The UN-official Strategy Guide
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
works great as a Supplement to the Official Strategy Guide!
Maintained by Kuo-Sheng (Kasey) Chang
Thanks for the tremendous response all over the net! The guide was
uploaded to practically to wherever XCOM and UFO are sold (and
probably beyond), and many people have provided helpful feedback
that were incorporated into this revision.
XCOM:USG is now available in many more places! It's available on
almost every on-line service (though AOL will remain an "official"
distribution site) and can be found in many places on Internet.
The Feb-01 revision marks a major change in what is now known as the
"XCOM Unofficial Strategy Guide". That was a total rewrite compared
to this, which is just a revision.
0.2 Did you know about the OFFICIAL XCOM Strategy Guide?
Now that the official strategy guide is out in stores (XCOM : the
Official Strategy Guide, by David Ellis, Prima Publishing, ISBN
1-55958-764-4, US$19.95, hereby known as OSG), this UNofficial
strategy guide (USG) is now patterned after the official one, with
similar table of contents. You can use this guide along with the
official strategy guide (OSG), or you can use this by itself.
While OSG has all the neat charts and tables and stuff only
available from the source, I've found its tactics and strategy
section sorely lacking. In fact, all the the strategy and tactics
are condensed into ONE chapter, with the rest of the book as simply
a reprint of the manual and UFOpedia and the underlying mechanics.
That's where USG come in. USG will help you make informed choices.
Instead of showing you a table of numbers, I'll actually show you
what is recommended by fellow XCOM players. After you read each
chapter in the OSG, read that chapter's supplement here. You will
understand more about how the game runs and the tactics to beat it.
You do NOT have to have the OSG to use this supplement, but you will
get more out of both if you do.
0.3 Credits where credits are due
Thanks to MicroProse and Mythos Games for bringing us such a nice
game. It surely deserved CGW's "Game of the Year" award!
Thanks to all the people who have contributed to previous editions
of the XCOM:USG, whom include but are not limited to: William Kang,
CMDR; Tim Chawn, CMDR; Doug Osborne, SG; Stuart Lamble, SG; Seth
Cohn, SG; Bill Soo, SG; Jeff Shaffer, Economist; Rob Eiben, SG; Jim
Muchow, SG; Menachem Pasteich, architect; Paul Close, publicist and
simulation expert; and fellow XCOM players all over the world
discussing the game on USENET, America On-line and elsewhere.
Some strategies and tactics here first appeared in Computer Gaming
World and Computer Game Review magazines' strategy articles on XCOM.
Thanks to Jeff James (CGW) and Kevin Perry (CGR), we honor you as
0.4 Note ot UFO: Enemy Unknown users
UFO: Enemy Unknown users should be able to use this supplement with
minimum changes. Most tips will apply to both versions, esp. the
tactical tips. The charts on the other hand may have different
numbers, so compare it carefully please. See 0.5 if you have the
Amiga version of UFO: Enemy Unknown.
0.5 Notes on the USG
New/Improved sections since last update are marked by @.
PLEASE let me know if there's a confusing or missing remark so I can
fix them! If you find an question about the game that is not covered
in the USG, I'll include it in the next update.
The USG should be available at the Game Domain WWW
WWW : http://wcl-rs.bham.ac.uk/GamesDomain
@ Any quick updates can be found on my own homepage
Paul Close (pdc sgi.com) has graciously converted this into HTML
format so you can use a WWW browser! Check it out at
WWW : http://reality.sgi.com/employees/pdc
Tommy Iversen (Norway) has graciously accepted the task of
converting the USG for Amiga. (Yes, there is an Amiga version)
His e-mail address is -->
If you are on America On-Line, look in the PC Games Forum (keyword:
PCGAMES). Go into the file library, and search under XCOM.
If anyone knows of other "permanent" archive sites (somewhere in
ftp.netcom.com?), please let me know so I can include the
information in future updates.
If you REALLY can't find it, don't have FTP or WWW, not on AOL,
can't read news, etc., (i.e. there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY you can get
to it) (how did you know about this in the first place?) then send
me e-mail (see below) and I'll try to get back to you.
Please don't just mail me and ask "it's nice and do you have an
update and if so please send it to me". If I have an update I can
release I would have released it already.
I maintain this at home on my PC and I only have a UNIX shell
account which this won't fit with other stuff I need. So don't
expect too fast of an answer if you request this by e-mail.
0.6 The author
I? I am just a game player who didn't like the existing FAQ's and
strategy tactics collection available out there, and decided to
write my own. You can contact me at:
Internet 1 : kschang sfsu.edu (preferred)
Internet 2 : ksc1 aol.com (only if you must, see below)
America On-Line : Ksc1
US Mail : Kasey Chang, 2220 Turk Blvd. Apt.6,
San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
WWW Homepage : http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~kschang
If you contact me via Internet e-mail I usually reply within two
working days. Please use the preferred e-mail address if possible,
not BOTH. I only sign onto America On-Line (2nd address) twice a
week so you won't get a prompt reply if you contact me there.
Table of Contents
1.0 X-COM General Information
What is this game? What about bugs? Patches? Expansions and
future versions? How do I win or lose?
2.0 The GeoScape Screen
How do I use GeoScape? Any tricks or tips?
3.0 X-COM Bases
Where do I put my first bases? How to I build bases that are easy
to defend? How much defense do I build?
4.0 X-COM Hardware
What kind of weapons are available? Which ones are the best?
How do I make more money? How do I spend less money? How do I
cheat and get more money?
6.0 Research and Manufacturing
What do I research? What do I build?
7.0 Intercepting UFOs
How do I intercept UFOs? What weapon should I send up against
UFO type X?
8.0 Soldiers, Movement, and Combat
Who do I send on missions? How do I avoid casualties?
9.0 The aliens
Who are these & *#%*!? How do I kill them most efficiently?
10.0 Ground Assaults
What do I do in UFO assaults and recoveries? What is the best way
to defend my base? Assaulting alien bases?
11.0 Mastering Cydonia -- The Final Assault
How do I win the "final confrontation"?
12.0 Misc Stuff
Any other questions?
(if information you are looking for is not listed, e-mail me and
I'll give you an answer, and I'll include it in next update)
BEGIN XCOM Unofficial Strategy Guide
1.0 X-COM General Information
1.1 What is XCOM: UFO Defense?
[Excerpt from XCOM manual page 6]
It is the year 1999. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have
started appearing with distrubing regularity in the night skies.
Reports of violent human abductions and horrific experimentation
has truck terror into the hearts of millions. Mass public
hysteria has only served to expose Earth's impotence against a
vastly superior technology.
On December 11, 1998, representatives from the world's most
economically powerful counties gathered secretly in Geneva.
After much debate, they decision was made to establish a covert
independent body to combat, investigate, and defeat the alien
threat. The organization would be equipped with the world's
finest pilots, soldiers, scientists, and engineers, working
together as one multi-national force.
This organization was named the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit.
You are in overall command of XCOM. You will launch and control
interceptors to attack marauding UFOs, send soldiers to attack
crashed or landed UFOs, raid alien bases on Earth (if you can
find them), keep the sponsor nations happy and UFOs out of their
skies, buy the ammo and weapons you need in the war, research
and build better weapons as your troops bring in captured alien
artifacts for analysis and eventually manufacture our own
copies, pay for everything by contributions from sponsor
countries and selling stuff, and eventually figure out the alien
threat's origin and end the threat once and for all. (Whew!
That's a mouthful!)
1.2 How does XCOM play?
The game is divided into two main segments: GeoScape and
BattleScape. GeoScape is a 3-D view of the globe, rotate-able
and zoom-able. This is where you control your various bases
around the world (with radars), your fighters and transports
(carrying your soldiers), your inventory at each base, the UFOs
and alien bases currently in sight, and so on. Once ground
contact is made (transport landed next to UFO, you attack alien
base, aliens attack your base, etc.), the game switches to
Battlescape is an isometric tile-based 3-D combat with viewpoint
similar to SimCity 2000 and Transport Tycoon. The combat is
turn-based with opportunity fire on the opponent's round
(provided you have enough TimeUnits [TUs] and reaction), with
plenty of weapons and terrain to choose from. Everything is
mouse-driven so game is very easy to learn yet hard to master.
1.3 What is UFO: Enemy Unknown?
UFO: Enemy Unknown is the European version of XCOM. The game
was designed by Mythos Games, and was distributed by MicroProse
UK. It was imported into the US later as XCOM. XCOM is
equivalent to UFO V1.2.
In fact, XCOM installs into \MPS\UFO directory. :-)
1.3.1 Why the name change?
OSG has no explanation, but I believe that SubLOGIC (the
original Flight Simulator people) had a game called UFO,
and MicroProse couldn't register the same name, so they
XCOM will now be the official name of the series. XCOM2
will be sold as XCOM2 in Europe.
1.3.2 What is this UFO V1.3 Patch?
Recently there's a UFO V1.3 patch floating in Internet
somewhere. (ftp.cdrom.com in /pub/games/dresden?).
_Computer Gaming World_ listed it in their patches page,
so it appears to be official. This is ONLY for UFO, NOT
The "real" patch is XCOM V1.4.
1.3.3 So what is the difference besides the title?
Quite small, mainly price changes for items (esp.
1.4 What type of PC do I need? Is a Demo available?
Requirements listed on XCOM is: 386/486 (Pentium?), 4 MB RAM,
VGA, Mouse, MS/PC-DOS 5.0 (or higher?).
(There is an Amiga and CD32 version of UFO, see 1.6)
One person reported that he was able to run XCOM with 2 MB RAM,
though it is SLOW. Your mileage may vary.
It comes on 3 3.5" HD disks, and needs about 12MB of hard drive
space to install (double that if using disk compression software
such as Stacker or DoubleSpace). There's a CD version which is
the same except only the saved games reside on the hard drive
and all of the data files stays on the CD.
You CAN install the CD version onto the hard drive if you have
enough space. Contact MicroProse for detailed instructions.
The game uses 32-bit protected mode, so it would not run under
Windows. No compatibility claims was made to any other versions
of DOS such as DR DOS, Novell DOS 7, or even OS/2.
Note that Windows may be necesary if the DOS4GW extender refuse
to run on your computer. See 1.5.7.
There is a playable demo available on most on-line services such
as America On-Line in the MicroProse forum /SIG/ roundtable/
whatever. There WAS a demo at ftp.std.com, but another user
reported that it disappeared sometime during November '94. In
the meanwhile, you can try ftp.cdrom.com under /pub/Games/Demos.
(if anyone found it, please let me know so the info can be
included in the next update)
1.5 What about any bugs? Any patches?
The OSG has no list of bugs, so here is a list of bugs that are
known to exist in XCOM/UFO. MicroProse is aware of most of
It took MicroProse about six months, but the patch is finally
here! V1.4 patch is available from MicroProse BBS and www/ftp
1.5.1 Green Text Bug
Symptom: Game suddenly displays 40-column Green text [DOS
Extender Error]. Usually happens right after a battle,
and after a bit it takes you back into the battle you just
finished (infinitely), sometimes the computer hangs.
Cause and Solution: This is usually caused by attempting
to save a game while an UFO interception is in progress.
Another possibility is you have multiple crafts in the
air and one of the is intercepting while another is land-
ing and attacking a downed UFO or base.
Unfortuantely, the saved game is corrupt. You must
restore from an earlier saved game. [OSG only mentions
this as "trust me, don't save when intercept minimized"]
Further info: someone commented on the net (I'll find the
original message I saved somewhere) that usually there is
this ONE UFO that you did not shoot down before XCOM
crashed. If you do NOT destroy it after you reload the
game, the same thing will happen again.
Another has reported that by not maximizing the GeoScape
screen before going into combat cuts down the chances of
Geen Text bug, but this is unconfirmed.
1.5.2 16-bit Sound bug
Symptom: Game has compatibility problems with most 16-bit
sound cards such as SoundBlaster 16 and PAS-16 (and Gravis
UltraSound as well). Music and sounds are often played as
static, or no sound at all.
Cause and solution: remember that the setup asks for the
DMA channel, NOT the interrupt as most setup programs do.
If it still doesn't work, it's a program bug. You can
always play with the sound off, but it's not as much fun
having no alien screams when they got hit and die...
The V1.4 patch should fix this.
WARNING: If you have a SoundBlaster 16 and the Waveblaster
daughtercard, do NOT select 16-bit digital sound with
General MIDI. Select 8-bit sound instead.
1.5.3 One-shot blaster bug
Symptom: Once you fired off a blaster launcher, sometimes
there's still a shell in there so you can't reload it, but
you can't fire it either.
Cause and solution: This is caused by programming only one
waypoint for the blaster bomb. If you program two or more
waypoints for the bomb this won't happen.
You can also UNLOAD the "empty" shell. See manual.
1.5.4 Flying Frozen bug
Symptom: a unit near the edge of the map was hit by the
enemy. When it is their turn to more, their pointer shows
them off the edge of the map (totally outside). They can
move up/down, but not back onto the map. They can still
shoot, and they recover if you win the battle.
Cause and solution: no idea, this seems to be random.
Don't put your units near the edge.
1.5.5 "SMOKBIT.DAT not found"
Symptom: the game complains that a SMOKBIT.DAT cannot be
found in your saved game directory.
Cause and solution: no idea, since the file is not in
all of the saved games directories that I have (I have
it only in 2 of 10 saved games). MicroProse has no idea
either and currently chalked it up to computer incompati-
bility and recommends a refund if you run into this
problem. (saved game during combat?)
1.5.6 Stacked Equipment bug
Symptom: When you access the alien's inventory (see 8.5)
you found that they have multiple items stacked in one
location (usually one of the legs). If you do not have
enough TU and you tried to move one item, you cannot put
it back, and you are TOTALLY STUCK.
Solution: just don't do it, or you'll have to reboot.
No other way around it. Maybe that's why we were not
supposed to access alien inventory?
1.5.7 Cyrix incompatibility
Symptom: when starting XCOM/UFO, the program freezes after
the title splash animations finished.
Cause and solution: you probably have a Cyrix CPU. The
version of DOS4GW XCOM used (version ends with a 5) is
somehow incompatible with Cyrix CPUs. The fix is very
simple: run DOOM or another DOS4GW program (Raptor,
Heretic, Descent, ROTT, etc.) before XCOM.
