This is my second article giving tips for playing the wonderful Windows Phone game ARMED!
. If you have not done so yet you should check part 0
This article will deal with some subtleties with the game's interface that can prove important in actual game. In competitive gaming execution is often more important than strategy and while ARMED! does not require sharp reflexes and good aim like Quake or accurate and fast multitasking like StarCraft there is still room for better execution.
While most people (including me) have called ARMED! a turn based strategy game this is not in fact true. First of all it is obvious that players are not taking turns. It is more like a real time strategy (RTS) game where every 25 (I asked for the actual number) units of time the game is paused and players can give commands. Then the game is resumed and all commands are executed simultaneously. Players cannot give commands unless the game is paused again. Different actions take different amount of time and multiple actions can be performed between pauses if they fit in the time interval. On the other hand an action can be split between two time intervals. Actions are things like moving, shooting and capturing a resource (10 time units).
In strategy games a waypoint is a point that the unit should visit on its route to some specific location. Usually the player gives a queue of waypoints for the units to follow. This is especially useful if you want to do a flank or sneak a unit behind enemy lines. In ARMED! waypoints can also be used to capture several resources in a row without giving commands every time a resource is reached. You just queue the resources as waypoints in one turn and you are done. However waypoints in this game are much more important than simple convenience for the player. Imagine that you have a Sentry and you want it to capture a couple of resources. The sentry is 5 time units of travel away from the first resource and the second resource is 25 time units away. If you do not use waypoints the Sentry will take the first resource on the first turn, then you will give it a command for the second turn, it will travel during the second turn and will capture the second resource on the third turn. If you use waypoints the Sentry will capture the first resource on the first turn and travel towards the second resource for 10 time units (5 + 10 + 10 = 25). On the second turn it will travel the remaining 15 time units and capture the second resource for the remaining 10 time units. This way just by using waypoints you capture the resource one turn earlier.
In strategy games a rally point is a point set for a unit producing structure (in ARMED! this is the Factory) where new units head for as soon as they are produced. This is convenient because you can set it to a place near the battle and skip giving the same commands every turn for all your new units. It is important to note that rally points are dynamic thing. You should change them often as the battle front changes. In fact I used rally points to command new units before I produce them. I find it easier to select the large factory building than the small unit that has been produced. You can set a rally point on the factory, produce a unit and then set another rally point before ending the turn. The unit will follow the old rally point. Note that rally points can be combined with waypoints to achieve complex behaviors for the units.
Non-flying units cannot see units over cliffs. This way you can monitor a path or even hold a resource with a Sentry and the enemy cannot prevent this unless he brings his own flying units to let him see your Sentry. This is especially annoying for the opponent because you can have his resource blocked for several turns while he brings a flying unit over. It is even more annoying if he does not have a Sentry and needs to stop army production to get one. Many maps have spots like this near resources. Look for them! If you cannot take a resource and do not see enemy blocking it this is not a bug. Just check the cliff! As it happens this is a great use for your initial Sentries. For my first Sentries I set rally points to capture a couple of resources and then take spots over cliffs.Example of actual rally points I use on the map Villcano. Notice how the Sentry will stop over the cliff before stealing the enemy resource.
You can use waypoints to move units in cover. On certain maps I set waypoints for the units to move in cover rather than take the shortest route. This way they are somewhat protected and can surprise the opponent's units which cannot retaliate. I set waypoints for Sentries to move over cliffs or to take air paths avoiding the usual places where the opponent moves his tanks.
Using rally points you can finish the turn much faster. Usually I set complex rally points the first two turns and then for several turns they remain static. There is not much to do on the first few turns anyway so you can concentrate on rally points but then the game gets complex. If you have set the complex rally points in the first turn you can quickly produce a couple of units and end the turn. This puts pressure on the opponent as his time will be reduced. This way he is more likely to make a mistake. Just make sure you do not end the turn before giving all necessary commands.
The developers have said that in the next version of the game the units will choose their spawn location based on the rally points so this will make them even more important.
So this is what waypoints and rally points are. Love them, use them and invent more ways to make them useful!