It is possible, if exeedingly difficult, to last out the first month (and hopefuly, a campaign) without losing any countries in Impossible. Required is luck, extreme skill and knowledge of the game, and probably a lot of save-state abuse. Slingshot (and Progeny, if in Enemy Within <need to check if it's usually late-month, I think my plan kinda depends on it being so>) is extremely helpful, and should be used if you have it.
- Second Wave options:
- High Stakes is effectively a requirement for Option B/EW, but still a great help for Option A/EU. It randomizes the rewards for Abductions. The rewards are unseeded, but the countries are not, so savescumming from before the Abduction alert can give you different rewards for the country you want to take. The maximum rewards are §300, 6 Scientists, or what you'll be aiming for in Abductions: 6 Engineers.
- Hidden Potential and Not Created Equal are a bit of a gamble, but any higher-statted soldiers you get will help make the battles much easier.
- Damage Roulette and Absolutley Critical: since your soldiers are, normally, liable to get 1-shotted anyways in Impossible, early on the odds are in your favor for Roulette to help you and hinder the aliens; there's nothing quite like taking a critical hit from a Light Plasma Rifle... for 1 damage. And being able to 1-shot many aliens even with starting weapons (such as in the first mission, when everyone has just Assault Rifles), is a great help if you're good at flanking.
- You starting country; 'New Economy is another gamble, but may help if there's a continent bonus you usually rely upon, and may get you moer starting funds.
- Alternatively, if you're just out for not losing any Continent Bonuses, and don't mind one or two losses; start in either Asia or Europe, and let that one take a hit if you have to choose to 'sacrifice' a country.
- The biggest threat is, naturally, the two Abduction missions: Since Asia and Europe have 4 countries each, any passed Abduction mission each means 7 Panic points total, while South America with 2 countries can suck it up untill you get your sattelites in.
- Normally, with those two Missions, and helping one country each, that means (with luck) 4 countries exactly that'll be at full panic by the end of the month
- Don't forget that the most efficient Uplink/Nexus setup is a 2x2 block of 2 Uplinks and 2 Nexi.
- After starting the campaing and beating the first mission, you should check to see if you have decent soldiers in the barracks, and have steam vents in good locations (ie: not in the upper left quarter of the base)
The key is the Council Mission/Request, that needs to happen before the 16th
- Theory: "schedual" for month is made by AI at start of month;
- There can be two Council "events" per month total: one mission and one request.
- Ergo: Dates for Council events are given, but what occurs is part of RNG, even through save-scumming. ie; Mission, Request, or nothing.
- If Mission is taken for the first event, second event cannot be a mission (have not tested inverse)
- Exception: Slingshot (and probably Progeny).
Option A: Panic Reducing Council Mission, Sattelite Rush
- In essence: when the Council event comes around, save scum until you get a Council Mission with panic reduction (and hopefully a large amount of cash and/or Engineers)
- panic reduction in withdrawing country, 3 left, one Uplink, get requisite 10 engineers before 16th, build 2nd Uplink, 3 satts for the 3 remaining countries
Pros: flexibility to let second Abduction Mission be for cash or scientists, and not have to be before
Enemy Within Option B: Council Mission/Request w/Engineer reward
- If you relied on Zhang and his missions for the scientists, engineers, resources, and money: the earliest Slingshot will start is late April now.
- Theory: Slingshot/Friends in Low Places in EW has two hardcodings: one Council mission must happen before it, and "April at earliest".
- The larger research requirements for some items will push back progress even farther.
- After completing the Seeker Autopsy, the Respiratior's poison & choking resistance, and health bonus, supersedes the Nanofiber Vest, which only has the same health bonus. Before that; see their entry for strategies and tips on how to deal with them.
- When EXALT begins to show up: doing Covert Operations reduces panic in target countries; after doing an Intelligence Scan, you often get a selection of revealed cells to choose from. But, starting in the third month, it won't come soon enough, and is too random to rely upon as a rescue method.
- At least for now, theres a stacking glitch with MEC's Punch and Flamethrower: one foundry upgrade to those, per campaign, adds an additional 50% damage to those abilities to your copy of the game.
- Ergo: First playthrough's Kinetic Punch, base 12 damage, upgrade to 18, 2nd playthrough, upgrade to 27.
- The more luck-dependant method, in that both Abductions, chosen to provide Engineers, and the Council Mission/Request needs to happen before 16th, and you need to get an additonal 15 Engineers total from them. This option is focused on Enemy Within, as there is a lower requirement in cost and engineers for Uplinks. As such, there is the possibility of building two Uplinks in March, which is what this option aims for.
- You'll want to build the two Uplinks to the left of the starting one.
- Don't forget to dig if you need to, plus you'll need one Generator (§60, 5 days), ideally placed on the other side of the base, so it doesn't get in the way of your Sattelite block.
