWAC will be available on turn 3. Deploy the ships, and set the shipyards to build at 2x. Send the engineer to the west, to build an AA turret below the depot at 4x, starting next turn.
Don't move your escorts sitting in the SW corner. If they move they can't shoot, and they will probably have things in range at the end of this turn.
They may rush you with their planes. They have enough to break through your defenses. Depending on how your ships are situated, you may lose an escort or even one of your missile cruisers. So long as you kill several of their airplanes in the process, it's not a problem. It can actually make things much simpler for you if he blitzes, but that's only likely if you kill his AWAC.
On turn 5 you'll get an engineer and a fighter. Continue building these, but at 2x. You're still losing materials, but at a reasonable rate (should be 17/turn with 260 left in storage after loading up the engineer). Use the second engineer to build a water platform and an AA turret directly to the east of the LVP, to cover the SE corner of the base. Build at 2x or 4x depending on your situation.
Inch your way south, adding escorts as they become available. If enemy units approach, dig in with your escorts. Attack his AWACs with your fighter(s), but be prepared for a swarm in response. He may try to send ships or planes up the right side of your base, and probe with scouts on the left; destroy them or at least chase them off. Watch out for a submarine or two coming straight at you from the south.
By turn 15 or so your mine layer should be probing the area for mines. Destroy them with gunboats or corvettes while your missile cruisers continue to destroy base defenses and aggressive ground units.
Be patient. Don't outrun your escorts. Spend some refined gold upgrading your missile cruisers, gunboats, or (if he still has lots of air units) fighters. Use your subs to scout, not attack.
By turn 25 your missile cruisers should be in range of his two eco-spheres, on the left side of the bay. Destroy them to win.
5. Slaughter Shore
Key: strong air force.
The enemy has an established base, a few ships, and a large collection of alien planes, guns, tanks, and ships. Alien units heal themselves, so don't waste ammunition if you can only damage them.
The only good news here is that they don't get any more alien units, so every one you kill is one less to deal with.
You need to hide while you build up your defenses.
There's a great mining opportunity one square up and to the left of your initial mining station. Drive your surveyor over it, get out of the way, and build a second mining station as fast as you can. Move one of your other constructors toward the left to start a third station. Use another to begin building a power station at 4x. Use the last to build an AUP.
Have your four engineers build some basic infrastructure. Storage containers for materials and fuel are important to collect your harvest, since you don't have any unit construction buildings to spend it on yet. Radar has a long lead time, so set that up soon. You'll want three materials bins (there's an early-game surge after your mining stations are built), one fuel, and one gold.
Keep your units close. The enemy has a large number of alien assault guns and air units far to the southeast. Use your subs to spot them. Don't attack anything yet -- the exposed connectors just hook up depots, and have no early-game tactical value.
Operate units in twos and threes, both offensively and defensively, when working against alien units. Begin by placing a mobile AA unit near every AA turret, so that you are still defended if the enemy rushes multiple planes in. Also, if you're lucky, the planes will shoot at the mobile AA and be defenseless for a strike from your fighters.
Shift your subs to the right and, for the top unit, down slightly. This will get you a look at the opposition. You may be tempted to take out a bridge; this requires two shots from your sub, and the only worthwhile bridge is out of reach. Instead use your subs to kill his escorts: they're fast, have good scanning range, and can kill your fighters. Drive the 3rd sub back to your base, positioning it to the southeast as an early-warning system.
The eventual goal is to have four mining stations, where the fourth is in a slightly risky position to the north-east of your start. There's also an excellent gold mining opportunity to the southwest in the bay, but you'll want a secure base first. Figure out where a gunboat with a range of 8 can hit (8 linear = 5 diagonal) if it approached from the southeast, and put a mobile unit there to mark the spot. Now build your base inside the line, with AA and missile turrets along the outside. Plan to use all of the land to the west and north of your starting position, eventually expanding on the far west southern peninsula.
When construction finishes, build a shipyard in the water on the west side, and build some AA around it. Build an LVP to the north. Both of these can be done at 1x, but you should have enough materials stored up to do them quickly. Build your fourth mining station in the NW, and build a second AUP.
