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Strategy Guide: The Gauntlet

Posted by on May 17, 2013 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

By popular demand, today's strategy guide shows you how the run The Gauntlet.

The popup hints at the beginning of the second attack phase tell you everything you need to know to win this mission.  However, if you're still determined to spoil the fun for yourself, go ahead and keep reading.

Have you ever seen a spaghetti western movie where the hero is able to defeat a seemingly endless stream of angry natives, only because the indigenous peoples decided to attack the main character one at a time instead of ganging up on him all at once?

Well, in the Gauntlet, your forces are those indigenous peoples.  Your city is currently sending your forces out in a long stream, allowing the powerful slow-firing enemy Lightning Towers plenty of time to pick them all off one by one.

In order to solve this, all you need to do is sort them by speed.

  • Rollers are the fastest, so swap them to the inside of your city.
  • Crusaders and Hover Artillery are the second-fastest, so swap them in just inside of your Rollers.
  • CosmoKnights and Tanks are the slowest, so sort them right to the outside of your city, near the exit.
  • Shield Generators, Commandos, and Guardians match the speed of the closest unit(s), so mix them in with your most powerful units (your Crusaders and Hover Artillery).
  • Your Gunships will do best if you sort them to the Dropship Pads along the south.
  • In each case, rember that upgraded units get a slight speed boost over non-upgraded units.  So sort the upgraded units closer to the inside of each group.
If you do that, your city should look like this:

You should be able to do all of this swapping inside a single combat phase.

Notice that your units are now much more tightly packed:

...  and they can march past the enemy's Lightning Towers and into the soft, Gun-Turret-protected underbelly of the enemy's base.

Strategy Guide: The Mushroom Kingdom

Posted by on May 14, 2013 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

We've had a lot of demand for a strategy guide for the Mushroom Kingdom challenge mission.  This is a particularly challenging mission.

A big part of the fun of this mission is to learn as you go along.  Before you read any further, are you SURE you want to spoil it for yourself?

If so, here it is.  Start with a turret next to your Capitol and a Skyscraper a bit to the northwest, along with a gold Extractor.  We're going to sell the other Skyscraper in a moment -- the one that started on the map -- so make sure this Skyscraper also covers the gold Extractor and can keep it alive after we sell our original Skyscraper.

Here, we've now sold that Skyscraper, and built a crystal Extractor plus a new Skyscraper toward the northwest corner, right next to the mushroom.

Now we have 2 gold and 2 Crystal extractors, and we build a second Gun Turret and start upgrading our Skyscrapers.

We continue upgrading these two Skyscrapers and also build a Missile Launcher a bit west of our Capitol.

It's a good time to build a third Skyscraper -- only after our original two Skyscrapers are fully upgraded.  We'll also want a Disruptor and another Gun Turret next to the Capitol.  Note that we've also started building some Dropship Pads just to unlock the units, and to block off the southeast corner of our Capitol, which we won't need to defend as much.

Note that things will start to get fast and furious around this point.  Don't hesitate to use the Bombardment mothership effect as needed on enemy troops as they arrive at your Capitol; you will likely need to use it several times throughout this mission just to stay alive.

We immediately work to upgrade that new Skyscraper while extending our base outward.  Note that the CosmoKnight Dropship Pad just above our Capitol is a placeholder; we're going to sell it and put a Laser there once we feel comfortable spending that much money.

Also note how we're now building a lane to the west of our Capitol for our Laser to fire down.

However, we do have a bit of a problem; the shortest path for the enemy now takes them to the north side of our Capitol, so we'll need to block that off.

In this mission, which is so bone-crushingly difficult, it's very important to build Skyscrapers one at a time, and make sure they're fully upgraded before spending the 3 gold investment to make a new one.  Also keep a close eye on your income vs your enemy's income by clicking on your Capitol as well as your enemy's; don't let yourself fall too far behind!

You also will very much need the flying repair craft that come with level 3 Skyscrapers.

Below, we've continued to expand our base, and built a Laser plus a Reflector (hidden behind the Skyscraper in the lower left).  We've also built a Grenade Tosser just southwest of our Capitol building.

