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They Are Billions: Beginner’s Strategy Guide to The Dark Moorland

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They Are Billions is produced by Numantian Games, an independent video games studio and they are bringing a whole new meaning to the term in the RTS scene. If you are a huge fan of games and RTS such as Age of Empires and Starcraft then you will definitely fall in love with They Are Billions.

The game is still in Early-Access on Steam but the level of polish the game currently has is almost on the same level as a fully released game. Currently, the game has no campaign, only skirmishes with 4 maps currently available.

If you are like many who are still struggling with the first map, then this guide is your key to winning The Dark Moorland map.

They Are Billions (TAB) First Map Walkthrough

Know your surroundings

All of the maps in They Are Billions are very unique in which each of them has its own distinctive set of characteristics. Knowing what you are dealing with on the first map would greatly help you to achieve that first sweet victory in They Are Billions.

General Overview of The Dark Moorland
Screenshot of The Dark Moorland

For the first map, what you need to know is that all of the essential resources are abundant compared to the other maps. However, the real challenge in this map lies within the fact that spaces are limited which means expanding your colonies is a number one priority.

By now you must have realized that you cannot depend solely on fisherman and hunter’s cottage for food sources. Sooner or later you will have to build farms on wide grassland areas if you want to maintain a steady source of food. Failing to expand early on will lead you to lose precious grassland for farms to houses and other buildings.

Resources in They Are Billions
Screenshot of resources

However, the limited space found in the first map is also an advantage in itself since it creates a lot of chokepoints. Because of this, the number of directions from which the infected could attack your colony is limited. Not only does this help you better predict where they could come from, but you will also be spending fewer resources on your defenses since you will have less area to cover with walls and defensive buildings. Even so, many players make the mistakes of placing a small number of defense buildings on these chokepoints ultimately leading to their defeat which always happens especially on a very small chokepoint. But fear not for we will now address this issue in the next part.

Choke points in The Dark Moorland
Screenshot of choke points in The Dark Moorland

Variety over quantity

One of the first mistakes that I personally made in the early stages of the game was to spam the Great Ballista as my only line of defense. Because, why not? It is fairly cheap, and accessible early on in the game after constructing your wood workshop. It can one-shot the normal infected and even some of the special infected. Its attack has an area effect and would easily clear out groups of infected early on. However, because of this , I would always lose when nearing the final wave with the infected easily outnumbering my defenses even with a bunch of Great Ballista’s lined up.

great balistas defending choke points
Screenshot of Great Ballista lined up on choke points

Mixing Defenses to Increase Efficiency

It was only after investing hours of gameplay into the game did I learn how to properly utilize each of the defensive buildings and mix them around to handle larger waves of infected. For example, if placed properly, a single Shocking Tower can easily outperform two Great Ballista. In a small chokepoint, if you place a Great Ballista behind a Shocking Tower you will be able to clear out a whole lot more infected. If you have used a Shocking Tower before then you should know that the shock it releases will attack the infected surrounding it before charging for its next attack which takes around 4.5-5 seconds. Within that time interval, the Shocking Tower is defenseless. By placing a Great Ballista behind, you eliminate any nearby infected giving more time for the Shocking Tower to recharge.

Also, when entering late-game you should start considering to upgrade your Great Ballista to an Executor since they offer faster attack speed, higher damage output, higher hit points, and bigger area of attack. The only drawback of upgrading a Great Ballista to an Executor is the higher level of noise produced in each shot which attracts surrounding infected to your location. But then again, when you have an Executor standing around why would you not want to attract more infected? To maximize the effectiveness of your Executor always remember to set their attack mode to prioritize higher level infected which can be found on the lower right side of your screen after selecting them.

Screenshot of a shocking tower with Executors behind
Screenshot of a shocking tower with Executors behind

If you want to take it a step further, you can place a Wood Tower or an upgraded Stone Tower in your line of defense. When Snipers are placed on the tower, their range of attack will easily surpass any turret or unit currently available within the game. In fact, a tower filled with four Snipers is probably the deadliest line of defense. They can handle all of the special infected once they are set to attack higher level infected.

