Armored Freedom

The description for this game reads: "Armored Freedom is an intense strategy board game where giant robots fight for dominance." Alarm bells should be going off at the use of the word "intense" in combination with "strategy". If you're going to use a word like "intense" to describe the strategy in a genre that has heavy hitters like XCOM, Stellaris, Divinity and Halo Wars your game should be at least decent. On paper this description makes it sounds like the game should be good, have some potential, or at least be marginally interesting. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The only parts of that description that are true is that there are robots and a board (hex grid) involved.

To start off with the game is almost devoid of strategy. You always command a squad of 4 identical robots that are completely without any personality. You cannot customize them in any way, nor do they have any different stats. The robots will always have 12HP. On your turn, you'll roll 2 dice and split the result to move them. You can do one attack per turn once you finish moving. The entirety of the game is to just focus down the weakest enemy and then move onto the next one.

The core battle mechanic is to arm you with a random hand of 6 attack and defense cards ranging in value from 1 to 12. Your attack minus the enemy's defense equals the damage you do. The attack value is also the range of the attack. That's almost the entire game right there. The maps are randomly generated and each tile has small perks (+ or - to attack, defense, range, or movement). If it sounds like there's a high chance for RNG bias, there is. If it sounds like there really isn't that much strategy, that's also true. Pretty much all you do is make sure you're standing on a +attack or +defense tile.

There are also random power-ups scattered across the map. One repairs your shields. Another one is used as energy to boost the effects of your cards. A final one generates a random event. These include getting or missing turns, getting or swapping cards, damaging yourself or the enemy, etc. Like with the attack and defense cards, there's heavy RNG involved here as well. This concludes all the game has to offer in terms of mechanics. There's no cover, line of sight, group attacks, special moves, nor anything else you might find in a similar game.

There's next to no story. The graphics look like they're from an early PlayStation 1 title. The music is highly repetitive and completely forgettable. You'll wind up playing the same boring RNG battles again and again as you play through the short campaign. Then you'll be forced to replay the same missions in order to grind out the rest of the achievements which are pointlessly drawn-out considering the lack of content in the game.

There is some good news. The game is relatively short. There are only 7 campaign missions. There are no buggy or missable achievements. You will have to grind out wins and kills, but should be able to finish the game in around 15 to 20 hours.

The game does a very minimal job of describing the gameplay, so I'll do my best to describe everything you'll need to know here. The game isn't highly complicated but it doesn't really explain all of its rules either which could make it more frustrating than it should be. That being said, the game is predominantly RNG based anyway so you'll be mostly trying to outlast your opponents.

Units

All units in the game are identical. They always have 12 HP. There's no equipment and nothing to customize. You'll always have a squad of 4 robots.

Movement

At the beginning of each turn, you'll roll two dice. The result is how much your robots can move. You can freely split the movement between all of your robots. Once you spend your movement you'll be able to attack so long as one of your robots is in range of an enemy. You can also skip using all of your movement if you don't want any of your robots to move.

You can use cn_upcn_downcn_leftcn_right to quick-select any of your 4 robots. Alternatively, you can highlight them on the map and press cn_A. cn_LS moves the cursor and the focus, while cn_RS moves just the cursor.

Finally, rolling doubles on your movement will boost your attack by the value of the die for that turn. So for example, if you roll two 6s you will be getting +6 to your attack for that turn. It becomes advantageous to use your strongest attack card when you roll doubles.

Tiles

The maps are randomly generated. Each tile can optionally have some small perk associated with it. These fall into + or - to your attack, range, defense, or movement. Obviously, you'll want your robots to finish their movement on the + tiles, particularly the +attack and +defense tiles if possible.

This is also where the game shows its questionable pathfinding. The game will always show you the full extent of movement possible, but not take into account any - movement tiles. Your robot will just obliviously walk into a -5 movement tile and stop moving without you knowing why. The robot will also walk into powerups which might stop its turn without you wanting it to. Sadly, there's no way to specify the path for your robot to move across the board either. If you absolutely want your robot to move across a particular set of tiles you will have to make several small moves to make sure it only steps on tiles you want it to.

Power-Ups

There are 3 types of power-ups scattered across the map: shield repair (green-ish), energy (purple) and random event (yellow).

Stepping on shield-repair always uses up the power-up, even if you're at full shields. It always restores the robot to full energy, so you'll always go back to 12HP.

Energy can only be picked up if your robot ends your turn on it. It is used to boost your attack and defense cards. This is largely useless. For weapons, this will only allow you to boost range which doesn't really do a whole bunch. It's occasionally useful, but you get much more benefit from consistently standing on a +attack or +defense tile.

Random events do what they sound like they will: cause something random to happen. They are triggered as soon as your robot steps on them. They can include getting or skipping an extra turn, getting or swapping cards, damaging yourself or the enemy, etc. These are random and stupidly imbalanced. A random event can cause a robot (yours or the enemy) to die outright. It can cause you to skip 3 turns. Generally, it is probably better to avoid these but there is an achievement tied to collecting a certain amount of them.

