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Strategy Guide by Disros

Version: 1.25 | Updated: 10/23/2006

Defcon: General Strategy Guide
Version: 1.25
Last Update: 10/23/06

Author: Josh Karpel
email: maventree@gmail.com

Table of Contents

1.0 - Preface
2.0 - General Information
 2.1 - Buildings
 2.2 - Fleet Units
 2.3 - Air Units and Nukes
3.0 - General Strategy
 3.1 - Building your Fleets
 3.2 - Placing your Fleets
 3.3 - Placing your Buildings
 3.4 - Other General Strategies
4.0 - North American Strategy
 4.1 - Pros and Cons
 4.2 - On the Defense
 4.3 - On the Offense
5.0 - South American Strategy
 5.1 - Pros and Cons
 5.2 - On the Defense
 5.3 - On the Offense
6.0 - European Strategy
 6.1 - Pros and Cons
 6.2 - On the Defense
 6.3 - On the Offense
7.0 - African Strategy
 7.1 - Pros and Cons
 7.2 - On the Defense
 7.3 - On the Offense
8.0 - Russian Strategy
 8.1 - Pros and Cons
 8.2 - On the Defense
 8.3 - On the Offense
9.0 - Asian Strategy
 9.1 - Pros and Cons
 9.2 - On the Defense
 9.3 - On the Offense
10.0 - Frequently Asked Questions
11.0 - Credits
12.0 - Guide Version Info
13.0 - Defcon Version Info
14.0 - Legal Info

1.0 - Preface
This is a general strategy guide for Defcon. Defcon was made by Introversion
Software, an independent games developer. If you see something you don't agree
with, or something plain wrong, or something that should be there that isn't,
feel free to email me. The address is at the bottom of the page.

Don't expect to find the perfect strategy to win. Don't expect me to be the
ultimate source on such info. Do expect to find a strategy that will assist you
in your game of Global Thermonuclear War.

Because I want to keep this guide compact and concise, please have a general
knowledge of Defcon before you read this. It will help both of us. I have not
included command lists, or how to place buildings, set up games, etc. This is
a guide to STRATEGY, not how to play the game.

2.0 - General Information

2.1 - Buildings
Radar - In a way, your most and least useful structure. Radar provides, well,
 radar, allowing you to see your enemy's forces. However, it only take one nuke
 to destroy it.

Airbase - Airbases are incredible. Each has 5 fighters, 5 bombers, and 10 nukes.
 Even better, airbases regenerate their fighters over time. With the correct
 placement and use, airbases can be your most valuable resource.

Silo (Defensive) - Silos in defensive protect you from any airborne threats,
 nukes being the largest threat. Sadly, they shoot rather slowly, once every
 20 real-time seconds. Still, this is enough to take down most enemy attacks.
 The art of silos is deciding when to have them in defensive, and when to 
 switch them to...

Silo (Offensive) - Where the real action is. Each silo contains 10 nukes, ready
 to inflict casualties on the enemy. Once again, be careful. Switching all your
 silos to offensive wrecks your own defenses, leaving you open to enemy nukes.

City - Though not really a building, cities are very important. Though the other
 buildings are important targets, the people living in cities are your true
 targets, and where you score points. Each city has several million people in
 it. In most game types, your goal is to kill those several million people for
 points. In survivor you want to protect your own population.

2.2 - Fleet Units
Battleship - The core of your fleets. Without battleships, your major firepower
 is missing. Though carriers have more versatility, battleships have far more
 pure power per shot. They can attack other ships, surfaced subs, fighters, and

Carrier - Carriers are incredibly versatile. With 5 fighters, 2 bombers, and 5
 nukes, a carrier can take on buildings, ships, and aircraft... though not very
 well. Don't send your carriers in alone, or they'll be slaughtered by pretty
 much anything the enemy throws at them. Carriers are the only units that can
 take on submerged submarines, so keep a group back to patrol your coasts.

