Satellite Rush (EU2012)
This is a build order and strategy for a Satellite Rush, tested on Classic difficulty. The aim of this build order is to launch 4 satellites in the first month (up to total of 5), 3 satellites in the second month (up to total of 8), and 4 satellites in the third month (up to total of 12). By the third month, you will have all continents covered except Europe or Asia, which will give you enough money to never more care about it, and still allow abductions to happen.
In order to succeed, it is crucial to not only consider the current month, but also the next one. Preparations for the month's facility construction must sometimes happen in the previous month. If you simply try to build 3/4 satellites and an uplink in the first month, you will most likely not be able to complete your next Satellite Uplink in the second month.
This strategy is not 100% reliable, which means, sometimes (rarely, but surely) you will not have enough loot to sell to build Satellites, Satellite Uplink or following facilities in the first month. Game can screw you up. Also, sometimes abduction mission will pop too late to build your first Workshop in time. However, reloading in month 1 is not a big loss, and most of the times, you will be fine, and question will be, how many Alloys or Fragments you have to sell.
By going this route, you will only have Alien Containment up by 09 May (third month), and Officer Training School by 24 of April (second month), and will not have Foundry until later in the third month, or even later. You wont be building any Labs at all until month four.You will also not be getting any Medikits/S.C.O.P.E/Vests or extra recruits (usually taken for bigger HP) in the first month and be limited on those in the second month. Also, you will have to sell most of the loot you get from missions. When selling corpses and UFO parts is not enough, you will have to sell Elerium, Alloys and Fragments. Sell Elerium first as it will be only required later in the game. When choosing to sell between Alloys and Fragments, pick you poison. Fragments are only required for research, but Alloys will be the limiting factor in getting out Carapace Armor and Laser weaponry. However, you will be bottle-necked by fragments for the rest of the game, so selling them early will hurt you later. General advice is to see how many fragments you need to finish crucial research topics (Beams/Precision Lasers and Carapace Armor, for example) and sell the rest, and only then start selling alloys, but your mileage may vary.
The absolute bottleneck of this strategy will happen in the first month, and that's why going with North America seems the best choice - you get most starting funds (§300). Another serious bottleneck is the second month, where you need to raise at least 1 extra engineer by day 6 (in order to have at least 15 required to build a second workshop). That is your two main concerns.
In the build order base tiles will be referenced using (1,4) notation, where 1 is row and 4 is column (1,4 here refers to the first Access Lift, while 1,3 would refer your first Satellite Uplink). To better understand the timings keep in mind that March and May have 31 days, April has 30. Building Power Generator, Access Lift and Digging takes 5 days, Workshop takes 10 days and Satellite Uplink takes 14 days. Satellite production takes 20 days.
Lucky Man's Build Order
If you don't hesitate to reload a few times on your first mission, this build order is much easier than alternatives, but requires either 1,5 or 1,6 (first or second to the right of the access lift) to be already excavated at the game start (which you will only know of after you complete your first tactical mission). Build order then goes like this:
Note: With Slingshot and Enemy Within DLC, it is possible to dramatically accelerate the build order below. In addition, ignoring the first small UFO that appears, brings out a Medium Scout. This can still be shot down with just one interceptor (very very unlucky, two), giving much more loot to sell. The build order generally stays the same, with more soldiers hired or a Laboratory/Alien Containment/Officer Training School thrown in, in the first month.
- 02.03 Dig 1,5/6 (one that is not excavated)
- 07.03 Workshop 1,6
- 11.03 *** Satellite x4 (order them 1 by 1, not in bulk)
- 17.03 Satellite Uplink 1,2
- 27.03 Power Generator 1,5
- 31.03 *** Launch Satellites (in the evening)
- 01.04 *** Order Interceptors (2 is enough)
- 01.04 Access Lift 2,4
- 01.04 Dig 1,7
- 06.04 Dig 2,5
- 06.04 Workshop 1,7
- 10.04 *** Satellite x3
- 11.04 Power Generator 2,5
- 11.04 Dig 2,3
- 16.04 Satellite Uplink 2,3
- 16.04 Officer Training School 1,1
- 22.04 Dig 2,6
- 22.04 Dig 2,2
- 27.04 Power Generator 2,6
- 27.04 Dig 2,1
- 31.04 *** Launch Satellites
- 01.05 *** Order Interceptors
- 02.05 Access Lift 3,4
- 02.05 Dig 2,7
- 02.05 Alien Containment 2,1
- 07.05 Dig 3,5
- 07.05 Workshop 2,7
- 11.05 *** Satellite x4
- 12.05 Power Generator 3,5
- 17.05 Satellite Uplink 2,2
Total money you will need in the first month is:
- §130 for Workshop
- §308 for Satellites
- §150 for Uplink
- §60 for Power Generator
Thus, you will have to raise §138 by day 11, and another §150 by day 17, and then another §60 by day 27. Crucial here will be getting the sum of money for the Uplink. This game is RNG based and sometimes it will surely screw you up by leaving you §1 or 2 off the sum. Then, you will have to restart, or cancel one of the satellites. However, most of the time, you'll be fine. If you're playing on Impossible, this is actually less of a problem, because more enemies means more loot to sell. Getting money for Power Generator is not a problem. Getting money for Satellites depends on having UFO show up before day 11. If it doesn't, you will only have enough money for 3. If it does, you will have enough money for 4. Generally, 4v3 is not that big deal, but still, you may want to fast-forward the time right after you finish your first tactical mission and see whether you will get your UFO in time, in order to save yourself time spent on doing the abduction mission, in case you absolutely want 4 satellites in the first month.
