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Groo Tries To Grow As A Gamer
Final mission of the night (thankfully I've got tomorrow off work, so the late night won't hurt TOO much), and I'm going out with a bang: Alien Facility assault mission. Very Difficult. Eleven enemies. The plus side? It won't be timed, so I'll try my best to slow everything down and not spawn too many opponents (learn the lessons of past mistakes!)

I've rebuilt my missing Battle Scanner, and it turned out I also got back the flash-bang grenade Marshall was holding when he got left behind (he actually got promoted after the last mission too!). I'm breaking out all the senior staff on this one, with one exception: a low-level Specialist. I really need to level these guys up with the Battle Hacker development tree, but they have this nasty habit of dying. If this one bites it this mission, I'm seriously considering re-tooling my second medic in the Advanced Warfare facility. I've also bought the upgrades for the shotgun and pistol - the Grenadier's machine gun is the last weapon to upgrade. Maybe next month? My priorities for any incoming cash are to upgrade my power room and then resistance comm room... both have reached their upper service limit, and I need them functioning to hit the next Alien Facility / advance the plot. I'd still really like to get the Psionic lab up and running too, but one thing at a time.


It got late, so I didn't do my usual play-by-play, but it was another flawless victory. Without the timer forcing my hand, I was able to slowly and methodically trigger each enemy patrol at my own pace, making sure everyone had a fully loaded weapon and good support from the whole squad. I was even able to Skulljack an Officer, spawning the Codex alien... colossal pain in the rear, that one... can teleport around the battlefield, clones itself when wounded (so you have TWO of them running around), and if given the chance has this area-affect ability to jam weapons.

But, with careful planning and using everyone's abilities and gear (I think I used the "Suppression" ability from the Grenadier for the first time in all my play-throughs), I got a major win.

Still strapped for cash, I was picking up little scanning missions from the world map when I got an alien retaliation (aka terror mission)... I almost started that one (riding high off my flawless win), but I remembered the first rule of Alien Fight Club: don't start a battle tired. And I am.

So good night all!
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.
Back again for day two of "Groo's Big Damn XCOM Blitz"!

I've set up a squad to send to the Alien Retaliation mission... I'm going with two snipers again, anchoring the team with Lt Tombstone (leaving the re-christened Major Lucky at home this time) and filling the rest of the slots with Sergeants, Corporals and one Squaddie. A great tip I read online pointed out that one shouldn't base your entire game on just a handful of veterans. It doesn't take much for a mission to turn sour, and recovering from the loss of a ranked officer without any viable back-ups could take weeks. Anyway, all the gear is equipped and the team is ready to go. I'm field-testing a newly-minted Incendiary Grenade that I made in the Proving Ground facility, so I'll see how that plays out. One final overview of the troops: Tombstone has the "Covering Fire" perk, making her especially deadly on overwatch. Corporal Nabil (my Ranger) is Shaken, but also has the "Serial" perk - for every kill she makes with her shotgun, she gets a free action... That information makes we want to go back and re-tool weapon perks (I have the ability to re-use weapon add-ons from a map bonus I got this game) to give her an extended magazine. That's it for soldier specials, so off to save the camp!

I did just remember: these are the kind of missions where Faceless aliens show up, so I'll make sure to deploy my Battle Scanner as usual. Also, with my Shadow Chamber built, I know there are eleven aliens on this mission, mostly "organics" with one Unknown type I haven't faced yet.

Right! To the mission!


Off the bat, I deployed on the high ground. Nice! I spread the troops out and spotted an enemy MEC and Shield Bearer right away... clipped them both, but no kills. The turn ends, and I "see" a Muton taking out a civilian. Boo! I advance the Grenadier to the edge of the cliff I started on, and trigger another squad of three aliens: a second Shield Bearer, a second MEC, and a Berserker... I'm going to focus all fire on that Berserker because they can chew through my soldier really quickly.


It took both snipers and one of the specialists connecting, but the Berserker fell. Next, I used the Incendiary Grenade on the wounded Shield Bearer and a regular Trooper. They're not dead, but they're burning (which might mean they die at the beginning of their turn). A shotgun blast to the wounded MEC takes him down to one health... I've got one specialist left to move... Her shot percentage against the second Shieldbearer is poor, so I decide to set her to overwatch instead, ending my turn.

The first Shieldbearer succumbs to the fire damage, but the Trooper is still alive. He flanks my Ranger and scores a hit. The injured MEC moves and also takes a shot at the Ranger, but misses. The second Shieldbearer falls back, triggering the overwatch shot, but I miss by a mile. My turn again...

