As AI War is a procedurally generated game it does not have a story line that you follow to victory, rather you have to destroy both AI Home Command Stations to win and how you do that is left totally up to you.
Note that the Fallen Spire Campaign does offer an alternate, story driven method to win but this is only available when enabled and is discussed on its own page.
All the mechanics described on this page will still be viable while pursuing the Fallen Spire Campaign.
If a player has elected to control a Champion, please see the Ancient Shadows page for details on what options the Champion has available to it. Champions and the Nebulas they can access (the blue wormholes) will not be covered on this page.
While your only objective is to destroy both AI Home Command Stations, there are several gameplay activities that will be underway at various points during the game.
Note that these are not presented in any sort of order and in fact multiple of these objectives will be underway at the same time during the course of the game.
Perhaps the most important long term goal, you need to scout to find the AI homeworlds and to decided on how you want to get in a position to destroy them.
While any ship entering a system will allow you to look at the system, a ship with Ability: Gathers Scout Intel is required to display the ship sidebar on the right hand side of the screen and to remove the ??? from the Galaxy Display of that system.
The Scout is the primary method of doing this, although the Scout Starship and a very few other ships, such as the Eye Bot, also have the Ability: Gathers Scout Intel.
Defend your Empire
Defence is obviously necessary - human-owned planets will come under AI-attack regularly throughout the game, regardless of what else is happening. Thus, your choices are limited to controlling where those attacks will occur, and how you respond to incoming and future threats. At the start of the game, most AI-ships are guards and will (fortunately) not actively move against you unless they are disturbed. This may change as the game progresses.
As players will have their own games and perspectives, it's simpler to list some common strategies below with assets common to all games. The specific map layout will determine how much of each is carried out during any given game.
Defending against attacking ships
- The most obvious way of defending your empire is to build defences such as Turrets, Mines or other defensive structures.
- As player empire expands, multiple fronts can develop. Keeping a portion of the fleet behind while on attack, or having a highly-mobile fleet will be useful in switching in between. The speed of human ships can be boosted by Zenith_Spacetime_Manipulators and Logistical Command Stations.
Controlling ingress points
- Normal AI-wave attacks can only occur next to planets with an AI Warp Gate. The same limitation applies to Exogalactic strike forces if the player has enabled options that trigger these.
- It is possible to reduce the number of planets open to this attack by Gate Raiding, or simply conquering AI-planets in order to reduce the total number of wormholes leading to AI-territory.
- Unlocking Warp Jammer Command Stations will prevent its neighbouring AI-planets from launching Warp Gate-attacks, and also from being alerted by the Command Station presence.
- As the AI reinforces its border planets, progress will become more difficult. These reinforcements are spawned around guard-posts as well as the command station. The AI's Cross-Planet Attacks activate existing guards and "release them as threat", effectively allowing them to attack your planets.
- Sending your fleet to attack these the guards and threat ships will reduce the potential problem.
- Destroying the guard-posts on an AI planet but leaving the AI command station is known as neutering, which will limit the location of AI-ships and make future guards easier to handle. This will also reduce the total number of reinforcements if the AIP is low. Note that Wormhole Guard Posts have very high health.
- Setting up a beachhead with Remains Rebuilders, turrets and force-fields on an AI planet is an interesting alternative. This requires a Mobile Builder.
- Warp Jammer Command Stations will also stop threat build-up as long as you avoid sending significant military forces to the AI planet.
Knowledge is required to unlock both additional units as well as higher Mark units.
The easiest way to gather Knowledge is to capture a system and then move a Science Lab to it. 3000 Knowledge per system can be gathered this way.
If a system can not be captured, most likely because it is not worth the AIP increase, you can Knowledge-Hack a system as well to get the 3000 Knowledge from that system.
Note however that this can provoke an extreme response from the AI and care needs to be taken to use it.
Expand your Fleet
There are 3 types of structures in the base game that can be Captured from the AI to increase the size of your fleet.
Advanced Research Stations unlock another Fleet Ship for you to build at the Space Dock.
Ships captured this way come with the Mark II version already unlocked.
Each Advanced Research Station offers 3 different ship types for capture.
You can see these 3 ships by moving a Science Lab into the same system and changing to the Hack tab on the Science Lab menu.
If you just capture the system, the ship listed first (on the left) is the ship that will be unlocked for your use.
If you want one of the other two ships, you can Ship-Hack before capturing the system.
If you do so, after you capture the system you can chance to the Hack tab on your Science Lab and choose one of the 3 ships listed to be the one made available to you at your Space Dock.
Take care however, Ship-Hacking can provoke an extreme response from the AI.
Advanced Factories allow the construction of Mark IV units.
Any unit that can be constructed at the Space Dock and that you have spend the Knowledge to unlock the Mark III version of can also have the Mark IV version constructed at the Advanced Factory.
Fabricators allow the construction of the unit named in their description.
Capture useful units
While the units listed in the previous section will probably be the ones most often captured, there are other units that can be captured from the AI that provide other bonuses.
Any unit with the Ability: Captured on Planet Ownership Change will come under your control when you capture the system.
You will have to decide for yourself which ones are worth capturing based on your game's map and layout. This may be daunting at first with a large number of planets, but your choices are somewhat guided: The game option Core Shield Generators places structures around the galaxy that you have to destroy before you can assault the AI homeworld. The A, B, and C networks share planets with important capturables that will mostly be useful in some way. Picking 4 planets from the A-network, and 1 of each of the others will give you a minimum layout of planets from which you can plan a defence or execute a raid, capture, then abandon operation.
You can see the locations of scouted CSGs by choosing "Detected Core Shield Generators" under the "Displaying" menu in galaxy view.
Reach the AI Homeworlds
Your own Homeworld will almost certainly be out of effective striking range of the AI homeworld so you will have to setup a forward base from which to mount your attacks.
Once again, there are as many ways to do this as there are players. You will have to find the way that works for you on the map you are currently playing. Take note that the Deep Strike range is currently (5.046) 4-planets, meaning that is your military ships advance too far the AI will plan for retaliation.
Destroy the AI Homeworlds
The objective everything you have accomplished has been working towards, destroy both AI Home Command Stations to win the game.