I had a considerable amount of support for this guide which was originally posted as a comment in a thread in General Discussion so I figured I might as well give it its own thread in Strategies & Guides. This guide is a work in progress and will be updated with every in-game update as Supercell continues to deliver new content.
If you want to get through this game and minimize all the headaches along the way, here's how you should prioritize your upgrades:
. Upgrade your Headquarters as soon as you reach the required experience level to do so. There are zero downsides to rushing your HQ in this game, and it actually is necessary to do. Higher HQ upgrades give you access to new troops, Gunboat Abilities, buildings, and other features without consequence to you. Maxing out every building, troop and Gunboat Ability before moving on to the next HQ level is a Clash of Clans strategy that should NOT be utilized in Boom Beach. Doing so will land you in a very disadvantaged position both offensively and defensively where your troops are too weak to attack and your defenses are too weak to defend against the harder opponents that you'll encounter as you continue to progress through the game. If you play Clash of Clans, forget everything you know about that game and leave it at the door, because Boom Beach requires a completely different approach.
. This should be upgraded as soon as the HQ finishes upgrading. Try to have a troop or Gunboat Ability upgrading in the Armory at all times (except when the Armory itself is upgrading, of course) because the ultimate goal is to to be able to upgrade your HQ again, so by having a troop or Gunboat Ability upgrading in the armory at the same time as a building upgrade you'll be able to get the XP necessary to upgrade your HQ faster. Stronger troops and Gunboat Abilities will also make attacking easier. Important note: DO NOT UPGRADE EVERYTHING IN THE ARMORY
. Similar to how this guide prioritizes your building upgrades, you also should prioritize upgrading your favorite troop combo(s) and Gunboat Abilities. In the early stages of the game, Hookas (Heavy + Zooka) will be your most effective troop combo, so constantly upgrade your Heavies and Zookas in addition to all of the Gunboat Abilities. Once you unlock Warriors, upgrade them but don't use them until you reach HQ 14 which is when you unlock Smokescreen. Warriors are practically useless until you unlock Smokescreen so keep them on the back burner until then. When you unlock Tanks start upgrading them as well, but don't neglect Heavies and Zookas because they're arguably the best troops for Task Force operations.
. Higher Gunboat levels give you more starting Gunboat Energy (GBE) for you to use in battles, which is the most essential asset for any attacker.
. This could arguably be your second priority but since you can only upgrade it on even-numbered HQ levels it's a little lower on the priority list. Upgrading your sculptor allows you to deploy more statues which in turn will make attacking easier. It's very important to choose your statue lineup wisely. At the very minimum you want to have at least 1 Gunboat Energy (GBE) statue, 1 Troop Health (TH) statue, and 1 Troop Damage (TD) statue. It's also wise to have a Resource Reward (RR) statue so you don't have to attack as many bases to get the resources you need for your upgrades. Don't bother building any green statues, they just provide so little value compared to a Resource Reward statue so just destroy them when you build them. Once you have the 4 statues I already mentioned it's up to you how you want to fill the remaining statue slots which will largely depend on which troop combo(s) you use. If you like to use T-Meds (Tanks + Medics) then you'll want to deploy some additional GBE and TH guardians. If you like Hookas then you'll want to deploy some additional TD statues. Or if you want to accumulate Power Stones faster to build better statues you might consider deploying a Power Stone Chance (PSC) statue (although I only recommend deploying a masterpiece that is at least 65% or higher. Anything lower simply isn't worth it). But, again, it's completely up to you.
. Keep your resources safe! Because there are no shields in this game there is no limit to the number of times you can get raided while you're offline. But to prevent you from losing everything you have on hand it's wise to upgrade your Vault so that you can keep more and more of your resources protected from attackers.
6) Landing Crafts
. Higher level Landing Crafts allow you to bring more troops to battle which gives you more firepower. These are easily the most tedious upgrades in the game, but don't give up! Keep upgrading them! In my experience if you still have Landing Crafts left to upgrade by the time you can upgrade your HQ again then you're probably going to give up on them because it's going to seem impossible to catch back up. For example, say you're HQ 18 and each of your seven Landing Crafts can be upgraded one more time. But before you do, you upgrade your HQ to level 19, so now you have 14 Landing Craft upgrades to get done before you can upgrade your HQ again. If you keep letting them stack up like that then you'll end up giving up on them. So definitely get them all done before you can upgrade your HQ.
