Who's playing They Are Billions?

Alright, so They Are Billions is an RTS, but it’s very different. You are put in charge of a steampunk style camp in a zombie apocalypse and have to survive a set number of days.

There are no other players, human or AI. Just zombies, and waves of them keep coming until the final wave, which is… well, look at the title.

Technically the game is in beta. Frankly, it’s awesome, the most addictive RTS I’ve played in years. It’s not terribly complicated or confusing, pretty straightforward interface, and brother, you are gonna lose. You’ll lose over and over, until you figure it out and then you’ll win and then see you were at 5% difficulty and wonder how in the hell anyone can do 20, much less 100. But you won’t care and you’ll keep playing.

Come on, who’s fighting off the hordes and what are your tips?

Just so you know, I hate you. With the flames of 10,000 suns plus a Bunsen burner. I picked up this game on Friday having seen your thread and thinking, hey, this will be a cool time waster for the evenings. Now I’m hooked on a game that I haven’t been able to even complete on the easy level. The furthest I’ve been able to go so far is day 70. Hell, I haven’t even successfully built all the buildings yet.

As for tips, I’m still in the learning phase. I haven’t figured out how to balance between expanding out, building the key buildings and having defenses and soldiers enough to progress through the various increasing hordes. I think it’s about getting the right map though…I’ve noticed that if I have less than 5 corridors to my core base to start with, or if I can expand to that, then I generally do better, especially if some of them are fairly narrow choke points where I can put spike traps and layered walls supported by towers.

My tips for someone having difficulties:

Mobile defenses are better than static defenses. Particularly rangers in the early days, instead of soldiers, because their range bonus and the fact that they shoot silently means they’re better for going out and picking off stragglers. When you have a good mobile force of rangers to clear out territory, you’ll want to have a bunch of snipers as the mainstay of your defense forces, I’m a big fan of switching production to Thanatoses (Thanatoi?) from the Engineering Bay. The missile knockback is really useful for delaying raids. Towers eventually become necessary, but they are very costly, and often times you’re better off expanding your base to make more guys than to spend tons of upkeep in between raids for buildings that are only doing something when a raid hits the particular location they’ve been built in.

Expand, expand, expand. The only way your killing power will keep up with the zombies is by vastly increasing your defenses each time, and that requires lots of people, power money and oil. Those things require lots of space, particularly because of point three (below,) so you’ll want to be clearing out new defensible sections of the map the whole way through the game.

Efficiency costs more. Building upgrades are generally a bad idea if you can avoid them. TAB is at its heart of a game about efficient space utilization, and so paying to upgrade buildings, while it may be necessary at certain pinch points of the game, makes resources cost more to make. That is to say, two farms cost the same upkeep as a single advanced farm, but they cost much, much less to produce in the first place. You’ll go further if you can just find more arable land and protect it than if you have to maximize yields in a small area.

Well, yes and no.

Soldiers aren’t really worth building at all. In the early game, rangers are cheap, don’t have much support cost, and a team of them can work down large zombie groups.

Snipers, while awesome, are VERY expensive. A tower with four snipers is substantially more expensive than a Great Ballista all things considered, and a Ballista is equally effective; in the early to mid game a single Ballista can protect an entire approach. We’re using Ballistas a lot more now, and upgrading them to Executors only just before the final assault to preserve cash flow. I still like snipers in hot spots, but I strongly recommend being conservative.

In the mid to late game we start producing Thanatos and Titan units. (Forget the Lucifer, they’re too hard to use.) A team of Titans will eliminate the Villages of Doom with ease and can then be turned into the mobile defense stations you’ll need towards the end, allocating one to each wall, and then retaining some as a strategic reserve to be deployed to trouble spots. Every wall area should have one Thanatos, at least, but they are less useful as a strategic reserve due to their slowness.

Note that if you really need a VOD wiped out before Titans, why not try the Ballista Creep? Just build ballistas towards the VOD (if you need it wiped out that badly it is too close to your town) in steps, each overlapping the next, until the lead one is close enough to actually attack the VOD buildings. Works great!

My strategy is use towers with an archer unit, sniper and 2 soldiers (in the early game I’ll use a team of 4 archers to clear out concentrations and explore). Anything short of a horde they can handle. I generally don’t even build the ballista to be honest, but instead wait for the machine gun building (who’s name escapes me ATM) as it seems the most effective. As for VOD, I use a tower creep same as your ballista one, where I’ll build tesla towers and towers into range. 2 towers manned with the above will take out a building and protect the troops from rushes from the VOD. And in the end you can just destroy the towers to get mats back, and you have the soldiers for other duties.

I actually do use the Lucifer units as sacrificial units. Basically, you put them in corners with lots of traps (spikes or razor wire) and guarded by the towers of your inner defense, or if it looks like the zombies will breach the walls they are great for initial containment. I do like a team of Thanatos units that can be moved to a horde and disbursed in the final end of the world attack. I generally only have a couple of Titan units (I’ve only made it to the final game a few times to be honest out of maybe 10 games played since I got the game)…they are very expensive and generally I’m out of resources towards the end. I have’t even managed to build the end of game buildings yet as they cost over $7k and I havent’ been able to build to that before it all comes crashing down.

You mean the super-buildings? I haven’t bothered yet, either.

It comes down to expansion; you’ll find yourself able to build titans more as you get better at expanding. Consuming real estate and expanding is the name of the game. Never NOT be expanding.

Yeah, the super-buildings. Here is a video if you are interested in what they all do. Some of them might be useful if I ever get up to having 7K gold to just play with to do the research.

I agree it all comes down to expansion. You need to be bold enough to push out and take down hordes strategically. If they are in the territory you need you have to take it from them then be prepared to defend it. I’ve only been able to win one game so far (and that at only 55%), so it’s still a challenge for me. I’ve learned a lot about what buildings to build, but I still need to get some space management experience in the game. It is addictive though. Definitely worth the money I spent on Steam for it.