Tips and Tricks

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I've noticed many people having a hard time on levels and i wanted to start a topic to help players by giving them tips and tricks we others have learned.
1) Don't mass spam workers, they might work for short fight but for longed prolonged fights it will take a lot of food.
2) Having 10-15 worker ants help out as they can restock eggs.
3) Keep track of your food per soldier as running out might kill you.
4) Rather then make more soldiers try to level up the ones you already have. 10 max level soldiers are better than 30 first level soldiers.

I find a ratio in the giant formacarium battles of 1:3 worker to soldier ratio works very wel, so even at the battles strongest point you will have just enough workers to put eggs down as fast as they're hatching.
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

I have quite a few less; about 1:10.

Very helpful! I wish I knew the worker ratio when I started. I still had other RTS games in mind, so I built a strong worker force to get my "economy" in gear (collect food, build tiles, etc.) and focused on soldiers second.

Big mistake on my end.

Here are a few more that I found:

1) For the Formicarium Challenges, make sure that you have a huge abundance of food as back up. Something like 300 got me through the first challenge; haven't tried the second challenge, but I'm going to assume it should be much larger (600-700+). There is nothing worse that running out of reinforcements near the end.

They are called Challenges for a reason! These things are BRUTAL if you don't know what to expect. If you find yourself asking "is this too much," the answer is "No. Gather more; build more."

2) Get Mortar Wood Ants. They are the bomb! Huge AoE damage comes in handy when fighting against Mr. "Ooops, I dropped my beetles!"-pants.

3) Keep your ants close to your queen on levels with Wolf Spiders. These things ignore your ants completely and head straight to your nursery chambers and then your queen. Suffer not the Wolf Spider to Live.

4) Keep your workers off of combat duty when you have soldiers around. Let the soldiers do their job and slay the enemy. Workers should only fight as an absolute last resort. They do not hold up to anything stronger than a Woodworm.

5) Keep your soldiers off of food duty when they need to fight. They can and will get distracted, causing you to suffer more casualties than necessary (less ants on the front lines). It is very effective to have your workers (following Tip 4) to grab the food and run while your soldiers eviscerate the opponent.

6) If you find yourself losing too many soldiers in a fight, do not be afraid to pull back and regroup. There are few creatures fast enough for your ants. Re-consolidate your forces and attack again. Chances are, the enemy will be following you, and that's ok. Just get your ants together and charge back at 'em when you have regrouped.

I do wish retreating was easier for the user to do. Is there a way for the devs to make a retreat command?

I do wish retreating was easier for the user to do. Is there a way for the devs to make a retreat command?

Take the ant group yiure controling. Move the marker and then quickly active the prevent combat option. They should run away. Or at least keep all ants not currently locked in combat from fighting.
Proverbs 6:6-8

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.

Just bought the game. Finished the game on medium difficulty. Had to repeat some levels, but it was pretty much a steady progress towards winning. If you are going for higher difficulties, then of course my points may be moot.

* The bomb ants are awesome. They will win you the fight if you have some workers/soldiers to tank for damage. 10+ melee ants can't engage a single target. If you're not fighting enemy ants, you should start favoring bombarding ants.
* Learn the hotkeys. Tab to switch below and above ground. Z and X keys to toggle behavior of active group. 1-4 to switch active group.
* Picking the right "next target" in the scenarios is key.
* As many have pointed out, Worker caste is a decent value proposition fighting wise. Since foraging is much more efficient with 20 workers than with 8 soldiers, many people have started favoring them over soldiers altogether. I didn't. I do use loads of workers on the offensive but also soldiers.
* In scenarios where the colony is under attack. The optimum line of defense is just inside the entrance so that any enemy that spawns there will be immediately outnumbered.
* In the tide scenario, I use staging areas and basically leave no ant at home until I am king (queen) of the beach. I go for single stockpile at a time. It is tempting to unleash underground enemies at night, but avoid fighting at two fronts.
* Don't let the food fill up. It will disrupt the foraging pipeline. Make sure that you always know where to funnel the food.
* If you have a hive filled up with large larvae, it basically means that every ant has an extra life. You can then do high risk high reward gambles.
* In the second challenge, I had a 77 soldier group, the starting 7 worker ants and 16 more workers. I had all 77 soldiers at the front during the sustained assault, but I placed a pheromone marker by my queen. This caused the soldiers to remain at my doorstep to fight optimal, but slowly trickle back to defend the queen. By the time the wolf ants came, there were enough there to end enough of the spiders so the queen wasn't immediately sniped.
I didn't have a single queen defensive upgrade.
* In the second beach scenario, I divide my forces, but at night I am bull rushing side to side between the two crops. All enemy ant incursions are handled just inside my doorstep.

1) Wolf spider AI causes them to go to brood chambers first, and the queen second, but this entire behavior can be prevented if the spiders are kept outside, making it a decent strategy to intercept them on the way to the entrance of the nest. 

2) In the 2.X missions, the warriors are not worth upgrading.  You get a lot more health from having 9 lvl 1 warriors vs 3 lvl 3 warriors.  The damage does get a pretty substantial increase at lvl 3, as this gives them increased attack speed, but since wood ants get spitters, you will always get the most damage out of your food by investing it into the ranged attackers, and putting anything that goes into warriors into having the highest health pool possible.  You want your warriors to be about stalling the enemy so that your spitters can do all the dirty work.  Having multiple is also quite efficient when fighting wolf spiders, as they will generally oneshot anything they come across anyway, so having numbers will enable a longer stall time while the spider swaps between 15 targets instead of 5. 

