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Colonial Marine Invertebrate

Playing XCOM off and on since the demo came out 1993'ish, and on a Macintosh G3 courtesy of Blue Label emulator since 2001

Favorite ideas for XCOM weapons mods:

Note to self: Email XCOM page, and "World Of Stuart" temp file server workaround

Fast-Tracking Psionics

A suggested (unproven) strategy by JFG. This concentrates on winning the game quickly by getting psionics quickly, which is by no means the only way to play.

Stage 1: Expansion and Financing

Geo: Get started on an Alien Containment first and a second Research lab next. Rearrange the base for better Base Defense if you have the cash. Buy weapons to your personal preferred loadouts but definitely get a Stun Rod or two. Hire scientists to at least 50.

Research: Research "Laser Weapons" first, the Medi-kits can wait until you have armor. Go for the Laser Pistol, then Laser Rifle, then turn to Alien Alloys and Personal Armor. By this time you might have researchable recovered Alien Artefacts, and Medi-Kits will be worthwhile.

Battle: Take on any Sectoid/Floater/Snakeman UFO you can reach. Assault landed UFOs if you're hard enough, the extra material will be valuable. Don't fret too much over losing soldiers at this point, they're replaceable.

Once the Alien Containment is complete, and you have stun rods, move to stage 2.

Stage 2: Acquisition

Your goal for this stage is to stun and capture a live Sectoid Leader. Check the Alien Craft specs for which craft will have a leader, and assault it on the ground.

Geo: Allocate room for a future Psionic Laboratory or two in all bases, hire more scientists (max 100) and some engineers.

Research: Research one live alien to get the "Alien Origins" out of the way before you research your valuable leader for Psionics. Continue on useful artifacts.

Acquiring a Mind Probe or two and assigning it to your Rear Commander will aid the search greatly, as will a Small Launcher with Stun Bombs. Research these as a priority if you find any.


Shoot all the alien soldiers. Only stun the ranking officers if they're tempting targets.

You may want to rename your psionic weakling and bring them along as an unarmed decoy to keep the leader occupied.

Once you get your psionic alien move to stage 3.

Stage 3: Exploitation

  1. Research that Sectoid Leader, which should give you both Psionic Laboratory and The Martian Solution as topics.
  2. Research Psionic Laboratory, then Psi-Amp.
  3. Build Psionic Laboratory in all your bases. Build more than one to speed up screening.

Battle: No specific requests. Continue to make money for the war effort by selling recovered artifacts and material.

Stage 4: Screening

When Psi-Lab is complete, you will be able to assign soldiers at the start of the month. (Ideally the Psi-Lab completes a few days before the end of the month, or it will sit unused.)

Assign half combat-worthy soldiers and half rookies to your psi labs. Try not to lose them in combat.

Survive the month. You may be encountering the Snakemen/Muton races.

At some point, manufacture a few psi-amps.

Stage 5: Advanced Training

At the end of the month, you will have screening results, assign psi-amps to the 5 most talented (Psionic Strength >70) and keep them in training. Fill the remaining slots with untested soldiers to screen them. Transfer experienced soldiers with psi strength < 40 to your secondary base, and fire psi-weak rookies if you don't need decoys.

Take the talented psi's into the combat zone but keep them in the 'ranger. Use the regular soldiers to scout for the psi's and have the psi's practice any sort of attack from safety - even 11 unsuccessful Panic Attacks per mission can improve Psionic Skill by its max.

Beware Ethereals and keep weapons away from your psi's. Decoys may still have their uses, try confining them in the 'ranger with psi's.

Stage 6: Rise of the Supermen

If you follow this strategy and don't go broke, your psi's will slowly but surely keep rising in skill, until you can use your HWP as a psi-proof spotter. Mind-control and disarm every alien you discover. Use them to discover the next alien, then give them a .22 pistol and turn them loose to train your reaction stats.

Capture (panic and stun) (or if you're stronger, mind control and disarm) a base commander at your leisure to research the Cydonia mission. A non-psionic commander should be easy by this stage. They can't be under mind control when the mission ends or they will go MIA.

The strength of your psi squad should make all material recovery and mission completion simpler, so you will be better able to finance secondary manufacturing bases etc. Concentrate on blaster launchers, flying suits, Fusion HWP's and an Avenger as you can use these in Cydonia.

If you have a REALLY good psi squad, you may just need the Avenger. The aliens will provide you with footmen. Heh heh heh.

Blaster Launcher tactics: a brief guide.

Building: Nuke it.
Orchard: Nuke it.
Underground bases: Nuke large rooms first.
UFO: Punch a hole in the bridge, then send in a second bomb to nuke it.

Advanced Techniques

Xcom Base Defence: Nuke the hangars and lift.

(captured here after the actual article got too wordy; this short sweet version was Fox's sig on strategycore for a long time.

Alien Intelligence

(work in progress) "Intelligence" to redirect here. The only use of the "intelligence" stat in the game is how long an alien remembers your position after a reveal. It is not related to pathfinding (alien movement patterns). Because your soldiers are controlled by you, they have no AI as such.

There are (x) ways for the aliens to get a reveal

  1. Turn 0. (verified by Zombie with psionic decoys)
  2. Any alien spotting a soldier or being shot by a soldier, who survives the turn.
  3. Turn 20. (noted as an outbreak of psi attacks or alien activity on this turn)

The reveal is for (all your soldiers positions).

crossref: UNITPOS.DAT # 8, category:soldiers, Alien Stats, "turn 20" discussions, ufo ambush