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Groo Tries To Grow As A Gamer
What a difference a day makes! That little bit of late-night planning payed some HUGE dividends!

I basically went with the plan I formulated last night, with a few alterations: 1) I neglected to send Price in as my medic because Yuan was still slotted in the Skyranger; and 2) I think I also forgot to equip my dodge-boosting combat sim... why? Because once again, I had to wait until the women in my life went to bed before I could save the freakin' world, and it's currently 12:55AM, with my alarm set to go off in just over six hours, so I gamed instead of slept and wasn't performing at peak levels... anyway, I'll try my best to be brief-yet-compelling as we continue along this little jaunt.

One of the really cool new features of this particular flavour of XCOM - and I touched on this earlier but didn't expand on it - is that you can collect battlefield loot (if you're fast enough) in the form of scopes, laser sights, extended magazines, etc, so you can customize the weapons equiped on your troops. It adds a whole lot more to factor in and plan for *IF YOU TAKE THE TIME* (which, really, seems to be the root cause of the headaches I got on previous attempts at Ironman-style games).

With the gear I had obtained so far, I boosted my squad with the following: "Lights Out" Khumalo, my lead Sharpshooter, traded out the Advanced Scope on his main weapon for a Superior Extended Magazine; meaning I gave up a 10% aim boost for DOUBLE my shot capacity before needing to reload... I rationalised this my saying that as an Lt, his Aim stat had gone up significantly since he started as a humble rookie. The old scoped sniper rifle went to Kaczmarek, the Polish corporal, whom I'd decided to include on this mission instead of the junior Grenadier... it was really a coin toss, but the deciding factor was that I'd lost so much custom gear (smoke grenades, flash-bangs, etc) from the failed mission earlier that I didn't have any good stuff to equip the troops with for this fight: virtually everybody had the standard grenade on their belt (except for Kaczmarek - she got the Battle Scanner). Other than that, the cupboards were bare - there was no extra incentive to have the demolitions guy present. Next, my two shotgun-toting rangers had Advanced Laser Sights slapped onto their primary weapons for a 10% boost to critical damage. Now, the shotguns already have increased critical chance, so this was a blatant min/maxing of the stat: if they were gonna hit, they were guaranteed to hit HARD. Rounding out the squad was my purveyor of Ancient Chinese Medicine, Corporal Yue Ying Yuan. I slapped the scope from Lights Out's rifle onto hers and gave her my lone medkit... she was there for support, but her Aim stat was low, so my logic was that if I needed her to shoot at something, it'd be a boon if she actually hit.

One final piece of background: because of previous play-throughs, I knew that if I have the Advanced Warfare Facility built on the ship, any soldier who levels-up has a chance of randomly getting a bonus ability from another class skill-tree. Sick, right? That's why it was the first room I built on the Avenger.

Anyway, I happened to overlook that Lights Out has the "Ever Vigilant" perk... meaning if he spends all of his action points moving, at the end of my turn he automatically enters Overwatch! I'm keeping my eyes open for any other troops that may have little extras that I missed in my earlier haste, and making notes on those that get awarded boosts in the future...

So... the battle... my eyes are getting heavy, and the weekend is over now, so I'll try to sum up the over-all BUTT KICKING I LAID DOWN ON THOSE EVIL-DOERS!!!

Basically, I spawned near a hill/cliff feature next to the village that was getting stomped on, so I immediately sent the snipers to the high ground. I aggro-spawned a Lancer and basic trooper right away, but a lucky shotgun blast from a distance (truly, it had no right connecting) dropped those jerks quick. Next I deployed the Battle Scanner, and boy howdy, can that thing travel far... it can also reveal "Faceless" aliens, these shape-shifting baddies that pose as civilians-in-distress and reveal their ugly selves only once you run up right next to them... jerks, one and all!

