- 1. Scout with a dog. The very first unit from your capitol needs to be a dog, and you need to immediately send this dog to your opponent to scout them. Determine as much as you can, such as: what units they're making, where any towers they're making are, and where the mines they're using are located. You will use this information later when you attack your opponent.
- One is to send your air first, and send the marines in a bit later. This can work, but the odds are good that even if you do win the air battle, you're going to have lost almost all of your air, and then when you send the marines in they'll have to deal with the land army your opponent has, on top of morale from his houses, and possible attacks from his towers. Not a good situation, especially if he's made tanks instead of marines, and it's even worse if you narrowly loose the air battle over his base.
- Another is to send your air and marines basically simultaneously. This has almost the same effect, although it's a bit better in that if he has tanks you can use the few F-117 fighter-bombers you have to attack them instead of other air, increasing the survivability of those marines on the ground, and thus the damage you can do to your opponent. You're still going to either narrowly win or narrowly loose the air battle, and although it's a lot more likely your marines can do significant damage to your opponent allowing you to win, it's not extremely likely.
- Yet another is to send the marines first, in a sneak attack from the rear of your opponent's base, and send your air in slightly afterwards, trying to time it so that you catch his air just as they come out of the airports and aren't facing the direction your air is coming from. If executed well, you're going to have air superiority because of getting in a bunch of free shots on his air, and that means you will be able to do a ton of damage to your opponent both with your surviving F-117 fighterbombers, but also with that land army of yours. The odds are fairly good you'll win the game just do to this. If you fail on the execution, you can end up with a scenario almost identical to the one previously discussed where you send them both at the same time, or you can end up with your marines getting hammered by his land army as well as F117 fighter-bombers before your air gets there if you're too late. You'll still do some damage, and you'll still narrowly win or lose the air battle once your fighters arrive--your opponent will gain a bit of an advantage here, but it will be relatively minor because surely you've continued to produce units at your own base while attacking. Finally, if you colossally mess up the execution and send your air in far too soon, you've got the first scenario mentioned.
2. Make houses. You don't need to make them instantly, but do it as soon as possible and before 5 f11. You need to have 4 houses in the range of your capitols, and 2 houses in the range of your town centers. Place them wisely so you need to make the minimum number of houses for the maximum amount of morale.
3. Make towers. They're important because you will get raided and attacked by land units, and towers help you tremendously against that. They kill the units, they restrict the easiest methods of attack, and they provide you with early warning. You should start on towers before 2 f11, with one citizen on each tower you're building. Build 3 towers.
4. Make AA. Anti-air is vitally important for helping you defend, and is worth the wood and gold it costs. It prevents your opponents from flooding you with fighters, it prevents your opponents from bombing the heck out of you, and it is also effective against helicopters. Against land units, it provides another target that their units will attack, meaning that you've got a distraction, something to take damage for your units, and an early warning system. When you make AA, you need to make lots of it, and you need to upgrade it 2 range, 2 attack, 1 hit points. Furthermore, you need to expand with it, preferably towards your opponents.
5. Make hospitals. They're extremely good because they increase both your defensive ability as well as your offensive ability. Your defensive ability is increased because defending units get healed as they fight, healed after they fight, and your citizens also get healed. They're good offensively for much the same reason; they heal your units as they attack or defend your expansion, and that's vital.
6. Have siege range in civ. This one is a no-brainer: it's almost entirely true that if a civilization doesn't have siege range in it, it's a bad civilization, so make sure you actually put it in your civ. It's extremely valuable past 20 f11, when you should be making artillery.
7. Expand. Expanding is good because it gives you a large buffer between things in your base that are vunerable, such as your production buildings, wonders, and citizens, and your opponent's army. Furthermore, expanding is extremely effective offensively, because you're literally making it so that your army is supported by defensive buildings and hospitals right where you want to fight, and doing so not only helps in the obvious ways of AA shooting down air and hospitals healing your units, but also in non-obvious ways such as providing clutter to shield your units and making it much more difficult for your opponent to flood you with ground troops effectively.
8. Raid your opponent. This is the best way to slow down their boom and gain the initiative in a game, and I don't think any more explanation should be required on this point. You should always be doing this except when it's not going to have any effect and you'll just be wasting units.
9. Counter and adapt dynamically (at least try to). Don't just make a barrack after your first airport in 1 vs 1 games and then use marines to raid because you see most players doing that. Do it because based on the game, that's the best option you've got. If it's not the best option you have, do whatever that best option is. Maybe it's making a tank factory and producing tanks with which to raid, or maybe it's making a second airport in order to obtain or keep air superiority. Whatever that best option is, is what you need to do. Think about what your opponent is doing, and the most likely way to foil his plan and gain an advantage over him, and do that.
10. Attack intelligently (at least try to). When you attack, you need to have a plan that actually has a chance at working. Maybe this plan is simply to kill some citizens and direct your opponent's time and attention towards protecting their base rather than killing you, giving you time to win the game. Regardless of what your plan is, have a way to win the game with it, execute it well, and change it if it's not working, because these things are the essence of attacking intelligently. If you have an airport full of F-15 fighters and a few F-117's fighter-bombers, and a squad of marines and you want to attack your opponent who you know has an airport with roughly equal airpower in it, and probably has another production facility making land units (if marines probably roughly equal amount to yours, or if tanks a similar amount to the total cost of your marines), there are a few ways you can go about it:
11. Fuel rape. If your opponent rallies all of his air onto your wing, or overtop of one of your airports, and he's got virtually no F-117 fighter-bombers (i.e. not enough to do any kind of significant damage) or absolutely no F-117 fighter-bombers, don't immediately send all your air to do battle with his, because that's going to result in a lot more casualties for you than necessary. Time your airs' engagement with his army so that he's going to have basically zero fuel (or actually zero fuel if you're really good), and that you'll have plenty of fuel to go destroy everything he has. If his air is faster than yours, try to upgrade speed when you see the opportunity for a fuel rape so that you can match the speed of his air. You can also fuel rape if your air is already out and you notice his air is going to go to zero fuel and return to airports soon, and can get your air in the path between where his is now and the airports. In addition to fuel raping your opponent, take steps to avoid it happening to you, such as not keeping your air over an opponent until your air have zero fuel, instead moving them away when they start to get low but still have enough for a full engagement with opposing air should they try to rape (approximately 20-30 fuel). After you execute a good fuel rape, the rewards are immense, because you've basically ensured you have air superiority for the immediate future, which lets you or your team play a lot more aggressively.