Command and Conquer was a game I played religiously as a child in the 90s, the good news is that in May 2020 they remastered it and online play is back with a bang. The downside is that I am older now and had long forgotten all of the strategy and tools I used to use to win. Well after a couple of months playing and re-learning my methods I can share a few good tips to get you going online.
There is no one method that will beat every opponent in every scenario on every map but I’ll walk you through a good strategy thats seen me win more than I lose and should give you a good idea where you have been going wrong and what to do to correct it. Lots of other guides will tell you to do things like get an APC and fill it with tanyas/engineers then sneak it into the enemies base and that can work but that has one major problem, if they kill the APC or kill the units before you have done enough damage then you lose as they will walk over your base in a few seconds.
Most Red Alert online games basically boil down to who can build the most tanks in the midgame and use them in the most efficient way. When you attack another player with your tanks you want to outnumber them and out maneuver them to be able to take down their tank army then you will be able to roll over the base unchallenged.
Build your command centre then build a power plant then build a barracks.
Barracks, scouts and man rushes:
Scouting is very important as revealing large parts of the map early on gives you an advantage. For scouting build minigunners and sent one to each corner of the map and some inbetween too. Sometimes a man rush can work early on so you could build 20 minigunners (in addition to the scouts) then send them to another base as quick as possible in the hope of taking down an early building or two. Watch out for other people manrushing you – If they do this make sure you spot it early and build lots of minigunners to defend against it or a well placed pillbox. A good idea is to dot a few minigunners around your base as one stationary minigunner can take out multiple enemy minigunners running past. When scouting, placing minigunners or man rushing an enemy its extremely important you are building at the same time, do not let it distract you from building your base and getting to the next stage.
Ore refinaries, war factories:
After you’ve built your barracks you need to focus on economy so build an ore refinary as close to an ore field as possible. This is one of the key things people don’t do well sometimes, they think they should have their base huddled in a corner with loads of tessla coils/pillboxes/turrets protecting it. Wrong. Only build tessla coils/pillboxes/turrets if you need to handle a situation like with the man rush example above. In terms of placing your buildings the best method is to snake them out accross the map to reach further ore fields. It may make you slightly more vulnerable if someone attacks but the benefits outweigh the risks big time as you will have access to much more ore therefore can grown your economy quicker and better economy ultimately means more tanks!
Talking of tanks you need to place a war factory next though first thing out of the war factory should normally be a second harvester unless you are planning on sending a load of early tanks to your opponent or defending against a load of early tanks from your opponent. Early tank attacks can be successful though you will greatly sacrifice your economy by doing so. Its best to build a couple of extra harvesters before mass producing the tanks as you will very quickly burn through your cash once you start scaling up production (covered in next section).
Extra ore refineries and extra war factories
Ok you got the first bit sorted, scouts have flown to all corners revealing roughly where your opponent is, moneys coming in and tanks are rolling out. Building another ore refinery is good as you get a harvester with it and somewhere new to dock, it also makes it easier to farm some of the new ore fields you have been building towards (see snaking above). We need to speed up production now and build a radar at some point too. The way you speed up production in this game is by building more of the same type of buildings. So next thing to do it build a second war factory, this will double the speed your tanks are created. Obviously this is good as will mean massing huge army quicker but also it will eat more funds so make sure you have the ore refineries and harvesters to support it. A good rule of thub is one war factory to one ore refinery plus extra harvester. I don’t normally do this but you can even build a second command centre which means you can create buildings at twice the speed too!
Radar is important but its very difficult to guage exactly when to build it. Radar will mean you have a heads-up when opponents are moving towards you and also makes it easier for you to move your units accross the map. By this point your opponent may start to prod your defenses and you may have prodded your opponent a bit and movement is key to getting to the end game. Sometimes rather than battling your tanks in the middle of a map they may drive straight past into your base to try to take down a building or two and you then need to decide do I defend my base or do I counter attack? Whatever you do make sure the whole time you are building new buildings and mass producing the tanks. Often if someone tries to brute force into your base past your army they will get a building but while they are doing that you can destroy the majority of their tanks which in turn will leave their base vulnerable.
The end game is when you and your opponents have set up a nice base, your production lines are flowing and now its time to seal the deal. Most of the time I play the destroy structures mode which means when you have destroyed all of your opponents structures then the game is yours. You can also play where all units and structures have to be destroyed but this can become tedious trying to find that minigunner hidden in a tree.
This phase mostly boils down to who has built the best economy, you will have had some battles by now losing some units and even some buildings, its who can build up again after that and get the advantage. You need to think about being proactive, not waiting until your opponent makes a move. If you see a load of tanks coming towards your base do you use all of your resources defending? Or do you send all of your resources to their base? The answer very much depends on which option is most likely to result in a win but defending alone is not going to win, you need to be able to launch an attack after defending. If you are playing with team mates and you see an opponent make a move like that it means their base is vulnerable so could have one defending the attack while the other sneaks in behind and attacks their base.
Don’t give up, sometimes it may look like the opponent is winning, they have destroyed your command center and you have lost a lot of your army but they often pay a heavy price driving a load of tanks through your base and would have lost a good portion of their army too. I’ve seen games won with only one building left on the map so do everything you can with the bits you have left!
A Good Example Build Order
- Command center
- Barracks -> scouts -> base perimeter protection -> man rushes (optional)
- Ore Refinery
- War factory -> Extra harvester -> 8 tanks -> Extra harvester -> TANKS TANKS TANKS
- War Factory
- Advanced Powerplant
- War factory
- Ore Refinery
- Advanced Powerplant
- War Factory
- Ore Refinery