Note also that we've now added substantially to the defenses north of our Capitol, to help defend against the Gunships, which become quite deadly later on.  At least for now, it's a good idea to build in a wide area with level-1 towers around your Capitol rather than focusing on upgrades at this point, since the enemy will use the Stun mothership effect as often as he can, and the only way to defend against that is to have a lot of towers spread out over a wider area than his Stun can cover.

Again, don't hesitate to Bombard as much as you need.

Now we expand a bit further, and build another Reflector to make sure the enemy comes within range of our Grenade Tosser twice.

Note that we prefer Gunships as offensive units in this map, since the mushroom forest just north of us limits the amount of aerial defenses the enemy can build.  Note that we're building the Gunship Dropship Pads essentially as walls for now, but they will become a serious attack force once we upgrade them later on.

We've also built a Chiller Unit to slow the enemy at the corner.

We continue building Skyscrapers and upgrading them fully, and we also have now built 2 more Reflectors to turn the Laser's path, along with a second Grenade Tosser a bit to the west of the first one, just above the Chiller Unit.

We've let the last gold deposit -- the one farthest to the west -- sit idle all this time.  Now we can finally build a Skyscraper near there, and upgrade it fully.

Note also:

-We're starting to really turn the corner in the race for income, and we're building lots of Skyscrapers as walls now.
-We've built a fifth Reflector to turn the Laser beam again.
-We've built additional anti-air defenses north of our Capitol, including a Lightning Tower, which is extremely important for taking down the most heavily upgraded enemy Gunships.
-We've upgraded our Laser to level 2.

More Skyscrapers, more anti-air defenses  ...

Note that when defending against air units, a mix of defenses is always best.  Missile Launchers do great area damage, but can easily be overwhelmed if that's all you build.  Lightning Towers are great against the enemy Gunships with the most health, but their slow fire time means they're wasted on Gunships that are already close to death.  Gun Turrets, however, are excellent at taking out the weakest enemy Gunships so the other towers can focus on the high-value targets.

We've also now finally upgraded our Laser to level 3.

Did you notice that we didn't upgrade our Capitol this whole time?  It may be worth doing at this point, but we chose to race for income instead.  Here, we've build Skyscrapers like crazy and are furiously upgrading our Gunships and building anti-air defenses.

Finally, with some help from carefully-timed use of the Radar Sweep, Heal, and Stun effects, our Gunships are able to push through to victory.

Strategy Guide: Return to Foundation

Posted by on May 8, 2013 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (2)

Hi everybody,

Here's a quick guide to the Return to Foundation mission.  This is a challenging mission, even on Easy difficulty, and you'll likely need to try it several times to get past it.

For this guide, we'll show you how we played through it on Easy.  The strategy for Medium and Hard is roughly similar but you will likely need to do a lot of work with your timing to adjust it to achieve just the right balance for those modes.

First, we build an Extractor on every one of the mines.

Next, build a Gun Turret as shown just northeast of your Capitol, since that's where the enemy will come from first.

Then, we'll want to focus on upgrading our existing (non-decayed) Skyscrapers a few times, to make sure we get an immediate boost to our income rate.

As you can see, in the image above, I've upgraded each Skyscraper once.

Next, we build 3 additional turrets, one Gun Turret east of the Capitol to cover the northeast and southeast passages, and one Turret and one Missile Launcher to the southwest to cover that passage, which is the second entry the red player will attack.

Now, we continue to expand each of the four corridors separately, while also building new Skyscrapers and upgrading them frequently while we can, grabbing the income advantage before the red player has built up enough to seriously attack us.

Here, we've continued expanding to the northwest and northeast  ...

We keep upgrading, and keep expanding, while starting to build military units we can upgrade later, as our crystal income begins to seriously ramp up.  In this case, we're building Gunships, but a combination of Crusaders, Shield Generators, and Guardians can also work well.

