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Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic

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"Strategic Point identified!"
Space Marine Scout, Dawn of War

A Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic is when a wargame simulates the capture of a strategic asset of some sort. Some versions boil this down to "This spot is important for some reason; therefore you want it" (usually represented by an abstract marker like a flagpole) while others give them actual tactical benefits (usually an entire neutral structure whose form connotes its function). Rarely, some games that otherwise don't really have capturable assets will have you need to build extractors on resource deposits (many 4X games operate this way). Any game can mix-and-match as the developers see fit.

Capturable neutral structures usually go as follows:

  • A structure to give the player a constant flow of cash (oil well, local bank, etc). Rarely, a game has its entire resource income based around owning these.
  • A structure or set of structures to heal units with (hospital, garage). Sometimes it gives units a Healing Factor, sometimes it works like a Trauma Inn and they have to be ordered to use it. Usually linked to unit type (ie, a hospital will heal infantry but won't heal tanks).
  • Power Plants give more base power, but are often in an indefensible position.
  • A structure that give a minor discount to vehicles (civilian factory, oil refinery, etc).
  • Defensive Emplacements, ranging from civil defense bunkers to abandoned, obsolete military bases.
  • A structure which allows the hire of Mercenary Units.
  • The Gimmick Structure, which gives a different bonus in every game it's in.

See also Enemy Exchange Program.


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     Real-Time Strategy 
  • Act of War requires oil wells (the game's sole resource) to be capped with an extraction structure.
  • Age of Empires III has two neutral structures scattered across the maps:
    • The Trading Posts are placed on key points of a Trade Route whose transport (initially a rickshaw, then a stagecoach/trading cart, then a train) leaves resources (XP, food, wood, gold) on it once they pass.
    • The Native Villages are also placed on key points of the map and cannot be damaged. Allying with one of these Villages grants bonuses and new units to whichever faction allied with the Village.
  • The Battle for Middle-earth II has inns and Shipwrights that act as mercenary HQ's, outposts that generate passive income, and a Signal Fire that reduces the cooldowns of all your Support Powers. The Mordor, Goblins, and (in the Rise of Angmar expansion) Angmar Evil factions have a Support Power that allows them to convert Creep dens into Mercenary structures.
  • Battle Tanks II by John Junod is a shareware strategy game composed of either two armies engaging in head-to-head battle, or four armies engaging in free-for-all combat. Two of the five battle maps have a neutral repair station that's a simple brick-and-mortar revetment which will repair the armor of any tank, friendly or hostile, that's close enough to it. Otherwise, capturing an opponent's base will change its flag of allegiance. If that opponent has no other bases, it cannot receive reinforcements.
  • Brütal Legend has Fan Geysers that appear during stage battles. Building a Merch Booth on top of one will send the Fans to your stage, letting you build and upgrade your army.
  • Company of Heroes has its resource income based entirely around control of various types of strategic zones that give a bonus to the ammount of resources accumulated over time, of which there are three types: Requisition, Fuel, and Munitions. These zones are always seized by capturing the flagpole in their rough center. Keeping them yours involves building a "Listening Post" structure on top of them to slow the enemy down, although the Panzer Elite can have a Scout Car vehicle dig in next to them with a machine gun, acting as a defense. In all cases, you only get their benefit if all the zones link up to your starting area.
  • Command & Conquer has several capturable strategic buildings accross all three subseries', starting from RA2. Usually, they require an Engineer to enter the structure and patch it into your communications network, but in Generals, any footsoldier can capture any building just by changing its flag (which also instantly changes its trim color to match yours). They are usually prefaced with the word "Tech."
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has oil derricks (steady income), outposts (has a vehicle service depot and IFV missile battery) hospitals (which either you send infantry in to heal in the base game while Yuri's Revenge changes it to global self-healing), machine shops (vehicles autorepair), civilian power plants, secret labs (provides a random country-specific unit in skirmish or a specific unit in campaign), and airports (which grant a Paratrooper Drop Support Power similar to America's Subfaction ability). Some maps have abandoned structures from other factions, such as Sattelite Uplinks or Psychic Radars.
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 has ore deposits (a big change from the Ore Fields of the last games), which can be claimed by building a Refinery in a special build slot next to them, oil derricks, Swiss banks (act like a better oil derrick), The New York Stock Exchange (also a better oil derrick), several passive repair buildings; one for each unit type (hospitals, garages, drydocks, and airports), and observation posts.
