Warlord's Foolproof Plan

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Here's my foolproof plan for starting off.

Sell all pistols, HC-AP ammo, the Autocannon and all ammo, the rocket launcher and ammo, and all craft cannons and ammo. (Keeping only rifles, grenades, and the Heavy Cannon.)

Sack all soldiers with bravery below 40 (30 might work if they have really awesome stats other than bravery).

Buy a second Avalanche launcher and enough missiles to keep both interceptors armed. I like to keep 15 missiles in reserve.

Also buy HE and IN ammo for the heavy cannons, extra grenades, prox grenades, and smoke grenades. Flares and HE packs are also a good idea.

Recruit enough soldiers to get your squad up to 10 regulars. Then recruit 15 scientists and 5 engineers. That should max out your living quarters.

If you have the cash left, buy a rocket launcher tank and about 16 rockets.

I like to build two additional hangars on either side of the top one. I also build one living quarters at each side of the base, and a general stores and an alien containment between the two bottom hangars. Once the living quarters are built, I sell the one next to the lift, and once the hangars are built, I sell the two bottom ones. This has the net effect of making my base extremely defensible, as all aliens have to come through the lift module to get anywhere.

Your primary goal in the first month is to complete Laser Rifle research, and acquire Alien Alloys. Researching the alloys and Personal Armor is desirable, but not always possible.

As for the first terror site, I usually land, my soldiers shoot anything they can see from the back of the skyranger, and then I abort. You lose some points, but you can make them up in the second month. There's no point in getting your soldiers slaughtered at the beginning of the game.

The trick to making money early on is sales of laser pistols. Yes, rifles sell for a bit more, but the pistols produce a lot faster. Farther along in the game, the aliens will build a base close to yours. It's almost guaranteed. At that point, you can start raiding Supply Ships on the ground. You can make millions off of these every time.

In the second month, you should concentrate on getting your scientist staff up to 50. I also build a large radar in the second month. That usually sucks up most of your cash. If you can afford it, recruit more engineers. You should also have your entire squad in personal armor before the end of the month. You are likely to see another terror site this month.

After this, you can start expanding your garrison. Laser pistol production should be in full swing by now. By the end of the third month, you should have a total of 100 personnel at your base. 15 soldiers, 35 engineers, and 50 scientists. I like to focus on finishing out the Laser Weapons tree by the end of this month. The Laser Tank is a nice addition to your arsenal and is ideal for terror missions. Alternatively, you can concentrate on plasma weapons, but getting the plasma cannon this early is a bit premature, as Elerium 115 will still be in short supply.

In the fourth, fifth, and sixth month, you should concentrate on getting flying armor, and building enough of an elerium supply to build ten sets of armor. 160 units of elerium is enough, if I remember correctly. This is another reason that I don't worry about plasma cannons early on. You should also begin research on new craft as well. I also usually build a second base during these months. Always build new bases close enough to be supported by other bases. My favorite locations are, near Moscow for base 1, deep in Siberia for base 2, north-central Africa for base 3, Australia for base 4, Central US for base 5, Central Brazil for base 6, and usually a radar base in Hawaii for 7, and a manufacturing and research base in the antarctic for base 8.

I usually keep to one main combat base, although I have been known to station a Quick Reaction Force in the US base for terror missions. All the other bases are interception bases, and I maintain 6 interceptor craft at each one. Once my 8 bases are built, no UFO can escape me. I keep 4 Firestorms and 2 Interceptors at each base. For the US base I keep 4 Firestorms, 1 Lightning, and 1 Interceptor. At the main combat base, I keep 1 Avenger, 1 Lightning, and 1 Skyranger. On each of these is a specialized combat squad. The Avenger is the heavy duty veteran crew. It consists of 14 men, 3 hovertank plasmas, and one Hovertank Fusion. The Lightning is a QRF with 12 men with precision weapons and stun equipment. They are used for terror missions. The Skyranger is for rookie training. They get to go on all the small shootdowns. I keep a 10 man squad and 1 hovertank plasma there. Once a soldier has a few missions under his belt, I transfer him to a garrison squad. That way on a base defense, I have combat veterans available for defense.