When the LVP finishes, build AA, a cargo truck, a mine layer, a second repair vehicle, and then some scouts and AA. The scouts can be used as targets for the alien planes before you hit them with fighters.
You'll also want an HVP, second power station, habitat, training center, gold refinery, and a research center. Upgrading the range on your fighters can make things much easier.
Somewhere around turn 10-12 an AWAC will show up. Kill it with your fighters. It will do a suicide-scan on your base if you let it, so try to kill it at a distance. A few turns later you will be visited by a group of attack planes and an AWAC. Try to kill the AWAC with your fighters. If you do, the attack planes will likely fly into the kill zone of your AA turrets.
With his escorts and AWACs dead, he won't be back until turn 35 or so.
Eventually you can build a gold refinery, habitat, research center, and training hall in the northwest corner of the base. Research attack and buy a range upgrade for your fighters. Upgrade your AA turret range and your sub attack.
Lay some land mines about 12 spaces out. That way if he brings a scout up it won't see much before it gets killed.
Use your shipyard to build a mine layer and then some submarines. You probably won't need any other ships.
Around turn 60 you should be ready to go on the offensive.
Send out an AWAC, 3 ground attack planes, and 6 fighters in a tight cluster. Attack an alien ground unit on the island to the southeast of your base. This should draw some alien planes. Kill them with your fighters, which should have range and attack upgrades.
The enemy will drive many of his alien ground units to islands near you. If you destroy the bridges, you can isolate the islands and ignore the bulk of his ground forces. Take out the bridge at 045-063 with a submarine. There's another at 078-063 and a double-wide at 053-070. If you've destroyed his air force, nothing will attack your sub.
Your eventual target is a pair of eco-spheres near 070-072.
Once you kill his alien planes, you have control of the skies, and can use air drop tactics with air transports and extended-range missile crawlers to take out any inconvenient defenses. You will have to take out some turrets and the odd alien unit to get a clean drop zone. Use infiltrators to disable units if the coverage is too heavy, and groups of ground-attack fighters to kill his gun turrets and alien assault guns.
If you run low on ammo, pick up a cargo truck with an air transport and reload on the battlefield.
Finished on turn 70.
6. Repel Boarders
Key: This map is all about range. The enemy faction has missile crawlers with extended range and power. Increase your range to keep him at bay, then use stealth units (submarine, infiltrator) to negate his range advantage.
You begin with a small, undefended base on a small island. The enemy has a larger base to the northwest, roughly in the middle of the screen. He has a few planes and rocket launchers, but the real problem for you will be the 5 missile crawlers with 13 range and 30 attack. They can out-reach your base defenses.
Your faction has extended scanning range. Your radar can see 24 squares, and is perfectly placed to see the enemy coming.
The enemy base has no eco-spheres.
If you set all three of your research stations to "range", you can have a general range upgrade in 11 turns. That plus 20 units of gold will get you a missile launcher with 14 range.
Drive one surveyor straight north to find a 14-point material mine site. Drive the other surveyor south below the research stations to find a 12-point material site, then straight west to find a 9-point gold mine. Given the difficulties presented by the long-range crawlers, which can hit much of your base quite comfortably from the opposite shore, I would set up mining stations on one material site and the gold site. The northern site is more productive, but leaves you more open to attack by his planes.
You can safely put a unit one square left and one square up from your radar installation. Anything farther than that will be in his sights by turn 10 from the NW, and a little later from the W. (13 squares in a horizontal line is about 9 square diagonally.)
Your shipyard should build escort, corvette, submarine, escort, submarine, gunboat.
Set two engineers to building AA defenses. Build one in the NW corner at 2x, followed up with a gun turret to keep his scouts at bay, and build the other in the SW corner at 1x. Those plus your mobile units should provide adequate AA coverage. Have the third engineer build a storage unit (at 2x) and a gold vault (1x). When the vaults are finished, build two Power Stations.
Around turn 3-5 an escort and some scouts will show up and spot your base. When they get close enough, kill them with scouts. If he comes after your scouts with a ground-attack plane, great: sometimes he gets overconfident and moves in range of your AA.