We continue expanding.  Note that the reason we split off separately is due to the fact that the red player will send so many units along each of the four channels, and we'd likely be overwhelmed in the late game if we were to combine any two channels into one.

More upgrading, more Gunships ...

We have a solid income lead over the red player; it's time to build quite a few more Skyscrapers and lock in that income lead still further, and then upgrade our air force as fast as we can.

Note that even before it's fully built, it can be tricky to finish off the red player's base.  Don't hesitate to use Mothership effects as needed.  In particular, it's often helpful to use Radar Sweep just before your units reach the enemy base.  The moment it wears off, use Heal to repair those same units while casting Stun on as many enemy towers as we can fit inside the circle.


Strategy Guide: The Lost City

Posted by on April 24, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In The Lost City, you're in a race with the red player.  Each of you has abandoned buildings you can acquire very rapidly and expand to the opposite side of the map, with the AI player expanding quickly from the northeast to the northwest and the human player expanding from the southwest to the southeast.

At the start, you will need to quickly sell abandoned buildings and place new skyscrapers at just the right locations along your eastern border to allow continued expansion.  While doing this, you will need to begin to block off your base along its top edge.

First, sell the abandoned buildings inside your territory and build a skyscraper as shown.

Next, place a Gun Turret as shown and continue expanding eastward.  Also place  two Dropship Pads to block off the tiles west of your Capitol.

Once you're able to afford it, also build a Missile Launcher and a third Dropship Pad next to your Capitol as shown, to force the enemy to attack your Capitol on the east side.  Prioritize expansion while doing so -- you do not want to let up on the expansion, and it's the highest priority.

Finally, you should be able to expand all the way to the east and begin to capture the gold and crystals along the southeastern edge of the map.

We've captured the resources ...

Now we can start to upgrade our Skyscrapers for income while also cranking up our defenses and building more offensive units.

Notice how we keep building all our defenses and our offensive units along a line to the east?  We're forcing the red units to take the longest possible path.  Make sure you have several Gun Turrets and Missile Launchers near your Capitol to help take down both the Gunships and the ground units, along with at least one well-placed Disruptor.  A Ground Slammer near the Capitol is also a huge help.  Eventually your city should look something like this:

Finally, crank up the income with more Skyscrapers, upgrade your units, and you should be able to steamroll the enemy without too much difficulty (except in Hard mode, where it will be quite a challenge, of course -- but I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you're not playing on Hard anyway).

Strategy Guide: The Eight Gates

Posted by on April 20, 2013 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

In general, there are two ways to win "The Eight Gates."  Both of them involve wrapping turrets tightly around your Capitol from the inside out.

I'm going to show you both of the two major strategies I use to win The Eight Gates: the one-spiral strategy and the two-spiral strategy.

First, the one-spiral strategy.  Start by wrapping up your Capitol like so:

You'll notice that the enemy can now approach the Capitol only from the east side.  At the same time, we've left a clear path between our Capitol and our Extractors, which ensures that we maximize our income.

As we collect additional gold, we close off the eastern section and then build a few Grenade Tossers:

The enemy is now forced to approach our Capitol ONLY from the west side.  Now we continue the pattern, building extra Lightning Towers near the area on the east side where enemy forces will stop to attack our Capitol:

Now we'll show you the two-spiral approach.  Start the mission by wrapping your Capitol like this:

Again, note how we've left a clear route for our Collectors to deliver resources to our Capitol.  Now we'll close off the holes so the enemy units can only hit the northwest and southeast corners of our Capitol:

Next, we build several Grenade Tossers to help clear out large groups of enemy ground units:

Finally, we continue to extend the pattern all the way around our base, adding lots of Lightning Towers to take down the larger units and upgrading a lot of the Gun Turrets nearest to our Capitol.

Strategy Guide: Surrounded

Posted by on April 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (1)

We're back, this time with a strategy guide to the first Challenge mission, "Surrounded."

As with Sands of Alatok, there's more than one way to win this mission, but I'm going to show you the way I play it.

