Squad Tactics: Frozen Synapse Strategy

by Indiana… on Friday, 24 June 2011

With many of you lovely people reading the positive reviews of indie hit Frozen Synapse, we have seen a gigantic upsurge in the numbers of people playing. As such this is the second in a series of guides to get you new players up to speed with tactics and strategies that people who have been playing since the beta regularly employ.

We have before us an ordeal of the most tactical kind. We have before us many, many long turns of struggle and susurrous suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by vatform, bullet, and explosive, with all our might and mind. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim?  I can answer that in one word: it is victory, victory at all costs. Victory…however long and hard the road may be.

But what is our strategy?

This is an understandably broad question but, within the narrow confines of Frozen Synapse, we have a conveniently comprehenisive four step plan :

Find the enemy
Fix the enemy
Flank the enemy
[cough] ehemFinish the enemy

This aphorism is in order of chronology and importance but before we discuss the detail of this, I'd like to draw your attention to two simple—but not necessarily obvious—conclusions.

Finishing your enemy is the least important, it matters not how the bell tolls simply that it tolls for them.What matters is how you can encourage and cajole your enemy towards this fate.

Information is the foundation of your game; though this takes different forms in light and dark game modes.

The most superficially simple of the four, maintain intelligence on your enemy. A task you might feel is solved in light game modes but simply knowing where your opponent is and was, by itself tells you little about the all important question of where they will be.

Keep your enemy in mind, as well as sight: what is their play style, where have they shown weakness, what is their plan. Frozen Synapse is principally a game about understanding your opponent. Any time you cannot see what the enemy is up to you introduce uncertainty: uncertainty will quickly lead to a cascade of coincidences.

Reduce their options, force them to play the game you want to play Frozen Synapse is a game of almost limitless potential; play towards situations you understand.

You will never succeed in rushing the enemy, secure them in place and move your units to the enemies flanks.

Once you have done all this ensure you push for the kill; simple.

This pattern of fire and manuever will help lead you to victory but remember you need to integrate your units with this plan, at every step you need to step back from getting lost in the minutiae and remember…

Simulation is a tool
It is not a strategy, you cannot simply rely on the cascade of coincidence to win.

Substance over style
As fun and flashy as shotgunners are, their ability to deliver quick and lethal bursts of power means nothing, without support.

Don't rush

Frozen Synapse is a game of many turns; you have a lot more time then you think. There is no need to force situations, just accept the flow of the game and at worst accept a draw, it is better than the sure defeat you will receive from attempting to force a victory. There are no magical moves.

To come:

Discussion of advance tactics and game type strategy
If you have any particular stand out videos, or just before and after comparisons, we'd be glad to receive them; it would be nice to be able to showcase the difference these articles have made and also show new players what they should be aiming for. The contact link is available in our 'about us' section.


Another great article. I like that a draw gives both sides a win. That's a good decision on the development side. If it gave losses, I think a lot of people would already be put-off by their records. Keep it up.

by Andy Graham on 25 June 2011 at 15:43. #

Great set of posts. I think your youtube links (all of them) are broken though, as they are currently linking to some indie music videos.

by Chris L. on 3 July 2011 at 23:19. #

Thanks for your messages Chris, you too Andy :)

It is entirely intentional, hence why you may have noticed they all link to the same band and songs that have some passing commonality with the subjects I linked from. It would be a rather large coincidence otherwise really…

I personally don't think replays are a useful facet of gaming culture for most players hence why I don't use them in my posts regularly. I've just penned a post about this, which is why this response is so delayed.

Take a quick read, it might interest you alongside you alongside Andy who it was written principally towards.

Anyway I hope you liked the "indie music videos" ;)

by Indiana… on 9 July 2011 at 14:52. #

I take it by your response that they are not "indie music videos" :)
Honestly I didn't look into it enough to find out whether they were or not. Only listened long enough to determine it wasn't my cup of tea (to each his own).

After reading your latest post, I suppose I agree with you that replays are mostly useless, especially for FS. However I do enjoy watching them on occasion, if only for "edutainment", as you so eloquently put it ;)

by Chris L. on 13 July 2011 at 04:37. #

No it is fine Chris, I guess you are technically correct—the odd tone amused me; I liked the idea that I would only possibly link to such things due to grave technical error, though I that probably wasn't your intent.

I'm glad you liked, or atleast appreciated, the sentiment of my latest post :)

Out of interest what do the tacticians of the world listen to, to stimulate those synapses? Do they listen to anything at all? Here at TCFTD we generally end up listening to post rock or free jazz—rather than what was linked, we are happy in our whirl of nothingness you might say. I find music that 'abstractly' washes over the mind works well.

by Indiana… on 14 July 2011 at 10:59. #

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