The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars

by Paul.Power, Sockerbagarn

Part 43: Campaign Mission 18M: Battle Mystery! as Max

Mission 18M: Battle Mystery! as Max (or "Serious tactical naiveity")

Aaand back.

how the heck did you get here
i've got a secret network of tunnels leading all over cosmo land but that's not important right now
look do you want to know what's going on with all this andy nonsense or what
well i guess it would be handy
right then follow me
eh what pardon?
look just go with her
you sure?
i'll take care of things here don't worry about it
y'mean like you "took care of things" in captain drake! and naval clash!
hey give me a break they've got an advisor
yes an advisor that you yourself have frequently advised
at least i've done a better job of holding them off than olaf or kanbei ever did
i suppose i can't argue with that
all right then sonja let's go on an adventure or something

So most people voted for Max here, the plan being to do him first because he'd have a nice easy mission that I could get done before going to visit my grandparents.

Yeah. About that.

Sometimes a mission just goes horribly wrong. Not so badly that you can't beat it, but just... wrong.

Day 1

Just watching is fun!

Out of curiosity Andy, what makes boats that much more fun than planes or tanks? I'm not saying boats aren't fun (although personally I prefer trains), but...

I bet Drake has some reason for challenging us, just like Eagle.
If he's trying to find something out, I wish he'd just ask. But it's never that easy, is it?

I guess it never is that easy on Wars World. Still, I guess Advance Diplomatic Negotations probably wouldn't have sold as well.

Another mission that revolves around landers. Drake and his darn boats!

The now-routine little hint that you really don't want to lose your landers here.

It's safe to say that he's not going to go out of his way to make this easy. But again, I think he has his reasons.
Yeah, you're probably right. Well, here I go!
I think they're ignoring me...

Indeed, how could they ignore that brilliant piece of tactical wisdom, "Drake means boats!"?

So yeah, this one goes rather to pot. I guess I have a few excuses - I haven't played this map before, you don't get many units, Max's weakness with indirects - but it's a bad workman who blames his tools, and it has to be said I showed some serious tactical naiveity here.

Anyway, first let's take a look at my initial plan. Might explain some of the nonsense that goes down. We need to take out the navy, and storm the HQ - ideally avoiding Drake's troops on the west of his island. Landing on his beaches is made a lot tougher by the artillery patrolling them, and with only one Max battleship to work with, I decided it'd be better to avoid them - which means landing troops to the right of Drake's lander (I really should have sunk that lander, and freed up a bit of space. But more on that later). As before, we'll be wanting to hide as much stuff in transports as possible during Tsunami - I put my rockets, mechs and one of the infantry in the landers, and the other infantry in the APC. The tanks and APC take the land route to take out Drake's advance guard while the landers follow my navy across the sea. Everyone meets up at the beach areas near the HQ. Then we've got to try to tempt Drake's non-defensive units forward and eliminate them - bait them with mechs, perhaps?

Let's get this train out of the station. Can't have a trainwreck without a train, after all. First of all we want to stay clear of this submarine, and let it come to us.

Loading up the landers...

... and the APC. Arguably it's a bit odd leaving my strongest units to Tsunami, but since they're my strongest units, they can look after themselves. A Max medium tank with 9HP is still a Max medium tank.

Speaking of tanks, let's move them up too.


Diving sub alert!

Day 2

Well, since we know where that sub is, let's pay it a visit.

Battleship spots, cruiser eliminates.

I'm a bit concerned about Drake pulling a Sonja with his lander and using it to spot my submarine so the cruiser can take it out.

So I'm going to be pretty cautious with my sub here and just have it fall in behind the battleship and cruiser. The landers cover the rear flanks to keep it safe - this sub's going to be my main weapon against Drake's battleships, after all.

Land troops keep moving upfield. First strike on Drake's tank would be handy.

Day 3

Battleship ahoy.

Max's indirects .

And the worst part is, because I was so cautious with my sub I can't reach the battleship with that either.

