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#1 M. Norton

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:22 PM

Well, I was happy to find someone had packaged X-Com:UFO with DosBox in a handy Mac *.app and so I've been able to reacquaint myself with how good the game is and how frustrated I get with it ;-). I may have to restart this current game I'm on, though it's been a good run. I'm starting to get Ethereals and the first PsiLab is still mid-construction, which means I'm at least 2.5 months away from having anyone who can deal with these suckers.

I used to play way back when, devoured Kasey Chang's guide when it was still new, and so forth. I think I do fairly well in the fight scenarios but there is certainly room for improvement. So I thought I'd ask a few questions and see what happens.

1) From reading around, there seems to be a great deal of enthusiasm for the heavy weapons platform (HWP) with whatever armament is in fashion at the time. However in REALITY the thing takes one step off the Skyranger and gets slagged by one shot. Is this bad luck or are they really pretty crappy? I'm not talking about the reaction time thing, I'm talking about their ability to withstand damage. So after this, my thinking goes "1) there went half a million into scrap metal, that was a waste. 2) now I'm down in the mission by at least 4 guys."

My usual strategy now is to completely ignore the HWP and just use 4 more guys, but I don't know how that compares to other folks experience. Do you use HWP at all?

2) Is there anything to be done about the lag time for psi abilities, even just psi measurement? I didn't even see a battleship until June'ish. I did have a pretty successful mission and got the commander, but then you research him, the psi abilities, and the psi lab, then build the lab and now we're actually pushing into OCTOBER before any soldiers can be tested. Is this normal or just bad luck?

3) Latest terror mission was Ethereals and Sectopods. I tried a few times and then just landed and took off again, there was no way to defend against these. I guess I got a little credit for responding, but it was a complete loss.

4) First base was N.Am and 2nd base was in Europe. 3rd base was in China, 4th in South America. The bloody aliens built a base on HAWAII. Could not find it, could not shoot down ships and recover them adequately. Bad luck?

Well as I write these questions, I think it's been a pretty decent run on this game, but it's getting to a point where everything is swarming and I've overexpanded with the bases, so I might start over. Always learning new things. I have to admit I don't use things like smoke grenades very well, and have been reading up on that. Do folks commonly use these?

I've also read the laser pistol is pretty awesome. This game I built the rifles instead, so I might try the pistols this time around and see where that gets me. More TU's are always appreciated.

Anyhow, sorry for rambling, but maybe someone can stick their head into the topic and share some thoughts. Thanks!

#2 Zombie

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 04:53 PM

Welcome to the forums M. Norton! :)

1) From reading around, there seems to be a great deal of enthusiasm for the heavy weapons platform (HWP) with whatever armament is in fashion at the time. However in REALITY the thing takes one step off the Skyranger and gets slagged by one shot. Is this bad luck or are they really pretty crappy? I'm not talking about the reaction time thing, I'm talking about their ability to withstand damage. So after this, my thinking goes "1) there went half a million into scrap metal, that was a waste. 2) now I'm down in the mission by at least 4 guys."

My usual strategy now is to completely ignore the HWP and just use 4 more guys, but I don't know how that compares to other folks experience. Do you use HWP at all?

Tanks are bullet magnets and basically sitting ducks when they are at the back of the transport. And the standard chassis armor is no match for a few well-placed Heavy Plasma shots. For this reason I normally just order a few more soldiers and use the crap as expendable meat shields. I would suggest smoking the LZ a turn or two before you move anyone off the craft. That way the aliens are going to have a tough time seeing your troops or tanks as they move down the ramp. Make it a habit to do this no matter where you are or what time of the day it is. Smoke obscures and the grenades are cheap as heck. Just make sure not to stand too long in it as you might drop unconscious. ;)

When you get Hovertanks, those are able to take a good spanking without breaking a sweat. You could probably ignore Smoke Grenades when your tanks and your soldiers are armored up the wazoo, but it still never hurts to fully saturate the LZ with smoke.

2) Is there anything to be done about the lag time for psi abilities, even just psi measurement? I didn't even see a battleship until June'ish. I did have a pretty successful mission and got the commander, but then you research him, the psi abilities, and the psi lab, then build the lab and now we're actually pushing into OCTOBER before any soldiers can be tested. Is this normal or just bad luck?

