Squad Tactics: The Tempo of Destruction

by Indiana… on Monday, 4 July 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 third 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.

"Shotgunners are overrated."

A controversial statement but explosive units are at the heart of the appeal of Frozen Synapse, they provide the dynamism which prevents the game from descending into what FPS players will know as camping…for much the same reasons as in real life—stay still and soon your limbs will be moving all directions.

Each rocketeer or grenadier can fire once every five seconds or 12 times a minute; let that sink in…12 BPM. Each blast can easily take out a bunched enemy team, so it is easy to see that in terms of raw offensive power the rocketeer and the grenadier tower over the rest of the classes. But power without control means nothing.

The shotgunner is rightly exalted in the player base for its ease and speed of death dispensation however the road of least resistance often leads nowhere. As we have seen in the last article, it is the support that makes the shotgun supreme. This is what the best players realise, for although the explosive specialists have the capacity to destroy teams every turn we rarely see this. Indeed this lack of direct kills is the explosives' greatest strength, you may not realise it but when a rocketeer or grenadier is in play they are continuously shaping your playstyle.

To avoid swift death, your units must fan out and stay away from cover, thus negating their greatest strengths. The explosive specialist is indirectly reducing your effectiveness just by their very presence something you'd be hard pressed to say about any other unit but the sniper—more on that in a later article.

An explosive unit is a neutral unit, equally suited to offense or defense, an enabler.
Combined with a well placed sniper, an explosive specialist can keep an entire team fixed down which leaves you with the most important two steps of your game plan done. However Frozen Synapse is not won on the defensive; keep your explosives moving to important hot spots as they arise and bombarding them; but importantly remember as much as the explosives are for support, the other units must support them.

Rockets provide opportunities for dynamic movement, room to room.
Explosive units provide great counter battery fire.You can see the trails made from sniper shots and explosives, so use this to allow you to zero in on enemy snipers and explosives; winkle them out with explosives and flush them out with combined arms. But this can be done to you, so keep on the move and stay frosty.

Indeed this trails raises a pertinent point, you want to fire as early as possible in the turn so enemy units have minimal time to dodge; so keep that rhythm steady—12 blasts per minute, dance to its stately waltz and you are one step closer to victory.

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