Territorial io Ultimate Guide: How to Play Territorial.io

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Territorial Io Ultimate Guide Zoomed Out

In the online game Territorial io, you control a square that can grow to encompass more and more territory as you capture it. The aim of the game is simple – capture all of the lands available on the map and be the last player standing. Territorial.io is one of the best free mobile games out right now.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, however. You must compete for land against other players, and must also be constantly aware of your surroundings so they don’t get surrounded and captured themselves!

In this Ultimate Guide, I’ll share the tips and tricks that have helped me win hundreds of Territorial io matches, and teach you how to play Territorial.io like a pro!

Territorial io Guide – Best Tips & Tricks

  • Understand Compound Interest and the relationship it has with Exponential Growth.
  • Choose a location with a lot of free land to boost your chances of winning in Territorial io.
  • Expand by setting the Balance Bar, clicking outside of your territory and then clicking the green attack button.
  • When land is free, take more of it than your neighbours do. It will snowball your income.
  • When you attack enemies, set your balance bar between 10% and 30%.
  • Players with even a small balance advantage are at a large advantage as time goes on.
  • This game has a defensive bonus of about 50%. If you attack someone with 100,000 troops, they will lose about 50,000 troops.
  • Consider bots as “almost-free land”. Wait for bots to attack (causing their balance to dip), and then strike at them.
  • Prioritize attacking bots that are directly between you and enemy players.
  • You can attack multiple bots per cycle, but only try to focus on 1 real player at a time.
  • Don’t start a fight with real players early in the game, wait until you have a large troop advantage.
  • Truces, Emotes and Commands are game mechanics that will help you win. Use them strategically!
  • The name you choose will have an effect on how likely players are to attack or ally with you.

How to Win in Territorial.io

What to Do Every Match

The first thing you should always focus on when you start playing Territorial io is to search for a large body of empty space to spawn in. Doing this correctly is like playing the game on the easy difficulty.

In the early phase of the game, fight bots instead of fellow players. When all of the bots have been completely wiped, then you can focus on fighting real players.

When fighting real players, you must decide how many units to send with. The best amount of units to attack with is usually between 20%-30% of your Balance Bar.

Who you choose to attack and in what order will have a huge impact on whether you get the victory when you play Territorial io. Prioritize attacking players that have a low troop count, with a lot of land, that you have great borders with.

Make sure you spend some time saving up troops, so you don’t look too vulnerable after attacking.

Your Attacks

Choosing When to Attack

  • Attack when your enemy when they have a lower balance than you.
  • Attack when others are already attacking your enemy.

Types of Attacks

  • 5-15% – Weak player / bots attack. Use this against bots or enemies that have full sent and have few troops.
  • 20% – Standard attack. Use this most of the time.
  • 30%+ – Useful when you are big and attacking enemies that are big.
  • 50% – Useful to expand on free land but not much else.
  • 100% (Full Send) – Sending all troops to devastate a player that betrayed you.
  • Naval attacks – Loses troops as they are travelling. It’s best to send as few troops as possible on the boat, and then launch a larger attack once they have landed.

How Many Troops to Attack With

  • The most common attack amount should be 20% of the bar and should be used on fellow players.
  • When you are larger and attacking large enemies, send with 30%+.
  • Attack bots with 10% and slowly increase if they are too strong.
  • You rarely want to use 50% or more troops in any situation.

Who You Should Attack First

  • Absorb as many bots as possible before thinking about attacking fellow players.
  • Attack the weakest enemy around you so that you can gain a lot of land early in the match.

How Many Fronts to Fight On

  • Usually, you only want to be fighting on one front at a time
  • The only time you want to be fighting on multiple fronts is when you are very strong and can easily defeat all of your enemies.

When to Cancel Attacks

  • Cancel your attack if you have launched a large attack on a neighbor by accident
  • Cancel your attack if you have launched naval attacks on a territory that has already been absorbed by another player.

How to Cancel Attacks

  • It is crucial to know how to cancel attacks – you do so by clicking the X button that appears underneath your balance bar.
  • Each attack will have it’s own bar, so you can cancel individual attacks.

