This article provides basic knowledge needed to succeed in Advance Wars. No in-depth strategy is included; this is a rulebook meant for beginners to read.
Gameplay is turn based. When one army is finished issuing commands to its units, it ends its turn, and the next army moves. To build units, funds (the game's currency) are used. Funds are acquired at a rate of 1000g per allied property per turn. Different CO's (Commanding Officers) have different effects for different units. To command a unit, click on it. A list of commands will be available:
- Move - Moves the unit. When the page reloads, the red squares show movement range. Click one to move there, but be careful, moves can not be taken back. Moving takes fuel. When a land unit runs out of fuel, it cannot move. If a plane or ship runs out of fuel, it dies.
- Wait - The unit does nothing, and cannot move again this turn. In the event where unit does not want to be moved, a command is not necessary.
- Fire - If in range to attack the enemy, this command will appear. Red squares will show over enemy units that can be attacked. By moving the cursor over an attackable unit, a percentage will be shown. A rating higher than 100% indicates a one-hit-kill (aka OHKO). 55% will inflict either a 5HP or 6HP damage to the enemy unit. 42% will most likely do 4 damage. Attacking consumes ammo; if ammo runs out, an unit cannot fire unless it has a secondary weapon and is applicable to the current target (Eg. Mechs out of ammo will fire on Tanks with their machine guns). Against infantry, secondary weapons will be used on default (A Tank unit will attack an Infantry unit with its machine guns rather than its cannons). Secondary weapons are usually machine guns and they have unlimited ammo.
- Capture - This command is exclusive to Infantry and Mechs. This captures buildings that an infantry or mech is standing on top of at a rate of the unit's HP (hit points). All buildings have 20 capture points to start, and capturing a building reduces it's capture points. When it becomes 0, the building is captured.
- Supply - Exclusive to the APC, this command supplies all adjacent units with full fuel and ammo.
- Load - Infantry and mechs can be loaded into APC's, T-Copters, Landers, and Black Boats. This enables them to move much farther than normal, although they cannot attack. However, damage suffered by the APC does not affect the unit inside. Landers can load 2 of any land unit, and T-Copters and APC's hold one footsoldier. (Clicking on the Lander/APC/T-Copter/Black Boat will show what is inside it. Clicking on the image of the unit inside will give the command to unload it, and allow it to move on its next turn)
- Join - If two of the same type of unit have lower than 10HP (or if one is lower), they may be combined by moving one on top of the other. A unit cannot exceed 10HP. Any excess HP is converted to funds at a rate of 10% per HP. So an 8HP and a 7HP infantry are combined. They add to 15HP, but since the max is 10, the extra 5 is converted into funds. 5HP x 10% of the units cost = 50% of the cost of an infantry will be added to the stash.
- Dive/Rise - Only available to subs. Allows them to Dive and Rise, respectively. Subs Submerged can only be hit by Cruisers and Other subs and are invisible to nonadjacent enemy units, but subs use 5 fuel a day with it. Subs above water can be hit by more units and are not invisible whatsoever, but only use 1 fuel a day with it.
- Hide/Unhide - Only available to stealths. Allows them to Hide and Unhide, respectively. Hidden Stealths can only be hit by Fighters and other Stealths and are invisible to all but Adjacent units, but use 8 fuel per day while hidden. Unhidden stealths are clearly visible and can be hit by more units but use only 5 fuel a day while unhidden.
- Launch - Only Available to Infantry and Mechs. Launches a missile from a Silo at the desired location. Is only available if the infantry is on a Missile Silo with a missile on it.
- Repair - Only available to Black Boats. Repairs the selected friendly unit by 1HP for 10% of the unit cost.
- Detonate - Only Available to Black Bombs. Detonates the Black Bomb where it is.