. Prioritize upgrading your regular troops and Gunboat Abilities before upgrading your Heroes. If you have a troop or Gunboat Ability upgrading in the Armory and still have some gold leftover then by all means spend it on those Heroes. Prioritize upgrading the Heroes that complement the troop combo(s) you use most. If you're a T-Meds user then upgrade Cpt. Everspark or Dr. Kavan. If you like Warriors then upgrade Dr. Kavan or Pvt. Bullit. If Hooka is your go-to then upgrade Sgt. Brick. Hero Abilities.
Concentrate your Hero Tokens on Battle Orders, Ice Shields, Second Wind, Critter Swarm, Taunt, and Energy Drink. Just ignore all of the other abilities. Sgt. Brick's Battle Orders will go nicely with Hooka from HQ 4 to 11. At HQ 11 you'll unlock Tanks which will be best paired with Dr. Kavan's Second Wind or Ice Shields ability. At HQ 14 you unlock Smokescreen which means you can finally utilize Warrior's full capabilities when paired with Dr. Kavan's Ice Shields ability (although I recommend switching to Pvt. Bullit's Taunt ability once you unlock him). At HQ 15 you'll unlock Medics who can act as a better substitute for Dr. Kavan. You can still use Dr. Kavan with T-Meds if you want some extra healing power, but I recommend pairing them with Cpt. Everspark instead. She constantly spawns critters which act as cannon fodder to keep your Tanks safe. You can either upgrade her Critter Swarm ability which gives you a lot more cannon fodder to work with, or you can use her Universal Remote to help remove pesky defenses. However, I don't recommend upgrading the Universal Remote because it's just as effective at level 1 as it is at level 5. At HQ 19 you can unlock Pvt. Bullit who is quite versatile. His Taunt ability is great for smokey strategies like Warriors and AZ (all Zookas) because while your troops are pounding away at the HQ, Bullit will be distracting all of the defenses. Taunt also goes well with Scanks (Scorchers + Tanks) or all Scorchers. But it's very risky to use him with any troop combo that utilizes Medics. Because he will have the shortest range and will be absorbing all the damage, your medics will be directly behind him trying to heal him. As soon as he dies your medics will be exposed on the front lines and will be the first to get picked off. Energy Drink is an interesting ability because it affects Bullit only, not your troops. It's possible to take down entire bases using Bullit alone and his Energy Drink ability so it's a fun ability but one that isn't quite as effective when paired with your troops, so I recommend upgrading Taunt before Energy Drink.
. You need to be able to hold more resources for any of the upgrades I've already mentioned, so your resource storages could arguably be higher on this list. If you find that you can't hold the amount of resources necessary to upgrade anything I've already mentioned, make sure to upgrade storages first so you don't have to either wait or spend diamonds.
. The higher level your Radar, the more maps you will spawn on which increases the number of times you will get attacked on any given day. My advice is to upgrade the Radar with every new HQ level but stop once it's level 10 in order to give you a fair amount of bases to attack on your map while also keeping the number of attacks against your base to a minimum. Once you reach HQ 15, upgrade your Radar five more levels to level 15 and then stop again. At Radar 15 you can open up the cloud that is covering the War Factory base (look for the distress beacon in the upper-right portion of your map). Note that you will need to have already opened up 93 other clouds before you can access the War Factory base. If you don't know how many more clouds you need, go to your base and tap the achievements button in the upper left below your XP level and keep scrolling right until you see the "Explorer" achievement, which will tell you how many clouds you have opened up already. Once you beat this base (click here
for a YouTube video demonstrating how to beat it even with low level troops) you will unlock Cpt. Everspark. When you reach HQ 18 start upgrading your Radar again because at Radar 18 you can access the Spiritdancer and Firespike Tribes once you uncover all the clouds in their territories. If you don't know which clouds those are, tap on the Spiritdancer and Firespike Tribes' statues on your map which will highlight the clouds you need to open up. When you reach HQ 19 upgrade your radar so you can open the cloud that is covering Pvt. Bullit. And finally when you reach HQ 20, finish upgrading your radar to maximum level so you can clear the remaining clouds and access the other four tribes.