In this mission, it's a very good idea to start by using all your crystals to block off your Capitol building.  I usually start by building three cheap Dropshop Pads along the west side of my Capitol.  Then I build two Gun Turrets and a Missile Launcher between my extractors to block off the northeastern route.  Finally, I build two area-effect turrets -- a Ground Slammer and a Grenade Tosser -- as shown, along with a Disruptor, which will be very important to stop all the healing/shielding that would otherwise be going on in the giant mass of enemies that will soon pile up at my base.

This should be enough to bring down the first wave -- it will hurt, but you'll survive.  As soon as we can afford it, we build an Extractor on the last gold deposit and continue blocking off the southern edge of the Capitol with more cheap defenses, such as Gun Turrets.

Now we continue building around the west side, all the way around to the two crystal deposits, which we still haven't claimed yet.  Note that we've also built two more Missile Launchers.  In particular, note the one on the east side, which is important for helping deal with the Gunships that will fly in from the northeast.

Now we keep extending it around to the north side.  We also finally claim the two crystal deposits and build two more towers on the east side, so we can really start to chew up those pesky Gunships.  At this point, we also need to start building Skyscrapers, both to expand our city and to increase our income.

At this point, we've wrapped up our Capitol enough to really protect it.  We can start to upgrade our Skyscrapers and crank up our income while building a few more towers around the east side of your city.

At this point, victory is yours.  Continue building and upgrading Skyscrapers, continue to upgrade your defenses, and build and upgrade more Dropship Pads.  Due to the enemy's extensive line of defenses along the west side and relatively weak anti-air defenses, it's easiest to win with Gunships at this point.

Strategy guide: Sands of Alatok

Posted by on April 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Hi everybody,

Here's a quick strategy guide to campaign mission #5: The Sands of Alatok.

There are lots of ways to win this mission; I'm going to show you just one.  However, all winning strategies on this map essentially have four phases:

1. Secure the nearby gold and crystal deposits as quickly as possible.

2. Defend your capitol: wrap it up tightly and use the terrain to your advantage.

3. As your defenses grow more secure, extend the maze around your Capitol with Dropship Pads to create a good mixed army

4. Increase your income by upgrading your Skyscrapers, and also upgrade your Dropship Pads.

Here's a set of screenshots showing the city I built to win Sands of Alatok on Easy difficulty.

How to Win at Multiplayer

Posted by on December 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

This blog post is an introduction to the key multiplayer concepts you need in order to succeed.

The best way to learn multiplayer, of course, is to play the single-player campaign to the end.  The campaign is designed to teach you all the intricacies of City Conquest.

But this post should point you in the right direction.

Overwhelmingly, the main mistake that new City Conquest players make is that they don't get enough income.  Growing your income stream is essential to victory.  The tactical game is important, but it's much less so if one player has a big income advantage over the other.

Right when the game begins, work to build your Extractor income.  This is the fundamental, low-level income you'll need to build your whole city.

  • Grab the nearest available source of gold first.  Build Extractors on at least 3 gold deposits nearest your base, and build a Skyscraper or two if you need to to get 3 gold Extractors.
  • After you've done that, grab the nearest available source of crystals.  You should be able to get at least 2-3 crystal Extractors going.  Remember to put this off until AFTER your gold Extractors are built.
  • Only after you've done all that, build a Gun Turret next to your Capitol facing toward the enemy.
  • As you are doing this, sell any abandoned buildings near your base, or that you may extend your base onto in the course of getting gold and crystal Extractors built.  This will get you 1 gold and 1 crystal per building sold, which helps quite a bit in the early game.  DON'T extend your base too far out of the way to get abandoned buildings that are far away until you have the income level -- it's not worth it.
After that comes the even more important part -- upgrading your skyscrapers!  This is the real key to victory, since while basic Skyscrapers give you no income, upgraded Skyscrapers grant you 1 gold and 1 crystal each time your Dropships deliver troops (or 2 gold and 2 crystals if you upgrader them twice).