Properties produce a certain amount of funds per turn which is set and shown at the beginning of each game. This amount can be anywhere form 500G to 9500G. Also, a unit on an allied City or HQ will be repaired 2HP at the start of the player's turn (the exception in this is Rachel, who has a special ability that allows her to repair 3HP instead). The cost for repairing is dependent on the unit's cost (eg. It takes 200G to repair 2HP for an Infantry). Units will not be healed if there's insufficient money. However, fuel and ammo are resupplied fully for no cost.
- Headquarters (HQ) - This is the same as a regular City with a star higher in defensive rating. However, if an enemy captures this building, all units are lost, and the enemy gains control of every property of the corresponding army.
- City - This is mostly for accumulating funds, but it also re-supplies and repairs land units.
- Base - This structure allows the construction of land units. Otherwise it has the same functions as a City.
- Sea Port - Builds/repairs/re-supplies sea units.
- Air Port - Builds/repairs/re-supplies air units.
- Comm Tower (Communication Tower) - Once captured, this structure boosts all units' offense by 10%, and the effect is stacked. For Javier, each tower will boost defense by 10% as well. These do not give funds like most other buildings.
- Missle Silo (Missile Silo)- This property can not be captured. Once an Infantry or Mech, regardless of HP, moves on a unused Missile Silo, a missile can be launched anywhere on the map. Any units - friend or foe - within 2 spaces of the Missle's initial target will lose 3 HP. If the silo is used (), then it is essentially a permanent neutral City.
- Laboratory (Lab) - This property is a research facility that specializes in designing new units. If the game you are in has lab units set, capturing a lab will enable you to build lab units. Like comm towers, labs do not give funds.
There are two types of units: Direct and Indirect.
- Direct units - Direct combat involves moving adjacent to an enemy unit, and firing on it. After damage is dealt, the enemy will fire back with what it has left, counter-attacking. Attacking the enemy first is called "first strike". If the unit that first strikes has enough power to destroy the unit, the destroyed unit will not get a chance to counter-attack.
- Indirect units - Long Range Combat. For indirect combat, the unit must be a certain distance away to fire, and cannot move and fire on the same turn, but there will be no counterattack. This is the safest way to fight, however, if an enemy attacks, indirect units can not counter-attack. All direct units are good against indirect units (except land units against a battleship). It is vital to protect indirect units.
Each unit has a specific function, and a specific attack pattern. Every unit has 10HP, and when the unit reaches 0HP, it is destroyed. See the Unit Chart for details on each unit, the Terrain Chart for movement costs over certain terrain, and the Damage Chart for how effective each unit is in combat.
They can only be created on bases, and are healed on bases, cities, and HQ's. Infantry and Mechs can cross mountains and rivers, but vehicles cannot.
- Infantry - The standard soldier. They have machine guns which are only effective vs. other soldiers, and they can capture buildings per how much HP they have.
- Mechs - The upgraded soldier. They have slightly better defense and slightly stronger machine guns, and they also have bazookas to fight tanks and other light-armor vehicles. They move slower than Infantry, but they can also capture buildings.
- Recon - A very fast moving, lightly armored infantry. They are very strong against infantry, and good against mechs if they get the first strike. Tanks and other vehicles are very effective against recons.
- APC - A transport vehicle. It cannot attack, but carries infantry and mechs long distances. Also supplies other units.
- Tank - This is the basic combat vehicle, could also be called the Light Tank. Average attack power, good movement, and a large supply of fuel and ammo. This is also fairly inexpensive, and is very effective against infantry, mechs, recons, APC's, Anti-Airs, indirects, and other tanks.
- Md. Tank - A Medium Tank. It is bigger, stronger, and takes more damage than a tank. It is great against tanks, indirects,
and good against other Md. tanks with first strike. It is very costly, so do not waste them.
- NeoTank - The Heavy Tank. This is big, powerful, and costs a lot. These are going to slaughter any other land unit, and it is recommended to hit them with indirect fire so one won't suffer a counterattack.
- Mega Tank - The Heaviest tank. This tank is huge, and can take and deal massive amounts of damage, but is the most expensive land unit, is very slow, and has a low maximum of fuel and ammo. The only effective way to take one out on land effectively is with indirect fire, bombers, or other Mega Tanks.