Sometime between months 3 and 6, I try to get a Sectoid commander so that I can research psi labs. Usually, you won't see ethereals that early, so they're not an option. I like to have Psi Labs before I start heavy recruitment. Once I'm in full swing, I keep no less than a 10 soldier garrison at all bases, plus I have the 14 man combat team, the 2 12 man QRF's, and the 10 man training squad.I keep a minimum of 5 psi labs at my combat base, and do all recruitment and training there. After my manufacturing base is built, I sell all workshops and labs. I keep the two living quarters, the stores, and the alien containment. I don't bother with base defenses at the combat base due to the sheer numbers of soldiers there.

This should get you well on your way to winning the game. Keep in mind that these strategies hinge on you being able to conduct tactical missions with minimal losses. If you can't do that, you should practice the tactical missions until you're good at them.

[Warlord, Sept 25, 2002, in strategycore forums, pasted by --JellyfishGreen 09:27, 4 May 2005 (BST)]

Discussion of Warlord's Plan:

Let's discuss this, from the top to the bottom.

First off, it has been argued that pistols have their uses. Personally, I never bothered with them, but... I would keep the rocket launcher, actually. You might not need it urgently in the beginning, but by golly, there's a LOT of useful applications for the large rocket. Sell all Small Rockets, by all means. You MIGHT want to hold onto that autocannon if you've started with a very strong soldier. Send him onto elevated ground, with explosive ammo. Make sure all other soldiers are FAR away from intended targets. I also prefer one auto-cannon with incindieries over electro flares.

I argue strongly with Warlord's hiring policy for soldiers. IF, as he says, he can get through battles with minimal losses, bravery ceases to be the most important issue. Instead, having a good sniper, one heavy weapons carrier, and 2 high reactions soldiers to ambush aliens coming through doorways should be more useful. Any sackings should be done just before the end of the month. If you're sure you don't want them, at least use them as cannon fodder... (send them thorugh doorways first, as scouts, etc).

Your first terror site... if it's Snakemen, running might in fact be a very good idea! If it's floaters... eh, kill em. Who's afraid of some big dogs? And there's plenty of one square wide places to shoot them with impunity. I'm sure you're used to sectoids, and as for cyberdisks... you know how I told you to hold onto those rocket launchers? Large rockets deal with them with ease...

I would research Plasma Cannons as early as possible, actually. This is cause I *can* use tactics to beat superior firepower on ground battles, but AFAIK, the only thing that can beat a terror ship in the air is a craft with Plasma Cannons. Plus, even your puny interceptors can knock over anything short of a battleship at NO danger to itself, using Plasma Cannons. IMHO, there's little reason to build a single Lightning or Firestar. Interceptors with Plasma Cannons, Avengers with Plasma Cannons once you can make them, and a Skyranger for base detection.

Warlord suggests building his FIFTH base in the USA??? ummm... AFAIK, there's a general concensus that US should either be 1st or second place to build your base. Maybe 3rd. But 5th? That's... mmm.

Try to capture Sectoid Leaders or Commanders as early as possible. The minute you get one, forget all other research and dump as much as you can into Psi. Once you've got Psi Amps and soldiers with strong Psi strength and skills, the game's a cakewalk. BTW, please fire all soldiers with less than 70/80 (depending on difficulty) psi strength at this point, please!

And some more bit of info: I try to get a second base building before the end of the month in USA, I usually start in Europe (coz it costs 1M for a base there). Build 1xalien cont, 2xliving, 1xstores, 1xL.radar. immediately, then 1xlab and 1xstores when cash allows. At second base, 1xL.radar and 1xhanger asap, then 1xliving and 1xstores. When ready, trans 1xInterceptor to second base. Before end of Jan, or asap, 3rd base at China (near coast) AND buy scientents as many as room allow on Jan 30th. --Jasonred

A primary goal for the first month should be to acquire an alien navigator. If you break ground on an alien containment on the first day and buy some stun rods, you have about half a month to stun a navigator. If you accept some losses on the way, you can usually pull this off. --Papa Legba 14:37, 28 Nov 2005 (PST)

tonicboy's analysis

Hmmm, there are some great points here but I take plenty of issue with it as well.