1.5.8 Can't find a leader!?!?
This is also known as the "Alien Containment Bug"
Symptom: when at a crucial phase of the game, when one
needs a captured alien leader, the leader was successfully
captured but never was available for research. Maybe the
alien containment is full?
Cause and solution: no idea. Many people have reported
this problem, but MicroProse have no idea, and neither do
I. This appears to be more prevalent on higher levels.
Someone reported that UFO V1.3 patch solves this problem,
but this is unconfirmed.
Note: this is NOT related to "cannot research a captured
commander from UFO". That is NOT a bug. You have to
research one that was nabbed from a BASE.
1.5.9 Unsaved proximity grenades
Symptom: if you save a battle in progress with proximity
grenades on the ground, and later restore the game, the
grenades are gone.
1.6 Any plans on sequels? Mission disks? Other computers?
1.6.1 Sequel -> XCOM2: Teror From the Deep
Here's an actual message posted by MicroProse on AOL:
XCOM 2: Terror From the Deep
The war continues... XCOM: Terror From the Deep brings
the alien terror into a totally new dimension...
Seeking to take advantage of a weakened Earth, XCOM's
deep space foes unexpectedly change strategy and launch a
powerful second front against planet Earth. In the dark
depths of vast oceans, long sleeping forces are awakened
by re-animation signals sent out across the galactic
silence by their interstellar brothers and sisters.
Slowly but surely, and army of hibernating alien sea
Your combat now extends to the strange new world of the
deep where superior alien technologies threaten the very
survival of the planet. Your planet: Earth.
* Sequels the hugely successful XCOM: UFO Defense
* Actual undersea geoscape mapping system with rich topo-
* Full array of undersea military technology
* Rich graphics feature water coloration and wrecks
* Multi-level tactical maps featuring both underwater
seascapes and buildings
* Alien encyclopedia features mutation technology and
new watery denizens
XCOM2 is already out in the United States and should be
available elsewhere really soon.
XCOM3 is in
embyonic stages will will be more radically
different from XCOM/XCOM2, according to MicroProse.
1.6.2 How about Mission Disks?
None are planned at the moment.
1.6.3 Other versions?
There is an Amiga version.
No other ports are expected in the near future.
1.7 How do I win? How do I lose?
You win by finding the source of the alien threat and "deal with
it" once and for all on a "final mission". (See 11.0 if you
REALLY want to know)
You can lose by several ways:
1) You were in debt for over $1,000,000 for two months. Your
sponsors had had enough of your mismanagement and terminated the
XCOM project. Earth was conquered by aliens not long after.
2) You had two consecutive "badly losing" months (big negative
score), and your sponsors had had enough and terminated XCOM
project. Just how bad is a "badly losing" month depends on your
score and difficulty level (Scoring is explained in OSG
Chapter 1 and 1.8).
3) You lost all of your bases to the aliens.
4) You failed to complete the "final mission" (see above 1).
1.8 How is scoring calculated?
Score is kept for both sides. You get positive score for
conducting successful research, capturing and/or killing aliens,
grounding and/or destroying UFOs, destroying alien bases,
grabbing alien equipment, and more. You get negative score for
losing XCOM soldiers, crafts, HWPs, and civilians. (for exact
numbers, see OSG)
Aliens score points by overflying Earth, lands on Earth
(whatever purpose), build and keep bases on Earth, conduct
terror raids and hoping that you ignore it (so NEVER do so since
this REALLY scores big for them!), sign pact with funding
countries (which means those countries don't pay you any
longer!), conduct harvest and/or abduction mission on Earth.
(for exact numbers, see OSG)
Your net score is (your_score - alien_score), which is the
score you see on the monthly performance report (and the
graph). The funding changes are affected by your total score,
and are explained in OSG:Chapter 5.
2.0 The Geoscape Screen
The GeoScape screen is where you will control the interceptions and
provides access to the BattleScape and the base controls.
2.1 Air Intercepts
Always attack an UFO over land. If you shoot it down over water
no one can get to it (unless you are playing the sequel, see
section 1). If you are over water, minimize the window, and
select 1 minute step until you get back over land, then switch
back to 5 seconds and start attack.
[Whether you want to attack smaller UFOs is up to you]
If you send multiple crafts after one UFO and the UFO gets shot
down or destroyed, the shooter will go home, but other crafts
will continue onto the crash site, THEN return to their base. So
make them return to base manually. They will return faster, and
thus be refueled/rearmed/repaired for next sortie faster. Click
on its icon on GeoScape and select "return to base".
If an UFO has landed, keep a fighter on top of it. That way, if
it takes off before your transport get there, you still have a
chance of taking it down.
Since the best weapons have a chance of blowing a smaller UFO
totally to pieces, you may want to keep one fighter armed weaker
than the rest for intercepting smaller UFOs. (Assuming that you
even WANT to go after small UFOs)
2.2 Finding Alien Bases
XCOM agents have a chance of finding an alien base for you, but
chances are pretty slim. So do not rely on that. Watch for
high alien activity (check the graphs) yet no interception:
there's probably a base in the area.
Send something slow like a Skyranger to patrol the area. An
empty Skyranger has excellent range and therefore is perfect in
spotting alien bases.
Watch UFOs, esp. where they land. If you see a "Supply Ship",
do NOT attack it. Trail it and follow it to their base. After
it lands, patrol nearby and you'll see the base.
Hyperwave decoders can find UFOs on supply runs. Follow that
will usually lead you to a base.
Of course, you do NOT have to take out that base... You go
after the supply train instead.
2.3 Base Management
[also see 3.0 for XCOM Bases]
Since it takes several weeks before additional modules to the
base can be brought online, you need to build them ahead of
time. See the base status to see how full are your facilities
getting. If they are getting close, start building additional
facilities so that they'll be ready by the time you need them.
Examine base status at least twice every month, check living
quarters, workshops and labs, etc, and determine your expansion
schedule. Dismantle extra stuff before end of month so you
don't pay maintainence on them.
Hire engineers and scientists at the last hour of the month so
that they get delievered early NEXT month, so you get maximum
research from them while not paying an extra penny in salary.
2.4 GeoScape Tricks and Tips
Many people don't realize that click on the UFO icon will bring
up all known info about the UFO. If you detected it via
Hyperwave Decoder, you'll know A LOT about it.
UFO Crash Site susually disappear in a few days. If you have
no soldiers available, you can let it sit for a day or two.
Landed UFOs will take off in a few hours (less than a day).
Terror Sites disappear in less than a day (which mean you have
to get to one ASAP, even if it means skipping UFOs and landing
Landed/crashed UFOs still has info, such as size.
Check your graphs regularly to determine where to build your
next base. Watch for sponsor countries with high alien activity
with high-paying sponsor(s), then check how much did they pay
you via the Funding screen and see if they are worth defending.
Areas with high alien activity and high XCOM activity probably
have an alien base.
2.5 Target Selection
If several targets presents itself, which one should you attack?
Here are some of my general guidelines:
2.5.1 UFOs in flight
Attack the biggest UFO you can handle. Supply ships are
easy, terror ships are okay, battleships are death unless
you have Firestorms and Avengers and can attack with
multiple crafts simultaneously
Launch from the closest base FROM UFOs INTENDED TARGET if
it is known or can be deduced from UFOs path. Launching
from the closest base at the time of contact will result
in a tail chase, resulting frequently in lost tracking and
waste of fuel and time.
If the landing site is on the dark side, you may want to
patrol nearby and wait for light. Of course, in the
meanwhile the landed UFO may take off again.
Keep a fighter on top of a landed UFO in case it takes off
before your transport can get to it.
2.5.2 Downed/Landed UFOs
Attack the biggest UFO you can handle. Terror ships have
annoying terrorists (esp. Chrysalids!) and Battleship
simply have lots of enemies (and terrorists, depending on
mission). Supply ships are okay if you watch the grav-
Larger UFOs have more aliens and more artifacts to
recover, so risk and reward are proportional.
If you have a choice, attack a landed UFO instead of a
shot-down UFO. Landed UFO are undamaged and therefore
have more artifacts (plus 50 units of E-115 per engine)
but of course have also more aliens.
Some veterans have reported that they can finish game
faster by attacking landed UFOs only. While score may not
be as spectacular, they also have less risk of retaliation
and can get more research done and have more money (from
the extra booty)
Don't follow an UFO around with a loaded transport (with
soldiers and equipment). They are wasting fuel and time
and they may not have enough endurance to finish the race
and not able to respond to a different emergency (such as
a terror site suddenly popping up elsewhere)
2.5.3 Terror sites
Attack one ASAP, no exceptions. Divert from other UFO or
base attacks if necesary, and definitely attack at night.
The penalty for ignoring a terror site is simply too large
2.5.4 Alien bases
Depending on your soldiers, you should attack a base as
soon as you are able to (don't take rookies though). You
should not allow more than one alien base on Earth since
you can't really afford the penalty.
You may want to consider leaving a base alone nearby so
you can keep attacking the supply UFOs that drops by.
Just make sure you can handle the alien retaliation.
3.0 X-COM Bases
3.1 Where should I put my first base? Additional bases?
There are several things to consider while placing your first
base. Keep in mind that your first base will be your only base
for a while, so make sure you place it where you get maximum
coverage of the sponsoring countries, who also pays the most.
The problem is how to maximize the country coverage WHILE
maximizing the covered countries' total payment. We know that
the US pays the most (always), and second most is Japan, while
Europe has a lot of sponsor countries in a cluster. Third best
paying is, believe it or not, South Africa.
According to OSG's Chapter 5, the finance changes depend on
your score. If your score is positive, and you did a lot of
stuff in the sponsoring country (see XCOM Activity in Graphs),
then they will raise their payment by a random percentage. Now,
would you rather have 10% of $100,000, or 10% of $800,000?
OSG recommends Northern US as a good starting place, which is
okay, since US is the largest paying XCOM sponsor. On the other
hand, a base in US can only cover US, and Canada. A base in
Central Europe can cover UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and
a piece of Russia (though most of Russia would need a base in
Asia, covering Japan, China, and maybe India as well).
My vote is a toss-up between Europe and Northern-Central US.
Both can work quite well.
If you build your first base in Northern-Central US, build your
second in Europe, and vice versa. The third base should be near
Japan to cover Japan, China, Russia, and hopefully India (maybe
not), and fourth base should be in Africa covering Nigeria and
South Africa (an important contributor). If you build a fifth
base, it should go in South America, covering Brazil. If you
want a sixth base, built it in New Zealand or NorthEastern
Australia to covering most of the Pacific (covering Australia).
Check your graphs regularly to determine where to build your
next base. Watch for sponsor countries with high alien activity
with high-paying sponsor(s), then check how much did they pay
you via the Funding screen and see if they are worth defending.
Do not build additional bases until you have enough money in the
bank to pay for its initial construction AS WELL AS the first
month's maintainence. Negative balance for two months means the
end of your XCOM tenure!
3.2 How should I name my bases?
I personally name bases based on the continent they are on, plus
the COM suffix (stands for Command), except for the US base,
which is CentCom. Europe is EuroCom, South America is SoAmCom
(or SouthCom, if you want to be authentic), Asia is AsiaCom,
Africa is AfriCom, and so on. Sounds military. :-)
Naming bases is important because it means less confusion on the
Intercept screen on choosing which base to launch the fighters
and transports. Launching from the wrong one means the craft
will not get there in time, run out of fuel before getting there
(never get there since it will come back first), etc.
3.3 What types of bases should I build?
The OSG recommends that you build every base to be as full
fledged as possible, as to be ready in the unlikely event that
all other bases fell to the aliens. While I can sympathize with
the approach, it is very difficult to implement.
The main problem is in research. Each base research independent
of each other. Decentralized research slows discoveries and
makes duplicate research possible (efforts are NOT cumulative).
The only way to make things work like recommended is limit
yourself to about three or four bases, covering North America,
Europe, East Asia (Japan, China, Eastern Russia), and Africa
(South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt). Your bases will evolve in
stages as follows:
3.3.1 Radar base
The radar base just have radars, and later, hyperwave
decoders. Remember to put in a storage space (for HWPs
and their ammos) and a living quarter (for expansion and a
few guards). Stock it with several HWPs (plasma hover-
tanks are ideal) for defense, add one defense station when
you can afford it.
Each radar has a 5 percent chance of detecting an UFO
within its detection radius (just like the UFOpedia says),
so you don't need both small and large radars, just large
will do (unless you run out of money!). Ten radars means
50% chance of detection, etc.
Later you can replace all the radars with ONE hyperwave
decoder. One of those detects 100% UFOs in range.
Dismantle the radars to save on maintainence (see 5.4)
3.3.2 Intercept Base
Radar base with a hangar housing a fighter (Interceptor or
Firestorm). Watch the storage space since fighter needs
its own weapons and ammo. Add one if needed.
Consider adding defense now (or assign more guards and
HWPs) since aliens may get mad seeing their UFOs getting
destroyed in your area.
3.3.3 Strike Base
Intercept Base with a second hangar housing a transport
(Skyranger, Lightning, or Avenger). Remember to add
storage (weapons and ammo, plus loot) and alien
containment (prisoners) when needed.
Consider adding more defense, esp. when the aliens will
get really mad as you attack more of their UFOs and/or
bases in the area.
3.3.4 Research Base / Manufacture Base
Base should specialize in either research or manufacture,
not both (doing so is putting too many eggs in one
basket). Add living quarters and either workshop or
laboratory as needed. Manufacture base needs more storage
space or an empty hangar (if building crafts) so make you
have enough or use TRANSFER a lot.
You shouldn't have to build a lot of defenses here, esp.
if you build the 3.3.5 variant.
3.3.5 Special Research Base or Manufacture Base
As OSG mentioned, UFOs will start looking for your base if
their brethrens keeps getting attacked and destroyed in
the area. This suggest that if you build a base at North
or South pole, only stock it with soldiers and needed
equipment (no crafts or radars, or maybe a hyperwave
decoder), and wait until UFOs enter a different zone
before attacking them, you can keep a base pretty safe.
Many people have employed this tactic and it seems to work
quite well. This is also great for psi labs.
3.4 How do I design secure base easy to defend?
The most secure base design that I can think of is this one:
XXXXXX This base has only ONE access point: by the lift.