The first thing I do is send my medic to heal the Ranger, then I have my a-ha! moment... I activate the Serial ability on the Ranger and move in fairly close to the Trooper and MEC who shot her. The MEC is badly damaged, so I shoot at it first. CONNECT AND KILL! *free action* I turn my attention to the wounded trooper... CONNECT AND KILL! *free action* Well, I've got line-of-sight on the last Shieldbearer... lousy percentages, but it's still the beginning of my turn, so I chance it and CONNECT AND KILL! Man, that's one powerful ability!

I deploy a Battle Scanner to make sure I won't get surprised by a Faceless, then spend the rest of my turn rescuing civilians. Another turn, another friendly killed by the Muton... I spot a clutch of four civilians and deploy my second Battle Scanner - spotting the hidden Faceless! If I can take it out and rescue those civilians, the "urgent" element of the mission will be satisfied, and I can return to my slower pace where I've had so much success lately.

I take out the Faceless and advance my right flank to save those civilians. My left flank is approaching the roaming "kill squad", but unfortunately I don't find them until my last move (meaning I can't respond to them this turn). It's the bothersome Muton accompanied by two Sectoids. The final action I've got is my Grenadier, who can either shoot (poor percentages), launch a grenade, or go on overwatch. I'm leaning towards the grenade option: the machine gun tech I have won't drop any of my targets, and the Sectoids could very well pull a mind-control trick which would eliminate the reaction fire. Yes, grenade is the way to go.

... or we could go with the fourth option: having a "mis-click" going from this window back to the game, and firing the grenade harmlessly into empty space. Rats. The Muton moves forward and connects a long shot to an exposed sniper (wounded but still shooting), and the Sectoids both "re-animate" dead aliens. The little one is starting to stir, so I'll check back later.
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.

Because I had good squad deployment for mutual support, I quickly take out the Muton and two Sectoids (the "zombies" fall over once their Sectoid masters die). I move my right flank over and save enough civilians to satisfy that mission component... and, again, I can now slow my pace down to control the fight (sure, I might lose more civilians, but I'm gaming the system here, so shut up!)

As if karma wanted to immediately punish me for my selfish decision, a second Beserker, MEC, and Lancer come into view from the edge of the map. I think these are the last of them, but I've once again spread myself out, and any of these enemies can mean trouble.

I was able to chip away at the Berserker and the MEC, but the blasted Lancer danced his way through withering reaction fire to nail Nabil (the Ranger with the awesome Serial ability) and take her out.

It was still a good win, but that loss stings a little.
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.
Month end, and I got a little carried away with my spending.

I upgraded the machine gun and the grenade launcher, bought another mimic beacon, recruited another soldier and purchased two squad upgrades in the Guerrilla Tactics School. I upgraded my power generator, but neglected to save enough during my rabid spending spree to make sure I could upgrade my resistance comms as well. Foolish, foolish Groo. Without that second room upgrade, the world map is essentially frozen - I cannot contact new regions to advance to game or reach Alien Facility missions.

Way to keep my eye on the prize! D'oh!

Luckily (famous last words?), a supply raid mission popped up, so that's where I'm heading now. 11 aliens present, with another Unknown type, but the listed aliens are non-mechanical. This is important because once the Sectopod's and other advanced robotics start spawning, it's imperative to equip an EMP grenade or something similar to counter them. In the meantime, I will continue to try and level up the Specialist I've got travelling down the Hacker tree. I'm thinking I'm going to continue doubling-up on my Sharpshooters: they're just too useful to my style of game-play. And again, I'll try to load up on as many lower-ranked soldiers as I can. They need to cut their teeth sometime, and these missions don't seem as important as the Alien Facility raids.

Okay, moving on to squad selection.

Once more, Tombstone the sharpshooter is my foundation, with the second sniper Corporal O'Sullivan backing her up. Black Widow is tapped for medical support; "Shifter" Price is my lower-ranked medic, but he's in recovery from the last battle for two more days. My last 'named' soldier is Sergeant "Zero" Cole, the Canadian Specialist that I'm building up as my primary hacker. I specifically selected her - a Canadian - because this class always found new and inventive ways to end up dead, so maybe by slapping a Maple Leaf on her back, I might be more inclined to keep her alive. We'll see. Rounding out the bottom of the squad is Scott, a novice Grenadier (no missions, no kills), and our old friend Corporal Marshall the Ranger (if he makes Sergeant and earns a nickname, I might edit it to 'Prodigal', depending on what the game generates for me). I found it helpful to quickly scan each soldier for bonus abilities, like last battle, so I'll do that now... nothing beyond Tombstone's superior overwatch abilities, although it's worth noting that Marshall has the stealth build started for the Ranger. Depending on time constraints for this upcoming mission, it might we worth trying to position my snipers well and have Marshall sight the bad guys for them. I've read about that tactic, but never really used it effectively.