That's about normal I'd think. Getting psi early is pretty hit-or-miss. Sometimes you might get a Sectoid terror mission at the end of the first month, so stunning the leader and hauling it back to base for interrogation will get you started on that area of the research tree fast. At other times you might not even see psi aliens till a few months in.

3) Latest terror mission was Ethereals and Sectopods. I tried a few times and then just landed and took off again, there was no way to defend against these. I guess I got a little credit for responding, but it was a complete loss.

Kill what you can handle then dust off, yup, that's what I'd do if it was Ethereals. Now, if all my troops had Laser Rifles and a couple had Blaster Launchers, well, then things would be a little different. The trick to Ethereals is to kill as many of them as you can within the first few rounds. That's where the Blaster Launcher comes in. Carpet bomb the outdoors. And don't worry too much about killing civilians with the splash damage. Once this is done, the morale of the remaining Ethereals will be fairly low and some may be ready to panic. If that happens, you'll get a few rounds worth of breathing room to explore and spread out. If one of your men gets MD'd or panics, take his gun away and let him be a sacrificial Psi lamb for the remainder of the mission. If the aliens targeted him once for a psi attack, they will continue to go after him in the future, so give them a free target to waste their attacks on while the rest of your squad looks for the perpetrator. :Deal:

4) First base was N.Am and 2nd base was in Europe. 3rd base was in China, 4th in South America. The bloody aliens built a base on HAWAII. Could not find it, could not shoot down ships and recover them adequately. Bad luck?

I'd consider that somewhat good luck. Let them have that area. You should probably try to look for bases and such with random patrols over an area with intense alien activity (look at those graphs frequently when you don't have full radar coverage). That way they can't get a foothold for long periods of time which can be a drain on your points.

Well as I write these questions, I think it's been a pretty decent run on this game, but it's getting to a point where everything is swarming and I've overexpanded with the bases, so I might start over. Always learning new things. I have to admit I don't use things like smoke grenades very well, and have been reading up on that. Do folks commonly use these?

I've also read the laser pistol is pretty awesome. This game I built the rifles instead, so I might try the pistols this time around and see where that gets me. More TU's are always appreciated.

Always use smoke grenades. Always. It's a lifesaver. The laser pistol is certainly faster, but the laser rifle is more powerful and accurate. I use the LP as a sidearm for my heavy weapon folk and give the Laser Rifles to the scouts. You can supplement all the lasers with grenades and you'll have a good team. :Carrot:

- Zombie

Edited by Zombie, 10 September 2009 - 04:56 PM.

The Mr. Grognard of X-COM

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!


#3 M. Norton

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 07:54 PM

Welcome to the forums M. Norton! :)


Thanks. Good to find it.

Tanks are bullet magnets and basically sitting ducks when they are at the back of the transport. And the standard chassis armor is no match for a few well-placed Heavy Plasma shots. For this reason I normally just order a few more soldiers and use the crap as expendable meat shields. I would suggest smoking the LZ a turn or two before you move anyone off the craft. That way the aliens are going to have a tough time seeing your troops or tanks as they move down the ramp. Make it a habit to do this no matter where you are or what time of the day it is. Smoke obscures and the grenades are cheap as heck. Just make sure not to stand too long in it as you might drop unconscious. ;)


Yeah, okay that matches my experience with the tanks. I just don't like using them early on.

I just started a new game and tried the smoke grenade thing, it does make a difference. The first terror mission had the landing zone pretty well crisscrossed by alien sights and I was able to move nearly the entire squad out in smoke, picking stuff off without too much return fire. Definitely one to keep in the toolbox for tricky situations. I wish I knew how it worked better (the wiki is a little vague.) Does it obscure your sight when you're in it, or obscure their sight when they're trying to look at you? Or looking through it to the other side?

That's about normal I'd think. Getting psi early is pretty hit-or-miss. Sometimes you might get a Sectoid terror mission at the end of the first month, so stunning the leader and hauling it back to base for interrogation will get you started on that area of the research tree fast. At other times you might not even see psi aliens till a few months in.


Well just something to work through then. I checked my save file and I'd marked that fight as interesting and it was July when I got that sectoid commander. So yeah, researched him fast, then the 2-3 things and October was the first time I could send guys to psi measurement.