Boat Attacks (Boat Strats)

  • Launch a boat attack by clicking an enemy, then clicking the boat icon.
  • Boat attacks must be performed over bodies of water.
  • Small bodies of water such as rivers and lakes can be used to send boat attacks.
  • Sending large boat attacks concentrates territory expansion around the attack location.
  • It can be tempting to send boats to capture the many new islands, but it’s usually better to leave them alone.
  • Boat attacks lose troops rapidly. Sending many troops on boat should only be done over small bodies of water.
  • Boats appear as single pixels that travel across water. Zoom in to see the name of the attacking player.
  • Using boat strats in territorial.io
  • When your territory is large, setting your balance bar to 0% and launching a boat attack will still send a decent amount of troops.

Opening (Expansion)

  • Do not attack other players or bots until you have taken all of the free land available.

Aggressive Opening (100%)

  • Full send your troops once per cycle.
  • Use this opening as much as possible. It provides the most value.
  • Time your sends so the troops arrive home before the interest payment.
  • Before you touch borders with a real player, consider lowing your balance bar. The longer you expand at 100%, the more free land value you will claim.
  • If you are attacked while full sending you have a high chance of losing the match.

Safe Opening (50%)

  • 50% send your troops once per cycle.
  • Solid, reliable opening for all players.
  • Time your sends so the troops arrive home before the interest payment.
  • If you are attacked while sending 50%, it isn’t ideal but you can still win the match.

Conservative Opening (>50%)

  • 25% send your troops on the first cycle.
  • 25-50% send your troops on second and onward cycles.
  • Use this opening when you may encounter early aggression.
  • Time your sends so the troops arrive home before the interest payment.
  • This opening keeps your troop count high at the beginning of the match, at the expense of early free land.

Free Land Phase

  • On the second and subsequent expansions, your goal is to gain as much free land as possible.
  • Set your percentage bar to about 50%.
  • Time the expansions so that your troops arrive home before the end of the cycle to maximize the interest payment.

Final Push for Free Land

  • When your borders begin to get close to other territories, all players will be launching a final push for the free land.
  • If you followed the above expansion tips, your balance will be between 4000 and 9000 in a typical match.
  • Expand with a 50% balance for the last time, then change your percentage bar to 5-10% when it looks like a 50% would be far too much.
  • Right before the last few troops come home, continuously send 5-10% more into expansion.
  • Make sure you time it correctly so that the additional troops are sent while troops are still expanding.
  • If you time it too late, there will be a slight delay before troops are sent (and you won’t get as much free land).
  • By using this method, you will gain as much free land as possible while also generating as much interest income as possible.

Absorbing Bots Phase

Begin attacking bots when the game time is between 40 and 50 seconds.

When there is no more free land available, your borders will be touching real players and bots.

Set your percentage bar between 5-15%, and begin to attack the bots.

Keep your eyes on the balance of bots around you. Wait for them to launch an attack, and attack them while their troops are away from home.

You still don’t want to be attacking real players at this time, unless they are poorly managing their troops.

If you can time it correctly, your small attacks on bots will take all of their land.

It’s okay to attack 2 to 3 bots per cycle until they are all defeated. If you attack more aggressively than this, you may leave yourself with too few troops and appear vulnerable to other players.

Try it out in-game to see what works and what doesn’t.

Constantly pay attention to the troop balance of real players around you, and try to stay above their levels as much as possible.

Expansion Into Enemy Territory

When there are no more bots left around you, the only option for you to expand is by attacking real players.

Hopefully, you are not totally surrounded by aggressive players. If you are… Good luck.

Check the leaderboard to see what your position is. If you had a great opening, you will be in the top 5 for score at this point.

Spend some time without attacking and simply saving up troops. Ideally, you are saving your troops until red interest (1%), while other territories around you are attacking each other.

Spend your time in this phase making truces, commanding players to attack others, and playing strategically with your emotes.

By the time your interest rate turns red, and absolutely before it reaches 0%, you want to launch attacks on other players to keep a high interest income rate.

Command other players to attack your target before you do. You don’t want to be the first player to attack another – people hold grudges in this game!

The best outcome is that an enemy Full Sends on another enemy close to you, and you are able to easily take a lot of land for few troops.

How to Handle Multiple Fronts

If you are being attacked from multiple angles, you are at a disadvantage and face the possibility of being completely wiped. It will take a good diplomacy strategy to get out of the situation.

The best thing you can do is to get the other players to stop attacking you. Send them the collision symbol emote (?) or the skull (?) to let them know you will full send on them, and send them a truce request.

This might be enough to get them to stop attacking you, and direct their attacks onto another player. If it isn’t, may lose this match.

