Turn-Based Combat (Apocalypse)

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Turn Based Combat (TB)

Turn-Based Comabt

also known as the classic gameplay mode of X-Com: Enemy Unknown and X-Com: Terror From The Deep


Turn-Based Combat (TB) uses the same mechanism as the previous X-COM games, where both sides will play in separate turns. During each turn every unit's actions will be limited to the number of time units it possesses. It also features reaction fire where units may fire in reaction to enemy moves, if they ended their turn with enough time units to fire.

Time Units Use

Turn Based Features

  • In TB you have plenty of time to plan your moves and think about your next strategy. Though this is the same in RT thanks to the pause facility, the action in is not being acted out simultaneously. This can be very beneficial if you have a friend or two over and want to play a hot-seat co-op game.
  • Your side will be moving single or selections of units at any given time while the world around them is at a standstill (mostly - until the enemies use reaction fire). This gives you more freedom to execute maneuvers against specific enemy targets or important structural features rather than have to worry about everything that's happening around you all at once.
  • One good example of this is when you are attempting to stun and capture a difficult enemy like the Megaspawn. Though they aren't impossible to capture in RT with the right strategy, it can be a lot easier to do it when the big wall of missiles and Disruptor beams isn't shooting back at you!
  • This cuts both ways unfortunately, as when the enemy takes its turn, your units will be all but helpless except for their reaction fire. This can spell disaster with an enemy like the Popper if you react when it's too close. Agents with no TUs, low reaction will make ripe pickings for Brainsuckers and poppers, causing the loss rate to increase considerably.
    • Note that in vanilla Apocalypse, TU are limited to 25% at the end of a turn. This makes reserving more TU for reaction fire useless.

Turn Based Combat

  • Grenade settings work differently in TB. Your timer starts to work by turns and also includes the blast on impact command. Like RT, you can still access this immediately with the left-click shortcut for priming instead of right-clicking.
  • Lasting area effect weapons like the stun gas and anti-alien gas require their victims to be moving through the cloud in order for the effects to occur. Standing still will not cause them to be affected. The AI's not that smart, but the player can make use of this to keep their agents in relative safety while surrounded by gas clouds. This does not necessarily apply to fire.

Stun Gas A bug in turn based mode causes stun damage to be calculated from full TUs, rather than the amount of TUs spent in the cloud. This means that agents with full TU bars take little stun damage, but spending their last few TUs will almost immediately knock them out. This effect can be minimized by making a single move action out of the cloud, or maximized by shooting with your last TUs.
Smoke CloudsIn turn-based mode these are your primary defensive weapon. Aliens will stop attacks against targets they can not see, and might resume their patrols or charge in to engage. This makes it very effective at closing distance with aliens, so that rookies can efficiently use full auto weapons. Drop smoke at the end of your turn to prevent return fire as your agents move forward.


In Turn Based, each attack is an action requiring TUs and Psi Energy, and the effect takes effect right away. This is not too dissimilar to how it functioned in previous XCOM games, except that you require line of sight.

Stun damage is applied immediately. Morale damage is applied, and the enemy may panic at its next panic test (likely the beginning of its next turn). When Mind Controlled the unit is placed under your control for the remainder of your turn and the enemy's next turn.

See Also