5 Satellites, $860 Net Income by End of First Month
It's possible to have 5 satellites up by the end of the first month, with a net income of 860 going into the second month.
(This is on Normal, starting with 2 satellites. I'm not sure if this is relevant for Classic... are all the prices the same for everything? And can you start with a 2nd satellite if you do the tutorial?)
- Put your base in Africa for the income bonus
- March 1: Excavate right of the Access Tunnel. Don't spend another dime.
- March 6: Around this time you should get your first Abduction mission, choose the one that gives you 4 Engineers. Try not to blow things up because you need as much salvage from this mission as possible.
- March 6: Immediately start building a Workshop (in the spot you just finished excavating) as soon as you get the new Engineers.
- March 6: With 9 Engineers, 3 Satellites should cost $77 x 3 = $231... you should be able reach this by selling stuff from the first mission... right down to Weapon Fragments and Elerium if you have to. Start building 3 satellites. You are now broke. It is now your mission to earn $150 by March 17 at the latest, so you can build a 2nd Satellite Uplink before the end of the month.
- March 16-17: You should have had a UFO mission by now, and enough salvage money to start a Satellite Uplink (next to the first for the adjacency bonus of course). You are now broke again.
- Ride out the rest of the month. I was fortunate to pick up a monetary reward from the special mission, which allowed me to grab Squad Size I and Wet Work upgrades right away, but your results may vary.
- March 31: Launch your 4 pending Satellites (as close to the end of the month as possible because you can't afford Interceptors until after you get paid). Nobody is above 3 terror right now so you're able to choose pretty freely. I grabbed all of North America (because of great income, and also because it grants both Engineers and Researchers equally at month-end, and I want to start growing my Researchers a bit), and Russia.
With US, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia, plus the African income bonus, the gross income is $981. After maintenance expenses (starting facilities plus Workshop and 2nd Uplink), the net income is $860.
The only slight hitch with this, was I had to delay the start of Beam Weapons research because I'd sold too many Weapon Fragments. But it made more sense to wait for my new Scientists to arrive at the end of the month anyway before starting that.
Curious if anyone else has tried this, and/or if this is possible on Classic?
Nice work! We might start to see a surge of Africa starters now. Four satellites easily taking the Europe or Asia blocs, or buying North America and Russia or Europe and the US.. Big money gains.
You start with 1 sat on Classic. Also, you don't start with the OTS. You could probably do something similar, but it won't work exactly the same.
Also, going against Mutons with standard weapons is a lot more dangerous on Classic than Normal, and if you don't have titan by the time Heavy Floaters arrive you're going to have a rough, rough time. I wouldn't try this strat on Classic.
I'm very impressed, and I'll definitely be using some of your ideas.
The first time I beat the game on Normal, the end statistics showed that I had made ~9,800 total. As in, 9,800 over the course the the entire playthrough. To my utter shock, the stats said the world average total income for a playthrough was 198,000.
I was a little surprised to find that most people make 20 times what I did ingame
Classic Ironman does give a 2nd satellite, but you cannot build extra early enough to get them in place before the first Council Report. I will edit/post after I get something similar done for Classic Ironman with tutorial, but I got a crappy anthill only one Steam site for later game play and it is in the bottom row, I foresee many powerplants.
... what? You definitely start with one sat on CI. You can build one right off the bat. I've never actually played Normal, so if that's what you meant, then I guess you can statr with two.
Originally Posted by Vitaeus
My third ironman classic playthrough i did this same strategy, minus the africa start. You can't 100% do it everytime, it depends on the missions you get in the first 10 days and they varry a lot. Sometimes you get a mission on the 4th day, sometimes on the 9th, it's random. And sometimes a country will contact you with a request for items or weapon fragments or something and gives you extra cash in those first 10 days that let you do this strat. But as I said you can't repeat it consistently and it is luck dependent.
And no, you don't get a free satellite on classic, you just start with one.
I am currently doing a Classic Ironman with the tutorial, you get a 2nd satellite free from the Council in the first month. Also in the tutorial you only get to do NA or Europe, so not exactly as good a start as if you skip the tutorial and start freeplay on March 1st.
Originally Posted by DrakenKin
That free satellite from the tutorial is a pretty big early game boost, guess thats why the tutorial limits your starting choices to north america and europe. Worthwhile to note that its disabled completely on impossible.
I believe ironman disables it as well. At least it did on classic.
Originally Posted by ZombieBunny
I'm a little confused
in my game I can't build satellites until my 2nd uplink is up and running. and without doing it in this order you quickly run out of time.
Originally Posted by Morwynd
up to the 6th to be able to build a workshop which allows you to build an uplink
i can't remember off the top of my head how long to build the workshop (5 days? until the 17thish?)