X.XXXX Any other way (such as through the hangar) actually
X.XXXX takes LONGER. And the long corridor spanning FOUR
A..... sections makes EXCELLENT choke points and impromptu
HHHHHH minefields with proximity grenades are great for
HHHHHH defense in this kind of situations. If you don't
need three hangars, you can trade the right one for
three more structures down the right side.
Basically, put the access lift off to one side of the
map and try to isolate that and hangars from the rest
XXXXXX of the base.
X.XXXX There is one catch: sometimes, there's a bug in
A....X the game that eliminates some doors that leads you to
HHHH.X the rest of the base. Without rockets and blaster
HHHH.X bombs to "dig", you can't kill the aliens in the other
section and thus cannot finish the battle at all.
3.5 What should I add to my base at first? Later?
Initial modifications you need for the main base are: alien
containment (prisoners), general stores (ammo and captured
artifacts), and long range radar (detection). Later, with more
money, add living quarters, labs, workshops, and defenses, in
approximately that order.
Defenses comes last usually since you can defend with soldiers
and HWPs. Of course, don't clog up the 80-items list.
Try to keep an hangar available so you can build more crafts.
Remember that transferring crafts is free.
3.6 How should I defend a base? How much defense is enough?
WARNING: previous versions of this guide listed that HWPs at
an empty base (i.e. no soldiers) can defend. I copied this
hint from _Computer Game Review_'s strategy article. I have
received at least two angry statements telling me that this is
NOT so. Each have lost at least TWO "undefended" bases.
Defending a base against alien raids is tough. Fortunately,
unless you are doing terribly well, aliens usually don't bother
your bases for a while. But near the end, alien battleships
will come after your bases, then you have a problem...
To defend against that, you need a high defense rating. I would
recommend over 3000, maybe 3500, plus grav shields, if you don't
like fighting inside your own base. Three fusion ball defenses
plus grav shields is usually enough. During a month, only one
out of ten battleships made it through my 3500 defense, and its
remaining landing parties are easy to wipe out with only HWPs.
On the other hand, if you don't have equipment to fight battle-
ships in the air, you may want to let it land and take it out on
the ground (i.e. at your base). Remember you will see A LOT of
aliens on a base raid, I hope you have a lot of USABLE
equipment (i.e. GOOD stuff in the first 80 items)...
Small UFOs usually scout ahead of the large UFOs that will
actually raid your base. If you can destroy the scout before it
detects your base, you can prevent the base attack.
In V1.0 of UFO (not XCOM and not later versions of UFO), you can
gain hundreds to thousands of units of Elerium if you win a
defend base action.
Clean out old inventory! Old inventory will prevent you from
getting to the GOOD weapons since you are still limited to 80
items during base defense, and base have lots of stuff...
The 80 items are pulled from inventory in the order on the SELL
screen, top to bottom in order. So if you have lots of lasers
you'll never got to plasmas and blaster bombs.
If you really ran out of space and do not want to conduct a fire
sale, stuff the extras into the transports, though selling them
is much easier and gains you money.
Proximity grenades are vital in base defenses. Dump a few near
entrances and doors, and get ready for the alien death screams.
3.7 Base modules
Name DaysBuild Cost Maint Usage
Access Lift 1 300k 4k (Entrance to underground base)
Alien Containment 18 500k 15k (Holds 10[!?] live aliens)
Fusion Defense 36 1800k 14k (Def value 1200, Accuracy 80%)
General Stores 10 150k 5k (Holds 50 units of equipment)
Grav Shield 38 2300k 15k (Gives defenses an extra shot)
Hanger 25 200k 25k (Maintains 1 craft)
Hyperwave Decoder 26 2000k 30k (Evaluate UFO missions)
Laboratory 26 750k 30k (Allows 50 research)
Large Radar 25 800k 15k (450nm range, 5% detect/10mins)
Laser Defense 24 900k 10k (Def value 600, Accuracy 60%)
Living Quarters 16 400k 10k (Sleeps 50)
Mind Shield 33 1300k 5k (Minimizes aliens finding base)
Missile Defense 16 200k 5k (Def value 500, Accuracy 50%)
Small Radar 12 500k 10k (300nm range, 5% detect/10mins)
Plasma Defense 36 1200k 12k (Def value 900, Accuracy 70%)
Psi Lab 24 750k 16k (For troop psi training)
Workshop 32 800k 35k (Allows 50 manufacture)
Fusion Defense, Grav Shield, Hyperwave Decoder, Laser Defense,
Mind Shield, Plasma Defense, and Psi Lab require respective
advances to be researched before they can be built, see 6.X for
NOTE 1: In a workshop, the object being manufactured takes up
some space. So you will not be able to cram all 50
engineers in there.
NOTE 2: You can dismantle a facility, even when it is under
construction. Simply click on the facility, and the
program will ask you do you wish to dismantle it, select
OK or Cancel.
NOTE 3: To dismantle a base, you must remove all facilities
(transferring all people and equipment elsewhere if
needed) then finally remove the access lift itself.
NOTE 4: What the manual does NOT tell you is Hyperwave Decoder
detects 100% of the UFOs within its range, and it has a
range LONGER than Large Radar. Once you have this, you
don't need any radars.
3.8 Base startup costs, compiled by IrwinNY aol.com
base location lift cost Covers
Africa, South 550,000 South Africa
Africa, North 650,000 Nigeria, Egypt
Atlantic, North 500,000 (Really Greenland)
America, North 800,000 USA, Canada
America, South 600,000 Brazil
Asia, Central 500,000 Western China
Asia, South East 750,000 Japan, Eastern China
Australasia 750,000 Australia
Europe 1,000,000 Eastern Commonwealth, UK, France,
Germany, Italy, Spain
Pacific 600,000 (really Hawaiian islands)
Siberia 800,000 Western Commonwealth, India
4.0 X-COM Hardware
Here's the comprehensive list of all the toys you get to play with.
Of course, most of them requires research.
4.1 XCOM Crafts and their weapons
XCOM crafts comes in two flavors: traditional, and UFO-based.
traditional, besides using conventional jet engines, also
requires MONTHLY RENT, so replace them with UFO-based crafts as
soon as possible.
XCOM weapons also comes in two flavors: built vs bought.
4.1.1 XCOM Crafts
Speed Accel Fuel Weapons Hull Cargo HWPs Note
Skyranger 760 2 2000 0 150 14 3
Interceptor 2100 3 1000 2 100 0 0
Firestorm 4200 9 20(E) 4 2 500 0 0 (1)
Lightning 3100 8 30(E) 6 1 800 12 0 (2)
Avenger 5400 10 60(E)12 2 1200 26 4 (3)
(E) Uses elerium-115 for fuel (1) new fighter
(2) new fighter/transport (3) ultimate craft
Speed : maximum speed of craft, determines if it can keep up
with UFO during interception.
Accel : maximum acceleration of craft, determines whether UFO
will stay in range
Fuel : amount of fuel carried, endurance terms
Weapons : number of weapon pod mounts available
Hull : amount of damage the craft can take
Cargo : number of "spaces" craft can carry. Each soldier is
one space and each HWP is four spaces (see HWPs also)
HWPs : maximum number of HWP this craft can carry.
Note : for the Elerium fueled crafts, you need to divide by 5
for the actual units used. Avenger takes actually 12
units of E-115 for refuel, instead of 60 as written
4.1.2 Craft General Advice
Replace Skyrangers and Interceptors ASAP to save on
monthly lease. OTH, Interceptors have longer range than
Firestorms, and with twin plasma cannon, can attack
anything except battleships.
Lightning is almost useless and usually do not get built
by most players. Just forget it and research for Avenger.
Lightning has four ONE-space doors which means it cannot
carry any HWPs.
Do NOT use Avengers exclusively since you put too many
eggs (soldiers and equipment) in one basket.
4.1.3 Craft Weapons
Damage Range Accuracy Reload Shots
Cannon 10 10 10% 2s 200
Stingray 70 30 70% 15s 6
Avalanche 100 60 100% 20s 3
Laser Cannon 70 21 70% 4s 99
Plasma Beam 140 52 140% 6s 99
Fusion Launcher 230 65 230% 25s 2
Damage : damage done to target if hit
Range : max range of weapon
Accuracy : hit probability when fired
Reload : second needed to fire next shot
Shots : number of shots available
NOTE 1: Match the weapon to the target. You want to force the
alien to land so you can board it and recover artifacts
and prisoners, not blow it into smithereens (though it
might make you feel good)
NOTE 2: The long range weapons, like Avalanche, Plasma Beam, and
Fusion Ball Launcher, gives you advantage since UFO
usually do not fire back until you are quite close. See
7.5 for UFO weapon ranges.
NOTE 3: It is possible to miss with weapons that have accuracy
> 100%, esp. when target moves out of range.
4.1.4 Craft Weapons General Advice
You don't want Stingray missiles and cannons. They can
handle only very small or small UFOs. Only keep them
around on ONE fighter in case you want to go after small
Use Avalanche missiles in the early game to take on medium
or large UFOs. With two to three interceptors you can
take down terror ships or supply ships easily.
Switch to plasma cannons later in the game and forget
fusion ball launchers (not enough damage overall, only 2
Forget laser cannons except for selling (see section 5)
4.2 XCOM Ground Weapons
Ground weapons accuracy is further modified by free hands,
kneeling /standing, and soldier's shooting accuracy. Time Units
used is always expressed as a percent of a soldier's total TU.
Also see 8.6.X on battle notes for each type of weapon.
(Accuracy / TU% needed)
Aimed Snap Auto Dam Type Ammo (Capacity)
Pistol 78/30 60/18 26 AP Pistol Clip (15)
Rifle 110/80 60/25 35/35 30 AP Rifle Clip (20)
Heavy Cannon 90/80 60/33 56 AP HC-AP (6)
52 HE HC-HE (6)
60 I HC-I (6)
Auto Cannon 82/80 56/33 32/40 42 AP AC-AP (14)
44 HE AC-HE (14)
48 I AC-I (14)
Rocket Launcher 115/75 55/45 75 HE Small Rocket
100 HE Large Rocket
90 I Incendiary Rocket
Grenade 50 HE
Smoke Grenade 60 Smoke
Proximity Grenade 70 HE
High Explosive 110 HE
Laser Pistol 68/55 40/20 28/25 46 Las
Laser Rifle 100/50 65/25 46/34 60 Las
Heavy Laser 84/75 50/33 85 Las
Plasma Pistol 85/60 65/30 50/30 52 Plas PP clip (25)
Plasma Rifle 100/60 86/30 55/63 80 Plas PR clip (30)
Heavy Plasma 110/60 75/30 50/35 115 Plas HP clip (35)
Blaster Launcher 120/80 200 HE Blaster Bomb
Small Launcher 110/75 65/40 90 Stun Stun Bomb
Alien Grenade 90 HE
AP = Armor piercing HE = High Explosive I = Incendiary
Note 1 : Accuracy for two-handed weapons is decreased 20% if
other hand is not empty (i.e. holding something like
grenade, psi amp, etc.)
Note 2 : Accuracy is increased 10% if the soldier is kneeling,
which takes only 4 TUs
Note 3 : Grenades and Blaster Bomb have 3-D explosions (despite
what many people claimed)
Get laser pistol and rifle ASAP, then research heavy plasma,
skipping plasma pistol and plasma rifle (go back later when you
have time), then blaster launcher.
Forget heavy cannon and heavy laser as they are not worth the
weight without auto (three-round-burst) mode.
Autocannon would be your "heavy" weapon early on, along with a
rocket launcher. Replace them with laser/heavy plasma and
4.3 HWP Types
Cost Shots Dam TU ArmorF/S/R Health
Tank/Cannon 450K 30 60 70 90/ 75/ 60 90
Tank/Rocket 480K 8 85 70 90/ 75/ 60 90
Tank/Laser 500K 255 110 70 90/ 75/ 60 90
Hover/Plasma 850K 255 110 100 130/130/100 90
Hover/Launcher 900K 8 140 100 130/130/100 90
HWPs should be your scouts, extending your visual range and
keeps your soldiers out of enemy's visual (and lethal) range
Get the latest and greatest ASAP, buy/built them. You need the
extra TUs and ammo the provide early in the game. When you have
lots of veterans HWPs lose their importance, but is still
important as just a scout.
You must buy enough ammo for HWP that requires them for them to
be available for deployment. Tank cannon, Tank/Rocket, and
Hover/launcher each require their own ammo in the quantity
indicated under "Shots". Make sure you get the right ones.
None 5/ 5/ 5/ 5
Personal Armor 50/40/30/30
Power Suit 100/80/70/60
Flying Suit 110/90/80/70
personal armor just need "alien alloy", so research that ASAP.
That will improve your chance of survival by quite a bit. After
that, research UFO power source and you should get Power Suit,
and finishing a hovertank should get your flying suit.
Power suit is the most "efficient" amor. Flying suit
a lot of elerium, so reserve them for scouts and officers.
Equipment are non-combat items that you may need to use in
4.5.1 Equipment list
Electroflare 25% Use at night for illumination, reusable
Medikit 10 heal fatal wounds, raise morale, revive
unconscious people (see UFOpedia)
MotionScanner 25% registers movement within 8 squares radius
Mind Probe 50% allows you to see alien's status screen
(ID, TUs remain, health, + other stats)
4.5.2 Very General Advice
Carry one electroflare and one medikit on each soldier.
You need the light at night (just in case) and the medikit
means no more bleeding to death.
Medikits are not quite as useful when you don't have good
armor, because even a weak hit becomes a kill with bad
armor. Before then you can distribute less medikits.
You can pick up a thrown electroflare and throw it again.
So you don't need to carry too many of those around.
Mind Probe and Motion Scanner are optional items. Motion
Scanner are useful to look behind doors or for hunting
down that last alien. Mind Probe is for knowing who to
capture. Take them if you have room, but they are not
essential to a ground battle.
4.5.3 How do I use...
Check your UFOpedia. Below are some additional tips:
You can pick up an electroflare on the ground and throw
it out again, illuminating another area
Chuck one inside the building through a window to see
inside. You may have to kneel to angle one in.
Heal fatal wounds first, worry about unconscious and
morale later. If necesary, use TWO people's medikits.
To revive a person, keep administering stimulant until
s/he no longer shows up on the ground in the inventory
screen. Should appear next turn at an adjacent square.
