The Nintendo Wars seriesnote is a series of military Turn-Based Strategy video games produced by Nintendo that began in 1988. A majority of the series' entries are developed by Intelligent Systems, with a number of other installments being created by Hudson Soft (the final three Game Boy Wars games), Kuju Entertainment (Battalion Wars games), and WayForward Technologies (the remake of the GBA entries).
In the games, the player takes the role of an army's commanding officer (usually of a country called Orange Star), with the goal on any given map being to defeat an opposing CO. Using your various unit squadrons, including infantry, tanks, artillery, bombers, etc., you attack the units and capture the areas controlled by your opponent. Depending the map, victory is achieved through either capturing the enemy base or eliminating all enemy forces. It's basically Fire Emblem, only with modern war weapons, and with less influence of a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors (not coincidental, since Intelligent Systems created both series). Every entry also offers multiplayer, with latter games allowing up to four players to do battle on versus maps.
The series is composed of the following games, with most of the titles being named after the platform they were released on:
- Famicom Wars (1988; Famicom)
- Super Famicom Wars (1998; Super Famicom)
Game Boy Wars
- Game Boy Wars (1990; Game Boy)
- Game Boy Wars Turbo (1997; Game Boy)
- Game Boy Wars 2 (1998; Game Boy)
- Game Boy Wars 3 (2001; Game Boy)
- Advance Wars (2001; Game Boy Advance)
- Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (2003; Game Boy Advance)
- Advance Wars: Dual Strike* (2005; Nintendo DS)
- Advance Wars: Days of Ruin* (2008; Nintendo DS) Club Nintendo DSiWare exclusive in Japan
- Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (2023; Nintendo Switch)note
- Battalion Wars* (2005; Nintendo GameCube)note
- Battalion Wars II (aka BWii)* (2008; Wii)note
The original Famicom Wars had no plot or lore at all. You would choose to control one of two rival armies, Red Star note or Blue Moon, and fight off the other until completing all the maps. Whatever the conflict is has to be up to the player's interpretation. Super Famicom Wars is essentially a remake/sequel, featuring all the maps from the original, as well as brand new ones. It was also the first game to feature 4-player maps, with the Green Earth and Yellow Comet armies joining the battle, as well as selectable commanding officers (COs), each with their own specialty and weakness that affect the whole army.
The original Game Boy Wars follows the same premise as the original Famicom Wars, but uses hexagonal maps instead of square-based maps in a bit of a departure from the rest of the series. The Hudson Soft developed sequels, Game Boy Wars Turbo and Game Boy Wars 2, were essentially expansions to the original Game Boy Wars, featuring new maps and a sped-up decision-making process for the CPU. The third and last of the Hudson-produced sequels, Game Boy Wars 3, is a complete departure from the rest of the series, being modeled more after Hudson's own Nectaris series of war sims than the rest of the Wars series. The third game may also have supported a link cable for Japanese cell phones for online play purposes.
The Advance Wars games for, obviously, the Game Boy Advance, were the first games to be released internationally, as well as the firsts of their kind to have fully fleshed-out lore. It and the two after it make up a trilogy involving the Black Hole army. Oddly enough, the first Advance Wars was for a couple of years not released in Japan, only showing up in a compilation pack with its sequel. The Advance Wars name has stuck internationally even as the series moved to the DS, while Japan reverted to the name Famicom Wars for the DS and Wii installments. The Advance Wars series expanded upon the CO system from Super Famicom Wars, giving each CO their own ability which they can summon during the brink of a battle in order to change the odds in their favor.
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a completely new continuity, set in a Darker and Edgier After the End world. With the new story comes a massive overhaul of the CO system as well as the units themselves.
The Battalion Wars games (which have their own page) are for the GameCube and Wii and are Real-Time Strategy games with a view and style more reminiscent of a Third-Person Shooter than an overhead game like Warcraft. They form their own separate continuity and story. In addition to commanding your forces in real time, all gameplay is from the point of view of a single unit that the player can switch between at any time, while at the same time actively controlling the viewpoint unit itself.
After a fourteen year hiatus, Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp, a Video Game Remake of the first two Advance Wars games, was announced for the Nintendo Switch at E3 2021. It was initially slated for release in December 2021, delayed to April 2022 to allow for the game to be polished, and then further delayed to April 2023 owing to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
There are two wikis for the turn-based games, here for the franchise in general and here for the Gameboy/DS games. of course. Battalion Wars also has its own wiki.
Not to be confused with The Console Wars.
The various games provide examples of:
- Ace Pilot: Air specialist COs tend to be these.
- Eagle; according to his Back Story, his father was much the same.
- Waylon/Finn, who manages to be a complete Jerkass at the same time.
- Tasha/Zadia, whose Image Song sums her up perfectly: "Goddess of Revenge".
- Achilles' Heel: Oozium was designed to resist heavy-impact shock from tank and artillery shells but is very susceptible to small-caliber weapons like those used by Infantry and Mechs, as well as Anti-Air vulcans.
- Adaptation Amalgamation: Since Advance Wars 2 is an extremely-iterative sequel to the first Advance Wars, their remake Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp — rather than recreating them as two separate packages as its title might imply — blends them together to create one unified game with elements of both:
- Gameplay-wise, Versus and War Room each run off of a single menu that allows the player to switch between the original Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2 rulesets. As a result, Advance Wars 2-exclusive War Room maps can be played with the original Advance Wars ruleset, with appropriate changes made to the enemy CO(s) faced in each map. Earning coins for Hachi's Shop works like Advance Wars 2 rather than the first game.
- Aesthetic-wise, character designs blend the Japanese and international versions of all three Wars World games; for example, Nell is based on her AW1 art, Sonja has her international AW2 design but regains her glasses from the Japanese art, and Lash is closest to her Dual Strike design. Unit models feature a plastic, toy-like look in reference to the Japanese Dual Strike boxart. Cities and other properties on the map are visually based on AW2 sprites, battle scenes feature the COs reacting to the encounter as in the first game, and CO Power activation plays a character-specific remix of the first game's CO Power jingle instead of going directly into a powerup theme like the later games.
- Adaptation Distillation: In the first Advance Wars, the Field Training section spanned a whopping 14 levels, each teaching the player the mechanics of the game in thorough detail, and Olaf being the Butt-Monkey opponent for all of them. In Re-Boot Camp, the Field Training section is reduced to three levels, with three other levels acting as a prologue to the first proper mission, "It's War!" (the latter three have Olaf as the opponent while the former three have no CO commanding the enemy army). Any mechanics not mentioned in these stages are brought up in the campaign proper when the relevant units/mechanics first appear.
- Adaptation Name Change: In Re-Boot Camp, Yellow Comet is changed to Gold Comet, and Drake's CO Power is changed from Tsunami to Squall.
- Adapted Out: The Advisor is not present in Re-Boot Camp, so Nell converses with Andy during the tutorial instead.
- Adaptational Curves: Every female CO gets an increase in chest size in Re-Boot Camp.
- A.K.A.-47: Several units are based on real-life analouges.
- OS Soldier: US Army Infantry with M60 Machine Gun (M16 Rifle in Re-Boot Camp) and M20 Super Bazooka.
- OS Recon: Humvee.
- OS Tank: M2 Bradley.
- OS Medium Tank: M1 Abrams.
- OS Transport Copter: CH-47 Chinook.
- OS Battle Copter: AH-64 Apache.
- OS Fighter: F-15 Eagle.
- OS Bomber: Boeing B-52.
- BM Soldier: Soviet Infantry with PPSh-41 and RPG-7.
- BM Recon: GAZ-67.
- BM Tank: T-34.
- BM Medium Tank: IS-3.
- BM Rocket: BM-14 Rocket Truck.
- BM Transport Copter: Yak-24 Horse.
- BM Fighter: Dassault Mirage.
- BM Bomber: Avro Vulcan.
- GE Soldier: WW2 German Infantry with MP 40 and Panzerfaust.
- GE Recon: Schwerer Panzerspähwagen.
- GE Tank: StuG.
- GE Antiair: Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz.
- GE Battle Copter: Mi-24 Hind.
- GE Fighter: A-10 Thunderbolt II.
- YC Soldier: WW2 Japanese Infantry with Type 4 Rifle (Type 100 SMG in Re-Boot Camp) and Type 4 70mm Rocket Launcher.
- YC Tank: Renault FT-17.
- YC Medium Tank: KV-2.
- YC Battle Copter: Bell H-13 Sioux.
- YC Fighter: A6M Zero.
- An Aesop: Chapter 19 in Days of Ruin has a message about alternative medicine being bad. Desperate people infected with a horrific and terminal super-plague have turned to an abusive cult that promises magical miracle cures in exchange for their obedience. After unsuccessfully attacking the armed soldiers for "sacrifices" and their supplies at the cult leader's urging (who perishes in the attack), the survivors are told by the troops' doctor that, while science might work slowly and not tell them whatever they want to hear, they should trust it, not magic-peddling hucksters, for medical solutions, because science actually will solve their problems.
- After the End: Days of Ruin takes place in the aftermath of a hail of meteorites that kills off nearly 90% of the human population. Roaming bandits, deserting soldiers, low food supplies, and conflict with civilians are just some of the hazards of the new world.
- A.I. Breaker: An exploit was discovered during Two Week Test from the second Advance Wars game. You're Colin (who has weaker units at a cheaper price), who has to deal with Lash's overwhelming forces. In all missions, you lose if your HQ is captured or you lose all your units. In this mission, you start with none (just like most Versus games). The exploit comes in not deploying anything for the whole mission, and letting Lash move in a non-infantry unit onto the HQ, thus blockading it from her footsoldiers. As a result, she'll leave you with a free win. This has been rectified in Re-Boot Camp; the AI will eventually capture your HQ.
- Ambiguously Human: The fact that Sturm is noted to be an alien raises the question if the same can be applied to everyone associated with Black Hole. It doesn't help that the likes of Adder and the Dual Strike antagonists look very freaky to begin with, while the BH foot soldiers are Faceless Goons in astronaut-like suits. It is worth noting that Flak, who is a straightfoward human (albeit a large one), was promoted from Black Hole grunt all the way up the chain of command, implying that at least some of Black Hole's forces are normal humans.
- And This Is for...: in the ending of the first Battalion Wars, Nova punches Ubel for Tundra, then throws a KOing punch for his father.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: In Dual Strike, leveling a character to 10 unlocks an alternate costume.
- Antagonist Abilities: In the original Advance Wars every CO outside the Orange Star trio has abilities that are considered antagonist, such as Fog of War vision, Weather Manipulation and specializing in non-ground based combat. The sequel dropped this when the other nations became playable in the campaign, putting heroic abilities on the new CO's.
- Anti-Air: a few examples:
- The Anti-Air Tanks, which also deal very good damage to infantry and unarmored vehicles like Humvees in Game Boy Wars 3 and the Advance Wars games.
- Anti-Air Missile Launchers along with Anti-Air Artillery in Super Famicom Wars; the former returns in the Advance Wars games.
- Cruisers, which also tear apart Submarines.
- Aircraft Carriers, which also ferry an air force overseas.note
- Mechs in Game Boy Wars 1/2/Turbo can attack air units for cost-effective damage.
- Most ships in Game Boy Wars 3, including the Lander, can hit air units for at least decent damage.
- In the Advance Wars series, Fighters also qualify somewhat, since they can only attack air units. In the first three games, they utterly tear apart any air unit except enemy fighters and stealth planes (and stealth planes still have a bad matchup against fighters).
- Anti-Frustration Features:
- In the first Advance Wars' Advanced Campaign, you are automatically given a perfect power and technique score for each cleared mission, making speed the only score to care about. It additionally doubles the amount of coins you earn from each cleared mission, which with the guaranteed minimum C rank you'll get from the always perfect power + technique score, ensures you'll be racking up a lot of coins fast. The devs recognized that the Advanced Campaign was so brutally unfair that scoring a good power and technique ranking on most missions would have been impossible, and wanted to make it worth the players' while to tough through it.
- The fact that in Days of Ruin, the maximum score for each category is now 150, but the threshold for an S Rank is still 300. This encourages creative tactics that earlier games in the series would have punished (such as rushing in and capping an unguarded HQ), since the perfect scores in the other two categories now make up for the one category that ends up tanking. To counter that, though, once you fall below what would be considered the "perfect" threshold for each category, the score immediately drops below 100 and continues to drop fast, so you still need to make sure you've got a solid plan since one slip-up can send your score plummeting.
- Re-Boot Camp lets you replay earlier Campaign missions from the world map whenever you want, similar to Days of Ruin. In the original, if you wanted to replay a map for a second shot at an S-Rank, you had to start a fresh campaign from the beginning. In terms of the first game, you're also able to play through the routes you didn't choose, which is necessary to unlock the "Rivals" mission (as opposed to just picking Sami on all of the Green Earth missions).
- Re-Boot Camp significantly simplifies the process of unlocking the COs for play outside the Campaign. In the original you would need to fulfil the Guide Dang It! conditions for having them ally with you in the final battle, then they'd become available for purchase after you beat the campaign. Not only did this mandate multiple playthroughs (along with beating the Brutal Bonus Level "Rivals" to get Eagle), but it meant choosing the Andy branch of "Max Strikes" unlocked nothing, since you start with Olaf and Max. In the remake, the COs become available to purchase after finishing the last battle against them, and Grit is unlocked via either branch of the Blue Moon route instead of just the Max one. And unlocking Nell no longer requires beating the brutal Advance Campaign, you simply need to complete every mission.
- Re-Boot Camp allows the player to use the Reset Turn option to completely rewind a turn to the start of their day during the Campaign or War Room, preventing them from potentially resetting the mission for input errors or simple mistakes. However, it only resets the current player turn, so if you figure out that you messed up after you hit End Turn (i.e., during the enemy's chance to act), it's either press on or reset. This feature is also disabled in the Challenge Campaigns (Advance Campaign in the original games) so the player cannot use the feature to Save Scum their way through the missions.
- During the final mission of the first Advance Wars' Campaign in Re-Boot Camp, the player can freely pick the COs that protect Andy's flanks, as opposed to them being pre-determined by certain choices made in the campaign. The level also permits the selection of both Kanbei and a Green Earth CO at the same time (Kanbei's location is determined if Max, Sami, a Blue Moon or a Green Earth CO is selected alongside him; he takes up the absent army's spot), a combination that was not possible in the original game. The Brutal Bonus Level "Rivals" is now an optional level unlocked by completing all the other missions in the branching paths which can be selected after completing the final mission, meaning that it no longer needs to be completed to finish the basic campaign experience, so there's no need to worry about selecting Eagle this time around.
- Most of the antagonists in Advance Wars, who were manipulated by Sturm into believing Orange Star was a threat. Although Olaf does push it by being a blowhard and using Sturm's Pretext for War as an excuse to invade territories of Orange Star that didn't ever even belong to him.
- Forsythe/Carter in Days of Ruin, who's only fighting the heroes to ensure a future for his men.
- Apocalyptic Logistics: Days of Ruin states that most of the human population was killed off in the Apocalypse, and the earth itself is mostly just a barren wasteland full of destruction and desolation. However, there's still plenty of machine tool factories and workers who know how to build tanks and artillery, and train infantry for battle.
- In the European and American scripts, the factories producing weapons and vehicles are completely automated; it's soldiers they need. Surviving officers have been training able-bodied refugees to bolster their fighting numbers.
- Arbitrary Weapon Range:
- The Nintendo Wars series takes the minimum range and maximum range tropes and sticks to them.
- Advance Wars: Artillery has a one-square zone in which it is unable to fire. Rocket trucks' are two squares (as they have longer range). Battleships also have a blind spot right next to them, although real battleships can fire at very close targets.
- Art Evolution: The CO portraits went from being rather cartoonish in the first Advance Wars to fairly realistic by Dual Strike. Olaf and Kanbei by far went through the most dramatic evolution, though the other characters got a fair bit of visual upgrading as well.
- With Re-Boot Camp, the art style has devolved back to the cartoony aesthetic to emphasize the nostalgia from years ago.
- Artifact Title: Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Days of Ruin are on the Nintendo DS. It's still called "Advance Wars", though the plots all feature antagonists with technologically advanced weaponry.
- Artificial Stupidity: Where to begin? Until the AI improved by the time of Days of Ruin (and to a lesser extent Dual Strike), a lot of the Campaign and War Room was made with the limited AI in mind.
- The first Advance Wars game is chock full of these, and exploiting them is absolutely vital for clearing the game's brutally unfair Advanced Campaign. The second game fixed some of these, though most of these AI issues remained in it:
- The AI infamously has a seething hatred for the APC and other transport units, where the AI will prioritize attacking transport units no matter what, except for when an important property like their HQ is being captured by Infantry, and sometimes not even then. This was fixed in Advance Wars 2, with transport units becoming low priority targets for the AI. Interestingly, Re-Boot Camp brought the AI's disdain for transport units back, despite generally improving the AI and fixing most of the other flaws mentioned here, presumably because the missions in the first Advance Wars was designed around this specific flaw. Double interestingly, Re-Boot Camp has this AI flaw only when it's played in its AW1 mode, as transport units go back to being low priority targets for the AI in its AW2 mode.