Kill what you can handle then dust off, yup, that's what I'd do if it was Ethereals. Now, if all my troops had Laser Rifles and a couple had Blaster Launchers, well, then things would be a little different. The trick to Ethereals is to kill as many of them as you can within the first few rounds. That's where the Blaster Launcher comes in. Carpet bomb the outdoors. And don't worry too much about killing civilians with the splash damage. Once this is done, the morale of the remaining Ethereals will be fairly low and some may be ready to panic. If that happens, you'll get a few rounds worth of breathing room to explore and spread out. If one of your men gets MD'd or panics, take his gun away and let him be a sacrificial Psi lamb for the remainder of the mission. If the aliens targeted him once for a psi attack, they will continue to go after him in the future, so give them a free target to waste their attacks on while the rest of your squad looks for the perpetrator. :Deal:


I'll have to try that. I had heavy plasma but the sectopod took 3-4 straight hits of that and didn't even slow down. Not sure if I had a blaster launcher or not.

I'd consider that somewhat good luck. Let them have that area. You should probably try to look for bases and such with random patrols over an area with intense alien activity (look at those graphs frequently when you don't have full radar coverage). That way they can't get a foothold for long periods of time which can be a drain on your points.


It wasn't too terrible, though was mainly annoying because there were ships everywhere (mostly landing on South America, just out of my easy intercept range). Think I eventually lost Brazil. The new game I'm starting in Italy and have US as the second base and seeing if that changes anything. Probably all just random.

Always use smoke grenades. Always. It's a lifesaver. The laser pistol is certainly faster, but the laser rifle is more powerful and accurate. I use the LP as a sidearm for my heavy weapon folk and give the Laser Rifles to the scouts. You can supplement all the lasers with grenades and you'll have a good team. :Carrot:


Yeah, the smoke grenades are surprisingly awesome. The laser pistol gets a lot of shots in on target. If it doesn't hit the alien, it's punching holes in building sides pretty nicely, giving a lot of hideyholes to take cover from. I was pretty impressed. And one good accurate guy in the rear still has serious sniping power at a distance. There was something about the pistol on the wiki and so far it seems to be working out well.

Thanks for the reply. Amazing game, right up there with nethack in my mind for longevity and replayability. I have always wondered why it's never, ever been duplicated well. There have been attempts, but they always manage to screw up something vital. If someone just perked up the graphics a smidge and added a few things like a health meter on the soldier pane (would LOVE to know which grazing shots have been fatal wounds BEFORE I get someone over there with a Medikit) it'd be just perfect. Ahhwell.

#4 Zombie

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 09:44 PM

I just started a new game and tried the smoke grenade thing, it does make a difference. The first terror mission had the landing zone pretty well crisscrossed by alien sights and I was able to move nearly the entire squad out in smoke, picking stuff off without too much return fire. Definitely one to keep in the toolbox for tricky situations. I wish I knew how it worked better (the wiki is a little vague.) Does it obscure your sight when you're in it, or obscure their sight when they're trying to look at you? Or looking through it to the other side?

You are talking to the right guy. I did a ton of tests on the Smoke Grenade over the years. Basically the idea is to dump the Smoke Grenade over your soldiers or in between the soldiers and any aliens. You will not be able to see as far (obviously) peering out of the cloud, and by default, the aliens will have a tough time looking into a cloud too. But you'll see further looking out of a cloud than looking into one. You will also be able to get much closer to an alien when your movements are concealed in a smoke cloud. Closer=better firing accuracy. I think the closest you can throw a smoke grenade to an alien and still gain benefit from it is about 7 tiles away or so. Any closer and the alien gains the upper hand. Link to topic at StrategyCore about smoke grenades:
http://www.strategyc...sited-t731.html. My results start at post 24. :)

Yeah, the smoke grenades are surprisingly awesome. The laser pistol gets a lot of shots in on target. If it doesn't hit the alien, it's punching holes in building sides pretty nicely, giving a lot of hideyholes to take cover from. I was pretty impressed. And one good accurate guy in the rear still has serious sniping power at a distance. There was something about the pistol on the wiki and so far it seems to be working out well.

The great Laser Rifle vs Laser Pistol debate may be an interesting read. Me? I prefer the Laser Rifle. And if I want holes in a wall, I use high explosives. Cover? That's what smoke is for! Though, using walls and terrain is still a good idea. LOL

- Zombie

Edited by Zombie, 10 September 2009 - 09:45 PM.

