With the release of Telepath Tactics imminent, I thought this might be a good time to post a guide to surviving the game!
Telepath Tactics is designed to be highly challenging, with a difficulty level pitched more toward the “strategy RPG veteran” end of the spectrum. If you’re not that experienced, or else just getting creamed in a particularly tough fight in the single player campaign, don’t worry: I’ve got your back. To give you a leg up, here are 24 useful tips on how to strategize in Telepath Tactics!
1. Concentrate your attacks on weakened enemies
All other things being equal, the single best thing you can do with an attack is to kill an enemy–and the more you concentrate your characters’ attacks, the more enemies those attacks will kill!
It’s simple math. Suppose you have four characters that can do a combined 24 damage, and two enemies each with 24 health. The single best choice is to deal 24 damage to a single enemy. Damage spread between the two of them, by contrast, means that both survive, which means that twice as many enemies will be available to damage (and perhaps kill) your own characters on their turn. It is much better to kill one of the two, leaving the opponent with a reduced ability to retaliate on its turn.
2. Concentrate your attacks on enemies without debilitating status effects
Certain status effects (like Frozen, Stunned, or Blinded) reduce or remove an enemy unit’s ability to harm your characters on its turn. Given the option of attacking characters who lack such effects, it’s best to kill the non-debilitated characters instead.
For instance, suppose you have two enemies, one with 24 health and no status effects and one with 12 health who has just been frozen. The frozen character will be the easier kill, but you gain no short-term advantage from killing that character, since it cannot attack you for the next few turns anyway! Better to kill the unfrozen character–that way, you’ll suffer zero attacks from those two characters next turn instead of one.
3. Use strike-and-move tactics with your cavaliers and bowmen
Cavaliers are especially good for focusing down enemies because they can move, attack, and then keep moving afterwards. Have your cavalier ride in, strike the target with Lance, then move out of the way for another melee unit to move in and follow up from the same space. If you have multiple cavaliers, you can chain together multiple attacks in this way.
Likewise, the Bow ability allows bowmen to fire and continue moving. Use this to chain together multiple ranged attacks from a single space by moving, attacking, then leaving the space for another ranged unit to move in. This, too, will help you focus your attacks on a single enemy for maximum effect.
4. Click on your enemies
As silly as it might sound, simply clicking on enemies is fundamental to many of the most successful strategies you can use in Telepath Tactics. This is so because clicking on enemies gives you really important information about them. For instance:
- When you left–click an enemy, the game shows you what spaces that character will be able to move to on its next turn; this will help you determine which of your characters are vulnerable to attack from which spaces.
- When you right–click an enemy, the game shows you the enemy’s stats in detail, including what status effects it has, what elements it is strong against (or vulnerable to), what items it is carrying, and what attacks it has available to use. Mouse over the attack buttons on this detail screen to see information about each attack, including its element, base damage, and description.
5. Choose attacks based on the enemy’s resistances
As I just mentioned, you can see an enemy’s elemental strengths and weaknesses by right-clicking him or her. To maximize the effectiveness of your attacks, use attacks that the target has low (or even negative!) resistance to.
Lissit, for example, are weak against heat and cold attacks. This makes them good targets for Pyro Blast, Frost Breath, and other heat or cold attacks. Those attacks will do more damage to them–and even better, these attacks will have a higher chance of imparting status effects like burning or frozen. Similarly, spirits are weak to mental attacks, psy users (mentalists, pyrokineticists, etc.) are weak to slash attacks, spriggats are weak to pierce attacks, stone golems are weak to light attacks, and so on.
6. Form a front line
To protect your weaker characters from attack, form an unbroken line with your strongest characters in front. This will prevent enemies from reaching your weaker characters with melee attacks. Use your weaker characters, in turn, to support the front line with mind shields, buffs, and ranged attacks.
Terrain features (boulders, trees, etc.) and barricades can also be used as part of the front line. Which leads us to the next point…
7. Take advantage of choke points
It’s easier to form a front line at choke points on the battlefield than it is in wide-open spaces; it takes fewer characters to close the gap. When you’re outnumbered, it makes sense to engage the enemy at choke points in order to mitigate their numerical advantage.