- In general the AI has skewed priorities in which units they attack, such as attacking the unit they can deal the most damage to rather than the unit that poses the most threat or would give them the best monetary trade, and always prioritizing destroying units over dealing non-fatal damage to another unit, even if the unit they're destroying is already crippled with 1 HP.
- The AI does a very poor job at protecting its HQ, as it doesn't recognize one of your units going towards their HQ as anything dire to deal with until the HQ capturing is already in progress (e.g. it won't necessarily preemptively create some unit in one of their nearby bases to deal with it until you're already capturing), at which point it is too late to stop if they don't happen to have another one of their units to range to attack. Then even if they do have units in range to attack, they may just end up attacking an Infantry capturing another nearby property instead or attack the transport you used to transport your Infantry to the HQ, or sometimes might even just ignore it! It's disgustingly easy to HQ snipe the AI even without having to play Sami.
- The AI will only activate its CO Power at the start of the turn, never activating it if they get it anytime after their first move in a turn (except for with Eagle, whose power is only effective after all units have acted). Additionally the AI will always activate their CO Power once they start a turn with it (or if they have it by the end of a turn with Eagle), never holding onto it to use in a later turn where it could have been more impactful (the only exception being with Andy if the AI has no units that can be repaired at the start of their turn, in which case they will hold onto the power until they start a turn with units in need of repair). In Advance Wars 2 with the introduction of Super CO Powers, each AI is coded with a certain percent chance to activate their normal power when they have it but not their super, however like in the first game they'll only activate a CO Power at the start of the turn (or at the end of the turn with Eagle), and they'll always activate their Super CO Power if they start a turn with it.
- If one of the AI's units is brought down to 2 or 1 HP, they'll immediately retreat them to one of their relevant properties to repair them, and won't touch them again at all until the unit is back at full health. Even if you park one of your units in the repairing unit's attack range and your unit can't counterattack it, the AI will still ignore its unit if it isn't back at full health. Intentionally exploiting this with expensive units instead of outright destroying them is a good way to hamstring the AI's funds for several turns while still essentially taking that unit out of combat, as each repaired HP costs 1/10th of the unit's cost, particularly in War Room and Campaign maps where the AI has a significant monetary advantage.
- When the AI's units are stuck in a chokepoint, the units in front will never be moved back unless its health is brought down low enough for the aforementioned "repair mode" to be triggered or you get units behind the chokepoint to move them away, even if they have a stronger unit in the back to better handle the front and have the current formation leaving their indirects out of attacking range.
- The AI will rarely attack with their Infantry and Mech units, unless their CO Power is active. Even if one of your Infantry/Mech units is capturing a property right in front of their face, the AI will not attack with them to interrupt the capture without their CO Power. This was fixed in Advance Wars 2, there the AI will frequently go on the offensive with them in beneficial engagements, and so you'll no longer be able to take properties next to their foot soldiers for free, nor park your indirects and transports next to enemy Infantry without fear of retaliation.
- If the AI has a seaport under their control, the AI will prioritize building Landers and insist on having at least one at all times even if the AI has no immediate use for them, and should its Landers be destroyed, the AI will immediately build more Landers to replace them if it has enough funds, which can be exploited to make the AI waste its funds on building an expensive unit it has no use for. The AI will additionally usually not actually use Landers for their intended purpose - transporting units, instead leaving them floating around doing nothing, even after boarding units onto them. The AI's love for Landers was also brought back in Re-Boot Camp despite it generally improving the AI and fixing other flaws it had in the original games, including now actually knowing how to make use of said Landers.
- If the AI submerges a Submarine, the AI will never keep it submerged for more than a single turn unless it was able to attack during that turn, even if rising it would leave it in range of a unit that wouldn't be able to attack a submerged Sub. This was fixed in Advance Wars 2.
- The CO under an AI's control does not influence which units they create, e.g. an AI Max will still create Artillery despite them being near-useless for him.
- Sometimes the AI will just seemingly "forget" to act with a unit, e.g. not attacking with an indirect that one of your units was in its range of.
- While the AI in the first two Advance Wars cheats in regards to vision ranges in Fog of War, it follows the "Can't see what's in woods/reefs" rule a little too well. Unless it gets lucky and happens to end a unit's turn next to said hiding spot, the hiding unit is effectively invisible to it no matter how obvious it should be that something's there. Some missions that require you to protect a single unit can easily be cheesed this way.
- There's a funny quirk of the first three Advance Wars games where the AI will forget a building exists if it parks a non-Infantry or Mech unit on it, oftentimes never moving that unit off the property without you moving a unit in its attack range. This can notably be exploited in the infamous Advance Campaign version of Kanbei's Error, where it can be cheesed by moving an air unit in such a way that one of Kanbei's Anti-Airs parks itself on a neutral city when attacking your unit, which leaves Kanbei's Infantry unable to capture the city with the Anti-Air stuck in the way, preventing him from being able to capture enough properties to fulfill the map's win condition.
- The Battlestation's method of attacking the destruction objective in the last mission of Battalion Wars 2 basically looks nothing like a human player's approach.
- The first Advance Wars game is chock full of these, and exploiting them is absolutely vital for clearing the game's brutally unfair Advanced Campaign. The second game fixed some of these, though most of these AI issues remained in it:
- Artistic License – Biology: Viruses cannot make plants grow under people's skin. However, the sole expert who describes it that way only says it spreads like a virus. It's the others (who are far from biologists) who call it a "plant virus" afterwards.
- The Creeper does seem to be heavily based on the real world Cordyceps fungus, which, at least in the ant version of the fungus, causes the ants to go insane and then die, the fruiting body bursting out of their corpses.
- Artistic License – Physics: Plasma (which looks like lightning) arcing between two or more fallen meteors, that block air and land travel. A handwaved barrier that makes at least a modicum more sense than the infamous pipes from previous Advance Wars.
- Avoid The Dreaded E Rating: In order to solidify itself as a Darker and Edgier Retool, Days of Ruin has some mild gratuitous swearing in it, earning it a E10+ rating from the ESRB for Language and Mild Violence.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Advance Wars is no stranger to expensive but flashy units or powers that don't see much competitive play.
- Grimm. Having a whopping 130 attack is awesome, but you also have a weak 80 defense that can deplete your units quickly. You are forced to play offensively, as playing defensively means you will lose in an exchange battle. It additionally makes it a lot harder for Grimm to capture contested properties, with his Infantry being crippled or outright killed so easily, while that lack of defense compared to other COs becomes even more prominent on high defense terrain like properties.
- Earth and Sky, the Eagle/Sami tag-team power in Dual Strike. Yes, being able to take three turns in a row — with instant captures on the third turn — is very awesome. However, a combined total of seventeen stars' worth of charging (and the very real prospect of an opponent just plopping a unit on important buildings like their HQ) ruins this somewhat. It's much more likely that a competent opponent will just get their Tag Break first and inflict enough damage to neutralize any threat it has.
- The Drake/Olaf tag-team power (affectionately known as "Drolaf") is silly, but devastating and annoying to face, to the point of being a Lethal Joke Weapon. The net result is 4 HP of global damage just from powers and the enemy having half their existing fuel, with the rest about to deplete very fast (especially bad for planes and ships). Is it efficient or competitive? No. But is it fun? Heck yes.
- Several of the more expensive units can be this, depending on availability of cities, but Megatanks really take the cake. They'll waste anything, to be sure, and require ridiculous focus fire to damage, but they're really slow and have low fuel and ammo capacity, so they need resupplying often. Many players tend to go for Neotanks instead in Dual Strike. Megatanks' weaknesses are somewhat mitigated by Jess (who can resupply them instantly and boost their movement), but then again you're still better off crushing things with waves of Medium/Neo Tanks if you have that much money.
- Missiles, full-stop. A ground unit that can snipe copters and planes from a distance sounds nice on paper, but it has quite a few glaring weaknesses. First, it's quite pricy at 12,000 G. Second, its relatively small range means that highly-mobile air units can easily fly right through it, allowing a rogue B-Copter or Bomber to just swoop in and get a cheap shot on it with ease. Third, it's the slowest non-footsoldier in the game with a movement range of only 4, a fact which is compounded by its tire-based movement which slows it to a crawl on just about any terrain except roads. While it has a niche in Fog of War, when you can park it in a forest and catch passing air units unaware, outside of that niche you're better off building far cheaper, more versatile Anti-Airs. Even a buff to its maximum range in Days of Ruin wasn't enough to push it into relevance.
- Battlestations and Strato Destroyers in Battalion Wars. Both soak up punishment about as well as a fortress would, and can destroy anything short of another Battlestation or Strato Destroyer in seconds. The problem is that both are slower than anything else in their respective field, and both are not very maneuverable. In the BS's case, it's also extremely vulnerable to an air attack. It's easier to take out enemy BS's with air units while handling everything else with tanks, and Fighters are normally all you'd ever need short of more precise air-to-ground attacks.
- In Days of Ruin, carriers and seaplanes. Each seaplane can normally do between 40-90 damage and is the only unit to hit all units, giving it more diversity and can replace all of your air units. Each carrier can make 1 seaplane per day, up to 4 seaplanes created by a carrier maximum. The problem? Seaplanes have very low fuel and ammunition, requiring a carrier to keep them well-replenished. Carriers need massive protection or else Seaplanes will have to rely on rigs, airports, and temporary airports; the problem is that these may not be available at those times. Combine all that with a 28000 cost for a carrier and 15000 for a seaplane produced makes it very inefficient. The best CO to utilize carriers and seaplanes is Greyfield, but that's really the only way to use him.
- Naval units in general unless a map really forces their use through deprivation of land space and no airports; none of them but Battleships can attack the land units that normally dictate a battle, only Cruisers (and Aircraft Carriers in later games) can attack air units, the naval units that can't attack air units are sitting ducks for them as you can't meatwall your ships effectively and the ones that can are easily outmanuevered by air units, and they're entirely restricted to sea terrain, which maps typically have a lot less of. Then the kicker is just how overly expensive they are, with all the combat naval units costing more than a Medium Tank at minimum and the most expensive ones going up to the 30K mark, making anything other than a Lander to transport land units usually a money sink that sits in the sea doing nothing productive. Even DOR making Battleships an indirect that can fire on the same turn it moves couldn't get people to really shell out for them.
- Bad Boss: Deconstructed with Greyfield. He threatens his men with execution for having the Creeper virus (among many other reasons), which leads directly to its rampant spread when the infected keep quiet about it and stay in close contact with the healthy. It gets so bad that Greyfield himself gets it, and Caulder doesn't hesitate to point out the delicious irony/hypocrisy.
- Barrier Maiden: Cruisers, as of Days of Ruin, are an almost purely defensive unit whose whole purpose is to protect fellow naval units from their various counters. They have huge firepower and armor bonuses against Submarines and Missile Boats, who otherwise rule the seas, and get the same against anything airborne, while being almost useless against other Cruisers, Battleships, or Carriers (literally useless in games before Dual Strike, where they simply couldn't attack any surface vessel).
- Beauty Equals Goodness: The CO's of Black Hole are obviously not cut from the same cloth as everyone else. It's also noteworthy that Hawke and Lash, definitely the two most conventionally attractive Black Hole CO's, are also the two that eventually pull a Heel–Face Turn.
- Big Damn Heroes: Sami, Grit, Eagle, and Sonja in Dual Strike, Will/Ed in Days of Ruin, Pierce in Battalion Wars 2.
- Blood Knight: General Herman and Tsar Gorgi in Battalion Wars.
- Border-Occupying Decorations: Playing Game Boy Wars Turbo and Game Boy Wars 2 on the Super Game Boy gives the game a border with a sepia map of the game world, with the latter also showing some units.
- Born Lucky: Nell, and to a lesser extent, her little sister Rachel. And from Super Famicom Wars, their spiritual predecessor Caroline.
- Boring, but Practical:
- Infantry spam in most games, known as 'meatshielding'. Mass produced infantry are used to save money, but use to capture cities better via merging and money making, surround stronger units, and allow you to use the saved money for stronger units later. In 1 case in Days of Ruin, infantry spamming is the best unit to counter the powerful anti-tanks.
- Averted in Game Boy Wars 3 despite the Mech being able to move and blast armored stuff from two spaces away on the same turn.
- Also averted in Advance Wars Days of Ruin in most cases. Infantry cost 500 more while Mechs are cheaper by 500, Bike Infantry were introduced that cost the same as Mechs, and the leveling up system was introduced, where a unit "levels up" and becomes stronger when it destroys a unit (up to three levels). What really killed the strategy though was the change to how CO Meters charge; in prior games they charged by dealing damage and charged even more for taking damage, and so destroying the opponent's Infantry would just end up charging their CO Meter more than you charge your own. However in DOR, CO Meters now only charge from the damage you deal, and not just that, the rate it charges is now based on the amount of pure HP damage, rather than it being on monetary cost like before. As a result, if you give your opponent a bunch of cbeap units to easily kill like Infantry, they'll just end up maxing their CO meter out and getting a full CO Zone quickly, ensuring a fast demise for the Infantry spammer. The technique score for missions also factored in mass-production as well, penalizing those who would generally build more units to overwhelm their opponent as opposed to simply losing too many.
- COs with short power bars also stand out — such as Colin, Sensei, Adder, and Sasha with their two-star regular CO powers, and Sonja, Adder, Hachi, and Koal with 5-star Super CO Powers.
- Infantry spam in most games, known as 'meatshielding'. Mass produced infantry are used to save money, but use to capture cities better via merging and money making, surround stronger units, and allow you to use the saved money for stronger units later. In 1 case in Days of Ruin, infantry spamming is the best unit to counter the powerful anti-tanks.
- The North American release of Days of Ruin replaces the "DAMN!" text bubble when units get ambushed in Fog Of War with "NO!".
- The nation "Red Star" became "Orange Star" in translation, presumably to avoid associations with communism. Likewise, "Yellow Comet" is changed to "Gold Comet" in Re-Boot Camp to avoid the racial implications of having a Japan stand-in represented with the color yellow.
- Grit no longer carries a gun in Re-Boot Camp. He lacked a gun in Dual Strike but carried a revolver in the first two games. His CO Power animation has him point a Finger Gun. Likewise, Kanbei no longer carries a sheathed katana in Re-Boot Camp and his CO Power animation depicts him triumphantly pointing a Japanese fan, though he never brandishes or points said sword in previous art.
- Re-Boot Camp mostly keeps the dialogue for both games but excises some moments that haven't aged very well, such as Flak and Max no longer calling each other "gorilla" and "ape-man" (referring to each others' physiques in context, not anything racist).
- Bragging Rights Reward:
- By the time you can unlock and purchase Nell, Sturm (in AW2), and Hachi (in AW2) in the first two Advance Wars games and their reboot, you clearly don't actually need them to win.
- Dual Strike only provides a wallpaper for obtaining all 300 medals; some of those 300 medals have borderline ridiculous conditions to obtain.
- Days of Ruin is even worse. Getting all the medals doesn't get you anything.
- Braids of Action: All three known Lazurian COs in Days of Ruin / Dark Conflict have a very thin braided ponytail, and judging by the fact that the generic Lazurian soldier portrait doesn't have one, this seems to be a cultural mark of status exclusively for commanding officers in the Lazurian army.
- Brother–Sister Team: Colin and Sasha in Dual Strike. And their abilities really mesh: Sasha can rack up tons of money and deplete her foe's CO bar, while Colin gets discounts on his units. Can anyone say Zerg Rush?
- And that's not counting their Dual Strike (Trust Fund), where Sasha gets money for every enemy unit destroyed and Colin gets more power based on how much money he has. How's that for synergy?
- Brutal Bonus Level: For the first three Advance Wars games, beating the main campaign unlocks the Hard Campaign. Usually these are just the same levels, slightly modified to give the computer an advantage.
- The degree of brutality goes down as the games go on, though. Advance Campaign from Advance Wars is hellishly difficult and unfair. The Hard Campaign from Black Hole Rising is tougher, but still a balanced challenge. The Hard campaign from Dual Strike can sometimes be easier than the normal campaign, as you are allowed to choose any pair of COs.
- On top of the Advance Campaign, there is a bonus mission in the first Advance Wars called Rivals!, where Eagle challenges Andy to a battle. On normal mode, it's already pretty tough, with Eagle having more cities on his side to build an army from. Advance Campaign Rivals! is incredibly unfair, since Eagle starts with a MASSIVE army, and you only have the same three infantry you would in normal mode. In fog.
- Bonus Mission 3 in the first Battalion Wars.
- Butt-Monkey: Davis/Cole in Days of Ruin, who is treated as a loser in love to the point of not having his name remembered well, and also can't stand up to Greyfield killing soldiers along with Brenner, and later ends up dying from the Creeper virus. Of course, the only indication of the latter in the European version is his lack of later appearances after the equivalent scene.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the COs in the Advance Wars series before the Days of Ruin retool.
- The Caligula: Greyfield. There's a reason why his theme is called "The Madman's Reign".
- Call-Forward: Re-Boot Camp adds some nods to the games after the first two.
- Clone Andy's soldiers in Re-Boot Camp have pale-blue skin much like the Clone COs in Dual Strike.
- In Hachi’s shop, he may comment on Sturm’s Meteor Strike by claiming “If I got hit by a meteor, my day would be ruined.”
- Colin has a new burgundy palette swap which gives his uniform a resemblance to that of Greyfield from Days of Ruin
- Calling Your Attacks: In Re-Boot Camp, when a CO Power is used, the CO it belongs to will shout its name before it goes off.
