Design Maps Mode Guide by Uiru

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 03/16/02 | Printable Version

 Advace Wars: Design Maps Mode guide (v. 1.1)

 by Uiru (
 Created 02/23/02

 The purpose of this guide is to review the capabilities and the 
limits of the Design Maps mode in Advance Wars. This mode allows you 
to create your own battle maps that you and your friends can battle 
on; or you can duel computer opponents. With the help of this guide, 
you can maximize the appearance and function of your custom maps. 

 Table of Contents:
 1. Updates

 2. Controls

 3. Map Restrictions
 i. Map Dimensions
 ii. Properties
 iii. Units
 iv. Characters
 v. Computer AI

 4. Map Tiles
 i. Bridge
 ii. Road
 iii. Reef
 iv. Shoal
 v. River
 vi. Wood
 vii. Mountain
 viii. Sea
 ix. Plain
 x. Buildings

 5. VS & Link Battle Rules

 6. Suggested Game Types
 i. The Final Battle...?
 ii. Property Races
 iii. The Gauntlet
 iv. Alone in the Fog
 v. Grudge Match!
 vi. Stress Release

 7. Credits, Legal

 ~1. Updates~

 Mar. 15, 2002- Little updates here and there.
 Feb. 23, 2002- Got bored, began guide. Chances of posting it: 50%.

 ~2. Controls~

 When you enter Design Maps mode, you will be presented with a 
randomly generated map. Use the Control Pad to move the cursor. Press
the R button to access the map tiles, such as mountains and 
buildings, and the L button to access the units. Press A to place the
current tile/unit at the cursor's location, and B to copy whatever 
the cursor is on. (If your last operation was with the tiles, it will
copy the tile. If it was units, it will copy the unit.) Press Start 
to see your whole map at once, and Select to access the menu. The 
menu commands are:

 File: Load, save, and name up to three maps. The width of the 
letters are NOT fixed, so the number of available spaces may change 
depending on the letters you use. 

 Help: Conditions and instructions.

 Intel: Will tell you how many bases, ports, airports and cities you 
have of each color, as well as neutral cities. 

 Fill: Will wipe the map clean, and fill it with a certain terrain 
type. You can use plains, mountains, forests, or oceans. You can also
have it generate a completely random (yet sensible) map for you. 

 End: Leave Design Maps mode. Nell will ask you if you've saved or 

 ~3. Map Restrictions~

 The game gives you one restriction straight off: you need to have at 
least two armies to start. That means two HQs and at least one 
'production' property or one unit for each. Interestingly enough, you
can have HQless armies in play. These do not have turns and cannot be
controlled, either by players or computer, and do not have any 
particular CO attribute. Units will, however, attack back. 

 ~i. Map Dimensions~

 The map's dimensions are 30 tiles across by 20 tiles down. This is 
moderately large, but there are some War Room maps that dwarf it. 
Most Campaign levels can be recreated in Design Maps mode if you have
that kind of patience. 

 ~ii. Properties~

 You are allowed to have up to 60 properties on your map at one time. 

 ~ii. Units~

 You can only have 50 units of any one color in play at once, which 
means that no more than 200 units can ever be deployed at the same 
time. However, in VS and Link Battles, you can use the Options menu 
to remove units you don't need.

 ~iv. Characters~

 Obviously, you can have no more than four COs playing your map at 
one time. However, more than one player can use the same CO. The 
color of the army does not affect a character's performance: Orange 
Star is exactly the same as Blue Moon, except one is orange and the 
other blue. 

 ~v. Computer AI~

 A computer opponent is a computer opponent. It doesn't matter 
which CO they are assigned; they will still do pretty much the 
same thing. Grit will make as many Tanks as Rockets; Eagle will go 
out to sea. Also, when their CO Power bars finish charging, they 
will be used the next turn (except for Eagle, who will use his at 
the end of the same turn). In other words, it's pretty simple to 
outsmart the AI, so if you're creating personal challenges, try to 
stack the odds in favor of the computer.

 A computer ally on your team can be a liability; they will not 
leave you property or attempt to help you in any way. They just 
won't openly attack or deliberately block you. 

 ~4. Map Tiles~

 Access these by pressing the R button.

 ~i. Bridge~

 Bridges cannot 'bend'. They are the over-water equivalent of Roads, 
and have no Defence Rating. Bridges must start next to a land tile 
and it looks better if they terminate next to one as well. They 
cannot be placed in 'corners' of land tiles. See the diagram.