Submarines (Subs) - Subs are good for one thing only: nuclear sneak attacks. A
 single group of 6 subs can unleash 30 nukes in a very short amount of time,
 and from almost anywhere. Use them in combination with your major silo and
 airbase attacks to keep the enemy on their toes, and overwhelm their defenses.
 Each sub carries 5 nukes. Keep your subs away from enemy fleets if you can, as
 a carrier in anti-sub mode can easily detect and depth charge them.

2.3 - Air Units and Nukes
Fighter - Disposable to the last. Each fighter's main use is to die in the
 process of fighting enemy fleets, or scouting for buildings. They can attack
 surfaced subs, carriers, battleships, other fighters, and bombers. At airbases
 they are replenished over time.

 =- Credit to Fahnix -=
 Fighters are able to attack nukes if they within their attack range. This can
 be a surprising defence, because most people don't know it. Note that no one
 has actually seen a nuke be shot down by a fighter, so this is probably an
 unintentional programming error, and may be fixed in the next patch.

Bomber - Less disposable than fighters, but still disposable. They can attack
 naval units, but not fighters or other bombers. Each bomber can carry a single
 nuke, which it will launch when it is in range, and 240 real-time seconds have
 passed since it's launch. Note that an empty bomber will do nothing to a city
 or building, but can still attack fleets.

Nukes - The whole point of Defcon. Each nuke can cause a couple million deaths,
 or deal damage to buildings. It take 3 hits to kill a silo, 2 to kill an
 airbase, and 1 hit to kill a radar. Nukes can only be killed by hitting them
 with AA missiles from defensive silos.

3.0 - General Strategy

3.1 - Building your Fleets
Fleet building is one of the trickiest portions of this game. You begin a
default game with 12 battleships, 12 carriers, and 12 subs. There are many
combinations, as each fleet can contain UP TO 6 ships. You can build a fleet of
all subs, all carriers, 2 carriers and 4 battleships, or just a carrier... the
possibilities are endless. Below is a solid fleet makeup that I like using, and
is good for beginners and experts alike.

4 "battle groups" - 3 battleships/3 carriers
2 "sub groups" - 6 subs

Each battle group has a mix of the versatility of carriers and the raw power
of battleships. Each sub group has a ton of firepower with 30 nukes in all, but
it puts all your eggs in one basket. Many people prefer putting their subs in
smaller groups of 2 or 3, so that if a carrier shows up at the wrong time, they
still have subs elsewhere. Both strategies are valid.

3.2 - Placing your Fleets
And just as tricky is the problem of placing your fleets. For some territories,
it is far easier, but for most, it is very difficult. For a territory like N.
America, you have to split your fleet between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
You need to decide where you think the enemy will go, and where they won't go.

The easiest split is 50/50. If you're using a balanced fleet build, like the
example above, a 50/50 split is easy. Just put a sub group and 2 battle groups
in each ocean. If you don't use a balanced fleet build, it'll be more tricky.
It will also be more tricky if you play a territory like Russia. You can place
your units to the north of Europe and in the Pacific, but how many in each? Do
you think that Europe will send a fleet north? Should you put a sub group in 
north Europe?

You'll have to answer questions like that for yourself, depending on the game
situation. Also remember that you may ally with people, and that you may not be
facing off agaisnt all the other territories in one game.

3.3 - Placing your Buildings
At least you don't have to worry about moving these around. You start a default
game with 7 radars, 6 silos, and 4 airbases. Generally, you want to place them
to cover your entire territory. Failing that, place them to cover your major
population centers. For example, Russia needs to spread it's defenses out to
cover a lot more than just their population centers in the east.

First up is radar. Place your radars at the edge of your territory, so that
the field stretches into enemy territory as far as possible. Try to overlap the
fields so that losing a radar station won't disable your entire network. Since
your silos can only shoot at things within your radar range, proper coverage is

Next up is your silos. Obviously, the more missiles fly at a threat, the more
chance you have of that threat being destroyed. Space your silos around your
population centers, then put a few in vital position. For example, Asia doesn't
need a silo in the Middle East, but putting a silo there provides a close attack
into Russia, Africa, and Europe.