14 days to build the uplink
20 days for satellite/s
Am I missing something?
Iv'e tried this in CI and normal (putting aside the CI problems) and can't seem to do it.
I'm not sure what's wrong. You should be able to pre-build satellites just fine, so long as you have the money for it---it is, in fact, wise to do so since it's one of the longest projects you undertake.
Sort of tried this on Normal mode and it's not quite working. I don't have nearly enough money to build 3 satellites in the first month. Also, I'd like to see if others can come up with a build similar to this, at least in money-making spirit, that uses Asia as your home base. It seems like having that Foundry discount is more important long term, for conserving money, than an initial horde of cash. Hell, if you do the tutorial you start out with WAY more money than you do skipping (like 670 base and 375 monthly vs 265 base and 165 monthly.)
It depends on the tutorial only.
Originally Posted by Rone
You choose tutorial -> You get an additional satellite
Well in a variant you can use it on impossible. You probably won't be able to pull it off on the first month completely, since you have casualties and you need to get carapace armor research started as a priority, but the rest is as I did it minus the workshop. I had 5 satellites end of month 2 and 8 end of 3 ( could have done more but there was no need even just launched 1 of those 3 )
Anyone experimenting with variants? I'm wondering if foregoing some of the initial umph here would pay off later. I have not been able to reproduce the start described (never getting near enough money to buy 3 satellites and everything else described in the first month, unless he means that he's including the freebie satellite and only constructing 2 on his own.) So I've been looking at merely 2 quick satellites along with the freebie you get (at least on Normal difficulty.)
I started in Asia for the Foundry bonus, then used all 3 sats in the first month to take control of Africa for the 30% cash-money bonus. I was thinking that over the course of the game the Foundry discount will pay off better than most of the other options. However I ran into a problem where basically all of Europe was at 4 or 5 terror notches within like the first week of the second month. So I fear I'm going to completely lose Europe with this start. Also, I feel like I'm kind of behind on my research and my base layout isn't exactly what I'd like (damn you steam vents next to my Satellite buildings!)
I wonder if maybe switching the acquisition of regions would help. I don't really need the foundry discount until month 2+ but needing 4 sats to get the Asian bonus by taking control of the region is rough.
Also, even though it's incredibly tedious, I wonder if the initial boon of increased money and an upgraded unit would make doing the tutorial worthwhile. It just sucks that you could do all that and then discover your base layout is garbage with no steam, or crappily located steam vents. Still, it seems like you start with over $650 vs the about $260 you start with if you skip the tutorial. And of course you can only choose North America or Europe as your base locations which really sucks.
Whodathunk a turn-based, RNG dependent game would require a tight build order?
You can build satellites anytime you have the money. You just can't launch them until your base supports them. I've frequently built satellites that were sitting in my base inventory until an uplink completed a week later.
Originally Posted by Burningeko
Nevermind, sorry. I am doing this start, I was able to do it still keeping one Sectoid corpse and didn't have to sell any Elerium or Weapon fragments.
it always did...
Originally Posted by offshore33
It's kind of random if you can pull this off. My first mission came a couple days too late so my satellite uplink finished on April 1. I had plenty of money to throw around but nothing to spend it on. Had I understood the timing a little bit I would have skipped the uplink and build alien containment first while I tunneled down to my one block of steam. I couldn't have a workshop, uplink and alien containment all at the same time without more power. I would have also waited to build the satellites until month 2 in case I got any more engineers.
Still, I finished with $591 income for month number one, that's not easy to get with any other start, unless you get lucky, as above.
How are you building Uplinks with 9 Engineers? Been trying to not lose a country the first 30 days on Imp/IM and haven't been able to. Workshops take 10 days to build. That last engineer's been killing me.
I did normal without the tutorial, I got the additional satalite. I know that you don't get it on Classic without the tutorial though, haven't tried it with.
Originally Posted by coltos
You have to build the workshop first, if your fist mission happens on or before March 7, you can do it. You have to sell almost everything to get the funds for the workshop and your satellites, but I have done this now. I restart my game if the mission comes on March 8 or later.
Sorry for the absenteeism... been having too much fun with the game! Will try to answer some feedback/questions.
Yes, you can. The big red warning message you're seeing is just telling you that you cannot actually LAUNCH them without an uplink. You are still free to build them.
Originally Posted by Burningeko
I'm not sure how that's possible... you START with nearly enough money to Excavate+Workshop and build 3 Satellites. I just tried a new start to make sure I could replicate this and it was no problem at all. After Excavating, waiting for my 4 Engineers from Abduction #1, then starting a Workshop, I still have $207 leftover from my starting funds. You only need $231... the remaining $24 is trivial to make by selling bodies from the first two missions once the Gray Market opens. Can you post some specific numbers if you still are getting "nowhere near" enough to build 3 satellites?
