In Advance Wars, a Headquarters (HQ for short) acts as an army's base of operations for the battle regardless of the battle's progress. Capturing an HQ will cause the opponent to lose automatically. Aside from this fact, the HQ acts almost the same as a normal City: it replenishes rounds, fuel and HP to land units and provides funds. Additionally, HQ provides a 4-star defensive cover.
When an HQ has been captured, it will turn into a normal city. The same goes if a player has yielded - the HQ will be turned into a neutral city. The first three games' Design Maps require you to place at least an HQ in order to play that map; in later installments, this is no longer the case.
Each force has their own design of HQ, in line with their different themes:
- Orange Star: The Empire State Building, New York, United States. In-battle images show a Capitol-like building
- Blue Moon: Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.
- Green Earth: A Medieval castle. In-battle images, however, show a palace.
- Yellow Comet: Himeji Castle, Himeji, Japan.
- Black Hole: Black Hole's HQ alludes to the evil genius' lair/tower in science fiction.
Capturing an HQ
The Headquarters is the single most important building in the game. Thus, it should be defended heavily and at all times. The 4-star defensive cover is both an advantage and a disadvantage - it could provide your heavy armored unit with nearly impenetrable defense, but at the same time makes it harder to eliminate a unit capturing an HQ.
Players could rush capture the HQ, using a transport unit loading some Mechs, accompanied by indirect units and overtake the HQ while most of the enemy's forces are focused on the frontline. This tactic is also easily combated, putting a unit of any kind on the HQ will prevent the transport unit from unloading a foot soldier on top of the HQ, buying you at least 1 turn to react to the rush.
- A slight difference can be noticed in enemy HQ |capturing between Advance Wars and Black Hole Rising, both in capture animation and on the map screen. In the former, the captured HQ maintains the original sprite with the color scheme of the conquering party (i.e. if Orange Star captures Blue Moon's HQ, the final animation, as well as the final map screen, will show the Onion-domed building colored red). In the latter game, instead, the building is substituted by a second instance of the attacking forces' headquarters (i.e. a red skyscraper is built when the onion-domed cathedral is lowered down).