The Mr. Grognard of X-COM

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!


#5 NKF

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 02:50 AM

The weapon debates on the wiki tend to explode into detail - but that looks a little bare. That'll need a bit of input. ;) The laser rifle is a well proven and much loved weapon, after all while the laser pistol is mainly pining for attention.

Anyhow, I think I'll throw some of my own thoughts on this:

1. Tanks are as tanks go. You get what you can out of them or you can find other alternatives to do the same job. Nice to have, but not essential.

I think they're good units to have if you are abundant in money. Nothing like a unit that can be sent in to test the waters and not waste you many missions of gathered experience should it fall. Of course, money is something you don't have much of early in the game! But with the right compromises, you can scrape together the funds and employ them to good effect.

Later on, once you can afford them, the plasma hovertank is a great investment for field combat while the fusion hovertank are excellent base defenders. The laser tank is a lovely cheap (aka elerium-less) tank to build later in the game, with a powerful weapon that shames sectopods, but is unfortunately no better at surviving than its predecessors.

Use them if they are handy, go without them if they're only hindering you. If you start playing TFTD though, do consider their use - there seems to be an intermittent immunity to reaction fire with them that is hard not to take advantage of.

By the way, wait at least one turn before telling the tank to deploy. It's suicide to send it out on the very first turn as the aliens will be at 100% of their TUs. Also when deploying smoke grenades with a tank in the way, try various combinations of kneeling or setting the smoke grenade's destination a little further away than the base of the ramp. As long as you're not flush against the edge of the map, there should be spots you can reach past the tank.

2. Psi lag is normal. Even if you manage to capture a sectoid leader on your very few missions, you're going to be several months into the game before anyone is screened. Prior to that, just hang on to every person you can buy and sack any that succumb to any psi attacks and keep tabs of those that haven't.

3. Any encounter with ethereals is a pain until you've had a chance to screen your troops. Just do what you can and dust off. As for sectopods, have you had luck collecting any stun bombs? They're pretty good for taking down the sectopods. Perhaps not instantly on harder levels, but certainly more effective than trying to drill through their tough exteriors with plasma rounds. Otherwise, heavy lasers and the laser tank are great equalizers given enough luck.

4. Luck is a big part in this game. It's part of the fun. ;)

Regarding the laser pistol debate - I'm probably partly responsible for the laser pistol fad. It makes me happy to see a weapon that was once often considered a paper weight climb back up to just being 'fairly useful'. ;) But that said I don't consider it a perfect weapon - and neither should anyone else. It's a good submachine gun, but it's not good at breaching heavy armour. It's mainly a good mix-in assault weapon that you can keep in a pocket.

If you like both weapons, go with both a mixture of the laser pistols and laser rifles. There's always heavy plasmas off fallen enemies if you need more oomph and accuracy. Large rockets, alien grenades and high explosives clean even the toughest stains.

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#6 M. Norton

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:06 AM

4. Luck is a big part in this game. It's part of the fun. ;)


And I'm okay with that if I know that's the way it's going to be. I play nethack after all ;-). However even there, luck is what you find of it and make of it. There are a lot of things you can do to help yourself out to mitigate the luck factor, hence poking around for information.

Regarding the laser pistol debate - I'm probably partly responsible for the laser pistol fad. It makes me happy to see a weapon that was once often considered a paper weight climb back up to just being 'fairly useful'. ;) But that said I don't consider it a perfect weapon - and neither should anyone else. It's a good submachine gun, but it's not good at breaching heavy armour. It's mainly a good mix-in assault weapon that you can keep in a pocket.


And you should consider this next point as fuel for the debate. Knowing in advance that it's not a wasted step on the tech research tree is important. This game right now I'm in late March and producing Power Suits which should help longevity of the soldiers that much more. I've also got the motion scanner rolling for money making. Researching laser rifles, while useful can be put off if laser pistols are a highly viable substitute and makes early game research a little more streamlined for survival. Just a thought.

If you like both weapons, go with both a mixture of the laser pistols and laser rifles. There's always heavy plasmas off fallen enemies if you need more oomph and accuracy. Large rockets, alien grenades and high explosives clean even the toughest stains.


