Rush, Rush, Rush: Halo Wars and the Endangered Turtle

Kids these days - there were some on my lawn earlier today - just want to rush.

Read Rush, Boom, Turtle #12

Way to continue the tradition of taking pot shots at us. But going as far back as Age of Empires III as the last RTS to embrace the Turtle? Really? Sorry Tom, but I turtled like crazy during my jaunts with SupCom online. In some games the other player would gobble up 90% of the map. I just turtle up with a shit ton of force fields, turrets, anti-air, artillery, and even an anti-nuke thrown in for good measure. I’d eventually boom out a super weapon for the win or at least die trying.

I think you are a little hard on Dawn of War 2, to say there is no RBT dynamic. Very early on players have to decide whether to spend Requisition on building power generators to tech sooner. Likewise, do they spend their early power on either squad upgrades (such as shotguns) or save it to tech to Tier 2 sooner and access vehicles. I’ll admit that tactical finese plays a very large role in success or failure, but being able to field an extra unit earlier gives players an advantage to better contest map control. Similarly, getting a vehicle unit out before the player can access the proper counters is a large advantage (though one toned down since CoH).

Maybe turtling is gone, but there still is macro level desicions to be made, albeit challenging map control earlier or later. Honestly, I find this an improvement over a system that rewards players for picking rock instead of scissors at the game’s beginning.

This is my favorite Rush Boom Turtle so far. Well, okay, my second favorite, on second thought. Nothing can supplant “Always Be Villagering”. But in one way, this is the perfect introduction to the column, since it actually goes into Rushes, Booms and Turtles. Brilliant. I also love the friendly pot shot at Supreme Commander/TA. The truth is SupCom does all three, and it’s a huge part of the game, and any SupCom player will recognize the Rushes, the Booms and the Turtles immediately as they’re reading the rest of the article.

I know, I know, but you guys are such low-hanging fruits.

But I’m not buying that Supreme Commnder is as turtlable* as TA. Supreme Commander clearly wants you to get out and grab those resource points rather than ceding them to your opponent. Besides, where are the metal maps? HUH? Oh, snap!

Also, Greatatlantic, I love how you insist that Dawn of War II has rushing, booming, and turtling, and then to prove your case, you describe something that isn’t any of the above! FWIW, I’m not saying there aren’t macro decisions to be made in DoW2. Clearly there are. They just aren’t the traditional decisions of rushing, booming, or turtling.

  • My new favorite word that I just this instant invented!

I pray for the turtlablity* of StarCraft2. I used to love building tight little bases and just weather attacks, till I was teched up and could march all over the people that just rushed.

*did I use the word right

Just to quibble, with RTS’s, why is “Strategy” generally considered synonymous with economy building? Anything without this trait is tossed aside as an “action game”, regardless of whether there are strategic decisions overlaying tactical ones.

Forgive my old chess geeky ways, but it’s the game of strategy I was brought up with (maybe that was stratego), and there is no rush, boom, turtle to it at all. Classic strategy games tend to manifest strategy in positional choices, and DOW2 has that in spades!

quibble quibble

Mr. One, it’s helpful shorthand to distinguish between the larger picture (strategy) and the more immediate concerns of units fighting (tactics). But you’re absolutely right.

However, the resource model in chess sucks. The only way to boom up is to get a pawn all the way across the board? At least in checkers any unit can be used to boom up your economy.


So now I finally understand what those weird RTS players mean when they talk about rushing, booming, and turtling. Thanks, Tom!

Barring metal maps, (in which the entire map is one giant infinite resource point allowing players to boom/rush/turtle all at once and sky rocket up the build curve so quickly it is freakin’ ridiculous) I’d argue Supreme Commander is just as turtlable if not more so than TA. This is mostly due to the Support Commander resource upgrade and more importantly tier one mass generator farms which allowed you to become self sufficient without the critical need to expand across the map. Expanding the laying claim to more resources helps, but the alternative is entirely viable. They actually address this in Forged Alliance by moving the tier one mass generators to tier two.

