It is not accidental that most reports of alien abduction come from remote rural areas. Most of the missions X-Com embarks on take place on small, meticulously-tended farms. It is not yet known why aliens prefer to haunt farmland, or why they shun large-scale agribusiness plantations. From a Commander's geoscape view, farmland looks smooth and green.
In any case, farmland is also some of the most treacherous terrain a commander will encounter. The orchards, barns, farmhouses and hedges provide aliens with a wealth of cover and endless opportunities for ambush. Farmhouses can be especially treacherous, with plenty of small alcoves to pop out from. One should watch the roofs of all buildings for alien sharpshooters. However, there are ways to deal with these hazards. Due to the wonders of modern agricultural insurance, a Commander can level an entire farm to smoking ash and not gain a single black mark on his after-action report.
While there are few hills in such areas, wheat fields, vegetable patches and tall grass slow down X-com movement over the level ground. Flying units can be useful to spy into the upper stories of buildings, as well as survey dense orchards from above.
- Hay and straw provide useful fuel for incendiary attacks.
- Hedges and fencerows may divide the farm up in inconvenient ways. When cutting new paths, remember that it's easier to shoot up a solid hedge than it is to get a direct hit on a spindly wooden fence. Fences are far easier to destroy with a near-parallel shot from against the fence compared to a shot from in front.
- Farmhouses and barn clusters both have hinged doors. Listen for the opening and closing of these doors during the alien's turn; this may give you a hint of their location. If you find any open doors in areas that you've not been to, approach them with the utmost caution until the you've found the creature that opened the door.
- When possible, go wide around clusters of structures rather than between them. The opportunities for ambush on both sides create too many hazards. This is especially the case when one of the structures is a landed UFO.
- If you are ever so inclined to make use of High Explosive packs, they can quickly flatten any dubious looking structures that may be housing snipers with a well-placed satchel, or two. If you have a soldier with a fairly strong arm, you can even have a High Explosive thrown into any hedge-enclosed area and have the entire sector wiped in one fell swoop. This approach to clearing the landscape lacks finesse and is very messy, but it is very effective.