The Lamplighters League follows the formula of games such as X-Com and Phoenix Point by combining squad tactical gameplay with a more elaborate strategy layer that requires you to manage the progression of both your team and the growing threat posed by your enemy.
In the tactical layer, you will be continuously outnumbered and outgunned, while the strategy layer’s doomsday clocks can only be slowed and never stopped. Letting either side of the gameplay balance slip leaves you increasingly at risk of losing the other and having a multiple-hour campaign collapse from under you. Here are some tips to stop that from happening.
Prioritise Recruiting Over The Main Quest
Taking on recruits comes with a high cost: The missions for recruiting new allies and agents draw you away from the missions to advance the plot and slow the plans of the Court. Despite this, it is almost always worth doing these recruitment missions as they appear.
The increase they give you in team strength allows you to make up the losses by taking on difficult missions and fighting the scions directly.
You are limited in the number of agents you can bring on a mission, making the passive gains provided by allies much more tempting. Ally upgrades also have better longevity, providing ongoing use even if a specific agent is captured or killed.
If possible, rescue Danys, the weaponsmith, as soon as possible to unlock upgrades to your weapons and armour.
The priority upgrade to get from him in the early to mid-game is the upgrade to carrying capacity on your agents. From there, you can go down any of his three upgrade trees with a focus on the one that buffs your favourite agent.
Additional agents are still worth getting at every opportunity once you have all the allies. Beyond the agents brought on a mission, any surplus can be assigned downtime activities such as scouting for quest leads or collecting passive income.
Choose Your Enemies
All three antagonist factions will need to be defeated by the end of the game, and you don’t have the luxury of vetoing one that you struggle against in the tactical layer. This doesn’t mean there aren’t advantages to letting the balance slip between the three houses.
If you find one faction is posing a greater threat, such as their unique units being a strong counter to your preferred playstyle, focus your early game efforts on limiting their expansion.
- Strum and his mummy elites do an excellent job of punishing slow playstyles by summoning, healing and reviving units. They are immune to fire damage and weak to poison.
- Nicastro’s sea creatures have stronger stress damage than the other houses. They are immune to poison but weak to shock.
- Marteau’s ghosts and zombies can teleport past or swarm over overwatch traps. They are immune to shock but weak to fire.
If your A-team is a poor matchup against any of the three, prioritise stalling them from getting their first and second upgrades. An easy check is to look at what elemental damage abilities they have: The Alexandrite’s fire attacks will bounce off Strum’s units, while Celestine’s poison and stress strategy will struggle against Nicastro.
The unique units of each house are revealed and upgraded as their doomsday clocks advance. Limiting their growth means they’ll have more generic units that lack the immunities and special abilities of their faction.
The easiest way of doing this is to attack their Scions at regular intervals. Challenging these persistent boss fights is challenging, and you’re liable to take some injuries, especially in the early game.
You get rewarded for the effort by heavily setting back their doomsday clocks and gaining some bonus resources to further your research.
Combine Sneaking With Recon Mode For Complete Information
The real-time stealth sections can present a dilemma about how to best handle them. Your best stealth units, the sneaks, are the most fragile in combat. You want to keep these units at the front when sneaking but if something goes wrong they’ll be woefully out of position when combat starts. The best approach changes depending on the layout of the enemies:
- If there are isolated targets for the sneak to take down, you want to keep the rest of your team far away so that when the body is found nobody will be caught by search parties.
- If the assassinations you are performing are riskier, you want to bring in your team, so they can help out if it enters turn-based combat.
Recon mode pauses the game while still giving you full access to all the information you currently have available. Positioning a sneak close to an enemy group and then entering recon mode gives you plenty of time to understand the map layout, enemy composition and any environmental factors you can weaponise.
Because time is paused, it won’t give you any understanding of patrol patterns so be sure to scout twice in both real-time and recon mode.
Recon mode also allows you to examine enemies in detail, giving you a better understanding of their ability set. Keep an eye open for the faction elites that are immune to stealth takedowns, but also for specific abilities that might counter other playstyles: Marteau Purifiers, for example, explode upon death.
Killing them with a melee attack will set you on fire unless you can move away immediately after the attack. Strum mummies can revive themselves unless executed, meaning you always need to save one action point, and you can’t rely on effects that activate when you make a killing blow.
All faction elites and Scions are immune to stealth takedowns. If you try to use one against them, you will be punished for the attempt and combat will begin with your party most likely out of position.
Position Your Units Carefully In Stealth
There’s a rock-paper-scissors relationship for stealth takedowns during the real-time portion of the game.
- Isolated enemies are too numerous to defeat using your limited ability charges from a bruiser or saboteur. Your sneaks can deal with them more reliably due to having more takedown charges or avoid them entirely using their improved stealth.
- Patrols are often composed of small groups but will have positions in their movement patterns that leave them at the perimeter of an enemy stronghold. Your bruisers can bull rush a group of up to three after waiting for them to be as far from their allies as possible.
- Anti-Sneak enemies such as on-guard soldiers (with the yellow eye icon and 360 vision) and sentinels (emitting radar pulses) have special mechanics for flushing you out of stealth. The shock mine of a saboteur is the most reliable way of disabling them as both other options operate at melee range. Since the shock mine is more likely to catch the attention of other guards, ensure you are either ready to enter combat or flee when you throw one.
Once turn-based combat starts, the emphasis moves from these roles to the unique abilities of each agent. Characters that play the same during stealth will have wildly different playstyles once your cover has been blown.
Make Use of AP Refunding Abilities
Almost all combat in the game will have you outnumbered. To even the odds, you need to stack abilities that provide additional actions to your smaller but stronger team.
Ingrid is a good learning case for this: Her melee attacks are incredibly reliable in accuracy and refund up action points if she lands finishing blows.
Using characters with setup abilities and area attacks allows her to chain together takedowns.
Celestine on the other hand can generate infinite AP when fully leveled, with the right combination of equipment. Her occult ritual generates action points at the cost of sanity, but she recovers sanity when performing a finisher (which also resets her signature skill!).
Equipping her with gear to reduce the stress damage she takes allows you to continue chaining attacks indefinitely.
Both of these melee characters synergise well with features that give them even more AP to play with, such as the Trauma Battery accessory. This gives your melee attacks a quarter chance of refunding one AP, including attacks that didn’t cost any AP to use. Since these characters will be making numerous attacks the battery has a lot of chances to activate.
Eddie, the starting saboteur, is great for setting up combos with other characters. His Light ’em up ability deals minor damage to many targets, marks them and forces them to abandon cover. Characters like Purnima can take further advantage of this as she regains AP when attacking a marked target.
Use Consumables Without Restraint
There is no mechanism for selling your surplus consumables, and most missions will supply more than you can carry back out: As a result, there is no gain in sitting on your consumable items and waiting for the perfect times to use them.
Simple items like bandages you should use proactively to prevent injuries, elemental items like fire and poison flasks can be used to set off environmental traps, and explosives have perfect accuracy when your guns are unreliable.
This can also save you some of your limited stealth abilities: If there is only one group of enemies left, a grenade and a single round of turn-based combat will save you the use of a bruiser’s charge attack.
Using your consumables often and keeping an eye open for replacements will also help you with looting. The same visual indicators are used for consumable items as for valuable loot that improves your meta-progression.
In the early game especially, your main source of resources is finding them in missions.
Danys offers accessories that make using most consumables refund their action points. The bombardier’s brace does this for grenades and is down the same upgrade path as unlocking his more powerful explosives.
Next: Lamplighters League: Guide To Stress