Originally Posted by offhshore33
(And for the record, I am playing on Normal, with no tutorial, where you start with 2 satellites... one over your home base, one spare)
Then why not simply cover Asia with satellites before buying Foundry upgrades? You will still get the continental bonus that way. Starting base bonus only matters at the start... you can get ALL the continent bonuses eventually.
Originally Posted by offhshore33
I'm not... you have to wait for the Workshop to complete before starting the Uplink. Excavate(5) + Workshop(10) + Uplink(14) = 29 days.. so you have enough time with two days of wiggle room. If you don't have an Abduction providing 4 Engineers by March 7th, you're basically hosed. But this seems to happen pretty regularly in the games I've played.
Originally Posted by WorthlessBums
So basically what viperswhip said
I missed a couple of key dates I think because it doesn't pause the game when excavations are complete so by the end of month 3 I have 10 satellites up and decided to grab North America and chuck 2 in Asia. Getting my airforce up and running is a huge priority at this stage.
I will build the Foundry in month 4 when my last uplink is built. I had to run one mission with 4 people because I shunted my officer training school over the right, it's cheaper to rebuild than the uplink and I wanted a block of 4 with a potential for a block of 6. I should be able to finish Asia with that last uplink, I suppose I may need one or two more for Africa and Europe.
I kind of got this to work on a Classic Ironman game. Restarted a few times trying to get the set up I wanted (Male Americanx2(3) and 1x male Japanese soldiers - to name after my friends haha). Managed to get 3 satellites up end of First Month, and will have ~8 by end of second I think. Not quite as much money as I had to manage panic with a couple, but still more than I can really spend atm.
There is a downside to spamming out so many satellites so quickly. Abduction missions tend to happen only in countries you don't have satellites in. Lots of satellites means the same countries get hit over and over. This can be a huge issue on classic. Fewer satellites mean that panic is spread out more. So you have to be careful there.
My question is can you really spend $860 in month 2 without just being wasteful? It is going to be a while before your scientists develop the expensive stuff anyways, especially since they will be getting a pretty slow start here.
That said, I do like this idea and used a very similar plan with a few modifications for my current game. The most significant change was I launched my 4 satellites over US, Russia, Argentina, and Brazil. This results in slightly less income because of losing NA's bonus and needing an additional interceptor. However IMO it makes up for it by not having to waste time on interrogations or autopsies, time your scientists will need because of the slow start they are getting here. Plus I still had more cash than I needed.
So I just did 10 quick starts (amazing how quickly you can blitz that first mission if you go all kamikaze grenadier style ) to test the viability of this. In my 10 starts, here are the dates I received my first Abduction mission on:
Only one miss out of 10, pretty good. So I can say with some confidence you nearly always get an Abduction within the first 7 days. Additionally, it seems you ALWAYS get the same 3 reward options (4 Engineers, 4 Researchers, $200) for the first Abduction, so no problem there.
Also, I tried all the different options for starting continents, and how much you are left with after Excavate+Workshop (which normally costs 10 + 130, except for Europe which costs 10 + 65 due to half-price Workshop). The results:
Africa: 347 (-140 = 207, 24 short)
North America: 375 (-140 = 235, 4 over)
Europe: 265 (-75 = 190, 41 short)
Asia: 265 (-140 = 125, 106 short!)
South America: 245 (-140 = 105, 126 short!)
So.. this start is probably not possible using Asia or South America, you cannot earn $100+ from the first two missions.
With North America, you should already have enough left over to build the Satellites even without selling anything. With either Africa or Europe you should be close enough to $231 to make it from the mission salvage.
If playing Classic, you need to save those until before the next Council meeting to help drop panic on those 5 panic bars.
I started in Africa, and I had to use my 2nd sat to cover China instead of U.S.; and my first mission was Day 7.
Also, if tutorial is skipped, you have enough credits to buy a satellite--it's the same net amount.
I do have an Asia start that was able to make enough in the first 2 missions via selling. So it is possible, but much harder. Mainly selling the power source and flight computers etc from shooting down a UFO.
Originally Posted by Morwynd
Classic Ironman, first playthrough with tutorial.
It took me well over 30 hours to play through it completely. I lost Canada super early (I am also Canadian) just because I would ignore North America. Sat coverge bonuses should be considered BONUSES, not objectives. Plant sats in countries with high panic and if things get out of control, assault the base to reduce global panic.
Originally Posted by Harmonica
I actually only was able to get Africa and South America's bonuses in my classic/ironman game. France and India bugged out on the 3rd month the treacherous bastards. They were the only two I lost though. Honestly Africa's bonus made up for losing those and then some so in the future Africa will be getting my attention more often.
There are definitely some downsides to this start.