So, knowing (legally!) where the next clutch of aliens are lurking, a smartly deploy, flank and destroy... I also encountered Mutons for the first time this game, but because everybody present had a basic frag grenade, I was able to eliminate his cover and take him out quite handily...

Bottom line: Flawless victory, and my civilian save count, while not perfect, was probably one of my highest ever recorded. Promotions almost all around, and some cool nicknames earned (Black Widow? Tombstone? Sweeeeeet....)

A good time was had by all!

That's it for now, and because we're heading into the work week I can't predict when the next update will be, but I'm feeling pretty good.

Next time, folks!
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
"Stop and smell the Xenomorphs"

It might be a couple of days before I get the opportunity for a full-blown post like I've been producing up until now... I'd mentioned this earlier - as we are now in the work week, and I'm one of those 9-to-5 types - but I'm having one of those slow-dawning "moments of clarity".

I'd said that my game performance VASTLY improved when I. Slowed. The. Heck. Down. And. Took. My. Time. Methodical planning, mental preparation, and thoughtful action during the mission resulted in a Flawless victory! One that I really, really enjoyed as well because it felt truly earned. But could those lessons apply to life outside the game as well? ("The power to stomp the Muton was inside you all along, Groo!")

I mean, my own description of my old gaming style as "escapist indulgence", but what was I escaping? My apartment is cluttered (an understated adjective, for sure... some days I think we could apply to be on a reality show... "Hoarders: Children's Toy and Clothing Edition"), the cat's nails won't clip themselves, an the caulking around the bathtub really needs to be stripped and re-applied. Plus, have I been so quick to log-on that I've been neglecting the simple pleasure of playing with my kid? Or making sure my relationship with my wife is as strong as it needs to be? Have I been taking things for granted?

The flip-side of that coin is a very, very true "man, do I work hard during the day", and a game that I've already paid for is cheaper that alcohol that I have not.

I need to figure out where on this spectrum I should be. Has my leisure pendulum swung too far in one direction?

Or - and this could be totally true as well- am I just I'm a little tired, a little overly analytical, and entirely full of shit?
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
(03-04-2018, 04:14 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote:
(03-04-2018, 02:36 PM)Kersus Wrote: As for difficulty and iron man.... I usually start any game on the hardest setting and only fall back if it seems "impossible." Ironman in the old games, sure, sometimes. In the modern ones? I find the quirkiness (read: my lack of knowledge) of the mechanics make it harder than it should be. I'm happy to die in game because of a mistake or even bad luck, but when it's just a lack of utilizing game mechanics to their strongest, I sometimes get irritable and that's when I'll reload to an earlier point.

We could not be more polar opposite in our approaches, old friend. Usually because of financial issues, when I get a new game there's an understanding that this will be played again, and again, and (wait for it) again; I just don't have the funds to treat these increasingly costly entertainment items as disposable.  Those first easy settings and frequently reloaded run-throughs are where I *LEARN* the mechanics of the platform - to game the system, if you will. Could you imagine learning how to play chess, but not bothering to figure out that Queens can move diagonally as well as straight across? How much would that hobble your ability to enjoy the dance?

The same but different, yes. I prefer to learn Chess by having my rear-end handed to me on a silver platter by a Chess master. I also look at games and replayability before purchasing. Indeed I was a wee bit disappointed in how short XCOM seemed compared to thew original but I still loved it and played it multiple times. I learn best in trial by fire.

We have a mutual friend who is IMO a musical genius but he has this thing where if he sits at a new musical instrument and can't figure it out and play his music within a few minutes, he moves on. I doubt I'm as good at anything as he is at music however it might be the same thing with games - even tabletop ones (which really, XCOM is a tabletop wargame with a GM but on a computer). If I can't figure out the game quickly and then concentrate on the fun stuff, I may move on. The only exception recently is Eastside Hockey manager that took me days and many hours to figure out. XCOM in any rendition doesn't take me long to pick up (well, Apocalypse, which I moved on from) and so I play despite quirky mechanics I never take the time to understand. In fact there are probably quite a few things from the first game I never understood.