Equipment selection will be focused on "organic damage", so I'll be loading up with the Incendiary Grenade, Flash-bangs, and (something new!) Dragon Ammo that came in from the Proving Ground. I might skip the Battle Scanner, or I might not, depending on how quickly my gear slots fill up... I'm two days away from researching mid-level armour and an extra gear slot, but then I still have to pay for it *shakes fist back in time*. The Mimic Beacon will always find a home in my squad though. I just love that little device! In fact, I think I'll bring two.

Ready to go now.


Out of the gate, no high ground but I'm surrounded by five hostiles in two groups: two officers, two troopers and a lancer. That lancer will be the focus of my wrath. I also really want to keep Marshall concealed during this opening gambit to attempt the sneaky-sneaky sniper bash I had planned, but I don't want to be so married to that idea that I sacrifice mission effectiveness. My first order of business is to deploy the troops and drop an incendiary grenade on the lancer. Man, do I loathe lancers.

The mission is NOT timed though, so slow and steady.

MAJOR GLITCH!!! After firing my incendiary grenade, the big rock that the Grenadier and the Medic were using for full cover DISAPPEARED! Left out in the open, they were both cut down by critical shots! ARG! The lancer was wounded but is still up, and Marshall is still undetected, but I have no medic or heavy weapon support for this mission. That, my friends, is what you'd call an f-in bummer. I take out the lancer, but my return fire against the surviving trooper and officer is not effective. I've re-positioned the team and I think now would be the time to use the first Mimic Beacon... I'm glad I packed two!

There was a bit of a firefight, but I take out the two aliens. I regroup and reload, but before I can consolidate the squad I see two Vipers and and Archon (first appearance), and they spot me! Marshall is still hidden, so this might be the time for him to make his presence known.


This is another failed mission. I deployed my second Mimic Beacon, but that only triggered the last enemy squad: a second Archon and two more troopers. Marshall breaks cover, taking out a Viper, but not before it spits venom on my snipers, sending one into a panic. The second Viper grabs the good sniper, and all the badness is converging on my position. I've got to bug out... one panicked sniper, one captured sniper, the rest of the squad dead... it looks like the only one I can get out clean is the Canadian specialist. I hate losing, but that's hubris for you.


Tombstone. Black Widow. Marshall. All dead. What a disaster. No one survived for future rescue. Not to mention all that wonderful gear.

Just... ugh... terrible.
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 am still fuming over that last fiasco... like seriously mad at myself for screwing up what on paper should've been a cakewalk... a full quarter of my roster (with some kick-ass veterans), wiped out in like six turns... what gets me most is I don't know why it all went wrong... the medic and the grenadier WERE BEHIND COVER! UGH! That should NOT have happened. Yeah, I made it worse with bad deployment... I was in such a damn hurry to get my snipers on top of this cottage-like building for the high ground that I didn't keep my survivors together, and that screw-up with the second Mimic Beacon was just inexcusable.

Mutter mutter... glitch in the matrix... THEY WERE BEHIND COVER!!!

I may need a couple of days to mentally regroup before trying to save the world 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.
(03-05-2018, 04:34 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: 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).

Yeah, I forgot about that and had some loot time-out. Won't happen again.

(03-05-2018, 04:34 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: 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.

Good idea. I forgot that as well. 11 months without playing had me forget a lot.

(03-05-2018, 04:34 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: 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!

That's awesome!

(03-06-2018, 10:20 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: ("The power to stomp the Muton was inside you all along, Groo!")

I love it. Absolutely.

(03-05-2018, 04:34 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: the cat's nails won't clip themselves

You are the second person lately to mention they do this. I had not heard about this chore before. Prior to the last two cats, all my cats have been outdoor/indoor. I have never trimmed a cat's nails. The current cat just sheds layers of them as needed. You do occasionally find them in the carpet.

(03-05-2018, 04:34 PM)Groo The Wanderer Wrote: 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?

All good questions to ask. One never wants to grow too.... What's the word? Often good to re-evaluate but not so much it weighs on you.
"Save inches for the bathroom; we're using feet here." ~ Rob Kuntz (2014)

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

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I was so frustrated with my catastrophic mission failure that I started a new game just to make myself feel better... all it did was reinforce bad habits of rushing through the missions with multiple re-loads... a relapse of the nth degree! So I'm going to try and man-up and go back to the Ironman game... why I am so averse to losing a simple video game? Like, seriously... I don't think it's healthy... anyway, I'm going to try and tag-in my wife to look after the furniture-climbing monkey for a little bit and run another mission. Wish me luck!
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.
Okay... I left the Ironman game in a bit of a shambles... off the bat: 40 Intel and 33 Supplies. That and a quarter can get me a hot cup of squat.

