Just picked up the game and wondering how on earth you get started? Or have you played once or twice and failed at the first wave or two and want help to get an efficient start? This guide will help you on the right track.
They Are Billions is currently an early access game available on PC. It’s a strategy game based around building up your base/army and fending off the zombies that surround you and those that try to invade in waves. Even if you’ve played RTS games before, you’re going to die – get used to it! In most strategy games there are always alternative ways of playing, so take this guide with a pinch of salt and don’t be afraid to try new strategies and experiment once you have the basics down. Above all else, have fun.
Game: They Are Billions
Available on: Steam
Price: $24.99 USD / £19.49 GBP (correct on 23/01/17)
Early game guide for They are Billions :
Zombies: The Low Down
At the start of the game there a fixed amount of zombies on the map. Throughout the game you will have announced waves of spawned zombies that come from a specific direction, with the final wave coming from all directions. Zombies are attracted by sound so, for example, soldiers with guns will attract more zombies than rangers with bows. Zombies attack the nearest target to them, and when they have overwhelmed a building they then infect those workers which makes more zombies. Zombies can’t move through trees, swim in water or climb over rock.
Step-by-Step Actions/Build Order
1) Start the game. Go for easy or accessible option to lower difficulty.
2) Press the space bar.
TIP 1: PAUSE
Pausing is important in They are Billions as you can undo placing buildings for no cost whilst paused and, obviously, gives you time to think/look around. In battles in will help greatly with moving around your troops, especially as the path-finding on troops isn’t the most polished yet.
3) Build for food. Early game you have 2 options: Hunters Cottage or Fishermans Cottage. Hunters Cottage needs to be next to trees or on a grassy area and the Fishermans Cottage next to water. Look at the numbers when placing to see how much it generates and try to get the max you can first off.
TIP 2: Resource building placement
The green tiles when placing a resource building indicates where that building draws resources from, you can’t build another resource building of the same type that overlaps that space. So after you’ve placed your first building (i.e. Hunter’s Cabin) try to place the next building as close as possible to the existing one to maximise the space you can cover.
4) Explore. Send your rangers in opposite directions until they hit zombies, un-pause and try to scout for a wide area to place your houses. Explore around for the first 2 days to get to grips with the map.
5) Build a Sawmill. Try to get at least 10 wood if you can, aim for the max you can get.
6) Choose your housing zone. After you’ve explored around your base, choose a nearby location for your housing with an open space. If this is next to your Command Centre then you can start placing houses, if it’s a stretch away you will need to place teslas (to extend your energy reach) to get there, so build 3 houses by the base for now and then aim to expand up for the next houses.
TIP 3: Housing placement
Later on you’ll unlock the Market & Bank. These are ideal to go at the centre of your housing estates to get the max benefits so it’s a good idea to plan around them initially for your camp layout. Both the Market & Bank are 3×3 buildings and need 1 block free around them and effect a 27×27 square with them in the centre. Here’s one ideal grid layout for houses/bank/market – obviously terrain will probably get in the way but just try to be as efficient as possible.
7) Find/make stone. In your exploring you may have come across some resources on the ground. These can be picked up by your rangers. If you find stone, pick it up asap. Other resources judge by how much you have before picking up (i.e. no need to pick up wood if you’re full already). If you haven’t seen any stone around you need to get a quarry build next to stone. You need 20 stone to make your Soldiers Centre.
8) Set up patrols. By latest day 3 you need to start patrolling areas where zombies can come from, look at the chokepoints around your base and get your units covering for any wandering zombies. To set your unit to patrol get them to a starting point and then click the patrol button and click on the other side of their patrol path.
9) Save up for your Soldiers Centre and get some more houses up and a Mill. Depending on how quick you get stone there are a few ways of doing this to make efficient use of your time and to not be sitting waiting for resources.
a) IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH STONE: Build the Soldiers Centre. You can then work on building more houses for workers, and will need to build a Mill to increases your energy supply after a few houses have been built.
b) IF YOU’RE JUST SHORT ON STONE: Build a few houses (build more food supply buildings if needed) whilst you wait for the stone to tick up. You can then build the Soldiers Centre when you have enough. After building a few more houses you will need to build a Mill to increases your energy supply.
c) IF YOU’RE FAR BEHIND ON STONE: Carry on building more houses in your housing zone, you will start to get low on energy after a few have been built so build a Mill to increase that. Build more food supply buildings when needed. When you have enough stone you can build your Soldiers Centre.
TIP 4: Energy increase
Aim for building Mills to increase your energy reserves when you get to ~4 energy left so you don’t waste time waiting for it to build.
10) Start producing troops. Rangers are a great choice early on as they make little noise to attract zombies compared to soldiers. Start making Rangers and carry on making as much as you can throughout the early game. Stick to Rangers until you get Snipers unlocked and then work on producing them.
11) Keep expanding your economy. As needed increase your food, energy, wood and stone supply lines as well as building houses for your worker supply. Keep an eye on your resources as much as you can as it’s always annoying to have to put your plans on hold if you forget and have a hold up whilst you build resource buildings.
12) Save up for your Wood Workshop. Once built you can work on getting some research going to unlock new buildings. I recommend going for Farm (great food income on grassland) > Cottage (more workers for same space) > Market (auto sells excess resources, lowers food required of surrounding houses and also gives you access to buy/sell resources) > Ballista (attack towers) > Snipers (Long reach, high damage troops – a great addition to your army).
13) Get some walls built! Now you’re producing troops it’s time to get your perimeter walls built. Don’t worry, if you’re building your army on an ongoing basis you should have enough troops to handle the first wave without walls everywhere, but they will be a great help further into the game so get started.
TIP 5: WALLS
Whilst at the start just blocking off choke points with a single layer of walls is fine, eventually you will want to have a layer of double walls everywhere which will be a great help with zombie waves. You can upgrade wooden walls to stone when you have unlocked that research too.
So you now have your economy nice and healthy, a good sized army, your perimeter walls up and research going, you’re off to a great start. Carry on with the research and expanding your resources/army/base defences – there’s plenty more to do yet before you get that glorious Game Won screen.
Let me know in the comments if you found this guide useful, or if you’d like a mid-end game guide. Also comment if you have your own starting strategy and want to share your advice.
BONUS! Things I didn’t realise early on:
- There is a repair all button to the left of the resources (or press X)
- You can double click to select all of that type (e.g. double click on walls to select all walls)
- Press Tab to rotate buildings – mainly gates
- Some map gens are just bad. If you think you don’t have a good map, it’s okay to start over
- You can hotkey buildings by clicking on the build you want and pressing Ctrl+(Number). You can then jump to that building by pressing the number you assigned.