Remember the top of display is always north (like the
overhead map) and YOUR facing is the middle arrow.
Use this to look around corners and behind doors.
Aliens hardly ever stay still between rounds.
Usually you would use this to ID a target for capture
but here's a trick that you can use if you do NOT have
one: try to pick up the unconscious alien on the ground
will also identify alien's rank and position.
4.6 Stuff that can be bought, hire, or leased
These are the stuff you can buy, usually not very interesting.
Item Category Cost Note
Soldier Personnel 40000 monthly salary
Scientist Personnel 60000 monthly salary
Engineer Personnel 50000 monthly salary
Skyranger Craft 500000 monthly lease
Interceptor Craft 600000 monthly lease
Stingray l'cher Craft Weapon 16000 6 rounds
Stingray missile Craft Ammo 3000
Avalanche l'cher Craft Weapon 17000 3 rounds
Avalanche missile Craft Ammo 9000
Cannon Craft Weapon 30000
Cannon Ammo (x50) Craft Ammo 1240
Tank/Cannon HWP 420000 30 rounds
HWP Cannon Ammo HWP Ammo 200
Tank/Rocket HWP 480000 8 rounds
HWP Rocket HWP Ammo 3000
Pistol Weapon 800 20 rd/clip
Pistol Clip Ammo 70
Rifle Weapon 3000 25 rd/clip
Rifle Clip Ammo 200
Heavy Cannon Weapon 6400 6 rd/clip
HC-AP Ammo 300
HC-HE Ammo 500
HC-I Ammo 400
Auto Cannon Weapon 13500 14 rd/clip
AC-AP Ammo 500
AC-HE Ammo 700
AC-I Ammo 650
Rocket Launcher Weapon 4000
Small Rocket Ammo 600
Large Rocket Ammo 900
Incendiary Rocket Ammo 1200
Grenade Weapon 300
Smoke Grenade Weapon 150
Proximity Grenade Weapon 500
High Explosive Weapon 1500
Stun Rod Weapon 1260
ElectroFlare Equipment 60
4.7 Stuff that must be researched and manufacturered
See 5.4 for profitability study of these items. Keep in mind
that UFO have a different set of prices.
Engineer Workshop Alien Sale
Hours Cost Space Elerium Alloys Price
Motion scanner 220 34k 4 - - 45600
Medikit 420 28k 4 - - 46500
Mind probe 1200 262k 4 1 - 334000
Psi amp 500 160k 4 1 - 194700
Personal armor 800 22k 12 - 4 140000
Power suit 1000 42k 16 5 5 310000
Flying suit 1400 58k 16 16 5 420000
Tank/laser 1200 500k 25 - - ?
Hovertank/plasma 1200 850k 30 30 5 980000
Hovertank/launcher 1400 900k 30 25 8 1043000
HWP fusion bomb 400 15k 25 5 8 31500
Laser pistol 300 8k 2 - - 20000
Laser rifle 400 20k 3 - - 36900
Heavy laser 700 32k 4 - - 61000
Plasma pistol 600 56k 3 - 1 84000
Plasma pistol clip 60 2k 4 1 - 4440
Plasma rifle 820 88k 4 - 1 126500
Plasma rifle clip 80 3k 4 2 - 6290
Heavy plasma 1000 122k 4 - 1 171600
Heavy plasma clip 80 6k 4 3 - 9590
Blaster launcher 1200 90k 5 - 1 144000
Blaster bomb 220 8k 3 3 - 17028
Small launcher 900 78k 3 - 1 120000
Stun bomb 200 7k 2 1 - 15200
Alien grenade 200 6.7k 2 2 - 14850
FIRESTORM 14000 400k 30 - 65 -*
LIGHTNING 18000 600k 34 - 85 -*
AVENGER 34000 900k 36 - 120 -**
Laser cannon 300 182k 6 - - 211000
Plasma beam 500 226k 8 15 - 267300
Fusion ball launcher 400 242k 6 - - 281100
Fusion ball 600 28k 6 4 - 53300
Alien alloys 100 3k 10 - - 6500
Elerium-115 - - - - - 5000***
UFO power source 1400 130k 22 16 5 250000
UFO navigation 1600 150k 18 - 3 80000
* needs 1 UFO power source + 1 UFO navigation
** needs 2 UFO power sources + 1 UFO navigation
*** Elerium can ONLY be captured as parts of UFO or base, which makes
it extremely valuable, so NEVER sell or waste any of it
5.1 What really eats up money at XCOM?
The answer is: maintenence, and salary. If you have 100
scientists, their monthly salary is $6 million (!). Add that to
your bases (the BARE MINIMUM radar base costs over $1 million a
month to maintain!), and you will go broke pretty quick.
Sponsors' money will barely make a dent in your expenses, as
they only pay you a few million, probably not even enough for
5.2 How do I earn more money?
Three (real) ways to make money in XCOM:
Make your sponsoring countries happy -- so they will increase
their payments. The problem is: they don't pay much to start
with, and their increase is just enough to sneeze at. Their
payments may be enough to buy some ammo and stuff, but don't
expect much of an increase.
Manufacture arms for sale -- 5.4 shows you what to make to
really make money, but usually you need the weapons and other
stuff for yourself, so that leaves us to:
Sell captured/surplus equipment -- most of your money will be
made this way. Dump off all your obsolete equipment (pistols,
rifles, etc) and surplus and you will get LOTS of money. You
will usually end with with plenty of surplus heavy plasma, and
those fetch very good prices on the market. :-) Doing this also
means you need less storage space (and less maintainence) and
more "real" weapons on base defense (due to the 80 item limit)
Keep only one item of each type for research, sell the rest. You
need the money and the space for more useful stuff.
As a last resort, you can always cheat. See the last section
5.3 How do I cut expenses?
* Cut Maintenence -- dismantle any unused facility (see 5.6)
* Build your own crafts -- Skyrangers and Interceptors have a
monthly rental fee, your own crafts do not. Of course,
this means you have to research UFO construction and
* Minimize salary -- use the salary transfer trick! (see 5.5)
5.4 What do I manufacture to make more money on the arms market?
X-COM Profitability study -- by Jeff Shaffer [edited]
Recently, we at the XCOM Business Institute (our motto: "If it's
worth doing, it's worth analyzing to death") spent all last
night to bring you the following table. The basic assumption is
that you are willing to support engineers long-term in order to
make a profit. I calculated results for a hypothetical 2
workshop operation. You would get slightly better results with
larger facilities, due to the economy of scale.
[some numbers are rounded to the nearest 1000 (K) for space]
Work Eng Raw Sale Unit|Monthly|Net
Item Space Hrs Material Cost Price P R O F I T
Motion Scanner 4 220 - 34K 45K 11K 3765K 1275K
Medikit 4 420 - 28K 46K 18K 3146K 656K
Psi Amp 4 500 1E 160K 194K 29K 4242K 1752K
Personal Armor 12 800 4A 22K 54K 6K 491K -
Power Suit 16 1000 5E+5A 42K 85K - - -
Flying Suit 16 1400 16E+5A 58K 115K - - -
Alien Alloys 10 100 - 3K 6K 3K 2343K 3K
Elerium 115 - - - - 5K - - -
Laser Pistol 2 300 - 8K 20K 12K 2916K 376K
Laser Rifle 3 400 - 2K0 36K 16K 3049K 534K
Heavy Laser 4 700 - 32K 61K 29K 2958K 468K
Plasma Pistol 3 600 1A 56K 84K 21K 2586K 71K
Plasma Pistol Clip 4 60 1E 2K 4K - - -
Plasma Rifle 4 820 1A 88K 126K 32K 2787K 297K
Plasma Rifle Clip 4 80 2E 3K 6K - - -
Heavy Plasma 4 1000 1A 122K 171K 43K 3078K 588K
Heavy Plasma Clip 4 80 3E 6K 9K - - -
Blaster Launcher 5 1200 1A 9K0 144K 47K 2797K 332K
Blaster Bomb 3 220 3E 8K 17K - - -
Small Launcher 3 900 1A 78K 120K 35K 2846K 331K
Stun Bomb 2 200 1E 7K 15K 3K 1166K -
Alien Grenade 2 200 2E 6K 14K - - -
Mind Probe 4 1200 1E 262K 304K 37K 2202K -
UFO Power Source 22 1400 16E+5A 130K 250K 7K 310K -
UFO Navigation 18 1600 3A 150K 80K - - -
Fusion Ball L'cher 6 400 1A 242K 281K 39K 6836K 4396K
Fusion Ball 6 600 4E 28K 53K 5K 617K -
Laser Cannon 6 300 - 182K 211K 29K 6760K 4320K
Plasma Beam 8 500 15E 226K 267K - - -
Tank/Laser Cannon 25 1200 - 500K 594K 94K 4371K 2406K
Hovertank/Plasma 30 1200 30E+5A 850K 980K - - -
Hovertank/Launcher30 1400 25E+8A 900K 1043K - - -
HWP Fusion Bomb 25 400 5E+8A 15K 31K - - -
First six columns are just basic information from my version of
XCOM. (Note: I have seen posts stating that UFO has higher sale
prices for some items, notably armor!) The 'Unit Profit' column
is sale price minus cost, minus the cost of any E-115/Alloy used
in manufacture. A '-' means a net loss, no further analysis.
'Monthly Profit' column is based on an "XCOM Month" of 24*31 =
744 hours. The calculation is number of engineers that fit in
two workshops times 744 times unit profit, divided by the hours
required to make one item. For example, the monthly profit for
Motion Scanners is 96*744*11600/220 = 1275993 (1275K).
The 'Net Profit' column is the bottom line. Monthly expenses
are the salaries of as many engineers as fit in the workshops
times $50K, plus the maintenance on 2 workshops and 2 living
As you can see, Fusion Ball Launchers are the winner, narrowly
edging out Laser Cannons. A profit can be made early in the
game on motion scanners, however.
One final note: It costs roughly $7M to hire engineers and
build the facilities, so you'll need to 'borrow' some money
(preferably from alien supply ships :) to get started.
[Editor's note: don't forget the "transfer salary trick" below]
5.5 The "Transfer Salary Savings" trick
As explained on page 131 of OSG, if you sack scientists and/or
engineers before the end of the month, you don't have to pay
their salaries. However, there's ANOTHER way to do this.
Have two bases approximately equivalent to each other, like both
research (or manufacturing), about same living quarters, and
scientists (or engineers). Just before end of the month (last
day, last hour), transfer ALL of the scientists (engineers) to
the other base, and do the same on the other base (i.e. they
swap their contingent). When the end of month comes along,
NEITHER side has their scientists (engineers) (they are in
transit), no salary is paid. If you have like 100 scientists
moving each way, you save $60,000x100x2 = $12 million!
5.6 When do I dismantle unused base facilities?
The OSG was rather unclear on what to dismantle. Basically, you
should do the following:
* When you get hyperwave decoder, build only one at each base,
and dismantle all the radars there. One hyperwave decoder
detect 100% of UFOs within range, so no radars are needed.
* When you no longer need alien prisoners (i.e. you are ready to
undertake the "final mission"), zap the alien containment
(though by that time, it doesn't matter any more, unless you
are waiting for your Avenger to be built)
* When you no longer need more research or manufacturing (i.e.
you are ready for the "final mission"), lay off all the
scientists and/or engineers, and zap their living quarters and
5.7 Aliens signed pact with XXX who stopped paying me!
Nothing you can do. One of the Infiltration UFOs got through.
(See 9.8 UFO Missions) and now the country stopped paying you.
Consensus on the net is you can NOT get them back (i.e. nullify
the pact). The OSG confirms so.
On the other hand, some UFO players have reported that certain
countries (very few though) have returned. Any XCOM players
have their countries coming back from an alien pact?
6.0 Research and Manufacturing
6.1 What should I start researching first?
OSG and I have different priorities on research...
I recommend laser weapons, medikit, laser rifle, and alien alloy
(which allows personal armor) for the starting projects.
Pistols and rifles are pitiful against plasma rifles and alien
grenades. Laser rifles, which does not use ammo, should even up
the odds a bit, and personal armor should save you from a
grazing shot (which would have killed with no armor). Medikit
will save you from the grazing shot that caused fatal wounds.
The rest is up to you, but I recommend researching heavy plasma,
small launcher and stun bombs, then heavy blaster and blaster
bombs. Then research Elerium, UFO power source, so you can
build nice armor.
6.2 Overall strategy
Keep roughly 100 scientists in your employment. You need that
much research to discover things in reasonable time, though you
can probably get by with 50-75.
Due to the way research works, concentrate on one project at a
time so you can start on later topics faster.
Research prisoners ASAP. See 9.3 for benefits you can gain from
each type of prisoners. Grab a navigator would mean that you
can reap significant saving in radars (after you get the
hyperwave decoder, of course) and better interception.
6.3 Research Tree
[OSG has chart on man-hours needed for each discovery]
Laser Weapons Heavy Heavy Plasma Plasma
| Plasma Plasma Clip Rifle Rifle Clip
Laser Pistol |___________| |__________|
| | |
Laser Rifle | |
Heavy Laser |
Laser Cannon Plasma Cannon
(Laser Tank) (Hovertank/Plasma)*
Laser Defense Plasma Defense
Alien Alloys Blaster Blaster
| Launcher Bomb
Elerium 115 Personal Armor UFO Power Source |___________|
| Fusion Ball
Power Suit UFO Navigation |
|_________________| Fusion Defense
Alien Elerium UFO UFO
Alloys 115 Power Source Navigation
New Fighter Craft
(Firestorm) * = [Hovertank / Plasma]
Grav Ultimate Craft
* Need "New Fighter Craft" before you can build the plasma hovertank.
** Need fusion ball launcher before you can build the fusion ball
6.4 Any hints on manufacturing?
Only manufacture thing that you REALLY need, like crafts, etc.
almost NEVER manufacture ammo since most require Elerium, which
is always in short supply. Captured ammo is much cheaper and
don't use your precious E-115 supply.
NEVER let any engineers go idle. If you don't need anything
built, build something that makes money.
7.0 Intercepting UFOs
Don't forget to check section 4 for info on XCOM crafts. Some of
these hints and related hints are also listed in Section 2.