My thinking right now is that I might give the rookies and a few squaddies the pistols. They need the accuracy training and they don't have as many time units to play with as the officers. The officers might get the rifles as standard since they could take a few shots and still move back into cover when necessary. We'll see how it goes.

#7 Warface

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 07:50 PM

Okay, NKF and Zombie are masters, and you should listen to them. However I can provide some supplemental or alternative info that may be useful. I beat Superhuman fairly frequently, saving only in the Geoscape. Zombie and others have other interesting ways of playing which I would call "specialized" on the level of "advanced player," such as single-soldier challenges or smash-and-grab. What it sounds like you need, though, are some solid squad tactics.

For starters, check the online UFOpedia for squad deployment tactics, etc.

Another for starters: Get the Gold/CE edition ASAP and get Seb's UFO Extender. I recently discovered this, and it is X-Com as it was meant to be played. All bugs and so forth are fixed. Troop stats on loadout, opening doors with right click, more smoke and fire allowed on the battlefield, etc. Old DOS X-Com was simply missing these things; no cheating involved here.

When and how to use smoke:

Visibility is limited to roughly 1/2 the smoke cloud. This is how close the alien would need to be if you were in the middle of it. If you are in the edge of the cloud, you may be in danger from that side.

With the old releases of X-Com, you could only have 2-3 grenades' worth of smoke OR fire on the battlescape. If this is what you're stuck with, pop one smoke on the ramp itself just outside your craft. This is the safest place for your first smoke, placing the cloud squarely on the ground and centered on your soldiers as they exit.

If there are a lot of aliens right outside the landing, or you can't see the squares directly in front of the craft (at night for example), ALSO pop a smoke in the last square of the Skyranger cargo bay itself, preventing an early wipe.

If you have flying suits, another place for smoke is on top of your craft. Just remember that you need about half of the cloud between you and the aliens.

About HWPs

Four more soldiers give you more firepower. HOWEVER in the early game you don't have armor! HWPs are your armor. They have slightly better protection than Personal Armor and much more health than a soldier. They do get one-shotted sometimes, but they generally can take more hits. Remember to FACE them toward danger; their frontal armor is the strongest.

HWPs are immune to psionics.

They tend to have more TUs, enabling them to poke out of smoke clouds and find targets for soldiers to fire on, then retreat back into cover.

They can carry 8 rockets without encumbrance.

Just take care of it, and remember that roughly 3 heavy plasmas will pay for a fully loaded HWP should it get destroyed.

How to deal with Psionics in the early game:
This should enable you to finish Large UFO raids and terror missions with Sectoids using troops who have not been screened for psi. It requires that you raid a lot of undamaged UFOs. You'll need lots of Elerium.

Many people start with laser weapons in the beginning. I have found that commercially available small arms are sufficient for dealing with small to large UFOs with certain tactics. The first thing I always research now is Medkits, followed by Alien Alloys, Elerium, Power Source, Navigation, and all three armors. After I have Flying Suits I switch research to plasma and make my way toward Plasma cannons and tanks. Laser weapons can be researched quickly right after reaching Flying Suits if desired.

Flying Suits are IMMUNE to Auto-Cannon HE, Grenades (except RIGHT at ground zero) and Rifles. It's really hard to kill someone in a Flying Suit with a laser pistol or Small Rocket as well (best to avoid these due to Murphy's law and getting shot in the back). Basically your storm troopers can be fully armored and lightly armed and still get the job done. The psi-weaklings can blast away harmlessly at each other until the Psi aliens are killed.

HWPs are also immune to psionics and carry heavy firepower sufficient for killing terror units. They are also immune to Rifle and AC-HE fire from mind controlled agents.

Heavier weapons can be kept on the landing craft for those who are known to be resistant to Psi, or for later when the Psi aliens are dead.

DO NOT sack people who are frequently mind controlled! Not until you have an abundance of them. Just rename them "Decoy" or something and make sure everyone has heavy armor. Take a few on each psionic mission, give them a standard pistol or rifle, and let them scout.

To summarize, pop Smoke on whatever level your soldiers are on when you know you're going to be taking fire, and keep half the cloud between you and the enemy. Have 1 HWP to ignore psionics, find the enemy, absorb hits, and deliver heavy firepower. Just don't be too crazy with it (until you've figured out how to). Use heavy armor and light weapons for early psi-encounters, keeping heavy weapons available should the psionic threat be eliminated, or give them to soldiers known to be resistant. Give Decoys the lightest weapons (alternatively, have them only carry smoke grenades, stun rods, and ammunition for others).