When the AAs complete, build a missile launcher at the SW edge of the base. This is what you need to keep the enemy units from attacking your training centers. Use your scouts to protect your mobile AAs -- don't forget that you have no real defenses against ground-based units until you have some turrets and artillery in place.
Go to 2x on your ship construction as soon as the new mining centers are in place. There's a good chance that there will be a sub in firing range when your corvette leaves the dock!
Switch from research to Infiltrator construction after you're ranged-up. Build a couple of infantry units to defend your base -- the enemy will be building Infiltrators as well.
Build a Power Generator, AUP, LVP, HVP, and eventually a Dock. There is no rush. The enemy tends to get clustered up in a position to the NW, and doesn't really go anywhere. You'll be able to take out his units with infiltrators and air drops of range-upgraded missile crawlers.
Around turn 30 you should have a solid base, and a few subs. They start with extended scan range, so if you give them extended attack range you won't have to worry much about stock corvettes. Drive them over to the enemy base, which is surprisingly close to the north, and start destroying things. Start with the shipyard so he can't build any more ships to counter you. Watch out for his ground-attack planes though.
Once you have an extended-range missile cruiser, you can keep the enemy far enough back that you can safely build a mining station on the 14-point material site. Build AA and missile turrets to defend it. You can turn off 2x production on the shipyard and start 2x production on the AUP and the HVP.
With an air transport and a missile crawler you can start doing air drops to cherry-pick nearby units. If you focus on his mobile AA you will be able to use ground-attack planes to take out his ground units.
Keep chipping away at his units and defenses until you have free reign, then destroy everything. Keep an eye out for key connector junctions that will shut down parts of his base. His power generators should be vulnerable to missile cruisers; destroy them, and he won't be able to produce any more units.
Kill everything that shows up with a green border when you select "colors". He may have a stray surveyor out on a far island, so send some AWACs around. The game should be over by turn 80, though it may keep going until 100 before declaring you the victor.
7. Bastion of Rebellion
You start out on the same map and in roughly the same configuration as the previous mission, but instead of long-range missile crawlers you will now be facing a large collection of alien weaponry. Defending yourself from air attacks is your first and largest problem -- especially against the Chosen. Alien gunboats will also give you some trouble.
The enemy starts much farther away in this mission, on a land mass near the top of the map. He has a few scouts running around, and it won't be long before he finds you. Stay off the northern end of the island, as his alien gunboats (range 8) will chew you up before you can hit back.
Best mining opportunities: (1) directly below your gold refinery; (2) south end of the island, partially in the water; (3) to the right of your shipyard, across the water gap. You won't get any gold until you build a mining station across the water to the east.
You have 3 fixed and 5 mobile AA defenses, protecting the core of your base. Cluster your mobile AA near the top, since that's where the brunt of his initial attack will hit. Plan on expanding south, so build some defenses down there now. Follow up with artillery to keep curious scouts and gunships away. Don't bother with gun turrets, except maybe in the southeast -- his ground units have long range. You will want at least one artillery on the west side of your base. Build a missile launcher at 2x next to the shipyard, and a radar in the mid-north of the base. Build another missile turret at the north-west corner.
The idea is to keep his alien gunboats at bay until you have enough subs to take them out. He only has two, and won't be making any more. You have to kill the gunboats and planes, but for the most part you can ignore the alien tanks and assault guns.
Activate your research, and start researching attack upgrades. You can alternate with range upgrades -- you'll want one extra notch on your missile units.
The long-term goal is to get enough ships -- missile cruisers and escorts -- to hold him off while you establish a mining station on the island to your east. With that in place, you can use gold to upgrade critical items like fighter range, and take out his planes. (Your fighters have a range of 5, his alien planes 6, and his regular fighters 7!) With that in place, you can sail up north and shoot out his eco-spheres.
Don't forget to build eco-spheres of your own. You don't need to create one right away, since we're planning on destroying his.
Start your shipyard. Build 3 subs, an escort, and a corvette. You can run the plant at 2x for now.
You need to build a second power station, LVP, and AUP. You don't need much from the LVP except a cargo truck and a repair unit. You may want some missile crawlers eventually, so plan on building an HVP, but it's not a priority.
