It’s a shame that Alien Swarm was released after I stopped making Gaming On A Budget.  This is such an outstanding game; I can’t believe they are giving it away for free.

During previous games, I think I annoyed the other players by overdoing it with the sentries.  Most people default to rush-rush-rush mode in this game, while I like to take it slow and use sentries as much as possible.  When I went through the training stage of the game, I actually daisy-chained (or is it hop-scotched?) two sentries through the stage, nestling myself between two walls of machine gun fire.

I’ve always been one to “turtle up” in my games.  For example:

  • When playing Warcraft, a favorite tactic of mine was to surround my city with a shield of farms, and then place cannon towers behind those farms.  As the enemies came in, they would have to cut through the farms first, and while doing so they would get lit up by the towers.
  • One of my favorite decks in Magic: the Gathering was Turbo Stasis.  This has to be one of the most annoying decks to play against, but it just seemed to fit my general approach to games.  It took me a long time to actually construct a deck with no counterspells.
  • In Dungeons and Dragons, I generally preferred to play spellcasters, bards, or rangers (preferably with a bow).  This gave me the cushion of space between me and my opponents.  On the rare instances that I played a warrior, I had a tendency to min-max him for defense rather than offense.

In general, my strategy in games is as follows:

  1. Separate yourself from combat or use a threat to buy time.
  2. Establish a fortified position; make it undesirable for them to attack you.
  3. Accelerate resource production as soon as possible.
  4. When your position is secure, establish a reactive defense that will shut down any attack that can be sent in.
  5. Identify those threats that can beat your defense, and ignore any threats that don’t matter.
  6. Once the lock down has occurred, guard your finite resources carefully.
  7. If you have an infinite resource of any kind (including time), or if you can create a perpetually growing resource, exploit it to give you a competitive advantage.
  8. When your position is secured, SLOWLY encroach on your enemies position, securing each new layer along the way.

Of course, this strategy is problematic in a game that rewards a rush strategy, like Starcraft, or games where you have finite resources against an (apparently) infinite enemy.  This seems to be the case with Alien Swarm.  Like anything new, learning to break away from my turtling strategy is going to take time, but I am working on it.