In strategy games, macromanagement is the ability to produce an army. This can encompass a wide variety of factors such as build order, economy management and constant unit production. Many real time strategy games require a delicate balance of micromanagement and macromanagement in order to be an effective commander.
Macro in Real Time Strategy Games
It is usually beneficial to have zero or close to zero resources saved up. Units and structures require time to build and therefore money in the bank means less units on the field. Money should only be saved for a specific goal such as to afford an expansion or an expensive high tech unit.
Knowing when to expand is crucial to macro. When expanding, the player putting an investment on a potential new source of income. Until that expansion pays for itself, the player is rather vulnerable to attack. Expanding at the right time will be advantageous to the player as the game progresses. Good economy management involves economic growth while being able to support continued production.
Having a clear goal on what to spend resources on is beneficial to macro. A build order can help facilitate this as it gives the player a road map on how to proceed. Build Orders should be adaptable however as things will not always go according to plan.
Knowing how much production your economy can support is another crucial element to macro. Having too many or too little production facilities will hinder the ability to quickly mass an army. Ideally, production facilities should constantly be producing something except when saving money is necessary. Inexperienced players will often miss production cycles and are recommended to build more than the recommended amount of production facilities in order to compensate.
Build Queues should usually not be utilized because money is being invested in something that leads to no immediate gain. Rather than utilizing build queues, additional production facilities or high tech buildings should be produced if the player finds himself with a large sum of cash.
In games that require supply, supply structures should be built in advance to ensure uninterrupted unit production. Being "supply blocked" is detrimental to building a large army because the player is wasting precious time building supply structures as opposed to units. Upon reaching the supply cap, it is advisable to build many more additional production facilities to quickly spend the money that has been hoarded up and to rapidly replenish army strength.
Switching to Micro
Knowing when to divert attention to microing the army is important in many RTS's. Keeping the existing army alive means less resources and time being spent to increase army size. Microing is often more important in the early game when the players are just beginning to establish a stable economy and only have a few units on the field. Depending on the game, macro may be more important than micro as the large army is capable of crushing the smaller army even with micro. Other games however may stress micro more than macro as a properly controlled unit will prevail regardless of the numbers disparity.
Macro in Turn Based Strategy
Macro in turned based strategy games is looking at the big picture and the long term consequences of each move. Macro looks at the overall goal of a strategy.