Scouts will show up around turn 2-4. You should have a new sub this turn. If you're lucky, you can kill a scout in the water. If not, you can kill 2 of his 3 scouts with your 2 scouts, though you may end up getting killed by the incoming air units.
If you began expanding south, your single scanner may not have enough scan range to detect enemy planes in range of your turrets. Send a scout down to extend your scan range until your radar installations are finished.
Around turn 10 or so he may start air-dropping ground units in the upper-left corner. Your missile batteries will need two hits, so having some artillery half way down the west side is important.
When your defenses allow, build a second shipyard and a dock.
By turn 50 you should have five mining stations, including two to the east, and a couple of shipyards running. The enemy may have dropped some land units on the small island to the north, and probably has a corvette running around. It would be nice to ignore the land units, but they're going to be shooting at your ships as you sail north. You'll have to take them out with ground-attack planes, gunboats, and missile units.
By turn 70 you should have a naval force with air support en route to the northern base. You'll want 3 extended-range gunboats to deal with the alien assault guns that try to hit you from the shore. Maintain good coverage with escorts and corvettes, and keep an AWAC in the sky. You can move quickly until they spot you. Bring a mine sweeper along -- you'll need it for the northern sea.
By turn 80 you should be tearing their base apart. Take out defenses and disable production by hitting connectors and mining stations or power generators. Ignore the disabled construction facilities for now. When you find their eco-spheres, take them out. If you've researched range twice and paid for a couple of range upgrades for your fighters, you should be able to take his planes out with no losses.
8. Bright Hope
You are surrounded by a large group of alien units backed by conventional troops. You have an established facility with a large cache of material and gold, but you have no constructors or engineers, and your only production facilities are three training halls. You must upgrade your existing units to the point where they can hold off the enemy, and use your infiltrators to capture alien units while avoiding detection.
As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. You need to use your gold to upgrade your units to be effective against the alien units.
You have 250 units of refined gold, and 100 unrefined. Your key upgrades are:
- Counter alien planes with range 5 and 6+20 hits. Increase fighter range from 5 to 7. You will just be able to kill one of his planes with two of yours without losing a fighter. Cost: 91.
- Counter alien gunboats with 8 range and 18+40 hits. Your gun turrets don't have the range and are in the wrong places, so you have to use ground-attack fighters. Their 18 attack barely dents the armor. Upgrade to 26 attack, and you can kill a gunboat with 5 hits (3 planes). Cost: 59.
- You have a choice:
- Counter alien tanks with 5 range and 14+32 hits. Your tanks have a range of 4, so they'll get chewed to pieces, and aren't even effective as a deterrent. Upgrade tank range to 5. (Cost: 34)
- Counter alien assault guns with 7 range and 8+32 hits. We need to use air-drop assaults on this one, so range is less important. If you upgrade tanks to 3 shots, with 20 attack you can kill an alien assault gun with one tank, and an alien tank with two of yours. (Cost: 79)
- Keep the aliens off your gun turrets by upgrading them to 7 range. They have 14+28 hits, so turrets should be able to destroy any single unit that wanders into range (if it's an assault gun, the turret will likely need to be repaired afterward). Cost: 17.
That's 91+59+34+79+17=280 gold. If you put in everything but the 3-shot tank upgrade, you'll have 49 gold left. That means you need to refine another 30 gold to get the tank upgrade, so you'll get it at the start of turn 7. You can get it faster (turn 4) if you delay the turret upgrade, which is not a bad idea since you don't need to visit a depot to upgrade a turret.
Future upgrades to consider:
- Air transport speed is 16. 18 requires 4 gold, 20 speed needs 10 more.
- Infiltrator scan 5 costs 34.
- Ground-attack plane upgrade to 20 hits costs 2 gold. (This will let you destroy a lone mobile AA unit without losing the plane.)
- Fighter attack 18 costs 5. The enemy upgrades their conventional fighters so that you can't kill them with a single shot, so this becomes important.
Your upgraded ground-attack fighters (24 attack) need 4 hits on a tank and 2 hits on an assault gun.