Attacking

You're given a hand of 6 random cards. There are only two types: attack and defend. Each one has a value from 1 to 12. You can play an attack card at the end of your move. The attack value is the damage the card can do. It is also its range. So a 12 can attack across 12 tiles and do 12 damage if not defended.

Damage is your attack value minus the opponent's defense value. The only modifiers that come into play are the tiles you and your enemy are standing on, as well as if you rolled doubles for your move.

Each time you play a card you will draw one so you'll always have at least 6 cards in your hand.

Defending

Each time an opponent attacks you, you can play a defense card. The defense card directly subtracts from the opponent's attack value. So long as your value is higher you'll not take damage. You'll draw a new card for each card you play, so you'll always have at least 6 cards in your hand.

General Strategy

Based on everything you've read so far, the "strategy" should be pretty simple and straightforward. Always move your robots into tiles with positive bonuses on them. Ideally, these will be mostly +defense ones so your robots can survive longer than the enemy. One robot - the one you'll be attacking with - should be standing on a +attack tile to do more damage to the enemy. Always focus down the weakest enemy and once he is dead move onto the next one. That's pretty much it!

The game completion is pretty straightforward: complete the campaign (a total of 7 missions) and then grind out any remaining cumulative achievements. The latter really fall into 3 categories: kills, map wins, and action cards (yellow power-ups).

Campaign

The campaign missions fall into two general categories: kill all enemies and point capture (i.e., spend a turn or several on specifically marked tiles).

There really isn't too much in terms of advice I can give here. The placement of your units is fixed, but the tile bonuses are randomized. If you read the prior section then you understand the game mechanics. So move your units into tiles that have +defense or +attack and then slowly start focus firing the enemy. If it's a capture stage than simply beeline for the capture points.

Personally, I like spending the weaker attack cards to soften up enemy units and use more powerful cards when I roll doubles or am standing on +attack tiles. You should breeze through the first few stages. On the later stages, there will be a lot of enemies... but they'll also fight each other (this is particularly true of the last stage). Simply hang back and let the enemies soften each other up. Once an enemy starts to get weak snipe them with one of your more powerful attacks. If your units get hurt you can always grab the shield power-up to heal.

That's pretty much it. Completing the entire campaign should take you only a couple to several hours. I'll provide a brief overview of each mission.

Mission 1 - Lost Patrol

You'll start with 4 mechs and your enemy will start with only 2. 2 of your units will be in the very north and 2 in the very south. One enemy will be in the very center of the map. The other all the way to the west. The odds are greatly in your favor since you have more units and therefore more HP. Simply march towards the enemy and focus down one unit at a time.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Equilizer in Armored Freedom
Equilizer61 (50)
Complete Mission 1
  • Unlocked by 23 tracked gamers (68% - TA Ratio = 1.21) 34

Mission 2 - Meltdown

This time it will be 4 on 4 so the odds are roughly even. Your units will start on the south-west and south-east sides of the map, while the enemy will be in the center. Simply focus down one enemy at a time. The enemy doesn't seem to focus down on your units so he'll attack them at random. While he's spreading the damage around all of your units you can take out his one at a time.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Scream in Armored Freedom
Scream64 (50)
Complete Mission 2
  • Unlocked by 21 tracked gamers (62% - TA Ratio = 1.27) 34

Mission 3 - Frozen

The objective of this mission is to hold a capture point in the north section of the map. Your 4 units will start directly south of it. The enemy will be on the west and east sides of the map (2 units each) effectively creating a tunnel you need to run through. You only need to hold the objective for two turns and don't need to actually kill enemy units. Simply beeline for the objective and use your strongest defense cards once on it so your robot doesn't get killed.

Due to the quick nature of this mission, you can use it to grind out mission wins if you want to by just repeating it.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Iceman in Armored Freedom
Iceman69 (50)
Complete Mission 3
  • Unlocked by 18 tracked gamers (53% - TA Ratio = 1.37) 34

Mission 4 - Retrieval

This is another point capture mission with a pretty similar setup to the last one. Again all of your units will be on the south portion of the map and the enemy will be 2 each on the east and west sides. This time around there will be 3 different capture points in the north, but you will only need to spend a single turn on each. Again, beeline for each objective location. You can use the rest of your robots to distract the enemy.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Found in Armored Freedom
Found71 (50)
Complete Mission 4
  • Unlocked by 17 tracked gamers (50% - TA Ratio = 1.41) 34

Mission 5 - Under the Ice

Once again your 4 robots will start at the south of the map. This time you'll be up against 5 robots. 3 in the east and 2 in the west. You'll need to use the terrain bonuses and healing in order to outlast the disadvantage you face in terms of numbers. This will be probably the toughest mission since you do need to put out more damage to take down the enemy than he can put out on your units. You might need to re-try it once or twice in order to get some lucky card draws, but the +defense bonus tiles and healing should give you enough of an edge.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Frozen in Armored Freedom
Frozen156 (100)
Complete Mission 5
  • Unlocked by 14 tracked gamers (41% - TA Ratio = 1.55) 34