    • Command & Conquer: Generals has oil derricks, refineries, hospitals and repair bays, artillery platforms, and a Deployment Zone that drops off one free tank (or two Terrorist Motorcycles if you're playing as the GLA Demolitions General) every minute.
    • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars has Tiberium Spikes (which act like oil derricks of the other games), Silos (a one-time cash bonus), EMP Control Centers (which grant a special Support Power), Subway Stations (a Tunnel Network), Mutant Hovels (which let you hire Mutant Marauders) and defense towers.
    • Command & Conquer: Rivals has a nuclear missile silo in the middle of every map, which does 50% of your base's HP when it hits. It's captured entirely by having more units in its control zone than the enemy.
  • Dawn of War:
    • The first game features three types of capture points: Strategic Points and Relics, which can be secured with Listening Posts, and Critical Points, which can't. Listening Posts can also be upgraded with emplaced weaponry, and project a Control Zone around themselves. These capture points are incentivised by granting you bonus Requisition resource income (unless you're playing the Power-only Necrons, which gives you a 10% bonus to build/research times for each "Obelisk" built on a capture point instead). Owning Critical Points gives more, and a certain Victory condition involves holding half of them. Owning at least one Relic is nescessary for deploying a factions Tactical Superweapon Unit. There are also Slag Deposits, which don't have to be captured, but are the only places where Thermo-Plasma Generators can be built.
    • Several game modes use the Strategic Points as a victory condition:
      • Sudden Death: A player who loses a Strategic Point is eliminated instantly.
      • Control Area: The first player to capture two thirds of the points on the map wins.
      • Take and Hold: Controlling half the Critical Locations on the map starts a countdown, the player wins if they still hold that amount at the end of the countdown.
    • Dark Crusade's campaign features several:
      • The strategic map features several provinces that provide requisition and an extra starting unit or bonuses to their owning player thanks to the structures present there: extra resources (a manufacturing region), a higher unit cap (an Adeptus Mechanicus facility), starting structures (a mining complex), attacking any non-stronghold province (a starport) and attacking twice in the same turn (a demonic artifact).
      • The campaign features capturable structures that give extra abilities for that mission: capturing the Tau communication tower gives a Defog of War ability, the Space Marine Orbital Relay gives orbital bombardments, the Imperial Guard fires a Titan Hellstorm Cannon...
      • Soulstorm uses a similar system to Dark Crusade, though the bonuses are now granted to stronghold provinces. Because the game takes place in a system rather than a single world, disconnected provinces give less requisition.
    • Dawn of War 2 makes Strategic Points teleport beacons (which allow your squads to reinforce, and in the Retribution expansion include a mini-base to produce new units), and expands to have capturable structures as well, such as Imperial Shrines (an extra charge of the Refractor Field item, which makes your soldiers invincible for 30 seconds), Tacticae Uplinks (An extra charge to the Signum item (which grants an Artillery Barrage power to whoever's wearing it), and Manufactorums (an extra charge to the Tarantula Turret item, which lets you place sentry guns). In Multiplayer, there are also power relays and (if you're playing a Point Capture match,) Victory Points, which take the form of large sattelite uplinks.
    • Dawn of War III goes back to strategic points capped with listening posts, some of which have sandbag nests (or rarely, a Void Shield) around them as well.
  • Halo Wars has its whole base-building mechanic, er, built on capturing strategic zones, referred to as "Base Sites." Once kept free of enemies for 15 seconds, the player can have a headquarters structure placed on it. There's also building sockets spread around certain maps, which allow structures and turrets to be built without an adjoining base. There are also capturable structures that can be claimed by stationing an infantry unit in them, such as Reactors (+1 Tech Level), Resource Elevators, Life Support Pods (10 bonus Population), Healing Spires (zone-based repair structure), Protector Plants (special heavy air units), Sentinel Factories (special light air units), and Door Controls (unleash a horde of Flood creeps).
  • Rise of Legends has several neutral structures dotted around its maps, which can be aquired through trade or conquest, including engravers (more Wealth income), civilian miners (more Timonnium income), various creep dens, up to entire cities.
  • The Rise of the Reds Game Mod for C&C Generals has all manner of civilian industry that give various effects, as well as entire abandoned bases left over from the last war.
  • Rome: Total War has the Seven Wonders of the World. Capturing the nearest city to the "Wonder" puts its under your faction's control and grants you a bonus. For example, the Great Pyramids increase the loyalty of Egyptians, the Colossus of Rhodes increases your maritime trade, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon increase your farming output, etc.