(03-04-2018, 04:14 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: Also, just so we're clear, if you haven't taken a stab at XCOM2 yet and have the means, I would highly recommend it. Very much a sequel to the XCOM reboot, not just a repackaged expansion pack designed to make money.

Oh, I have it and have played it. I think I just got busy or went away or who knows; when I returned I sort of forgot about it for awhile and now I have a hard time rationalizing playing when I need to be working. Self-employed seems to mean, "no down-time" a lot in my world. I'm still quite eager to get back to XCOM2.

(03-04-2018, 04:14 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: One last thing before I write my in-game analysis for the evening... as a point of order, what's the forum etiquette on posting screenshots or in-game photos? I am operating this through Steam, and sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words, or 950 words after fees, tax, and inflation. I just don't want to start killing your available space and everyone else's bandwidth... or even, if you all would suggest, losing some of the written drama by taking the easy-peasy "smile for the camera" approach... let me know either way.

Please post as you'd like. Photos are welcome. If space becomes an issue, I'll deal with it at that point. Right now we should have lots.

"Save inches for the bathroom; we're using feet here." ~ Rob Kuntz (2014)

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It's been a while, but I was able to find some time and boot-up the game and advance a little... I last left the game with a "guerrilla attack" mission selection, meaning I had three choices, each with a different benefit for completing, PLUS it would negate one of the current "dark events" that can really put a pin in your butt when trying to complete a mission / advance the game. I quickly selected the mission that would garner me more supplies... Money's real tight right now (art imitating life much?) and I could use the cash to re-stock my gear, upgrade my weapons to the Magnetic tier (I've already done the research), and maybe buy some perks from the Guerrilla Tactics School... some much candy, so little coin... So, let's apply some of the principles I learned from reading personal finance books: thoughtful spending!

Replacing some of the gear I lost from the bug-out mission would be handy, so I buy another flash-bang grenade and a mimic beacon. They were (relatively) cheap and super useful... especially the Mimic Beacon, a little holographic decoy that all the aliens prioritise on attacking... it basically buys me one round (provided it doesn't get destroyed right away... we'll get back to that in the mission debrief). The next thing was to upgrade my basic rifle to the Tier 2 Magnetic rifle... I could've gone with any weapon here, but two of the five soldiers on the next mission were packing rifles, so it was the economic choice.

But the BIG ticket items are facilities for my flying base. If I can construct the Shadow Chamber, not only will I advance the plot, but I can see how many and what type of enemies are present on missions I take on in the future... SUPER useful for deciding what soldiers and what gear to bring along. And the Psionic lab, if bought early, pays off LARGE once those Psionic troopers start to load up on abilities... another game changer. And finally, the second-tier armour allows for a second slot for gear. The Psionic lab and armour still need to be researched, so I'll be saving my pennies for the Shadow Chamber.

I ran through the actual mission pretty quickly. Deploying the Battle Scanner early makes all the difference during deployment, although I really didn't utilise my Ranger as effectively as I could have. My favourite tactic has always been deploying my squad around a clutch of enemies, set everyone to overwatch, then get the party started by launching a grenade into my enemies... it damages everybody, destroys cover (and armour!), and then the rest of the squad mops up with reaction shots. My Ranger was close to the action, but due to her specific level-ups, she remains hidden even once the rest of the team are spotted. That all boiled down to her overwatch shot *not* being triggered. Another lesson learned. Also, I met a Viper for the first time this game with two troops out in the open... I deployed my Mimic Beacon, and all the dumb-ass baddies focused their efforts on the decoy, allowing me to flank and spank the next round. Very useful kit, that is!

The overall mission was another timed one (get to the data cache and download it before the timer runs out) and I had no problems this time. I focused on the objective, used my gear effectively, and even had one troop scoot around a building and get this beautiful flanking shot on the Viper. Only one soldier was wounded, so a near-flawless mission!