Last is the airbase. You've only got 4, so unless you play Europe it simply is
not possible to cover your entire territory. Position your airbases where they
will either have access to fleets off your coast, or to other territories. Even
then you probably won't be able to cover everywhere. Still, any coverage is
better than no coverage.

3.4 - Other General Strategies
These are strategies to be used generally, and they will work for any territory.
These are not strategies for specific territories, even if I use one for an
example. And never forget to use your own strategies, as being predictable is
the curse of using guides like this.

Waiting for the right time to strike is vital. Don't strike before you're ready.
Don't strike if the enemy is ready. Remember that you can't just rebuild your
forces, so a wasted nuke is a waste of points, period.

At the same time that you're not wasting forces, remember that diversionary
tactics work very well. Use fighters to distract enemy Anti-Air fire from your
nukes. Don't be afraid to sacrifice units to gain more points or kill more of
the enemy.

Turteling (protecting yourself, and not attacking until late game) is NOT a 
cowardly strategy. If you come out on top, then your strategy must have worked.
This is war, it is not fair, and it is not pretty.

Alliances are... flexible. Backstabbing, like turteling, is a totally valid way
to gain points. Exploit vulnerabilities. Of course, if the game is supposed to
be 3v3, or 2v2v2, it should probably stay that way.

When launching nukes, launch in staggered order so that the nukes arrive in
waves, making them harder to shoot down. Slow it down to real time to minimize
the time between between each launch.

Use fighters to scout for enemy instillations. Like nukes, launch them in large
waves to maximize the number that get through. Knowing where the enemy is is the
first step to destroying them.

Never give up. Ever. A player coming back from less than -50 points is very
possible. You may even win from that far down. All it takes is some thinking,
and just a little bit of luck.

4.0 - North American Strategy

4.1 - Pros and Cons
- South America is right next door.
- It's very easy to get subs into striking positions on South America.
- An alliance with South America lets you own the whole area,
 providing huge security.

- All of your population is right next to the coast.
- If you make South America angry, it'll be near impossible to defend
 yourself from the onslaught.
- Most of your nukes have to go over an ocean to get to their targets.

4.2 - On the Defensive
A good placement for silos would be 5 in an arc facing south, with the arc's tip
at the Mexican border, and one extra silo in Alaska. An even-spaced arc will
provide protection from most attacks, including ok protection from S. America.
Your biggest worry is a full-scale attack from S. America, because they missiles
arc directly up into your territory, and a lot of your population is near the

With that silo in Alaska, position a radar and an airbase. This will give you an
early warning system against a Russian nuclear attack, and also gives a point
for striking back. Watch your coasts carefully for subs, especially if you think
S. America may attack you.

4.3 - On the Offensive
The only readily available target is S. America, which is tough to hit because
of silos in Mexico. However, Mexico City is a major population point if you can
hit it. If you have to attack someone else, Asia and Europe are your next best
targets. You can try to hit Russia, but nukes will either have to travel over
all of Russia, or directly over Europe, neither of which is a very appetizing
situation. Africa is hittable, but probably not worth it, as their population
centers are on the other side of the continent.

If you launch a full scale assault on someone other than S. America, try to send
a diversion into S. America. If you don't force them to deal with something,
they may take the chance to hit you with their own silos.

5.0 - South American Strategy

5.1 - Pros and Cons
- All nukes but a carefully position sub's will come at your from above.
- Putting silos and airbases in Mexico offers a very easy strike into
 North America.
- You can get subs to the North American coast very fast.

- Most of your nukes have to go over an ocean to get to your targets.
- Your fleets only have good access to the Atlantic, not the Pacific.

5.2 - On the Defensive
Put at least one silo in Mexico. If you don't, you'll probably be hit incredibly
hard by N. America. It's tough for anyone else to attack you. African silos are
probably not in the right positions to hit you, and Asian and European nukes
have to arc over N. America.

