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Basic Strategies :: Advanced Strategies :: Base Building :: Economics

:Economic Reality:Increasing Production:Denying Resources

Economic Reality

The unenlightened will tell you that Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is purely about military power. However the truth is that, although much of your time is spent on military matters, your success in this game is completely dependent upon economics.

If you out-produce your enemy, you will win. Generate more money and use it more wisely, and you'll eventually crush your foe. Although attacking and defending intelligently are important, nothing is as critical to your success as generating as much money as you possibly can while denying the same to your opponent. More money means more defensive structures, more power, and more units.

Naturally, you don't want to have to spend a lot of time considering your economic situation. It's much more rewarding (and fun) to concentrate on the military aspects of the situation. What you need is the ability to get your economy working on all cylinders so that you can forget about it and get to work defeating your enemy. A few minutes spent at the start of the mission and occasional check-ups throughout will pay big dividends as the mission progresses.

Increasing Production

There are two basic types of ore located on the various battlefields. The first, the basic yellow ore, is the most common, and it's what your War Miners or Chrono Miners will be bringing in most of the time. A full miner load (their capacities are the same) brings in about $500 (Soviet War Miners return $1,000) worth of ore each trip, less than the cost of a Grizzly or Rhino tank. This means that it takes several trips to build your most basic unit, regardless of which side of the conflict you're playing. Constructing an expensive item like an MCV requires half a dozen trips, and can take several minutes. This is simply too long to wait.

The solution should be obvious: multiple miners. If one miner brings in $500, three will bring in three times that value in about the same amount of time. In every mission except the first few, you should have multiple miners working for you.

In fact, the first thing you should build with a new War Factory is either a Chrono Miner or a War Miner. They pay for themselves quickly, and that extra money reaps significant dividends down the line. In longer missions, you'll need three, four, or even more miners working for you. Once your miners are working, you should be able to ignore them for the most part. Check on them every few minutes to make sure they're actively mining and are relatively safe. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering that your miners are moving toward distant ore fields when there's still ore close by. You also should check on them whenever you hear that one is being attacked.

Because miners dump their cargo quickly, there's less of a need for multiple Refineries, particularly for the Allies. The benefit of a second Refinery is that it does offer you another place for the miners to return to and may shorten the round trip between the Refinery and the ore field. Also, a Refinery costs only $600 more than a miner, and comes with a miner attached to it.

Their second type of ore is the multi-colored gem. Gems return a much greater amount of money than common yellow ore, bringing in about $1,000 (War Miners return $2,000) in a single load. Send your miners after gems whenever you spot them to generate cash as quickly as possible.

Gather ore from nearby ore fields at first. Reducing the turnaround time between trips is critical in the early stages of a mission when you're often adding structures, base defenses, and units from several different buildings at the same time. Quick miner turnaround helps keep the money coming in at top speed and keeps you building.

Along these same lines, place (at least) your first Refinery as close to the nearest ore field as possible. Cutting even a few seconds off that turnaround time, taken over the course of an entire mission, allows you to produce more quickly and helps you increase your power.

Also look for ore fields with a drill at the center. Although most ore will eventually be harvested by your miners, fields with drills will continue to produce additional ore throughout the entire mission. This extra ore is generated slowly, but it's usually enough to keep a single miner busy.

Miners provide the majority of your income, but there are a few useful ways to add to it. The first, and most valuable, is capturing Oil Derricks. One of the four tech structures, Oil Derricks generate money at a constant rate, and give you an initial burst of $1,000 when you first take them over. A derrick returns about the same amount of money as a miner, but does it more consistently. Instead of a large dump of cash, you'll get small amounts at very regular intervals.

Derricks must be protected, either with units or defensive structures. Don't worry about the cost of doing this÷an Oil Derrick quickly returns the investment and more. Keeping it protected only helps guarantee this income and prevents it from falling into enemy hands.

You can also generate extra money by having Engineers capture enemy buildings and selling them. You get only a portion of the actual build price when you sell a structure, which makes this a losing proposition if you capture and sell a structure that returns less than the price of the Engineer. Still, the benefit is that you take a structure away from the enemy and prevent its recapture.

The most esoteric way to generate funds is available only to the Allies. Sending a Spy into a Soviet Refinery gives you a portion of your enemy's total funds. Few things can turn around the course of a mission like the successful infiltration of a Refinery by a Spy. Not only do you get the fruits of Soviet labor, you also prevent your enemy from using that money to create units to fight you. This isn't always easy to accomplish, but it's definitely worth trying.

Denying Resources

In addition to out-producing your enemy, you must deny resources to them while you maximize your own income.

The most obvious way to deny resources to an enemy is to attack enemy miners. This isn't without its difficulties, though. Miners have particular features that make them tough to kill.

Chrono Miners are completely defenseless, but they have the annoying habit of chronoing away just as your units move in for the kill. It's very tough to destroy what isn't there, and this defense mechanism keeps these units alive. War Miners, on the other hand, have the equally annoying habit of fighting back, and fighting back hard. In a battle against a Grizzly Tank, the War Miner will win.

Also, Chrono Miners and War Miners constantly repair themselves. A badly damaged miner left on its own will eventually be fully repaired. This means that any damage you cause to these vehicles is temporary unless you destroy them completely.

The solution to all of these problems is to attack in force. When you spot an enemy miner, attack with as much as you can. It's worth breaking off an attack on the enemy base itself for a chance at the miner in many circumstances. But don't attack with just a unit or two. You should hit an enemy miner with a minimum of six tanks.

When attacking Chrono Miners, don't bother pursuing when they retreat to their Refinery. There's really no way to catch up to them. Instead, wait. Chances are good that they'll return to the same ore field, and you can get them when they start harvesting ore again.

With War Miners, the situation is the opposite.

Unless they're very close to their base, pursue these vehicles when they start to head back to home. Not only can you destroy them, but you can also prevent them from unloading their cargo÷a minor victory, but a victory nonetheless.

When it comes to Oil Derricks, you need to take the situation on a case-by-case basis. If you think you can knock the enemy out of the area and move in an Engineer, do so and take the income for yourself. In a worst-case scenario, however, simply destroy the derrick to prevent the enemy from drawing further income from it. All's fair in a world war, so do anything you can to short-circuit the opponent's economy.

Above all, use your best judgment. It's definitely worth a risk to take out an enemy miner, but it's not worth stopping your entire attack on the enemy base. Your goal, always, is to destroy the enemy base itself. Reducing their economy to rubble can help you do this, but it shouldn't become your primary goal.