Your AA turrets have 2 shots at 16 attack, which is enough to kill one fighter. They don't cover everything they need to, so you will need to use pairs of mobile AA units, which have 22 attack but only one shot. They have range 7, so a pair will kill an alien attack plane before it can strike. Keep them away from the water or the ships will target them.
Buy the upgrades, and move your units through depots/hangers to upgrade them.
The map is roughly triangular. There is an enemy base at each corner of the triangle, plus assorted ground units to the NW and NE, plus a pair of gunboats close by to the north and another pair well to the southeast. They're not kidding when they say you're outgunned.
There's only one habitat, so you can't operate all of your research centers and training halls at the same time. You won't benefit much from most of the research, except maybe "speed" for your planes, but having a bunch of infantry and infiltrators will do you quite a bit of good. Start all of your training halls. Have two build infantry and one repeat-build infiltrators. When you have 4 infantry stationed around the base, switch everything to infiltrators.
Position your scouts at the corners. You may be able to use them to absorb a shot. Position pairs of mobile AA at the east, west, and south edges of the base to fill the air cover gaps. Keep the repair units near the SW and SE corners to repair air-drop tanks and turrets. Put pairs of fighters on the north, east, and west edges, and your ground-attack fighters at the north edge.
You're going to be spread pretty thin. You can't hide behind your defenses on this one. If there's an opportunity to take out an enemy unit and retreat safely, take it, but don't get baited into overextending. Use your AWACs to verify that units really are undefended. Don't let them set up assault guns behind stationary tanks with air cover. If that happens your only hope is infiltrators.
At the end of turn 3, a large number of alien assault guns will show up on the west side. Be ready.
Send your AWACs out on short-distance sprints to find scanners. The less the enemy can see of your base, the more likely they are to charge in blindly and get chewed up by your defenses. Use fighters to destroy their air cover, and ground-attack planes to take them out.
Submerged personnel carriers are invisible underwater, so you can use them as gunboat early warning systems.
On turn 10 you should get the first of your infiltrators. Try to capture some units to the NW. You will have to deal with enemy infiltrators, which have a scan range of 5, so your best bet is to air-drop an infiltrator, and pick it up immediately if it spots anybody. This is risky until you have a scan upgrade for your infiltrators.
By turn 15 or so your fighters will have killed the last of his alien attack planes. Your air transports can drop tanks and infiltrators with relative impunity. Use an AWAC to check for mobile air units, and use ground attack planes to kill any AAs that move. Keep a fighter escort on your planes just in case.
Around turn 20, enemy units will start attacking from the east. Your ground-attack planes and a few tanks will be able to stop them.
With upgraded-range tanks and planes, you will quickly destroy his air force and massed assault guns, and will reach a stalemate where he has a large group of tanks staring at you from a distance. Run infiltrators out in air transports protected by fighters -- he will build some conventional fighters eventually -- and start capturing units. If you capture a unit in the middle of other enemy units, you will probably need to airlift it out. Note that alien tanks are easier to capture than alien assault guns.
Upgrade the scan on your infiltrators. Leave one at the SW corner of the base to keep his infiltrators at bay.
With some luck, you'll have 4 alien units around turn 30. Capture a couple more to be safe, then pull back to your base. Station your extended-scan infiltrators around to keep his away, making sure they're paired with something that can destroy the enemy infiltrators (perhaps an alien tank).
You can stop building infiltrators and start conducting research while you wait for the turn limit to expire. Attack, hits, range, scan are useful.
By turn 40 you should be able to hit "end turn" repeatedly. Kill any aircraft that stray by. Your only real concern now is missile crawlers. If you see mobile AA, kill them while they're moving, or air-drop an alien assault gun just outside range, move it in, kill the AA, and back out. If your armor/hits upgrades are outpacing the enemy attack upgrades, you can take out a single mobile AA with a ground-attack plane.
You may see a surge around turn 80 or 90, but it can be defused easily with your air and alien ground units.
9. Price of Freedom
You have a small base and a large collection of units, including alien air and ground vehicles. You have a couple of engineers but no constructors and no unit creation buildings. Your goal is to make effective use of your units both offensively and defensively to invade and destroy the enemy base.