Also see 12.2 for UFO recognition chart (and floorplan)
7.1 Tracking UFOs
Remember that UFOs have specific targets and they do NOT change
missions in mid-air ("Chicago's covered, let's go for Havana
instead"). They also head STRAIGHT for their targets on the
inbound leg. So if you see an UFO and lost tracking, try to
extrapolate its course and send interceptors to their estimated
NEXT location instead of going toward the last known location.
[Interestingly, they sometimes abort their mission (just leave),
esp. in cases where they can't find your base to attack.]
If you have hyperwave decoder, you can see UFO destination
directly as it comes into range.
7.2 Air-to-air attack methods
Once you got a craft in range of the UFO, it's time to attack.
While the OSG explained what the different attacks REALLY mean,
it STILL doesn't explain what good is each for. Here's my
Cautious Attack: causes least damage per attack but remains at
the longest range and therefore has the least chance of getting
counter-attacked. Useful when you want a not too badly damaged
UFO (just enough to crash it).
Normal Attack: average damage per attack, enough for most
attacks if your weapon outranges the UFOs.
Aggressive Attack: close to point-blank and let them have it
in the face! Causes the most damage per attack, but exposes
craft to counter-fire. Good for brave/suicidal charges (toward
an alien battleship, for instance)
OSG has a typo: Table 7-2, Fusion Ball Launcher holds TWO, not
three shots as stated. Section 4.1 is correct.
In case you haven't noticed, Plasma Beam is the BEST craft
weapon in the game. It has 100 shots, 70 damage per shot, AND
range of 52 km, which outdistances almost all UFOs except
battleships. Even though Fusion Ball Launcher causes more
damage per shot, you only get two shots for each launcher.
In any case, try to replace Stingrays and regular cannons ASAP,
since they are worthless once you see large UFOs.
7.4 Special note on Alien Battleship
Battleship is THE most dangerous UFO, period. It outranges ALL
XCOM craft weapons. Only Firestorms and Avengers can stand up
to it, NEVER use Interceptors (or you WILL lose them). ALWAYS
attack Battleships in groups to minimize damage and the
resultant repair time, and use aggressive attack, since you
don't want the UFO to fire back that often. I've found that
aggresive attack reduces damage against Battleships.
7.5 UFO Size Classes and weapons range
If you read table 7-3 in OSG or the UFOpedia, the Weapon Range
of the UFO is a rather large number (ex. Battleship = 520). That
number means nothing by itself. To get a more meaningful
number, divide that by 8 for the range in kilometers. (EX.
Battleship is 520/8=65 km). That forms the revised weapons
range table below.
Revised range table:
UFO TYPE Weapon Range (km)
Small Scout 0
Medium Scout 15
Large Scout 34
Terror Ship 42
Supply Ship 28.5
Plasma beam, with 52 km range, can attack any UFO except
battleship with impunity. UFO Battleship, with range of 65 km,
can shoot back at even crafts armed with Fusion Ball Launchers
(which also has a 65 km range).
7.6 Methods of Attack
The safest way to hit large or very large UFOs is to have
multiple Firestorms and/or Avengers to converge on them. UFOs
are dumb and does not concentrate on one target, so the more
targets you present, the less damage each will receive. Of
course, if you send up Interceptors against Battleships, don't
expect many to come back, since Battleships can destroy an
Interceptor with ONE shot.
Plasma beams will make your Interceptors useful again, so get
them ASAP. Replace them with Firestorms ASAP though to save on
7.7 Go Home Early
When you send multiple crafts after one UFO and the UFO gets
shot down, the shooter will go home, but other crafts will
continue onto the crash site and THEN return. Instead, click on
them and turn them back early (Return to base). They will
return earlier, thus be refueled and rearmed faster for the next
7.8 Keep Landed UFOs covered
Even if UFO has landed, keep an interceptor on top of it until
your landing craft arrives for the action. That way, if the UFO
takes off, you still have a chance to shoot it down.
7.9 Weapon vs UFO analysis
Before attacking, click on the VIEW UFO button to take a look at
your target before deciding whether to attack or not. Attacking
with wrong weapons means either the loss of the interceptor or
the UFO totally destroyed so that nothing can be recovered.
For this reason, if you WANT to go after the smaller UFOs, keep
a fighter around with "wimpy" weapons.
7.9.1 Very Small / Small UFOs
Interceptors with Stingray missiles and cannons can only
handle very small or small sized UFOs. Attacking larger
UFOs means heavy damage or even destruction. Laser
cannons are not much better, sharing the short range flaw.
7.9.2 Medium UFOs
Interceptors with Avalanche missiles or plasma beams can
handle medium UFOs easily. On the other hand, one
Avalanche will blow a very small UFO into pieces.
7.9.3 Large UFOs
Interceptors with Plasma beam and/or Avalanche missiles
can handle large UFOs, but not VERY large UFOs. Plasma
beam may blow small UFO into pieces.
7.9.4 Very Large UFOs
Multiple Interceptors with plasma beam and/or Avalanche
are needed to attack very large UFOs, and you'll probably
lose a few, since one shot from battleship will at least
cripple an interceptor. Just don't do it.
The only way to "safely" attack alien battleships is to
use Firestorms and Avengers (the more the better!) with
twin plasma beams. Even then you will probably be heavily
damaged (as in 20% to 60% damage), which is not a good
trade. Many have suggested that you should let them land
and attack them on the ground.
8.0 Soldiers, Movement, and Combat
8.1.1 Soldier Statistics
We recommend that instead of using the default names, you
adopt a naming system for your soldiers that will help you
to know at a glance who to take on a mission.
System One reflects a trained specialty, such as scout
(SC), heavy weapons (HW), demolitions (DM), psi combat
(PS), sharpshooter (SS), etc. For example, "Steve Rogers
HW/PS" has lots of strength and nice time units for
carrying the heavy weapons (and shooting them). His
PsiStr and PsiSkl is also pretty high so he also carries a
PsiAmp for psi combat.
Here's some suggested specialties
Scout (SC) -- carry motion sensor
Medic (MD) -- carry Medi-Kit
Intelligence (IT) -- carry mind probe
Heavy Weapons (HW) -- carry "heavy" stuff
PsiCorp (PSI) -- carry psi amp for psi attacks *
* PsiCorp is named after the organization in Babylon 5
You can also cross-train, of course. There's no limit in
the number of spots each person can hold... And real-life
SEAL teams are all cross-trained any way.
System Two just places the numbers in the name. For
example, "Steve 64/44/36/71/46/62/16", for which the
numbers are Time Units, Health, Reactions, Firing
Accuracy, Strenth, Psi Strength, and Psi Skill. You'll
probably need to update after this every mission.
(contributed by Seth Cohn)
To change the name, go to the soldiers screen (the one
base display) that displays their stats. Click on their
name, and a cursor comes up, allowing you to change them.
8.1.2 Recruiting soldiers
Sack weaklings ASAP. You want high strength, reaction,
morale, and shooting accuracy, and when you get psi, psi
strength. So recruit lots of rookies, use them for scouts
(they are cheap when compared to HWPs). If they survive,
keep them, else, oh, well, they've done the world a great
Why those traits? High strength means they can carry more
(and heavier) stuff. High reaction means they can get
opportunity fire (reaction shots) while enemy is moving.
High Morale means they are less susceptible to panic, and
shooting accuracy is obvious. :-) Other characteristics
are not as important.
Soldiers only get promoted if there are enough of them to
warrant a promotion. So hire a lot of rookies, send them
out to missions. The ones that survive are squaddies, and
when you have enough squaddies, you have officers. Feel
free to sack the bad squaddies later to save on salary.
8.1.3 How do I improve stats of soldiers?
Try to always take a couple of rookies along to give them
experience to boost their stats. In XCOM, you learn by
doing. You want more strength? Carry heavy stuff. More
accuracy? Take more shots. Soldiers with kills gain more
than those without kills.
8.1.4 Dividing up specialties
Assuming 10 soldiers and 1 HWP (normal for a Skyranger)
you should have the following:
2 soldiers heavy weapon squad
3 soldiers squad A
3 soldiers squad B
The two highest strength soldiers should be the heavy
weapon folks, who would be carrying autocannon and rocket
launcher in the early game, and blaster launchers later.
The scout should have the highest TU (low strength is
okay) and will be carrying pistols and grenades and maybe
The two squads can go after different targets, one squad
lead by officer and supported by HWP, while the other
squad supported by scout and heavy weapons.
8.1.5 How do I get more officers?
Officers come from Squaddies, and squaddies come from
Rookies who survived a mission and gotten at least one
kill. Section 3.2.4 Promtions of manual explains how many
soldiers you need for officers to show up.
8.2.1 Deployment from Transport into Battle
The OSG fails to mention that you CAN see the outside
through the Windows in your transport. If the last
soldier turn around in the Skyranger or Avenger, you can
see A LOT beyond the cockpit. Of course, since you are on
Level 1, (Level 0 = ground) you can't see things that are
right next to you on ground.
After that, send out a HWP just on the ramp, turn to face
right. If there's no enemy, turn to face left, and you've
just cleared the surrounding area. If there is enemy, get
off the ramp and start shooting.
Prime a grenade for most soldiers and be ready to throw it
as you get off the ramp.
Move the initial soldiers a few squares away before
deploying the next two so you don't invite grenades and/or
8.2.2 Use the terrain!
You can use the terrain in other ways than just hiding
behind something. Use secondary explosions to your
advantage! If alien is standing next to volatile object
like fuel drums, gas pumps, those red things in UFOs or
bases, etc, blow THAT up (DOOM players love doing this).
Aliens DO shoot through each other, so if you have NOWHERE
to hide, hide BEHIND an alien and pray. (It was reported
that one alien shot itself when attempting to shoot down
Kneel whenever possible. It increases your accuracy and
decreases the enemy's (make you a smaller target)
Always hide behind something; it could mean the difference
between a wound vs. death! Of course, that also means
that you have to have enough TUs
If you have flying suit, do not stay in mid-air unless you
have something to hide behind also.
8.2.3 Alien Movement and visual range
Do the aliens have better night vision?
Answer: They do NOT.
Why they can shoot at you but you don't see them?
Answer: depending on difficulty level, they "remember"
where you are from previous turns for several turns (on
higher levels they remember longer). They can ONLY shoot
at you IF they had seen you before and still "remembered".
Aliens capitalize on this by moving forward, spot you,
then move back out of range. Then for next X turns those
aliens in range shoot at you out of your visual range.
| | YOU
This is why soldiers may get mind-blasted even if no
aliens are in sight.
8.2.4 Listen and watch
Watch carefully in alien movement phase. Sometimes you CAN
spot them moving around. TRY to remember the surrounding
terrain, then go to overhead map and see if you can spot
where that was.
Watch carefully where the shots came from.
Sound can give you important clues to alien locations. If
you hear door sounds, you know alien moved in/out of a
door. Different door makes different sounds.
Aliens also have no manners. They leave doors open after
they go through. Watch farm houses carefully.
The length of the alien movement phase is proportional to
the number of hostile aliens left on the map. Just keep
in mind that stunned aliens can wake up.
8.2.5 Spread out and cover each other
Bunch up invites enemy attack you with grenades, or worse,
blasterbombs. Stay about four to eight squares apart.
Aliens DO attack from behind sometimes, so try to have two
troopers who can watch each other's back. This is
ESPECIALLY important when going up against Chryssalids,
who moves extremely fast [~120 TUs!] It will turn your
soldiers into zombies in a blink of an eye... One player
reported losing the entire squad to a single Chryssalid on
a terror mission! It pays to watch each other's back!
Here's a simple demonstration with a four person fire
A and B moves forward, leapfrogging C and D. C and D
would look forward when A and B move, ready to shoot at
any spotted enemies. When A and B has stopped, C and D
would turn around and watch the backs of A and B, who
would also turn facing outwards.
8.2.6 Retreat (Tactical withdrawal)
Sometimes you can't win and it's time to cut your losses.
To retreat from a landing assault (UFO recovery or
assault, terror site), move any many units as you can back
into the transport, then hit the dust-off button. Any
units left behind are "missing in action".
If the only solider onboard the transport is unconscious
and you select dust-off, s/he's also missing in action,
and you lose the transport.
To retreat an attack on an alien base, you must pull every
one that you can back into one of those green-floor rooms
that you came down in. Soldiers on gravlifts (even if
they are in the green-floor room) as well as soldiers
elsewhere are MIA when you select dust-off.
To retreat from a base defense mission, just hit dust-off.
You will lose the whole base to the aliens, of course,
including the crafts (no home elsewhere for them)
8.3 General Combat Tactics
8.3.1 HWP usage
HWPs should be used for "beating the bush" and flush
aliens out for soldiers to shoot. That makes rocket
launcher tank and fusion ball launcher hovertank more
useful than their cousins.
Hovertank is even more useful since it can go high and
thus cover more ground. They can also hover in mid-air
and thus avoid hand-to-hand attacks.
Use their shots to take down walls of orchards, barns, and
stuff like that so you don't have to go inside and clean
up every room.
8.3.2 Grenade usage
Grenades should be used for temporary boost in firepower
and for clearing obstacles in view. Blow a hole in the
walls instead of going through the door.
Rookies can be effective grenadiers since grenades are
area weapons and grenades don't miss by very far.
High Explosive is just a very heavy grenade, and you will
have problems tossing it. Toss it a short distance or
drop it on ground, then RUN away from the area. They are
great opening up houses and barns, and may be able to
punch through inner (maybe outer?) UFO walls.
Proximity grenades are great for traps. Use them to
prevent aliens coming up behind you, and/or pin aliens
(toss one on either side of it and it can't move without
setting one off) Just remember where you threw them
(check the map) and don't walk near them yourself.
You can toss grenades to upper levels and through windows,
though you may have to kneel down to do it.
8.3.3 Blaster bombs usage
Blaster bomb and launcher is the second best weapon in the
game (the best is heavy plasma). It can shoot around
corners, has wonderful damage (200 points!) and is very
effective. Of course, it is also EXPENSIVE, and so is its
ammo. So, use them carefully (don't save them either).
Use them to take down cover is a waste, use grenades
instead (unless you got bombs to waste)
Remember that blaster bomb do NOT explode when they reach
their last waypoint. They explode when they actually HIT
something. If you just fly a BB into an empty field, it
will NOT explode.