On final thought on strategy: I really need to balance my spending. I let my wallet decide where to go this time, and right now there's this "encryption" dark event that doubles all intelligence costs. If I wasn't so worried about cash, I wouldn't taken the mission that negated that event. Thrift is a good thing!

In closing, it's almost like the more entertaining posts are when I'm sleep-deprived and making bad decisions during combat, but I'm not about to start shooting myself in the foot for the sake of posts! Hubris will pop-up eventually, to be sure, so just be patient. I'm bound to screw up soon!
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
My daycare provider wanted some time off to spend March Break with her own kids, so I've booked today and tomorrow off from work to stay home with the little one... so between naps and such I'm going to have some "me" time and maybe update the game! So the kid is asleep right now. The cat is fed. I can basically do a play-by-play as long as no one wakes up! Off to save the world!

Right now I've got a "supply raid" mission on the my other screen, which could mean an injection of cash if things go well. Also, NO TIMER! Meaning I can take it slow and reload between engagements.

I've got a five-man squad, no one above the rank of Sergeant. One sharpshooter (pistol specialist), one grenadier (low-level), one ranger (also low-level), and two specialists: one medic and one hacker.

First things first: send out the Battle Scanner and get some intel! Aaaaand nothing on the scopes. Crap. Okay, so plan B: move the sharpshooter to the high ground.


I spread the squad out a little too much, and I remember how well that went the last time I had a rookie-heavy engagement, so I'm bringing everybody closer for mutual support.


Still no targets, but I've detected movement off to one side. I'm debating between using my Battle Scanner again or moving the sharpshooter to a more forward firing position... I'm going with the lower-risk Battle Scanner, but it's my last use for that item this combat.


Still no targets on the scanner. Again, plan B is to move the sniper while keeping the rest of the squad in mutual-support range.


First targets spotted! Small group of Advent trooper, officer, and shield bearer (these guys are jerks of the first order... they can slap a four-HP shield on every bad guy if given the chance). He will be my priority to take out, once the fun starts. Still not spotted yet, and I still haven't deployed the sharpshooter favourably yet, so time to move and flank. Slowly though, I don't need to be surprised by any more enemies, and I'm pretty sure I've got more than three targets for this mission.


Okay, the enemy patrol has come back around. Everything looks good, time to spring my classic grenade-and-swarm tactic. Stay tuned!


Like clockwork, the enemy patrol goes down! The trooper even dropped some loot, so I'm going to send the ranger to scoop the loot before it times out (she used her machete for the kill) while everybody else re-loads.


SHOOT! I moved my grenadier a little too far forward and triggered a Muton and two Vipers. The sharpshooter has already ended her turn and the ranger (after picking up two laser sights from the downed trooper) wasted a reaction shot with her shotgun than didn't connect. The grenadier still has a shot, and both specialist have yet to move. Time to formulate a plan!

The grenadier (Squaddie Dunn) has lousy hit percentages with her machine gun, but the Muton and one Viper are close enough that Dunn's last grenade can connect with them both. So that's her move. "Black Widow" Yuan can't see anyone yet, so her next move is to advance to cover (step one) and then see what she can hit... and now she has an 80% chance to hit a flanked and *now wounded* Muton, so that's her move... BUT SHE MISSES! The last trooper is my hacker specialist (who I've nicknamed Hacker because I'm super original)... he's got equally crappy hit percentages where he is (and no special gear), but I'm going to try moving him to flank that Muton and try to finish what Black Widow started. He moves forward... and reveals an automated turret! He's also in prime position to be flanked next turn, can't take out everyone, and has no support in the form of anybody with reaction shots... I think I'll have him fall back to a better defensive position and we'll see what next turn brings.