Not to be overly pedantic, but when you say “anyone facing a UNSC player needs to build n+n vehicles, where n is the number of Spartans the other player has”, because “you need an extra left over to fight each one that was just stolen from you”, I think it should be 2n+n. If you have n+n vehicles then all of your vehicles will be neutralized fighting off the captured vehicles and you won’t have any left over for the initial task they set out to accomplish. With 2n+n vehilces, n get captured, n engage the captured vehicles, and n are left over to do what you want. Unless of course the whole purpose of the vehicle brigade is to engage the Spartans, in which case n+n would be enough for that.

I think the rest of your post blows that out of the water. :) But, yeah, I was trying to make a math reference when I should have just said “bring spare vehicles!” The only thing worse would have been if I’d tried to use a sports metaphor, such as “bring your A-side game”.

Roguefrog, fair point about the resource generator farms. I’d forgotten about the whole power/resource generator interplay. But it still seems you’re ceding a lot of resources to your opponent if you stay home. I’d be surprised if it’s a viable strategy against two evenly matched opponents, but I grant that I’m probably not as acquainted with the nuances of SC as you. At any rate, it’s a fair comparison to the way the Dutch work in Age III.


Shouldn’t DoW2 considered pre-turtled as it is impossible to rush the opponent’s base?

That’s one way to look at it, Mr. Ork. However, I’m not sure I even consider it a base so much as a spawn point. Given the way Dawn of War II plays, I’d be inclined to say the turrets are there to prevent spawn camping. :)


Furthermore, I do not think the Turtle tactic is endangered, it is simply disguised in another form. Using DoW2 as an example again, the new form of turtle would be spreading your units, capturing all the resource nodes and avoiding fighting. Artificially, it is different from the traditional turtle strategy which you simply sit in your base. But strategically, it is the same thing. You try to get as many resources as you can, tech up as fast as you can and spend as little as you can on units.

I think it is more accurate to say that the genre has re-innovated itself, instead of the change of style. The old gameplay is still here but disguised in a new form.

In DoW2 there’s that Tyranid leader dude who tunnels all over the map. I’ve been beat a couple of times when someone has tunneled all around the map and leaves practically his entire (growing) force in the tunnels. He just pops them out en masse from a hole near whichever capture point I attempt to claim.

It felt as if a bit of turtleage was going on in that strategy.

That’s non-centralized swarming, not turtling. It demands a different skillset, enough to be a different strategy. It’s actually an effective counter to a traditional turtle, so you could place it in the “boom” category.

Any strategy that involves map control is not turtling. Turtles stay in their ‘shell’.

I only spent a little time with the DoW 2 beta, but it felt kinda like the RTS equivalent of UT2004’s Onslaught mode, where gameplay is a tug-of-war over control points on the map. By changing the resource-management / economic model, it forces you to adopt different tactics.

Traditional turtling isn’t really an option, because you can’t build up your defenses without resources and you can’t generate resources without seizing control points. The same with booming: economic development is tied to control points. Classic turtling & booming only work in games where you’re able to build up your economy & defenses without ever leaving home. But classic rushing - in the “send units to overrun the enemy base as soon as possible” sense - doesn’t really work either, because as Tom says, it works more like a spawn point in DoW 2. If you’re rushing - or just camping - the enemy’s base in DoW 2 while his other units are seizing resource points, you’ll lose.

I’m a dedicated turtler. AoE was the last game at which I was competitively competent. So I can appreciate the notion that it is the Turtle’s Paradise. I always felt safe in that game. I’ve never felt such security in an RTS since. I always feel exposed.

Recently got into Company of Heroes with a friend, and for a bit we’d play games as a team against other enemies, and we developed this natural partnership wherein he’d get out there in the field aggressively and draw fire while I concentrated on building up forces and defenses.

Just guess what happened when we finally played a match against one another. It wasn’t pretty.