Labyrinth

Walls (Cetus) Labyrinth walk-through, completed in 2:53.0

If nothing else, Labyrinth has a bunch of planets. My strategy is based on how many times orange has bit me good. Because of that, my approach relies on getting the orange corner double. Then I try my best to be patient and allow the opponents a chance to attack each other.

Walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:06, after doubling up your initial planet, attack the double next to orange.  You don’t want that planet, you just don’t want orange to get it right away.
  2. From 0:07 to 0:40, capture and promote your initial planets, then you want to prepare for capturing some planets on the orange side.
  3. From 0:41 to 1:02, when the walls come down capture the top two planets next to orange and then build up your units for the coming assault on orange.
  4. From 1:03 to 1:24, how you take out orange depends on how it has captured and promoted its planets. You want to take out the doubles just as they are promoted and before they build up a lot of units to use in defense. As you are taking out orange you want to take advantage of any opportunities to capture an extra planet on the green side.
  5. From 1:25 to 1:46, when the walls come down you are at your most vulnerable. I have found that it is best to take your time and hope that your opponents start attacking each other. If you move too quickly, you will probably make a planet weak enough that an opponent will see an opportunity in attacking you.

From here, the possibilities are endless, I try to get the green corner double. Other than that, it is a good strategy to hold off on attacking an opponent that has a different opponent on their other side, and see if they will attack each other.


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Toll

Minefields (Andromeda) Toll walk-through, completed in 2:03.7

I use two different approaches in Toll depending on how orange captures its planets. My best time ever on Toll happened before I started recording all of my games so I don’t remember which variation I used. If you look at the graphs after the games are complete, you can see that in variation #1, orange has more units than I do, but in variation #2, orange is always weaker. For this reason, I think it is most likely variation #2 that will lead to the best time. Until I figure that out for sure, I keep playing both variations.

Variation 1

This is the most common variation and is where orange promotes its planets as fast as it can and waits to capture the moving singleton. Because of this, orange builds up quite a few units.

 

Variation 1 walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:28, the initial captures. Occasionally at about 0:25 to 0:28, orange will attack the moving singleton. It doesn’t do that here, which makes this variation #1
  2. From 0:29 to 0:43, promoting all of my planets.
  3. From 0:44 to 1:12, just bide your time and wait for the moving singleton to go back to the orange side and collect a lot of units. Then, just as it is about to enter the minefield use an attack on one of the orange planets to get them to send the units from the the singleton to reinforce the planet you attacked.
  4. From 1:13 to 1:28, as soon as orange removes its units from the singleton, release your attack. At this point I divide my units between the top and bottom planet in an attempt to bait orange in attacking my center planet. If orange would do that it would really degrade the minefield in the path I’ll be taking soon.
  5. From 1:29 to 1:45, defend yourself from the orange attack, then capture the moving singleton and continuously send new units to the singleton.
  6. From 1:46 to 2:04, the final attack. While attacking the orange planets, you also have to be aware if orange has captured the moving singleton.

 

Variation 2

Sometimes orange will try to capture the moving singleton too early. This prevents orange from capturing and promoting its planets in a timely manner. Because of this, orange doesn’t have nearly as many units available to it as it does in variation #1. This is good, in that there are fewer units to attack me, but not so good in that there are also fewer units available to degrade the minefield.

 

 

Variation 2 walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:28, my initial captures. Then at 0:28, orange makes its move to capture the moving singleton.
  2. From 0:29 to 0:42, finish my captures. Notice that orange finally completes its capture of the singleton, but is way behind where it would have been if it hadn’t attacked the moving planet.
  3. From 0:43 to 1:36, just building up my units, waiting for the orange attack.
  4. From 1:37 to 1:44, orange attacks, but without very many units. You need to capture the singleton and put as many units on it as possible.
  5. From 1:45 to 1:55, after making it through the minefield I attack the lower orange double because it looks like it has fewer units on it.

From here all that is left is destroying the remaining orange planets, including the moving singleton.


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Threat

Supernovas (Hercules) Threat walk-through, , completed in 1:41.3

With a good strategy, Threat gets a lot easier. The strategy I use is to get in behind one of the opponents to force them between me an the other opponent. This provides a buffer that allows you to capture some planets and build up enough units to attack the stronger of your opponents.

Walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:22, you need to capture the double planet closest to the supernova of one of your opponents. I always attack the green side, but either side should work. Then you need to get the singleton to deny it to your opponent.
  2. From 0:23 to 0:42, continue building up your units on the singleton. As soon as green moves to promote its double, you need to destroy and capture the double. If I promote this planet to a double, it seems to become a target for green, so I never promote it.
  3. From 0:43 to 1:02, time to capture your remaining singleton and promote your triple planet. I try to leave some units on the planet next to green until green has to defend itself from an attack by orange.
  4. From 1:03 to 1:16, now we prepare some units for an attack on the orange rear guard.
  5. From 1:17 to 1:24, use an attack on the orange supernova to get orange to send some of its units there. This will weaken its double planets. Then, when your mass of units are next to the orange double, attack and destroy both of its double planets.