  • Similarly, Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms, the Crusade Campaign has key cities/castles for each faction that grant it access to certain high-level units.
    • The Principality of Antioch gets access to Hospitalier units by holding on to Krak des Chevaliers.
    • The Kingdom of Jerusalem gets access to Templar units by keeping Jerusalem.
    • The Byzantine Empire can only hire Greek Firethrowers in Constantinople.
    • Egypt needs to retain Cairo to train Mamluks.
    • The Turks need Baghdad to train Hashams.
  • StarCraft:
    • In both games, Vespene geysers need to be claimed by building a faction-specific refinery structure on top of it. In 2, each campaign has an optional passive Support Power that makes refineries teleport vespene straight into your bank to free up Worker Units.
    • Starcraft IIs multiplayer adds Xel'Naga towers on most maps, which have a passive Defog of War ability as long as an allied unit is standing next to it.
  • Star Wars: Empire at War has strategic points in Ground battles represented by landing beacons. In Campaign/Galactic Conquest play, they grant you a bonus to your Population Limit. There are also several kinds of building foundations, such as turret bases and huge foundations that allow one to build Hutt cartel-backed mercenary bases, pirate mining sites, or (depending if you're playing as the Rebels or the Empire), an EMP Cannon or a repulsorlift jammer. In Space battles, there are neutral sattelites that serve as defense turret foundations, scanners that reveal the whole map (kind of useless since your Space Station has the same ability at level 2), and mercenary bases that hire out attack ships.
  • Submarine Titans requires its Metal and Corium resource nodes to be capped with extractors.
  • Supreme Commander requires Mass Deposits to be captured with Extractors, and has Hydrocarbon Deposits that grant extra power when a special power plant is built over them. There are also civilian structures such as power plants, which are usually only Tier 1 and the AI won't hesitate to just blow them up rather than try to capture them.
  • The Tiberium Essence mod for C&C 3 hits most of the bullet points, and includes the Tacitus Archive neutral structure, which unlocks a faction's secondary Tactical Superweapon Unit.
  • Twisted Insurrection has several buildings owned by the Neutral Forsaken faction, all of which allow the hiring of mercenaries of various types (infantry, vehicles, and "high-tech units") when they aren't defensive emplacements. The Command Bunker grants a Support Power in the form of an Ambush in addition to its hiring abilities. There's also the GlobalTech Construction Outpost, which allows you to build around it once captured.
  • Universe at War has several caturable assets, such as Fusion Reactors (Gimmick despite superficially being a Power Plant, and has a different benefit to each race; either bonus power for the Novus, extra resource capacity for the Masari, or a cloud of bolstering radiation for the Heirarchy), Hydraulic Pumps (constant flow of Resources), factories, and laser turrets (a defense turret with a sustained-fire laser beam).
  • The gameplay of Uprising and its sequels is based on driving around your tank to capture command bunkers, upon which can then deploy structures for producing either combat vehicles, or power with which said vehicles can be bought.
  • Warcraft III: While not captured in the traditional sense, gold mines can only be used by one player at a time (preventing allies from stealing each other's gold, while killing the workers frees up the mine). The Night Elves and Undead make it harder by entangling/haunting the mine for their own workers to use (creating another structure on top of it that must also be destroyed). It also has RPG-like item shops, Goblin Mercenary headquarters, and (in the Frozen Throne expansion pack) a tavern to recruit neutral Hero Units.
  • The Warlords Battlecry series has multiple capturable assets. While most of them are resource mines, the main source of all four incomes (which can be garrisoned for extra production), other things like temples able to produce powerful units can also be captured and used against your enemy.
  • All World in Conflict multiplayer modes revolve around controlling a set of strategic check points around the map, with the only difference between modes being the degree of freedom to choose which point to capture next. Since the game is more of real-time tactics than strategy, the check points don't grant any particular resources, but capturing and controlling them continuously adds to the controlling team's score, bringing them closer to victory.

     Turn-Based Strategy 
  • BattleTech: Some missions require you to capture an objective, typically by getting one or more of your mechs into a specific location next to a building, or by escorting a friendly unit to an area and protecting it while it's there.