- Cannon Fodder:
- Briefly discussed as a bad thing in the stories of the Advance Wars trilogy, and more thoroughly explored in Days of Ruin. In short, the main difference between the good guys and the bad guys is who thinks of their troops this way.
- Ultimately the one of the primary uses of Infantry, Mechs, and low HP units (if you're not named Andy) in Advance Wars multiplayer. Smart placement of expendable units around your expensive units as shields or the enemy's as sacrificial roadblocks can force them to make suboptimal trades or give up positioning.
- Casting Gag:
- It's probably not a coincidence that Joe Zieja was chosen to play Sensei, a leader of the yellow colored nation who specializes in air combat.
- The Black Hole CO is not the first character named Flak voiced by SungWon Cho.
- The Cavalry:
- After Crystal Calamity in Dual Strike, the Allied Nations declare the war over... only for Black Hole to resurge and hit hard when it's least expected. With most of their bases destroyed, Rachel desperately asks Nell for reinforcements... and Sami, Grit, Sonja, and Eagle show up just in the nick of time.
- During Lab Rats in Days of Ruin, Will and Lin are onboard the Great Owl in an effort to rescue Isabella. While they're busy, the rest of the Rubinelle and Lazurian forces are on the run from Tabitha's army. It takes a few turns in the mission for Will to arrive with a crapload of units following behind.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The plot got somewhat more serious between the original Advance Wars and Black Hole Rising, the plot between Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike was even more so, and Days of Ruin was the most serious the franchise has ever been.
- Character Development: Nearly all the COs got fleshed out between Advance Wars 1 and 2, especially the non-Orange Star ones that the character now gets to control. Olaf went from a bumbling villain to a grumpy but competent leader, Kanbei went from silly levels of idiocy to an honorable but tactically-dense emperor, Eagle went from a revenge-driven Jerkass that never thought things through to a more reasonable team player, and so on.
- Character Exaggeration: The Days of Ruin Tactics sessions turn on the Silliness Switch for everyone's characters to bring some levity to the story. Will is more of a hapless Butt-Monkey, Isabella's girly side side is brought to the forefront, Brenner is a figurehead leader lacking in tactics, villains devolve into Card Carrying Villains, and Lin acts however would be funniest.
- Character Select Forcing: In the first GBA game, if the player selects Sami or Max and loses on the first battle against Drake, Nell will outright tell the player: "How about using Andy next time?" This makes sense since Drake's power damages units and Andy's power repairs them, but a Bonus Boss can only be unlocked if the player uses only Sami for the next few missions.
- Chromatic Arrangement: The three main COs of Orange Star (Andy, Max and Sami) follow the classic red, blue, green scheme.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: While they're still playable outside of Campaign mode, Flak and Adder mysteriously disappear from Black Hole for the duration of Dual Strike's campaign. Possibly justified in that their abilities were too similar to Black Hole newcomers Jugger and Koal/Zak, and the newbies were more integral to the new Big Bad. (Which begs the question why Flak and Adder are in the game to begin with.)
- Climax Boss: In Dual Strike, Koal and Lash in the mission where you destroy your first Black Crystal, and Kindle and Koal in mission 22 where you destroy a Black Obelisk for the first time. Days of Ruin has The Beast, Forsythe, and Greyfield, all of which count as Disc One Final Bosses. Each of these serve to end some plot points, wrap up an act, introduce more questions, and the victory music that plays when you win is more upbeat and triumphant.
- Cloning Blues: Barely touched upon in the first 3 Advance Wars games, but a huge part of Days of Ruin.
- To clarify, the main characters were all cloned by the enemy in the first 3 games to lead enemy troops, but the issues with that were never discussed (unless a very brief moment with Dual Strike's Andy clone is counted).
- Cold Sniper: Gage/Trak from Days of Ruin is a sniper with a cold and detached view of war.
- Combat Breakdown: In the Advance Wars games, all units lose firepower as their HP decreases, which is justified if you pay attention to the combat animations. All units have 10 HP, and most units are shown in the combat screen to actually be 5-man or 5-vehicle squadrons, and every 2 HP lost destroys a sub-unit, thus explaining how injured units have reduced firepower. Even "larger" units that are a single unit, like Bombers, Battleships, and Megatanks, tend to have five guns or dropping bays, with 1 of those being disabled for every 2 HP lost.
- Comeback Mechanic: The CO Power system was partially this in the GBA games and Dual Strike, since the meter would fill up more from damage the CO's army has sustained than damage they are dealing. Days Of Ruin, on the other hand, completely averts this, as the meter would only fill up when a CO deals damage towards their opponent, and sustained damage has no effect on the meter.
- Companion Cube: Penny with her Mr. Bear. One case where an European renaming is not necessary, as the European translation didn't add that particular Woolseyism.
- Composite Character: The Cruiser is an amalgamation of real-life cruisers (anti-air ships) and frigates (anti-submarine ships), being extremely effective against both while being vulnerable to attacks from Battleships.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: There's a case that helps the player in Beachhead in Battalion Wars 1; the CPU-controlled Artillery can snipe off the infantry climbing up the hilly terrain that makes seeing them difficult, from inside the fort on top of the hills. However, in Battalion Wars 2, while there is another case that involves a playable unit in the last mission, it does not help the player whatsoever: the Battlestation attacks the guns that fire the weak green lasers coming from the Mining Spider before attacking the blasted digging machine itself, but you don't get to aim at these guns whatsoever. This makes no sense because the Fighters you get are harder, albeit generally more rewarding, to control than the no-brainer Battlestation, but at least the Heavy Tanks fire at the guns too if commanded to attack the Spider.
- As a more conventional example, in the first two Advance Wars, the CPU-controlled armies are not affected by Fog of War and can attack your units even if none of their units would be able to see them (although they still have to uncover your units hiding in forests before they can attack it — the computer acts as if they don't exist otherwise). Zigzagged in Dual Strike, where the AI still knows where your units are but now has to play by the rules when it comes to attacking them, and completely averted in Days of Ruin where the enemy is just as affected by Fog of War as you are.
- On a related note, ever notice how the computer will rarely leave its battleship within range of that sub you've had submerged for the past three turns?
- At least somewhat averted in the Re-Boot Camp remake, where the AI now has to play by the rules during Fog of War missions.
- Cool Bike: The Bike unit in Days of Ruin. It has the best movement of any infantry-type unit, slightly better firepower than basic infantry, and can capture cities.
- Cool Old Guy: Sensei and Hachi in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike; Forsythe/Carter in Days of Ruin
- Cool Airship: The Great Owl from Days of Ruin could possibly qualify as this, considering it's a gigantic flying laboratory/bomber... with a section of one of its wing being big enough to have a full-scale battle with tanks and rockets and stuff.
- Cool Train: The Train unit in Super Famicom Wars.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: In the first three Advance Wars games, the units of all sides only differ in terms of appearance. Outside of battle scenes, the sprites are completely identical. Differences in strength solely come from certain COs.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Played straight in Advance, averted in Battalion.
- Of particular note is the Missile unit from the Nintendo/Advance series, which is not only ludicrously specialized but also almost completely useless at what it does. note
- Then there are the Piperunners. They absolutely cannot move if there are no pipes to move around, and the enemy would just stay out of their range anyway.
- Crutch Character: Game Boy Wars 3 in particular has some, although units are generic.
- Cue the Sun: The epilogue of Days of Ruin has a ray of sunlight finally showing through the cloudy sky.
- Cutscene Incompetence:
- Colin in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike: Always portrayed as under-confident, put upon by his big sister Sasha — yet in game terms he's one of the most powerful COs, to the point of being a problem in terms of game balance.
- Kanbei as well. His troops are extremely strong, despite being more expensive, and yet, Kanbei is constantly lectured by his daughter Sonja, and in one scene, when Sonja runs in with important news, Kanbei's first response is to ask if she's seen his sock. This could just be Crippling Overspecialization or Genius Ditz; Kanbei is a master commander who's an airhead with anything that isn't war.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: The enemy commanders are apparently impossible to capture, no matter how many times they get wiped out. Black Hole is the most extreme offender, as they basically pull a new army out of thin air every time the protagonists look away for five seconds. Mostly averted by Days of Ruin, which isn't afraid to kill off characters.
- Darker and Edgier:
- Black Hole Rising takes its global conflict a lot more seriously than the first game, with towns being destroyed, civilians threatened, characters put in actual danger, and villains who are surprisingly dangerous despite being Laughably Evil. It also features some fairly somber missions like "Toy Box", "Duty and Honor" and "A Mirror Darkly", and the COs generally get more humanizing moments and have their sillier aspects dialed-back. Notably, the only character to still act like War Has Never Been So Much Fun is Lash, an unrepentant Card-Carrying Villain. Similarly in Dual Strike, the plot is much darker (although nowhere near Days of Ruin's), the music is less whimsical (even the pre-existing themes get remastered), and the animations are much more mature than even Black Hole Rising.
- Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict. Done reasonably well. The ads even used this trope as a selling point!
- Dead Hat Shot: After Hawke unleashes Black Storm on Sturm in the ending cutscene (in Reboot Camp) for Black Hole Rising, the only thing left of Sturm, is his commissar cap.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts:
- Possible in the Advance Wars series; even if a unit does 0% damage to another unit at base, they will still deal a tiny bit of damage thanks to luck mechanic, which randomly adds 0-9% extra damage to every attack before modifiers. This means yes, you can take out a Neotank by just throwing a ton of Infantry at it, however it is typically not cost-effective to take out enemy units this way, with units destroyed this way tending to be incidental from them having engaged in many battles without any repairs.
- Played straight in Battalion Wars by the combat roll (essentially a third-person circle strafe).
- This is practically the only way to deal with Megatanks in Dual Strike, since their insane armor means that nothing besides another Megatank can inflict more than 35% damage normally, even Rockets, Battleship, and Bombers. Individual attacks might not do much, but for the Megatank's cost, you can field multiple other units to chip away at it until it's neutered.
- Denser and Wackier:
- The Tactics sessions for each map in Days of Ruin seem to take place in a parallel universe where everything is less dire and serious, to the point that it almost counts as comic relief. In this bubble universe, Brenner is a tactical dimwit that relies solely on Lin, various allies put on a cheery "Tactical Tip Show" for you with varying degrees of success, Lin and Isabella find the time to do each other's hair and makeup, enemy CO's wander into your War Room and happily tell you how to beat them, and Will is always, always ridiculed, mocked, or treated like trash with few exceptions. Even the more serious one between Brenner and Gage (when things are at their darkest) still has Gage acting as the Comically Serious with his brevity.
- Days of Ruin is also given a few more moments of levity in comparison to the Dark Conflict script. Some of the game's sillier moments (Factories building Robot Soldiers to justify why they can create infantry, many character tics being exaggerated, the IDS Agent's Only Sane Man rant) are inventions of this localised script, and the original version played things more seriously by comparison.
- Destroying a Punching Bag: In the opening movie for Reboot Camp, Max is seen training with a small punching bag hanging on a tree. He finishes with a punch that sends the punching bag flying far in the air, much to his surprise.
- Developer's Foresight:
- In the tutorial missions of each game, there's dialogue ready for every possibility the player can come up with (outside of the mandatory actions, of course). Amusingly, if the player decides to deplete all their units' fuel in maps with fixed units, there is special dialogue with your teacher expressing either bewilderment or fury that you deliberately wasted valuable resources just to see what would happen.
- In the two GBA Advance Wars games, if you constantly try to place units on invalid terrain (for example, infantry in the ocean) in the Map Editor, Nell pops in to chastise you.Nell: You must really like doing that over and over again. Keep it up.
- 'Re-Boot Camp takes this to another level, as Nell gets increasingly annoyed and eventually just leaves if you do it enough. Even more notably, once she peaces out, a generic Orange Star soldier takes her place for any dialogue she'd normally have (such as exiting a map without saving).
- In several missions through the series, such as the Advance Wars tutorial mission "Copter Tactics", there's extra dialogue for managing to rout the enemy instead of capturing the enemy HQ like you're expected to; there's likewise some missions with changed dialogue for capping the enemy HQ when you have an easier win condition.
- In Re-Boot Camp, if you can’t afford an item in Hachi’s shop, he’ll usually just say that you don’t have enough coins. If you can’t afford the challenge campaigns, which respectively cost 1 and 2 coins, there’s a unique “You don’t even have one/two coin(s)?” line.
- Didn't Think This Through: In Days of Ruin, Greyfield/Sigismundo threatens the soldiers under his command with execution if they contract the Creeper. Unsurprisingly, this results in the men that end up infected not to report their infection and mingling freely with the healthy soldiers, resulting in the Creeper spreading like wildfire through his army.
- Dieselpunk: Some parts of the artstyle of the first three games and the Duster unit from Days of Ruin invoke this design.
- Disaster Democracy: Early in Days of Ruin, Brenner's Wolves encounter at least two villages whose leaders were chosen by the people. This is discussed, with Will wondering why people try to establish order in a post-apocalyptic anarchistic world. Brenner reasons that it is out of virtue and create their own laws, while Lin counters the argument by stating that it is out of instinct that they establish laws so that they don't kill each other.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Rachel and Koal have the worst tagging firepower penalty in the game. Olaf and Lash get a 20% penalty to firepower when tagging because Lash used some weird invention to rearrange and destroy his hometown. Eagle and Hawke get a 30% penalty when tagging because Hawke knocked Green Earth around quite a bit. (Drake and Jess also get a penalty with Hawke, albeit only 10%, probably for this same reason.) What did Koal do to Rachel for a 35% penalty? He DISSED HER FACE. Sure, she's going to need some lotion for that burn, but it's nothing compared to the previous two penalties mentioned.
- Doomed Moral Victor: Brenner/O'Brian in Days of Ruin. Also Forsythe/Carter to a slightly lesser extent.
- Do Well, But Not Perfect:
- Dual Strike and Days of Ruin rewards medals for A, B, and C ranks.
- Completing the first three Yellow Comet missions in the first game's campaign under a certain amount of turns apiece prompts Sonja to take action and challenge each of the Orange Star team to three more missions, while taking too long in at least one of them starts the Green Earth chapter. Given that Sonja's secret missions are considered That One Level and skipping them starts the Green Earth chapter sooner, it's understandable to simply lollygag during "Kanbei's Error" for this reason, provided the player knows how to get Drake or Eagle to appear in the final mission (as they won't have Kanbei). This doesn't apply to Re-Boot Camp, where these missions are mandatory and the CO selection in the final mission is a manual choice.
- The Dragon:
- Hawke in Black Hole Rising is regarded as Sturm's top CO, the leader of all the other Black Hole COs, and a dangerous tactical genius. Sturm, however, is considerably more powerful.
- Kindle/Candy in Dual Strike is second in command of the Bolt Guard, under Von Bolt.
- Tabitha/Larisa in Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict is Caulder's oldest child, and a very dangerous and capable CO, despite (or perhaps because) of her arrogance. Waylon/Finn could also count as one for Greyfield/Sigismundo.
- Ubel in Battalion Wars.
- Dumbass No More: Several characters went through this in the transition from the first game to Black Hole Rising.
- Andy, while still a Wide-Eyed Idealist to a degree that unsettles his allies, is no longer a Naďve Newcomer who famously forgot what an airport was. He's considerably Out of Focus in the second and third game's campaigns but whenever he does show up he's just as competent as any other CO.
- Olaf was the first game's Starter Villain and a massive failure as a strategist. Not only has he had a Heel–Face Turn in the sequel, he's also no longer an idiot: he's instead a gruff but ultimately dependable ally.
- Kanbei in the first game barely considered tactics besides Attack! Attack! Attack! until Sonja advised him otherwise... and even then he misused her advice in the worst ways possible. From the second game onwards he's a legitimate Four-Star Badass for Yellow Comet, merely having a slight tendency towards Honor Before Reason at worst.
- Eagle is no longer an obsessed Blood Knight who missed the painfully obvious signs that the object of his vendetta was innocent. He's a little headstrong, but otherwise frighteningly skilled Ace Pilot who's also A Father to His Men.
- Eagleland: Orange Star in the Wars World universe, and Rubinelle/Laurentia in Days of Ruin, with Brenner's Wolves being The Beautiful and the New Rubinelle/Laurentian Army being The Boorish.
- Early-Installment Weirdness:
- Pre-Advance Wars games featured a much different combat system where attacking and defending units fired simultaneously, rather than the now much more familiar attacker-first set-up. This gave indirect units a much greater emphasis on the offensive, as their primary function of weakening opposing units prior to direct engagement became utterly necessary to prevent stalemates. One could, conceivably, also do this with sheer weight of numbers, but such an advantage was highly unlikely due to the balanced nature of most maps.
- The idea of COs with different abilities and strategies wasn't introduced until Super Famicom Wars. Prior installments simply had the factions as Cosmetically Different Sides, and even then, the default COs of each faction were all still the same, there just happened to be three others who had unique abilities.