Trusting Your Allies

Even when playing the free for all Battle Royale mode in Territorial.io, there will be many moments where you will team up with other players. To form an official alliance, click their territory then click the handshake button. If they do the same, you have a truce.

Use truces strategically to fight common enemies, and slowly increase the amount of territory that you control.

If you make it all the way to the end of the match with a loyal ally, consider ending the game with a truce to show respect to one another.

When to Save Up Troops

Save up troops after all of the bots have been absorbed. Hopefully, you have more territory than your neighbours. Save up your troops now, and attack your enemies when you are at a large troop advantage.

If you are not at a size advantage, consider teaming up with other players and attacking the largest enemy in the area before they gain a large troop advantage.

It’s useful to save your troops until the interest payment reaches about 1%, or when the interest turns red. By this time you will be seeing diminishing returns, and your troops should be “invested”.

Launch some attacks to increase your territory size, which will increase your interest rate.

How Many Troops to Save Up Before Attacking

Be mindful of how many troops you have relative to your neighbours.

For example, if you have 100,000 troops and you have three neighbours with 80,000, 60,000 and 50,000 troops each, you might want to attack with 20,000 troops so that you still appear to be the strongest.

If you were to attack with 40,000 troops in this situation and your balance drops to 60,000, you will appear weak relative to how much land you have, and this might entice the other players to attack you.

Creator of Territorial io

David Tschacher is the creator and developer of Territorial io. Check out his Instagram.

Territorial.io How To Use Emotes

Using emotes in Territorial io is a good diplomacy strategy that can help get you the win.

You must accept cookies from Territorial.io before you can use emotes.

After enabling cookies, then you are able to select which emotes to equip which can be done in the lobby. We have an entire article dedicated to emotes in Territorial.io.

To send emotes in-game, click your Territory and then click the emote face. This will show all the emotes you have bound. Then find emotes that you want to use and click them, it’s as simple as that.

Sending an emote directly to another player is easy too. Click the other player and select the emoticon face. This will show all the emoticons available. Choose the one you want, and click it again.

There is no chat feature in Territorial.io, so all communication with other players is by using emotes. For this reason, use them strategically. Emotes can be a powerful tool for communicating with friends or enemies.

Game Mechanics

Game Ticks (Time)

There are 10 game ticks per cycle. Each tick lasts 560 milliseconds, and each cycle is 5.6 seconds. Each player is operating on the same cycle. Every 10th tick, bonus interest is paid.

Balance Bar

How to Read the Total Balance & Clock Indicator

  • The number at the top center is your balance.
  • The bars on the left and right are the in-game ticks.
  • The bottom bar shows the number of troops that are home out of the overall balance.

The Balance Bar

  • Pay attention to how many troops you have before attacking.
  • Estimate how many troops you will have after your attack.
  • Use the clock on the balance bar to time your attacks precisely.
  • In the free land phase, you want troops to arrive home just before the interest bonus is paid.
  • Later in the game and especially if you are big, you want to time your attacks just after the interest bonus is paid.

How Does Interest Work?

The interest rate begins at 7.00% and begins moving down rapidly each game tick.

What interest rate you are on is determined by your score. Your score is determined by how many pixels your territory controls.

It’s best to keep the interest rate as high as possible, which means controlling as much territory as you can.

Interest Income

How Interest Income is Generated

  • Income is generated as a function of your current balance and interest rate.
  • Increase your interest rate by increasing your score. Increase your score by claiming more territory.
  • The more troops that are home each tick, and especially each 10th tick, the more interest income you will generate.

How to Have a High Income

  • Have your troops at home for as many bonus payments as possible.
  • Steal land from neighbours when they are weak.
  • Keep your balance high by saving up.
  • When your interest rate approaches 1%, increase it by attacking other players and claiming more land. m
  • If you have a higher balance and a higher interest rate than your enemies, they will never catch up to your score.

When Interest Rate Approaches 0%

  • When your interest rate reaches 0%, you will no longer generate any interest income.
  • This is bad because your enemies will still be compounding and growing exponentially while you have plateaued.
  • Launch attacks to gain land and increase your interest rate.


Choosing the right time to attack in Territorial io will separate the best players from the average players, and increase your chances of winning the game.

You don’t want any single attack to waste troops. Don’t waste your troops, they will be better served generating you balance.

Set your attack bar between 5-20% and keep an eye on the balance of surrounding territories before you strike.

The perfect time to attack is when the target has launched an attack of their own. When their troops are away from home, you will be able to claim much of their territory before their troops return.

