Campaign is the main mode in the Nintendo Wars series from Advance Wars on. This is essentially the story mode, you go through the missions presented to you in order, and the COs available to you are determined by the plot.
Our goals for this guide are to explain to you how to get a perfect score of 999 on all missions with any available CO. Because AW1’s AI is highly predictable and most Campaign missions require quick clears for full Speed points, these will be detailed day-to-day guides for most of the missions.
In Advance Wars 1, for most of the Campaign, you’ll have a choice of whether to use Andy, Max, or Sami.
Andy has no particular strengths or weaknesses, and his CO power restores 2 HP to all his units.
Max is first available in Mission 4. He has an utterly ridiculous 50% boost to direct units, making him very broken even despite the fact that his indirects have not only an attack penalty, but a range penalty. Still, there are some maps where indirect units are important and it’s hard to use him.
Finally, Sami is the infantry specialist, first available in Sami’s Debut, which will be either Mission 7 or 8 depending on the path you take. Her direct units are weak, except for her enhanced infantry and mechs. But she has two useful boosts that go beyond simple stat increases: her transports have an additional point of movement, and her infantry get a bonus when capturing. All other COs will only get one capture point for every HP the capturing infantry has; Sami gets 1.5 points, allowing her to take some damage and still finish a capture in two days.
In general, Andy doesn’t really excel anywhere. There are maps where he’s a better choice than Max due to indirect units playing a key role, but in those cases you typically won’t find the map much harder with Sami even if her bonuses aren’t particularly helpful. Her penalty just isn’t as significant as Max’s loss of range.
That said, you can get a perfect score on any of the missions with any of the three COs, it’s just that the Sami or Max strategies may be quite different due to their respective advantages or disadvantage.
In addition, there are a few missions where your choice of CO results in a different mission entirely. This will be covered in the next section.
Branching Paths, Extra Missions, and Unlocking COs
There are a few ways to move through the campaign, including a few secret missions with special unlocking conditions. It’s important to note that what you do will affect the COs you have for The Final Battle, which is one of the toughest missions in the game, if not the whole series. Especially if you want a high rank. This is really important; not only is The Final Battle a tough mission, but you need to meet the requirements for certain COs in order to unlock them for other modes.
So let’s talk about that. The Final Battle gives you a team of three COs. Andy will always be the first one, in the middle of the map. You have three choices for the left-side CO and four for the right, so let’s cover that.
Your first branching path occurs at Mission 4, when Max becomes available as a CO. You can opt to do this mission with either Andy or Max, and the map will be different depending on who you choose. Not only that, but the next few missions will be different too!
This sequence decides who will be on the left side of The Final Battle. If you choose Andy for Mission 4, you have the option to do a hidden mission if you clear Mission 6 by rout. If you don’t get this mission, Max will be your partner on the left; if you do, then you’ll have Olaf. Neither of these outcomes is required to unlock anything.
If you select Max for Mission 4, you will get three additional missions no matter what, and Grit will help you out on The Final Battle. This is required to unlock him.
The CO you get on the right side is a little more complicated. There are four possibilities, but on a 999-point run only two can show up.
First off, if you don’t meet the conditions for anyone else, you’ll get Sami on the right side. This is less than ideal; you can try to get her to take Sturm’s HQ, but that’s about it. All the other COs for the right side are better options.
Your first chance to change the right-side CO occurs when you encounter Kanbei. You’ll face him in three missions. If you complete the first in 8 days or less, the second in 10 or less, and the third in 12 or less, you’ll do an additional three missions against his daughter, Sonja, and he’ll show up to help you at the end. The requirements to get full Speed are all faster than the requirements to get these missions, so if you want 999 points, you’ll automatically do this. This is required to unlock Sonja; unlocking Kanbei himself only requires you to complete the Campaign.
Your other opportunity comes immediately after Kanbei’s missions, or Sonja’s if you did them. You will have four missions in a row against Drake and Eagle. Each of these missions changes based on the CO you select.
If you complete all four missions with Andy, Drake will help you out in The Final Battle and you’ll unlock him afterwards. However, if you met the conditions for Kanbei, you won’t see Drake; you’ll still unlock him, however.
The other option is to complete all four missions with Sami. This will make Eagle turn up in The Final Battle. Not only that, you’ll get an extra mission, Rivals, after clearing it. After finishing Rivals, Eagle will be available to unlock. You’ll see Eagle even if you met the conditions for Kanbei.
While this is a guide for Normal Campaign, it’s worth noting that the Advance Campaign version of Rivals is quite possibly the hardest map in the whole series. Because of this, we do not recommend going for the Eagle route on Advance Campaign.