Mission 6 - Desert Skies

This is the final point capture mission. Same setup as the other ones. You'll start with 4 robots in the south except there are now 6 enemies (3 on the east side and 3 on the west side) and there's a total of 4 capture points for 2 turns each. Again, focus on just grabbing the capture points. Since only one unit can attack per turn you should be able to outlast long enough to just capture all of the points.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Sandman in Armored Freedom
Sandman176 (100)
Complete Mission 6
  • Unlocked by 11 tracked gamers (32% - TA Ratio = 1.75) 34

Mission 7 - Showdown

This is the final mission and at first look, it'll seem incredibly unfair and almost impossible. You'll start with your 4 robots in the south part of the map as usual. The enemy will have a total of 8 units spread across the rest of the map. This mission would be very hard if all 8 were united against you... but they're not! The enemy is actually 2 separate teams of 4 and they will attack each other. So keep a safe distance while the enemies attack each other, position your robots on bonus tiles and snipe any robots once they start getting low on HP. With this strategy, this mission is actually very manageable.

You'll also be replaying this mission a lot to grind out kills since it's the one that has the most enemies and they'll do a good job of weakening themselves for you.

For completing this mission you will get the following achievement:

Completist in Armored Freedom
Completist316 (180)
Complete Mission 7
  • Unlocked by 11 tracked gamers (32% - TA Ratio = 1.75) 34

You will also get the following achievements for winning matches:

A good start in Armored Freedom
Win a first match
  • Unlocked by 24 tracked gamers (71% - TA Ratio = 1.19) 34

On the roll in Armored Freedom
Win 5 matches
  • Unlocked by 17 tracked gamers (50% - TA Ratio = 1.41) 34

You will also get some kill-related achievements, most definitely including the following:

First blood in Armored Freedom
Kill a first enemy
  • Unlocked by 27 tracked gamers (79% - TA Ratio = 1.12) 34

Natural born in Armored Freedom
Kill 8 enemies
  • Unlocked by 13 tracked gamers (38% - TA Ratio = 1.61) 34

Chop in Armored Freedom
Chop55 (30)
Kill 16 enemies
  • Unlocked by 10 tracked gamers (29% - TA Ratio = 1.84) 34

If you pick up any yellow items you will also get the "action card" achievements but I'll save those for the next section.

Cleanup

Now that you've finished the campaign comes the (more) boring part. You've probably made some headway on the cumulative achievements, but very minimal. The rest of this section is for mopping up the rest of the cumulative achievements. These include kills, map wins, and action items (yellow power-ups). I would do them in the order listed if you're trying to minimize the time being spent.

Kills will take the longest. You have to play legitimately and get the kill on the robot. You will be getting a win per map as a result and if you pick up yellow items you will also be making progress on that achievement.

I recommend the last map, i.e., mission 7. Simply hang back while the robots get softened up and come in with strong attacks on doubles or on weakened robots to finish them off. You can theoretically get up to 8 kills per match, but chances are the computer opponents will take some out. While grinding these you will get the following achievements:

Grinder in Armored Freedom
Grinder110 (50)
Kill 50 enemies
  • Unlocked by 7 tracked gamers (21% - TA Ratio = 2.20) 34

November in Armored Freedom
November220 (100)
Kill 100 enemies
  • Unlocked by 7 tracked gamers (21% - TA Ratio = 2.20) 34

While working on the above you will probably get some of the achievements for map wins. To get the rest fire up mission 3. This mission requires only a single capture point to be held for a couple of turns. Simply beeline for the capture point, pass turns until you win, and repeat. This will be significantly faster than the kills. You will get the following achievements:

Down the road in Armored Freedom
Win 10 matches
  • Unlocked by 13 tracked gamers (38% - TA Ratio = 1.61) 34

Sparkplug in Armored Freedom
Sparkplug49 (30)
Win 50 matches
  • Unlocked by 13 tracked gamers (38% - TA Ratio = 1.61) 34

Cash out in Armored Freedom
Cash out81 (50)
Win 100 matches
  • Unlocked by 13 tracked gamers (38% - TA Ratio = 1.61) 34

If you've been picking up yellow power-ups the whole time you'll probably have the following achievements:

Man of action in Armored Freedom
Use a first action card
  • Unlocked by 32 tracked gamers (94% - TA Ratio = 1.03) 34

Kicker in Armored Freedom
Kicker12 (10)
Use 5 action cards
  • Unlocked by 24 tracked gamers (71% - TA Ratio = 1.19) 34

Agitator in Armored Freedom
Agitator18 (15)
Use 10 action cards
  • Unlocked by 23 tracked gamers (68% - TA Ratio = 1.21) 34

Poker face in Armored Freedom
Poker face29 (20)
Use 50 action cards
  • Unlocked by 16 tracked gamers (47% - TA Ratio = 1.45) 34

If not, fire up your favorite map and just run around picking up yellow power-ups.

That's should be it. Enjoy your 1000GS!

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