This technique is especially important in the early game and should be used against bots.

Attack Speed

As you you control more pixels, the speed at which you gain land increases. Speed increases when a territory reaches these scores:

  • 0: 5.85 pixels per second
  • 10,000: 8.5 pixels per second
  • 30,000: 10.2 pixels per second
  • ❗ 60,000: 18.5 pixels per second
  • 90,000: 19.5 pixels per second
  • ❗ 160,000: 35 pixels per second
  • ❗ 300,000+: 65 pixels per second

Having a faster attack speed than your opponents is a massive advantage. You will capture more land and snowball your income.

The most important scores to reach are marked with a (❗) above.

Fast attack speeds allow you to reach important choke points on the map before your opponents, cutting them off from taking any land.


If someone attacks you, there isn’t much you need to do in order to defend yourself. You simply do nothing, and your troops will defend your territory.

The attacker will lose the number of troops they attack with (unless they cancel the attack part-way through).

Your territory will lose roughly half the amount of troops that you were attacked with.

Sometimes the best strategy will be to hunker down and defend against enemy attacks.

At other times the best strategy will be to launch counterattacks. At other times again it will be best to attack a third party while defending. Perhaps you could try to stop the attacks by using emotes and truce requests.

It all depends on the number of troops on your doorstep, how many allies are around, and how aggressive the attacker is playing. But being attacked is bad because you lose troops, land, and your interest rate decreases.

Do what you can to avoid being attacked in the first place. Use emotes, commands, truces and your name to influence other players.


It takes a few games to learn how the bots operate, but they are one of the invaluable assets that you must capitalize on.

The bots in multiplayer seem to be the medium difficulty bots from single player mode.

At the beginning of the game, they will expand at a slower rate than what most players can achieve with a good opening.

When there is no more free land, the bots will begin attacking other bots and real players.

When bots are attacking, strike at them (with just enough troops) and claim their land.

Leaver Bots

When players leave the game, they are replaced with a bot that takes control of their land and troops.

The text color of the Leaver Bot changes from black to grey.

Territorial.io bot takes over after player leaves match

Leaver bots will tend to be aggressive with the number of troops they send. Attack when they are attacking others to gain their land easily.

If the player full sent before leaving, their land will be extremely easy to capture. Set your balance bar to 5-10%, attack and be ready to send more attacks to claim the land.

Game Modes

There are several game modes in Territorial.io, listed below:

? Battle Royale: Free For All mode, the most popular of game modes in Territorial io. It’s you against however many players joined the match, plus bots. This ultimate guide is mainly based around the Battle Royale game mode.

Territorial.io Sword Icon for full send disabled mode Full Send Disabled: Battle Royale mode with Full Send Disabled. Attacks are limited to around 20% and may not be sent in quick succession. To succeed in this mode, play aggressively to gain an early score and income advantage, which will snowball your strength. Claim land from players who have left and turned into bots. Avoid being ganged up against.

? 1v1: You versus one other player, plus bots. Requires a different play style to all other game modes. Try to cut off your enemy from accessing their expansion routes, while keeping your troop count high. Attack your opponent when their troop count is low relative to yours.

? Team Game Modes: In team games, you spawn with the same color as your allies and you cannot attack them. You are able to donate balance to your allies by clicking them and choosing the money bag icon. Choose a spawn location that is not too far away from your allies, but will also give you good opportunities to expand.

  • 2 Teams
  • 3 Teams
  • 4 Teams
  • 5 Teams
  • 6 Teams
  • 7 Teams
  • 8 Teams

? Zombies: In the zombies mode, every player spawns in as the white team and you have to fight bots on the black team that are very powerful. This mode is hard and requires teamwork and excellent use of troops. Spawn close to your allies to increase your chance of winning.

Single Player Mode

In the single player mode of Territorial io, bots behave differently to real players, so you must use a different strategy.

You can set the difficulty to Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard or Very Hard.

The Very Hard bots in single player mode can be harder than real players!

Playing in single player mode can be a great way to practice your opening strategy and claim as much free land as you can, without having to worry about enemy attacks.

One of the best tricks to practice in Territorial io is to search for the best location with a large body of free land and start playing on easy difficulty. Set your percentage bar, and claim as much free land as you can.

When all of the free land has been taken, measure your balance and income. Then you can start attacking bots.

At 5 minutes into the game, measure your score again.

