In Z the computer player does not play a pre-set strategy but reacts in real-time to the decisions that the player makes. Therefore it is not possible to define a sequence of orders for each level which will guarantee winning a battle. However there is a basic strategy that should be employed which will establish a good foothold from which the player can win a level.
All the one player levels are designed so that the two halves of the battlefield mirror each other. This means that both the computer and the player each have the same resources available to them in their half of the map. It therefore follows that as long as you have control of your half of the map you will be level with the computer. Managing to capture one more territory will give the player a slight advantage both in resources and the time taken to manufacture units in the buildings owned. Understanding this basic principle is fundamental to developing a winning strategy in any of the battlefields.
At the start of the game there are some basic moves that you should make. Give orders for your units to capture the territories in your half of the map, and any uncaptured hardware contained within it. Whilst your units are carrying out these orders, use the time to set up any captured buildings to make the required units. Once these territories have been captured, you should locate the connecting roads between your territories and the computerís. Units must be moved up to this front-line to defend against the computer trying to enter territories which you control. As units are manufactured you should bring them up to support this defence. Always scan the map to see what the computer is doing to react to any planned attacks. Find territories which the computer has either left undefended or which have little defence. Attack these territories only when you have units which exceed the power of the computerís defending units. Do not believe the battle is over if you manage to gain the territory advantage over the computer. He will fight hard to regain control of any lost territories. Of course this is also true for the human player. Losing one or even two of your territories to the computer does not mean the end of the battle. Playing hard and recognising those territories which are easily re-captured will get you back into the game.
1. Capture your half of the available territories as quickly as possible so that your manufacturing speed matches the Computer.
2. Note the position of uncaptured hardware and send appropriate units to those territories (e.g. Do not send a light tank to capture a flag that has an uncaptured medium tank sitting by it).
3. When you capture territories containing factories, remember to specify what you want to build. It is often better to build cheaper units initially and then to change to building more powerful units once you have established yourself.
4. Watch what the CPU does with his resources and move your forces to provide an adequate line of defence.
5. Do not move into contested/enemy territories (even if they are uncaptured) too early. This will leave other territories weak or undefended. Always have some backup available and consider placing units in positions where they can move quickly to reinforce several areas of the map.
6. As units are manufactured give the new units appropriate orders quickly. Do not leave them hanging around without orders.
BASIC STRATEGY - Advanced techniques
1. If you are about to lose a territory containing a factory which is about to produce a new unit, change the unit being manufactured to the weakest possible. In this way, the CPU will not benefit from the time you spent manufacturing.
2. Even if you cannot take and hold a territory, try capturing the flag just before a factory completes its manufacturing.
3. Remember that robots run towards flags and uncaptured hardware. This can be an advantage but a robot running to take a flag will not return fire whilst he is doing it.
4. Use a series of small movement orders to manoeuvre vehicles with precision.
1. Rushing across the map to capture territories: Capturing territories in the computers half of the battlefield at the beginning of the game may give the player the initial advantage, but this is unlikely to be a winning strategy as the players units will be spread to thinly over the battlefield.
2. Sending units into attack without considering the units they are attacking: Players must learn the strengths and weaknesses of all units and use them to their advantage. It is pointless sending a unit to attack if it has no chance of winning.
3. Grouping units together: Sending more units than you need to complete an objective is wasting your resources and is more than likely to leave territories undefended.
1. Initially a good way of giving orders is to select a unit and then use the mini-map to move quickly to the location that you want to send the unit to.
2. As you become more proficient with the system learn to use right hand mouse button scroll. Being able to use this well will enhance your ability to move quickly around the map and react to conflicts which break out.
1. Sending an additional unit into a combat will enhance your chances of winning. E.g. sending even just a unit of Grunts in with a medium tank to attack an opposition medium tank will draw his fire or even confuse your opponent and will increase you chance of victory considerably.
2. When you use multiple units as described above, avoid letting them get too close together. Use quick mouse work to perform pincer movements or set up a ring of units to surround the enemy.
3. Remember that different units move at different speeds. Do not assume that grouped units will arrive at their destination at the same time. If they are moved carefully and do arrive simultaneously, they will be much more effective than if they arrive one after another.
4. Static lines of defence can be very effective. For example, you can defend a road by placing units either side of it. The aim being to catch enemy units in the crossfire as they move down the road.
5. Vehicles move more quickly on roads than any other terrain. This can be used to your advantage during combat. A vehicle on a road will be able to manoeuvre quickly to avoid enemy fire.
6. By using multiple robot units (especially Snipers) sent in simultaneously from different directions against vehicles you can greatly increase your chances of shooting the driver.
COMBAT - Advanced techniques
1. When you target an opponent with a tank/gun etc. the turret is locked in place. Make sure your turret is pointing in the correct direction when you give the order to attack. In this way you stand a better chance of shooting first when the combat begins.
2. By combining the above technique with a rapid retreat, light and medium tanks can be very effective against Light Guns.
3. Artillery units can often be placed in a position where they can bombard the enemy fort without being in range of the defending guns.
4. Tanks and Guns can fire over buildings to take out robots with rifles or machine guns.
5. Units can be ambushed as they emerge from Factories. Target the entrance a second or two before the unit emerges.
6. Units which are given an order to go somewhere when under attack accelerate but do not return fire. You can use this to your advantage to avoid shots, particularly from units with a slow fire rate. 7. Destroying a bridge whilst units are going across it will take out both the bridge and the units on it. Pre-damage bridges so that units crossing them can be taken out with a single shot.
COMBAT - UNIT STRENGTH AND WEAKNESSES