Originally Posted by Svest
1) You delay digging for steam until the start of month 2 (solution; with your mountain of cash build a normal generator to tide you over)
2) Base expansion in general is off to a slow start as you can't do any digging in month 1. However IMHO the extra cash allows you to easily catch up (and then surpass).
3) It's true that reducing the number of Abduction targets won't "spread out the panic" as much... but this is a problem with adding satellites, period... not really a problem specific to this strategy.
4) However, holding more satellites in reserve, can be useful in stamping down hotspots. For example if I grab North America right away, and then panic gets out of control there, I have no way of bringing it back down with satellites.
Haha I wondered this myself, and the answer is: ABSOLUTELY 3 more satellites and a 3rd uplink for the end of April will get rid of a huge chunk right away. Add in OTS upgrades, Access Lift and drilling/steam for another big chunk. And finally, you should have either Carapace or Beam Weapons by end of April, there goes the rest. I had a 6 person squad fully geared with laser rifles (and pistol/SCOPE for sniper) and Wet Work by end of April.
Originally Posted by Svest
Even with insane income, I was still pretty much broke at the end of every month, until mid-June when I finished global sat coverage.
After that, I have excess cash, and the real bottleneck is acquiring enough Weapons Fragments to get through all the research.
My current game, btw: Sept 20th, $4418 in the bank and $1754 income (full sat coverage), full plasma weaponry and Titan/Archangel for everyone, completed all OTS upgrades, about 10 Foundry projects, all available pre-Base research, and a fully excavated base. I hit full sat coverage in early June and have been patiently collecting Weapons Fragments from UFO/Terror/Council missions to finish remaining research. (I thought I'd try assaulting the Alien Base with a squadron of SHIVs and see how that goes)
EDIT: I did not mean to put forward the above Sept game as an example of "how fast you can finish the game" or anything of the sort... just threw that in for anyone wanting an idea about the kind of money you'd potentially be sitting on by then.
Last edited by Morwynd; 10-15-2012 at 04:50 PM.
It's certainly possible to afford the satellites if you fluke out and get a UFO mission in the first week, but those seem to be pretty rare. Also, I needed to sell the first UFO's power source/flight computers to earn enough money by March 16th for the Uplink. Were you able to afford an Uplink by March 16th with your Asia start?
Originally Posted by StrikeQ
Nice work! I definitely lost Canada also when I went for a bonus instead of lowering its panic. Lesson learned.
Originally Posted by Harmonica
I got an interception straight away but my first abduction wasn't for a while, so i couldn't get the uplink built in time, then i also forgot to launch the one sat i could launch
Originally Posted by Morwynd
Ahh but this is what I mean by being wasteful actually. In my first game (classic difficulty) I beat the game at the end of October (or maybe it was the beginning on November I forget). Sure, I skipped most of the foundry projects, and a couple OTS upgrades, only had a little over half satellite coverage, and never excavated my entire base but I chased those alien bastards off my damn planet, which IMO is the goal anyways. I also had plasma weapons and titan or archangel armor for everyone so its not like I was under equipped or anything.
Originally Posted by Morwynd
Now I'm trying classic ironman with a similar opening strategy to what you have here, modified somewhat. It is only May so it is too early to say how it is going to finish though. We'll see how it goes before I decide which strategy worked better for me. So far there are things I am liking about this one and things I am disliking as well.
He still can still finish the game by mid October, it's only a few missions.
Not likely, building a psi lab, finding a "volunteer" and leveling him up will probably take more than a month on its own (unless he gets lucky).
Originally Posted by viperswhip
However, I suspect that if he had wanted to he could have assaulted the alien base several months ago and could be in a position to assault the temple ship now or very soon (I am going after the base in May in my game). Which is why I said I want to wait and see how my game turns out before being able to make real comparisons.
I am not sure I follow. You asked if there was enough things in the SECOND MONTH to spend money on without being "wasteful". Yes, there are.
Originally Posted by Svest
I never claimed my September game was anything special in terms of progress; that is me taking my sweet, luxurious (and sure, absolutely wasteful) time, and completely relaxing after getting global satellite coverage in June. I could've assaulted the Alien Base in June if I'd wanted to, or earlier if I'd made interrogating an alien a priority.... I completely ignored that path and focused everything on satellite expansion and squad improvement.
This strategy is about a fast money start... what you DO with that start, is up to you. What I did was blitz the rest of my satellite network, and then proceeded to savour my Abduction-free status and sit around like a lazy bum all summer shooting down UFOs and handling the odd Terror/Council mission.
Thwarting the actual invasion threat and building up my guys to near godlike abilities has always been my "goal" in the X-Com games anyway. Going on the offensive and wiping them out? Meh, I'll get to that eventually.
TL;DR finishing the game quickly was not a goal of mine this playthru... just a fast start.