 A Bridge (|) cannot start here. 

 ~ii. Road~

 Roads allow easier transport of heavy equipment, especially Missiles
and Rockets. They have no Defence Rating, and cannot be used over 
water. Though they can run alongside each other, it doesn't look very
good. Trying to put a Road over a River will automatically create a 

 ~iii. Reef~

 The aquatic version of Forests. They have a Defence unit of 1 and 
can hide ships in Fog of War, but they also slow them down. Reefs 
cannot be placed next to land tiles, but they can be put next to

 ~iv. Shoal~

 A beach, that allows Lander type units to land. Shoals can only be 
placed at the edges of Land tiles, and will block access from
Ports. They cannot be placed on Ocean tiles that are surrounded on 
two opposite sites by Land units. Land units can move over Shoals, 
but ocean units cannot (except for Landers). See the diagrams.


 The Port (P) in this diagram is surrounded by Land tiles and Shoals 
(B). Ships cannot enter or exit this Port, unless they are Landers. 


 The first two are impossible; however, the third is fine.


 In the game, this will look like two land masses and two beaches 
seperated by water; however, land-based units can cross here. I like 
to refer to this as a 'land bridge'. 

 ~v. River~

 Rivers can only be traversed by soldier units (and bridges). They 
can bend, but they cannot run alongside another river. Also, they 
will not look good unless they terminate next to a sea tile. This 
tile must have two land tiles next to it, as well. See the diagram:


 where the S are sea tiles, the R is the end of the river and the L 
are land tiles (either plains, roads, mountains, forests, bases, 
whatever). The D is actually a river tile out in the ocean, and 
must have three sea tiles on each of its sides. Lastly, they have a
Defence rating of 2.

 ~vi. Forest~

 Forests can hide units in Fog of War. They have a Defence unit of 2.
It is difficult to move equipment over them, and in bad weather, 
almost impossible.

 ~vii. Mountain~

 Only soldier and air units can move over Mountains. These have a 
Defence rating of 4. 

 ~viii. Seas~ 

 Water. Ships can move in it. Does not have a Defence Rating.

 ~ix. Plain~

 The standard grassy field. Fields offer a Defence Rating of 1.

 ~x. Buildings~

 These are the properties. HQs have a Defence Rating of 4; the others
3. Equipment moves easily through them regardless of weather. HQs, 
Bases, and Cities will restore 2 HP to land-based units of the same 
color that are standing on them every turn, as well as fill up their 
ammo and fuel. Airports do the same for airplanes and Ports for 

 The turns go in this order: Orange Star, Blue Moon, Green Earth, 
Yellow Comet. (Black Hole cannot be used, unfortunately.) The 
direction the units face is dependant on the order in which they are
selected. If all four are used, Orange Star and Green Earth will face
right and Blue Moon and Yellow Comet will face left. However, if you 
don't use Orange Star, it changes to Blue Moon and Yellow Comet 
facing right and Green Earth facing left. The first one in the order 
you use faces right and it alternates back and forth. So, in the 
interests of looking nice, try to base your right-facing armies 
towards the left half of the map and your left-facing armies towards 
the right. 

 ~5. VS & Link Battle Rules~

 First of all, these two modes are identical, except that VS Mode is 
run on one system that is passed between human players, and Link 
Battle uses several GBA's, cartridges, and link cables. If it's just 
you going against the computer, VS Mode is what you're looking for.

 You can buy many, many maps in Battle Maps, which is also where you 
buy your COs. The more you get, the more you can use. You can also 
use War Room maps, though these are recommended for players of 
greatly differing skill levels as one side is usually horribly 
disadvantaged. Most importantly, however, you can use the three maps 
you've created in Design Maps. 

 You can toggle the following rules in VS & Link Battle modes:

 Fog on/off: This turns Fog of War on and off. When fog is on and 
there are two or more human players, a prompt screen will show up at 
the beginning of each player's turn to keep opponents from gaining 
intel. (When there's no fog, the HP of Sonja's units will be visible 
to the next player in line. Just another reason why Sonja shouldn't 
be used when there's no fog.) 

