Sogg's Guide to Grit

In the traditional Advance Wars world, the one that encompasses Advance Wars, Advance Wars 2, and Advance Wars DS (Hereby referred to as AW1, AW2, and AWDS, respectively), there were many balance issues. Notable among these were issues that involved the indirect units. By their very nature, indirect units are better than any other units. They can shoot over multiple squares and do damage equivalent to a unit usually a tier above, but with less cost. The drawbacks, indeed the only drawbacks, are their low defense and inability to both move and shoot.

The easiest way to make a broken Commanding Officer (CO) would be to make one that had the ability to both move and shoot his indirect units in the same turn. Intelligent Systems did not give this power to any COs, they did the next worse thing. They created a CO that gained both a range bonus of one and a firepower bonus of 20% for his indirects, day-to-day. This means, of course, that he gets the bonus all the time. This CO? Grit.

Now, that doesn't seem so bad. After all, his defense isn't boosted, which is the major drawback of indirects. But, that is irrelevant, as Grit's units will often be far enough away from combat that they won't be aversely affected by the incoming direct units. And, these direct units will be severely weakened from the 20% innate firepower boost Grit's indirects get. The day to day bonuses of Grit's units remain the same throughout all three games.

For most COs, advantages are given and disadvantages are given. Grit's only, his only, disadvantage is a loss of 20% firepower for direct units (all direct units, land, sea, and air). This is not a major drawback, as many COs have firepower drops for certain units. Why was Grit, a CO given quite possibly the most powerful day-to-day advantage also given the most common, generic CO disadvantage? It did counter his 20% firepower gain for indirects nearly equally, but nothing makes up for the extra square of range he receives. Already, Grit has too much going towards the good side for himself, a boost without a counter. And it only goes downhill from here.

All COs can execute Powers. Powers are temporary bonuses that apply for only one game turn. All Powers give all units a 10% defensive boost on top of a boost that is different for each CO. Grit has two exceptionally strong Powers - Snipe Attack and Super Snipe. In AW1, Grit only had the Snipe Attack power; in AW2 and AWDS, he had both. Snipe Attack gives Grit one more range and a 30% attack boost, for indirects. Super Snipe gives him two more range and a 30% attack boost, again for indirects and indirects only. (Note: In AWSD, all COs powers were given a 10% boost to attack, thus giving a 40% boost indirects, 10% to all other units.) Each power, the normal and the Super, only require three stars to activate. This is, of course, a relatively cheap CO power for the net effects.

It is a good thing that CO powers only last for a day, or else there would be Battleships with a range of 8 squares floating around in your harbour with enough firepower to nearly destroy a Medium Tank. Herein lies the proof that Grit is broken. Coupled with the use of 'squares' of terrain, which is unavoidably necessary, indirects have a huge advantage over their direct counterparts because they can choose where to attack without having to move to that area. You could fire from behind a shield of Megatanks or mountains, thereby inflicting damage without any possible repercussion. Direct units use the concept of 'reciprocal damage', meaning that when they attack, they get attacked back - as well as physically being closer to the enemy. Indirect units do not have to worry about this; even if they attacked other indirect units, they do not get attacked back. For them, there is no reciprocal effect.

One could go on and list details proving that Grit was a broken CO. Despite the fact that there are only four indirect units (Artillery, Rockets, Missles, Battleships) these four units are easily the most powerful units of their respective categories. Artillery are the strongest of the 'low-tech', cheap units. Rockets are the most useful anti-land units, since they posses almost the power of Medium Tanks, with a ranged attack and more ammo. Missles are the most powerful anti-air units, the equivalent of Rockets on land units. Battleships are behemoths of the ocean, expensive but with the most raw power in the game, and the longest range to boot. This is, without a doubt, the most powerful class of units, especially in a money-to-damage ratio. Thus, it wouldn't be entirely incorrect to say that Grit himself was broken (even though he is) but it would be correct to say indirects are broken. The game mechanics make it so, especially the use of 'squares' of terrain.

Now, the question is, did Intelligent Systems realize that they had made such a broken CO? Most likely. In the first installment of AW, Grit was not playable in the campaign until the final mission, where the player went up against a 'boss' CO anyway. In the second installment, AW2, Grit was kept the same, possibly because he was overlooked or because of hubris. Once Grit was fashioned, IS didn't want to change him for fear of looking like they had made the mistake of making him too powerful in AW1. Max, the famously broken CO of AW1, was toned down in AW2, however. Why wasn't Grit? In AWDS, he was again kept the same. Perhaps he was overlooked? However, IS dropped the whole idea with Days of Ruin, creating a new atmosphere and CO system. Was this done in an attempt to hide their previous failures with AW1, AW2, and AWDS?

A common saying goes something like 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. If it is 'broke' then you should fix it. Grit wasn't fixed - he remained broken until the end of the traditional AW world. We, as players, don't know why he was broken, we just know that he was.

By forum member Sogg. He thanks: Valet of Vesper, Smiloid, SciFiGuy, Machrineith, and Nightmare for all of their help in making this article.