Playing a bit of Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium wars last night I hit a tricky mission that caused me some problems. Even though the game gave me some strong units to start with I struggled to build up infrastructure while wave upon wave of attackers kept whittling down my forces. Unable to replenish losses I was doomed to death by attrition. I restarted in order to try and work out a winning strategy but was soon interrupted by a call to dinner. Leaving my hapless forces to fend for themselves I headed off to eat.
Returning a half an hour later I was much surprised to see that I had not yet been wiped out. All of my troops were gone except for one lone Mammoth tank but that tank was single-handedly fending off attacks from multiple directions all the while protecting my few remaining buildings.
I was initially perplexed. The Mammoth is a very powerful tank but how had it survived attacks from literally hundreds of opponents without any healing or support? When I investigated the answer turned out to be simple enough. The tank had achieved the highest level of veterancy (unsurprising given the number of kills it was notching up) and when a unit achieves that veternacy its health automatically regenerates between battles. As each wave of attackers appeared the tank took a pounding and lost health but it managed to regenerate enough between waves to keep going.
The continuing survival of that lone tank meant that I had in fact reached the tipping point of the game. With my enemies tied up in a futile struggle with that one immortal defender I was free to build up infrastructure and then to amass an unstoppable army.
All well and good except that I am left with the damning realisation that the computer playing by itself without my intervention had managed to survive when I could not. It is a sad day when a game lets you know that you are worse than useless!