 Weather clear/rain/snow/random: Choosing a weather type means it's 
always that weather type. Random will occasionally change from clear 
to rain or snow, and back again in one turn. (If it begins to snow at
the beginning of Green Earth's turn, for example, it'll stop snowing 
at the beginning of Green Earth's next turn. Natural snow or rain 
do not affect Olaf or Drake.)

 Funds 1000~9500: In 500 intervals, you can set the amount of money 
you get from each captured property. 

 Turn 5~99: At the end of the specified number of turns, whoever has 
the most property wins.

 Capt 1~59: The number of properties you can require to be captured 
varies, and depends on how you set up your map. The upper limit is 
always (total number of properties - 1), the one being your own HQ. 
(If you have 60 properties in play- the limit- the upper limit will 
be 59). The lower limit is (largest number of property + 1). If there
are more neutral property than owned property, the lower limit will 
be all the neutral properties + 1. If any color has more property, 
the limit will be whichever has the most + 1.

 CO Power on/off: Turns on and off the CO Power bar. COs will still 
have their individual abilities and strengths, but they won't be able
to use their CO Powers.

 Visuals off/A/B/C: Turns the visuals on and off. Personally, I find 
that battles go much faster with the animations off. A is battle and 
capture animation, B is battle only and C is battle only for human 

 ~6. Suggested Game Types~

 These are just suggestions of kinds of games you can set up and 
play. If you have any more, feel free to EMail me. 

 ~i. The Final Battle...?~

 Set up these kinds of games by giving one army a huge number of 
resources, and easily defendable terrain. You could have Sonja in 
the fog, Olaf in the snow, or Kanbei with a large funds per base 
setting to make it even tougher. Then, have one, two, or three armies
team up to take on the tyrant. 

 ~ii. Property Races~

 A HQ placed on a single tile of land and surrounded by sea is 
absolutely uncapturable. Use this to create two, three, or four-way 
property race missions that will keep on until the very end. Note 
that it's not a good idea to use teams in property race missions as 
it may become impossible to finish. 

 ~iii. The Gauntlet~

 Set up a long path through the mountains, with a single undefended 
enemy HQ at the end. Start one player with a number of land-based 
units and the other with the capacity to create traps, in the way of 
Rockets and Artillery. The goal is for the first player is to capture
the base, while the goal of the second is to stop him! Add a time 
limit for additional challenge. 

 ~iv. Alone in the Fog~

 Start each player off with a single Soldier away from their HQ in 
the darkness of Fog of War. You'll have to create your own army from 
scratch, and hope you don't stumble upon an enemy you aren't prepared

 ~v. Grudge Match!~

 Max VS Grit: This 'predeployed' map style will see Max equipped with
all manner of Tanks and Mid Tanks, while Grit is holed up with enough
Artillery and Rockets to start a war! Go naval with Submarines and 
Battleships and bring this feud to a whole new level. Keep it real by
not using bases.

 Eagle VS Drake: Creating a good Eagle VS Drake map will require 
advanced skills, as you'll have to balance the land and sea aspects 
of the stage perfectly to keep it from becoming one-sided. 

 Sonja VS Sami: The cutest battle ever. :) Predeploy lots of 
Infantry, Mechs and Transport Copters for Sami, and see if she can 
sneak past Sonja's hidden defences and capture the HQ! Again, it's 
more effective without bases.

 Olaf VS Sturm: Who's the bigger goober? Find out! Set up this map 
with plenty of forests and narrow paths. Sturm has a full movement 
range over everything except when it snows, which brings him to a 
standstill. That's Olaf's time to strike!

 ~vi. Stress Release~

 Set any number of armies against Olaf. Set the weather to 'rain'. :D

 ~7. Credits, Legal~

 Advance Wars is owned by Nintendo. If you thought anything 
different, see a doctor. This guide, on the other hand, is copyright 
2002 Uindamu Uiru. Don't touch it unless you want to experience a 
point blank Mid Tank round.

 I would like to point out that the only reason I am doing this guide
is to have an excuse NOT to do my Pokémon Crystal walkthrough, as 
spending six hours trying to get a good Raikou and still winding up 
with trash irritates me greatly. So, thank Raikou. Or it'll bite you. 

 Everything here is a result of my own research. Anything that is 
submitted to me and is used will be credited appropriately.

 This guide may be posted on your site only if it is 100% unaltered, 
and if proper credit is given to me (Uiru, I would
appreciate being informed first.