. These are more for end-game players so I don't recommend dumping your resources on raw crystals to upgrade the tribes unless you really have a lot of spare resources after starting a building upgrade. If your goal is to concentrate on offense first, then prioritize upgrading the Firespike, Emberfury, and Spiritdancer tribes. Firespike and Emberfury always provide a boost to either all troops' or a specific troop's damage and health, respectively. The Spiritdancer tribe is more random, providing a boost to PSC, GBE, lower GBE used by specific gunboat abilities, a specific resource's production rate, or all resources' production rates. We can't choose which boost we want since it's part of a preset cycle, so we just have to hope that when the 2-week cycle resets the Spirirtdancer tribe will be for GBE.
. Build them, but don't prioritize upgrading them. Here's a very important lesson to learn: you will ALWAYS
be raided no matter how strong your defenses are, no matter how well you design your base, no matter how many ice statues you use, and no matter which prototype weapons you deploy. The truth of the matter is that offense is always greater than defense no matter what. Especially in the early to mid stages of the game your defenses will hardly matter to any attacker who's determined enough to raid your base, and there always will be an attacker with that kind of determination. So you don't want to waste too much time upgrading these buildings when they provide so little additional strength to your base. Defenses will start to matter more when you reach higher HQ levels but if you're at least HQ 16 and lower they're not going to make a difference. But if you've already upgraded everything I already mentioned in this guide and still have not reached the necessary experience level to upgrade your HQ, then upgrading defenses is perfectly fine because it will provide the experience points you need.
Now that we've gone through the upgrade priority list, it's time to talk about the most important strategy for an offense-oriented player: attacking, gathering resources, and VP management.
Every newbie falls into the "attack everything in sight just because I can" trap. This will cause you to hit what's known as the VP wall, where your VP is too high to the point where your map becomes saturated with players far above your experience level that you can't beat, in addition to being raided by players far above your experience level that you can't defend against. Proper VP management plays a big role here so you want to make sure you're not attacking more bases than you need to. If you have bases on your map that you know you can beat, don't attack them. Yes, you read that correctly. I said DON'T
attack them. I know it sounds weird but this is part of a bigger strategy that will be detailed below. If you have bases on your map that you can't beat, wait until you're able to find a new opponent. Keep repeating this process until your map is full of players you can beat.
Now, let's move on to attacking and gathering resources. If you have a big upgrade that you need to do (pretty much anything close to the top of the priority list), get it done on either a Dr. T day (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday) or on Imitation Game day (Friday). Those events are going to be your biggest source of resources. Attack as many stages in these events as you're able to beat and start your upgrade if they provide enough resources for it. If it isn't enough for the upgrade, then move on to attacking player bases. This is why I said not to attack bases that you know you can beat, because you want to save them for a Dr. T or Imitation Game day as a supplemental source of resources in case those events don't provide enough resources for your upgrade. And if the player bases still don't provide enough resources for your upgrade then start picking off some NPC bases.
Here's a great lesson in proper VP management: you should always attack player bases before NPC bases. Player bases award 2 VP whereas NPC bases award 1 VP, but player bases almost always provide more resources than two NPC bases combined. That means that attacking 1 player base will give you more resources than 2 NPC bases for the same net gain in VP. The result is you end up with the resources for your upgrade while gaining the least amount of VP possible.
As I mentioned before, though, make sure you're not attacking more bases than you need to. As soon as you have the resources to start your upgrade then stop attacking any further bases until you can start the next upgrade. Also, do NOT save up your resources! It's just an open invitation to get attacked and lose them all. You want to gather all the resources you need in one continuous session without logging off and then dump them all on a big upgrade. This will leave attackers with nothing to take once you log off.
If you end up hitting the VP wall, place your HQ at the edge of your beach and put all defenses at the back of your base for a few days and ONLY attack Dr. T or Imitation Game. This entices players to attack you which will drop your VP back to a manageable level. Attacking only Dr. T and Imitation Game doesn't add any VP but it still will provide you with resources for upgrades. Once you feel your VP is low enough that you're able to attack more bases on your map, then get back to it.
Thanks for reading, and I hope all of this information helps.