Blaster bombs is great for UFO attacks. Use them to punch
holes in the UFO's outer hull for a new door. Target
square next to main door to enlarge door for HWPs. One
shot will clear most of the corridor. Unfortunately,
aliens love to shoot blaster bombs down gravlifts.
8.3.4 Rookie Plasma Fodder
One possible if cruel tactic is to use rookies instead of
HWPs as scouts. It is a smaller target, though have less
armor and a lot less TUs. On the other hand, they cost
about 1/10th as much.
8.3.5 Leave opportunity for shots
To make opportunity shots in the enemy movement phase, you
need TU's left unused, as well as a high reactions rating
(over 50 preferred). So leave enough for a shot while
moving and still get in cover, or don't move at all.
Have soldiers kneeling close to UFO doors is a good way to
get better reactions, if they have plenty of TUs left to
shoot any aliens who comes out.
8.3.9 Saving ammo
XCOM has a peculiar way of counting ammo usage: any clip
that was fired (even just one round!) is consider "spent"
at the end of the scenario UNLESS unloaded from the
weapon. So, if you just fired one round, unload it when
the end of battlescape is near (you DID time the alien
movement phase, didn't you?)
Interestingly, the same thing applies to the aliens as
well! If you panic the aliens and they drop their
weapons, you should pick them up and unload them, toss the
ammo clip aside. That way you gain a clip independent of
the gun you got (plus clips the alien was carrying).
8.4 Capturing Aliens
8.4.1 How to I capture an alien?
You can capture aliens in four ways, so let's discuss
advantages and disadvantages.
Shoot an alien and hope it drops stunned instead of dead:
Since smoke inhalation produce stun damage, if alien had
inhaled smoke for a while, and you shot it later, it may
drop stunned. This is too much of a guess work though,
and is dangerous if alien is armed.
Use stun rod on the alien: Dangerous since stun rod is
a hand-to-hand weapon, but it's all you have early on.
Remember to stand RIGHT NEXT to the target, and DIRECTLY
FACING the target, or you cannot stun!
Use stun bomb and small launcher: safest way to capture an
alien, shoot and scoot.
Keep dumping smoke grenades on an alien. After it inhaled
enough smoke, it'll drop stunned: takes too long.
8.4.2 So what's your recommendation?
Several ways to make captures safer:
Double/triple-team on capture: at least two soldiers
should carry stun bombs and ready to fire in salvoes in
case the alien does not drop after one hit.
Combine psi combat with capture: Panic it with psi to make
it drop its weapon (repeat if necesary), then stun it. Be
careful since alien WILL pull out any other weapon that it
has on it. After it is out of weapons, and if it does not
have HTH attack, you can use stun rods on it safely.
WARNING: release mind control on the alien (wait one
full turn), THEN stun it, or otherwise it is NOT captured!
(somehow computer counts mind-controlled alien as
"friendly" and not "captured") (confirmed by Bill Soo)
If a stun attempt fails, shoot the alien with a light
weapon like a pistol. The addition damage may cause the
health to drop below stun damage, which ALSO counts as
"stunned". Just don't kill it (yet).
8.4.3 Stunning aliens without stun weapons
Found an alien that you need to capture but have no stun
weapons? You have to use smoke. Hopefully the alien had
panicked and droped its weapons (if not, and you have psi,
panic it). Keep him in an enclosed space (a room?), dump
a smoke grenade into the room, and keep something to block
the door (rookie, HWP, whatever), and wait for choking
As you can probably tell from the pictures, Power Suit and
flying suit are immune to smoke damage (has built-in
8.4.4 Other uses for stun weapons
At a terror site, Chrysalids turning civilians into
zombies? Stun the civilians if you see them near
Chrysalids! Stunned civilians will not be attacked.
Unfortunately, many have reported that the civilians get
MAD when they wake up and you have to kill them, so finish
mission fast if you do stun one.
8.4.5 Do you HAVE an alien containment facility?
Does the home base of the transport have alien containment
facility available? If not, all aliens you captured will
DIE upon end of ground battle.
8.5 Psi Combat
To gain psionic power, you must capture a Sectoid Leader or
Commander, or any Ethereal, and successfully research
(interrogate) them. Then you need to build psi labs and send
your soldiers to be assessed and trained. Then you can use your
psi powers in combat with psi amps.
General observation: aliens do NOT pick up dropped weapons.
Panicked aliens drop their weapons (just as panicked XCOM
soldiers) Of course, they will pull out anything else they got
left on them as well as use their natural abilities (HTH or Psi
attacks) if any.
Aliens under mind control then stunned does NOT count as
captured. One player reported that he saw a commander but had no
stun weapon, so he threw a smoke grenade and kept the commander
in the smoke (with mind control) until it passed out. He was
NOT captured. It appears that the computer counts mind-
controlled aliens as "friendly", which they sort of are.
You can access inventory of an alien under your mind control
even though the inventory button does not work. Select one of
YOUR soldiers, then use scroll button on top to scroll to the
alien. (Watch out for the 1.5.6 bug/feature!)
To get more ammo, mind control an alien, and have it throw its
weapon toward you or drop everything on the ground.
Panic has a much better chance of success than mind control.
Psi strength is more important than psi skill. PsiStr
determines resistance to psi attacks as well as potential with
training (actual formula is in the OSG)
The only way to protect yourself against psi attacks is to
kill the attackers quickly. While some soldiers at the
beginning may be more resistant to psi attacks (i.e. high psi
strength), without psi labs to help you identify them it is a
all by chance.
If a solider was mind-controlled more than once in a battle and
s/he survives, sack him/her immediately after. S/he probably
has low bravery and/or low psi strength.
Get rookies with high bravery ensures they are more resistant to
alien panic attacks (though they may not be as resistant to mind
control, that has a inherent lower chance of success)
8.6 Battle Notes on weapons
8.6.1 General Weapon Notes
Most pistols and rifles holds 20 rounds or more, so ammo
is usually not a problem unless you fire a lot on auto or
you carry something like autocannon (14) or heavy cannon
(6). Usually one extra clip should be enough. In case of
plasma or laser weapons one/none is enough.
Use HWPs (and rookies?) to "beat the bush" and spot
enemies. THEN shoot them. Once an alien is visible,
everybody can take a shot as long as there's nothing in
If you can, take a aimmed shot while staying in cover.
You want a kill, not spraying shots all over the place.
"One shot, one kill" is not a bad motto. On the other
If you have the ammo, use auto shot whenever you can.
Why? It ensures a kill. Let me explain:
Auto shot fires three rounds, but is the least accurate of
the three shots. On the other hand, when you use the laws
of probability, you actually come out ahead using an
auto-shot, since each shot is calculated independently.
For example, let's say chance of hitting in auto shot is
25%, and snap shot is 30% (average). The chance of
getting at least one hit out of three is 1-(chance of no
hits). So 25% hit prob AND no hit in three tries is
0.75 * 0.75 * 0.75 = 0.42
Chance of getting at least one hit is then
1 - 0.42 = 0.56, or 56%
Which is much better than 30% (but no higher than the
aimed percentage). When your accuracy improves, you
increase your chances of hitting the target multiple
times, which ensures a kill, and you use less TUs than ONE
It is not unknown to see three aliens line up in a row,
you fired auto, and each shot killed one alien.
8.6.2 Pistols and Rifles
Use them only when you have to, sniper style. Dump them
for lasers as fast as possible. They use clips and
doesn't do much damage. They may be enough to use against
Sectoids, who has very little armor, but not against
tougher enemies (and Reapers/Cyberdiscs).
8.6.3 HeavyCannon and AutoCannon
HeavyCannon is slightly more accurate than the AutoCannon
and slightly more damage, but a lot less effective with
only six shots and no auto-fire mode. I'd rather use the
AutoCannon is probably the most effective weapon in the
early game, with auto mode, three types of ammo, and 14
shot magazine. Still, 14 shots is not much in auto-mode,
and three magazines can run out on you pretty quick. It
is also VERY HEAVY. (more than twice of heavy plasma)
8.6.4 Rocket Launcher
Rocket Launcher packs your biggest punch in the early
game, and being an area weapon makes it invaluable in
dealing with nasty Reavers and Cyberdiscs. On the other
hand, you can only carry three reloads, and they only fly
in straight lines.
Try to have another team member carry reloads. When you
got to a good firing point, have that guy drop the reloads
on the ground, then you stand on top of the reloads.
Don't give rocket launcher to rookies with low morale. If
they go berzerk, you may lose a lot of people.
8.6.5 Laser Pistol, Laser Rifle, and Heavy Laser
Forget the heavy laser. The 35% more damage that it does
is offset by having no auto mode and decreased accuracy.
You can probably forget the pistol also, but you need to
research it to get laser rifle. Laser rifle is arguable
the best squad weapon in the game, needing no ammo, with
decent accuracy and damage. True veterans prefer heavy
plasma, of course.
8.6.6 Grenades and High Explosive
Get alien grenades when you can, but regular grenades
would do. Use them to flatten small buildings and take
down walls so aliens have nowhere to hide.
Proximity grenades should be used to block off doors and
stuff so nothing can sneak up behind you. They appear to
have a 2-square blast radius and 1-square sensing radius,
so do NOT throw them next to the door! Throw them one
square away from the door so when the alien have to come
out before it blows up. For example:
(D=Door P=Proximity Grenade A=Alien)
Alien just behind door, does NOT trigger the grenade since
not in radius of 1. Then Alien steps through the door,
AD P DAP
[Jim Muchow's variation]
Throw one in front of medium/large scout's exterior door,
one off like above, then hide near the doors in the
shadows so you are not visible.
| X = YOU Just stand there, keep others out of
| sight. After a few turns, alien
| will come out and take a peek,
\----\ wondering where did you go. And as
| soon as it steps out the door, BOOM!
D P = Prox Repeat as needed. They are dumb...
I haven't found smoke grenades to be that useful. I've
tried it in covering my deployment, but it doesn't seem to
work that well. You can try to use it as a stun weapon
alternative, but it's bound to be slow.
I've yet to use any high-explosive in any of the games I
played, but [NET] has reported that they are very useful
taking out Cyberdiscs in tight urban settings, due to more
blast power, useful before you get alien grenades.
Sometimes kneeling down will allow you to throw where you
8.6.7 Plasma Pistol, Plasma Rifle, and Heavy Plasma
Plasma weapons are good weapons, and the heavy-plasma is
the only heavy weapon in the game with auto mode. On the
other hand, Heavy Plasma is , like its name says, "heavy".
Heavy Plasma should only carried by a few select members,
due to possible shortages in clips early on and its weight
(later you'll find PLENTY of reloads so no problem).
Heavy Plasma can punch through inner walls of UFOs when
auto- fired a couple times, useful for pincer attacks in
Supply Ships, when one lift goes straight to third level
while another lift goes only to second. The guys take the
high lift can punch through the walls on second level and
attack both sides at once. [see 12.x]
8.6.8 Blaster Launcher
Blaster launcher is probably one of the greatest weapons
in the game. It is expensive, its ammo is expensive, but
it is VERY useful. You can blow up things in ANY
direction, turn around corners, go up and down stairs,
flatten entire barns, even punch a hole in UFO's outer
hull! Each solider can carry up to 5 reloads (2 on belt
and 3 in backpack).
[NET] One trick is to leave the soldier and the launcher
inside the craft kneeling on top of the ammo on the floor.
That way there's more than 5 rounds available. Or you can
have other soldiers carry more ammo, drop them on the
ground, then have the launcher guy stand/kneel on top of
them. You can use this trick on rocket launcher too, but
it's not as useful.
[NET] You can also blow open parts of UFO and go in that
way instead of through the door. Many have reported that
wrecking the bridge first with a well-placed blaster bomb
or two into the upper level will decrease casualties by a
[KSC] Use blaster bomb to enlarge a standard door so you
can fit a tank through by targeting the wall next to the
door. You can also try this with heavy plasma as those
can sometimes punch through walls. This is great for
battleships since the large central lift allows tanks to
go up to any level, and they also have 2-space corridors
wide enough for tanks.
8.6.9 Small Launcher
This is the only weapon that gives you standoff stun
capability. Get this when you need to stun aliens and do
not rely on stun rods.
Try to back this up with another stun bomb or a pistol.
Stun damage counts against alien's health, and a hit can
drop its health low enough so it gets stunned.
9.0 The Aliens
Most information here can be accessed via the UFOpedia.
9.1 Average Alien Stats (on easiest level!)
------ Armor ------
TUs Ene Hea Bra Rea Fir Thr Str PSt PSk Fro Lft Rgt Rer Und
Sectoid 55 90 30 80 65 30 60 30 40 * 2 1 1 1 1
Reaper 60 90 145 80 60 0 0 90 35 - 14 14 14 14 2
Floater 50 90 35 80 50 25 60 40 - - 4 3 3 2 6
Cyberdisc 60 90 120 110 65 30 0 90 - - 17 17 17 17 17
Snakeman 40 80 45 80 45 30 65 50 - - 10 9 9 8 6
Cryssalid 110 140 95 100 70 0 0 110 - - 17 17 17 17 17
Zombie 40 110 85 110 40 0 0 85 - - 4 4 4 4 4
Ethereal 70 100 60 80 75 40 80 50 50 40 17 17 17 17 16
Sectopod 60 90 95 110 65 30 0 90 - - 70 65 65 50 45
Muton 58 90 90 80 60 30 60 70 - - 10 10 10 10 5
Celatid 70 90 70 90 40 50 0 70 60 - 10 10 10 10 10
Silacoid 40 80 115 100 40 0 0 70 - - 25 25 25 25 5
TUs = time units Ene = energy/stamina Hea = health
Bra = bravery Rea = reaction Fir = firing accuracy
Thr = throwing accuracy Str = strength PSt = Psi Strength
PSk = Psi Skill Armor = front/left/right/rear/under
* Only Sectoid leaders and commander have Psi Skill, with avg of 55.
NOTE 1: you can get info on particular alien stats by using a mind probe
on them. Leaders and commanders are 10 to 20% higher, and there
appears to be random modifiers, depending on rank and position.
Stats are also higher on higher difficulty levels
NOTE 2: higher rank aliens also have higher "intelligence", which means
they will remember your location longer. Some alien species are
also more intelligent than others. For example, Ethereals and
Sectoids have higher intelligence than Mutons and Reapers.