  • Hiring Engineers and starting a manufacturing program right off the bat. A manufacturing program will provide neglible profits until you can scale it larger than 100 engineers and there is nothing worthwhile to manufacture for use until you get medkits, which can be handled just fine with the initial free 10 engineers, and then Personal Armour. Meanwhile, it sucks money away that can be used to start a second base (see more later)
  • Sack all soldiers with bravery below 40 I agree with Jasonred on this one. Once you get some officers, bravery is an almost irrelevant stat. It does not affect psi-susceptibility and you shouldn't be losing so many soldiers in a mission such that their morale drops far enough to matter.
  • Aborting the first terror site This really depends on where the terror site is. While it is true that the first terror site can be very tough, loss in funding due to leaving it uncompleted may be worse. If the terror site is in a high-funding country such as the US, you may lose ~$100k in funding (guesstimate). Not to be callous, but a lost soldier's life is simply money. Completing the terror mission saves you the loss in funding as well as provides valuable loot which altogether could be worth over $2mill. This is well worth many dead soldiers' lives.
  • The trick to making money early on is sales of laser pistols The trick to making money early on is downing UFOs, and you can't down UFOs unless you can detect them, which is why one of your first priorities is bulding more bases to increase your radar coverage. The loot from one single UFO mission (even a medium scout) is worth over 5x the profit from a one-workshop manufacturing operation. You should build your second base the very first month and then more bases every time you get about $2-3 million to spare.
  • Base locations Ok, everyone has their own preference but I think most of us here would agree that you need to concentrate on high-fnding countries, as well as spread your radar coverage more early one. My own list is Europe, US, China/Japan, S. America, Australia, Africa. Since Europe is the most expensive place to build a base, it edges out N.America as my top choice to maximize the value of the free base.
  • Maintain 6 intercepter craft at each base Wow, I have never needed more than two craft at each base and usually just keep one. Six craft is really really extreme. Not only that, but why would you purposely keep a mixed fleet of Interceptors and Lightning when you can build Firestorms? Interceptors are incredibly expensive in rent and Lightnings... The only purpose of having multiple craft that I can imagine is to have a backup craft if one gets damaged. Since the only UFO that can really harm you is the Battleship, this will not happen a lot early on. A better strategy to have access to backups would be to have an extra empty hangar at each intercepting base, and then build a "hangar" base where you would just keep 2-3 backup crafts which could be transferred around the world as needed (keep it in a remote location such as Antarctica and don't intercept from there to kep it hidden).
  • Between months 3 and 6, I try to get a Sectoid commander so that I can research psi labs Not research Psi until June? Ummm, I usually finish the game around June or July on Superhuman. Psi is ridiculously useful (maybe too powerful in fact) and it takes about three months from capturing a live psionic alien to having psionic soldiers (15 days to research Psi-Lab, 24 days to build it, then wait until beginning of the month, then one month to train first batch of soldiers). Since it takes so long, you should focus on capturing a live Sectoid Leader/Commander ASAP.
  • Five Psi-Labs at combat base This seems pretty extreme too. By the time you get Psi-Labs, you probably have an alien base you are milking. It is child's play to get an average of 4 Psi Skill improvement per mission at an alien base and you can run alien base missions as quickly as your craft can refuel. With an Avenger, I can run 2-3 missions per day for a potential of 80-100 Psi Skill improvement IN ONE MONTH. With this kind of skill advancement, the Psi-Lab is only useful for screening unknown soldiers and does anyone actually keep around 50-60 soldiers at a time? My own recommendation is 2 Psi-Labs.