#8 M. Norton

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Posted 15 September 2009 - 10:47 AM

Okay, NKF and Zombie are masters, and you should listen to them. However I can provide some supplemental or alternative info that may be useful. I beat Superhuman fairly frequently, saving only in the Geoscape. Zombie and others have other interesting ways of playing which I would call "specialized" on the level of "advanced player," such as single-soldier challenges or smash-and-grab. What it sounds like you need, though, are some solid squad tactics.


Well I think I do pretty well most of the time. The smoke has made a world of difference on initial deployment survival. I had a terror mission a few months back of snakemen/chryssalid where the landing zone was chockfull of both. I took out 6-8 snakes and chryssalids and only lost 1 guy (got zombified and had to take him out sadly.) The chryssalid actually just randomly wandered in deep enough into the smoke to find a guy.

Another for starters: Get the Gold/CE edition ASAP and get Seb's UFO Extender. I recently discovered this, and it is X-Com as it was meant to be played. All bugs and so forth are fixed. Troop stats on loadout, opening doors with right click, more smoke and fire allowed on the battlefield, etc. Old DOS X-Com was simply missing these things; no cheating involved here.


I might have to skip out on this. I'm using DosBox on MacOSX to play and someone packaged the executables into a nice little app package. I can get in an monkey with it if I get really interested in doing that, but for the moment the plain ol' X-Com is working pretty well. The stats and door thing would be nice though so I'll think about it.

Many people start with laser weapons in the beginning. I have found that commercially available small arms are sufficient for dealing with small to large UFOs with certain tactics. The first thing I always research now is Medkits, followed by Alien Alloys, Elerium, Power Source, Navigation, and all three armors. After I have Flying Suits I switch research to plasma and make my way toward Plasma cannons and tanks. Laser weapons can be researched quickly right after reaching Flying Suits if desired.


My only concern here is that medkits seem worthless until you get power suits. Up to that point, it seems like if you get hit, you get killed, there's little point in trying to heal them. I do work in Medkits early, but like the earlier comment I made, this game I tried going only to laser PISTOLS first, then switching to alloys for personal armor and then medkit, then the prerequisites for power suits. Getting armor early seems to have made a huge difference.

Flying Suits are IMMUNE to Auto-Cannon HE, Grenades (except RIGHT at ground zero) and Rifles. It's really hard to kill someone in a Flying Suit with a laser pistol or Small Rocket as well (best to avoid these due to Murphy's law and getting shot in the back). Basically your storm troopers can be fully armored and lightly armed and still get the job done. The psi-weaklings can blast away harmlessly at each other until the Psi aliens are killed.


I actually discovered this a few days ago by accident. As mentioned, I have been using power suits and laser weapons with only a touch of heavy plasma (1-3 on the loadout and then sometimes picking them up on the battlefield.) I had a sectoid harvester mission and a few guys kept getting MC'd and they had laser pistols. It took a little healing through, but they were very little danger to the other troops.

As soon as I got control back of the MC'd ones (if I did, think one dude remained MC'd til the end and turned up MIA) I just emptied them of dangerous objects and let them do whatever they wanted.

So things are going pretty well with the current game. Survived a base defense mission with flying colors. I might replay to see if I can avoid the rocket explosion. Thankfully I'd redesigned my starting base and had a choke point. I had a HWP in front and the "amazing-lowbravery-girl-who-cannot-die" scouting, and had three guys in a line deployed deep in smoke. They were kneeling. Much further back I had three guys standing. One of the mutons fired a rocket that must have passed over the front line guys heads and took out the 3 in the back. That seems like poor form so I may see if I can figure out a better way to manage that.

And amazing girl who cannot die is... weird. She's got 10 bravery and I meant to sack her early on, but was in a hurry early on and needed a body. So I gave her a pistol and made her scout. She started racking up an amazing amount of kills. Right now she's got something in the high 70's for time units and incredible accuracy, health, etc. Just that 10 bravery. So she's kind of the permanent doctor/scout. And she cannot die... amazing luck.