9.2 Alien attack/defense summary
Alien Attack Defend Vulnerable
Celatid Acid Spit none none
Chryssalid HTH none IC, stun *
Cyberdisc Plasma beam AP, HE none
Ethereal Psi,weapons IC,stun none
Floater weapons none none
Muton weapons AP psi
Reaper HTH none IC
Sectoid Psi,weapons none none
Sectopod Energy beam PL,HE laser
Silacoid HTH IC HE
Snakeman weapons IC none
Zombie HTH Psi,AP,Las,Pl,HE none **
HTH=hand to hand combat IC =incendiary/fire
AP =armor piercing PL =plasma
HE =high explosive Las=laser
Alien : alien name
Attack : attack method
Defend : resistance to type(s) of attack
Vulnerable : esp. vulnerable to type(s) of attack
* When Chryssalids succeeds in HTH attack, the subject
attacked becomes a Zombie
** Zombie in a few turns becomes a Chryssalid. If killed, the
new Chryssalid hatches from the zombie IMMEDIATELY.
9.3 Alien specialties and information possible from them
Alien Soldier ----- mission (harvest, base, etc)
Alien Medic ----- Species information *
Alien Navigator ----- Hyper-Wave Decoder
Alien Engineer ----- UFO stats (of that UFO)
Alien Leader ----- The Martian Solution
Ethereal/ Sectoid Leader ----- Psi Lab, which leads to
or command psi amp and mind shield
Alien Commander ----- Cydonia or Bust **
* alien medics can give information on species other than
** commander can be found in bases, or UFOs on Base missions
9.4 Alien Missions
Research Generally small vehicles, least threat
Harvest Great concern to governments, usually cattle
Abduction Abducts humans, causes great alarm
Infiltration Infiltrates countries and try to make pact with
government, big threat as countries that sign
pact cease to fund XCOM!
Base Survey and establish alien base, may contain alien
commander, esp. higher levels
Terror Creates terror sites when lands at city, so get
Retaliation Scout / attack XCOM base, greatest threat
Supply Supply alien bases. Trail them and patrol nearby
to find alien base
9.5 Battle Notes on individual aliens
Chrysalid, Reaper, Silacoid, and Zombie are hand-to-hand only,
which means if you have flying suit, take off and shoot them
from the air. They cannot attack things in mid-air nor through
a window. Reaper, being double-wide, cannot attack through
Celatids are VERY dangerous and causes A LOT of damage if you
don't have good armor. Kill them ASAP.
Kill Chrysalids ASAP at a terror site. Kill them ASAP, even if
it means wiping out the civilians near it. Use rockets and
blaster bombs and grenades on it freely.
If you are REALLY worried about Chrysalids, have everyone carry
a PRIMED grenade around (prime it first). If your soldier got
turned into a zombie, all equipment gets dropped, and the
grenade should go BOOM at the end of the turn
Usually you only find floaters flying (i.e. on higher levels),
so if you can fly, you do gain an advantage, esp. if you go on
top of buildings and start sniping.
You cannot stun a Cyberdisc. Just destroy it.
9.6 UFO floorplans
Following floor plans are approximately 1x1. Approximate
only, so no complaints about precision please.
D/Dr = Door Gr = Gravlift (Up/Down)
Gu = Gravlift Up Gd = Gravlift Down
P/Pw = Alien Power Unit S = Alien Surgery
F = Alien Food X = Alien Examination
Small Scout 123 Looks like an Apollo Capsule...
(Very Small) /=\ 2 level, 1 square each UFO
Medium Scout (Small) 123456789
| Pw |
Large Scout (Medium) 123456789012
| | |
| D |
// | \\
// | \\
+----/ +---------+ \----+
| | | |
| D P | D
| | | |
+----\ +---------+ /----+
\\ | //
\\ --D--| //
| D |
| | |
Terror Ship (Large) 123456789012345678901234567890
Level 0--Menachem M. Pastreich (mpastrei email.ir.miami.edu)
/// ______ \\\
+--------+ /// __| |__ \\\ +--------+
| | | __| |__ | | |
| | | __| Pw |__ | | |
| |____| | | |____| |
| | | |
| | Pw Gu Pw | |
| ____ | | ____ |
| | | |__ __| | | |
| | | |__ Pw __| | | |
| | | |__ __| | | |
+--DrDr--+ \\\ |__Dr__| /// +--DrDr--+
Terror Ship Level 2 -- Pastreich
/// | | \\\
/// D D \\\
///--| | | |--\\\
| | |____Dr____| | |
| | | |
| | ____Dr____ | |
| | | | | |
| D | Gd | D |
|____| |__________| |____|
| E NNN NNN E |
\\\ NNN NNN ///
Battleship (Very Large) 123456789012345678901234567890
Battleship Level 1 -- Pastreich
| Gu |
| Pw |
/ \ +------+ / \
| | |GuGuGuD | |
| GuPw | |GuGuGuD | PwGu |
| | |GuGuGu| | |
\ / +DrDr--+ \ /
| Pw |
| Gu |
Battleship Level 2 -- Menachem M. Pastreich (mpastrei email.ir.miami.edu)
./ | | | \.
./ D | Gd | _____\.
./ | | | | \.
//----- --| +--+ +--+ | \\
./ | | | __| \.
./| +------| | | \.
./ | | | | \.
/ | +--------| | D \
| +--Dr--+ | | | | |
| Gu | | | | |____ |
| | D | | | |
+------+ | | +--+ +-- | +------+
| | | | | | | | |
| +------Dr------+ GrGrGr +--Dr----------+ |
| Gd GrGrGr Gd |
| +--Dr------Dr--+ GrGrGr +--------------+ |
| | | | | | |
+------+ |___ +--+ +--+ +--Dr--+
| | | | | |
| | | | | |
| | | | | |
\. | | | __| ./
\. D | | | ./
\. | D | __ ./
\. | | | | ./
\\ +--Dr----+--+ +--+-------+ //
\. | | | ./
\.| | Gd D ./
\. | | ./
Battleship Level 3
./ | | \
./ | | \
./ | +---Dr---+ | \
// | | | | \\
./| | | | | \
./ | D | | | \
./ D | | | | \
/ | | | | | \
| | | | | | |
| Gd +----------+ +--------+ +-----Dr---------|
| | |
|______|__________ ___________ |
| | | +---Dr---+ | | |
| | | | GdGdGd | | | |
| D | D GdGdGd D | D |
| | | | GdGdGd | | | |
| |___________| +---Dr---+ |___________| |
|-------+ + -----+ +---------+ +----------------|
| | | | | |
\. | | | | ./
\. | | | | ./
\. | | | | ./
\. | | | D ./
\\ | | | | //
\. | +----Dr---+ | ./
\. | | ./
\. | | ./
(Medium) (?) /---|------|---\
Level 0 Level 1
/ SS \ / | Empty | \
/ SSSS F \ / | Room | \
/ \ / | Up to | \
/ FF F F \ / Gu | this | Gu \
+ + +___DD___ | level |___DD____+
| +----------------+ | | +---DD---+ |
| | Pw Pw | D | FF |
| +-------------DD-+----+ | F F +------+__________|
+ | | + + F F | | +
\ F F | Gu | Gu / \ F D Gd D Gd /
\ F | | / \ | | /
\ | | / \ +--DD--+ /
/ | | \
/ +--DD--+ \
/ | | \
/ Gd D D Gd \
+ | | +
|N NNN NNN |
+ NNN NNN +
Supply Ship (Large) 123456789012345678901234567890
// Gu \\ // Gu \\
// \\ // \\
/ --------- \+--+/ --------- \
| | | | | |
| | ---------------- | |
| D Pw Pw Pw D |
| | ---------------- | |
| | | | | |
\ --------- /+--+\ --------- /
\\ // \\ //
\\ // \\ //
// ------ \\ // ------ \\
// | | \\ // | | \\
// F | Gu | \+--+/ | Gr | F \\
/ | | | | \
| F F --DD-- ---DD--- ------ F F |
| | S | |
| F F F F | | F F F F |
| | S | |
| F F --DD-- ---DD--- --DD-- F F |
\ | | | | /
\\ F | | /+--+\ | | F //
\\ ------ // \\ ------ //
\\ // \\ //
// \\ // | Gu | \\
// \\ // --DD-- \\
/ +----------+ \+--+/ \
| | | |
| | |------+------+------DD------+---|
| D NNNN | | | | |
| | NNNN | D | D |
| | | | +--+ +--+ |
\ +----------+ /+--+\ | | /
\\ // \\ +--------+ //
\\ // \\ //
(Medium) (?) /---|------|---\
Level 0 Level 1
^ +----+ ^ ^ +----+ ^
// \\ | | // \\ // \\ | | // \\
// \\/ \// \\ // \ / \ / \\
/ \ / +-+ \
\ / \ +-DD-+ /
\\ ______DD______ // \\ +---+ +---+ //
+--/ | | \--+ +--/ +-+N N +-+ \--+
| | | | | | N | |
| Pw | XX XX XX | Pw | | |N N| |
| | XX | | | | | |
+--\ | | /--+ +--\ +-+ +-+ /--+
// |_____DD_____| \\ // +---+ +---+ \\
/ | | \ / +----+ \
\ Gu | | / \ Gd /
\\ / \ / \ // \\ //\ /\\ //
\\ // | | \\ // \\ // | | \\ //
V +-DD-+ V V +-DD-+ V
9.7 UFO speed, range, etc.
Max Hull Weapon* Ship Max**
Size Speed Damage Power Range Width Crew
Small Scout VS 2200 50 0 0 3 1
Medium Scout S 2400 200 20 120 9 9
Large Scout S 2700 250 20 272 12 13
Harvester M 4000 500 40 176 16 21 (1L)
Abductor M 4300 500 40 160 12 18 (1L)
Terror Ship L 4800 1200 120 336 30 14/10 (1L)
Supply Ship L 3200 2200 60 288 30 20 (1L)
Battleship VL 5000 3000 140 520 30 22/6 (1C/1L)
* Weapon Range should be divided by 8 for range in KM, see 7.5
** Maximum crew is absolute maximum reported in one mission. Number is
in format of X/Y (Z) where X is host race (race the UFO belongs to),
Y as terrorists and Z as number of leaders (L) or commander (C) in
the host race. Any 4-space creatures counts as 4 aliens for this.
10.0 Ground Assaults
10.1 Packing Advice
The 80-item limit is always a problem, especially on an
Avenger and Lightning when you can carry LOTS of soldiers.
While the OSG gave some hints on what to take, here's a couple
more hints to see you through the 80-item Crunch:
* If you are short on ammo clips, use laser weapons, which
require no ammo at all. (Also see below)
* Carry only ONE clip for your plasma weapons. You should
be able to find plenty of reloads during battle, esp. for
heavy plasma (which seems to be used by all aliens near the
end of the game) With 20-35 rounds in each clip, your
should not run out unless you use auto-fire a lot
* Carry uniform weapons. Don't mix pistols and rifles,
plasmas and slug-throwers. Instead of a pistol/clip and
rifle/clip, bring an extra clip for the rifle.
* Bring less misc. equipment such as mind probes, medikits,
motion detectors, psi amps, and so on. You don't need
everything on every person (except Medikits)
* Bring HWPs if you can. HWP is one item yet has plenty of
firepower. Too bad it takes FOUR soldier's space. Still,
they are quite useful in the early parts of the game
* Don't fight at night so that you need to take along all
those stupid electro-flares which you end up throwing all
over the place (exception: Attack Terror Sites ASAP)
10.2 The Great Pistol vs Rifle debate
Rifles more powerful use more TUs
more accurate two-handed weapon
Pistols uses less TUs less powerful
one handed weapon less accurate
As you can see, they are exact complements of each other.
Very often, using a pistol is called for, since using a pistol
would mean you still have enough TUs to duck into cover.
Give pistols to heavy weapons people for when they ran out.
10.3 The Great Pistol vs Rifle debate II (by Paul Close)
Not being ad handy with theoretical statistics as I am with
discrete simulation, I wrote a very simple program to simulate
100,000 turns where each weapon was used in as many times as
possible, up to 80% of the turn. Since the time to use the
weapons is also a percentage of the turn, simple subtraction
sufficed. :-) In each case where an auto mode was available,
it was used instead of snap shot. I felt that 70-80% was a
good compromise between some movement, but still inflicting
TU average +/- 1 std dev
A/S % hits dmg hits damage
Pistol 0/4 72 2.4 62 1.4-3.4 36- 87
Rifle 2/0 70 2.1 63 0.9-3.3 28- 98
Heavy Cannon 0/2 66 1.2 67 0.5-1.9 28-105
Auto Cannon 2/0 80 1.9 80 0.8-3.1 32-128
Laser Pistol 3/0 75 2.5 115 1.2-3.9 53-177
Laser Rifle 2/0 68 2.8 165 1.5-4.0 92-238
Heavy Laser 0/2 66 1.0 84 0.3-1.7 24-145
Plasma Pistol 2/0 60 3.0 155 1.8-4.2 92-219
Plasma Rifle 2/0 66 3.3 263 2.1-4.5 166-361
Heavy Plasma 2/0 70 3.0 344 1.8-4.2 203-485
A/S : number of shots taken, Auto/Snap
TU% : TU% used for the shots taken
+/- 1 std dev : average +/- one standard deviation,
roughly covers 66% of the possibilities
Conventional Weapons :
Pistol is a tie with rifle. The pistol can be shot
one-handed, but in the early stages of the game, you're not
likely to have anything in the other hand :-) The rifle holds
more ammo, but is slightly less accurate. Each has a clip
that will last three rounds at this firing rate. Take your
This seems like a no-contest, but the higher damage of the
heavy cannon makes it not so simple. The lower accuracy of
the auto cannon in auto mode make it a more erratic weapon.
Still, it's more satisfying to shoot off six shots instead of
two :-) The clip holds 14, which will only last two rounds
at this rate compared to three of the heavy cannon (which
holds 6 shots)
With only one shot, the three shots of the auto cannon imporve
the odds of at least one hitting to 69% vs 60% for one snap
shot of the heavy cannon.
One final consideration is that the auto cannon takes 80% TU
for its two auto shots, compared to 66% for the heavy cannon.