- Anti-Air - This is the Anti-Air unit. It's vulcan cannon will almost instantly kill any infantry or mech unit, but it is weak against other land vehicles. It is stronger than the Recon, however. It's main purpose is to destroy air units.
- Artillery - An indirect unit with a firing range of 2-3 spaces. It has moderate power. Low cost. Attacks land/sea units.
- Rocket - An indirect unit with a firing range of 3-5 spaces. It is more powerful and has a bigger range than the artillery, but it is more expensive. Also, watch out for its distance. It can be easy for enemies to get inside the blind spots, and then a turn will have to be wasted moving backwards to set up an attack. Attacks land/sea units.
- Missiles - An indirect unit with a firing range of 3-5 spaces. These missiles can only hit air units, but they do massive damage.
- Piperunner - This unit is unique as it is the only one able to move on pipes. It is an Indirect unit with a range of 2-5, and can hit most any unit except for a cloaked Stealth. This unit can only travel on pipes and bases (but does so very well), so don't build one if there are no pipes!
Air units are very powerful, and have a wide range of movement. However, they burn fuel at a rate of 2 per day for copters, and 5 per day for planes. If a unit runs out of fuel, It crashes and dies. Air units are not affected by terrain.
- T-Copter - A transport that flies. can load and unload infantrys and mechs.
- B-Copter - A battle copter. It is very effective against all units except for the MidTank, Neotank, Fighter, Bomber, Cruiser and Anti-Air. It's firepower isn't the highest, but it's nice movement abilities and overall attacking style make it valuable.
- Bomber - This unit is very expensive, but has a high movement range. Its concussion bombs murder any land unit on first strike, and any sea unit as well. Their drawback is that Anti-Airs cripple them if they get first strike, and they cannot hit any other air units.
- Fighter - The captain of the skies. The fighter can only attack other air units, but it makes quick work of them. The only counter to these are Anti-Air, Missles, and other Fighters.
- Stealth - The stealth is made for Hit-and-Run attacks. It can attack every unit in the game (except for a Dived Sub) and deals good damage to most units it attacks. It also has a Hide command, which makes the stealth invisible, unless an enemy unit is adjacent to it. If the stealth is not Hidden, any anti air or missile unit can attack it, but if it is Hidden, only Fighters and other Stealths will be able to attack it. The downside of staying Hidden is it burns fuel much quicker than if it is not Hidden, so watch its fuel count.
- Black Bomb - This unit is unable to attack units directly, so it cannot defend itself when being attacked. It can, however, be detonated to cause large amounts of damage to any units 3 spaces from where the Black Bomb was detonated. To do this, simply Move the Black Bomb to its destination and use the Detonate command. It has very low fuel so use it fast or keep it supplied well. Due to its large move range and large damage rate, the Black Bomb is often considered an overpowered unit and is commonly banned from games.
The sea tends to be very underpowered. In maps with air and sea, air often overshadows sea with its superior offense. However, The sea can be very useful for zone control. They use 1 fuel per day, and sink when they run out.
- Lander - A naval transport. Can't supply. It can only move over sea, reefs, ports, and shoals, but it can hold two land units.
- Sub - This unit only attacks other sea units. It is weak against Cruisers, but does good on Landers, Battleships, and other Subs. This unit can also dive; a command exclusive to it. The dived sub uses 5 fuel per day, and can only be seen by units adjacent. A dived sub can only be hit by other Subs and Cruisers.
- Battleship - An indirect with a firing range of 2-6 spaces, the Battleship is very powerful. It has high attack power, high defense, and a high cost. Subs and Bombers make quick work of them, so keep a Cruiser or two around for protection. They only hit land/sea units, but are very effective against them.
- Cruiser - This unit is the guardian of the sea. They demolish Subs (and are the only other unit that can hit a dived Sub), and are excellant with first strike against air units. They can also carry up to two Copter units (resupplying them at the start of your turn), but nobody ever uses that.