My solution, if you can call it that, can be summed up as "If Max is good with direct combat units, let's pretend the battleship's a direct combat unit!". Or in other words, move the battleship up so that the two battleships are in each other's range shadows. Yeah. It worked, sort of. The cruiser and sub moved up too. My cruiser's in a dumb place, but I was trying to protect my sub with it by setting Drake's cruiser a really long path to reach it... before realising that Drake's cruiser could just move through his battleship and hit that way. Oh well. Here's hoping the AI doesn't think of that.

Landers nudge up to just outside battleship range, and let's see what's going on with the tanks.

Lots of nice damage is going on with the tanks.

With the first shot of the ground war fired, I can move the rest of these units up.

Cruiser down . At least it'd already done its job by getting rid of that sub.

Day 4

And the good news is, Drake didn't think to go looking for my sub. So we've still got that to work with.

Drake's battleship attacks Max's cruiser: one-hit kill. Max's battleship attacks Drake's cruiser: still got three hit points left. I guess it's not a threat any more, but still.

At least my sub's got better news to report. Although not much better given Drake's defence bonus.

Glorious Arrow-O-Vision.

The landers move up. With Drake's battleship down to 4HP, they can afford to take a hit.

Exciting times for the tanks, as the light tank one-shots an infantry and the middie finishes off Drake's own tank.

Although I can't help but feel I'm forgetting something here. Do you know what it is?

I guess it's reassuring to know that Drake didn't want it to come to this. But...

Lander takes the predicted hit.

But here's what I missed. I'd forgotten about Drake's second battleship...

Day 5

Fffffffff. Oh well, it's my fault really, I should have been paying more attention. There was no need to attack from the east, I could easily have attacked from the south - and had more defensive cover to boot.

It's not the end of the world because at least the tank survived, and I can send it for repairs. Still another error creeping in.

Anyway, let's take this infantry unit on - this time from outside the range of that battleship.

Meanwhile at sea, we've got some ships to take care of.

Battleship down, cruiser down (note that this time the "obstacle course" for Drake's cruiser actually worked: it didn't have the move to get round the back of my landers and hit my sub).

Now then, better keep this APC out of battleship range...

But what about my landers? Well, we should really try to get on to Drake's island soon. Recall that the circled units have non-defensive AI, so they'll come towards us if we land troops. But we can turn that to our advantage if we set up our indirects right. That's the plan, anyway.

Let's implement that plan. Mech lands to be the bait, and I set down the rocket launcher to be the snare. It may only be a Max rocket launcher, but it should be able to do something.

Recon and tank are drawn forward and take out the mech. Think with footsoldiers.

Day 6

At least it's drawn some stuff forward. Although they aren't the only things - check that AA I've circled in red. That thing was set to defensive AI according to the map, what's it doing over here? This could make life tricky... trickier than it already is, at least.

Oh well, may as well get some shots in on the units we can hit.


And then dropping off another mech sacrifice because clearly the first one worked so well . Meanwhile the sub heads off to sink Drake's second battleship.

I have a bit of a change of heart with my 1HP tank, and get it to finish off Drake's 1HP infantry before it can go for repairs.

Freeing up the medium tank and APC to keep heading north towards that beach.

It may already be pretty battered, but my lander's ordeal isn't done yet. At least this tank can only scratch off 1HP.

Day 7

All right.

I've been sitting on this for a few days, but I may as well break it out now. See if it'll help me take on that battleship.

Although there's something I didn't notice at the time I took this screenshot - that sub's critically low on fuel. With 12 fuel left - soon to be eight once I move in and attack that battleship - it'll be sunk in two days. But by this point I was so worked up that I wasn't paying attention to such niceties.

Anyway, I guess taking off 6HP isn't too bad when you're at 9HP and Drake's got a 30% defence bonus.

Cleanup on Isle 2.

Rockets destroy recon, mech moves onto the city and takes out the tank. My battleship moves across, although in hindsight it might have been better off firing at Drake's AA or something. I think at this point I was thinking "Drake's AA can't reach me anyway, he's got to move around the mountains and through all those woods, I'll just draw the medium tank in instead."

APC into lander.

And then here comes a dumb move. I bring my 4HP lander back, and in doing so I leave the beach open for that AA and light tank to storm through and attack my mech. Lovely.

Retreating my 1HP tank. At least I can't screw that up.