#9 NKF

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 12:53 AM

Well I think I do pretty well most of the time. The smoke has made a world of difference on initial deployment survival. I had a terror mission a few months back of snakemen/chryssalid where the landing zone was chockfull of both. I took out 6-8 snakes and chryssalids and only lost 1 guy (got zombified and had to take him out sadly.) The chryssalid actually just randomly wandered in deep enough into the smoke to find a guy.


On a similar note, have you made use of flares to assist you during night missions?


So things are going pretty well with the current game. Survived a base defense mission with flying colors. I might replay to see if I can avoid the rocket explosion. Thankfully I'd redesigned my starting base and had a choke point. I had a HWP in front and the "amazing-lowbravery-girl-who-cannot-die" scouting, and had three guys in a line deployed deep in smoke. They were kneeling. Much further back I had three guys standing. One of the mutons fired a rocket that must have passed over the front line guys heads and took out the 3 in the back. That seems like poor form so I may see if I can figure out a better way to manage that.


Play a game of whack-a-mole with the attackers. Have all your troops down the main firing corridor pop in and out of the little rooms and HWP closets. Those closest to the action should just be used to spot the enemy (unless they have a very good odds of killing the target in one burst), then pop back in to safety. If you need to have someone stationed in the corridor, such as a soldier with a rocket launcher, then have this soldier stationed at the furthest end of the firing corridor.

By doing this, you keep troops out of harms way from friendly fire and they have a bit of extra protection during their off-turn from enemy fire and hopefully at least one chance to survive a blaster bomb (as long as you're not standing immediately next to the door).

And amazing girl who cannot die is... weird. She's got 10 bravery and I meant to sack her early on, but was in a hurry early on and needed a body. So I gave her a pistol and made her scout. She started racking up an amazing amount of kills. Right now she's got something in the high 70's for time units and incredible accuracy, health, etc. Just that 10 bravery. So she's kind of the permanent doctor/scout. And she cannot die... amazing luck.


This is one of the many things I like about this game. The most unassuming or even the worst pick of the bunch can often suddenly surprise you. I guess it's because you let them make much bolder moves than the good soldiers you want to protect. Stats are awarded for successful participation.

You shouldn't worry too much about the 10 bravery. Bravery's only real function is to mitigate the effects of morale loss. Its usefulness is inversely proportional to how well you do in the battles. If you're doing great, then high bravery is not going to do much. If you often lose soldiers, then it is of great value.

Most importantly: Bravery is not a shield against psi. I'm mainly mentioning it for the benefit of those that don't know this.

There are ways of training the bravery stat, but honestly they aren't worth the effort or are too dangerous. One is to let corral a lone psi alien, disarm it and let it panic your troops. This unfortunately reveals a weakness in your psi strength. The other is to sacrifice a heap of rookies or tanks just so a few officers can benefit. You can also abuse the chryssalid mind control bug by controlling a zombie, killing it. Then letting the chryssalid that's under your permanent control get zombified. Then repeating the process over and over and over. You'll rack up a heap of negative points and heaps of bodies from the one zombie.

When it comes to any form of screening, I often recommend screening soldiers only by psi strength. Improvements come fast to those with lower stats and there are many ways to work around or improve weak stats.

- NKF

Edited by NKF, 16 September 2009 - 12:58 AM.

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#10 M. Norton

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 09:37 AM

On a similar note, have you made use of flares to assist you during night missions?


Oh yeah, standard Skyranger stock. I do what I can to avoid evening runs, but sometimes I just do it for fun. Something cool about only seeing a hint of a shadow in the jungle. But yes, the electroflares are standard operating eqiupment.

Play a game of whack-a-mole with the attackers. Have all your troops down the main firing corridor pop in and out of the little rooms and HWP closets. Those closest to the action should just be used to spot the enemy (unless they have a very good odds of killing the target in one burst), then pop back in to safety. If you need to have someone stationed in the corridor, such as a soldier with a rocket launcher, then have this soldier stationed at the furthest end of the firing corridor.


I did a bit of this, but was training rookies so they didn't really have a huge chunk of time to be doing all the dodging in and out. I had one guy at the end of the hallway with 70+ TU's jumping in and out (and occasionally taking shots) and then had folks up the hallway. What I did to try to mitigate the issue was have a tank at one of the first intersections and I'd just move it out into the intersection, figuring at worst, a blaster launcher would impact there rather than on the guys I wanted to keep. On the replay, I didn't get the blaster launcher though so it was hard to know how well it did.

