A Snowball Toss Away - A Guide to Snow Wars
Maybe you’ve checked out your friends’ user profiles and you’ve seen that an awful lot of them have a gold Snow Wars trophy. You give the game a try and after a while come to the conclusion that:
“The game is all LUCK—it would take FOREVER to get a gold trophy.”
Now that’s where you would be wrong... on both counts! Hmmm... Let me qualify that: there is some degree of luck, but the pieces are structured in such a way that you can minimize the luck aspect of the game. And as for the forever part... following the strategy I’m about to outline, I was able to get a gold trophy in 2 hours. See the difference between 2 hours and FOREVER?
Okay, so the first thing you need to do is clearly define your objective. This game is very similar to battleship, but in Snow Wars you know exactly which part of the enemy pieces you hit. Because of this, we can develop an optimal strategy.
The first thing we need to ask is: “what exactly are the pieces?”
There are 7 pieces. The puddle and speckles of snow are not pieces! These pieces can be grouped into four categories:
First, there are the 2x2 pieces. These are the castle and the big snowman (with a scarf).
Second, there are the vertical 2x1 pieces. These are the cannon and the piles of snowballs (something I first thought when I started playing was that the snowballs were two different pieces... They’re one. The smaller pile of snowballs is always on top of the larger pile!)
Thirdly, there’s the horizontal 1x3 catapult.
Lastly, (and most tricky), are the two small snowmen.
So all in all, 2 big 2x2 pieces, 2 vertical 2x1 pieces, 1 horizontal 1x3 piece, and 2 small 1x1 pieces. Quick addition verifies that there are indeed 7 pieces.
“Now how,” you ask “does that help me? Just give me the strategy! Which square do I target first?”
The first square actually doesn’t really matter that much—it’s the pattern which really matters. You need to guess squares in a systematic fashion. Specifically, you should space your guesses out by one piece.
Let me explain. Starting at A1 is the easiest and most intuitive. You would then fill in A3, A5, A7. See, one space between each of those squares. You would then continue this grid vertically. So C1, C3, C5, C7, E1, E3, E5, and E7.
(Note: Remember I said this is a fast game to beat? Well, don’t concern yourself about whether your guess HITS or not. Just follow the pattern.)
“That... kinda makes sense” you hesitantly say “but why exactly do you do this?”
Glad you asked! The motivation behind this method is the big 2x2 pieces (the big scarf snowman and the castle). Going through with this strategy GUARANTEES that you hit both of those structures. I could prove this mathematically by the pigeonhole principle... Or I could just demonstrate this by challenging you to fit a 2x2 piece on the board which avoids getting hit by this pattern. =P See, it works.
At this point, you’ll definitely have hit two pieces... See, we minimized luck already! You may have hit more... . But for the sake of argument I’ll assume you only hit those two (which is rather unlucky. Typically I HIT two other times in the first step). This step is all about finding those other mid tier pieces (if you already HIT the two vertical 2x1 pieces and the horizontal 1x3 piece then skip to Step Three... you lucky so-and-so!)
2x1 vertical pieces (Piles of snowballs & Cannon): Since you did not get them during the first step, they must not be in columns 1, 3, 5, and 7. Do you see why? We would have hit them if they were. So do we start at A2 and start gridding in? No! We do this systematically. There’s still a 1x3 horizontal catapult out there which must not be in rows A, C, and E.
Combining these two parts, we’re left with the even numbered columns in rows B, D, and F. So we go do B2, B4, B6, B8, D2, D4, D6, D8, F2, F4, F6, and F8.
NOTE: You will not actually fill in all of these. If you know that one of these squares will hit (a part of another piece previously discovered), then go on to the next possible square. Once you find all of these middle tier items, stop this process.
Phew, that was intense. We’ve got 5 pieces. Time for a break! In this step, you fill in the other parts of the pieces you uncovered. So, since you hit five pieces, you should now have to fill in 3 other squares to complete the big scarf snowman, 3 other squares for the castle, 2 other squares for the catapult, 1 other square for the cannon, and 1 other square for the piles of snowballs.
Just sit back and relax as you see the big green “HIT” 10 times in a row!
Ack, so we’ve eliminated luck as much as possible—this fool-proof strategy will get you five pieces. Now on to those pesky, elusive 1x1 snowboys. Here’s where luck comes in. There is no systematic method you can use to go about this step. You just have to guess randomly at this point.
Hopefully, by following my FOUR STEP program, you can lose over 30 pou- whoops, I meant you can beat most of the opponents really quickly! Most of the opponents are pushovers. But some of them aren’t. Let’s take a look at the opposition.
1. The Scarf. This sketchy-looking blue guy is a joke. It’s like he purposefully misses! Follow my method and he should be a breeze!
2. The Snowman. Okay, just because he has a nose doesn’t mean he’s got much on The Scarf. Take this boy to school... he needs to learn a thing or two.
3. Santa. This jolly old chap should concentrate more on training the reindeer... a cinch!
4. The Snow Cone. A snow cone with arms... interesting. Or not really—he plays just as badly as the other three. Eat this guy up!
5. Happy Monkey. Is this guy even a neopet? Whatever he is, can’t be too bright.
6. Evil Elf. This guy is actually kinda evil. A bit more tricky than the others, but definitely beatable after a few tries.
7. Roboball. He’s a machine—he’s gotta be pretty good... He is. Takes a few trials before you demonstrate that humans > robots.
8. The Tree. He looks kinda dull, but don’t be fooled by his appearance. He’s just as hard as RoboBall.
9. SuperStar. AHHHHH!!! I spent about 30 minutes on this guy alone. He’s a solid guy who always seems to hit everything after about four guesses into STEP THREE.
10. The Tentar. I was bracing myself for some guy who would hit everything within the first 20 moves, but honestly I didn’t notice any difference in difficulty between SuperStar and Tentar. At this point (SuperStar and Tentar) it all comes down to getting those pesky small snowmen early into the game.
“That’s all nice and good,” you say, “but is there any other compensation for beating the 10 opponents and winning the game?”
Pride. A sense of accomplishment. Okay, assuming you didn’t play this game for just those, there are two things you can get out of this game. The most appealing thing for me was the trophy. After you beat the Snowman (#2), you get a Snow Wars Medal which looks... rather... small and insignificant on your user profile. After beating Happy Monkey (#5), you win a bronze trophy—starting to look legit! At the seventh level (RoboBall), you get a silver trophy... and finally after OWNing the Tentar, you’ll receive that hard-earned, spiffy gold trophy.
What’s that? You said you like monetary compensation?
Pssh, well, you get that too. After each level you beat, you get two snowballs. Quickly:
1. 2 Wet Snowballs
2. 2 Poison Snowballs
3. 2 Evil Snowballs
4. 2 Yellow Snowballs
5. 2 Peach Snowballs
6. 2 Exploding Snowballs
7. 2 Icy Snowballs
8. 2 Sticky Snowballs*
9. 2 Snow Mudballs*
10. 2 Stone Snowballs
* These two pack quite a bit of punch in the Battledome. You may want to save these to give your friend a little surprise next time you battle!
Well, that’s all, folks! Now go out there to Terror Mountain, pick up a few snowballs, and wipe the smirk off the SuperStar’s face!