As soon as you can, you should upgrade one Skyscraper to get that additional source of income.  From that point onward, make a point of upgrading 1 or 2 additional Skyscrapers every drop phase to keep your income stream going.  Eventually, you can upgrade 3, 4, or even 5 Skyscrapers per drop phase and still have income left over to build other buildings.

Ultimately, you can get an exponentially-growing stream of revenue from building and upgrading Skyscrapers.

Remember to keep spending your gold and crystals -- they do you no good just sitting in your inventory.  Spend what you need in the early game to defend your base and keep your enemy on the defensive, but don't overspend!  You may be tempted to upgrade your Capitol right away to get that fancy energy shield, or build a large army right off the bat, but consider spending it on Skyscrapers upgrades instead -- you'll find that you eventually get it back with interest.

There's much more to multiplayer strategy than this of course, but if you learn to ramp up your income properly, you'll be a very large step ahead of most other City Conquest players online.  We'll be back later in the week with more tips to help you learn to build a better base!

Understanding Offensive Game in City Conquest

Posted by on December 13, 2012 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to the first of what we hope to make a regular series of blog posts about strategy and gameplay in City Conquest.


Understanding the Offensive Game


City Conquest is a surprisingly deep game, and it takes a while to learn all of the concepts you need to succeed. You may not realize just from the first few missions how many strategic options are available. This blog post is intended to go into detail on the concepts behind offensive gameplay.


At first playthrough, you might think there's little depth to the offensive strategies. You just pump out a lot of units and throw them at the enemy, right?


Nothing could be further from the truth! Quantity is important, of course, but there's much more to the offensive game than this, and we hope that after reading this article, you'll have a much deeper appreciation of the gameplay concepts involved.


Warning: spoilers! If you're the kind of person who enjoys figuring things out on your own, you may want to skip this.


Here are the five core concepts behind offensive gameplay:



Balancing upgrades with quantity

Upgrading your units is essential to victory. Each upgrade level DOUBLES a unit's hit points, increases its movement speed by 9%, and also increases its damage, rate of fire, and/or special abilities (such as its shielding or healing). At the same time, upgrading can be very expensive, and if you have too few units, your enemy's turrets will end up focusing all of their fire on them.

The level of upgrades your units require depends on your enemy's defenses -- you will likely find that more heavily upgraded enemy cities require more upgraded units of your own. Low-level ground units are also very vulnerable to area-effect damage from Ground Slammers and Grenade Tossers, while upgraded units will be much more resistant to this kind of damage.

Balancing air with ground units

Air and ground units each require different kinds of defenses. Some City Conquest players find that massed air units (Gunships) are the best way to attack an enemy Capitol, the truth is that this is very easy to defend against -- Lightning Towers are extremely effective against air units, and they do very well when combined with Missile Launchers and Gun Turrets. In general, creating a "wedge" made of these three defensive tower types in front of your Capitol facing toward the enemy is the best way to take down enemy Gunships quickly.

At the same time, a city with a lot of Lasers, Chiller Units, Ground Slammers, and/or Grenade Tossers will find that it's likely to be quite effective against ground but very vulnerable to air units. The best approach is to combine both types of offensive units to prevent your enemy from using any single strategy against them, and to buy yourself the option of going heavily toward either ground or air near the endgame if you decide to do so.

Entry Timing!

Ground units are dramatically more effective when you can get them to enter the enemy base in a tight cluster rather than a long string.  Grouping units more tightly will ensure that you minimize the opportunities for enemy towers to attack them.


  • Slow speed: CosmoKnights and Tanks.  Try placing these units near the front of your city so that they come out the earliest.
  • Medium Speed: Hover Artillery and Crusaders.  Try placing these units near the middle of your city so they come out after the "slow" units.
  • Fast Speed: Rollers: Try placing these units near the rear of your base, so that they emerge after your "medium" speed units.

There is also a "fourth speed": helper units.  Commandos, Shield Generators, and Guardians.  These units will track the speed of the nearest slow or medium-speed unit (they CANNOT follow Rollers), so it's best to place the Dropship Pads for these units right next to these other units so they immediately begin tracking their speed.

