Armies are collections of sprites with a recurrent theme that people use to wage Picture Wars battles.
Types of Armies
Picture Wars allows an almost endless variety of different armies. However, in general they can be divided into five major categories: Modern and early modern armies, medieval armies, futuristic armies, and fungual invasions.
The indesputible bulk of forces found in Picture Wars consists of Modern Armies, factions which function similar to forces found from anywhere between the early 20th century to the present day. Though this period encompasses a dizzying amount of technology and fighting forces from the cavalrymen of the first Great Wars to remotely operated attack drones, the average "Men With Guns", as they are often called will usually be at its base a group of infantrymen equipped with contemporary firearms. Add greater depth and you'll often find tanks, other vehicles of military importance such as transports, fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, and if you're feeling generous, perhaps a terrestrial navy.
Some armies will possess more advanced technology such as mechs and laser rifles, overlapping with futuristic forces, but retain the aesthetic of the modern era.
Modern Armies rarely place focus on on-field resources in a standard match, but will occasionally harvest them as a greater mission objective.
Early Modern Armies
The sweet spot in between modern and medieval, Early Modern Armies are those that are simply put, more advanced then what is found in a medieval force (usually signified by the use of firearms), but not so much that they could be considered modern to the same degree as your typical MWG, often using dated tactics like marching in line formation, as well as units such as cavalry to a greater degree. Weapons can range from muskets to rifles and gatling guns, and while often greatly diminished compared to earlier forces, dedicated melee units are not unknown. The vast majority of "Steam Punk" armies find themselves in this category, and as a result technology can easily overlap with Modern or even Futuristic Armies to an extent. If these armies possess aircraft, it is often in the form of airships and other lighter then air flying crafts.
Like medieval armies, Early Modern forces have the potential to use resources in order to work off of the land and create permanent settlements, but aren't usually dependent on them to the same degree as their earlier peers.
Medieval Armies are armies whose tech level ranges from cavemen, to Greeco-Roman stand-ins, to knights and samurai and old world natives. They usually don't employ gunpowder or anything more advanced then mechanical devices such as catapults, though some of them might use explosives or very early firearms.
They are also most likely to use resources in matches, and often have several different production chains. For example a miner would gather ore, this ore is smelted into iron bars, which are then hammered into weapons and armour by a smith. As a result of this, many Medieval Armies often take large bouts of time in order to set up, which places them at a much slower pace then more advanced type of forces.
The actual creatures are mostly humanoid or semi-humanoid. You've got regular humans, but also various fantasy races ranging for classic ones like goblins and dwarves to more exotic ones.
What categorizes these armies is their use of advanced weaponry, and Futuristic Armies are the second most common descriptor after modern forces. Their level of technology arguably varies the heaviest out of any of the other force types on this list, but the thing that all these armies normally have in common is the ability to fight within space.
Most futuristic armies don't use resources, but they compensate this by a diverse array of weaponry supported by various vehicles and robots, though are often slower to gather reinforcements.
Futuristic armies are quite varied. There are lots of different robot armies, regular humans and different species of aliens.
Fungal Invasions are often some form of infection. Most of them have some way of transforming terrain, for example by covering it with slime or creating fine mazes of roots and tentacles.
There are fungal forces that don't even use units, but rely on the infection to dispose of their enemies. Other ones rely on hordes of spawned creatures to swarm over their enemies.
Of course, these are just the most common forms of armies. Another semi-common type of army are ages armies, which make use of several ages or technology levels. There isn't really anything limiting your creativity. You can make almost anything you can think of into an army.
There are three units/concepts that find their way into almost any army, except perhaps a number of fungus armies.
- Builder: A unit that erects walls, digs tunnels, builds turrets and assorted stuff.
- Combat Unit: Nearly every army included some kind of combat unit, after all it's Picture Wars.
- Unit Creator: A means of creating units. This varies a lot. For a robot army this can be a factory. For a modern army this can parachute drops. Other common ones are cloning devices and natural birth, but there are lots of others.
Combat units is a very broad term. Nearly everything, ranging from infantry to special operations units, fits here. As such, we can still make a few distinctions between combat units themselves:
- Grunt: The grunt is the basic unit, very likely infantry, and always quite weak. Depending on the type of army, the grunt can be a very weak unit that is spawned easily (think Starcraft's Zerg) or can just be a decent unit with no special capabilities, save for maybe a grenade or melee move.
- Specialist: Specialists are used to "flavour" a match. Every match will have tons of grunts pelting away at each other, but a match becomes memorable if people say "Man, that flamethrower kicked ass!". The specialists are thus grunts with a different, more powerful or awesome weapon, or a different unit altogether used to complement the grunts.
- Leader: The leader unit can either be a leader of the entire army, or the leader of a smaller group in your army. In any case, the leader is usually used as an excuse to make him, or his squad, perform dangerous or heroic feats without taking too many losses. Also used so we can name them and feel more intrigued by the match.
The scale of units can vary a lot in picture wars, from really tiny armies who fight their enemies mainly with
tanks, battleships and bombers, to armies consisting of large titan-like robots. However, there is a general scale which most armies follow. By this scale, a standard humanoid is between 20 pixels and 25 pixels in height.
Making an original Picture Wars army can certainly be a daunting task, with many a player defaulting to the tired and true "Men With Guns". Good sources for inspiration are movies, books, the internet, video games, etc... Making an original, well sprited army might be hard at times, but the satisfaction will be the greater.
One thing to keep in mind when creating an army, is how well it will interact with other armies. Having an army of bulletproof soldiers may be a bad idea if your opponent mainly uses infantry with nothing but rifles. Although, an army that uses bulletproof soldiers can still be used if they have other weaknesses. For example, they may be very vulnerable in close range combat, or they may be slow and expensive. Tweaking an army to be balanced, like most things in picture wars, just takes some thought and testing.
Not all armies are created equal, of course; many forces without air forces, for instance, will quickly find themselves overwhelmed when such play a role in a match, while a conventional army might find itself literally out-of depth trying to defend against aquatic invaders in the middle of the ocean. Luckily, players can generally decide what particular forces they possess fight with one another, as well as what equipment said armies have available; it's hard to accidentally send cavemen against space marines.
Picture Wars Armies
To see existing Picture Wars armies with their sprites, background and gameplay mechanics, check out the army section.