It seems that you're using an outdated browser. Some things may not work as they should (or don't work at all).
We suggest you upgrade newer and better browser like: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera

Hello there, I have just bought Defcon two days ago and although it is quite easy to learn, it seems to be difficult to master and I have therefore a few questions regarding the gameplay and how I can become better in playing Defcon. Can anyone help me out please?

1st question: My first question is about the flight direction of the anti-aircraft missiles that are being shot from the SAM sites. For example, during one of the training missions it is my task to construct four European missile silos and destroy one Russian SAM site, as well as two Russian airfields. Yet, the SAM site seems to shoot down my nuclear warheads with ease. At the same time, during the training mission before the one I have just mentioned, it needed three of my European SAM sites to destroy just one nuclear warhead. One SAM site was stationed in England, one in the south of France and one in western Poland. The nuclear warhead was being shot by a submarine in the northern Atlantic and flew to the northeast first, before it turned its angle more and more to the southeast while flying, creating an arc. I do not know what was the intended target of the warhead, yet the rockets of the first two SAM missiles always missed their target! The rockets slightly passed the back of the nuclear warhead and were then spinning around, being unable to relocate or even hit their target in a second try. Only the SAM site stationed in Poland was able to hit and destroy the nuclear warhead, before it caused any trouble. Could it be that the AI receives some advantage in the game, when it comes to the accuracy of its missiles, while many of my SAM sites seem to be pretty useless? Or does it depend on the trajectory of the nuclear warheads and the location on which the SAM site, which tries to shoot the warhead down, is actually standing?

2nd question: The stealth bombers seem to have a pretty large range, covering most of the globe, which at first looks very interesting and seems to offer plenty of tactical advantages. Yet, the problem is that if you send one of your bombers to the far reaches of that range, it means it cannot fly back to its airbase, due to lack of fuel, and will crash. As the game offers no help or warning, it makes it rather hard to determine if the destination that you have in mind for your bomber is still close enough, so that your bomber can make it back to its airbase. And to make it worse, airbases can only rebuild normal fighters, but not the bombers. So, how can I use the bombers better? Maybe only for short-range attacks? The only time I have used one of my bombers during one of my first gameplays (I am still testing the game and try to become better) was from an airbase in the far east of Russia, very close to the coast, and sent it against the US city of Anchorage (Alaska). Or is it maybe possible to send a stealth bomber to one of your carriers that has already lost a unit and therefore has a free landing space? And can I relocate the aircraft from a carrier to one of my airbases too?

3rd question: There is an option to disarm a nuclear warhead, while it is being in the air. Yet, what’s the strategical point here? If I want to destroy a target or bomb a city then why I should shoot at it, only to disarm the device before it reaches its destination, considering the fact that it very probably will be lost anyway? Or is this an option primarily for multiplayer, when one player suddenly enters an alliance with you, yet you have already shot a warhead against him, which is still on the way? As I only play singleplayer, the AI never switches sides anyway, which, unfortunately, kills the diplomacy game mode.

4th question: Because of the fact that I am still testing the game and mostly have an AI ally to learn from it of how to play the game, I am very puzzled about how to control all the dozens of aircraft and ships, due to the fact that there is not even a pause option in the entire game, which is kind of funny when you drink while playing and you need to go to the bathroom, yet you are too busy controlling all your forces and stay aware of what the enemy is doing. Are there some Defcon expert players around that know a way how to control so much aircraft and at the same time make sure that these aircraft return to their aircraft carriers before their fuel runs out? Consider the fact that the enemy and your ally, if you have one, have all their units in the same vicinity as well and you can already imagine that it makes it really hard to behold an overview of the situation. One of the game’s reviewers on GOG called it simply a clusterf*ck to control all these units at the same time and according to my observations it seems to be just that, plus I am not a South-Korean StarCraft player either, who can make a thousand mouse clicks in less than a minute, lol.

5th question: My last question is about the fleets. Why shall I ever have more than one ship in a fleet? I always place only one unit and make this a fleet of its own, due to the fact that the fleets know no formations, other than creating a circle, which is kind of bad if you want your battleship on the frontline and your aircraft carrier behind it. I know that it depends on which unit you select first for your fleet to place on the map, to decide which part of the circle it will get, yet to me it seems that it is a better strategy to place every single unit by itself and make it a fleet of its own, instead of creating real fleets that drive around as circles. In real military life, at least from what I have seen on television, you never see fleets travelling in a circle formation, but rather in a straight line, with some ships at the side and other ships, like the aircraft carriers, in the center, having their flanks being protected by the other ships.

6th question (just added it one day after posting, as it suddenly came to my mind): Is there any difference between Defcon 3 and Defcon 2? The manual just says that the fighting is more intense in Defcon 2, but I cannot see any difference, nor do I have any special orders that activate as soon as Defcon 2 is declared. My guessing is that Defcon 2 is unfortunately just inside the game to be actually just inside the game, because the developers would have had no reason to let you jump from Defcon 3 right to Defcon 1. Am I right with this?

Again, any kind of tips are welcome! Thank you very much in advance!
Post edited June 13, 2021 by Serpent1989
This question / problem has been solved by Falkon1313image
1: I think it depends on how many shots you get at it and trajectory affects that. I hadn't played in awhile but just played another game to see. I had a bout 4 silos in southern edge of Europe, along with one in Britain and one north-central. None of the missiles fired by Africa made it through - they were under fire by at least 3 SAM silos the entire time they were in range inbound. However, due to the trajectory, the missiles from South America hooked around to the north and many hit. Timing and coordination/concentration meant I was facing more missiles from a direction with fewer SAMs, while some of my southern SAMs were distracted by the missiles being fired from Africa. Concentration of fire is key - a SAM site can only deal with one missile at a time.