  • Gihren's Greed: On the battle maps, there are various strong points that act as locations where allied forces can refuel and rearm (represented by an 'Energy' stat). An attacker must ensure there's an unbroken supply line from their entry point lest their forces grind to a halt. A defender meanwhile must protect their main supply base on the battlefield: losing it results in a massive loss of morale and the loss of all bases is an automatic defeat for the defender. The attacker has an advantage in that even if they fail to take any bases, they won't automatically lose the battle. However, that also means they have no way to rearm and refuel if things go wrong: in fact in the Zeon campaign their initial drop operations must succeed or they'll have no way to expand operations on Earth.
  • Capturing properties with infantry is a major part of the Nintendo Wars series. There are five kinds of properties across the entire series, along with some extra depending on the individual game.
    • The standard five are cities, which simply provide income on each turn, bases, which allow you to deploy ground based units, airports, which allow you to deploy aircraft, harbours, which allow you to deploy naval units, and lastly, HQs, which are the keystone to a faction, having your HQ captured will cause you to instantly lose, while the opponent who captured it will instantly gain all your properties. All assets from the main series minus the missile silos repair/resupply units stationed on them, with respect to unit type (airports repair air and ground units, harbours repair naval and ground units, but cities/bases won't repair air or sea units).
    • Super Famicom Wars had the addition of a railway station, which would allow you to deploy an armed train, and a lab, which gave a Purposely Overpowered tank to the first player who captured it, before turning into a regular base.
    • Advance Wars II: Black Hole Rising had capturable ballistic missile silos, which did heavy damage (doing a flat 3 HP, making them more valuable when targeting high-value units such as Neotanks or Battleships) to any units in their blast radius. It also returns with the Lab asset, which allows your faction to mass produce Neotanks for the rest of the campaign after beating a mission to capture it inside of a set amount of turns.
    • Advance Wars Dual Strike added communication towers, which provided no income, but boosted the fire power of the faction who controlled it, along with defence if Javier was commanding the faction.
    • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin kept the communication towers, but made them boost attack and defence universally, and also added in radar stations, that had a Defog of War effect, and also allowed Rigs to build temporary versions of the airports and harbours, which couldn't deploy new units, but were able to repair and resupply existing ones.
  • Phoenix Point represents these with special areas that give the first unit to enter it a recharge to their Will points. It's usually singled out as a peice of commanding high-ground or extremely defensible position. Similar white squares connote objectives in "Steal Technology/Aircraft" missions
  • The strategic maps of Ring of Red have villages dotted around, Color-Coded for Your Convenience blue for you, white for neutral, and orange for the enemy. Capturing them allows your units (mechs and their three supporting infantry squads) to be repaired, and villages with white stars next to them allow you to recruit a squad of troops. The enemy has a nasty habit of prioritizing denying you new recruits over victory.
  • R-Type Command has hangars set into asteroid bases that, once captured by a Repair-type fighter, can heal your units once they've docked with them.
  • Songs of Conquest: The map is filled with buildings that the player can convert to their side for additional income.
  • In Symphony Of War, capturing temples on the battle map enables you to heal damage and revive downed troops.
  • Templar Battleforce:
    • Strategic Points, teleporter arrays that allow the deployment of new soldiers, upgrades, and supplies (ex. grenades and buffs). For the Xeno, it's a Mook Maker that produces a new unit once every two turns.
    • Green squares give a bonus to defense, while red squares give a bonus to attacks.
  • War Groove has several neutral buildings that can be captured by troops. Villages (both regular towns and stilt-villages built on reefs) provide income, and Barracks, Towers, Ports, and Hideouts allow the production of corresponding unit types (regular army troops and artillery, flying units, sea units, and thieves and musketeers, respectively).
  • Warhammer 40,000: Gladius uses two different strategic asset capture methods; one each for the Necrons and the Space Marines, respectively.
    • Necrons can only found a city on a Necron Tomb tile.
    • For the Space Marines, being based around a One-City Challenge, gain control of resource nodes in a similar way to Dawn of War. They need to be Captured by first moving a squad onto them, then Secured by dropping an upgradeable fortification nearby.

     Other Video Games 
  • Battalion Wars 2 (tactical 3PS) has barracks and motor pool structures, which allow mid-mission reinforcements. All the player has to do is capture the flagpole in the middle.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Nearly all the games include gateways guarded by guard captains, which are used for spawning points for reinforcing grunts. Taking these points for the player's faction has the dual advantage of introducing a new spawn point for reinforcements while denying those points to the enemy.
