The Liquid War concept

Liquid War is a wargame. But it is different from common wargames.

When playing Liquid War, one has to eat one's opponent. There can be from 2 to 6 players. There are no weapons, the only thing you have to do is to move a cursor in a 2-D battlefield. This cursor is followed by your army, which is composed by a great many little fighters. Fighters are represented by small colored squares. All the fighters who have the same color belong to the same team. One very often controls several thousands fighters at the same time. And when fighters from different teams meet, they eat each other, it is as simple as that.

How do teams react?

Teams are composed of little fighters. These fighters all act independently, so it can happen that one single fighters does something different from what all the other do.

The main goal of these fighters is to reach the cursor you control. And to do that, they are in a way quite clever, for they choose the shortest way to reach it. Check it if you want, but it is true, they *really* choose *the* shortest way to reach the cursor. That is the whole point with Liquid War.

But these fighters are not perfect, so when they choose this shortest way, they do as if they were alone on the battlefield. That's to say that if there is a fighter blocking their way, they won't have the idea to choose another way, which is free from fighters but would have been longer otherwise. So fighters can be blocked.

Who eats whom?

When two fighters from different team meet each other, they first try to avoid fighting, and they dodge. But if there is no way for them to move, they get angry and attack the guy which is blocking them. Sometimes, they attack each other and both loose health. But it can happen that a fighter is attacked by another one, which is himself not attacked at all.

Here is an example of this behaviour: A blue fighter and a red fighter both want to move to their right, for that would be the shortest way to reach their cursor if there was nobody on the battlefield. But they are blocked by other fighters. If, for instance, the red fighter is on the right and the blue fighter on the left, it is the red fighter which will be eaten.

When a fighter is attacked, he first looses health, that is to say that he gets darker. When his health reaches 0, his color changes and he becomes a member of the team by which he has been attacked. Therefore the number of fighters on the battlefield always remains the same.

When fighters of a same team get stuck together and block each other, then they regenerate, that is to say that they get brighter.

However, I think the best way for you to understand the way it works is to try the game...

Basic strategy

When I play Liquid War, I always try to surround my opponents, and it usually works.

By the way, the computer has no strategy at all, he is a poor player, and if you get beaten by him, it means you have to improve yourself a lot!

But still, the computer doesn't do one thing which I've seen many beginners doing: he never keeps his cursor motionless right in the middle of his own fighters, for this is the best way to loose.

More strategy

Here are some more tips, kindly submitted by Jan Samohıl.

  • Try to cut your opponent off walls and surround him completely with your troops; when trying to penetrate his forces inside a tunnel, keep your troops at the wall (and force them ocassionaly to attack off the wall). I think this is a biggest weakness of the computer AI, that it doesn't know this.
  • When luring your troops to outflank an enemy, always move your cursor through the enemy, not the other way around.
  • To penetrate very narrow tunnels, stand back for a while and let some enemy troops come from the tunnel to you. Then surround them, destroy, repeat.
  • I have observed that with more than 2 players (6), the game difficulty depends on the map in the following way: If the playing field is completely empty, without any holes (topologically equivalent to full circle), the game is the easiest, because you can just go through the middle to outflank your opponent. If there is a single large obstacle (ie. playfield is topologically equivalent to ring (the area between two nested circles)), the game is the most difficult, because you have to choose one direction for the attack, and cannot simply defend the other direction. For other maps, it seems to really depend on their similarity to one of these two extreme situations (and army size, of course, because it changes the relative size of obstacles). Also, if you would later add another cursor, this property would probably disappear (maybe then games with n+1 obstacles would be the hardest ones with n cursors).
  • If you want a particularly challenging computer game (at least for some maps), use several players, max out attack, min out defense, max out base health (opposite would be harder, but game then changes to the large cloud of black troops, so you don't see anything) and give winner an advantage.

The winner is...

The clever guy who has got the greatest number of fighters in his team at the end of the game. Or the one who exterminates all the other teams!

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Copyright © 2005 Christian Mauduit. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
Updated on Sat May 07 2005.