- You'll need at least 4 Sattellites to save all at-risk countries for this month, but the Adjency Bonus will give you a capacity of 8, so up to 7 more can be built.
- If you've been lucky enough to get all 3 missions before the 10th, and possibly the first UFO, the engineers will vastly reduce the cost of sattellites, so you should go for all 7 if you can (though 4-5 is more realistic). You won't be doing research very quickly anyways, (or building anything else for that matter) so don't fret too much about dumping corpses and artifacts into the Grey Market-- except for Navigational Computers: you'll need them later to reserach and build Sattelite Nexi later (power sources sell better anyways; here's hoping the RNG is generous about letting them survive UFO crashes).
- Elerium; you won't be using it for a long while, dump it in. Alloys, enough to pull this off. But since fragments don't sell well and you'll need them later, should be last resort.
- You'll want to build the two Uplinks to the left of the starting one.
- With luck of where abductions take place, and sufficient sattellites, you might be able to take one, possibly two Continents right off from Abductions.
- Later in the month, as soon as you got some more stuff to sell for the §, you should at least open up the second level of the base, and make any headway you can digging for steam vents.
- Portent's §150 may be more than a Council Request may be, and the scientist and engineer is useful-- though reports are that it may not appear in March.
- With a signifcant lead on money, engineers, and a small boost of Scientists, this month is much easier (on top of having leveled soldiers in the battlefield, hopefully).
- The main push done with, you only need to add one more Uplink (don't forget Generator/Geothermal) to survive without losing any countries (ideally on the second level, on the far left, or the immediate left of the access elevator)
- if you find you have the need, a fourth can be built on the other spot; you'll want to save the middle spot for your first Nexus; either way, 1-3 month(s) from now, you'll be able to keep advantage of two Adjency Bonuses while you deconstruct a no-longer-needed Uplink and replace it with the second Nexus.
- With luck, you may only need to cover 3 countries this month; Terror Missions begin late this month, and they tend to occur in countries with high panic, possibly clearing at least one of the 4 at-risk nations.
- So, you may only need 3 sattelites. But, since our goal is total global saturation- and keeping cost and efficiency in mind;
- As many sattellites as you can to fill capacity of your L-shaped Uplink block, particulary any number of the 7 sattellite goal you weren't able to finish last month, on top of the new 3 spots.
- But: order them individually. After the second Abduction Mission (and after the Terror Mission), you'll want to only use enough to save any at-risk nations, and after that, finish covering any continents you can. Cancel the rest, and use the money to dig and build; a laboratory would not go amiss, to catch up on Research.
- Since South America (and it's two countries) are easiest to cover, and you might be able to manage Arc Thrower research and Containment construction, capture any availible alien types for research credits, particularly Thin Men.
- In the meantime, you can research the Computers: due to a programming oversight, you can stop researching it at 51% completion, and continue with researching something else while wating to cover South America; once you do, use your new We Have Ways to isntantly interrogate the Thin Man, and Computer research will automatically jump to 100% (just spend a moment in Mission Control to get the notification)!
- Same thing for your progress on the Fragments/Beam Weapons tree and Sectoids, and Alloys/(early) Armor tree with Floaters.
- Don't worry: switching between those projects does not consume their material cost until completion.
- Slingshot can start some time this month, with a signifcant reward (§200, 2 Engies, 2 Scientists) that will help on all fronts in your base.
- You may have as good as won by now; with the high amount of money, Scientists, and Engineers, you should be progressed enough to open up the Alien Base and use it as your 'rescue' method, and have made headway into construction of your own. In which case, you can choose abductions as you wish now, and focus on getting that Nexus up (if you have the Computers for it), and completing any left in capacity.
- Your biggest threat now is now the Abductor UFO, since you may still be a bit behind on research: at bare minimum, you'll need a Raven with a Laser Cannon, or two or three with Phoenix Cannons. Since you've probably needed to savescum to get this far, you can do so to get ships on the right continent to intercept. Take it out, or it'll summon a battleship to undo all your hard work.
- Like last month: order sattelites to fill capacity
- Also: EXALT's shennangians begin this month.
Congratualtions: you've made it!
- Pros: early Sattelite Coverage and the rewards/panic control thereof, stuff from Engineering will be cheap and low resource cost, once you finish the research.
- Cons: You'll be low on resources, and slow on research.
Supreme Luck: Sgt. Carlock Escort
- By default, the Sgt. Carlock mission gives § and Engineers, and possibly Panic Reduction. One more lucky roll of the RNG may therefore place this mission in an at-risk nation.
- Same/mix as the above two options, but you'll have that one less country to worry about at the start; that's one more satellite could go to covering one more continent, instead of just rescuing one country.
Ironman Mode: You can't hear it, but the RNG is laughing at your naivete.