You start with 200 gold for upgrades. As in the last mission, your choices are crucial to your success.
You must patiently chip away at the enemy forces. You are outnumbered, and will not be getting any reinforcements.
The enemy has a few groups of alien attack planes, including a set of four in the SE corner. Those, plus the four alien gunboats a short distance to the north, will be your initial problems.
- You'll need to upgrade your fighter range to 6 to be effective against alien attack planes. Cost: 23.
- Upgrading attack to 33 in the missile cruiser allows you to kill AA and missile turrets with one shot. Cost: 9
- Upgrading the range on the missile cruiser to 11 is generally useful, and can help some against his artillery (range 9), though doesn't help much with the missile launchers (range 12). Cost: 23
- Upgrading escorts to attack 26 will let you drop an alien attack plane with one shot. Cost: 10
- Upgrading sub attack to 32 will make the early game easier. Cost: 30
- Upgrade anti-aircraft turrets to range 9 to improve your coverage. Cost: 11.
- Submarine range 5 gives you parity with corvettes. Adding 2 more hits will let you survive two hits from a corvette. Cost: 34+1=35
The engineers will be useful for building air pads once you have a foothold, but that won't be for a while. Right now you need them to build some missile launchers and maybe a radar in the SW corner in case the enemy decides to drop some units or drive an alien gunboat nearby. Your best defense will be your alien attack planes, but deterrents can keep the enemy away entirely.
Park two mobile AA units south of the eco-sphere and two east of the gold refinery, using air transports to drop them. Load everything else into sea transports, upgrading as appropriate.
You should spot at least one alien plane on turn 2. Kill it with your fighters. Wait another turn to see if they rush; if they don't, pick up your mobile AA units and move them to the north side of the base. Move your fighters up there too. When his AWACs spot you, things get warm in a hurry. Kill his AWACs quickly.
Use your fighters to pick off planes, then park them in the nearby hangar. You don't want to lose fighters if they rush, and you should take the opportunity to reload. Pick off enemy planes as you see them, but make sure you can retreat fully. He may go after your ships, but your four upgraded escorts can kill one plane each.
By turn 15 his attack should be blunted. Advance forward, either attacking with fighters and retreating to your escorts, or advancing your escorts and covering with fighters. Take out any ground units on the land to the west with planes, and attack his ships. Kill the corvettes first, gunboats second -- they can both shoot at you, but the corvettes can spot your subs for his planes.
Keep pushing forward. Land some infiltrators on the land to the west and scout out the mine fields. Carry your mobile AA and an engineer over, and build a landing pad to reload your planes. Drop cargo and repair trucks, a scanner, and an alien assault gun to take out any approaching infiltrators. You can build some fixed defenses (artillery, AA) when you're done, but you probably won't need them.
You can try to send some ground units to attack his base, but his defenses and alien ground units will be a problem. He has a lot of infantry and infiltrators, making your infiltration difficult. Best to push forward from the ocean, taking out corvettes with ships and planes, and killing ships and defenses with subs.
It's usually best to leave all of his concrete barriers intact (except the ones in the water) to impede the movement of his ground units.
By turn 35 you should have destroyed all of the defenses in and around the bay, and be chipping away at things further inland. The idea here is to find a weakness and exploit it. If you just can't seem to get there, you can use an alien unit as a damage sponge. If you get lucky on your alien attack plane upgrades (chosen at random after the plane destroys enough enemy units), you could have a plane with 8+22 hits, which is enough to survive both barrels of an 18-attack AA turret.
Keep pushing your missile cruiser up, but watch out for his missile batteries. If you push it in far enough he will rush with alien assault guns. Use the opportunity to destroy his ground units.
Around turn 50 you should be done with the left side of the base -- both eco-spheres destroyed, and any threatening static defenses gone -- and be working the right side.
Both of the eco-spheres on the right side are in range of your missile cruiser. Use your gunboat and planes to destroy or chase the alien ground units away, then move your missile boat into position and destroy the eco-spheres. Victory around turn 65.
Upgraded alien attack planes are pretty scary. Once you have two planes that can survive attacking an AA turret, you don't really need to use your infiltrators.