You can repeat this on the harder difficulties. You should see your scores slowly increase over time as your opening strategy gets better.


Territorial.io has no in-game chat function, so communication is done entirely through truces, emotes, commands and the name you set for yourself.

To ask for a peace offer, click a player and then click the green handshake icon. If they accept your truce, a green handshake icon will be shown below that player’s name.

Truces are like a gentlemen’s agreement that you will not attack each other. There is nothing stopping either party from attacking the other right away.

If two players are remaining, the game may be ended with a truce and a vote for peace.

When you betray a peace offer, understand what effect this will have on the psychology and trust of the other player. They may choose to full send you before they are eliminated. Play strategically with your truces.

Many of the winning games I’ve won have relied heavily on trustworthy alliances that lasted the entire game.


The leaderboard for each lobby is shown on the left side of the screen.

Emotes & Commands

It’s easy to send emotes – click a territory, click the emote face, and then click the emote you want to use.

Before you can send emotes, you must select emotes in the lobby. There you can find all the emotes, and select emotes you want to use.

Vote for Peace

The game may be ended if players vote for a peace offer, instead of eliminating every player.

To initiate a vote for peace, find emotes related to placement (?, ?, ?) and use them. This will initiate a peace offer in the bottom right.

If all players accept the peace offer, the player with the most territory at that time will get the victory.


How to Generate More Balance

  • You will generate more balance as a result of your current balance and current interest rate.
  • Stop spending troop balance to generate more balance.

Knowing When to Save Your Balance

  • Pay attention to the balance of all territories around you.
  • Ideally, you always want to have a higher balance than all your neighbours.
  • Don’t get your balance low to the point where you look like a juicy target.

How Many Units to Attack With?

  • In the free land expansion phase, you can attack with 50% balance.
  • Look at the balance of neighbouring territories.
  • Attack bots with 5-20% balance.
  • If you have a nice troops advantage, set your attack bar to around 10%-20% and attack other players to gain land.
  • Gaining land increases your interest rate, which further increases the amount of balance you will generate!
  • Later in the game, you can increase your attack size to around 30-35%.

Donating Your Balance

Sometimes the right call is to donate your balance to an ally. Typically this is going to be the largest ally on your team, which is generating the most balance.

Don’t donate too much, because you want compound interest to work in your favour, and it works best with higher balances.

Set your balance bar, click the ally and click the money icon to donate your balance. Donating is especially useful if enemies are over-sending troops into allies.

When an ally looks ready to fall and the enemy thinks this too, wait until they are attacked and donate a large number of troops to them. These troops will benefit from the 50% defenders modifier, and your enemy will lose more troops than they anticipated.

Do not donate to bots.

Scout the entire map and consider donating to teammates on the other side of the map that are on the front lines. Your donations could end up winning the game.

Enemy Balance

How Vulnerable You Are to an Enemy

  • From the attacker’s perspective, they are looking to gain a lot of land and spend the least amount of troops possible to gain that land. All players are doing this, including you.
  • If you have fewer troops and more land than a neighbour, you are vulnerable to being attacked.

Enemies Surrounding You

  • You have to pay attention to the balance of all surrounding neighbours.
  • Hopefully, you picked a spawn point where you are not surrounded by 6 enemies. It can be useful to spawn on the edge of the map, but you don’t want to be cornered.
  • Multiply your balance by 2 – this is how many troops need to be spent by your neighbours to totally absorb your territory.

How to Decrease Enemy Balance

  • The single most effective way to decrease enemy balance is to have them attack other players, or have other players attack them.
  • Use commands, emotes and even your name strategically to influence other players to fight while keeping yourself safe.
  • When enemy balances are sufficiently low, you may launch an attack on them.

Information Table (Top-Right)

The most important information in the top right is the Interest and Income. Pay attention to the interest rate; when the number turns red, you want to be attacking.

Try to continuously increase your income. You should be watching your income as much as you watch your balance.

Defensive Bonus

  • There is a 50% defensive bonus in most cases. This means the attacker will lose twice the amount of troops that the defender does.

Wrap Up

This is the guide I wanted to read when I started playing Territorial io. Since I began playing, I have won hundreds of matches using the strategies covered in this guide, and I hope some of the tips and tricks covered here help you win more matches too!

If you want to get better at Territorial.io, there are great content creators such as CG Plays, OG Paper and Green Biscuit that you can learn even more from.

Is there anything you still want to know about Territorial io that was not covered in this guide? Let me know in the comments!