Zak Young
3 min readFeb 28, 2021


Zen And The Art of StarCraft

Zen and the Art of StarCraft

Don’t tell my fiance but she will always be my second love. My first love was and continues to be the game of StarCraft (SC). Billed as the most difficult game, SC and now SC II (which is free to play, by the way, if you want to check it out or rekindle a lost romance) is like chess on LSD. The original e-sport, players gather minerals and produce units, which are then used to fight for control of the map. SC is such a beautiful game because it requires both broad strategic thinking, sharp tactical prowess, and precise control over your units (micro).

The beauty of StarCraft is that there are so many innovative strategies and tactics that players can implement. You might sacrifice early economy to produce units and try to catch your opponent off guard. Or you could go the opposite route, and make an early expansion, trying to win the economic game. Every strategy has a counter strategy; every plan has strengths and weaknesses. You begin with just twelve workers and a command center. Then you can build buildings. Certain buildings allow you to produce more units, and others allow you to produce different units. Some units are invisible unless you have detection. Others can fly. Some fight only hand to hand and others have range. Then precisely how much range they have matters. Marines shoot rapidly, but only at a short distance, whereas siege units like tanks or tempests have a very long range. Some units have splash damage which can hit many units at the same time.

One of the first things you do in StarCraft, and something you want to keep doing through the game is scouting. Scouting is sending a unit on the map for information. You want to know if an early attack is coming so you can fortify for your base. You want to know if there is a drop coming (you can load your units into a flying transport and drop them in the back of your opponents base) so you can reposition your units to defend against it. Knowledge is power. Scouting will tell you what sort of units your opponent is building, so you can construct just the right composition against it. Late game StarCraft armies are a complex mix of various units designed to synchronize harmoniously with each other. Some units, like ultralisks, are there to tank for the rest of the army. Then you have spell casters, like the dread high templar, which are weak on their own but very powerful when protected by other units.

If you watch professional StarCraft II players, one amazing ability they have is…