As predicted, AA and light tank storm through and take out my mech...

Day 8

... and, naturally, everything's out of rocket range.

Oh well, we can still relieve some frustration. Sub finishes off battleship, and my own battleship gets to work on Drake's medium tank.

Rocket and medium tank load into the 4HP lander. That's a lot of eggs in one rather fragile basket, but I should at least be able to keep that basket from getting destroyed completely (if you follow me).

1HP light tank finally reaches a city so it can begin healing (and, as I typically do with these things, I kind of forget about it for the rest of the mission).

Time for another Tsunami. At least my landers are full of units...

Day 9

... although there goes the sub. I simply hadn't noticed how low it was on fuel, and the explosion caught me completely by surprise. At least it managed to take out Drake's battleships before it expired.

So yeah, by this point I'd pretty much snapped and was in "I'm going to win this, I don't care how long it takes or how much I lose, this mission's going down" mode.

Day 10

That medium tank can run, and it can probably hide, but if it wants to heal up it's probably not best to do so in range of my battleship's guns.

Bang. Battleship's looking a bit low on ammo, though.

The landers shuffle around to drop of the APC so it can resupply.

Day 11

Battleship attacks arty, and that's about it.

Day 12


Okay, now that arty's out of the way I've got a clear spot to land my medium tank in.

Although this lander's now on the edge of destruction thanks to Drake managing to chip off 2HP here.

Day 13

Max's medium tank's here, and it's pretty pissed off.

Bringing out the big guns.

And dropping off the rocket launcher. It's going to take damage from Drake's AA...

... but it might be able to help out anyway.

Day 14

Mr. Medium Tank isn't happy about what you just did to Mr. Rocket Launcher, Mr. AA.

Not happy at all.

Mr. Rocket Launcher can at least get some satisfaction from finishing off Mr. 1HP Light Tank.

And with the area around the HQ cleared out, I can finally start thinking about capturing it. APC dropped off.

Day 15

All right. We've got an HQ to capture, and while we wait we might as well target these artillery.

Dropping my infantry off on the HQ, and moving the middie towards one of the arties.

Rockets move up, and the other infantry emerges from its lander.

And the battleship engages in target practice.

Day 16

Let's get capturing.

The indirects get involved in some booming business.

Arrows, glorious arrows.

Tanky goodness.

And joining together the two landers. There aren't any threats to them, but why leave the 1HP lander suffering?

Day 17

All right, that's enough of this. Seventeen days. I don't think I've spent longer on a mission yet. Even routing Olaf's Navy! took less time.

I just can't beat you guys.

Run us close a few times, though. Especially here.

Commander Drake, would you please tell us why you've been attacking us?

Sami says that line in the Andy version of this mission, but Max says it here. Sounds weird coming out of his mouth.

Haven't you sensed him? The person behind all of htis fighting? Sonja and Grit have tried to lure him out of hiding.

Bla bla bla "him" bla bla

The person behind all this?
We've been trying to keep Sonja's movements a secret. So, we staged these battles to draw his attention away from her. But I think we're finished now. It seems Sonja's found something.

I appreciate this is all in aid of a greater cause, but couldn't we have found a less violent way to distract his atten- oh wait. Wars World.

Now, this is a difficult thing for me to ask, but...
What is it?

This plays out a little differently from the Andy version, as Drake actuallyasks it this time.

I can't leave Green Earth unprotected. I promised Eagle. You understand? So... Would you go in my stead? They need your help.

Of course! We'll do all we can!

No Max, this is not all right at all. A B-Rank. My only other one of those so far was routing Olaf's Navy! Well, it's kind of difficult to put a post-mortem on this, really. There were clearly many errors, tactical and probably strategic as well. I tell you what I do have though, I've got to play through Battle Mystery! as Andy or Max one more time offscreen to set up one of my Final Battle scenarios. May as well play through this one again and post the highlights. Feel free to comb over this and try to find a better strategy for me in the meantime.

Anyway, once again we arrive at the Trousers-of-Time convergence point. But there's one last thing in Green Earth we need to take care of...

... Sami's final mission here. No need for a vote, since it's the only thing left. Hopefully this'll take rather less time to get organised than the last update...