OpenRA Guide: Chapter Four: Defense Theory and Placement.

This chapter will enlighten you on how to defend successfully in OpenRA.

When first starting your base out always make sure you have a couple troops or small defenses handy in case of an early attack. Early attacks can really set you back time-wise on your build order, even if it is just a couple of infantry attacking your base. Always watch out for early attacks in the "starting" and "expanding" timezones.

Always make sure you are building defenses in the paths that an enemy might come through. If the enemy has any type of long ranged Units (Artillery/V2) use aircraft to destroy them. Keep your power plants and Ore refineries safe! You can always build another War Factory or Barrack.

Defense Placement

Air Defense

In the Expanding and Production Timezones you might be faced with Yaks or Hinds. In this case, Try to build some AA's or Sam sites. When a sam Site or AA is built don't just hurry and throw it down. (unless needed) Wait till the enemy aircraft is in range of your base and then place your Sam/AA down at a spot that is in range of the enemy aircraft that way you have a better chance of shooting it down. Also DO NOT place two AA's or Sam sites next to each other it is a total waste of money! Spread your Sam Sites/AA's around your base to conceal it from Aircraft attack. Make sure to also try and place AA's/Sams where they are not easily destroyed by enemy V2s/Artillery.

Ground Defense

Flame Turrets/Pillboxes and Turrets/Teslas are good defenses in the "Starting" and "Expanding" time zones. Just like Sams/AA they should be put in places where they are not easily destroyed, and should be put down right as the enemy is attacking. Most of the time if you place a flame turret/pillbox right as Enemy infantry approach the base the player sometimes will retreat and find a different approach. When this happens, you will need to make use of the most ultimate defense in OpenRA.

The Almighty Concrete Barrier

Concrete Barriers (CB) are the most useful defense in OpenRA. One can go from winning to losing with this defense. It has many uses from Walling up a side you don't want an enemy to go through, to walling up your entire base.

mines and concrete walls

One can also wall up important Structures like Tech Centers, Superweapons and MCVs. CBs can also be used to wall up enemies that are basewalking towards you, or you can use them to wall up an Enemy's defensive structure like a Flame turret or Turret so they can't attack you. They can also be used to "Attack" in a sense.

If a player walls up a bunch of enemy tanks from advancing into his base, the enemy has to find another way around! This strategy works even better if you have some Artillery or v2s that you can use to safely attack from behind your walls.


Artillery is a very good Defense if you know how to use them. If your base isn't totally walled up you might see that if an enemy comes in range the artillery will attack them, and follow the enemy if it runs away. In this case, you should highlight the Artillery/V2s you want to be stationary and defend and press "V" to cycle to the Defense stance. This way the arty will attack anything that comes it's way and won't move from its spot!

Naval Defense

I've been playing for a while and there is no real "defense" against naval attacks other than getting a naval army yourself. That's basically about all you can do.

"Turtling" Up

A term used by players In OpenRA. In other words, A player places concrete barriers up his base and conceals it. Then places many Sam/AAs around his base and defends with lots of Teslas/Turrets/pillboxes/flame turrets. Commonly the player will also use Artillery to fire over the wall. It is usually very hard to attack this player, but one very well placed Nuke will usually do the trick since the base is usually compact.

Super Weapons

If you're about to get nuked, I am sorry as there is really nothing you can do but estimate where the nuke is coming down at, so move any units in that area away and sell any buildings before the nuke hits. Although getting nuked sucks, there are preventative measures:

  • Don't put structures too close together. If you put 7 Advanced Power-plants together you are going to have a bad time.
  • Spread all your structures out when you are building.
  • Be sure to Concrete barrier up all your important structures as I said before.
  • Also, use Gap generators to hide important structures and AA/Sams, that way the enemy player has to guess at what the nukes and nearby aircraft will get shot down.

Mines are an easy way to defend against tanks and other vehicles but you need to have very good microing skills to use the Mine layer. Mines are only sometimes used in games.

placing mines properly


Sometimes the use of a level's Geometry can help defend a player's base. If a player's base is surrounded by rivers, lakes or mountains, he can use them to his advantage.

Preventing Engineers

Engineers can be easily prevented if a player is keen, watchful and fast to react. Firstly you could always have a defense structure Queued up to throw down at any given moment an engineer approaches via on foot, or by vehicle or Chinook. Always keep a couple of Rifle men handy and always Concrete barrier up your important structures! Remember, there is no avoiding it. You will beEngineered eventually, it happens to all players, so just try to be ready for it at all times!

How to be a successful Defensive player

Remember, A successful defensive player will Never attack early game because it will only hinder Economic production. Therefore, A defensive player will Construct a base with good defenses (Ground/Air/Concrete) and will expand his base as far across the map as possible with maintaining strategic control of that area and being able to still maintain a stable economy. The player will also construct super weapons such as nukes, chronospheres and iron curtains. When a respectably sized army is constructed, the player will weaken the enemy with his super-weapons, Then attack directly. Destroying the enemy player. Most of the time when a very skilled defensive player expands and conquers a large portion of the map he usually suppresses the enemy's economy by taking all of the ore.

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About Giampaolo Rossi.

Fond of computer and video games. Stay informed of the latest news on games for Linux and Android. The future of gaming is in Linux. All you need to know about How to play Windows games on Linux.
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