If you have an engineer, you can create your own choke points, or enhance existing ones–simply have him or her start laying down barricades wherever you want to defend.
8. Place snare traps
Some characters can place snare traps. Characters that walk into a snare trap are stunned and cannot act (or counterattack) until the start of their next turn. They’ll block their own allies for the rest of the turn, and will be easy pickings for your own characters when your turn starts.
The AI does not see traps when it’s focused on attacking a nearby character, and it will walk right into those traps if it chooses to go through the trapped spaces! Drop snare traps right in front of characters that the enemy can reach on its next turn to increase the odds of enemies wandering into them.
A word of caution: you can trigger your own traps! Don’t drop them where you need your own characters to move unless you’re certain an enemy is going to trigger the trap first.
9. Cut off fronts from enemy attack when outnumbered
Are there way more of them than there are of you? Getting swarmed from all sides? Maybe you should eliminate some of those sides! Use the crossbowman’s Powder Bolt and the engineer’s Place Charges abilities to destroy bridges, forcing enemies into a choke point where you can more easily defend. If there aren’t any bridges to destroy, shove boulders in the way or lay down barricades instead.
10. Keep your healers alive
The healer is the single most valuable support unit you have: he or she can keep your other characters alive indefinitely by healing them with mind shields. For this reason, the AI will target your healers aggressively. Keep them safe!
11. Target enemy healers
By the same token, if your enemy has characters with healing skills, those characters should be high priority targets for you. Assassins are especially good for this task: they can leap over enemies to get to the healers, and they can often kill a psy healer in a single hit if they get a backstab. Speaking of which…
12. Backstab enemies
Hitting enemies from behind gives you a whopping 50% damage bonus, so it’s beneficial to take advantage of that whenever you can safely do so!
The damage bonus is a multiplier, so the more powerful the attack you backstab with, the bigger the bonus effect. For instance–if one character has an attack that does 6 base damage, and another has an attack that does 10 base damage, you’ll get more benefit out of backstabbing with the 10-damage attack (5 extra damage) than you will from backstabbing with the 6-damage attack (3 extra damage).
With that said, however, Assassins get an abnormally large backstab bonus relative to the game’s other classes, so hitting from behind with them is especially efficient even if they deal lower base damage. Their stab attacks, in particular, can be absolutely lethal if they hit from behind.
13. Watch your back!
Try to avoid leaving your characters with their backs to the enemy–because backstab attacks are so damaging, the AI is quick to backstab your characters if it can! In general, it is better to avoid going for a backstab if it means you’ll get backstabbed yourself on the turn afterwards. (If you’re not sure whether an enemy can reach your character’s back, left-click the enemy: the enemy’s movement range will be shown.)
Positioning is a major defense against backstabbing, but it’s not the only one. Certain classes have the Awareness skill; this will protect them from being backstabbed even when they’re standing out in the open with their backs unguarded. Snare traps can also stop you from being backstabbed; before Sabrina or Des Serret attack an enemy, have them drop a snare trap right behind themselves. This will catch the enemy if he tries to circle around for a backstab on the following turn!
14. Be wary around water and lava
In addition to watching for backstabs, you should avoid standing right next to water or lava if enemies with Shove, Throw, or kinetic movement skills are in range; the AI can (and will) hurl your characters into the soup given the chance. For the following reasons, getting thrown into water or lava is really not good for you…
15. Throw your most dangerous enemies into water or lava
Throwing enemies into water or lava is not only deeply satisfying, it’s also a powerful defensive move. Moving one space while swimming uses up a character’s entire turn, and swimming characters can’t attack. Thus, characters pushed into water or lava are neutralized for as long as it takes them to get back onto land! Even if a character is only pushed one space into the water, swimming back onto land will take up that character’s next turn and prevent them from attacking. Do this to your most dangerous enemies to even the odds.
Swimming costs energy, too, making this tactic especially effective against enemies with low energy (such as golems or cavaliers). Push them in a couple of times, and these characters will soon run out of energy. They’ll be stuck for multiple turns taking drowning or burning damage while you run around freely on dry land.
