Multiplayer strategies

The real joy of TA comes in multiplayer scenarios. Here are a few of our favorite strategies to hammer the hapless.

Take out the protector.

In the late stages of games, where you have had time to get a nuke up and running, the No. 1 strategy around the
Testing Lab is to send a huge swarm of stealth fighters into the enemy base with only one thing on their minds:
taking out the opposition's anti-missile system. As soon as it goes down, start dropping nukes on the enemy. We
have found it a rare base indeed that requires more than 20 fighters to take out the anti-missile system. Used
properly, this tactic is a game-ender.

In order to counter this tactic, build multiple Protectors or Fortitude systems. We tend to build at least two,
making sure they are far apart and guarded by construction units.

Commander Jihad

In games that continue even if the Commander is destroyed, you can use your Commander's destruction to get
lots of bang for your buck. While the Commander is a powerful unit, you can trade it for a lot of pain on
the enemy side.

This tactic has two options: either run your Commander into the enemy base or fly him in using a transport.
Hit Ctrl-D and watch the boom. Note that if your enemy has lots of air defense up, you might not be able to
get in on a transport.

Even later in the game, this tactic can be used to make a hole in the enemy defensive lines for other units
to follow.

6.3 Bertha Bop

Artillery units can really destroy someone's whole day. These units are very inaccurate but pack one heck of a
wallop. If you can get two or three of these babies up in range of your opposition, a few lucky shots can
mean the end of the game. In general, group these units together to make sure they can take out anything
they target, even with misses.

You can target your artillery one of three ways. First, you can fly fighters over the enemy base as spotters.
Second, you can use radar if your enemy has left part of its base out from under jammer cover. Finally, and
probably the most common method, you can just blindly walk your fire through the enemy base.

Firing blind isn't all that effective with only one artillery unit, but if multiple artillery units are used,
blind firing can be devastatingly effective.

Countering this tactic requires diligence. You must constantly make forays into or over your opponent's
base and operating area to find out where his artillery is located and destroy it. The only sure defense
from an artillery piece is a dead artillery piece.

OInce you find it, the two most cost-effective tactics for taking out artillery units are using your own
artillery or aircraft. Note that artillery isn't all that strong and doesn't require much effort to destroy.

If for some reason you cannot find enemy artillery despite taking fire, attack your enemy's energy production
facilities with everything you have. Artillery takes 1000+ units of energy per shot. No power = no pounding
on your base.

Air power and then some

Recently, most of our longer games have come down to air battles. In the later stages of most games, at
least three Level 2 air fields are in operation with three to five construction units guarding each one.
It is almost impossible to stop waves of 50+ airplanes when they come screaming for blood into your base.

In order to make this work, simply set up a staging area somewhere near your airfields. Click on the base
and assign move orders to the staging area, thereby routing all production from the plant to the area.
When you have about 40-50 planes, send them at the enemy.

In our experience, fighters are really the best planes for this mission. While gunships do much more damage
to ground targets, fighters don't seem to take as much pain from ground defenses because of their high speed.
And when you are talking about filling the entire sky with planes, the issue of firepower becomes moot --
that many planes could be firing slingshots and still get the job done.

We have yet to find a counter-strategy, except to keep enough pressure on your opponent to prevent high
rates of aircraft production. Once a full swarm is airborne, things rapidly head downhill.

Beware the Swarm

In the later stages of games, waves of ground troops aren't usually the deciding factor, but the same cannot
be said of the early stages of games. There is something to be said for building a couple of vehicle plants
right out of the gate and cranking out tanks like mad. Tanks are the unit of preference for this mission
because they are cheaper than Kbots. Once you have a nice little group, send them out to hammer the enemy,
keeping this up until the enemy is dead.

A good player should be able to fend off a swarm of tanks with properly implemented base defenses, but that
doesn't mean it isn't annoying. A combination of Dragon's Teeth and lasers/missile towers, as well as some
Kbots, swallows up resources that are better used elsewhere.

Be warned that both this tactic, and the Commander Jihad, are not likely to help you win friends and influence