Also, be aware of the fact that upgrading increases the speed of these units by 9% per upgrade level.  It's a good idea to upgrade the units farthest from the enemy base (i.e. the ones with the longest paths) first, as this will help ensure that they enter the enemy city in sync with the other units.

Also, don't forget that you have the "Swap" ability!  On any multiplayer game or in any Challenge mission or any Campaign mission after "Alexander's Dilemma," you can select two Dropship Pads and swap them.  If you find that one unit is consistently getting ahead of another and its Dropship Pad is closer to the enemy base, try swapping the two Dropship Pads and see what happens.

Combined Arms Tactics!

The three helper units -- Commandos, Shield Generators, and Guardians -- contribute a great deal to the survivability of a squad.  You're likely to find that the combination of all three of these unit types with several upgraded combat units is vastly more effective than their numbers, as they are able to heal, shield, and repair one another in the field.

Here are some hints for each unit type:

  • Commandos: Commandos tend to be most useful for helping you dodge entire parts of an enemy's base.  If your opponent makes the mistake of giving you an entrance route that's not covered with Disruptors, try using a Commando or two to cloak your units and get past as many towers as possible.  In some cases, you'll find that you can simply avoid a lot of incoming damage this way, giving your units better survivability and helping them damage the enemy Capitol more.
  • Shield Generators: Shield Generators are extremely useful for reducing incoming damage to all friendly units nearby.  However, keep in mind  that only on Shield Generator's shield will apply to any unit at any given moment, so there is no point in putting too many Shield Generators in the same spot.  It's best to intermingle your Shield Generators with your "slow" and "medium" units, but spread them out a bit so they cover your entire army as much as possible and apply their damage mitigation to as many units as possible.
  • Guardians.  Guardians' repair ability will go a very long way toward repairing your units in the field.  As much as possible, you should stack them with the units that have the highest survivability, such as the most heavily-upgraded units, and with the units that have the most stamina in the first place, such as Crusaders and Hover Artillery.
Also, don't forget to upgrade your helper units!  The Shield Generators and Guardian abilities in particular become significantly more powerful with each upgrade level.

Mothership Effects and Effect Timing

Finally, in multiplayer and in the later Campaign and Challenge missions, it's essential to understand how to use the Mothership effects to your advantage while attacking.  Although the Bombardment ability is purely offensive, the other three Mothership effects can provide enormous benefits when you use them to augment your attacks in the right way.

Here are three of our favorite ways of using these Mothership effects:
  • Radar Sweep: this effect is very useful for cloaking units that don't already have a Commando nearby to cloak them.  It's best to find an entry point near the outer edge of your enemy's base that isn't already covered by a Disruptor.  Then wait until just before a large number of your units pass through this area, and drop Radar Sweep just as your units begin to enter.  Try to drop the effect in a place where as many units as possible will walk through the circle.  This can help a lot of your units bypass damage completely.
  • Heal.  Heal can go a very long way toward enhancing the survivability of your units.  It's usually best to try to drop this on as many friendly units as possible -- ideally, soon after they reach the enemy Capitol in large numbers and begin pounding a way.  Also, make sure you cast this at just the right time -- usually when your units have taken moderate damage (~50%).  If you cast it too early, before your units have been damaged, you'll be wasting the potential for healing, while if you cast it too late, you run the risk of your units dying before you can heal them.  Also, be sure to focus on the units with the most stamina (upgraded units with a focus on Crusaders and Hover Artillery), as these units are the most likely to be able to survive enough damage to reap the benefits of your healing.
  • Stun.  Stun is best used on the largest possible number of enemy towers.  Focus on the most expensive towers (Lightning Towers and Grenade Tossers) and the ones that have been upgraded the most.  It's usually best to cast this when your units first reach the enemy Capitol -- grab a Stun and try to get as many enemy towers as possible inside the circle.  If you do it right, you may also give yourself enough time to cast a Heal spell and increase the lifetime of your units even further.

That's it for today, but stay tuned -- we'll be posting an introductory guide to multiplayer soon!  Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can stay informed about the next blog post.