That could've gone better. The Muton advanced, and I did not take into account the greater blast radius of alien grenades... he lobs one cleanly that not only nearly kills Dunn, but damages Hacker and destroys his cover. Viper number one tries a tongue grab against Piotrowski (my low-level ranger) and when that failed, spits venom at her (she's now poisoned). Viper number two moves to a better position and scores a critical hit against Hacker. Miraculously, everyone is still alive and no one has panicked. Time for some payback! Tombstone, my sharpshooter, has good percentages to hit both Vipers, so I'm going to focus on the one Dunn wounded with her grenade and hopefully score a kill. Piotrowski can try to flank the second viper, and maybe a close-quarters hit with the shotgun will take it down too. That leaves Dunn and Hacker (with one and two health, respectively) to deal with the Muton, and Yuan in reserve to either send a heal out or try to finish what the wounded troops started...

Dangit! While both Tombstone and Piotrowski connected, both Vipers are still up... I'm falling back Hacker and Dunn to better positions... Dunn still has lousy shot chances, so she's going on overwatch. I'm going to use Hacker's Combat Protocol ability to deal two damage to one Viper, guaranteeing a kill, then move Yuan to a better position to take out Viper number two. Success! That just leaves that damned Muton.


The Muton moved forward, but Dunn's reaction shot went way wide. He took out Hacker. Blast it! Okay, don't lose your head... one wounded Muton to go. I think now may be the time to deploy my Mimic Beacon... distract the Muton, heal Dunn, and redeploy the rest of the squad to take this jerk out. Mimic Beacon did it's job, but the ranger (who was poisoned) took another point of damage and went into a panic. The Muton moved forward to attack the beacon and triggered all kinds of overwatch fire... none of which connected. It was finally Tombstone that took him out. I'm spending the next two rounds reloading and calming everyone down. I know I have at least one turret to take out, but are there more aliens crawling around? Slow and steady. Also: Black Widow is out of heals. Man, things started out so well...


After careful, slow progress... Dunn was taken out by the turret. Which I managed to kill. But the mission didn't end, so there's still more aliens afoot. Great. Creeping forward, I find the (hopefully) last squad: another Muton, another Shieldbearer, and *pinches bridge of nose* a Lancer. Reaction fire connected and badly wounded the Muton, but they clipped the Ranger the Shieldbearer was able to trigger his ability, adding 3 hp to everyone left on the field. I'm going to use my last piece of kit - a flash-bang grenade - and try to position myself better.

After a little bit of a skirmish (where I held my breath as the Lancer sprinted in and tagged Yuan with the stun baton... no kill though!), I manage to mop everyone up. Two dead, two wounded. I hope it was worth it...
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
Tombstone's promotion uncovered the Covering Fire hidden ability... I think I'll re-tool her skill progression in the Advance Warfare Center to switch Return Fire with Long Watch to better capitalize on this development... I also got 150 supplies, but I need to spend some of that on soldiers, and the roster is looking pretty slim right now.

I spent some more money to construct the Shadow Chamber, hired three more soldier, and got an engineer from a map-scan mission. Another Dark Event came up which cut my income for the next month in half (shaking my head right now), and JUST as I'm about to get those meagre funds, another mission popped up... success means more Intel resource and a free Ranger... it's bad karma to pass up on a mission, so off I go. I have just enough money to either upgrade my Specialist drones (the Gremlins) or get the tier-two pistols... I decided on the Gremlin, as I'll be sending two Specialists on the next mission, and every little bit helps. I'm going to send Lights Out as my anchor for the next mission, as most of my mid-level troops were either killed or wounded last mission.

The Daughter Unit just woke up, so I'll update when I can.
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
Right, the wife is home and I was able to sweet-talk myself into some more XCOM time... I'm ready for the Rescue (the) Ranger mission. As I said before, I'm building this team around Lights Out, armed with the extra-capacity sniper rifle. With his "Kill Zone" ability, I don't want him to run out of bullets before he runs out of targets. I've also included Big Time, my senior Grenadier. He's got Holo-Targeting, which gives everyone in the squad a bonus, as well as the extra perk "Death From Above". That one means if he kills someone at a lower elevation, he gets a free action. I think this can chain as well, meaning he can keep going and going. Note to self: once the mission starts, Big Time should go for high ground too, like the sniper.