    • In the Empires spin-off series, in general the player must ensure an unbroken line of strongholds leading from their own main camp to those of their enemy's, as the enemy main camp cannot be taken otherwise. In most of the games, there are additional specialised strongholds that can provide bonuses, but are sometimes unnecessary to take the enemy main camp. Examples of these include main supply camps (taking them results in a huge bonus to allied morale and drop in enemy morale), weapons camps (that spawn specialised attack units) and guard camps (that may either have specialised guard units or defensive emplacements like ballistas).
  • Hell Let Loose: The Warfare game mode involves the Allied and Axis teams capturing the central "neutral" point marked on the map, and then either holding the now-aligned point until the end of the match or capturing the enemy's remaining points on the map. Each of these points on the maps are historical locations, usually towns, villages, German coastal defense sectors, and city blocks.
  • OpenArena:
    • The Domination mode has two teams battling to control specific locations in the map, the indicators being marked with a white flag that turns into the color of the team that owns the area once a player touches it. Other than points, taking these points grant no extra beenfits.
    • Double Domination follows the same principles as Domination, except that teams battle to take over two control points, A and B, located in separate areas of the map, for a set time, usually 10 seconds. A successful capture gives the owning team a point, restores the points to white flags, and both teams must re-gain control of these points. Rinse and repeat.
  • Control Mode in Overwatch involves battling over "checkpoints" scattered around the map by fighting off the other team and standing on the point. Capturing a point gives a team +1% to it's score, which goes up every 1.2 seconds. When a team reaches 100%, they win the round, and teams must win twice-in-a-row to win the match.
  • All Star Wars: Battlefront games feature "beacons" that act as spawn points for your teammates. There's always one or two that start out as belonging to a team, and a number of neutral locations. Capturing these points involves killing any enemies nearby, and then keeping it clear of them for ~30 seconds. The original game featured a variation of this in Galactic Conquest, where players would fight to capture planets, and capturing different planets granted different bonus effects to select from, as well as denying the other player those bonuses in the event of a contested planet.
  • Unreal series:
    • The Domination mode of Unreal Tournament is a team-based gamemode for up to 4 teams which takes place in maps with indicators initially marked with a big X that display which team controls which points. Once a team takes control of a point, it'll display the logo of said team. Other than points, taking these points grant no extra beenfits.
    • The XMP mode of Unreal II: The Awakening features hackable devices such as doors, turrets, vehicles, deployment points and energy generators. Generators are key to powering your own team, you don't get to use most of the advanced features of the mode if your team doesn't have enough energy to sustain it. Deployment points are your typical spawn points, except that they can be hacked by any team any time, provided, again, that they have enough energy to sustain the hacking.
    • Unreal Championship, Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Tournament 2004 have the Double Domination gamemode, similar to Tournament's Domination gamemode, except that this time there are only two points, Alpha and Bravo, which both teams battle to control and hold for a determined amount of seconds (usually 10). Once a team successfully captures and holds both points, that team earns a point, and a new round starts.
    • The Onslaught mode of Unreal Tournament 2004 have the Power Nodes, structures located across the map that must be captured in order to create a link between the own base and the enemy base so the enemy Power Core can be attacked. Most Power Nodes grant players access to vehicles/turrets (or both) and new spawn points, closer to the enemy base, plus the ability to quickly teleport to any owned location. Others just grant new spawn points.
    • The Warfare mode of Unreal Tournament III expands upon 2004's Onslaught mode. It adds Support Nodes, disconnected from the Power Node Network, that can be owned by any team at any time, but grant key advantages such as more powerful vehicles or granted damage to the Enemy Core without the need to link to it. In addition, teleportation between owned areas is now done via dedicated teleporters rather than the nodes themselves. There's also the Orb, of which each team has one that spawns in the closest Orb Spawner to the enemy base, which allows the proprietary team to instantly take out any enemy node (whether it's a regular Power Node or a Support Node) and claim it for their team, as well as shielding an already owned Power Node from damage.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Axis & Allies: Players can create Industrial Complexes (which produce new units) or Anti-Aircraft guns (that add protection against air attack) in their territories. Unlike most other units, which are Color-Coded for Your Convenience, these game pieces are white and cannot be destroyed — ownership goes to whomever currently controls the territory.
  • BattleTech has many rules for creating scenarios where one or both sides are trying to capture an objective. Often this will involve using infantry or battle armor to infiltrate a building while the rest of your units protect it.
  • Warhammer 40,000 matches are resolved by taking and holding an Objective marker, or wiping out the opposing team.