2: You can select a bomber that's in-flight and send it to a carrier or airbase to land (good for when one runs out of bombs and another runs out of bombers). As for the range, the blue circle (which shrinks as the plane moves) is total remaining range - as long as you have an airbase or carrier within your blue circle, it can land. So to go out and return to the launch point, assume the range is slightly less than half the blue circle. It's not unusual to send bombers on long-range bomb-and-bail-out missions near the end of the game. But early on, when you still have more bombs and more enemy fleets to sink, it's probably better to try to keep them alive with strikes no more than half their max distance, and/or a carrier ready for them to land on. So periodically check if you see any aircraft not obviously headed toward a target or returning to base, and give them orders before the blue circle gets too small.

3: I'm guessing you're right about disarming nukes being for multiplayer. I've never used it.

4: Quick tip - when starting a game, click on Advanced Settings and set minimum speed to Paused, that enables pause for the game (hotkey is 0, to unpause is 1). Aircraft - if all goes well, they will just do their mission and then return. But if they can't (target disappeared or was destroyed) or they get distracted by enemy aircraft, then they can end up milling about and you have to give them another target or tell them to land. I am no Korean Starcraft champion either. So I generally don't have that many airstrikes going on at once, just air battles in one or two spots to focus on. If you launch as many as you can everywhere, yeah, that'd be a clusterfuck to control.

5: Hypothetically a mixed fleet is both easier to control and capable of supporting each other. The battleships provide anti-air and anti-ship (but are vulnerable to subs), while a carrier provides anti-sub and other carrier(s) can run air missions. In practice, it makes them easier to control than having to micromanage each and every ship. Fleet battles tend to be big bloody brawls with heavy losses on both sides. Maybe you could do better with individual ship micromanagement, if you want to try that.

6: No mechanical difference between Defcon 2 and Defcon 3. But in terms of battle phases, Defcon 3 is when your fleets go from friendly territory to contact with the enemy, and engage with conventional arms to try to get an advantage. Defcon 2 is when you want to get your carriers and subs close enough to the enemy's shores and scout targets for strikes when Defcon 1 hits. And the enemy's trying to do the same.

The tricky part in Defcon 1 is deciding when to flip your SAMs to ICBMs, and how to concentrate them and coordinate them with SLBMs and air-launched missiles. An all-out first-strike leaves you defenseless, but keeping them as SAM sites to shoot down as much as possible of someone else's first strike means that their silos will be back to SAM mode by the time you fire. If you piecemeal it, you can't overwhelm them as well as you could've. So a lot depends on how well you can scout and get in those sub and air strikes and coordinate everything.
At first, thank you so very much for your awesome help and at the same time I am extremely sorry for having seen your reply so late! I was, unfortunately, very busy during the past weeks and did not get to play another round of Defcon either, but I am about to change that pretty soon. :)

Especially important to me is knowing that I can relocate my aircraft from an airport to a carrier, while the AI is not smart enough to do this. This should hopefully give me an advantage in air-to-air battles. You know, so far, I always had an AI player as an ally against two other players that were also hostile to each other, just to see how the game works, what the AI is doing etc. But I think that now I should be able to engage a little more aggressive, instead of doing most of the work with my submarines only. And you are right, concentrating your aircraft on one or two points, instead of launching them all at once, as the AI seems to do all the time, should help to reduce the micromanagement.

I must say that, during my first games, I have had a pretty nice experience when controlling every ship on its own. But I also have to mention that I was playing very defense like and never used any aircraft, which means my submarines and battleships were doing all the work and I only used my carriers so far for anti-sub combat. Maybe having a fleet of more than just one ship should be better, if I also want to engage in air-to-air battles at the same time, to reduce the micromanagement. At first, the game looks very slow on normal speed, but if you zoom in as much as you can, you can see that the units are still moving quite fast.

Unfortunately, the pause function never worked for me. I have set the minimum speed to pause, just as you have described it to me, but I cannot use the pause function in the game itself, it always is greyed out. Maybe I do something wrong, I am not sure, but what I also experienced was that when I set the minimum speed to pause, the game starts being at double speed, until I change it back to normal speed myself, which is really strange to me.

Now, to the missiles and their trajectories, that is really where the key is in. Having to defend Europe from Africa is pretty easy, except if one of their damned aircrafts are exploding right above one of your installations or cities, because you will then lose your installation and your civilians, but if you want to defend yourself from attacks from the USA, you better place some of your SAM sites to the very northern edge of Europe and this also goes for playing Russia against the USA. And yes, I definitely agree with you, the key in winning lies in the right time on when to change your installations from SAM sites to nuclear strike sites. The only time when I have won at Defcon so far, with my defensive playstyle, was when I was playing in survivor mode and the 10-minute endgame timer started when less than 90% of all the nuclear warheads have not been spent. Sometimes I even won a game in this way without having done anything, not even sinking an enemy ship, lol.

Something more interesting: Defcon seems to be such a great strategy game that there has even scientific research been done, especially about the game’s AI. I have once even found a file to make the AI much better, but unfortunately it was based on the demo version of the game only, sad. Anyway, here are the links to these scientific approaches of Defcon. One must wonder how long they were playing this game just to do that. :)

Anyway, thank you again for your great help, with which I believe I will become better at playing Defcon! I cannot wait to play another match pretty soon! And sorry again for my late response. :)
Post edited August 13, 2021 by Serpent1989