The rest of the squad are pretty green: a corporal Specialist (Medic build) and two squaddies: a Ranger and a second Specialist (that's why I opted to upgrade the Gremlins before this mission). Everyone is geared up and ready to rock, so let's get this party started!


I've got 12 rounds to rescue the VIP and bug out at a pre-determined location. The Skyranger dropped the squad in the middle of a parking lot, with no immediate high ground available. I must remember: every time I've played these "fixed bug out location" missions, there's always a reserve squad parked near the dust-off site, so I won't be surprised this time. In the meantime, I'll deploy my Battle Scanner and see what's in between me and the objective.

Spotted: one Viper and one Lancer (as well as a smattering of civilians which can spot me just as well as the aliens)... I'm going to bet there's a third target just outside of my view (again, game experience tells me there's hardly ever "just two" in a patrol). I'll try to carefully deploy so we can smoke these guys quickly. Too soon to bust out my flash-bang? Maybe not... but I won't be ambushing this patrol right now, so let's just see what I can see.


Well, this game loves to make me a liar... there are only two aliens in this patrol. I won't waste the flash-bang, but now I only have 11 rounds to get the VIP and get out. I make quick work of the two, but I'm a little more spread out than I'd like and now only have 10 rounds. A trick of the light / residual benefits meant that I saw what looked like an ADVENT trooper and a Lancer on the rooftop where the VIP was being held. I decided to double-more the junior special over, but did not count on THE ENTIRE SECOND LEVELS BEING WINDOWED!!! So they see my little specialist, who is out of moves. Oh, and there's a MEC there too. The good news is that I've got the rest of the squad to move and shoot still. I may deploy my Mimic Beacon now to save the poor specialist, but I need to think before I move this time.


I deployed the Mimic Beacon, and once again that little device has saved the day... that, and a HUGE bit of luck: my Medic had a clean shot at the MEC and hit! AND, because I'd equipped his rifle with a Repeater, there was a 5% chance of an instant kill... WHICH I GOT! So the MEC is down, the exposed Specialist was ignored, and the enemy trooper and Lancer are in great spots for me to finish them off. Nine rounds to go (and here I'll remind myself again: there's probably another squad between the VIP (whom I haven't even rescued yet) and the evacuation point). First order of business: take out these two enemies, then get that VIP secure!

I took out the two enemies easily, but I'm really getting worried about that turn counter (8 rounds before mission fail), so I'm taking a risk by doing a blind sprint towards the VIP. It's a gamble, for sure, but its better than a mission fail... Aaaand I rushed the junior specialist towards the VIP only trigger two Vipers and a Muton. The Muton waltzes up and melee-kills the Specialist. One Viper tongue-grabs my Ranger, the second spits venom at the sniper. Ugh, things go wrong so quickly in this game!

Anyway, I was able to tag the first Viper with a rifle shot, releasing the Ranger who then finishes him off with the sword. The rest of the team plays catch-up, but then the remaining Viper just walks over to the ranger and he's bound again (one health remaining now). The Muton, whom I lost sight of, comes over and attempts another smash, this time on my (poisoned) sniper, but misses.

And now the wife is calling time-out, so I'll have to figure my way out of this problem another time (hopefully later tonight).
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
Well, that was a pickle...

The first thing I did was try to move my grenadier to get an angle on the Muton, who was standing right next to the sniper (fun fact: when you're adjacent to the target, the sniper rifle isn't super-effective... yaaaaaaaay). The only problem was that all the "good spots" were also within the poison gas cloud the Viper left. I find a space that I thought was suitable, but lo and behold, I can't even see the Muton. Idea! I still have a grenade left, so I "precision bomb" it... basically, make sure I get the Muton but not the sniper RIGHT NEXT TO HIM... bit of a broken game mechanic, but I'll take what I can get at this point.