16. Use your mentalists
Though they might not appear so at first blush, mentalists are some of the most valuable units you have. Not only can they drop enemies into water or lava at a distance, they are also extremely valuable support units because of their ability to nudge your characters that one extra space. Try stringing together multiple Shoves with a Kinetic Gust to get characters right where you want them!
17. Move in stages
Unlike most other tactics games, Telepath Tactics does not require your characters to take their entire movement at once. You can move a step or two with one character, go off and do other things, then return and have that same character continue moving.
Use this to shuffle characters around in tight spaces. You can also use this to have characters temporarily step out of the area of effect of major attacks (or into the area of effect of multiple-square shield abilities) before moving back into place to attack.
18. Employ move bonuses to get places quickly
At times, you’ll need a particular character to reach a distant space in the fewest turns possible. In addition to shoving and kinetically gusting them closer, you should take advantage of the Sprint ability (or Adrenaline Pills, if you have them) to boost your character’s movement range. Using Sprint can mean the difference between reaching a spot 21 spaces away in 3 turns or in 5.
19. Know when to rest
Every turn, you are going to have choices to make about whether to move characters, have them use skills, or simply have them spend the turn resting to regain energy. Energy management is especially important for psy healers, kineticists, and other psy-dependent characters; if you let them run out of energy, they’ll be totally helpless until they regain some!
On turns where there isn’t much immediate risk to such characters, you can have them hold still. If they don’t use skills or attacks, they’ll regain 5 energy at the start of the next turn. If you need to move them, move them without using any skills or attacks–they’ll regain 1 energy at the start of the next turn (a lot less, but it’s better than nothing!)
Alternatively, if you have Focus Pills, those are a quick way to regain a lot of energy without giving up a character’s actions. It’s a good idea to keep a supply of these handy for your psy users, as situations may crop up where they need to use a lot of energy over a short period of time.
20. Know when to retreat
Being overly aggressive with weakened characters can cost you dearly. Left-click on enemies to see who is able to reach whom; if you have characters who are low on health, retreat to a safe location with them. As satisfying as it is to get a good backstab on an exposed enemy, it is almost never worth losing a character to do so.
Some battles (such as the Meridian rescue mission) provide the option of retreating. In these battles, you do not have to stick around and defeat every enemy. You’ll see a white reticle denoting the space you can move to to retreat; in such battles, it is wise to take advantage of that option if you find yourself getting overwhelmed.
21. Use mental attacks against assassins and other “dodgers”
To finish off an enemy possessing a dodge level above 0%, try using mental attacks like Mind Blast or Feedback. Mental attacks always hit, no matter what.
Note that kinetic psy attacks, like Light Blast, Pyro Blast, or Cryo Blast are not considered mental attacks! You can check an attack’s element by mousing over it and reading the info that pops up. If it says “Mental,” it’s a mental attack. Otherwise, it’s not.
22. Use mental attacks with blinded characters
Is your character blinded? Just use mental attacks: again, these always hit. If your character doesn’t have any mental attacks, try to find eye drops, or else just hide somewhere safe and take a few turns to sit and regain energy.
23. Motivate effective characters
You might find yourself in particular situations where some characters are just more useful than others. (Photokineticists and Cryokineticists, for instance, are more effective against Stone Golems than most other characters.)
If you find yourself in a situation where one particular character is much more effective than everyone else, use that character and then have Emma use Motivate on that character. This will give the target character a second turn!
24. Stay well-supplied
In the single player campaign, make sure you stock up on all of the items you need whenever you have the opportunity to visit a merchant! A good supply of bandages and focus pills distributed to the right characters will give you a lot more breathing room to try strategies that would otherwise result in your characters getting killed. Likewise, don’t forget to buy your characters armor and replace worn-down weapons.
In multiplayer, there are no merchants, but there are random item drops. Bandages or steel plate dropped at the right moment can mean the difference between victory and defeat. It is to your advantage to control as much of the map as possible to increase your odds of nabbing items when they drop!
Well, that’s 24! I hope you found this helpful. Good luck (although Telepath Tactics being what it is, luck probably won’t factor in too much). If you come up with any tips or strategies that I missed, feel free to post them in the comments below!