- The first Advance Wars had you play as a Non-Entity General, a "strategic advisor" to Orange Star who you named yourself, much like the Tactician in the first internationally-released Fire Emblem game. This was dropped from all subsequent games. Additionally, the Campaign was very different to later games. The tutorial was separate from the main campaign rather than integrated into it, most maps were of the pre-deploy type (you start with a large number of units, instead of having to build them yourself), only Orange Star was playable, there were branching routes depending on which characters you selected for which missions, there were no Super CO Powers, and Hard Mode (Advanced Mode here) dropped the Power and Technique scores entirely and only ranked you on Speed (It's also MUCH more difficult than the Hard Modes of later games).
- Before Advance Wars, units that are inside transport units (APC, T Copter, and Lander) will suffer damage when the transporting unit they're in gets attacked. As a result, loaded transport units had to be treated with extra care as any possibility of being attacked could equate to an exponentially large loss.
- Several maps in Famicom Wars were fundamentally flawed in their designs and can either exhibit a tendency to be unbalanced towards one side or stall out into a long stalemate. And when those maps were carried over into Super Famicom Wars, the same flaws became either inconsequential or much worse than before.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict, which ends with all the enemy forces defeated, the deadly virus being cured, and people being able to grow crops just as the sun appears again. And boy, did they make you work for it.
- Easy Amnesia: Isabella, who remembers tons of useful information right when it is needed. Justified in that she was basically designed to be a walking, breathing database of military information. Other than what she picks up after Will finds her, that's all she knows.
- Easy Level Trick:
- In the first Advance Wars, the AI is programmed to target any APCs in its attack rage in priority over every other unit, no matter the unit, its health or what they are doing. Knowing this makes a lot of map incredibly easy as use can use APCs to draw fire for pricier units to move into position, distract defensive units so infantry can do captures unharmed, or lure direct fire units into ambushes.
- Andy's version of "Naval Clash!" requires him to protect a Missile unit for 10 days. If you put the Missile in a Lander and hide it in a certain reef, Drake will never find it, guaranteeing you a win by doing nothing for the remaining turns. Note that this doesn't work in Re-Boot Camp, where Drake will find the Lander eventually if you leave it on one place.
- A well-known trick in "Kanbei's Error?" involves luring one of his Anti-Airs onto a neutral property, preventing him from capturing it and delaying his capture win. (His AI is too stupid to move it off the property unless something else is in its range) For the Advance Campaign version of the map, this trick is practically necessary.
- In Black Hole Rising, it is possible to cheese the otherwise difficult "Two Week Test" mission by building zero units whatsoever and rely on the bad A.I. to park a non-infantry unit on your HQ, preventing it from capturing it. Of course, this will tank your Power rating. Another known mission bypass uses A.I. exploits to sneak a transport to Lash's H.Q. to cap it by turn 8. These are no longer possible in Re-Boot Camp, as the improved A.I. will focus on both protecting its own HQ and prioritize capturing yours.
- "Hot Pursuit" in the Hard Campaign of Black Hole Rising is a tough mission to tackle normally, but some AI manipulation can bait all of Sturm's considerable land to focus on the center instead of your flanks, and trap them all in a single chokepoint traffic jam◊. This works because the wounded infantry moves first and attempts to retreat but cannot, while the later moving intact vehicles are all aggresively trying to advance but cannot.
- Easy Logistics:
- While every unit uses up fuel (or rations, for infantry) and ammunition, it is very easy to resupply units and all but a few units can carry many days' worth of fuel and ammo on their own. APCs resupply any units adjacent to them at the beginning of the turn. (Or resupply one unit manually that they drive up to.) Including battleships and aircraft, with no explanation how a ground-based vehicle can refuel a fighter jet. As well, the APC has infinite supplies, and can rearm and refuel all units indefinitely.
- Dual Strike introduces usable Black Hole technology in the form of the Black Boat, a cheap ship that can transport foot soldiers, resupply units, and heal 1 HP of damage to make naval logistics even easier. The only thing it's missing from the APC is the ability to automatically resupply adjacent units at the start of its turn.
- Days of Ruin makes the APC a Rig. The same benefits as before, but now it has the supplies to build one temporary airport or seaport.
- It's been joked about to no end how the APCs are incapable of resupplying themselves, for some odd reason.
- Elemental Powers: Re-Boot camp gives unique visuals to CO powers that resemble superpowers.
- Olaf summons a blizzard.
- Drake's CO power causes a rainstorm.
- Max and Flak's CO powers create fiery explosions.
- Eagle and Jess use electricity to invigorate their units (lightning strikes in Eagle's case).
- A strong gust of wind blows over the battlefield as Sensei activates Airborne Assault.
- Adder's units are engulfed in a dark mist, while Hawke's Black Storm manifests as a dark energy wave that crackles with electricity as it charges.
- While cosmetic in terms of gameplay, Hawke killing Sturm with a dark lightning blast suggests that the CO's can use their abilities in an offensive capacity as well, not just for strengthening their units.
- Elite Four: Black Hole seems to like these kinds of formations.
- In Black Hole Rising, Sturm tasks his four new COs each with invading one nation of the Wars World.
- The Bolt Guard, which commands Black Hole in Dual Strike, has four members including its leader.
- Enemy Mine:
- Hawke and Lash join up with the Allied Nations to take out Von Bolt after the latter tries to off them for outliving their usefulness (and discovering him in the first place).
- Tasha and Gage in Days of Ruin, after Forsythe's death.
- Enigmatic Minion: Hawke in Dual Strike. Performs a Heel–Face Turn, helps defeat the Big Bad, and then fakes his own death and takes the Big Bad's ultimate doomsday weapon for himself, which he then uses to undo the damage it did during the events of the game.
- Escort Mission: The Advance Wars series has some, and there's quite a few in Battalion Wars 2.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Sensei and Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict's "Mayor".
- Evil Counterpart: Flak, Lash, Adder, and Hawke from Black Hole Rising seem to be evil counterparts of Max, Sonja, Grit, and Eagle.
- An interesting case, as the pairs also represent opposites. Grit and Adder are both gaunt men who rely on precision, but Grit is nice, laid-back, and he forces anyone playing as him to take things slow, while Adder is a Smug Snake with a quickly charging power bar and CO powers that allow his units to sprint across the map. Both Sonja and Lash are hyper-competent young women with terrain-based gameplay, but Sonja is polite, formal, calculating, and does things by the book (unless her own research proves to be better), while Lash is a childish, selfish, erratic brat who dresses much less conservatively than Sonja and has much wilder hair. Hawke and Eagle are both White-Haired Jerks who tend to take things seriously, but Eagle is very Hot-Blooded and Hawke is The Stoic. Flak and Max are the most similar pair, but Max is mostly just blunt while Flak is an idiot. Basically, Max prefers not to think too deeply, while Flak outright can't. That last bit is called attention to in Black Hole Rising; Flak mentions that Max strongly reminds him of himself, "Except... I'm me." The fact that they're so similar is implied to be the cause of their mutual hatred, as well.
- Evil Old Folks: Von Bolt. Caulder may or may not be old, but he's certainly not young. Kaiser Vlad is allegedly 100 years old.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: Ultimately what drives Hawke to betray Von Bolt. Hawke has no delusions about the kind of person he is, but he also cares about the people he leads (having one of the few healing CO powers) and the damage he may do. Von Bolt doesn't care about what damage he causes as long as what he's focused on gets achieved, and thus has no problem turning the world into a wasteland to achieve his own goals. Put simply, Hawke is aware that there may be nothing to rule after Von Bolt has his way with things, and even before being betrayed, he had second guesses about the plans that were being made. Also a major reason why he betrayed and killed Sturm at the end of Advance Wars 2, although if Sturm survived, which he did not, encountering Von Bolt would have most likely resulted in the two villains trying to kill each other. Sturm was trying to take everyone with him to the grave by self-destructing his base at the end of Advance Wars 2, which would have also killed many Black Hole soldiers. By offing his employer, Hawke prevented that from happening.
- Experience Points: In Super Famicom Wars, Game Boy Wars 3, and Days of Ruin. Also present for the COs in Dual Strike.
- No Experience Points for Medic: In Super Famicom Wars and especially Days of Ruin. Subverted, however, in Game Boy Wars 3, as units gain experience by performing tasks besides combat.
- Expy: Several of the Days of Ruin COs have similarities — rather jarring ones — with the earlier Advance Wars ones.
- Also, Nell (aka Catherine) from Advance Wars is an expy of Caroline from Super Famicom Wars.
- The Green Earth COs are an air combat specialist that constantly bickers with his friend who is a ground specialist and a fat guy that specializes in naval combat. They are basically the crew of Getter Robo.
- For the units, every single unit in the Advance series that isn't from Black Hole is an Expy of a real life piece of military hardware.
- Extra Turn:
- Eagle's Lightning Drive and Lightning Strike let him move non-infantry units for a second time per turn, with the exception of the former as a CO Power in Black Hole Rising, either with a boost or a penalty to attack and defense.
- What makes Tag Breaks in Dual Strike so dangerous isn't just the two different Super CO Powers, it's the extra turn they grant to the second CO immediately after the first one. A Tag Break with Eagle as one of its members effectively gets three turns in one.
- Faceless Goons: Black Hole infantry and mechs in the Advance Wars series. Xylvanian Rifle Grunts just wear bags and gas masks over their heads.
- In their "conversation" portraits, the distortion of their helmets makes them appear vaguely alien. Not that this helps...
- Faction Calculus: Within the factions themselves. Each CO roster usually has this laid out.
- Orange Star: Andy, Nell, Jake, and Rachel are Balanced, Max is Powerhouse, Sami is Subversive. Hachi is a blatant Game-Breaker.
- Blue Moon: Olaf is Balanced turned to Powerhouse in the Snow, Grit is Glass Cannon, Colin is Subversive, Sasha is Balanced.
- Yellow Comet: Kanbei is Powerhouse, Sonja is Subversive, Sensei is Balanced, Grimm is Glass Cannon.
- Green Earth: Regarding CO powers and general strategy as opposed to unit stats, Eagle is Powerhouse, Drake is Subversive, Jess is Balanced, Javier is a Stone Wall.
- Black Hole: Sturm, Hawke, and Von Bolt are Powerhouse, Flak and Jugger try to be Powerhouse and often fail at it, Lash is Subversive, Adder, Kindle, and Koal are Balanced.
- Failed a Spot Check: Woe betide the player that pours everything into a major offensive push before realizing that a T-Copter or Lander managed to sneak around and drop an Infantry on his unguarded HQ. Usually, this only has to happen once before that mistake is never made again.
- Fanservice Pack: Nell, Sami, and Lash are a lot bustier than before in Reboot Camp. Perhaps unsurprising given the designs were made by WayForward Technologies, a company with a penchant for busty female characters.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The four main nations of Wars World have pretty clear parallels in real world cultures and/or militaries, as do the nations of Day of Ruin/Dark Conflict
- Red/Orange Star and Rubinelle are based off the United States of America and its armed forces and Orange Star and Brenner's Wolves within Rubinelle portray America the Beautiful, while Black Hole is able to convince the other countries that Orange Star is America the Boorish in Advance Wars 1 and Greyfield's faction of Rubinelle is similarly in the Boorish camp.
- Blue Moon and Lazuria (and IDS) are patterned after the USSR and Russia and especially by way of Olaf, Blue Moon shares the association with fierce winter and defense of the motherland. Meanwhile, Lazuria and the IDS mostly just use Soviet/Russian styled units.
- Yellow Comet is unambiguously based on a Lighter and Softer version of Imperial Japan.
- Green Earth draws a lot of its style from Nazi Germany (stahlhelms, panzerschrecks, sturmtigers, etc.), but is culturally more like the more modern European NATO states.
- Black Hole however doesn't really draw any such comparison in style. Their units tend to have extraterrestrial/sci-fi designs and astronaut uniforms.
- First-Player Advantage Mitigation: Most custom-made maps (as seen in Advance Wars by Web) give an infantry to the second player to offset the first player's advantage of going first.
- Fog of War: Present in certain missions and situations. There are some COs whose powers enable extra sight through it. When there's rain, the fog gets worse.
- For Science!: Caulder/Stolos's motivation. Also Lash's, but she's nowhere near as awful about it.
- Fractional Winning Condition: In the Black Hole Rising campaign, every nation besides Orange Star (whose first three missions are required and linear) begins with three missions. Completing any two of these unlocks the next set of three, and completing any two of those unlocks the factory mission. So only 5 out of 8 missions (assuming the optional Lab mission is also skipped) need to be completed to liberate each nation.
- Fragile Speedster:
- The Buggy in Game Boy Wars 3; cheap and fast, but its defense is right in between that of the Infantry and the Mech, if you can believe it.
- And Recon units in the Advance Wars series, having the second highest movement rate in the game (8, with fighters having 9) but being exceptionally weak in terms of fighting anything armored as well as or better than a tank. However, this speed only applies on roads, as their movement type makes them easily slowed down by all other terrain, including mere plains.
- Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict introduces Bikes in this category. They have the most move points of any infantry unit (and as infantry units, are able to capture properties), and machine gun firepower equal to Mechs but have no way to counter vehicles.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: A rather squicky example after destroying the black obelisk in Dual Strike, in that they didn't even change the color of the "water", making it seem like "Omega Land's Best Water" was still disgusting and contaminated by the ravaging of the land that Black Hole had been doing.note
- Full Health Bonus: A crucial part of gameplay is that units deal progressively less damage for each point of HP they lose, and benefit less from defensive terrain, in turn making it progressively easier to eliminate their remaining HP. As such, dealing the first strike with full HP units as much as you can is critical to succeed, and units can be rendered ineffectual by leaving them with little HP. Additionally foot units have their property capture rate based on their remaining HP, and so damaging them the slightest bit will delay capture by at least a turn in usual cases, while a critically injured soldier will take forever to capture a property.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Normally in Dual Strike, you can't leave your primary CO slot empty. However, if your secondary slot is empty, and you then select your current primary CO as your new secondary, the primary slot will become empty since the game simply swaps out your CO slots. Going into battle like this will get you a garbled glitch CO whose Super Power is, for some odd reason, ready to be unleashed. You're better off not, though, as using it crashes the game, as do viewing your CO info and switching COs.
- Gameplay and Story Integration:
- At the end of Black Hole Rising, Hawke uses his CO power outside of a battle. It normally damages enemy units and heals friendly units. In this scene, Hawke protects Andy and kills Sturm.
- Dual Strike carries Olaf's anger and distrust of Lash from Black Hole Rising over - while he does not turn up in the campaign, due to helping to restore his hometown, his hatred of Lash for destroying it in the first place is still in place, as attempting to partner Lash and Olaf up will cause their troop's effective firepower to drop.
- Days of Ruin explains why your units from one campaign mission don't carry over to the next (factories are automated, and the units produced by them automatically power down when they leave the area. For Infantry and Mechs, their weapons don't work if taken out of the area).
- Another, perhaps unintentional example from Days of Ruin, where in the story, Greyfield is a mediocre CO who has to rely on others like Brenner's Wolves and Waylon to do the actual fighting for him, while in actual PVP play his strengths tend to be easy to counter, anticipate, and difficult to take advantage of. The unintentional bit comes not from his abilities being purposely underpowered, but the fact that his CO zone applies only to Navy units, Seaplanes, and Battle Copters, the first two of which are still Awesome, but Impractical despite the numerous buffs to Naval units in DOR, and specialization in them can't viably compete without a map forcing their usage or having a huge available economy.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Some cases, but the mission Omens and Signs in Dual Strike makes a later story event seriously over the top about it.
- General Ripper: Greyfield/Sigismundo. Good lord. He was willing to drop a nuke on an entire city just to kill a single person.
- Geo Effects: Cities, HQs, factories, ports, and airports heal units; plains, forests, mountains, reefs, and all of the previous-mentioned tiles provide some degree of defenseive bonuses. Lash specialises in this, her units getting firepower bonuses as well as defense boosts from terrain.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Sturm in the first Advance Wars. After fighting the various countries with hints of an enemy that can clone COs, the final boss is revealed to be an alien general that drops meteors on people. No attempt is made to explain where he comes from, or why he has no fellow aliens with him in the first game, or why he is able to recruit human generals in the second game. He just... is. Not that anyone minds, given his badassery.
- Giggling Villain: Lash, in keeping with her role as a Psychopathic Manchild, as a small yet sinister "Tee hee hee!" laugh.
- Glass Cannon:
- Among the COs, there's Sturm in the first Advance Wars' campaign, and Grimm in Duel Strike, who each have all their units with 130% offensive power, but only 80% of the usual defense. Interestingly Sturm inverts this in the first Advance Wars when played in Vs. Mode, where he becomes a Stone Wall instead.
- Mechs have the attack power of Tanks against vehicles, but are barely more durable than Infantry.
- Artillery can deal a lot of damage to any land and sea unit, but are some of the most frail land units, with even Infantry being able to deal some damage to them. Rockets and Missiles are even more extreme, with the former being even stronger than Artillery against land and sea units, and the latter devastating air units, but both are even frailer than Artillery.
- Submarines, although when submerged, they can't be attacked by anything but Cruisers and other Subs.
- Air units in general only can be attacked by a few types of units but get shredded fast by them. In the Advance Wars series, even Fighters (the least squishy plane unit) take upwards of 70% damage from a Missile barrage. Air to Air engagements take this to the logical extreme of "whoever fires first, wins", as one would expect of a Glass Cannon duel. Air units also cannot benefit off of any defensive terrain, so they're always taking the full brunt of any attack. The Bomber exemplifies this most, as it is offensively the most powerful unit in the game against most types of units, being able to destroy or cripple all land and naval units in a single blow unless they're on good defensive terrain (and oftentimes even if), but if a full health Fighter, Missiles, Anti-Air, or Cruiser gets the drop on them, they'll be left with little HP or one-shotted themselves.
