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 computer’s. 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 computer’s 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.
In a Nutshell
- Capture your half of the available territories as quickly as possible so that your manufacturing speed matches the Computer.
- 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).
- 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.
- Watch what the CPU does with his resources and move your forces to provide an adequate line of defence.
- 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.
- As units are manufactured give the new units appropriate orders quickly. Do not leave them hanging around without orders.
- 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.
- Even if you cannot take and hold a territory, try capturing the flag just before a factory completes its manufacturing.
- 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.
- Use a series of small movement orders to manoeuvre vehicles with precision.