From here you just need to destroy the few remaining planets. I got lucky that orange attacked and almost took out the remaining green planet.


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Ambush

Fog (Cygnus) Ambush walk-through, completed in 2:05.3

Some of the tactics I use in other constellations will not work in the Cygnus (Fog) constellation. You can’t attack from a distance to get your opponent to move their units into a position less likely to attack you. Ambush is the exception to that. Once your triple planet is promoted all the way, you can see most of the opponent planets and you have access to attack.

The strategy I use for Ambush is to capture both singletons next to me and then capture the far singleton on the side of the opponent that captures the top center double planet. Then I use fake attacks in an attempt to get the opponents to bring units from their triple planet down to where they will then attack the other opponent. When they start attacking each other, it’s time for my attack to begin.

Walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:15, you need to get your triple promoted all the way so you can see more of the opponents.
  2. From 0:16 to 0:28, now I’m planning on capturing both singletons next to my triple.
  3. From 0:29 to 0:38, when orange moves to capture the top center double planet, I change my plans and go ahead and capture both singletons on the orange side. Here green starts to capture the center singleton. My strategy works best when this happens.
  4. From 0:39 to 0:46, now we can capture the singleton on the green side.
  5. From 0:47 to 1:03, here I alternately attack the green and orange double planets to try and get them to send units down from their triple planet. Orange finally does this and then uses those units to initiate an attack on green.
  6. From 1:04 to 1:21, now that they are attacking each other, my attack will begin with the orange double. I attack here so that when I destroy and capture the orange double and triple planets, the top center orange planet will be a buffer between me and green to allow me time without green attacking.
  7. From 1:22 to 1:31, now its time to collect your units and prepare for an attack on green. Note how green is attacking the top orange planet while I’m doing this. I go ahead and re-capture the singleton on the green side. This is more to have a place to collect all of my units while I’m waiting for green to destroy the top orange planet.
  8. From 1:32 to 1:48, time to take out the green double and triple planets.

From here all that is left is to clean up the remaining planets.


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Whorl

Orbits (Lupus) Whorl walk-through, completed in 1:48.5

I’ve played Whorl for a long time, and I’ve had some pretty good times. I have always started by capturing planets on the outer wheel. I mean, who wants to be in the center where you are an easy target for both of your opponents? Recently I though I would change and try capturing the center planets, just to see what would happen. I was sure I would be slaughtered. What happened instead was that I came within a couple of seconds of my best time ever. I continued with this approach until I got the time shown in the video below.

Walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:17, capture the inner planets.
  2. From 0:18 to 0:40, I started out just observing what the opponents where doing. I noticed green sending reinforcements out to promote its double on the outer wheel. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I think it was the first of two events that enabled the time I got. After observing I captured the double on the outer wheel and the double just inside of it that is passing by.
  3. From 0:41 to 0:46, time to capture the singleton on the outer wheel. At 0:44 orange sends units to its stationary double to promote it. Green, having extra units on its outer wheel planets due to reinforcing them earlier, decides to attack the weakened orange planet. This is the second event that enabled my good time.
  4. From 0:48 to 0:55, promote your double planet on the outer wheel.
  5. From 0:56 to 1:15, here I’m just biding my time. Waiting to see who attacks and looking for targets of opportunity. If you initiate an attack prior to your opponents, it is likely that one of them will attack the planet you just removed units from.
  6. From 1:16 to 1:22, green initiates attacks on orange in two different locations. Since green is attacking and weakening orange, I decide to attack green.
  7. From 1:23 to 1:28, after destroying two green planets, it seems like a good time to even things out a little and go after orange.
  8. From 1:29 to 1:32, at this point I see that I have a chance for a really good time. I wish I could say that I planned this, but it just happened. Here though, I did see that the orange double on the wheel was approaching the green stationary double and destroying the other two planets would have the remaining opponents right next to each other.

From here all that needs to be done is destroy the remaining two doubles, while preventing them from capturing another planet.


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Trigger

Supernovas (Hercules) Trigger walk-through, completed in 2:00.5

As a bonus level, Trigger joins Fog with the a Supernova. I ignore the supernova and just play it like it is fog only. The key, for me is can I see the initial move of the opponents. My best times, by far, are when both of their initial moves are away from me. If I don’t see at least one opponent move away from me, or if I see an opponent move towards me, then I start all over.

Walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:09, after doubling up the initial planet, you need to wait till the fog descends. As the fog is descending watch both opponents and see how they move. Here at: 0:05 you can see green is making a move away from my planet. Orange doesn’t move till after it is obscured by the fog. However, at around the 55 second mark you can tell which way orange first moved. Make sure you know where the double planet you’re going to attack is located, here I’m going to the bottom double, nearest green. When you can just see the double you’re after, go ahead and attack.
  2. From 0:10 to 0:31, capture the double planet, then the singleton next to your opponent.
  3. From 0:32 to 0:50, now you need to prepare for destroying the green double. Position your units close by so that as soon as green doubles up you can destroy and capture it. Here I take out green quickly, sometimes green sends in reinforcements and it takes a long time to destroy their double. When this happens, I give up and start over.
  4. From 0:51 to 1:02, finish capturing and promoting your planets. Here I should have promoted my double prior to capturing the singleton, then my units would have been moving in the direction of orange. At the beginning of this game I didn’t see orange’s initial move. If their move was towards me, then right around the 50 to 55 second mark you’ll start seeing orange taking the singleton next to your initial double. If they do move in around that time, I give up and start over.
  5. From 1:03 to 1:13, I started out with plans to mass my units and destroy the orange double that is just on the edge of the fog. When orange captured the singleton, my plans changed. Now, it had to be destroyed and captured.
  6. From 1:14 to 1:27, now you can mass your units and wait for orange to promote their double planet. When they do, that is when you want to destroy, capture and promote it.
  7. From 1:28 to 1:39, here you can move around the singleton and attack the orange double behind it. You want to destroy, capture and promote this double. this will be the last planet you want to capture. Once it is promoted you’ll be able to attack all of the opponent planets that remain.
  8. From 1:40 to 1:44, time to destroy the singleton you just bypassed.

From here you only have 3 planets left to destroy, and if you’re lucky like I was here, green will destroy the orange planet for you.


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Wheel

Orbits (Lupus) Wheel walk-through, completed in 2:15.3

Original Approach

The first approach I developed was capturing three planets in a row, as you can see in the video below, capturing these planets isn’t a problem, the problem arises when they come around to the orange station. If the orange station has captured all of its planets, and promoted its double planet, then they will attack my three planets and prevent me from building up enough forces to get a good time, or from winning altogether.

New Approach

After playing my old way for quite a while, I noticed that my best times where when orange would capture two planets on the wheel, then when my three planets came around to its station, it wasn’t ready to attack. The problem was that orange wouldn’t do this very often. I needed a new approach that encouraged orange to do what I wanted. My new approach does just that, it encourages orange to make its initial two captures on the wheel.

There are two variations on this new approach, the first is when purple captures its lower singleton planet. In the video below you can see that after capturing the first planet, use the units generated by that planet to attack the orange top-rear planet, this is to prevent orange from using the two planets that it will have at that time from capturing that top-rear planet. Ideally, what you want to happen is for orange to capture a second planet on the wheel.

 

The second variation is when purple’s initial capture is the singleton above it. If you use the same approach as in variation #1 above, then purple will quite often use those two planets to capture the singleton on the wheel between your two planets. In the video below you can see that when this happens you should send units from your initial planet to this singleton prior to attacking the orange top rear singleton. Then when the singleton on the wheel gets even with the purple front planet, you redirect the units attacking the singleton on the wheel to the double that is just coming into range of the two purple planets. You can see this in the video below.

 

Bringing it all together

Once you can coerce orange into capturing two planets on the wheel (or in promoting its double on the wheel), then you need a strategy for which planets to capture and a method to use for destroying your opponents. My strategy is presented in the video below.

 

Walk-through

  1. From 0:00 to 0:24, here I used variation #2 shown above to coerce orange to capture two planets on the wheel.
  2. From 0:25 to 0:39, next you need to capture the singleton between you and orange. Keep sending units from both of your wheel planets even after capturing the singleton. This is to discourage purple from attacking you.
  3. From 0:40 to 0:52, here I’m trying to promote both doubles, but I mistakenly send the units from the stationary singleton into the singleton on the wheel instead of the double. Sometimes my best approaches are mistakes, as I now try to do this whenever it is an option. Quite often at this point green has already captured that singleton. If that is the case, you don’t have to have that planet for this approach to work. I have many times below 2:20 where I didn’t capture this singleton.
  4. From 0:53 to 0:57, next you need to capture the singleton between your two doubles. After this capture I went into attack mode, I probably should have promoted my other double on the wheel, but this was the first time I had captured the wheel planets in this way.
  5. From 0:58 to 1:20, time to wipe out purple. You’ll notice that I don’t attack purple immediately, instead I’m just sending the units in that direction. I’m trying to give purple every chance to attack the green planet on the wheel.
  6. From 1:21 to 1:42, time to take out green. I used to capture some of the planets I destroyed on the purple and green stations. But, when green and orange are fairly balanced it is best to just destroy the purple and green planets. You’ll notice at 1:31 I attack the green double on the wheel that has been weakened by orange. This is just a target of opportunity. I only go after a planet like this if its been weakened.
  7. From 1:43 to 2:06, now it’s time for orange. Even though I’m attacking orange I notice that green is trying to capture another planet, so I send some units there to prevent that capture.

It isn’t typical to get done destroying orange and only have one planet remaining on the wheel. But you sure can get a better time when that is the case.

There are quite a few situations where I just give up. The situations where I do are presented below.

Continue reading “Wheel”