I rush to ensure I get a second aircraft on week 2 by any means necessary, as well as trying to get my fabricators/research to at least 3 of each. I restrict myself to raiding a haven only once every few days, and I don’t really keep track but instead just kind of fly around the region picking on one haven after another until I end up in a loop while also defending havens, clearing nests, doing small missions and searching the (?) sites. I tend to do full raids (15/15 crates) within this period.
By week 3 I want to be close to 6 of each facility and a training base with at least 4 training centers.
By week 4-5, I get up to 4 teams and then begin to slack and only do 3/15 raids to save stamina/time while still getting resources+SP (+ all the other missions, with story taking priority) as well as the fact that Manufacturing still takes time. So I only care for as many resources as I need for the next project in the works (usually about 2 days worth of projects lined up). I’ve always assumed that adding more fabs/labs beyond 6 just didn’t give enough of a benefit at this point to really warrant building more… but that’s still possible and will shorten overall game time slightly I think if more labs are built. 6-7 fabs seem fine though where vehicles complete in a day and aircraft complete in 2 days. That feels good enough for me and I’m not too rushed to get the resources needed for another project.
By Mid-February it was clear that I had exceeded what was necessary to survive losses and that the end of the game grew close, so I just decided to leave my aircraft stationed on all of the LoA sites for infinite resource gain, only bothering to defend nearby NJ/Syn Havens and Phoenix bases while jumping from final mission to final mission.
Armor can be recovered from corpses along with all their gear, so soldiers dying isn’t a huge loss as far as fabrication goes.
The only reason I pump out 16 vehicles (at a rate of 2 vehicles per aircraft starting at roughly the 4th aircraft) is so I can quickly exchange them at my bases. When I do a rush job with a mostly rookie team, the Scarab may end up at 20% hp. Well, instead of waiting for it to be repaired, I fly to a nearby base and trade it in for a new Scarab while the old one gets repaired and continue doing missions/raids/exploring (and heal soldiers in combat more than at a base). I try to make use of whatever I scavenge as well, and don’t necessarily take outdated weapons like the assault rifle out of commission (and instead just put them on lvl7 rookies who have a talent for assault rifles, so they still feel useful).
I focus only on one ally and centering my team compositions around their strengths (fire and explosions, vehicles and technicians for NJ as an example), finding that all the rest of the technology isn’t necessary for the most part… but because of the way diplomacy works, I tend to get a second ally anyway (so I self restrict at 74% for no ability to help their research because I really don’t like that - so I got mist repellers pretty late but it didn’t matter).
Time between missions is often less than 6 hours, but rarely can be an entire day or 3 separate teams in 3 separate missions all within the same hour, and this stays relatively true all throughout the game as I grow, because even though I can do more, I don’t want to nor seemingly have to.
Occasionally I’ll combine teams in a region and take their best members to tackle harder missions (LoA or Citadels for example). Some teams are specifically designed for raiding/stealing (fast and easy as possible) and at least one team is designed for capturing and containing. Every team possesses a capability of quickly clearing a Lair (fire is my favorite here), a nest or raids (Scarabs are handy), defending a haven (well balanced team, one sniper type, one assault type, one heavy type + strengths offsetting weaknesses) despite not being particularly strong or overpowered in any way. My “captains” often end up 2 in a Thunderbird (other times in a Manticore or sitting in a base waiting), of which I construct at a ratio of 1 for every 2 Manticore and they get Armadillos + a Technician but the composition otherwise remains similar, and these are usually spread out across the globe being assisted by the more rookie Scarab teams as needed.
A Helios is used to transfer soldiers to bases once “retired” (older less-desirable soldiers who I’d rather replace with a newer recruit, stashed in a base to defend it just-in-case) or to quickly move the Capture and Contain team to a site to assist the Thunderbird on the Scylla hunting mission (or for hunting food in general which is more of a thing I had planned for a Synedrion-heavy playthrough).
Throughout the most recent campaign, I’d lost a total of 5 soldiers, one of which was on the very first mission. Admittedly I’d reloaded at least 7 or 8 times, most often because I misclicked, but a few times because I lost someone in a way that I just wasn’t okay with or didn’t seem possible until it happened.
I lost part of two squads on a defense mission in the 3rd week of February. I didn’t have to, I could’ve evacuated after losing my one soldier, but I decided to play it out to see if it were possible to make do even with extreme casualities. It was a complete loss, and I reloaded simply because I was being unusually rash knowing I could reload. After reloading the save, I looked over the soldiers that I’d lost and said to myself “Hm… I guess I didn’t really need to do that. These guys don’t matter.” Just kind of a habit I guess, or maybe it was because I knew I was being rash instead of careful.
Anyway, I hope I’m still able to make the point that soldier losses can be mitigated through in-game mechanics and careful preparation and planning.
- Rage burst + Deceptor machine gun was super-handy vs the Scylla (especially capturing) and even wrecked 3 Pure in one funny case
- Onslaught is a pretty useful talent for weak units boosting strong units or creating “tag-team” situations where one unit’s strengths are more useful this turn than the other’s, so you trade your AP to it.
- None of the Anu tech or units are necessary to progress or be successful within the game