3) Rapid fire is quite efficient for casual play, especially 2.2 for fighting ladybugs, but otherwise mortars are always going to be better if you get as many as possible to lvl 3, as they will be able to wipe out most enemies quite quickly if they are grouped up, while their damage is substantial enough that killing things one at a time is still extremely effective. 

4) Workers can be used in situations with limited time (1.2, 1.1 and 1.2 challenge mode), or distant food (2.1 and 2.2), as they can collect food while you continue to do other work with more combative units, although make sure to turn combat off. 

5) Any workers that you would normally put in your nest group, move to group 1 and set to no combat.  This will make them far more capable of clutch victories, as they will now focus on bringing back a dead army instead of fighting and dying if something reaches the queen (although they can still get attacked, and thus this isn't a perfect solution). 

6) Count up how much food it will take to restore all of your combat-oriented ants (max soldiers * 5).  Make sure to keep your food at a level that is at least twice this, as having multiple of a smaller army is far better than wasting it on a large army that can't be restored after death.  Also keep close track of what food you expect to be incoming, and how long you need it to last. 

7) Devil's coach horse larvae and adults are fairly threatening in the 1.X missions, but in the 2.X missions you can expect them to be far easier to deal with, as you are not limited to only lower damage melee units. 

8) A food tile stores 10, the first upgrade adds 30, and the second upgrade adds 40, totaling at 100 per tile when maxed.  It is thus better to upgrade existing food storage than to make more of it. 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 02:27:12 AM by Rayalot72 »
And on the sixth day, God created ant in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.  Amen.

An important one I forgot: 

Speed tiles boost your upgrade progress for adjacent tiles, while they take from all tiles to upgrade as well.  This can be extremely useful in maxing out an army on the edge you enter from, or if they're positioned in a way that makes them impossible to upgrade without adding more tiles of the same type. 

No need to spend 50 on a soldier that will get left at lvl 2 when you can just invest 5-10 food into making and upgrading a speed tile. 

Despite being a core mechanic, this one has been significantly overlooked by most people on Youtube, and I only discovered it accidentally when trying to decide if I wanted to put speed tiles to any use. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 03:43:57 PM by Rayalot72 »
And on the sixth day, God created ant in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.  Amen.

Rayalot, I also make use of that strategy to get early level 3 mortars. Instead of having to use up (60*2*6)+360 food to get a level 3, I can just use (5*2*6)+360.

It works less well than expected though...most of the time you're better off spamming level 1s.

In 2.1 mortars are only really useful later, at the hermit crab hordes. In 2.2, however, you need them ASAP to counter the hordes of ants. And in the nest, they are just the way you win the challenges.

I have a few questions.  I have beaten level 1.1 and 1.2 on medium, but it says I'm only like 10% of the way to progressing to level 2.  How many times have I got to replay these levels in order to progress?

I've just tried playing level 1.1 on hard and challenge mode, and I don't think it's possible.  I had a 3 level hexagon of fully upgrades army ants (I believe that makes 19), and I put my workers in non combat mode, and then 7 crickets appeared at once.  My ants killed 5 of them before there were no more larvae, and another cricket appeared before the end of the battle. So then 3 crickets killed my queen.  But what else am I supposed to do?  I found that the crickets came so fast that I could only expand into one place between cricket attacks, so I don't think I could have expanded any faster to get a bigger army.  I don't understand what I can do to play more optimally.  I even expanded only in one direction out from the queen in order to avoid having to defend in 2 places at once.  Why do you make a game that is impossible before you even get to the hardest difficulty level? And why do you make it so that I have to replay the same boring levels what looks to probably be 10 times or more before I can access more levels?

That progress bar is 1/12 levels. 

The formicarium challenge 1 is what you need to get to lvl 2. 

Hard challenge 1.1 is a test of speed.  You need to harvest fast, and have enough food and workers for resupply.  You also need to wait for the pattern of 1 multiple 1 multiple to activate multiple later on, as the one is easier to deal with in a crunch, while the multiple can wipe you quite easily. 
And on the sixth day, God created ant in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.  Amen.

I find that "upgrading ants" is often a newbie trap early on. They do more damage sure, but they don't survive against crickets well enough and you get the problem of "not enough larva" because your ants die too fast.

In 1.1 insane and on challenge, I didn't buy any workers until I had 2-3 group of 19 warriors each. That's also when I finally start upgrading my warriors due to excess food. Critical mass is important, and even level 3 ants die really fast against big bugs.

Once you can kill multiple crickets waves easily, you should have no problem with food even on insane.

1.1 and 1.2 are not impossible, because even I could beat it with the right strategy. 2.1 and 2.2 is even harder...  :)

As testing experience has demonstrated, within the 2.1 and 2.2 levels it is more food efficient to rely on workers for tanks instead of soldiers, with all the DPS put into spitter ants. 

This would seem to be, in part, due to the fact that many strong enemies will oneshot most ants, but are required to swap targets multiple times in the case of getting a kill.  There's also the aspect of respawn times.  When cycling through 10 workers, you'll get a consistent flow, while 4 soldiers might die and leave your spitters to get cut down during the time the larvae pupate. 

Spamming sheer numbers of lvl 1 also seems to be effective in the case that you can afford their respawn costs.  This typically will net you more HP and damage than you'd get with upgrades.  Upgrades should thus only be put into lvl 3 abilities, particularly with mortars being significantly better with AoE. 
And on the sixth day, God created ant in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.  Amen.