But don't get overconfident. Just because it's tricky doesn't mean it's not
possible. With the correct alliances you can get hit incredibly hard by any of
the powers on the map. I've seen S. America as a glowing radioactive wasteland.

5.3 - On the Offensive
You have a good position in S. America because nukes can hit 2 major powers from
the side, instead of the top or bottom. Those two powers are Africa and Asia,
and they can be huge sources of points. You could also hit Europe or Russia, but
it probably isn't worth it.

But don't forget N. America. With the correct planning, you can hit every major
city and military instillation in N. America in one fell swoop. Your missiles
have almost no arc when fired at N. America, and you can easily overwhelm their
defenses with a concentrated assault.

6.0 - European Strategy

6.1 - Pros and Cons
- Very defendable position, because Europe is so small.
- Russia will love to ally with you, because you can help shoot most
 of the missiles heading for their population centers.
- Russia is very vulnerable to you, as most of their population is
 almost on the border of your territory.

- You are very vulnerable to Russia, for the same reason they are
 vulnerable to you.
- Everyone but Russia hates you, because you shoot down their nukes
 bound for other territories.
- Subs can get into very, very good positions around you. Just north
 of England is a good one.
- Because Europe is so small, scout fighters can easily go over your entire
 territory before you can shoot them down.

6.2 - On the Defense
Europe is arguably the most defendable territory. Because your territory is so
small, anything entering your territory will most likely be in range of at
least two silos. This enables a tight defense, and is ideal for turteling up.

At the same time, the time between nuke detection and nuke strike is small in
comparison to other areas. Place your silos near the edge of your land, so that
they have maximum time to fire.

On a side note, be careful. Your defenses can piss off any nation. Nukes fired
from Russia to N. America can be shot down by your silos, and vice versa. On the
other hand, if you ally with Russia, you can shoot down missiles bound for the

6.3 - On the Offense
This is a toughie. Deciding when to launch for Europe is one of the toughest
decisions. Because of you're position, it is almost impossible to know exactly
what is happening. A nuke from N. America bound for Africa could look to be
on a course straight for Rome. A bomber from east Russia heading to Africa could
very well launch it's nuke straight for that radar station of yours.

Once you know when to launch, deciding where to launch is still a hard decision.
You have good firing arcs at every territory, but the best are Africa and, best
of all, Russia. 95% of Russia's population is right next door, if you can get to
it. Most of Africa's population is far to the south, but still a good target.

But be careful, launching at the wrong time could have Russia launch a huge
barrage at you. The "right next door" advantage goes both way.

7.0 - African Strategy

7.1 - Pros and Cons
- Most nukes come at your from north on the map, allowing you to
 concentrate your defenses near the north coast.

- The southern part of Africa is very difficult to defend, because
 subs can get so close to your cities.
- The southern part of Africa is where all your cities are.

7.2 - On the Defense

7.3 - On the Offense

8.0 - Russian Strategy

8.1 - Pros and Cons
- An alliance with Europe makes your major population centers almost
 un-hittable, assuming you both deployed your silos correctly.
- No nukes come at you from the north, unless someone gets a sub group up there.
- You can easily deploy subs to hit Asia and Europe.
- You have very easy easy access to all of Europe.

- Europe has very easy access to your population centers.
- Russia is HUGE, so you have to spread your silos out a lot to get
 the best coverage.

8.2 - On the Defense
ALLY WITH EUROPE!!! Allying with Europe will make both of you very, very, very,
very hard to attack successfully. This is a good deal, because Europe also gets
a benefit, the same as you. But, if the last two superpowers are you and Europe,
be ready to be backstabbed.

The biggest problem with your defense is also your biggest advantage. Your
population is centered around Moscow, in the far West of Russia. Of course, if
your defenses in that area fail, you're wide open to attack. Also, both Africa
and Asia have good attack angles for their nukes.

