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New player here, need some help


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G'day all,

So I purchased Xenonauts a while ago but never got around to actually playing it. Today I finally started but got turned into mincemeat in my first battle on normal difficulty.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a good series of Tutorials that I can look through, so I have more of an idea what I'm doing. While I tried hiding behind walls and the like, I found aliens were able to take out my entire squad without much effort.


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There aren't any what you might call formal tutorials yet, as the game isn't finished so what makes a good strategy now might not be useful by release. However, there's an immense body of knowledge on this forum that can help you. If you have any specific questions you'd like to ask, we can help, and I'd reccommend looking at the YouTube LPs of Snowiifrog, Steelwarrior and ClosetYeti.

So, you got turned into mincemeat in your first battle, Welcome to X-com! Uh, I mean, Xenonauts! If you could talk through a bit of what you did and what happened to you, I'm sure more experienced players would only be too pleased to give you their advice.

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One thing I can suggest is that getting close to the aliens is a very BAD IDEA. Do not approach unless necessary. Stay behind cover, advance one square at a time, do not underestimate the use of the Riot Shield, and lastly, expect to lose guys. Until later on when they are better at surviving a direct plasma bolt you will lose guys. I also suggest rushing the vehicle as it allows you to replace 2 people with a vehicle that does not care about getting shot and is an amazing scout as aliens do not seem to reaction fire at it.

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You might be tempted to use your AP's to their fullest, but it's better to keep 20-40 of them in reserve and stay behind cover.

Your men at the first mission are worthless(or worth very little), you get the same guys for 10k. Take solace in that as they improve in worth, your methods of protecting them also improve. If your feeling cruel, take redshirts (blueshirts?) with you to absorb reaction fire and then have your vets gun the enemy down. Might want to give him a shield, but that's optional.

Use smoke grenades when breaching larger UFO's, then rush into cover.

Once you have a sample of the UFO's datacore, use explosives liberally, as it's not worth anything to you anymore, but your men are.

Vehicles are god-tier, and not because of the armor or the cannon. (Although once you unlock the pulse cannon they can carry an entire squad of rookies just by virtue of exploding everything) Their strength for me lies in the floodlights, which allow you to function 24/7 without the drawback of fighting in darkness.

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Being a newbie myself, I can attest that the 3 fellow members above me speak the truth! :))

I'd reccommend looking at the YouTube LPs of Snowiifrog, Steelwarrior and ClosetYeti.

I've watched about 3 hours of let's play before I bought the game and I tell you that watching of few videos of people that know how to play the game will spare you a lot of frustration resulted from rookie mistakes.


-getting close to the aliens is a very BAD IDEA - Range is your main advantage early on. The Star Trek crew and the lizards are crap at shooting distant targets. Your standard weapons on the other hand are quite precise at long range.

-Do not approach unless necessary. - but sometimes a sneaky alien will hide in a barn or a house and will not come out. If you charge head-on, his reaction fire will be deadly at close range. What you can do is suppress him before going in for the kill, you don't actually have to hit him, it's enough for your bullets to land close to him so just shoot around him. Also use grenades, but they won't kill him unless you land one at his feet.

-Stay behind cover, advance one square at a time - cover is important but bear in mind that if you can aim at him from behind cover, then so can he. Also make sure you position your soldier properly so the square with the cover will be directly on the line from you to the enemy, otherwise it means that you are staying at the side of cover.

-expect to lose guys - oh yeah, in other turn-based games that would be devastating. Here not so much, in my first terror mission I've lost 3 soldiers, 2 of them were decorated majors killed in just one turn. But the mission was a success.

-some other points: don't spread your troops too thin around the map, always have at least two soldiers close to help each other; burst fire is great for suppression; use smoke grenades before disembarking if aliens are close by.

-great tips regarding vehicles. I've never even thought about using one before thinking they are just one large target for the enemy. But it seems that they're quite useful.

Edited by BogdanM
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Vehicles have a sight range of 20, too, whereas most units have a sight range of 18. They can't fire back at you if they can't even see you.

Talking of which, smoke grenades block line of sight, as long as you're behind a smoke cloud (not standing in one at the edge). However, you can shoot through smoke just fine by using CTRL to force fire - ignore the 0% hit modifier, it's wrong in this case. Keep smoke grenades on your soldiers, and make sure one of them has the TUs to smoke bomb exposed units in case things go south.