--tonicboy 11:47, 19 Jun 2007 (PST)

X-commy Adendum

  • five Psi-labs at one base, vs 2: I just do one at each base, and keep garrisons of 10.

Those that score high get transfered to a combat base with a transport craft. I basically start sacking 1/3 of my soldiers each month: 10 noobs get placed in a psi-lab for screening, the 10 newly screened are compared with the 10 I had previously screened. Of these combined 20, the top 10 in psi rank are retained, the other 10 are fired (unless they just barely missed the top 10, and have good rxns or accuracy). Of course keeping 30 soldiers per base is a lot to garrison - so at my intercept only bases, the garrison is only 20- 10 in screening, 10 ready to begin screening at the end of the month, all those that have been screened are checked to see if they are in the top 50%, and sent to the combat base if they are where they will develop skills on missions, or sacked if they aren't. Once I have ≈20 soldiers with psi/MC strength in the 90's, I stop the 50% sack rate, and scale back screening until my garrisons have 10 soldiers with decent (50+) psi/MC strength, then I stop screening altogether.

  • bravery = not very useful, psi strength to avoid the MC attacks that cause most panics is more usefull defensively, and offensively.
  • 6 interceptors per base - 5 labs per base - WOW, he has some expensive bases, and he pays with these through selling laser pistols?

- Disclaimer - I started on TFTD, and developed these strategies, the different areas available to build bases and recover downed alien craft made me change my base distribution slightly.

I have 2 combat bases, one in the "old world", one in the Americas (or for TFTD, one in the Pacific, one in the Atlantic). That way my standard transports (triton/skyranger) have a better chance at getting to a landed alien craft before it takes off again - flying to the other side of the just world won't do. I like to have one interceptor for shooting down small craft at each base without consuming Elerium. Once I get more advanced craft, I drop the plasma beams from the interceptors, and go back to laser/avalanch - for downing small craft without destroying too much of them. For larger alien craft, I send my advanced craft with plasma beams. I won't necessarily wait for Avenger/Leviathans, so I'll build 2 Firestorm/Manta for initial protection against battleship/dreadnaughts, and transfer them to intercept bases later when I upgrade my 2 combat bases to Avenger/Leviathans. Thus in the end, I have at my 2 combat bases: 1 SkyRanger, 1 interceptor, 1 Avenger. Sometimes I throw in a second avenger, or keep the one of the old firestorms for when my avenger is in the shop being repaired. I might make a lightning/hammerhead if its taking me a while to get the commander I need for the "ultimate" craft - this usually gets transfered to an intercept base, which gives me the added flexibility of sending the intercept base garrison out to a landed UFO - long before a skyranger could get there - as the lightening is faster and closer - if it is landed, I get more intact Elerium, and the fuel for the Lightening is worth it - pays for itself. Also due to it being closer, it uses less elerium than sending an Avenger(which is faster) to the landed UFO. So sometimes I develop 2 combat bases which end up with an Avenger for Each,

In TFTD, I would just make 6 bases, each one roughly at the antipode of the other, to roughly get world wide intercept coverage - as the world is mostly water, this works. In EU, I would end up with one base on each continent, excepting Antarctic often (though the aliens may build a base there), ad sometimes including Hawaii (anything shot down in its radar range cant be recovered) - treating Eurasia as two continents like most people do.

Last game, after 2 colony attacks (to get commanders), and one landed supply ship raid, I stopped all tactical missions, and just produced laser cannons for sale while intercepting and teching to Avenger (did not defend against terror raids). I got to Cydonia with like 12 elerium in stocks, 2 hover tanks, 1 laser tank, 5 power armor, 5 flying armor. I had never seen a Muton the whole game LOL. sadly, this approach left me with psi-pathetic soldiers making the attack much harder.

Another argument for building firestorms/lightnings rather than waiting for avengers: once you have avengers, the game is basically over: attack cydonia, the end. The only question is how well you want your soldiers trained, such that when you get to Cydonia, its pure Pwnage.