- Carrier - This is the most expensive unit in the game. They are indirect units with a range of 3-8 and can hit only air units. Other than attacking Air units, a Carrier can be used to hold a up to 2 air units. Any air units on the carrier will be resupplied if it stays on the Carrier for the duration of the turn.
- Black Boat - These have the ability to repair 1HP of adjacent units. The Black Boat can also transport up to two Infantry or Mech units. Because they are cheaper and moves farther than Landers, Black Boats are always a better choice than Landers for the sole purpose of transporting Infantry or Mechs, not to mention their repairing ability. Black Boats are ideal for meatshielding on the sea for more valuable naval and air units.
Terrain is the type of land a unit is on. There are many types, each with different functions. Each terrain offers a certain amount of added defense measured in stars. The total defense added is a percentage equal to the number of stars of the terrain multiplied by the current hp of the defending unit. See the Terrain Chart for more details.
- Road - Units move easily over this, but there is no defense.
- Plains - Most units move easily over this (tires move slower), but they offer 1 star of defense.
- Woods - Vehicles move slower over woods, but it offers 2 stars defense. In Fog of War, ground units in a forest are hidden, except from adjacent units.
- Properties (excluding HQ) - These offer the easy movement of roads, but with 3 stars defense. Units can heal and re-supply on most allied properties.
- HQ - This building offers 4 stars defense. Very hard to attack a unit sitting on it's own HQ, as it will heal each turn as well.
- Mountain - Only Infantry, Mechs, and air units can cross mountains. It is hard for Infantry to move over them, but they offer 4 stars defense. Infantry or Mechs on mountains have +3 vision range in Fog of War.
- Shoal - A beach. It is the same as a road, but landers can move over them and load/unload troops.
- Sea - Only sea/air units can cross the sea. It's basically a road that only sea and air units can use.
- Reef - Restricts movement of naval units, and grants 1 star of defense. Like with woods, sea units on reef tiles during FOW are invisible unless there is an opposing unit on an adjacent square.
- River - Has the same movement restrictions as a mountain, but it offers no defense stars and no vision boost.
- Bridge - A road that covers sea or river tiles, essentially a road, except that Koal does not get a bonus in it.
- Pipe - The only unit that can travel on this is the Piperunner. Other than that, it is basically an indestructible wall to other units, including air units. However, indirect units can still fire over it. Piperunners gain no defense on these.
- Pipe Seam - The same as the Pipe but it can be destroyed. It has 99 HP (Which is like 9.9 HP for units.) and the armor similar to a Md. Tank's defensively. When a Pipe Seam is destroyed, it becomes a Plain tile. these can be destroyed easily with tanks and battle copters. Luck does not affect damage dealt to a pipe seam.
- Broken Pipe Seam - Acts the same as a plain but looks slightly different.
***Terrain does not affect air unit movement or defense, nor can air units hide in reefs or forests***
Depending on game settings, every now and then the weather will change. The different types of weather are Clear, Rain, and Snow. These can be set at the beginning of a game, or set to randomly change throughout a game. See the Terrain Chart for details on exactly how weather affects movement.
- Clear - All conditions are normal.
- Rain - Vehicle movement is lowered over plains and woods, and vision is lowered by 1 in Fog of War.
- Snow - All land units have low movement on terrain other than roads/cities/shoals. Sea and air movement is halved (rounded down).
Each CO has its own abilities, but after taking enough damage (or dealing enough out), the CO's "power bar" will fill, enabling it to unleash a devastating attack. These attacks are mentioned in the CO Chart. The bar fills like so: All damage taken is added to the power bar, and half of the damage dealt is added to it. So if a 10HP Infantry is destroyed, 500G is added to the CO power bar, and 1000G is added if one's own is destroyed. This is true for any whole number hp fraction of damage done to a unit, that is, if a 10hp infantry is reduced to 4 hp, the attacker gains 300G to the CO power bar, and the defender gains 600G to the bar.