BogdanM mentions suppression: a suppressed unit loses all of its TUs for that turn, and then 50% of its TUs the next turn. This means that suppressed aliens can't use reaction fire. LMGs, sniper rifles, and the burst fire mode of assault rifles are good for suppression. Bear in mind, though, that some aliens are easier to suppress than others, and some can't be suppressed at all...

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Thanks for the info guys! I did have three shotgun soldiers who I tried to sneak close but couldn't make it. I'll swap them to snipers and move forward much slower then I did in my first game.

Be careful about that. Snipers actually lose accuracy when the target is close. I usually run with 1 sniper, Support, and 4 riflemen with a vehicle for spotting.

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In general, winning in games like these involves getting a good "feel" for how the AI works, and how to exploit it.

My general strategy in open fields is to use a guy in heavy armor with shields and a pistol, and push them the closest to the enemy. The enemy always targets the closest guy first. (Even if they're behind cover.) Be careful, as the lizards are aggressive, and will charge your characters. (But then, they're out of TUs, so they might not have enough left to kill you in that turn - just be sure you can kill them in that one turn window you have!)

I tend to keep my guys in tight fireteams of four, with one shield/pistol/grenadier (swap pistol out of hand to throw grenades - it's cheaper), one shotgun, and either two rifles or a rifle and a sniper. (Machine guns can come in when you have 65 strength.) Move whole fireteams at a time. Always have them covering each other. Remember - shotguns with at least 20 AP get essentially automatic reaction fire, and pistols reaction fire every time for only 10 AP, so if the enemy gets up to move, you're going to get tons of shots off on them, if you spared the TUs.

If one team finds trouble that's hard to approach safely, bring the other around to hit the problem from the flanks.

Don't take risks.

You will notice that every single alien is crouching at the end of every single turn. Do that, yourself. ALWAYS crouch at the end of the turn unless you know there's no chance of that unit coming under fire. Save 4 TUs for crouching, and maybe some left over for reaction fire, as well, and make sure you are facing the most likely angles of attack. (Turn your character with right-clicking while standing - it's only 1 TU to turn while standing, but 2 TUs while crouching.) Try to end behind cover when you can, but don't charge a whole field to do that - always have extra TUs if you're advancing. Don't end turns where some enemy can walk around a corner and blast you while you're flat footed just because you don't see anything at the end of the turn - crouch and have TUs for reaction fire, and space to hopefully avoid the blast. Keep your guys together, and they can all turn into a firing squad where they all start opening fire on a charging lizardman when he's out from cover. Alone, your guys won't have the firepower to take an alien down.

You have all the turns you need.

There's no bonus for a speed run, here. If you end a turn 2 tiles away from a blind corner, don't go around the corner this turn, get up to the corner, crouch facing the corner, and peek around on the next turn, with full TUs. If you don't like what you see, just duck right back behind the corner. Slow and steady wins the war.

When the enemy hides behind cover like fences, keep in mind you can shoot fences by holding down CTRL - a shotgunner isn't going to hit a hiding alien behind cover, but can probably hit the cover, itself, and deal enough damage to bust a fence down with a few blasts. That gives your more accurate rifles clear line of sight.

Use grenades and C4 liberally. Cram every last kilogram you can pack before TU penalties with extra grenades. You get infinite amounts. There's no cost to collateral damage to buildings. If some nasties are dug in with no good way to flank the enemy, just chuck C4 at the problem. (Try not to kill everything with explosives, though - that cuts into profits. But if you're just blowing up cover, go for it.)

Flashbangs are your friend - they prevent reaction fire, and steal half their TUs for the next turn, to boot. If the enemy doesn't shoot back, you can take all day whittling away the target.

Smoke grenades make the enemy forget you even exist. You can even toss them on your own characters, and have other characters spot for them.

At night, I toss about 4 flares every turn - they're infinite, and only 10 TUs a toss - and you have all the turns in the world. Advance slowly, and illuminate everything.

It's like craps - every time you take a chance that the enemy won't be there, you're just one die roll closer to the time you inevitably crap out. Take as few chances as possible, and rely upon the advantages you have the enemies can't match - mostly their lack of grenades and purposeful terrain destruction, as well as predictable nature.

Edited by Wraith_Magus
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