With weaklings early in the game, you may need the extra
As you may expect, the heavy laser sucks due to the lack of an
auto fire, and a rather slow snap shot. The pistol and rifle
get about the same number of hits, and the rifle does 30% more
damage. The rifle gets the nod in this case. Even with a 20%
penalty for one-handed use (not shown in table) rifle gets
1.0-3.4 hits and 62-204 damage, still better than the pistol.
So forget th elaser pistol and the heavy laser.
What can you say? The heavy plasma is king! With pretty much
the same accuracy and firing time as the rifle and pistol,
over 40%/120% more damage (respectively), and bigger clip,
there's no reason not to use the ehavy plasma. The only down
side is the ammo takes 3 elerium to manufacture, but with
careful unloading of weapons, you'll get all you need during
recoveries and assaults.
[Editor's note: the advantage of heavy plasma is even greater
when you realize that it weighs exact the same as a regular
rifle. Perhaps that why even those Sectoid weaklings can tote
10.4 Basic Loadout for Transports
Skyranger : 2 HWPs / 6 soldiers or 1 HWP / 10 soldiers
The HWPs early on carry more firepower and has more TUs than
soldiers, which makes them good scouts, and more survivable.
Switch to more/only soldiers later.
Lightning : as many soldiers as you can fit
Lightning doesn't take HWPs, too bad. At least you can
deploy from all four sides at once. Send rookies out
first... (Commander's prerogative)
Avenger : 14 soldiers / 3 HWPs or 18 soldiers / 2 HWPs
As the end of game draws near, your best soldiers should be
as fast as HWPs and carries just as much (if not more) fire-
power. HWPs are there to simply scout ahead. Feel free to
add more soldiers if you can distribute 80 items okay.
10.5 General Combat Notes
There is no penalty for destroying civilian property, so go
ahead and wreck the whole place like "The Dirty Pair" (anime).
If the only person inside the craft is unconscious and you
abort mission, s/he's MIA and the transport is lost as well.
In the early game, you want rocket launchers and/or autocannon
as your heavy weapons, and plenty of greandes (mix of regular
Later in the game, you want almost exclusively heavy plasma
(except for the heavy weapons people carrying blaster
launchers, who would carry plasma pistols)
10.6 UFO Recoveries and Assaults
[Definition: attack on UFO shot down is "recovery", attack on
landed UFOs (not downed) is "assault"]
HWPs CAN enter an UFO with a single-width door if you help
make the door wider with a blaster bomb. Just target the panel
beside the door for a blaster bomb, and make sure no one is
near the impact point.
HWP is very useful in a Battleship on the third level, where
the corridors are wide enough for HWPs except the doors
leading from the elevators. Open one up with a blaster bomb,
send another one or two down each end of the corridor, then
send up the HWPs to scout, then send in your troops.
In UFO navigation centers, there's usually some octagonal
purple "tables" that EXPLODES when hit. If you can catch
aliens standing next to them, hitting THAT is a lot of fun.
Blaster bombs and/or high explosives can be used to punch a
hole in the outside wall of an UFO, creating an alternate
entrance. This will allow you to surprise the aliens inside
since usually they gather by the doors waiting for you.
Corollary: on a multi-level UFO, attack from TOP down by
blasting a hole in the roof or top level, posting guards near
the UFO doors or use proximity grenades.
Post guards outside an UFO when attacking inside. Any aliens
outside will attempt to return, and getting shot from behind
is not fun.
If the UFO Power Units exploded, and UFO's ceiling may be
damaged (single-level UFO have top blown open). In that case,
stand on the edge and kneel will allow you to see inside. In
larger UFOs, holes in the ceiling will allow you to see above,
but you may have to kneel to get a good look (someone may be
hiding up there!)
One trick you can pull is ALLOW an alien base on Earth once
you've pinpointed its location, and keep assaulting the supply
ships that comes to keep the base supplied. They just keep
coming and coming, and the UFOs you take out more than offsets
the "base on Earth" penalty, not to mention all the Elerium
and other goodies you get that you can sell later. Of course,
watch out for the retaliation missions...
Consider using blaster bombs and flying suits to attack from
TOP DOWN instead of bottom up. Blow a hole in the ceiling,
send another bomb inside the hold, go in and spread out, work
your way down, pick off aliens coming up one by one.
When attacking battleships, consider going up one of the
engine "legs" instead of through the central elevator. On
assaults, you may need a blaster bomb to punch through.
10.7 Base assaults
The trick in base assaults is use a lot of grenades and
blaster bombs. Use grenades to clear corners, proximity
grenades to block corridors so no one can come up behind you
(esp. Chryssalids!), blaster bombs to open walls so you don't
have to go extra distance around things. Once you find the
control center, you have pretty much won the game.
While base layouts differ, base command center always look
like this: (D=door, WW=window, ground/level 0 only)
| +--------------+ |
| +-+ +-+ |
| | | |
D | D |
D | D |
D | D |
| | | |
| +-+ +-+ |
| +--------------+ |
Instead of going through the doors, go through one of the SIDE
walls (^) with a blaster bomb, send a couple grenades through
the hole for the guards inside the door (or another blaster
bomb). Charge in, leaving proximity grenades behind to cover
your back, go in the inside door, and you'll find a huge
grav-lift taking you to the second level of command center.
The base commander (and his deputy leader) should be there.
10.8 Anti-Terror Missions
Your top priority is self-preservation. Killing 9 out of your
10 soldiers to save a city is NOT worth it. If given a choice
to save your soldier or to save a civilian, save the soldier.
Consider stunning the civilians. Stunning the civilians makes
them "unpalatable" to the alien terrorists, and they count as
saved at the end of the mission. (WARNING: when they wake up,
they count as ENEMY and you must kill them!)
Do NOT mind control any of the civilians. They count as ENEMY
after you release control and you must kill them!
Kill Chryssalids ASAP. If necesary, kill the civilian near it
so that the civilian will not be turned into a zombie that
will attack you. Have two persons watch each other.
If necesary, carry a primed greande one each person. If the
person becomes a zombie, all equipment are dropped, INCLUDING
THE LIVE GRENADE. (boom!)
Aliens that use HTH (hand-to-hand) combat only such as Reavers
and Chrysallids cannot attack someone in mid-air (by a flying
suit or hovertank). They also cannot attack someone through a
Window. Reavers cannot attack through a one-space-wide door
(they are two-wide).
Feel free to blow up gasoline pumps, esp. with aliens next to
one. They make great secondary explosions.
10.9 XCOM Base Defense
You DID plan your base as mentioned in Chapter 4, didn't you?
First priority is blockade the lift. Dump prox grenades near
the doors (close enough so that there are no spaces in between
to walk through) and wait back for aliens to emerge.
Second priority is clean out the hangars. Fusion Bomb
Launcher Hovertanks and/or blaster launchers are great for
this, but a rocket launcher will do if you hit explosive stuff
like fuel drums and so on.
Third priority is reclaim your base module by module. Use
prox grenades to guard your back.
Proximity grenades are priceless here, great for blocking
corridors, limiting movement into kill zones, etc.
11.0 Mastering Cydonia-- The Final Assault
For those of you who watch shows like ENCOUNTERS or SIGHTINGS,
there IS a Cydonia on Mars, and there are "pyramids" and a face
there... And there's a big rumor of a NASA cover-up and recent
Mars probe going there ALL malfunctioned... Hmmm...
Don't bring any psi-weaklings. You'll be meeting a lot of
Sectoids and Ethreals, who will be mind-blasting you a lot.
Bring your best weapons and all of your blaster launchers and
blaster bombs, plus rockets and all the grenades you got.
This is not time for captures, so leave all stun stuff at
home. This is a fight to the death, preferably theirs.
Bring a pair of electro-flares each for the Mars surface
battle. It'll be dark there, so toss a few of those around.
The doors at each face of the pyramids are especially
important as Sectoids may come out and play. You also want to
spot Cyberdiscs as far away as possible.
11.2 Pyramids of Mars
Lots of Sectoids and Cyberdiscs around in this one. Soldiers
with flying suits are nice for recon, just don't leave them in
the air for Sectoid target practice, use pyramids for cover.
Move slowly, toss electroflares at base of each pyramid, esp
near exits so you can see if a Sectoid comes out. Use
grenades and/or blaster bombs on the cyberdiscs.
11.3 Base Interior
You do NOT want to clean out the whole base. Find the
distinctive command center (see below, NOT to scale), run for
it (sacrificing HWPs and rookies in the process), let blaster
bombs and rockets fly, protect your back with prox grenades.
[not in scale!]
| _ |
| | | |
D__________________ | |
| |L| |
| |_| |
Once you found it, send a blaster bomb to hit the end, then
one more up through the grav lift (either side) to get rid of
the Ethereal Commanders (the elite guards), then ONE MORE on
the top, and it's all over.
12.0 Misc Questions and their answers
* Why do I lose ammo that was fired only a few times?
After combat all clips that had been USED in the battle and left
in their rifles/pistosl/cannons are lost, no matter only 1 round
fired or totally empty. UNUSED clips are NOT affected (even if
they are loaded), as are clips separate from weapons.
HINT: You should unload any weapons that had fired and use
valuable ammo before the battle ends.
HINT: You can tell when the battle is almost over by judging how
long the alien movement phase takes.
HINT: You can get MORE clips if you unload captured alien weapons
that you come across
* How do I reload weapons? How do I unload ammo from weapons?
See section 2, Chapter 3.1 of XCOM Manual.
* Why should I need grenades when I have autocannon?
Autocannon weighs A LOT. For the same weight you can carry a
lighter weapon plus a couple grenades, and move faster and
further as a result.
* How do I wake up unconscious soldiers?
See UFOpedia on Medikit.
HINT: Heal any fatal wounds first before attempt to revive.
HINT: After applying shot of stimulant, exit medikit screen and
check your inventory. If "body" is still on ground, apply another
shot of stimulant until the "body" is no longer on ground. S/he
should appear in an adjacent square at beginning of next turn.
* How do I use Medi-Kit?
See UFOpedia on Medikit.
* How do I use motion scanner?
See UFOpedia on Motion Scanner
HINT: They are useful to detect that one last alien you can't
find, esp. at night when visibility is less, or city blocks (but
there you have civilians)
HINT: They are somewhat useful for looking behind closed doors
that you would like to enter.
* How do I use Mind Probe?
See UFOpedia on Mind Probe
NOTE: ANY one can use a mind probe, no psi power is required.
* How do I use the Blaster Launcher/Bomb or Fusion Hovertank?
When you select Launch Missile, you can specify a series of up to 9
"waypoints" which can go around any thing, climb and dive, even fly
in circles. The final waypoint is the explosion point, UNLESS it
runs into something solid first.
NOTE: There MUST be something solid at the last waypoint or the
"missile" will NOT explode!
HINT: You can UNset a waypoint by right-clicking
* Some of my soldiers have TU's used before I moved them. Why?
Each soldier has a physical weight limit to the amount of "stuff"
he or she can carry, usually known as "emcumberance". If you
carry less than or equal to the emcumberance, no penalty is
assessed. For each weight unit over the limit, you get a TU
penalty. Carry too much and you can't move at all!
OSG has the complete weight chart for all items (Table 8-4).
Interesting observation: heavy plasma weighs the same as a
* How can I fire on aliens in their movement phase?
This is called "opportunity fire".
Leave enough TU's after your move for at least a snap shot, then
if your trooper saw an alien and has good enough reactions s/he
will fire at the alien.
HINT: Use the 4 icons near the bottom left of screen to reserve
the TUs. Reactions usually need to be above 50.
* How do I open doors?
Target your soldier to move to the "square" behind the door and
s/he will then automatically open it (using some TUs) and move
to the square you specified.
HINT: Do not open doors without plenty of spare TU's or expect to
DIE. Using a motion scanner will help to see if any aliens moved
beyond the door.
HINT: When you are not sure, create another door! Either shoot a
hole in the wall or blow up the entire wall with grenades, HE,
HPlas, or BBomb.
* How do I get psi power?
See Section 8.5
* What is psi strength and psi skill?
Psi strength is a person's physical talent for psi (esper
sensivity) and cannot be improved. It is also a measure of
resistance against enemy psi attacks.
Psi skill is a person's skill at USING the psi strength. It can
be improved with usage and training at a psi lab.
* Help! My soldiers kept getting mind-blasted!
Fight harder, make more kills. Low morale invites more psi
If you survive the fight, sack the ones who's not very good and
kept getting panicked or controlled.
* What's with troops missing in action (MIA)?
If one of your troopers in under alien control at the end of a
battle s/he counts as MIA; therefore try to wait until s/he is no
longer in control before finishing off aliens.
If you abort a mission, any soldiers you leave behind is MIA. On
missions with a transport, any one not on the transport is "left
behind". On an alien base assault, any one not in the green
rooms (on the gravlift does NOT count) is "left behind".
Yet another way to get people MIA is to try (abort mission) with
only an unconscious soldier in the transport. You'll lose that
person as MIA as well as the transport
HINT: use MediKit to wake them up (stimulant) then march them in if
that happens to you.
* How do my soldiers improve?
By doing things. They improve firing accuracy by shooting at
things, strength by carrying more things, and so on. Those
getting kills will improve more than those who did not.
Therefore, try not to let HWP get a kill since you will lose a
chance to let a soldier improve, and leave the easy shots
(against panicked aliens, for example) to the rookies. Psi skill
also improves with use.
* How do I get more officers?
See Section 8.1.5
* How do I cheat?
If you REALLY want to cheat, here's how to add TONS to money into
your accout. Yes, you are embezzling the world to support XCOM.
You are twisting arms, and it is for a GOOD cause. :-D
Use a sector editor (such as Norton DiskEdit) and edit LIGLOB.DAT
in your saved game's directory. Overwrite the first 8 bytes with
64 64 64 64 00 00 00 00...
You should get about 1.68 billion dollars. (In case you are
wondering, 64646464h is a hexadecimal number. In decimal it is
1,684,300,900.) You can also use
FF FF FF 7F 00 00 00 00...
Which will give you about 2.1 billion dollars. (7FFFFFFFh =
* How do I bypass Document Check Copy Protection?
Sorry, you won't find the info in there. Yes, I do know how, and
no, I will NOT tell you. In fact, I don't use it myself. So
don't ask me. This is a STRATEGY guide, not a game crack guide.