Backyard Monsters is currently one of the popular apps on Facebook, a multi-player tower defence strategy game by the Casual Collective. If you’re just getting started, take a look at my introductory post and the excellent FAQ on the official forums by Lara Leise.
By about level 20 to 25 your rate of production gets very slow in comparison to the resources needed for upgrades. The solution is to attack other players and carry off a silo full of everything you need. Of course the same is true for them too…
The only reliable defence you have is towers so you need to make sure they are safe. Pack all your towers as close together as you can (known as the ‘Big Dumb Bunch’ or BDB), plonk the town hall and your silos next to them, ring that with a wall (but leave strategic gaps – I’ll get onto that) and put the twig snappers, putty squishers etc. around that.
Everything else is too low priority to bother trying to defend.
You can have a strong defence with Level 4 towers and Level 4 town hall: you should aim to be somewhere near this at about level 25. The upgrade from 4 to 5 for towers is significant as it gives a bit more range increase than previous levels. So long as your towers support each other and guard the silos you should be at little risk whatever level you are so you can start PvP at Level 20 (or before) if you like.
There are various designs for base defence. You need to leave gaps in the walls or the monsters will just eat through the wall. You don’t want this to happen because that gap will remain undefended for future waves who will then ignore the wall and go through the gap. Monsters hugely over-estimate the effort of chewing through a wall.
Use the walls and the gaps you create to force the attackers to move across your lines of fire or into traps. Monsters who do a lot of damage will be happy to chew through a wall but a wood wall will make an Ichi (a common tower attacker) walk about another five to ten squares. Pathing is odd though and they can make strange decisions.
Monsters can go through the smallest gap in a wall and through diagonals (it’s an obvious gap with stone blocks but they can squeeze through wooden block diagonals too).
Find a base where the towers are round the outside, they won’t support each other much (or at all) and your tower attackers will only be under fire from one or two towers at a time. It generally takes about an hour before you can loot (i.e. 4 attacks before you can loot).
If the towers are set up such that they are all near two others you’ll be constantly under fire from 3 towers, each wave of monsters should kill between one and three towers so 6 waves before you can loot – allow at least two hours.
Note how full the silos are, you want ones that are stuffed. If they look nearly empty, you may as well leave that target until it is worth looting.
Also take note of any upgrades they have – very recently started upgrades can indicate that they were recently on line and so moderately likely to log on within the next hour or so. If you are very diligent you could try to note patterns and estimate when they log on but it is only worth it if you have a severe dearth of targets.
Splash towers should be a priority as they do more damage overall and mostly you want to mass your monsters so they attack one tower at a time but:
- If you suspect a gap in a wall has a trap in it you can send a single monster ahead.
- You can send groups of monsters from slightly different directions in order to avoid being close together (and thus avoid the splash damage from the splash towers)
- You can also send a single tough monster to distract a splash tower while the rest of the force take out nearby pellet towers (or vice versa). Towers pick the nearest target but stay on that monster until it is dead.
- A slight variety of monsters can be good if you have the options: crabatrons, Ichi, Project X and even Octo-ooze can all work together.
On the whole though, you are best off with a mass of Ichis running about killing as many towers as they can then sending another wave until there are no more towers or at least none near anything you want to loot.
Three things will stop you attacking your target multiple times.
- You accidentally level up and your target is no longer available. To avoid this, don’t empty out harvesters between attacks. You can attack a player two but not three levels below you.
- The target logs on and repairs everything. To avoid this use fast turn-around monsters like Itchis and Finks on subsequent attacks where you can.
- Damage protection: if a target is attacked four times within an hour it gets 1 hour of protection. If you are not ready to do a loot wave after 3 attacks, you should not attack again until an hour after the first attack.
If the target loses over a third of the yard, it gains get 18 hours of protection. If the Yard is over two-thirds destroyed it gets 36 hours of protection. Walls don’t count for this calculation but I’m not sure how it is weighted: Town Halls seem to be worth extra. This means you only get one looting wave because the target will gain protection after you start grabbing resources.
After you’ve done a few waves to remove their towers you’ll want to cash in on those fat silos.
Brains look best for a loot wave but they do such little damage that they can get very bogged down, also they take ages to build.
Finks do a whopping 300 damage: the best damage per storage space you can get. They are fast to build and cheap in goo. The only drawback is that Finks are easily killed by traps. To avoid this, mix up your loot wave of Finks with a Pokey or two and have them attack in small groups – if you can target a bunch of silos then all to the good.
The Fang is an upgraded Fink but still can’t take a trap hit so there is no advantage. Project-X is marginally the best looter but you need all towers to be gone or he’ll go for them instead. They are also very slow to build and costly on goo so, on balance, probably not worth it.
Next Week: The math behind monster production and resource upgrading.
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