So BOOM goes the Muton, except it's still early and my grenades are way under-powered... but not so much that I don't blow the floor out from under the alien! Falling damage! HA! Still not dead though... but close enough that I can use Lights Out's (thinking I'll rename him... "Lucky" comes to mind... DONE!) pistol to 100% finish the job. Next order of business is my Ranger being slowly squeezed to death by the Viper... luckily, my remaining Specialist has a great angle. She shoots, but no kill... who cares, though? The Ranger is freed from being bound and lets loose with his shotgun point blank. The field is clear! But now I have 5 rounds to rescue the VIP and evac the survivors...

I rush over to unlock the VIP's cell, and wouldn't you know it? Reinforcements are called in close to the bug out site. Luckily I had Big Money and my Ranger, Squaddie Nabil, deployed close-ish with overwatch (and I even had a chance to heal-up the squad)... an officer, a Lancer and a MEC land, with the officer buying the farm from reaction fire. My round again (3 to go before mission failure) and I peg the Lancer with a lucky shot... almost finish the MEC too, but his armour is too tough. He sends out a volley of grenade fire, wounding Nabil and Big Money, but no casualties.

I'm able to finish off the MEC, then it's a mad dash to the evac point. All surviving operatives make it, including the VIP.

If I still smoked, I'd be lighting up a victory dance right now.
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
With that last mission success, I am FLUSH with Intel points, so after I get my paltry monthly supplies, I zoom over to the Black Market and spend, spend, spend. I've got a good chunk of supplies, and still a *pretty* good amount of intel... but I've been neglecting my "Avatar Project" counter, the one where the game ends if it fills up. So, I need to focus on some missions that will bring that counter down. To do THAT I need to expand my resistance network, and to do that I need to upgrade my comms, and to do THAT I need more power... it's always something, no?

I've decided to start by upgrading my Workshop... if you saw my ship layout, you'd understand why this makes sense, but the short version is I'll get two free engineers. Next I'm spending a little money to bring my squad size up to six troops. With my last scraps of cash, I've decided to upgrade my sniper rifle to the tier-two Gauss Rifle. Sharpshooters play too big a role in my overall strategy, so it's a good buy. Now I just need to figure out how to get to one of those alien research facilities and blow it away to knock down my doomsday counter.

Oh, so now I'm broke again...
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.
I'm almost able to reach the alien facility in East Asia, and a Guerrilla Op becomes available... no brainer, I'm taking the option that yields the supply bonus. I'm two days away from finishing the Shadow Chamber, so I still don't know what I'm up against, but at least now I've got a full six soldiers to field...

WHOA! STOP THE PRESSES! The Ranger that I saved on the last mission? None other than Squaddie Marshall, the dude I left behind way at the beginning of this adventure! How cool is that? Welcome back, buddy! Sorry about that whole "leaving you behind to get probed by aliens" thing! No big, right? Want a cushion? I kid, I kid... still, it warms my heart to know I was able to rescue him... sure, at the cost of another soldier's life, but hey, them's the breaks!

Man, I was NOT expecting that! Again, I would not have learned of this element of the game were I playing by my old "never fail, there's always a save point to reload" style... I even got the weapon he had equipped back in my inventory! Too bad I'm just realising now: the dead soldier from the last mission had the Battle Scanner, which I would've prioritised to rebuild had I know it was gone. Oh, well... anyway, I've got a mixed squad, some veterans, some new guys (including Marshall, our prodigal son). Let's see what we can do...


I'll keep this short: two snipers are really useful. Flawless victory.
They say Hitler loved dogs; that doesn't mean I want to travel back in time and discuss the merits of the Border Collie with the guy. He's still an a-hole.

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