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First Strike (the iOS game) was nearly impossible to "lose" - until the (crashy!) 1.3 update, which added "hardcore mode."

It really is hard. Games just drag on and on, for hours, with it seeming virtually impossible to control more than two continents or whittle opponents down to less than 3 remaining players.

Does anyone have any tips? Have you beat 1.3 on hardcore yet?

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  1. When you start the game, DO NOT build a missile or expand the territory. Enemies are not attacking unless you expand the land or build a missile.

  2. Just keep research left-bottom upgrades (icons with an eye) to the 4th, Enhanced Espionage. When you finish this research, enemies' missile silo will be displayed.

  3. Debuild all your weapons. Game will end 'peacefully' when last remaining weapon is debuilded, so you should keep turning the globe to looking for the last one. When the last one is debuilding, just build a missile.

Remaining enemies (maybe 1 or 2) will build some missile, but they didn't make any further actions. So research all techs and devastate whole Earth. :)

(BTW, i'm playing with Android version, so it maybe different on iOS)

EDIT

Just found a better and easier way:

  1. Debuild your weapons right after the game starts.

  2. When you finish debuilding your last weapon, start research.

  3. Enemies will not attack/expand/research. So research all techs and devastate whole Earth. :)

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Debuild all weapons in your country, everyone else will as well. Complete all your research, then quickly rearm with icbms and super weapon and then let'em have it.

  • Interesting. But if you debuild all weapons at the start of the game, then the game ends with 'world peace'. While technically a 'win', this doesn’t really count as beating hardcore mode. Have you successfully used this strategy? – Alan H. Mar 7 '16 at 23:59
  • Yes. If you are in hard core mode and debuild so will everyone else, but world peace never happens. Everyone is in a wait and see mode, and once you start building weapons they instantly begin as well. I only achieved world peace in regular play. 100% unlocked now, was disappointed they didn't leave anywhere to go forward,...stopped playing a couple of days ago. – Wyley Mar 10 '16 at 4:19
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World Peace only happens every time you open the game, after that you can debuild your missile without turning into world peace, which turns the game into a sandbox.

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So possible that no one will read this but I just beat hard-core mode as USA and it was pretty friggn hard. Basically my strategy was this expand quickly to seal the entry points to the continents. Alaska, NE Canada, and South America. The farther you can get in SA the better. Start researching in your interior while keeping the coast for cruise defense. Keep filling research until you have auto defense for cruise.

Then the hard part comes because basically you have to get a little lucky to avoid the big blasts and defend like no tomorrow. I typically wouldn't attack much except people encroaching on my continent. For super weapons I used stealth bomber and infiltrators (very important). The computer widdled the opponents down to 3 or 4 and now you really have to watch who is getting big. If they get too big you'll never be able to control them so you need to first strike the biggest country. This helped but honestly it went on for a long time as I couldn't defend and strike effectively. The solution use infiltrators to take the capitals (eliminate their superrweapons) then start sealing expansion points and use bomber to remove them. (example infiltrate maylasia to seal Australia then bomb or infiltrate the reminder) this should stop the ever growing computer you can't watch. Also to look at what is going on click on a country of yours to slow time and scan the globe.

Oh ya and watch the stupid ad before the game to get +3 tech.

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The key to an honest shootout win on hardcore mode is the radium bomb. The main challenge in hardcore mode is that enemies rebuild as fast as you can so destroy them. The radium bomb destroys a territory and makes it permanently uninhabitable. This allows you to take out regions of enemy strength and have the gains be permanent. For example, if you radium bomb Indonesia and then immediately nuke all of Australia and New Zealand, then no player can ever again settle Indonesia. If you use radium bombs to take out Egypt, East Africa (the horn), South Africa and the Western territory of Africa that connects to Brazil, then you can nuke all of Africa and no player will be able to take it.

It also helps to radium bomb enemy capitals, which prevents them from ever again using their special abilities.

The radium bomb doesn't make victory easy, only possible. You will still get attacked constantly, which requires rapid response on missile defense and also rebuilding lost territories. This is bad enough that I would say there really is no viable turtle strategy on hardcore mode. If you're not constantly expanding and attacking, you've probably already lost.

On the mobile version, the tsar bomba builds quicker and so is more useful. On the PC version it builds so slow as to be basically useless. I think the radium bomb, the damascus burner, and the hypersonic missile are the best three special abilities. The computers are able to use covert ops to good effect, but I never can. Covert ops is the biggest threat to a radium bomb focused strategy and requires urgent radium bombing of enemy capitals.

There's also a glitch where the radium bomb doesn't work if it hits a dead territory that is in the process of being expanded into. Best to only radium bomb territories that are alive.

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