11 soldiers remain after the last dust-up. It's actually a pretty good mix, but I can't afford to lose a single troop (can't afford recruits), and I still lack Psionicists... they can be a real game-changer at higher levels, but the Psi Lab isn't even built yet. For gear: I've got two Battle Scanners, one Flashbang Grenade, and one Mimic Beacon. No Medikit and no money to build one. Also at my disposal: a Laser Sight, a Skulljack, Talon Rounds (bigger crits when they connect), and two "named" weapons - Thumper and Trash. Trash was a tier-one shotgun that for some reason didn't upgrade when I bought the tier-two's. I haven't gotten rid of it yet, and now I'm kind of glad I've got it. I've also JUST finished building a Spider Suit, which helps with Sharpshooter mobility. I've put my Proving Ground to work on an EXO suit next. Let's take a look at the world map...

I still hold all of North America and a Relay tower, giving me the ability to re-use weapon upgrades. I've got a mission to investigate the Black Vial Co-ordinates (advance the plot... expect trouble) and a Guerrilla Mission: I can either get an Engineer, a Scientist, or more Intel. I'm taking the Intel mission because it's apparently the easiest.

Man, do I need a confidence boost.

Okay... squad selection time.

I'm not ready to commit "Lucky" to an operation just yet, so I'm sending the junior Sharpshooter in his place. Since I don't have a Medikit, I'm not risking my only skilled medic. Also, the Shadow Chamber tells we there are no mechanical enemies this mission, so no need to risk my hacker specialist either. Therefore, I'm sending the two Squaddie level Specialist to (hopefully) level up. We need some veterans, though, so I'm having "Big Money", my senior Grenadier, as the ranking officer on this one. That leaves two positions open, and I'm selecting a junior (shaken) Ranger and a more senior Ranger, "Buzzsaw" - she's a stealth specialist, so I may rename her. Something something surprise... I wonder if "Cake Stripper" will fit... It does not. First disappointment of the mission. Hmm... "Noisemaker" fits, so I'm using it.

I spread what little gear I have around the squad, hold my breath, and hit "Launch Mission".

I'm currently "on call" with parenting duty, so I'll check in with the women in my life and see if they need anything.
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.
Timed mission. Why did it have to be a timed mission?

Okay, pretty straight shot to the vehicle with my objective in it. 8 rounds until Marcellus Wallace's suitcase goes "boom". There's a house overlooking the action, so my first plan is to deploy Battle Scanners, then have my Spider-Suited Sharpshooter to zip up top for a better view. First things first: Scanners' out!


I see a turret in between my squad and the objective... I still think I can deploy the sniper on top of the nearby house without being spotted, but I also see an ADVENT tower that I can potentially hack... had to leave my hacker at home, didn't I? Let's see what's there and I'll weigh the risks of a hack. An increased Dodge stat for that soldier only, and only for a limited time? Hard pass on that one... Going to keep moving the squad out... spotted an Archon and a Sectoid. Deploying the sharpshooter last.

Everyone's set for the ambush... I've got three troops on Overwatch, the Grenadier can hit all three targets with a grenade, and two in reserve. Show time!


The ambush ALMOST goes perfectly... a couple of solid hits to the Archon, but he's still up. The turret takes a beating too, but still up. The Sectoid got clipped by the grenade, and that's it. I'm left with a my only Noisemaker to act... I can definitely take out either the Archon OR the turret. I opt for the turret because my sniper is wicket exposed... their turn, and the Archon smokes the newbie Ranger... Noisemaker finishes the Archon in hand-to-hand and scores some sweet loot. Another mis-click when I went back to the game puts a specialist out in the open, but he still has an action point and manages to kill the Sectoid. Now to close the distance with the target van... but first, another Battle Scanner... I've still got at least five more hostiles in the area, and no idea where they are.

Spotted: a second Archon and two Lancers hiding right behind the target van... I may try to sneak in with my last Ranger and tag them with the sniper? That tactic literally blew up in my face last battle, but I'll try to be more careful... Not careful enough! As I inched my Grenadier forward, he got spotted and forced my hand... a little back-and-forth with the ensuing firefight, but I was able to take them out with only Big Money taking damage.

I was able to advance to the van and disarm the bomb, but that aggro'd the last enemy squad: a trooper, an officer, and a lancer. I get a lucky hit from the sniper and take the lancer out right away. Careful application of grenades and my Mimic Beacon make quick work of the officer, and I'm able to neutralise the trooper pretty quickly. Final tally: one dead, one wounded.

Not the best comeback mission, but I'll take it. Because it's Ironman and I have to... hashtag sadface...
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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