It’s also worth noting that you can unlock a CO on either Normal or Advance Campaign. If you want to unlock everyone in just two runs, our recommendation is to go for Grit and Eagle as your final team on Normal, and meet Drake’s condition on Advance. You can meet Kanbei’s conditions on either or both difficulties, although it’s probably more useful to have him than Drake for AC.
The first Advance Wars game uses a 1000-point scoring scale, but it’s actually equivalent to the 300-point scale used in AW2 and DS. It’s just that the categories are weighted here.
Note: In the following equations, the brackets ⌊⌋ mean that whatever is in the brackets is rounded down to the nearest whole number. This is also called the “floor function”.
Speed is worth 500 points, and is probably the most straightforward category – it’s all about beating the mission fast. If you complete a map within its turn limit (which varies from map to map), you’ll get the full 500. If you take longer, you’ll lose points.
To work out your exact Speed score, call the map’s Speed limit S and the number of turns you finished it in T. Then, your Speed score will be:
This value caps at 500, and the resulting score is exactly equal to five times what your Speed score would be in AW2 or AWDS under the same circumstances. Simply put, to get a perfect score here, you have to win in the turn limit. The game itself won’t tell you what this is, but we’ve helpfully included that information in our guides.
It’s actually possible to gain an extra day of leeway if the number the game uses for the Speed limit is high enough. This happens in a few maps over the course of the series, but none are in this game. All of our listed Speed limits account for this extra day; if you take one day longer than what we say, you’ll lose points.
Technique is worth 300 points. It’s based on the percentage of units you lost compared to the percentage of units you’ve had on your side over the course of the battle. Unlike the later games, AW1 doesn’t have a convenient way to check this; your only option is to look at the Units tab and add up the numbers.
Call the number of units lost L, and the number of units deployed D. Then Technique in Campaign is determined by this formula:
Once again, this is the same formula used for Advance Wars 2 and DS, except multiplied by 3. Put a bit more simply, if you lose at most 20% of your units, you’ll get full technique. There’s actually a little leeway here due to rounding.
There are some important notes here. First: Any unit you lose counts against Technique. If it was loaded in a transport that got destroyed, it counts against you. Ran out of fuel and crashed? That counts against you. Deleted a unit? That counts against you too. Yielded on a map with multiple allied armies? Every unit you still had out counts against you. So don’t let this happen!
But there’s an important thing to note that will help your Technique too. Joining! If you join two units together and that unit is destroyed, it only counts as one unit destroyed. But you still get credit for having two units deployed in the first place! In other words, joining is good for Technique, especially if you’re on a map where you might actually run up against the limit of 50 units per army.
One final note, though it’s not relevant to Campaign per se. War Room has a lower Technique threshold; the 20 in the above formula is replaced by a 10. In other words, you can only lose 10% of your units (with a little bit of leeway for rounding.) Keep this in mind if you switch between the game modes.
Finally, we come to Power. Power is worth 200 points, and it’s not intuitive how it works at first. Simply put, Power is not about how many enemy units you destroyed over the course of the map; it’s about how many enemy units you destroyed in a single turn. More specifically, it’s about what proportion of the total enemy units you destroyed; the bigger the army, the more units you’ll need to take out. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way in AW1 to see how many enemy units are deployed over the course of the map.
For this formula, E is the number of enemy units deployed over the course of the map and P is the largest number you destroyed in one turn. Your Power score is then:
Again, it’s the formula used in Advance Wars 2 and DS, just multiplied by 2. If you’re having trouble working out what that means, the short version is that you need to destroy 10% of the total enemy units in one turn.
Once more, there are some things to clarify. First off, rounding always counts against you here. If the enemy makes twenty units, then two will get you full Power; but if they make twenty-one units, you’ll need to destroy three.
Second, all those things that count against you for Technique? They don’t help you with Power at all. A unit in a destroyed transport doesn’t count for you, and neither does a crashed air or sea unit. Only units that you directly destroy through attacking or counterattacking count.
Finally, though it doesn’t come up in Campaign, if you’re fighting multiple enemy armies then you have to combine their individual unit counts to figure out how many enemies to destroy for full Power.
One more general note. There are two Campaign maps with multiple allied armies. On both of these, only the OS army counts for Technique and Power. Note that the rules for missions with multiple allied armies are different in the other games. Each game has its own scoring rules, so don’t assume that what worked in one will work in another.
The maximum score is 999, but if you get this, it will always actually be 1000. This is because of the weighted categories – you can’t lose less than two points.
That said, you can’t actually see the score in Campaign. You only get to see the average of all your scores at the end. On top of this, there’s an annoying and unexplained glitch where you might get 999 on every map but end up with your final total displaying 998.