- Game Boy Wars 3 has quite a few examples:
- The Mech, of course. They get to snipe armored stuff from a small distance too.
- The Humvee, sometimes known as the Battle Car. It has the same armor class as the infantry (although more defense too), since any vehicles that don't look like ones designed primarily for war do; this results in the Anti-Air Tanks being able to shred it with a first attack. But it's also armed with an anti-tank weapon as its primary. Its promoted form also has a miniature anti-air machine gun.
- Any land indirect, of course. The Humvee can One-Hit Kill any of them. Of course, in this game, they get to move and attack on the same turn.
- The Tank Destroyer isn't this power-wise, but it is when it comes to Initiative, a stat used to determine attack order. If it moves anywhere far, kiss the first attack advantage goodbye.
- Air units in general. If they're attacked up close and right away (or can't deal any damage anyway), expect at least 6 HPs of damage to be taken, unless it's the Attacker S, which would be this game's standard Bomber anyway if not for being a promoted unit. Attackers are the example in this group because they can attack anything but Submarines for good damage, but have lower defense than Fighters.
- The Aegis Warship is an odd case of making itself this; its defense ratings are among the highest in the game, but it has a powerful weapon that has massive attack power against ships: 7 HPs of damage in its own matchup, even and can fire away from a whopping seven spaces.
- Good Versus Good:
- Played with in Days of Ruin. The start of the second arc begins with several battles between the New Rubinelle Army (who Brenner's Wolves side with) and Lazuria. At first, the latter look like the villains, but it turns out that the NRA — on the orders of Greyfield —actually shot first. The Lazurians are just trying to defend their homeland and turn out to be sympathetic. Brenner and Forsythe both lament that they are forced to fight each other despite both being honorable and wanting the conflict to end.
- Also present in the first Advance Wars, though you don't realize it until the end. All of the nations were duped by Sturm to attack one another, and any reason for the other nations to act with hostility towards Orange Star was through manipulation or false-flag attacks (or for Yellow Comet, simply trespassing).
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
- Windsor's "Dash it all" in Battalion Wars 2.
- Averted in Days of Ruin.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Hacking suggests that the All Unit Medal in Game Boy Wars 3 is obtained this way — and it's gold plated.
- Guide Dang It!:
- Which COs you control for the final mission in the first game is based on who you picked at certain route splits and whether or not you unlocked Sonja's bonus missions (which are themselves never hinted at). Full Details This was changed in the Re-Boot Camp remake, with the player now being able to choose which CO's support Andy in the final mission, but on the other hand, Sonja's missions are now mandatory.
- A meta-game based example in Days of Ruin: the Anti-Tank's cost ineffectiveness against infantry.
- Game Boy Wars 3 has a few Medals as this, such as losing a battle in Campaign and denying the AI's surrender requests 10 times.
- A weird case for veterans of the first three Advance Wars games; the scoring for ranks wasn't that hard to figure out, but come Days Of Ruin, they were reworked so that much confusion was had over suddenly sucky scores. The Technique score now rewards you for using fewer units overall than your opponent, not how few you lose, meaning that the usual strategy of spamming Infantry toward the end of missions to make up for losses now works against the player.
- Dual Strike changed the way the CO Power meter charges without any explanation, despite it worked the same as Black Hole Rising in all other respects. Instead of being based on the funds cost of damage, every unit is assigned a numerical value per HP, which mostly correlates to cost but not always. (Black Bombs being worth far less meter than their 25000 cost suggests)
- There's an entire luck mechanic that goes wholly unexplained, yet which also has three COs built entirely around it Nell (has extra luck), Flak (more luck than Nell, but also a chance to have negative luck), and Jugger (basically the same as Flak, but with an even wider variance) plus another who interacts with it (Sonja, unlucky), and affects certain Tag Breaks in Dual Strike. It's a rather complicated calculation involving a CO's innate luck bonuses, terrain stars, and unit health; this video explains the mechanic in full detail.
- Since "Flak Attack" is Adapted Out in the Hard Campaign, the lab map moves instead moves to "Andy's Time". However, there's absolutely no indication that a lab map is located therenote , with the only way to find out is to capture a city that's relatively close to Flak's base, meaning you're very likely to focus on the cannon and other properties as opposed to that city.
- Hard Mode Perks:
- Less of a "perk" and more of a mercy, but Advanced Campaign in the first game only ranks you on Speed, so you don't need to worry about kills or losses, just completing the maps quickly. S-Ranking its missions is still absurdly hard, but it would've been even worse otherwise. This means Hold the Line missions are an automatic S Rank as long as you win, since it's impossible for them to be completed any faster (or slower).
- Scores in the Hard Campaign for the second game yield double the amount of currency for Haichi's store. In Re-Boot Camp, scores in the normal campaign played in Classic difficulty have a 10% bonus to the currency rewards.
- There are a few missions in the Orange Star chapter that are exclusive to the Hard Campaign of the second game, replacing some of the tutorial missions in the Normal Campaign, notably a matchup with Andy against Hawke in a map without the means to produce ground units, and a windy road covered in Fog of War where Max needs to maneuver around Adder's traps. Playing the Hard Campaign is the only way to experience said missions.
- Dual Strike’s Hard Campaign removes CO restrictions, so any CO can be used, and two COs can be used on the early maps before that mechanic would be introduced on the normal campaign. Often considered a case of the perks being too good, to the point of making Hard Campaign easier, as this means there’s nothing stopping you from using Game-Breaker COs and tags to trivialize most of the game.
- Harder Than Hard: While the Hard Campaign in Black Hole Rising is merely Nintendo Hard and the "Hard" Campaign of Dual Strike is in fact laughably easy due to it being treated as a New Game Plus, the Advance Campaign from the first Advance Wars veers hard into this trope. Almost every single mission sees your opponent's forces buffed to ridiculous levels while your own get heavily neutered, and a few missions throw in Fog of War where there previously was none just as an additional middle finger to the player. Merely completing the Advance Campaign is a Herculean feat, while S-Ranking it is the exclusive territory of gods and madmen.
- Heel–Face Turn: Olaf and Kanbei at the end of Advance Wars, Hawke and Lash during Dual Strike and Penny/Lili in Days of Ruin.
- He Knows About Timed Hits: In the Advance Wars series, Nell's tutorial explanations tend to be pretty bad about this, usually making explicit references to menus and button presses. Averted in Days of Ruin, where such mentions are reserved to separate windows on the top screen.
- And Battalion Wars too, resulting in the hilarious impression that your character is some sort of bodyjacking ghost whom the Western frontier have tricked into helping them and kept from leaving the battlefield using some kind of magical Invisible Wall.
- Heroic BSoD: Will/Ed after Brenner/O'Brian dies in Days of Ruin.
- He's Back!: After said Heroic BSoD, however, Will/Ed remembers the advice of Brenner/O'Brian and rushes into battle to take command just as his colleagues were on the run from Greyfield/Sigismundo. Notably, this is the moment where CO Powers are introduced in the game's campaign.
- Hero Unit: CO usage in Days of Ruin, as well as an interesting twist in the Battalion Wars games. In the former case, the CO you're controlling literally boards a friendly unit and provides its CO day-to-day benefits to a radius of units surrounding the CO Unit, building its CO Power meter as it ranks up.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The CPU (ally or enemy) of nearly every Advance Wars game has a distressing habit of always moving its units in a particular order... even when doing so will block the rest of its units from going where they need to go. Infamously, the AI can lose in Black Hole Rising "Two Week Test" mission by the player doing literally nothing, since it will park vehicles all over your bases and HQ so its Infantry can't capture them (and can't win by rout since the player didn't produce any units to begin with).
- HP to One: A variation of this trope is in play. While certain CO powers and missile silos reduce Unit HP by a set amount, they are unable to inflict the killing blow.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Sonja, Grit, and Drake in Advance Wars and Black Hole Rising are each more levelheaded than the superiors they serve. Lin in Days of Ruin is also this to Brenner, assisting him with her strategic prowess, though Brenner is no slouch either.
- I Am Legion: Countess Ingrid in Battalion Wars.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The difficulty levels of Re-Boot Camp are Casual, Classic, and Challenge.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The Advance Wars mission titles, with the exception of the Field Training missions, end with an exclamation mark. "Kanbei's Error?" is the sole exception of the naming theme.
- Idiot Ball:
- One sentence from Andy: "What's an airport?"
- Also, Olaf in the field training mode of Advance Wars. He places units in locations making them useless, leaves his HQ totally unprotected, forgets to fuel his air units, and leaves his units hanging out right in the line of fire, among other things. This is especially jarring after Olaf is fleshed out more in "Black Hole Rising", where he is shown as a competent commander who leads his country to oust the Black Hole invaders, and helps save the entire world.
- Kanbei in Advance Wars also holds the Idiot Ball for his mini-arc. It culminates in a fitting mission name called "Kanbei's Error?" where Kanbei deploys a ground-unit producing factory in the middle of an island with no easy way to evacuate troops produced there.
- Improbable Hairstyle: Days of Ruin suffers from this — After the End it may be, but Will/Ed's Spiky Shonen Hairdo™ is always impeccable, crippling lack of supplies be damned. Maybe he managed to make away with the entire military academy's supply of hair lotion...
- Inconsistent Dub: Take one look at the PAL release of Days of Ruin.
- Instakill Mook: Oozium 238 from Dual Strike can't counterattack and can only move one tile a turn, but if they move into a tile occupied by a unit, that unit is gone no matter their HP or defense.
- Instant-Win Condition: HQ Captures in all the games instantly wins the match regardless of how the battle is going, but also destroying factories, Black Cannons, and so on from Black Hole Rising onwards.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence:
- Air units cannot fly over any sort of enemy unit, with even Infantry illogically being able to prevent Bombers and Fighters from passing over them.
- Pipes in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike. Air units can't travel over them (long-range units like Artillery and Rockets can fire over them, however). Particularly Egregious in Dual Strike with the Piperunner unit - not only does it run along pipes, but in the battle animations involving the Piperunner, the pipe looks little more daunting than a steep humpback ridge.
- Done a bit more logically in Days of Ruin, which features arcs of electricity (referred to as plasma) between meteor chunks, which units cannot pass through or over, and at least in this case it's plausible that a raging storm of plasma might be dangerous to fly over. Unlike pipes, though, plasma arcs can be erased by destroying the meteors emitting them.
- Speaking of ships, bridges of the first Advance Wars game cannot be sailed under by ships, even submarines. Pre-battle unit placement ignores this, leading to the 'battleship in a lake' meme.
- Irony: The primary protagonist faction since the very first game Famicom Wars is Red Star which is modeled after Cold War America. It was renamed Orange Star since the Red Star is a prominent symbol of the Soviet Union. On the same note, Blue Moon is modeled after Cold War Russia which doesn't make sense since the color Blue is usually associated with NATO, America, and Capitalism.
- I Was Just Passing Through: In Black Hole Rising, Hawke describes turning up after faking his own death, killing Sturm, and saving everyone else's lives as "a test of his power".
- Jack of All Stats:
- Any CO that does not have any day-to-day bonuses nor weaknesses, such as Andy or Adder.
- Among units there's the normal Tanks, which boast high movement, good attack power against all land units aside from bigger tanks, decent vision range, and strong armor that makes them pretty resilient against anything but bigger tanks and Bombers. Combined with their cheaper-end price, and Tanks alongside Infantry will often make up the backbone of your army.
- There's also Stealth units, which can attack all units in the game but for less damage than the more specialized Fighters and Bombers. They have decent but not excellent movement (especially for air units), and also have a good vision range of 4 out of the maximum 5. Their only comparative shortcoming to other units is low fuel supply & high use rate, which is is exacerbated by their one unique ability of Stealth mode
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Olaf and Eagle in Advance Wars. The former starts out an overconfident blowhard while the latter at first seems like an arrogant warmonger. Both are later revealed to have more sympathetic reasons for attacking Orange Star.
- Justified Tutorial: Game Boy Wars 3 to an extent. Advance Wars 1 has Field Training missions for the new "adviser" before the Campaign starts.
- Karma Houdini: Most of the whiny civilians in Days of Ruin don't get any suitable comeuppance.
- Kill Sat: Shows up a few times in Advance, and is the super weapon everybody's looking for in Battalion.
- Lampshade Hanging: During one of the optional Re-Boot Camp 1+2 help segments, Nell straight-up tells you to not think about how submerged submarines stop planes from flying over them and vice-versa, they just work that way.
- Large Ham: Just about everything out of Javier's mouth is incredibly hammy.Javier: Charge into the toothy maw. For now it is time for a glorious hindspanking!
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: In the first Advance Wars, the presence of a fifth faction was a plot twist. The sequel outright puts the Black Hole name in its subtitle, and has them as the only opposing faction for the entire campaign. Reboot Camp also warns you about this when choosing to play the second game's campaign if you hadn't beaten the first game's campaign yet.
- Lightning Bruiser:
- Sturm, whose units have high firepower in both games and ignore the movement costs of terrain, the implication being he levels forests instead of walking through them.
- For units, there are Neotanks, which have the movement of a regular Tank instead of a Md Tank, yet has the firepower and defense better than the latter.
- Luck-Based Mission:
- 100% Power in any Battalion Wars 2 mission where the final objective is to capture a facility capable of making units respawn fast.
- The final mission of Days Of Ruin is nearly impossible unless you follow a day-to-day guide, and even if you follow the walkthrough for every single move you make, you can still lose.
- Downplayed in Black Hole Rising, where the factory missions have each wave of factory-produced units randomly randomly assigned one of nine different A.I.'s (e.g., protect their own infantry, aggressively move toward enemies, etc.). This variance can either make the mission anything from much easier than normal to nearly impossible, especially if playing for a high ranking.
- Mad Scientist: Caulder/Stolos in Days of Ruin is a scientist with a cold lack of empathy and a ruthless desire to further his experiments.
- The Man Behind the Man:
- Sturm in the first Advance Wars game. Olaf and Eagle were both tricked into attacking Orange Star by him, as part of a plan to weaken the nations so he and the Black Hole army could swoop in and defeat them all.
- Kaiser Vlad in both Battalion Wars games.
- Caulder in Days of Ruin. He used the Beast as an Unwitting Pawn and sold Greyfield his weapons, all so he could exploit their wars to further his experiments.
- The latter shows up fairly early on though, but his real role doesn't get revealed until much later.
- Man in a Kilt: In Battalion Wars 2, the Anglo Empire veteran soldiers all wear kilts (and have fancy handlebar mustaches).
- Master of None:
- In terms of units, Days of Ruin also introduces the Duster and the Seaplane, the latter of which is capable of attacking every single unit in the game. Neither of them are truly outstanding (especially the Duster since it can't even attack naval units) and will lose against a specialized anti-air counter, they are enough to give everything that isn't a Fighter, Cruiser, or Anti-Air a reasonably tough fight.
- Stealth Planes from Dual Strike were actually the first unit that could engage anything, and could do so with reasonable success. However, they were also outperformed by at least one or two other, more specialized units, but their primary advantage lies in their ability to disappear and strike from anywhere.
- A few of the COs have been inflicted with this:
- In the first Advance Wars, Sonja was this when played without Fog of War active; her day-to-day unit boosts of one extra vision space obviously did nothing outside of fog, and her CO Power that increased vision by another two spaces and revealed units hidden in forests/reefs also did nothing without fog outside the standard 10% attack/defense boost every CO Power gives at default. Then she had her bad luck modifier that just made her units' attack power weaker on top of this. The sequels would give Sonja fog-independent day-to-day bonuses and her CO Powers would do more things that were still relevant without fog.
- Flak's units in the second game have no day-to-day bonuses, with him just having an increased good luck modifier, but he also has a bad luck modifier applied separately that usually results in his units not doing any increased damage like he is supposed to be able to. And then his CO Power and Super CO Power just amplify both his good and bad luck modifiers. The fact he is just straightup inferior to Nell (who has the same good luck modifier but without a bad luck modifier, and then CO Powers that boosts her good luck modifier even higher than Flak's) just rubs this in farther.
- Flak is still this in Dual Strike, just with his good luck modifier slightly buffed, but not enough to give him any real niche. Then there's Jugger, who is functionally the same as Flak, just with slightly more extreme good and bad luck modifiers.
- Playing without a CO in Days of Ruin. Also in Days of Ruin, there's The Beast, a nonplayable CO fought in the campaign that has no abilities.
- Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Most games have at least one; sometimes the mechanic becomes less unusual when other CO's with similar playstyles are introduced in sequels. In particular, in Days of Ruin, Forsythe/Carter has no CO Power in a game where everyone has one, he just starts with maximum CO Zone range affecting every type of unit.
- Medal of Dishonor: There are two other ranks that exist which are D-Rank and E-Rank. However, you will rarely (if ever) see them unless you play a mission very badly on purpose by bottoming out your Speed and Technique ratings.
- Meme Acknowledgement: The Advance Wars Reboot Camp trailer for the February 2022 Direct shows us a shot of Andy's (in)famous "What's an airport, again?" quote. In the final game, the line is fully voice-acted.