Mainly, get a good alliance, and watch for backstabbers. Playing Russia is a
game of politics, because with the right alliances you can survive almost
totally unharmed. Those same alliances can also destroy you, as fast as you can

8.3 - On the Offense
You will despise Europe by the end of the game. The silos you hopefully put in
the Moscow area are in range, at launch, of European silos. Therefore, getting
an alliance with Europe is essential in both offense and defense. If you do get
said alliance, try to work over Africa and Asia, and maybe N America if you have
a good opening.

Offense is a balancing act in Defcon, even more so for Russia. You can't afford
to open up the Moscow area, which is hopefully where you put at least 2 of your
silos. Be very mindful of what Europe is doing, at all times. At the same time,
don't jeopardize your important alliances.

Another option is to go silo-heavy in the Eastern area, instead of around the
Moscow area. This provides a good strike at Asia, but can leave your population
open to attack. Might be worth a shot in Genocide, but don't even think about it
in Survivor.

9.0 - Asian Strategy

9.1 - Pros and Cons
- You can strike relatively easily at every other power except South America.
- You can put your subs off the east coast of Africa, right next to
 their population centers, very quickly and easily.

- Russia can hit you very, very, very, very, very easily.
- Everyone else's population centers are far away from where you
 should be placing most of your silos.

9.2 - On the Defense

9.3 - On the Offense

10.0 - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I did everything you said, but I still lost! You suck! I hate you!
A: The strategies in this guide are not perfect. Predicatability is the curse of
 Defcon. Just because something works, doesn't mean it will work again. The
 intricacies of Defcon can be compared to Chess: if you use the same strategy
 over and over, someone will figure out a way to defeat it. You may notice that
 I avoided giving an in-depth, step by step guide to "winning". That is because
 there is no such thing.

Q: My bombers don't fire until they're on top of or past the target. Why is this
 happening to me!?!?!?
A: Bombers need 240 seconds of real time to prep for launch. So when you launch
 your bombers at a close target, they may fly past it or just circle around till
 they can launch. To fix this, place your bases farther back, and send bombers
 on paths to circle around a little, then tell them to head for their targets.

Q: I keep losing in naval combat. Any tips?
A: Micromanage. You may not like it, but individually tasking fighters/bombers
 is a major help. Keep battleships in front to take the fire, and to give your
 carriers more time to launch. Resupply your carriers from your airbases.

Q: I want to make/use a mod. Where do I find them?
A: Start at the Introversion moding forum. Defcon is very modable, and the
 official forums are the best place to start.

Q: Would you mind playing a game with me and pointing out what I'm doing wrong?
A: Sure. Send me an email, and we can try to find a time to play. The email is

11.0 - Credits

Huge credit goes to Introversion, for making this incredible game.

To the great posters on GameFAQs and the Introversion Forums, whose discussions
of tactics and strategy contributed greatly to this guide.

To the people who work on the Defcon Strategy Wiki.

And to the people who I tested these strategies agaisnt online, for helping me
refine the ideas.

=- If you would like to contribute to this guide, feel free to email me. -=

12.0 - Guide Version Info

Version 1.00 - Original Release. 10/3/2006

Version 1.10 - Added in-depth strategies for Europe. Added FAQ section. 10/8/06

Version 1.15 - Minor fixes all over. Added more to General Strategies
 and FAQ sections. 10/13/06

Version 1.25 - A few minor fixes. Added in-depth strategies for Russia. 10/23/06

13.0 - Defcon Version Info

Version 1.00 - Original Game Release.

Version 1.10 - Changed around the Metaserver screen, adding filtering and the
 ability to sort servers based on several things.

14.0 - Legal Info

Copyright 2006, Josh Karpel
All right reserved.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their 
respective trademark and copyright holders.

The sites listed below have the right to post this guide:

Any site, magazine, or other form of media (including but not limited to
electronic, digital, print, or broadcast) that is not included on this list
caught hosting this guide without my written consent is in violation of 
copyright laws and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And will
have a nuclear weapon dropped on them.

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