Coal War Tactics
Set in the dark and dusty mines of Neovia, Coal War Tactics is a game of grid-based guesswork that requires both luck and careful thought. While similar to the classic Snow Wars II, as well as to ship-sinking board games you may have played offline, this version adds a sneakier side to the conflict with the ability to spy on your opponent, evade their attention, or even steal their hard-earned points. Of course, you could always just stick to blowing them up.
How to Play
You can play the game either as Baron Goldnose or Madam Salt; this doesn't seem to affect gameplay, so just pick the character whose icon you like better. Whichever you choose, the computer will play the other. The level of difficulty (easy, medium or hard) may change your opponent's behaviour, but doesn't change the basic method of gameplay.
Before the game starts, you'll need to place five minecarts on the game grid, which your opponent must then guess the locations of. Pressing the space bar allows you to rotate the cart you're currently moving; this is the only time during the game when you'll need the keyboard, as all the other controls are mouse-based. If you don't particularly care where your minecarts are placed, you can click the "random" button to have the game decide for you.
If you checked the box on the setup screen to allow booby-trapping, you also have five traps to place. These will deduct points from any opponent who clicks them, and award those points to you. Beware -- if you do choose to play with booby-traps, your opponent will have them, too!
When all your carts (and traps, if you're using them) are placed, click Done to start the game.
Each turn, you can click one square on your opponent's grid where you think one of their minecarts might be. You can take as long as you like to make your guess, but guessing correctly within the first ten seconds of your turn will add bonus points to your score.
You'll be told immediately whether your attack hit or missed, at which point play passes to the opponent. Your past misses are marked on the grid with a stick of dynamite, while hits are marked with a flaming cart. Your aim is to destroy all of your opponent's minecarts before they have a chance to destroy all of yours. Additionally, you may occasionally find piles of ore on your opponent's board, awarding bonus points. These are randomly placed, so uncovering them is a matter of luck.
If you land at least two hits in a row before destroying the final minecart in a train, you will be awarded a bonus power-up, which you can hold three of at any given time. These can be selected prior to launching an attack, and have various effects. Bear in mind that your opponent is able to receive and use these power-ups as well.
|Allows you to make two guesses during your turn|
|Allows you to move undamaged minecarts|
|Reveals the contents of a 2x2 area of the game board|
|Prevents the previous bonus from working in the selected area||Allows you to attack an entire row on the board|
|Allows you to attack an entire column on the board|
|Allows you to attack a 3x3 area of the board.|
Points in Coal War Tactics are primarily earned through attacking your opponent's carts. Successfully landing a hit on a cart will award you with up to 10 points (depending on how long it takes you to choose a spot to attack), and destroying the final cart in a train is worth 500. On winning the game, you will have at least 2500 points from destroying carts, and up to 170 from attacking quickly.
While you will steal 50 points from your opponent every time they find one of your booby traps, they can also steal points from you in the same way, making playing with them enabled risky. You can also find ore while attacking your opponent's board, with silver ore worth 25 points and gold ore worth 100. Playing on a higher difficulty has no effect your score, nor do the play statistics listed once the game has been completed.
To maximize points, you'll want to attack as quickly as possible once your turn has started. The easiest way to do this is to decide the next spot you'll attack immediately after seeing the result of the last one, and moving your cursor there. As your board and your opponent's board occupy the same space depending on whose turn it is, you can more easily center your cursor using the more checker board-like design of the board where your carts are hidden.
While it's impossible to know where the rest of the carts in a train are based on a single hit, in easy mode your opponent will almost always align all of their carts in the same direction, either horizontally or vertically. On harder difficulties, they will often group two or more of their trains together. Despite this, it's best not to attack two directly adjacent spots unless you're trying to reveal more of a train you've already hit, as the shortest train is two carts long.
- Scoring remains the same regardless of difficulty setting
- Decide where to attack during your opponent's turn to save time
- Destroy a minecart train with consecutive hits for bonus power-ups
- If you're about to win, spend a little time looking for ore (free points!)
This game guide was written by: Dream and Chesu