- Mighty Glacier:
- MD Tanks, Mega Tanks, War Tanks, Anti Tanks, Battleships, Carriers, and Oozium. Stealth Planes and Seaplanes also fit, not because they move slow, but because they constantly have to head back to be resupplied.
- Kanbei can also be seen as this; his units are more powerful, but also more expensive, meaning he'll be slower in getting really powerful units into action.
- Grit is also something of a variation, as his indirect units are very powerful (and get increased range), but, since he has to keep his units out of the enemy's line of fire and indirects can't move and attack at the same time, he has to progress more slowly than everyone else.
- Constructors in Game Boy Wars 3 are this in a sense, not so much being decent in combat as they are more expensive than the Humvee and have only 5 Movement Power in combination with the worst Movement Type out of land units, but they can build up properties to improve repair jobs and funding, and also alter the terrain to speed up the arrival of reinforcements. Of course, they get five Beginner Mode maps dedicated to their usage for this—not exactly a beginner's unit.
- And let's not forget the Train in Super Famicom Wars. Even though it has the highest Movement Power amount out of any unit in the series (even beating out the Fighter S in Game Boy Wars 3), it can only move on railroads and Train Stations. To make up for this, however, the Train has a powerful cannon with the same range as the Battleship, as well as the ability to transport 2 land units.
- Mech units are much more fragile than the usual examples, but their firepower certainly makes them this relative to their speed. In most of the games they show up in, they tend to be just a bit slower than even the standard infantry, making them the slowest units available. But given how cheap they are...
- Mildly Military: The COs in Advance Wars seem to treat the various conflicts more like a wargame than an actual war. Grit doesn't really take it seriously at all, Drake brushes off an invasion to sunbathe, Sensei spends most of his fights with Adder teasing him with interesting facts about unit production, and in general the COs seem to downplay the fighting into being something like contests between them rather than actual warfare. The few that take things seriously are treated as humorously straight-laced.
- Military Maverick: Grit regularly backchats to Olaf, while Drake's response to an impending invasion in Advance Wars is to continue sunbathing. Most of the COs have a bit of this.
- Grit should be obvious, though, he wears a cowboy hat.
- Mission Control: COs in Advance Wars that aren't actively fighting take this role.
- Mission-Pack Sequel: Advance Wars 2 plays exactly like the first game and reuses most of its graphics and music. It does, however, introduce eight new COs, one new unit (the Neotank), two new map elements (missile silos and pipes), and a two-tier CO Power system (each character has only one power in the first game.) Black Hole's units have unique sprite designs this time, too, rather than being palette-swaps of Orange Star's, as they were in AW1.
- Mook Commander: This is how the "CO Zone" mechanic works in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. The only exception is Tabitha, who needs to rack up some damage before she can expand her Zone beyond the lone unit she's in.
- More Diverse Sequel:
- Black Hole Rising included two new female CO's (Jess and Lash) and some elder representation in Hachi and Sensei, with Dual Strike continuing the trend and adding Rachel, Kindle, and Sasha.
- Re-Boot Camp 1+2 doesn't change the genders or skin tones of any of the existing COs or add new ones, but the battle animations for non-Black Hole units depicts some of the unit as being black, as well as having two different portraits for generic soldiers during cutscenes that include both genders and more skin tones.
- Moveset Clone: Jugger and Koal from Dual Strike have virtually identical gimmicks to Flak and Adder, who are absent in the campaign but are unlockable characters. They do have some small differences, however: Jugger has higher damage variance (an extra +/- 0.5 damage vs. Flak's) and his Super CO Power costs 1 more, but it makes his AI much smarter if he's controlled by a computer. Koal's units gets a damage bonus on roads, and while Adder gets no combat bonuses, his CO Power costs 1 less, allowing him to CO Power twice in a row.
- Musical Spoiler: If Admiral Greyfield/Sigismundo's unsettling behaviour (or the very title of the mission in the North American version) didn't clue you into the fact that he's a villain, there's also that a negative jingle plays when he builds a temporary port when he's nominally working alongside you in Mission 13: Greyfield Strikes/Rearguard Action.
- Mutual Disadvantage: Units such as Cruisers and Bombers, unit types that cannot attack units of their own general class, suffer from this trope. It's especially notable with Cruisers, as there's no real direct-attack counter against them; Battleships are indirect attackers, Cruisers are made to have an advantage against Submarines and aircraft, and Cruisers seldom get close enough to a shoreline for ground units to attack them. Starting with Dual Strike Cruisers are able to attack other vessels including other Cruisers...albeit poorly.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In Dual Strike, units which are controlled by an AI are able to load their air units into the naval aircraft transport units on an allied team (including your own units controlled by you). When under the control of the player they appear colored as your own units (despite that fact that they are not yours) in the status window and the menu. When unloaded they momentarily appear as the same color as the transport unit then resume their normal coloring. When the transport unit is owned by an AI player, they will always unload the unit after they move it unless they are attacking another unit, they also have no problem unloading an aircraft unit in range of twenty or more enemy carriers and missiles.
- Mysterious Waif: Isabella/Catleia, a mysterious girl with brightly-colored hair who the 12th Battalion picks up in Days of Ruin
- No Campaign for the Wicked: All games in the Advance Wars series, including Days of Ruin. In the first Battalion Wars, however, you could play as other countries including Xylvania and Iron Legion in certain bonus missions. There's also an entire campaign (albeit with 3 missions) in the sequel where you play as the Iron Legion.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In Super Famicom Wars, two of the COs are named Billy Gates and Hetler.
- No Plot? No Problem!: Prior to Advance Wars, the series has run on this for the longest time. It wouldn't be until the release of Advance Wars, which was released a whole 13 years after the birth of the franchise, for this trope to be averted.
- Non-Health Damage: In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Sasha's CO Power drains her opponent's CO Gauge, which is required to perform a CO Power.
- Non-Indicative Difficulty: The Hard Campaign in Dual Strike allows you to use all of the COs at the start; this makes certain missions easier than the regular campaign.
- Non-Indicative Name: "Medium Tanks" in Advance Wars are the heaviest tanks and the most powerful direct-fire land units in the game. Regular tanks were not named "Light Tanks". Later games like Advance Wars 2 and Days of Ruin feature more powerful tanks that put the medium back in medium tank.
- Nostalgia Level: The Advance Wars games recycled many of the maps from the earlier Famicom Wars games. Notably Bean Island, the very first map in the original Famicom Wars, appears in all four games.
- Not His Sled:
Nell: Examining all of Olaf's units, I think we only have one viable option.Nell: Well... Yes, actually. That's about all we can do without a transport copter.
- While most maps were kept faithful in Re-Boot Camp, "Border Skirmish" in the second game is the one exception: it now has Fog of War on all difficulties instead of just the hardest, and they added an extra enemy on your side of the river to act as a tutorial. Players familiar with the original who skip the tutorial may be in for a nasty surprise...
- The Challenge Campaign in Re-Boot Camp includes three tutorial missions as the campaign's prologue as in the regular campaign. However, "Copter Tactics" has one small, but critical change:
- Players hoping to make their CO selection for the final mission in the first campaign via CO choices in certain maps and completing the Gold Comet missions in a certain time will be surprised they can simply manually select Andy's allies before the final mission even starts.
- Not Playing Fair With Resources:
- The gimmick of Billy Gates in Super Famicom Wars, he gets 10000 extra money each turn...
- The factory missions that punctuate each country's liberation in Black Hole Rising explicitly cheat normal resource rules by producing up to 3 any unit regardless of the enemy's funds and being able to act on the turn they're created via factory. To prevent the player from fighting their way to the factory gates and just blocking all 3 deployment spots with their own units (which is a common strategy for Lash's factory in "Factory Blues"), Black Hole also starts with several bases and properties that do obey the normal resource rules.
- Obviously Evil: In Battalion Wars, Xylvania and its predecessor, the Iron Legion. In Advance Wars, Black Hole.
- Off-Model: In the first two Advance Wars games, the overworld sprites for the Lander are facing the wrong way, making them look more like tugboats.
- Offscreen Villain Dark Matter:
- Black Hole in Black Hole Rising and particularly Dual Strike have an uncanny ability to keep fielding bigger and scarier armies even as you repeatedly crush their war effort. The former even has a Factory as the final mission in each nation that cheats normal unit costs. In both games, it's explained as Black Hole plundering each nation's resources, but one wonders how nobody noticed this happening since the very start.
- IDS Industries in Days of Ruin may have been an arms manufacture/research company before the meteors ended the world, but even selling weapons to all sides doesn't explain their extreme reserves of manpower and resources post-apocalypse. Even in a world with automated weapons and vehicle factories (in the localized versions of the story), they stand out as seemingly no limit to their unit production, and like Black Hole, have a resource-cheating factory at the final mission.
- Old Master: Sensei in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike.
- Old Soldier: Sensei and Hachi, even without their ridonkulously overpowered abilities. Apparently they're old rivals as well. Forsythe in Days of Ruin, the aging commander of the Lazurian forces, also counts.
- Ominous Obsidian Ooze: Dual Strike has Oozium 238, a bioweapon engineered by the Black Hole Army that instantly dissolves anything it touches.
- One Password Attempt Ever: In Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (Advance Wars: Dark Conflict in Europe/Australia), The Heroes come across an underground bunker that has supplies they desperately need. The problem is, the bunker cannot be breached and they can only try the password twice. First, Brenner/O'Brian tries his military access code. When that is rejected, the team is left with one guess for a ten-digit password. Luckily Will/Ed had been talking to Isabella/Catleia an she had been muttering a ten-digit number over and over. With no other option, they enter the code. When the doors open, the team is left baffled at how she could've possibly known that code.
- Only Fatal to Adults: This is inverted with the early version of Creeping Derangea, which can only infect people under the age of 20. Completely averted with the later version, which works faster and can infect anyone regardless of age.
- Orphaned Series: The last new game in the series proper was Days of Ruin, released all the way back in early 2008. note There hadn't been a peep out of the franchise until June 2017, in which we finally get an explanation: Thanks to the success of Fire Emblem and its relationship system, a producer at Nintendo wants to integrate something similar into this series but isn't sure how to do it successfully.
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: In Black Hole Rising, you can win the Normal Campaign version of "Two Week Test" by doing absolutely nothing except ending your turn. It works, without fail, and it's a magnificent display of the AI's ability to screw itself over, but of course your ranking at the end will suck.
- Patriotic Fervor: Olaf is a true blue patriot through and through, even singing his country's national anthem in one of his Dual Strike winquotes. Which is strange when you remember that, during the first game's tutorial, Nell mentions he used to work for Orange Star... (this detail was written out in Re-Boot Camp, implying it was simply Early-Installment Weirdness)
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: In Dual Strike, leveling up COs is ridiculously easy on the campaign level "Muck Amok". You could gain up to 1000 exp on the normal version and 2400 on the Hard Campaign version thanks to the huge numbers of Oozium. With the game's save system, it's fairly easy to repeat the mission until all the COs are level 10.
- Perky Goth: Lash dresses in all black and is a Perky Female Minion.
- Permanently Missable Content: The Excellence Medal in Game Boy Wars 3 requires you to clear all 45 maps in 54 battles.
- The Plague: Endoflorescens terribilis (also known as Creeping Derangea and Green Thumb) is a virus that causes parasitic flowers to grow from inside a person which soon break out through the skin as vines covering their limbs and body. It is later revealed to be a Bio-Weapon made by Dr. Caulder that failed due to its inherent flaw of photophobia which prevented it from thriving until after the apocalypse blotted out the sun, thus making it an example of a Synthetic Plague.
- The Player Is the Most Important Resource: In Advance Wars, you, as the tactician, get frequently commended by the Commanding Officers you play as for allowing them to win.
- Polluted Wasteland:
- Xylvania in Battalion Wars is revealed to be like this, due to Vlad's abuse of the environment for military resources. In fact, one of his primary reasons for expansion is to gain more resources.
- Although, oddly enough, Old Xylvania looks just about the same in Battalion Wars 2, except that everything's on fire instead of poisonous and green.
- Bizarrely, it looks like this 200 years before Vlad's stuff, and had steampunk orcs.
- Similarly, the Black Crystals and Black Obelisk in Dual Strike turn all of the land around them into desert. If this goes on too long, you get Wasteland. The water turns green (red on the map), the trees die, the ground is dry and hard, and all the bases look abandoned when we see them in battles. Yes, all this just because some old guy wants to live forever.
- Shows up as impassable terrain in Days of Ruin.
- Xylvania in Battalion Wars is revealed to be like this, due to Vlad's abuse of the environment for military resources. In fact, one of his primary reasons for expansion is to gain more resources.
- Power Creep:
- Zig-zagged in the Advance Wars trilogy. On paper it looks like the co's are balanced in the first game and, barring the secret commanders who are overpowered by design, that over time more powerful co's are available with advantages without corresponding disadvantages to balance them out. In practice everyone's unique niche, which more often than not just meant that you can play in a way that makes the disadvantages meaningless and just use their main skills, often outdoes the boost the new ones have over the balance.
- The new units are also a mixed bag. The Neotanks have the speed of a regular tank and far greater firepower and a little better defense than Mid-tanks. While useful their high cost can mean losing valuable area denial multiple tanks could cover better. Their defense also isn't high enough to stop multiple attacks on the same turn as well. The Megatanks even more so, as their monstrous power and defense comes at an even higher cost and low ammo count, making them vulnerable to being swarmed. The Stealth fighter trades the regular fighters massive speed, lower cost and higher anti-air firepower to being able to attack all types of units.
- The Power of Friendship: In Dual Strike Tag powers become stronger or weaker depending on the relationship between the two COs. The highest power levels are actually given to Tag Powers between COs related by blood, which gives it shades of The Power of Love.
- Power Trio: Particularly in Black Hole Rising, each good guy team seems to have one.
- Orange Star: more of a power quartet, but...
- Id: Andy/Max
- Ego: Nell
- Superego: Sami
- Blue Moon:
- Id with a dash of Superego: Olaf
- Ego with a dash of Superego: Colin
- Superego with a dash of Id: Grit
- Yellow Comet:
- Id: Kanbei
- Ego: Sensei
- Superego: Sonja
- Green Earth:
- Id: Eagle
- Ego: Drake
- Superego: Jess
- Also Black Hole:
- Id: Flak
- Ego: Lash (tilting to Id) and Adder (tilting to Superego)
- Superego: Hawke
- Also in Battalion Wars, although not all factions are trios. (Note that these also fall under Two Guys and a Girl.)
- Western Frontier - General Herman (Superego), Colonel Austin (Ego?), Brigadier Betty (Id)
- Tundran Territories - Major Nelly (Id), Tsar Gorgi (until his death, at least) and Marshal Nova (Ego/Superego interchangeably)
- Xylvania - Kaiser Vlad (Superego), Countess Ingrid (Id), Kommander Ubel (Ego)
- Orange Star: more of a power quartet, but...
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Happens whenever a CO uses their CO or Super Power.Colin: Let me show you the power of money.
- Prestige Class: sort of, for various units in Game Boy Wars 3.
- Promoted to Playable: Andy's clone in Re-Boot Camp is no longer just Andy copied and pasted into a single mission, becoming a unique CO that can be unlocked and used in Versus mode.
- Promptless Branching Point: The first game has three of these alongside its telegraphed branching routes.
- Choosing Andy for "Max Strikes" leads you to "Olaf's Navy", which appears to be the final mission of that branch. But winning this map by rout (which takes far more effort than capturing the HQ) sends you to the secret mission "Olaf's Sea Strike". Completing this unlocks Olaf as an ally for the final battle.
- Finishing the three Kanbei missions within a hidden turn limit (8 for "Kanbei Arrives", 10 for "Mighty Kanbei" and 12 for "Kanbei's Error?") extends the Yellow/Gold Comet arc by an additional three missions, all against Sonja. Completing these unlocks Kanbei as a final battle ally.
- The Green Earth missions are split into three versions each, one for each Orange Star CO, which the map makes clear. What it doesn't tell you is choosing Sami for all four of them forces you to play one final mission against Eagle after the final battle.
- The remake tweaks things a bit: Andy's allies in the final mission can be manually selected akin to certain missions in "Black Hole Rising", removing the prerequisites determined by said branching paths in the campaign. "Olaf's Sea Strike" is now a mandatory mission for its particular branch as it's much more difficult to rout Olaf's Navy in "Olaf's Navy". Completing the final mission unlocks the missions outside the route the player took for replay. "Rivals" is instead a Brutal Bonus Level unlocked by finishing every other branching path.
- Pun-Based Title: The remastered version of Advance Wars 1+2 is called "Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp"
- Putting on the Reich: The uniforms of the Black Hole COs draw heavily from Nazi Germany. The Black Hole symbol even resembles a swastika. Reaches its logical conclusion with Colin and Sasha's "Black Hole Clone" costumes, whose Red and Black and Evil All Over color scheme gives them an alarming resemblance to Waffen SS officers.
- Purposefully Overpowered: Sturm in Advance Wars 2 and Caulder in Days of Ruin are final bosses that retain their broken abilities in Versus mode, with the latter being so ridiculous that he's automatically banned in Wi-fi play and few people will actually play against one on local multiplayer. Sturm in Advance Wars 1 has changed stats in Versus and Von Bolt in Dual Strike keeps his above-average stats but are less game-breaking than Sturm.