This is one of the many things I like about this game. The most unassuming or even the worst pick of the bunch can often suddenly surprise you. I guess it's because you let them make much bolder moves than the good soldiers you want to protect. Stats are awarded for successful participation.


Yeah, I had to start recruiting a bunch more and then leaving the officers behind. The first guy on my soldier list is the Commander. Why? Because he survived a ton of "first guy out of the Skyranger" missions and racked up many kills (slightly more than 1 per mission). I imagine some of this will help once I get something other than the Skyranger as transport, but until then the folks at the top of the soldier list tend to have to take the most risks and thereby earn the biggest awards.

Plus, it's kind of funny in a story telling way. I find myself talking to my guys quite a lot.

You shouldn't worry too much about the 10 bravery. Bravery's only real function is to mitigate the effects of morale loss. Its usefulness is inversely proportional to how well you do in the battles. If you're doing great, then high bravery is not going to do much. If you often lose soldiers, then it is of great value.


Yeah, the only time I've seen her panic was when a blaster launcher took out a bunch of folks (I think on that base defense mission I mentioned in the other post). I do have one guy who actually got his bravery trained in a sectoid mission. I certainly wasn't trying to do that though.

When it comes to any form of screening, I often recommend screening soldiers only by psi strength. Improvements come fast to those with lower stats and there are many ways to work around or improve weak stats.


Well I've been doing quick scans but I've kind of come to the conclusion that pretty much everyone is useful in some fashion. So unless they've got terrible strength, plus terrible accuracy or some other combo, as long as everything is nice and even, I'm pretty much okay with them. They'll shape up -- or die muahahahaha. ;-)

#11 M. Norton

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:05 AM

Well bugger. I read up on the Extender and was completely sold when I saw the "reorder soldiers" tweak. However I guess it only works on the collector's edition version of the game and I believe I have the original (probably even with the difficulty bug.) Oh well.

#12 Warface

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:45 AM

Well bugger. I read up on the Extender and was completely sold when I saw the "reorder soldiers" tweak. However I guess it only works on the collector's edition version of the game and I believe I have the original (probably even with the difficulty bug.) Oh well.


The combination of CE/Seb's loader is the best working version of X-Com.

I'll never walk through another door again without opening it first! I can actually clear Medium Scouts without casualties. This was only possible in the PSX version or TftD.

Smoke works right when I need it, instead of the number of smoke squares maxing out at 2-3 grenades. Same with fire.

I can see troop strength, psi and combat stats during loadout. I'll never again have a guy with 21 strength carrying heavy weapons.

And yes, psionics are always in the back of landing craft! Nifty up and down arrows in the craft's crew list.

Seb belongs in some pantheon of deities. I'm considering naming one of my high value troops Seb.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND finding a working version of CE. I can see why some old-timers might mess around with the DOS version, but I'm an old timer too and I believe this is how the game was meant to be played.

#13 thestoo

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 10:00 AM

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND finding a working version of CE. I can see why some old-timers might mess around with the DOS version, but I'm an old timer too and I believe this is how the game was meant to be played.


The game is pretty cheap on Steam these days so I got it there. Even though steam itself loads up the DOS version within DOSBox, the actual game folder contains the Windows UFO Defense executable. I have been using the ET_2005 patch for a long time but this version by Seb definitely looks like one I will try asap ^_^

Auto manufacture/sell I will miss greatly but oh the PSX doors! (Currently have PS1 version on PSP but it's much slower than PC version :( but not the hour long enemy turns I remember from my brother's Amiga 500+ OMFG )

#14 Kratos

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:02 PM

Steam? This steam?: http://www.steampowe...works/index.php

If so, I've heard of that site just recently. Is it really that good of a site for hunting for good games?

#15 thestoo

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 05:57 AM

Steam? This steam?: http://www.steampowe...works/index.php

If so, I've heard of that site just recently. Is it really that good of a site for hunting for good games?


Yeah steampowered.com is the right site. It's basically a digital distribution system for games, old and new. XCOM is located here http://store.steampo...d.com/app/7760/ and here in the UK it's only ?2.99 :)

Edited by thestoo, 02 November 2009 - 06:02 AM.