Chances are you have encountered the Infected Venom. They are a special infected with a ranged attack and when they attack within a swarm of infected, they can easily get past your line of defenses by attacking from afar while your defensive buildings are busy handling nearby infected. Having a tower with Snipers will effectively solve this with their long range of attack and once those snipers turn into Veteran Snipers, their increased attack speed will make them far more effective.

Using Choke Points to your Advantage

When deciding the layout of your defense it is important to take note of the size of the chokepoint you are working with. If you are building your defense around a small chokepoint it is always a good idea to create multiple layers of defense. The first layer will act as a meat shield and aims to take out as many infected as possible with the second layer being your actual defense as you have more room to line up your defense outside of the chokepoint.

To help your first layer survive longer you should always put a double layer of walls and with stakes traps a few tiles outside of your walls and on any empty spaces within to slow down the movement of the infected. This concept also applies to every other part of your defenses surrounding your colony. You should never trust protection from a single layer of walls.

Screenshot of defense on a smaller choke point
Screenshot of defense on a smaller choke point

Utilize your units properly

To create a solid layer of defense and expand efficiently you will heavily rely on your attacking units. To expand the territory of your colony, you will need to create a scouting squad which will roam around the map to clear out the surrounding infected and create more space for you to expand. Early on after building the Soldiers Center, you will immediately have access to Archer and Soldier. Both have their advantages and disadvantages which are significantly more important in the early game.

Archers vs. Soldiers

Archers have a faster movement and attack speed while Soldiers will have a higher damage output but with a slower attack and movement speed. For early game expansion you should never include Soldiers in your scouting squad since they take up more resources to produce (resources that you should be spending on the expansion of your colony and strengthening your economy) and produces more sound whenever they attack which will attract more infected from their surrounding which will be a terrible idea early when you still do not have the resources to produce plentiful of units to counter large groups of infected.

Early on, you should focus on producing around 30-40 archers to roam around the map and clear out the infected. You can always go for less but you will have to spend more time micro-managing each of the units to increase their survival rate. So, unless you think you can manage both your colony expansion and your archers, I would highly suggest you increase the size of your roaming squad to reduce the need for micro-management and more time for you to focus on the expansion of your colony. Once you are entering mid-game and have a better economic position you can start considering to include Soldiers into your scouting squad.

Screenshot of a group of Archers
Screenshot of a group of Archers

The Village of Doom

Another thing that you will encounter when clearing out infected around the map is the Village of Doom. These villages are a nest for infected and their size can range from small to large if a few villages spawn next to each other. They contain both normal and special infected and which will spawn immediately if disturbed by nearby noises or attacked. Do take note that destroying the buildings within the village will drop random resources. To clear out a single Village of Doom, you will require an estimate of 50 Archers or 30 Archers and 10 Soldiers or 30 Snipers. If the village spawns near you, you can also consider building a few Great Ballista outside the village and clear out the village with less unit using the hit-and-run tactic. Just kite the infected from the village using your units and lure them to your ballista.

Screenshot of the Village of Doom
Screenshot of the Village of Doom

Late-game strategy

As you enter the late game phase, you should start producing units from the Engineering Center. The units from the Engineering Center are fairly expensive to unlock and produce. But they are one of the more powerful units that you can have within the game. The units are Lucifer, Thanatos, and of course the mighty Titan. Take note that each unit produced from your Engineering Center will consume 2 Oil from your produced oil permanently. Meaning that if you are currently producing 10 Oil, you can only produce 5 units from the Engineering Center. Because of that, for this guide, I will focus only on Thanatos and Titan since they are the best unit for defending and scouting from my own experience.

Thanatos is a slow-moving unit with a devastating blast attack. You can imagine them being a Sniper but instead of shooting bullets they shoot rockets. When attacking, Thanatos will stop on their tracks to prepare their rockets. So, using them on their own to scout is not a good idea. However, they are great at defending your chokepoints and they can easily reposition themselves when the situation calls for it. Titans, on the other hand, are like a mobile Executor. They shoot like an Executor but they can move like any other units. This makes them one of the best units within the game and also the most expensive to produce. But 10 of them can even take on a Village of Doom. They are suitable for both clearing out the map and defending your chokepoints. When nearing the final wave, it is always best to distribute your Thanatos and Titans to all of your chokepoints as you see fit.

Screenshot of Thanatos and Titan
Screenshot of Thanatos and Titan

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