The fact that you want to get engineers on your first abduction goes without saying, since its obvious. But before the 06 day of the second month, you'll have to get an extra engineer on top of that. You can get it either by covering a continent that provides engineers for covering its countries, by getting them randomly as a reward from council mission, or from second abduction mission in the first month, or, if you get lucky with timings, for first abduction mission in the second month (however, this cannot be relied on, since it can as well happen after 06th - if you want to save-scum, save before council report, that's when time at which missions happen in the next month is determined).
Also, you should from the start consider which continent you will be covering first, and leave that continent unattended in the first two abductions. You only got three reasonable choices, that's Africa, Asia or Europe. Europe is the best money-wise (considering their bonus, which will save you additional §78 on workshops in the 2nd month), but will not give you engineers you need. Africa is better than Asia, since you get to cap another country (preferably Russia or some $ 100 one). However, its really your choice (and sometimes depends on how rewards for 1 and 2 abduction missions roll out).
When picking rewards for second abduction in the first month, if you're going to be covering Europe, consider getting engineers. If you don't get'em here, you're viable to screw-up by RNG who wont give you them as council mission reward and will place first abduction in the next month on day 7. Else - get money. You'll need all money you can get in the second month.
In the second month, it becomes a little easier. Still calculate amount of money you will need on crucial facilities before spending on non-important ones, or on squad upgrades like S.C.O.P.E.s and Medikits. You want to get a second continent covered here, and that is Africa if you didn't get it already, or the continent you placed your spare satellite on if you did get it. By day 7 of month 3, you will need a total of 6 extra engineers from external sources, in addition to 4 you got from your first abduction mission. Since you cannot get less than 3 from an event, and get 4 from Abduction mission, and you will be getting engineers from countries you cover, usually you'll be fine. However, still pay attention to this, since you'll need 25 total engineers to start building third workshop in month 3.
In the third month you are way less stressed, you can now afford juicy stuff like OTS upgrades and some nice gear. Watch out for large ship that comes early this month - you absolutely have to have one Laser Cannon and one Phoenix Cannon Interceptor on each continent for that one (if you don't want to save-load).
Recommended research path to take is Fragments - Materials - Carapace Armors - Beam Weapons - Precision Lasers - Experimental Warfare - Heavy Lasers - stuff to capture a live alien
Unlucky Man's Build Order
What if you didn't get lucky with already excavated tiles and don't want to restart? In this case, instead of having Workshops on 1,6-7 and 2,7 you'll have to place them on 1,5 and 2,5-6, and Power Generators vice-versa. Problem is that Workshop takes 10 days to build, unlike 5 days to build a generator. Therefore, you will have to start excavating space for your second workshop on 01.04, and to do that you have to build your Access Lift on 27.03 and your Power Generator on 22.03. That means you'll have to get money for your Power Generator earlier, and you'll have to find additional $ 50 in the first month. Usually that will not be a problem (if you already got thus far, meaning you passed the Uplink bottleneck) but you will have to sell nearly everything, all your Alloys and Fragments, severely crippling your research and ability to field Carapace armor and Lasers by the time first terror mission happens in the second month.
If you don't want to suffer through that, you can build your second Workshop on 1,1 - this will take away your adjacency bonuses, but they aren't that great anyway (7% rebate that you only start to get in the end of the second month, and that's like several $ per completed facility, by the time it ramps up its already irrelevant). Therefore, you build first Workshop on 1,5 and generators on 1,6-7 and second workshop on 1,1 and your Officer Training School goes on 2,5. At this point, you'd better substitute your third or fourth generator with a Thermal one, so that you can place your third workshop on 2,6-7, but if you get even more unlucky, and have no available Steams, you will have to build third and fourth generators on 2,6-7 thus making you build your third workshop one level deeper, on 3,5 (which, again, will require you to build access lift one month earlier) or on 1,2 (will delay Alien Containment).
1st month on Impossible: Build Order
Build-order for 1st month (march) on Impossible difficulty - "Fast Satellite Uplink". No research/hire soldiers/production included.
- 1d - excavate (§10, 5d, space for Workshop);
- 4-7d - Abduction Site (+4 engineer, for Workshop);
- 7d - Workshop (§130, 10d, +5 engineers for Satellite Uplink), excavate (§10, 5d, space for Power Generator) ;
- 7d-10d - UFO (small scout, 1 interceptor needed), UFO Crash Site (sell as much as possible); Note that if you let this go, you get a Medium Scout with more loot(though this may be almost impossible to get this in this time-frame without a lot save scumming).
- 11d - 3x-4x satellites (§77 each with 9 engineers; 20d) not in pack (1 by 1),
- 12d - Power Generator (§60, 5d, power for Satellite Uplink);
- 17d - Satellite Uplink (§150, 14d);
- 32d - Council Report
2nd Abduction Site and Council Mission will be this month, but it usually goes after 17d.