Just realised you can buy more units from the top corner. Oops.
Yeah there's not much hand holding in the early stages.
Helps if you think of each campaign as having its own unique 'deck' of units - these are displayed to you when you accept the mission. Spending stars on these units unlocks them for that campaign, and for all multiplayer games. Buying units in the Armoury screen unlocks that unit for MP & Skirmish modes, but if it's not in the campaign deck it won't show up in the campaign game.
Essentially the campaigns walk you through the basic doctrines for each side, starting with the more basic units for the first NATO/PACT campaigns and introducing more specialised units/tactics in the latter two campaigns.
Another thing to bear in mind is that losses & experience are persistent in the SP campaign, but not in multiplayer. This means two things - first, once a unit dies in the campaign, it stays dead - so you'll have to replace/add new unit variants as you progress to make up for the inevitable attrition (in MP, you get a fresh new squad every time, for obvious reasons). Second, if a unit survives combat and gains experience in the campaign, you'll be able to call that unit in as its more experienced version in the next campaign mission. Veterancy level is determined by the insignias that appear below the unit when you mouse-over it to purchase.
Veterancy level in MP is a straight points cost, and like dead units are replenished every game.
Tips: slow stuff - better units are often faster, pay attention to unit stats: range/accuracy/speed/armour (front/side rear) etc. Those stats make a lot of difference.
This isn't your Grandma's Starcraft or Supreme Commander - zerging units doesn't work. Everything you can send out has a counter and a well prepared player (or AI) will whomp you.
Scout everything. Most combat units have appalling sight ranges (check the stats again), meaning an enemy with a scout will usually get the first shot off before you even see them.
Armour penetration on shelled weapons (i.e tank cannons etc) loses power over range; ATGMs do not. Accuracy decreases over range across all weapon types, and moving while firing is even more damaging to accuracy (mitigated by Stabilisers - check the stats).
Cover is essential. Unit size (and bonuses to certain units like scouts/recon etc) and manner of concealment affect when you are seen. If you see them first, you have the advantage.
Well defended positions MUST be suppressed by artillery/mortars/mlrs before attacking. Morale is all important; flamethrowers can damage the morale of even the heaviest tank.
Infantry are the king in woods; never send tanks through forested areas. The deeper into a wood, the harder it is to see in - and out.
Retreat your command unit rather than lose it; 200+ points can swing a match in a second. Also, Helis are not tanks - hit & run, don't charge on in. The longest ranged AA in the game is 4200metres, you'll be popped before you even see the launcher.
If you're going to push, don't bunch units up (big fat arty targets), always take more than one scout, always have some support and always flank/use the terrain/common sense. Steaming in headfirst is rarely the best option.
Finally, just in case anyone missed it - CHECK THE STATS! Enjoy o7
Edited by orpheus at 22:37:00 12-03-2012