- The Quiet One: Hawke in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike. Gage/Trak in Days of Ruin
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Adder, Lash, and Flak in Black Hole Rising with emphasis on quirky. Hawke meanwhile is too serious to qualify. There's also the Bolt Guard, comprised of Koal, Lash, and Jugger, in Dual Strike. Caulder/Stolos' children in Days of Ruin also count, although you only actually fight two of them.
- Randomized Damage Attack: Flak's CO power randomly makes his units do a lot more more damage or a lot less. Jugger's does this as well. Nell is a more positive example, with her powers enabling her to sometimes to a lot more, but without the "sometimes doing much less" part.
- Real Men Take It Black: According to his profile, Hawke in Advance Wars likes his coffee black.
- Recursive Fiction: One mission of Dual Strike has an opening dialogue which consists of Lash playing Dual Strike itself.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tasha/Zadia and Gage/Trak from Days of Ruin.
- Rei Ayanami Expy: Isabella/Catleia from Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict. She is a young girl, with blue-white hair and pale skin who is rescued from a building by the main character, Will/Ed, and becomes his love interest. She has no memory of who she is, though somehow knows detailed military information. Eventually, the heroes learn who she is: one of the cloned children of Dr. Caulder/Stolos.
- Replacement Flat Character:
- After Olaf's Character Development made him no longer the General Failure he was in the first game, Flak was added to Black Hole Rising to fill the Starter Villain role, and is somehow even more of an idiot than AW1 Olaf ever was.
- Sonja in the first game was an Unscrupulous Hero willing to use dark methods (namely, kidnapping and attacking the three Orange Star commanders) to expose the war's False Flag Operation for her optional arc. With her Character Development and firmly being on the side of the heroes in the sequel, Lash was added to the villains and is essentially Sonja without any of her moral scruples. The mission "A Mirror Darkly" dissects this.
- Retool: Days of Ruin; also applies somewhat to Game Boy Wars 3, which involves various stuff inspired by Nectaris.
- RPG Elements: Game Boy Wars 3 in particular.
- Save Scumming:
- Possible in the Campaigns for Advance Wars and Black Hole Rising by using the save function mid-mission so that you can go back to the set point. This was potentially useful for getting the A.I. outcome you wanted (or for cheesing Fog of War missions) without restarting the entire mission.
- Re-Boot Camp replaces the save function with Reset Turn, which only allows for restarting the entire current turn, rather than reload from a previous one. This is still useful for Save Scumming Fog of War missions by letting you check multiple places with the same high-movement unit, especially in forests, without eating up all their fuel.
- Save the Villain: When the heroes find Lash and Hawke getting surrounded by Oozium because Von Bolt wants to dispose of them in Dual Strike, Jake immediately decides to save them. When his allies protest that they're the bad guys, Jake points out that they either save them, or watch them get eaten alive by disgusting, all-consuming blob monsters.
- Schizo Tech: Mostly in the first three Advance Wars games. You have no shortage of missile units and even stealth aircraft, but once you get to the naval combat, it goes right back to WWII - big guns and bombers. Fixed, to some extent, with missile boats and the massive retool of how Carriers and Battleships work in Days of Ruin.note
- Scissors Cuts Rock:
- Many COs' specialities can be used to, if not turn around the Rock–Paper–Scissors triangles, then at least even them out (witness Sami and Sensei's mechs against AAs). Missions like this are also used to challenge the player: most of Max's missions against Grit in Advance Wars take this form, and from Advance Wars 2 we have Sea Fortress for Eagle (the air specialist fighting through an AA-heavy defense) and Navy Vs. Air for Drake (the naval specialist fighting against a heavy air force, when air tends to beat naval normally).
- Air units in the Advance Wars series have an infamous ability to cost-effectively shut down several of their supposed counters, except for the Boring, but Practical Anti-Air. Missiles's large range can be circumvented by cheaper B-Copters' larger movement range and trade effectively, and Cruisers can be heavily damaged by the same B-Copters costing half their price if the latter strikes first.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:
- Sasha, who uses her vast wealth to... get even MORE wealth.
- Colin, who uses his money to do things like One-Hit KO Megatanks with Mechs.
- Selective Condemnation: In Dual Strike, the Big Bad Von Bolt dares you to shoot him in order to stop his evil scheme, claiming it would make you as bad as he is. This in spite of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of enemy units you've killed and allied units destroyed under your command to get this far. Not to mention the deaths that would be caused if he did succeed. If Jake shoots him anyway (actually, he shoots his life support system, but all to the same effect), he even lampshades Von Bolt's use of this trope.
- Self-Deprecation: Drake, particularly after the "Navy vs. Air" mission in Black Hole Rising.
- Sequel Non-Entity: A number of things from the Wars World games end up being absent in Days of Ruin:
- Neotanks and Megatanks are combined into a new unit, the War Tank. It's a heavy tank that moves slowly (but not as slowly as the Megatank) that uses the Megatank's design and carries more ammunition and fuel than the Megatank.
- Stealth Fighters and the Black Hole prototype units (Black Boats, Black Bombs, Piperunners) are completely absent. The Gunboat borrows the Black Boat's ability to carry infantry units but nothing else.
- Green armies are completely absent. No faction in the story is represented by the color green and in multiplayer, Yellow takes up Green's spot as player 3 while Black takes up Yellow's spot as player 4.
- The War Room is replaced by optional maps playable on the campaign selection screen (not to be confused with the tactics & advice screen for help on campaign missions). There is no store in which currency can be used to unlock COs, maps, or other things, as COs are automatically unlocked by playing through the campaign and the War Room maps are unlocked by completing adjacent bonus maps.
- There is no Hard Campaign in Days of Ruin.
- A possibly inadvertant one to the Doom Patrol: Dr. Caulder. It's hardly a common name...
- Another perhaps accidental one to the Bible: Rachel and Jake are the names of the first two COs you have access to in Dual Strike.
- Shipper on Deck: Grimm, saying Rachel and Jake are lovebirds. This quote exists if you lose on the final mission of Dual Strike.
- Ship Sinking: In the very game that introduced the pair, the Jake & Rachel ship is sunk if you choose them in the final mission. Rachel seems to view him more like a brother than anything else. The "Orange Crush" name of a Tag Break no longer means that anymore, but moreso crushing the opponent instead. Sasha is Jake's actual Love Interest.
- Ship Tease:
Hawke: Lash. I'm sorry. I have mistreated you. Had I not strong armed you into this... you would not have been called a traitor. I made excuses. Used you to my own end, so that I could continue to live.Lash: Aw, that's OK. Don't worry about it. I wouldn't be doing all this if I didn't like it, ya' know? I'm not an easy chick to push around... I only do what I want to do. And I'm here now because I want to fight with you... So let's fight!
- What primarily inspires Andy to lead the Orange Star Charge against Lord Sturm in Advance Wars? "Sonja's in danger!"
- Sami and Eagle get bucket loads in all three of their games. In Dual Strike they get a 120 percent Dual Strike Co Power bonus and in the first title the only way to unlock Eagle is by using Sami in every single Green Earth mission. There's also their final conversation in Dual Strike where Eagle seems like he's going to make a confession, but Sami cuts him off because that's the sort of thing people say if they're about to die and Sami wants them both to live.
- The exchange between Hawke and Lash in Dual Strike:
- Jake and Sasha get a dash or two in Dual Strike.
- Shoot the Dog: In one of the endings of Dual Strike, Hawke shoots Von Bolt's life-support system because Jake can't bring himself to. Given he also kills Sturm at the end of Advance Wars 2, he seems to be making rather a habit of this. Note that this is averted if Jake chooses to shoot Von Bolt. (Also in Days of Ruin, when Lin leads the final battle against Greyfield/Sigismundo and executes him rather than leave it up to Will/Ed.)
- Shows Damage:
- The battle animations in Super Famicom Wars have units be visually injured, such as having exploded gun turrets on ships.
- Re-Boot Camp periodically shows subtle but noticeable smoke on map animations of vehicles at very low HP, and more noticeable sparks and smoke on Black Hole structures like Black Cannons and Lasers at low HP.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Von Bolt to Jake in Dual Strike.Von Bolt: I will suck Omega Land dry and take its energy for myself!Jake: Dude. You couldn't be more of a loser! You only care about yourself! You're not thinking about the land or anyone else. That kind of thing will only lead to your own destruction!Von Bolt: Whaaa haa haa haaa! Shut it, boy! Your inane Hipster slang is an affront to my ears and a waste of my time. Slink home while you can still walk!
- Silliness Switch: The Tactics sessions before Days of Ruin campaign missions are very much comedic compared to the gritty storyline. Not only do people in general treat Will like dirt and act more silly in general (Isabella and Lin holding a "Tactical Tip Show" for Will), but on a regular basis enemy commanders will walk in and (either explicitly or inadvertently) give you advice on how to beat them. At one point it's lampshaded as to who exactly is letting the enemy VIPs walk straight into the War Room.
- Single-Palette Town: Used in the Advance Wars series to distinguish between nations. One wonders how captured cities get their paint jobs and replace the architecture style instantly...
- Skill Gate Characters:
- Max in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike. His firepower bonus to direct combat units, which includes strong units like Neotanks and Bombers, allow him to easily sweep aside inexperienced players, especially while his CO Powers are in effect. But in high-level play, Indirect units like Artillery are extremely important (Grit, who specializes in Indirects, is considered a Game-Breaker), and Max's indirects are not only weak, but have 1 less range. This essentially renders Artillery useless for him, which makes him very easy to out-manoeuvre. Max can be played well, but it requires a lot more work than the Attack! Attack! Attack! strategies most newbies use with him. Note that this is not the case in the first game, where his 50% firepower bonus to direct units made him a Game-Breaker.
- Hawke's 10% firepower bonus to all units for no apparent drawback often gets him labelled as overpowered by inexperienced players. In reality this isn't as much of an advantage as you'd think, and his very expensive CO Powers are a significant weakness, especially in longer matches. Not helping is that the Campaign missions against him tend to have him start with an overwhelming advantage, to hype him up as a Knight of Cerebus. With so many expensive pre-deployed units, players will be hit by his CO Powers far more than they'll be in a regular match. That said, Hawke is still rated highly by competitive players, he just isn't on the level of the broken COs (with Advance Wars By Web ranking him tier 1 in all formats).
- Mechs are a unit example. A lot of new players decry Mech spamming as cheap and broken, given how cost-effective Mechs are against most units. While the cost-effectiveness part is true, the abysmal movement of Mechs means most vehicles won't get hit by them unless they're played very effectively, and the low price of Mechs is offset by how much they rely on investment in other units to be useful (either more Mechs or transports), and spamming them will cut down on your force's Infantry and Tanks considerably, which will quickly get you dominated in map control by more experienced players. Additionally, Infantry trade cost-effectively with Mechs, so Mech spam is easily beaten by just spamming Infantry. Sure Mech spam is scary on small maps with dense terrain and a lot of Bases... but only on those maps.
- Another unit example are the Anti-Tanks in Days Of Ruin. Inexperienced players often decry them as being broken, as they're indirect attack units with the range of Artillery that can also counterattack when attacked directly, and they take low damage from all direct attack vehicles aside from Bombers, which cost nearly twice as much. However, unintuitively their counter are foot units, as Infantry and Bike units can deal decent damage while not taking severe damage in return, letting the most common and cheapest units trade very cost-effectively with Anti-Tanks that cost over four times as much, and Mech units will really wallop them if they get the first strike. Artillery are also a strong answer, as they can do about as much damage to an Anti-Tank as vice versa with the same range, while two of them costs only 1000 more G, and Rockets will wreck them with superior range while also not costing much more. Most crippingly, Anti-Tanks have only 4 movement that's tire-based, making them really slow to get anywhere important, leaving them inferior to the much cheaper Artillery and much stronger Rockets for indirect utility that can both get to places faster. They can make defensive units that are annoying to dislodge from properties, but if you're in a position where you have to rely on an Anti-Tank to defend your HQ or other important nearby property, the battle is probably already lost. This results in Anti-Tanks seeing little usage in higher-level competitive play.
- Smug Snake: Adder in Black Hole Rising, Kindle and Koal in Dual Strike, Greyfield/Sigismundo and Waylon/Finn in Days of Ruin. These are just folks you love to hate.
- The Smurfette Principle:
- Most of the factions in the Advance Wars series have more male COs than female ones.
- Averted in Days of Ruin, where exactly half of the COs are female.
- Lampshaded in Battalion Wars, where Nova's promotion of Mjr. Nelly to CO is a Really Big Deal to the traditionalist Tundrans.
- SNK Boss: Sturm in both of his appearances. In the first game, he gives all of his units a free offense boost, but lowers their defense, and has a CO power that drops in a huge meteor on your highest concentration of units, though the playable version of him is much weaker. In Black Hole Rising, he gives all of his units a major offense and defense boost with no drawbacks (no weakening other units or raising their price like other COs) and only has his slow-charging Super-CO power, no normal one, but that one is all he needs. He calls in meteor again, which like before hits the highest concentration of his enemies units, knocking 8/10 of their max health, doesn't hurt his units while also giving them even more an power and defense boost. Unlike in his first appearance, the playable version is just as strong as the one from the campaign. Subverted in Dual Strike; Von Bolt is no wimp, but not as powerful as Sturm. Played straight with Caulder in Days of Ruin, however. He has a 3 by 3 CO-zone that gives all of his units, regardless of type, the highest boost their power and defense in the game, and repairs them by 50% of their max health each turn (though this can be used against him somewhat, as the healing takes funds). His zone never increases and he has no CO-power, but what he has is more than enough. He and Sturm are both banned from tournaments involving their respective games.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Advance Wars 2 has Sturm and his 4 subordinates, each of which is in charge of invading one of the countries. Naturally, the continent facing the most incompetent (story-wise) one of them gets liberated first and it gets more difficult from there. This is even noticeable in the enemy AI: Flak doesn't take advantage of his factory and produces cheap units. Adder, on the other hand, deploys a Battleship against you. On day 1.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Two examples, both from Days of Ruin:
- Isabella's CO theme is very soft, chipper, and uplifting, a sharp deviation from everyone else's hard rock and twisted techno beats.
- The Beast's theme is a dark, menacing track very fitting of its original owner. It's reused once again later in the game for another CO - Davis/Cole, the cowardly, somewhat good natured subordinate to the main villain, and the one character in the game that couldn't be less suited to it.
- Stealth-Based Mission: What Fog of War missions boil down to in the first two Advance Wars games. Unlike you, the AI in those games has no problem seeing your units, with the sole exception being when they're in woods and reefs. Thus the majority of these missions involve hopping from cover to cover and attacking only when you're sure nothing's around to retaliate too badly.
- Stealth Pun: Hetler's theme in Super Famicom Wars is titled "Springtime".
- Stone Wall: The MB Tank, particularly in Game Boy Wars 3, a game virtually full of Glass Cannon units no less.
- Straight for the Commander: Trying to win a mission by capturing the enemy HQ is basically this trope.
- Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: 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, H Qs, 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 (reducing them to half-strength, even if they were 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 7 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.
- Battalion Wars II has Barracks and Motor Pool properties, which allow mid-mission reinforcements. They're captured by changing the flag in the middle.
- Suddenly Voiced: Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp features voice acting unlike the original games.
- Super Move Portrait Attack: The CO powers in the Advance Wars games show a quick cut-in of the CO and the name of the power being used. In Reboot Camp, these cutscenes are now animated.
- Super Soldiers: Days of Ruin has a twist on this. Caulder's "children" are super commanders, meant for command room action. Though they are still capable of feats of superhuman strength and speed.
- Super Title 64 Advance: Advance Wars obviously refers to the Game Boy Advance, and the Japanese Famicom Wars and Game Boy Wars are the same for their relevant consoles. For a slightly more subtle example, Dual Strike can be abbreviated as DS.
- Support Power: Before Days of Ruin, each C.O. had a special ability referred to as a "CO Power" that affects all of their units somehow (except for Olaf, who hinders the enemy instead).
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: While Days of Ruin takes place in a new setting, the four factions that appear in it are each clearly based after a different nation in Wars World.
- Rubinelle (as represented by the 12th Battalion) are the red-colored heroic faction, just like Orange Star.
- Lazuria, the blue-colored antagonist faction opposed to Rubinelle, are analogous to Blue Moon.
- The New Rubinelle Army, colored yellow and led by a pompous authoritarian, are a darker take on Yellow Comet.
- Intelligence Defense Systems, an outside party with gray colored units that manipulates the other factions, are analogous to Black Hole.
- Suspiciously Small Army: Very guilty of this. No more than 50 units under your control ever. Note, however, that every unit in the Advance Wars games except for Megatanks/Wartanks/APCs/Ships is a literal unit composed of no fewer than ten of whatever you're specifically talking about. Except for AW2, where it's 5 of whatever you're talking about and members start getting killed every 2 HP lost.
- Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors:
- The primary unit RPS triangle that dominates all the Advance Wars games is Tanks > Anti-Air > Battlecopters > Tanks: Tanks will deal huge damage to Anti-Airs while taking minor damage in return, Anti-Airs will absolutely shred Battlecopters while also taking minor damage even if struck first, and Battlecopters will deal significant damage to Tanks while being barely grazed in return. These units all cost simarly too (with them costing 7000, 8000, and 9000G respectively), so they can be deployed in similar numbers, and once a player deploys one of them, it can be expected for other players to deploy their counter in response, and so on. The bigger tanks still play into this RPS triangle, as while Battlecopters will do a lot less damage to them, the bigger tanks can still just respond with their measely machine guns and so Battlecopters trade cost-effectively with them. Bombers can also take the place of Battlecopters in this triangle, as they deal severe damage to all tanks (if not just one-shotting them outright) and none of the tanks can retaliate back, while Anti-Airs will wreck Bombers if they get the first strike.
- The main naval units in Advance Wars 1, 2, and Dual Strike. Battleships bombard everything but air units and Submarines from afar, including Cruisers; Cruisers can rip apart Subs (surfaced or otherwise) but can't attack anything else but air units until Dual Strike, and Submarines are the bane of Battleships as well as other Subs and Landers but will get torn apart by Cruisers. In short, don't bring Battleships without Cruiser support.
- A strange one in Days Of Ruin, where Anti-Tanks destroy vehicles and take slight damage from any direct attack vehicle aside from costly Bombers, but foot units deal significant damage to them and trade very cost-effectively, then the various vehicle units deal more damage than Anti-Tanks do to foot units and take barely any damage from the non-Mech foot units (while Mechs will struggle to get the first strike against vehicles with their much worse movement).
- Tactical Superweapon Unit: War Tanks in Dual Strike and Days of Ruin are land-battleships deployed one at a time, as opposed to the squadron of 5 every other vehicle is deployed as. They're also extremely expensive.
- Technopath: Caulder's children are implied to be some form of this this in two instances: The first when a baker who used to see Isabella, Caulder, Penny, Cyrus, and Tabitha in town mentions that if they went near weapons, they exploded, and the second when Caulder states that his children are capable of commanding hundreds of automated vehicles at once far more effectively than normal humans because, apparently, they can somehow bypass the normal process of communication that causes confusion.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Whenever a CO Power is activated in any of the Advance Wars games, it's time to RAWK! Evil characters even get their own version that's a bit darker and heavier.
- The Theme Park Version:
- Advance Wars pre-Days of Ruin had trappings of this as well, though not as strong as in Battalion Wars. Orange Star is America, although they suffer the least from this, since they were the sole protagonist country of the first game. Blue Moon is Russia and Canada, while Yellow Comet is Japan. Oddly enough, Green Earth is an amalgam of all of WWII Europe, despite that including opposing forces in real life. Since Green Earth turn out to be good guys, the only influences from Nazi Germany come from military tactics; Eagle has a strong air force and a power that allows his units to take another turn to represent blitzkrieg.
- And, in a minor example, Green Earth infantrymen wear German bucket helmets.
- Also, when Javier is talking to Max in Dual Strike, he mentions good sausage and pig as well as a castle, hinting at European countrysides. Max later notes he isn't able to go on his food and root beer tour, implying influence from Germany.
- Every nation in Battalion Wars is this, with the Western Frontier as the US, the Tundran Territories as Soviet Russia, the Solar Empire as a combination of China and Japan, the Anglo Isles as Britain, and Xylvania as WWII-era Germany... but kinda sorta vampires!
- Advance Wars pre-Days of Ruin had trappings of this as well, though not as strong as in Battalion Wars. Orange Star is America, although they suffer the least from this, since they were the sole protagonist country of the first game. Blue Moon is Russia and Canada, while Yellow Comet is Japan. Oddly enough, Green Earth is an amalgam of all of WWII Europe, despite that including opposing forces in real life. Since Green Earth turn out to be good guys, the only influences from Nazi Germany come from military tactics; Eagle has a strong air force and a power that allows his units to take another turn to represent blitzkrieg.
- This Is Unforgivable!: The Andy clone's death in Dual Strike.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Normally, Advance Wars machine guns are only effective at fighting infantry and can do Scratch Damage to light vehicles, but they're the only thing that can efficiently damage Oozium in Dual Strike, which otherwise shrugs off tank rounds and indirect fire. Anti-Air vulcan cannons are also super effective, though they already have greater uses in shredding foot soldiers and air units.
- Those Wacky Nazis: While not technically Nazis, the Xylvanian commanders from Battalion Wars cover most of the character types.
- And a few Black Hole COs at the very least dress in a manner clearly meant to suggest Nazis — Flak (grunt soldier), Adder (officer), and Sturm (general) most obviously.
- Green Earth is also EXTREMLY German in their dresscode. Long coats, Stahlhelme, and the like. Also, Jess fom Green Earth is especially good with tanks who both shoot harder and go faster, making it very easy to blitz.
- One of Sturm's Colors in Advance Wars 2 give him a Nazi hat.
- Don't tell me you didn't think "HITLER!" the first time you saw Admiral Greyfield from Days of Ruin...
- From all the way back in Super Famicom Wars, the default Yellow Comet CO was a man in a snappy uniform with a toothbrush 'stache by the name of "Hetler".
- Timed Mission: All missions in Game Boy Wars 3, and a few in Advance Wars series; most cases in terms of turns, not actual time.
- Dual Strike is the only installment with an actual timer in normal game play, although Days of Ruin also uses a timer in wifi-play to prevent stalling.
- Dual Strike and Days of Ruin also feature missions that must be completed within a set number of turns/days. Both this and the more typical timed mission are the subject of one of Dual Strike's Survival campaigns. Time Survival is much harder than Turn Survival.
- Days of Ruin also has an unorthodox timed mission in Chapter 7, which is not advertised as timed. Waylon's fighter only has so much fuel, and when plane units run out of fuel in these games, they crash; you have no way to resupply him. If Waylon's fighter dies, you lose, so you have to finish the mission before his fuel expires. Fortunately, he never moves during his turn, so he only loses the standard "idling" amount of fuel each turn.
- Too Dumb to Live: The civilians from Days of Ruin. Although understandable that they don't want to get involved in conflict, they keep forgetting that the Battalion is just about the only thing standing between them and oblivion. In particular, the "Mayor" turns the civilians against the Battalion primarily due to his fear that they will usurp his authority. Near the end, he makes a deal with Caulder/Stolos for the cure to the Creeper and to be left alone. Caulder/Stolos reneges on his deal and kills the Mayor with the supposed "cure".
- Totally Radical:
- Due to another Woolseyism, Jake from Dual Strike speaks in a somewhat grating '90s slang dialect, using "words" such as "sup?" and "dude" when they're not especially appropriate. His Japanese counterpart, John, is extremely serious and uses his headphones for military communications.
- Waylon in Days of Ruin pulls a pretty similar "Why are these Lazurians all up in my business?" Somewhat ironically, he's otherwise a total Jive Turkey whose slang is stuck in the '50s. Granted, Waylon was clearly intended to be an annoying jerk, unlike Jake, who is somehow supposed to be a likable protagonist.
- Trap Is the Only Option: Kanbei believes Sonja's warnings in one mission of Black Hole Rising that Black Hole's holding several strategically insignificant Yellow Comet cities hostage is a trap. He goes anyway, because as far as he's concerned, ignoring the trap and letting the cities be occupied by Black Hole would be unacceptable. He is a CO, and COs protect their people no matter what.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Caulder was on both ends of this: he reveals himself to have been a clone who killed his own creator, the real Caulder; and Cyrus turns on him for being immoral.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Combat mode in Dual Strike.
- Übermensch: A heavy motif in Days of Ruin. After the End, the protagonists are faced with several Straw Nihilists posing as Übermenschen who took the apocalypse as a sign to forego conventional morality and live by their own rules:
- Waylon is the first encountered and the most blatantly nihilistic, having no personal ideals other than to live in the lap of luxury and shoot up any threat to his station. His antagonism leads to the Lazurian remnants joining forces with the 12th Battalion to confront and defeat Waylon. After shrugging off Waylon's attempt at a "Not So Different" Remark, Will routs Waylon's forces, who subsequently disappears from the story.
- Admiral Greyfield is a firm believer in Might Makes Right, thinking that his lack of scruples with regards to warfare means that he is most fit to be in charge of society as it's rebuilt. Initially being on the same side as the 12th Battalion, Greyfield makes a lifelong enemy out of Lin by executing Forsythe and killing Brenner over his jealousy and disgust for Brenner's morals. After giving him a heavy "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Lin attacks and trounces Greyfield on the battlefield. Despite Greyfield making an appeal to Brenner's moral code, Lin executes him anyway, showing that Greyfield never stood a chance against someone who plays by the same rules as him.
- Caulder is For Science! made manifest, believing in nothing save satisfying his personal curiosity. He happily uses the lives of the survivors as testbeds for his various inventions, both mechanical and biological. During the final battle, his back-and-forth with Will is easily the most involved in the game, and Caulder's side smacks of What Is Evil? and Dystopia Justifies the Means. The cracks only start to show after he's defeated, showing fear for his own demise. Despite having no respect for the lives of others, he was himself terrified of death.
- Will starts the story Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life after losing all he had to the apocalypse. He is inspired by Brenner's heroism to join the 12th Battalion so as to help people where he feels he can. He spends the first half of the game as The Lancer to Brenner, and the latter's death knocks Will right back down to how he started. After some time spent inoperational, Will receives some encouraging words from Isabella, the first person he saved. This leads him to realise that the cause is bigger than any one person. Finally, hearing Waylon's accusation that Will and him both just do whatever they want in the lawless world, Will agrees. Will states that saving the lives of others is the purest expression of his personal morality, emerging as the one true Übermensch in the story.
- Unified Naming System: The Advance Wars series has a double example: Orange Star, Blue Moon, Green Earth, Yellow Comet, and Black Hole are named for both colours and astronomical objects.
- Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Cruisers in the Advance Wars series have the ability to transport two T-Copters and/or B-Copters, which virtually never comes up apart from hiding them from enemy Fighters since the Cruisers are slower than the Copters and do not heal or refuel them.
- Unstable Equilibrium: A common theme in these games, where matches are often decided long before they're actually over, as once one player secures a significant advantage in map and monetary control, the losing player will just no longer have the resources to keep up with the opponent's snowballing forces, without the advantaged player making some absolutely boneheaded moves. CO Powers help to prevent this to some degree, as they charge faster for players taking more monetary damage, but they're usually not enough to turn the tide of a losing battle. As such in PVP play, it's considered good form for the losing player to yield once this point has been reached instead of playing to the bitter end, as otherwise the losing player would just be wasting everyone's time hopelessly dragging the match out for so many more turns until they're routed or their HQ is captured.
- Variable Mix: Used extensively during gameplay in Re-Boot Camp:
- The main melody of the current CO's theme drops out while the player is selecting a unit for deployment or checking a unit's statistics.
- During combat animations, the current theme's percussion is replaced with a marching drum.
- Rather than bringing back the CO Power and Super Power themes, each CO gets a high-energy remix of their normal theme that plays while a CO Power is active.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The last missions of each game (excluding the first) in the Advance Wars series all revolve around the Big Bad's Doomsday Device or secret fortress hideout, which is usually guarded by numerous cannons and/or giant laser guns.
- Veteran Unit: In Days of Ruin, units that kill another gain battlefield promotions, growing from privates to first-class (I), second-class(II), and Corporal (V). Units gain extra firepower and movement based on their level.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Several examples, not counting the way the soldiers themselves are or any No Casualties Run
- Technique scoring in the Advance Wars and Battalion Wars games (Days of Ruin attempts to be a shining example of this but ends up merely a revamped one)
- Leveling up units in Super Famicom Wars, Game Boy Wars 3, and Days of Ruin.
- Materials in Game Boy Wars 3 makes lesser unit losses more punishing.
- Arrangement in Game Boy Wars 3's Campaign mode.
- COs that can heal units with their powers encourage the player to safeguard wounded units, instead of using them for suicide attacks or cannon fodder.
- Villain Ball: Caulder mocks Greyfield relentlessly for his policy to execute those who are infected with the creeper rather than quarantine them, not for the cruelty, but for the fact that it causes those who are infected to not come forward and thus allows the virus to spread unimpeded through his army.
- Villain Decay: Hawke, the same person that marched his troops by an erupting volcano for a strategic advantage, who basically crushed an entire country, and abandoned his army as they fell at the liberation of Green Earth. At the end of Black Hole Rising, just when the allies are about to win, Hawke kills Sturm personally and basically regards the whole of the game as a 'test of his skills'. Cut to the start of Dual Strike, and suddenly not only is Hawke NOT in charge of Black Hole, he's barely even an important member who is nearly disposed of when he stumbles upon the truth.
- Villain: Exit, Stage Left: The commanders presumably use radio to communicate and can therefore run away long before they're actually in any danger. Usually averted sooner or later, as the villains run out of territories to run to when defeated.
- Played totally straight at the end of Dual Strike, where Jugger, Koal, and Kindle realize they're beat and set off in a tank to start anew elsewhere.
- Violation of Common Sense:
- In the original Advance Wars 1, choosing Max for his introductory mission, "Max Strikes!", actually locked you out of using Max in the final battle (making you get Grit for the Blue Moon side instead). If you wanted him, you had to pick Andy for that mission and play his branching path (but not to the extent of unlocking a secret mission that would make Olaf take Max's place in the final battle). This was an especially cruel low blow to new and inexperienced players, who would understandably want to use the newly available CO in a mission that outright encourages you to use him (especially if they already knew how overpowered Max was in this game), but then get saddled with the much worse Grit for the difficult final mission, where less skilled players most need the power of Max to win. Re-Boot Camp thankfully addressed this, by letting players just choose their COs for the final mission regardless of what they did prior in the campaign.
- A naval unit surrounded by hostile air units cannot move. Likewise, an air unit surrounded by hostile naval units cannot move either.
- In Advance Wars 2, Flak had a Battleship and a Lander... in a tiny, two-square lake.
- In Advance Wars 3, Jugger & Clone Drake topped this by having two Battleships that were each inside a tiny, land-locked lake of their own.
- In the mission featuring Koal and clone Kanbei, Koal tops that by having a couple of Black Boats in one-square ponds.
- Normal Campaign 07: Koal inherits Flak's baffling stupidity by hiding a Lander in a Reef in a one-square lake.
- Hard Campaign Mission 07: Koal has two Landers, two Cruisers, and Two Battleships hidden in the Reefs of the four land-locked lakes.
- Voice Grunting: Re-Boot Camp adds voice acting for the first time in the series, using a combination short voiced clips or vocalizations, partially voiced lines, and completely voiced lines for various bits of dialogue.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: Grit in the first game. He's the first CO you face who isn't Olaf, and he makes sure you know it: Gun Fighter gives him an well-defended base with his increased-range indirects, his CO Power gives said indirects even more range and an insane +65% firepower, and he doesn't skimp on tanks either. On top of all this, it's also the first mission that gives you bases, and your starting units are nowhere near enough to take him on, so the player has to learn build orders while dealing with him.
- War for Fun and Profit:
- Sturm in the first Advance Wars instigates a war between the four Wars World powers to weaken them so Black Hole can swoop in and take over.
- Caulder/Stolos in Days of Ruin does War For Fun And For Science!!, but explicitly not profit. Seeing as how Caulder's company IDS sold to both sides of the conflict in the game, he has already profited.
- War Has Never Been So Much Fun: The armies that appear in "Wars World" games are all brightly-colored, as is the setting they're in. Battles aren't treated that seriously, with casualties either being downplayed or not shown (or swept away under the justification of it being Non-Lethal Warfare). Days of Ruin did away with this notion however.
- We Have Reserves:
- Rachel: "These troops are on loan from Blue Moon!"
- Lightning Strikes in Dual Strike. Two allied factions are essentially wasting lives and resources by "testing each other."
- Verdant Hills operates under a similar premise. Javier and Jess test both the Allied Nations and their new Mega Tank.
- Weather of War: Rain and snow. Drake and Olaf's CO Powers involve those conditions respectively. Penny is immune to the effects.
- Worthy Opponent: Eagle in the first game regards Andy as one. Hawke in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike has similar feelings about the COs he goes up against. Forsythe/Carter in Days of Ruin
- You Have Failed Me:
- Alluded in Black Hole Rising and its reboot, where a higher ranking Black Hole CO will come and insinuate this fate for whoever is about to lose their factory and thus control of the country they were supposed to conquer. Sturm never says it but furiously muses to himself that his subordinates have all been failures and that after the final battle, he "will make... adjustments." He never gets the chance.
- Greyfield/Sigismundo in Days of Ruin casually threatens his soldiers with execution for just about everything, including losing small battles. Villainous insanity aside, this is the first major clue that he's not the competent commander that he claims he is...
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Von Bolt towards Hawke and Lash in the middle of Dual Strike, which prompts their Heel–Face Turn.
- Zerg Rush:
- Mech Spamming. The rush works directly against any ground unit short of a Medium Tank, and high-level strategies tend to involve putting indirects behind the rush to handle those units. The entire strategy tends to fall apart once air units get involved. Especially effective with Sami and Sensei, as their Mechs are very strong (and Sensei can get a huge swarm of 9HP Mechs for free with his Super CO Power).
- On a more general level this is one of the more common strategies when using Colin, Sasha, and/or Hachi, since they can afford to field more units than anyone else.